Tiffany breaks down the week that was for WWE. Do you agree with her assessment?
Roman Reigns: It’s been a LONG time since I’ve heard a pop THAT loud for any one superstar. The Big Dog was back after being gone for months due to a battle with leukemia and he brought the best news possible: The leukemia is in remission! Great start to RAW. Loved Seth coming out, a complete 180 from October 22. Welcome back, Big Dog!
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs Revival: This was a study in contrasts on several levels. It was a great match, but it doesn’t feel like the whole point is to showcase the individual NXT talents as members of the main roster so much as it is an ad for NXT.
Baron Corbin: I’m honestly not sure what someone felt the need to have Corbin do that interview and I don’t care. I muted it as soon as I heard his name.
Elias: I LOVED this segment and I love that Dean’s back and is funny again. Him planting Elias with Dirty Deeds just made me happy. The challenge to McIntyre is interesting after last week, but we’ll see how it goes.
Riott Squad vs Ronda Rousey and Nattie: This was a really good match, but it was also one we’ve seen too many times. Sarah Logan has really improved a lot and Riott was impressive, as always. The real story of this match was Becky Lynch beating the holy hell out of anyone within reach with her crutch. I’m a little curious as to why Lynch was in the same outfit she was arrested in at Elimination Chamber.
Ronda and Stephanie: This was a really cool segment. There had been speculation that Lynch would make an appearance at Ric Flair’s birthday party, but Rousey demanding that Lynch be added to WrestleMania and threatening to vacate the title if Stephanie refused was very interesting, but I hope they aren’t doing this to protect Rousey at the expense of the match.
Jinder Mahal vs Kurt Angle: I really enjoyed this match. A lot of people were getting frustrated with Kurt Angle’s booking lately and this match seemed like a way to right the ship somewhat, but it’s clear that the Wrestling Machine has gotten a little rusty over the years, but it was fun segment and sometimes that’s all that matters.
A Moment of Bliss: After a few weeks’ absence, the cringe-fest that is A Moment of Bliss is back. I loved Bliss’ little dig at Rousey’s segment. The interview with Balor was…interesting, though I’m not sure I WANT to know what Bliss was going to show him.
Rush’s inclusion was the most interesting part of the segment due to Rush’s performance. He didn’t have his usual fire and swagger and was playing it like he was being forced to go out there. Balor came across as a bit of a jerk, but that’s understandable, all things considered.
Balor vs Rush: This was SUCH a good match and it was fun to watch Rush perform without Lashley. Rush vs Balor for the IC title could be a show-stealer for WrestleMania.
Ascension and Heavy Machinery: This was a very random segment. The Ascension hasn’t exactly set the main roster on fire since their debut a few years ago, so I’m not sure what the point is. The whole segment was just very strange and not funny.
Rush and Lashley: I loved how this segment played out, you really felt bad for Rush getting berated by Lashley. I couldn’t have been the only one going ‘Go get your own title shot, dude!’ The look on Rush’s face implies that Lashley’s going to be sorry for treating Rush the way that he is.
Strowman vs Lashley: Apparently, someone in WWE has finally realized that Strowman can’t do long matches with people not named Roman Reigns, so they’re building him up by having super short matches that accomplish nothing and the match with Lashley was no exception. The most that can be said is that it added more to the Lashley vs Rush story when Rush dove out of the way of Strowman and let Lashley take the hit.
Seth Rollins: This was a good segment. It established how happy Seth is about Roman being back and that they’re celebrating. I did find it interesting that Ambrose wasn’t mentioned at all in the interview, nor was his absence explained.
Dean Ambrose vs Drew McIntyre: This was a much better match than the mess last week. Dean had a chance to get out of the box and the two belt thing was hilarious. I’ve said before that I don’t believe Ambrose is really leaving and the way he lost, which actually protected him by having McIntyre need help, solidified that feeling further.
The Reigns/Rollins run in was very intriguing because they ran in and saved Dean, but left him alone in the ring. Clearly, Seth brought Roman up to date on Dean’s shenanigans, but Roman didn’t want to leave Dean to suffer a 4-1 beatdown, despite what he’d done and said. This is an interesting and intriguing story and I’m fully invested.
Bayley vs Nia Jax: Before I talk about this match, I have a question: Why did Sasha look like a mid-2000s teenager last night? Anyone know? Anyone? Bueller? Seriously, I liked the look, but it was just so out of character for her that I had trouble getting my mind around it.
The match was really good. WWE seems to be very invested in building Sasha and Bayley as tag champions, which is always good thing. I’m not sure about Nia and Tamina as challengers, but we’ll see come Fastlane.
Ric Flair’s Birthday: Well, we all knew SOMETHING was going to happen at Ric Flair’s birthday party, especially with so many legends in the ring, but I don’t think any of us expected what happened. I think the going theory even as the segment started was that Becky and Charlotte were going to be involved, no one expected that Batista was going to turn heel by beating up Ric just to get Trips’ attention. Ric Flair might still call himself ‘The Man’, but his health scare a couple of years ago really aged him and seeing Batista beat up a 70 year old man was really disturbing, which was the point. Guess we’re getting Batista vs Triple H after all.
Thoughts: What a difference a bit of good news makes! RAW has been struggling to keep the fans involved and hearing that Reigns was returning seems to have woken everyone up.
Reigns’ triumphant return aside, WWE does seem to be building the Fastlane card with an eye toward WrestleMania on all fronts, which is nice.
I’m intrigued by the probability of another Shield reunion, and hope it means that Dean Ambrose will continue to hang his hat in WWE for the foreseeable future since it seems silly to tease a reunion storyline for the Shield if one-third of them is leaving. Again, I firmly believe that Ambrose isn’t leaving, but a little confirmation of that would be nice.
Daniel Bryan/Kofi Kingston Contract Signing: Okay, I think I can see where this storyline is going, but it still angers me that Kofi got screwed out of the title shot he earned fair and square for Kevin Owens just because Vince decided that three amazing performances in a week isn’t good enough. Logically, I know that this SHOULD mean that Kofi will get his shot at WrestleMania, but you never know with Vince.
Kevin Owens/Stephanie and Shane: This segment solidified another way this whole storyline could go, which is Shane, Stephanie, and Triple H doing a hostile takeover because they’re tired of Vince’s antics and him overruling them and making them look bad to the locker room.
The idea to put Kofi and Owens in a match as a team is really adding insult to injury on Kingston’s end because he’s being asked to be a good sport and team with the man who stole the opportunity he’d busted his ass to earn, which puts Owens firmly in the heel column.
The Bar vs The Hardy Boys: This match was supposed to be Johnny Gargano vs Cesaro, but that was changed for North Carolina’s own Hardy Boyz vs the Bar. It was great to see Matt Hardy back and healthy. Rumor is that WWE has decided to not pick Matt’s contract up for a third year, but we’ll have to see. If that was the last time we saw the Hardy Boyz, they went out with a victory.
Ricochet, Aleister Black, and Lana: I like that they’re starting to put the NXT guys with some of the more established talent on SmackDown, but they still haven’t gotten away from putting them with recent-ish NXT guys.
That said, this was a really good segment. Black and Ricochet’s reactions to Lana were funny. Good way to set up the tag match and let Black show off his promo skills.
United States Championship Match: This match was so much fun. R-Truth is such a fun character to watch, it’s hard to jibe that with his NWA-TNA persona. Him tagging Cena in his decision to do an Open Challenge and an Open Challenge Triple Threat is exactly something Cena would’ve done. I loved the interaction with Carmella and Vega and hope that leads to a feud down the road. I was a little surprised by Truth’s win, but very happy for him. Guess the Mysterio/Almas feud is continuing though.
Charlotte Flair: I’m going to get heat for this, but I don’t care: Charlotte Flair needs to be taken out of the RAW Women’s Triple Threat. She’s adding nothing to it. Her promo was the same tone deaf, entitled princess crap she’s been doing for months and I’m sick of it. Let her stay and suffocate the SmackDown Women’s Division like she’s suffocated every women’s division she’s been in and let Rousey and Becky steal the show at WrestleMania because Charlotte is an albatross in this and she’s not needed or welcomed.
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev: I really enjoyed this match. It gave both teams a chance to get their games in order and gel. Plus, there seemed to be some dream matches in the offing a little. Nakamura vs Black was incredibly good and I hope we see some more of that down the road.
AJ Styles: This was a good, if slightly formulaic, promo for Styles. It hit all his usual talking points, except for the part about Reigns’ cancer being in remission. Randy Orton’s inclusion in the interview was interesting and sets up their feud, but it didn’t do more than that.
Kevin Owens and Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan: There’s a lot that can be said for the racial politics of making an African-American play the good sport and work with the white person that got the opportunity, just for showing up, that the African-American had to bust his ass for, but this isn’t the place for it. This was a really good match for everyone involved. The crowd was firmly in Kofi’s corner, though there were some cheers for Owens. Even though Owens ‘earned’ the match by pinning Bryan, I really wanted Kingston to snap and lay Owens out, but that will probably wait until Fastlane.
Thoughts: The questionable decision about Kofi Kingston aside, this was a very random feeling SmackDown. I think having the fans see Kingston get screwed over on the whims of Vince McMahon sucked a lot of life out of the crowd. Owens’ return was interesting, but it got overshadowed by the fan rage over Kofi.
Tony Nese vs Kalisto: This was such a good match, I wish it could’ve gone longer. Nese and Kalisto are great athletes but that often gets overlooked by their gimmicks. I’m not surprised that Nese won, Kalisto’s been involved in several of these #1 Contender tournaments, so it was nice to see someone new in the pack. I am interested to see what will become of the Murphy/Nese friendship if Nese becomes #1 Contender.
Jack Gallagher and Humberto Carrillo: I’ve stated my opinion on this storyline before and I’m still uncomfortable with it, but they’re making it clear that Carrillo doesn’t want to give up what’s worked for him. Hopefully, we’ll get an actual match soon.
Drake Maverick’s Office: It seems that Mike Bennett might be turning tweener or face if the conversation in Drake Maverick’s office was anything to go by. Bennett had a legit complaint and it was basically dismissed, PLUS Maverick pulled a dingy trick by promising a match but not promising that it’s a tournament match. If they do it right, Bennett COULD fill the Mustafa Ali, super over underdog role that 205’s been desperately needing since Ali moved to SmackDown.
Drew Gulak vs Brian Kendrick: Well, I can’t say this pairing was a surprise, but I’m surprised by how much I didn’t like it. Given how nasty the rivalry between Gulak and Kendrick had been back in the fall, I expected more ‘oomph’ in this match and it didn’t happen. I’m also surprised that Gulak won, but they seem to be trying to include guys who HAVEN’T been Cruiserweight Champion, with the exception of Cedric Alexander.
Tyler Bate vs Jack Gallagher: This was a great match! Jack Gallagher hasn’t been featured on 205 all that much lately, so it was nice to see him get some time to shine away from Gulak and he did a great job doing that with Bate. I was a little disappointed that Gallagher lost, but that doesn’t take away from a great match. I also hope it means that Gallagher will be moving to NXT UK and establish himself separately from Gulak.
Nina Samuels: This was another ‘Huh?’ promo, at least in my opinion. Samuels is a great competitor but I can’t say she’s been a barn burner. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. The dance thing was nice though.
Eddie Dennis: It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from the Headmaster from Hell and there’s a reason for that: He tore his pectoral muscle (Ouch) and was unable to wrestle and feed his family. Part of me felt really bad for Dennis because torn pecs suck, but I had trouble buying that he couldn’t feed his family since WWE still pays their performers if the performer is injured. However, his threat to the NXT UK locker room sound real enough and he’s still creepy.
WALTER vs Kassius Ohno: I think I’ve said before that I don’t get the hype for Walter, who I still think looks like a character from an old WWII movie, and that sentiment still stands. I also don’t like Kassius Ohno, so this match, even though it was pretty good, was a big ‘Meh’ for me. WALTER won, of course, building him for a match with Pete Dunne, but Ohno gave him more of a fight than most of his opponents do, so there’s that.
El Ligero: I really liked Ligero’s promo, but it’s still disconcerting to hear a British accent coming out of a guy in a Luchador mask, but I’m getting past it. I really like this feud between Ligero and Joseph Conners, so I’m happy to see that getting continued.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Lorcan and Burch: When it was announced that GYV would be taking on Lorcan and Burch, I think we all knew that this was going to be a fight between two very brawly teams and it was certainly that. Lorcan and Burch, or Burch at least, have been in the business for a long time, but they kept up with GYV and put on a hell of match. GYV may have won, but just barely and Burch and Lorcan looked really good.
DIY Reunion: Since this took up a couple of segments I’m just going to put them together. This was an interesting storyline because we didn’t get to hear who or what Gargano blamed for his lack of success in terms of titles in NXT. Since Ciampa interrupted him, I’m going to guess he was going to blame Ciampa. Ciampa was his manipulative best, but it was clear that Gargano knows he’s being manipulated, or I hope he does and he’s not truly that stupid and/or naïve.
My one genuine beef with this angle is Candice LeRae. I like Candice and she’s a good competitor, but it seems that Creative can’t think of anything to do with her besides being Gargano’s worried wife, which is a waste of her talents.
Taynara Conti and Xia Li vs Aliyah and Vanessa Borne: These were two seemingly random match ups that produced a surprisingly good match. Conti and Li have the technical backgrounds but Aliyah and Borne are nasty fighters and held their own. I’m glad to see Aliyah finally get some success in NXT have being cannon fodder for so long. If this was a proof of concept for an NXT Women’s Tag Division, they did a great job.
Velveteen Dream and Undisputed Era: This was an odd promo. I’m not sure why Cole thinks he still has a claim to the North American Championship or why he thinks he should get a match. Dream’s gimmick I don’t really get anyway, but they seemed to have laid the groundwork for an…interesting feud.
William Regal: Honestly, this segment was just for the Shirai/Belair argument. I’ve said before that I don’t like Belair, so her whining that she should get another shot before Shirai, who PINNED the NXT Women’s Championship falls on deaf ears with me. Belair got her chance and she lost, end of discussion. If Belair should get another shot because of what happened during her match, Kairi Sane should be getting another chance before anyone else.
Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic: This was a really good, really physical match between these two behemoths. I’m not a fan of either guy, but it was a really great match for both of them and the Double Countout protects both of them until they can meet in NY (I assume).
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Brackets: As someone who comes from a state where basketball is king, I LOVE tournaments and I love brackets. The brackets for this look pretty good, but I was a little sorry to not see as many teams as I thought I would see. However, all the teams are good, so this should be a great tournament.
Boss-Hug Connection: I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure how this segment was going to go since Sasha and Bayley haven’t been in an NXT ring in nearly four years, as hard to believe as that is, but I LOVED the reaction they got. The NXT Universe hadn’t forgotten who the REAL Four Horsewomen of WWE were, rather than the MMA wannabes.
The promo was really good, Sasha and Bayley seemed genuinely touched that they’d gotten such a great reception, but I was a little disappointed that no one from the Women’s Division came out to challenge them, but Sasha and Bayley seem to be making good on their promise to defend their titles on all of WWE’s brands, except for 205, which doesn’t have a women’s division.
Shayna Baszler vs Mia Yim: After last week’s encounter, the fact that that this match got made so quickly was a surprise, but I’m glad it happened. I’ve become a big fan of Mia Yim and I was glad to see the HBIC get a title shot. It was a good match and Yim proved that she had what it took to hang in the title picture. I was disappointed at how she lost, but she gave Baszler quite a fight, so hopefully that’ll mean something down the road.
Overall thoughts: This was a really good week for WWE programming. The return of Roman Reigns seems to have been a shot in the arm for RAW. SmackDown struggled, but still managed to build storylines for Fastlane. The NXTs and 205 were really good. There were a few snags on each show but that’s to be expected. Since we’re still more than a month away from WrestleMania, WWE’s still playing it safe, but that’ll change once we get past Fastlane in a week or so.
Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE RAW 3/1/21
Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!
Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!
With just 6 short weeks left until WrestleMania, RAW once again came to us from the Thunderdome, with the main story on RAW this week being focused on the WWE Championship match between The Miz and Bobby Lashley. Despite this there were still some other moments on RAW that stood out, so without further ado let’s once again look at the top 5 moments that stood out on RAW.
5. Mustafa Ali pins Riddle
There is no denying that the booking of RETRIBUTION has been botched. While it was extremely interesting to watch Retribiution at first, Retribution soon died even after Mustafa Ali turned heel mainly due to terrible logical booking and a series of losses that made them all look weak.
However, it is still nice to see RETRIBUTION get wins back, especially when it comes to their leader, Mustafa Ali. Ali is extremely talented and has shown he can perform with the best in the ring. That is why it was so great to see him beat Riddle on RAW.
While the match between the two men was nothing special and had a bad-looking finish, it was still nice to see him beat the United States Champion in a non-title match and give RETRIBUTION and himself a small amount of credit back.
4. Miz makes Bobby Lashley wait
Over the years The Miz has grown to be one of the best heels in the business, his promos are amazing to watch and over the years Miz has learned to control any crowd as a heel. Miz’s promos though are not the only thing that has helped him as a heel, as we have seen Miz over the years use brilliant strategies to give himself an advantage in the ring.
Miz would once again use his mind this week on RAW as he used excuse after excuse throughout the night to avoid defending the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley until eventually, Shane McMahon forced him to defend or vacate the title at the end of the night.
The great part about watching this was seeing the reaction from MVP and Bobby Lashley as they grew increasingly frustrated with The Miz and his ideas as their annoyance at the start of the night turned into a pure rage after Miz retained after being counted out.
3. Damian Priest gets another win
At first, I was somewhat worried about Damian Priest being teamed up with Bad Bunny, mainly due to the fact it feels Priest deserved more. However, after a few weeks and seeing how much merchandise Bad Bunny has been selling, the relationship between the two men can be effective for Priest especially as Bad Bunny guarantees Priest time on RAW, where he can impress fans.
Priest would once again look good on RAW this week as he pinned Elias in a solid match between the two men. It was also nice to see Priest beat Elias without any major interference from Bad Bunny, as Priest has arguably looked somewhat weaker due to the distractions from Bad Bunny in his matches.
With there being a good chance that Bad Bunny will be on WrestleMania with Preist, it will be interesting to see what will happen to Priest after WrestleMania
2. Drew Mcintyre and Sheamus destroy each other
While this may not off been on a Pay-Per-View, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus put on an amazing match between each other and easily put on the best match of the night. The match showcased the brutal style of the two men as they traded moves with both men working extremely well together.
The match would start with an intense brawl between the two men as they gave each other a beating. After a brutal match where both men push each other to their limit, Drew McIntyre would catch Sheamus with a Claymore after Sheamus attempted a Brouge kick to win the match.
After the match, both men stared at each other potentially meaning that this is not the end of their feud as he approach Fastlane.
1. Bobby Lashley finally wins the gold
It is hard to believe how much Bobby Lashley’s career has changed in a year. This time last year, Bobby was stuck in a never-ending feud with Lana and Rusev which had lost all credibility. Then Bobby Lashley left Lana for MVP and started The Hurt Business, where he became a dominant part of the mid-card as the United States Champion.
Even after being a dominant mid-carder for so long Lashley still hadn’t reached that next level however Bobby would finally break through the glass ceiling this week on RAW after he waited for three hours to dominate The Miz to finally become WWE Champion after what has felt like an eternity.
With Bobby now Champion the big question is, will Lashley be Champion by WrestleMania and if so, who will Lashley face?
These were my top 5 moments from RAW this week. What were your top 5 moments and what do you think of Bobby Lashley being WWE Champion? Let us know in the comments below.
Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 2/28/2021
A weird week of matches and shows! Let’s see what made the Top 5!
This is one of the more tame weeks. New Japan had a few big events, but let’s just say it wasn’t their best work. Then we get the announcement of combining the Intercontinental and Heavyweight to become a “world heavyweight” title, so yeah, New Japan is weird right now.
Speaking of weird, AEW Dynamite: Riho vs Serena Deeb, won the match vote last week.
This will be the voting week to round out February, and we should start March off strong with what’s coming next week!
Quick Top 5:
- NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii
- NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi (c)
Rating: *** ¾
- AEW Dynamite: Lance Archer vs Rey Fenix
Rating: *** ¾
- NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs El Desperado vs El Phantasmo
Rating: *** ¾
- AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Isaiah Kassidy
Rating: *** ½
- NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL w/Dick Togo
Rating: *** ¼
- NJPW Strong: IWGP United States Championship: Jon Moxley (c) vs KENTA
Rating: *** ¼
- IMPACT!: Chris Bey, Ace Austin & Black Taurus vs Josh Alexander, Trey Miguel & Willie Mack
Rating: *** ¼
- NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: TenCozy (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) vs The United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay)
Rating: *** ¼
- NXT: Zoey Stark vs Io Shirai
Rating: *** ¼
- NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: NEVER Openweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs The Great O-Khan
Rating: *** ¼
- WWE Raw: Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman
- NXT: No DQ: Santos Escobar vs Karrion Kross
- IMPACT!: TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Moose vs Jake Something
- WWE Raw: Angel Garza vs Damian Priest
5. AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Isaiah Kassidy
Kassidy runs, but Hangman follows! Kassidy leaps, into a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Both men are down and fans are fired up! The standing count begins, the fans rally up, and both men stand at 3. Hangman runs in at Kassidy to corner clothesline him! Hangman snapmares Kassidy, runs and SLIDING- NO! Kassidy dodges, mule kicks and CHOPS! Kassidy reels Hangman in but Hangman suplexes to BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!!! Kassidy lives and “This is Awesome!” Hangman and Kassidy slowly stir. Hangman aims from a corner, runs at Kassidy, but Kassidy blocks the boot to BOOT back! And enziguri, to a POISON-RANA! Cover, TWO!?!
But Kassidy has the arm for an ARMBAR! Hangman endures as Kassidy pulls back! Hangman sits up, and gets the ropebreak! Kassidy lets go at the ref’s count of 4, and Hangman drags himself away. Kassidy gets up, runs over, but Hangman FLIPS him out to the apron! Kassidy grabs at Hangman’s arm but Hangman BOOTS him from below! Hangman runs to triangle LAR- HOT SHOT!! Kassidy counters Hangman at the right time, slithers back up to the apron, and springboards, but no Destroyer! Hangman gives him the DEADEYE! Cover, Hangman wins!!
Winner: Hangman via Deadeye
2t. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs El Desperado vs El Phantasmo
Early on this was a little paint by numbers. Counters, a few signature spots to get early advantages, but the match didn’t pick up until ELP tried to take out Desperado. ELP and Despy fight up the ramp, ELP rips the mask to expose Despy’s head and pulls out the Jerry Lynn special, Cradle Piledriver right into the ramp!
ELP takes the ripped mask as a trophy, and we see a singles match between BUSHI and ELP for a good bit of time. BUSHI proves to be as stubborn as other Tetsuya’s in LIJ, and takes it to ELP fairly well. BUT – that’s not the story here. Desperado starts slowly making his way back to the ring with a new mask. Desperado comes in and goes on a warpath after ELP. Stiff looking strikes, dives that take out both of his opponents, and just an unbridled rage that makes him focus on ELP.
This of course allows for BUSHI to pick some solid spots, and after Despy returns the match really picks up. It’s also great to ELP’s heel tendencies where he takes moves from higher profile people just to turn the knife. Styles Clash, V-Trigger, an attempted One Winged Angel, Sweet Chin Music, the Undertaker arm fold pin cover, and it’s just good entertainment.
BUSHI has a great count break up where he just grabs Marty Asami’s arm to prevent the 3. BUSHI sets up for MX, but he gets caught with Sudden Death…and rolls out of the ring. So ELP has to go back to a now slowly coming back up Desperado, ELP charges, gets caught with a big right hand and not 1 but 2 Pinche Locos!
Winner: Despy via Pinche Loco
2t. AEW Dynamite: Lance Archer vs Rey Fenix
Fenix goes to a corner while Archer is in the drop zone. Fenix hops up and MOONSAULTS, but Archer moves, so Fenix somersaults through! ROLLING CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Archer survives again and Fenix can’t believe it! Fenix hauls Archer up, Archer whips him away and runs in to ROCK him with a right! Archer puts Fenix up top, hooks legs and brings Fenix out, FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Fenix survives again but Archer drags him back up! Archer goes up the corner, drags Fenix up to join him, but Fenix fights the choke grip to adjust! Archer body shots, Fenix rebounds, SUPER SPANISH FLY!! Cover, TWO!?!? How are either of these guys doing this?!
Fenix fireman’s carries, Archer pulls the mask! Fans boo, Fenix SUPERKICKS, mule kicks, forearms and CHOPS! Fenix fires up, runs, but gets DERAILED!! Both men are down but Archer fires up! Archer drags Fenix up and reel shim in, for a BUCKLE BOMB! Choke grip, CHOKE SLAM!! Cover, TWO?!?! Archer drags Fenix to a corner, hauls him up, CHOPS and inverted crucifix lifts, for the BLACKOUT BOMB!!! Cover, Archer wins!!!
Winner: Archer via Blackout
2t. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi (c)
Naito focused on mat wrestling in the beginning, and it was all in effort to get to Ibushi’s knees to bring the match to parity. With Naito having well documented bad knees (including miss time during the Road to), Naito had to work to make things more even.
We see a lot of old threads get pulled on, the corner spot could reference to Naito and Omega’s G1 match, the Outside In German Suplex was something Ibushi struggled to execute before on Naito. Naito pulled out an Avalanche Diamond Dust that we don’t often see, and this was somewhat interesting. New Japan continues to implore that main events are 25+ minute matches, and lately these all drag.
Even with the fun story aspects, a few big scary spots as we’ve come to expect, the match never ascended to a great height. Naito hit Valentia and a few running Destinos, but that wasn’t enough to take out the champion. Ibushi hit Kamigoye to the back of the head, much like as Wrestle Kingdom, then we got 2 more Kamigoyes and Ibushi just falling on top of Naito for the pinfall victory!
Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye
1. NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii
Ishii has had White’s number lately, and just added to the broken status of his mental health after the Wrestle Kingdom loss. Within the first minute or so, Jay looked to have tweaked his hamstring, and that added an interesting layer to his early attack. But much like the strategic genius that he is, he lays Ishii over the barricade, and Ishii starts selling a rib injury.
Everything in this match mattered, the leg and ribs came back to play into aspects of the finishing sequence. Ishii was slow transitioning between some of his power moves since he was hampered with the rib injury, and Jay got caught a bit more than usual because his quickness was taken away.
A huge Avalanche Brainbuster after a Jumping Headbutt nearly gave Ishii the win, but a slow cover as he wanted the high stack, kept Jay alive. They fight back and forth, then we get a great counter wrestling sequence to finish the match. Ishii slips suplexes and Blade Runners, Jay slips the Brainbuster and eats a strike. It was up, down, back and forth, just hard to call until Jay finally slips a hold and catches Ishii with Blade Runner for the win!
Winner: Jay via Blade Runner
Definitely a weird week when I was not a fan of the New Japan shows, and I’m not AEW’s biggest fan…but I guess the top stuff is the top stuff. My vote will go to Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii, purely because it was the only thing that really stood out during this weekend.
Personally, I hope New Japan figures it out and starts getting interesting; because I’m really going to need to consider other promotions if New Japan stays stale – you know, just to spice things up. Ugh…weird week, but yeah the White vs Ishii match is worth watching.
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