Andrew looks high and low for quality matches. Unlike the Dora the Explorer live action movie, these don’t suck! Just…read the article.
Next week begins the Champion Carnival, Global Tag League, G1 Supercard and of course WrestleMania. But this week is…well…the end of March. But this will be the final week for March, so it’s safe to assume no one will agree with next week’s matches with everything going on. BUT THIS ISN’T NEXT WEEK!
Last week, New Japan Cup Finals: SANADA vs Kazuchika Okada, won for the week. But it’s very likely a WWE match wins this week.
Let’s see what made the Top 5!
5. SmackDown Live: SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs Charlotte
Charlotte gets handed a match – wait – a match against Asuka – wait- a title match! Now this was a pretty damn good match, if there weren’t two commercial breaks and that picture in picture thing, the match might’ve ranked higher. Charlotte had a level of desperation and Asuka was a little quicker and frenetic with her movements compared to their match at last year’s WrestleMania. Not gonna lie, I expected Mandy Rose or Sonya Deville to interfere, but Charlotte winning is generally better. SmackDown’s women’s division is pretty depleted and awful with Becky and Charlotte on Raw, so instead of struggling to try and make an opponent for Asuka, give everyone a damn good match and put it on a perceived top talent. Maybe this leads to the Mania match being a unification match, but honestly Asuka is off the hook. People can’t be upset she lost the title when they poke fun at the fact that Asuka’s reign has been about as uninspired as Shinsuke’s first US reign.
Winner: Charlotte via Figure 8
Rating: *** 1/2
4. AJPW Yokohama Twilight Blues: Shuji Ishikawa, Kento Miyahara & Zeus vs Yuji Okabayashi, Yuma Aoyagi & Dylan James
A match intended to build up to Champion Carnival with many of the bigger names/heavy hitters. This match did kinda turn into “cheap shots on Kento”, but he deserved them all the same. He was dancing around at the beginning and Shuji just threw him out of the ring so they could start, then when Zeus came over for a tag, Kento started to pose to get the crowd to chant, so Zeus chopped him hard…which is a legal tag. Then he actually got hit by people who weren’t supposed to be his teammates, when Aoyagi started mimicking his taunts (the crowd even cheered more for Aoyagi, much to Kento’s dismay). Hell, Aoyagi even did the outside head lock around the ring post spot to Kento that Kento always does.
Zeus then waited for Kento to get backed into their corner, chopped him across the back as a legal tag and at some point during a big scrum Shuji ends up hitting Kento with a Running Knee and the referee is like “he’s your partner!”, Shuji just grinned sheepishly. So it was a solid match and a lot of fun moments to build tension yet keep the crowd entertained at the same time.
Definitely a different tone than many other companies take with their preliminary matches, but it was hard to be mad.
Winner: Shuji via Splash Mountain
Rating: *** 1/2
3. GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Stinger (Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa) (c) vs Minoru Tanaka & Hi69
After picking up a victory at the Hakata Star Lane Memorial show, Hi69 set out a challenge for the tag belts. Tanaka and Hi69 started off quickly, culminating in Hi69 hitting a Stuka Splash, driving Suzuki through a table. But once the match got back in the ring, it was less lopsided. Suzuki ate a lot of offense from both Hi69 and Tanaka. Tanaka kept trying the Cross Armbreaker, but Suzuki found ways out of it three times. Ending the match with Requiem countering the last Cross Armbreaker attempt. Since Tanaka is the Junior Heavyweight Champion, Suzuki earned himself a shot at the singles title, and made that challenge known to Minoru after the match.
Winner: Suzuki via Requiem
Rating: *** 3/4
ROH: ROH Tag Team Titles: The Briscoes vs Villain Enterprises (c)
Winner: Brisoces via DQ
Rating: *** 1/4
AJPW: Jake Lee & Yoshitatsu vs Suwama & Naoya Nomura
Winner: Suwama via Manriki Sleeper
Rating: *** 1/4
205 Live: Noam Dar vs Mark Haskins
Winner: No Contest
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: Forgotten Sons vs Ricochet & Aleister Black
Winner: Black via Black Mass
NOAH: Masaaki Mochizuki, Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura vs 50 Funky Powers (Muhammad Yone & Quiet Storm) & Naomichi Marufuji
Winner: Yone via Funky Buster Bomb
Against All Odds: Killer Kross vs Brian Cage
Winner: Kross via Doomsday Saito
2. AXIZ (Katsuhiko Nakajima & Go Shiozaki) & HAYATA vs Kaito Kiyomiya, Kenoh & YO-HEY
The trash talk started flying with the upcoming Tag League. AXIZ are the current Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Kenoh and Kaito put a mark on them as the ‘wanted team’. So they are building up the feud between those four, along with the marital discord of YO-HEY and HAYATA (YO-HEY used to refer to HAYATA as wife when they were teaming together). So this match achieved a lot of story progress, as well as giving Nakajima a pinfall over the current GHC Heavyweight Champion Kaito Kiyomiya. So Nakajima should have a title shot upcoming after the tag league. Shiozaki and Nakajima seem to really enjoy one another’s company and make a great team. If they main event circled around Kaito, Kenoh, Go and Katsuhiko for the remainder of 2019, I see no issue with that. Fans seem to appreciate all four, and all four are young enough to help build NOAH into the future.
Winner: Nakajima via Vertical Spike
Rating: *** 3/4
1. SmackDown Live: Tag Team Gauntlet
SmackDown returns, and the final team is… Daniel Bryan & Rowan! The WWE Champion and his Big Redwood Bodyguard won’t let Kofi have a chance, and they go right after Big E and Woods! The brawl is on, but it turns into a beating as Rowan throws Woods out. Bryan goes after Big E’s bad leg while Rowan whips Woods into barriers. Rowan then throws Woods into the LED apron while Bryan slings Big E’s leg into a post! Fans boo as Bryan toys with Big E. Bryan stomps Big E but Big E fights back. Big E throws hands on Rowan then on Bryan and back again! Bryan gets the legs and brings Big E down into a Half Crab!
Big E endures this submission all over again, but Bryan shifts for an inverted type so he can put all his weight on the leg. Woods missile dropkicks Bryan off! Rowan throws Woods out but Woods comes back with an enziguri! Woods dumps Rowan out then FLIES to take him out! The viewing party has hope again as Big E catches Bryan’s knee, for a BIG URENAG-E! The straps come down and Big E aims at Bryan from the corner. Bryan stands and Big E scoops, BIG ENDING! Cover, but Rowan breaks it! Woods returns but Rowan blasts him back out. Rowan tags in and aims at Big E. Rowan scoops Big E for his own urenage and covers, TWO!? Bryan can’t believe Big E survived, but he orders Rowan to clear off the announce desk!
Rowan and Bryan clear the table and even toss arm chairs around. Bryan runs at Woods bot Woods elbows him back, then goes to the apron. Woods hits Bryan with a tornado DDT! But Rowan clamps his claw onto Woods! Woods slips out and dodges Rowan! Woods sends Rowan into the post, then so does Big E! Big E clotheslines Rowan over the announce desk! Then dumps it on Rowan!! The New Day get back to the ring as the ring count begins! The count passes 5 but there’s no movement. It hits 10, the New Day wins!!
Winner: New Day
Much like I said in my analysis, this week belongs to The New Day. Yes some people checked out since it was ANOTHER gauntlet match, some people thought it was a week or two late, but they did capture a real emotional moment. Could Vince McMahon try to screw Kofi one more time, yes. But taking the moment for what it seemed to be, it was great.
So my vote goes the SmackDown Gauntlet match.