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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 6/2/2019

Takeover XXV, the A Block finals of BOSJ and whatever else there was time for! What made the Top 5 Matches this week?

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Takeover XXV, the A Block finals of BOSJ and whatever else there was time for! What made the Top 5 Matches this week?

There really isn’t enough time in the week for all of the events that go on in the wrestling world. But some of the bigger points got hit this week!

As for last week, come on now, Dustin Rhodes vs Cody Rhodes from Double or Nothing, was the match of the week. This does make for an interesting vote for our MoTY May Pool!

  • AJPW Champion Carnival Finals: Kento Miyahara vs Jake Lee
  • MPACT: oVe Rules 8 Man: oVe vs Tommy Dreamer vs Fallah Bahh vs Rich Swann vs Willie Mack
  • WWE MiTB: Universal Championship: AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins (c)
  • AEW DoN: Dustin Rhodes vs Cody Rhodes

See it’s month’s like this that make wrestling fun. Four different companies, and really, four different styles of match. My vote has to go to Brother vs Brother, because Megadeth’s Holy Wars is a great song.

No? Fine, if you read my previous matches article, you’d know Cody versus Dustin is my personal Match of the Year.

Now let’s see what this week gives us!

 

5. Impact: Johnny Impact & Michael Elgin vs Rich Swann & Willie Mack

From My Analysis:
Not a bad tag team main event at all! Constant action, great big moves from everyone…and then we see the heels do heel stuff. A few miscommunications annoyed Elgin to the point of just walking away from the match. Swann takes advantage of the fissure, hits a Lethal Injection, into a 450 for a win to keep his momentum.

Winner: Swann via 450 Splash

Rating: *** 3/4

 

4.  NXT Takeover XXV: Roderick Strong vs Matt Riddle

From My Analysis:
The match built slowly, which allowed Roddy a few opportunities to land a myriad of back breakers. Working over the back came into play at numerous points during the match, making Riddle unable to pull off certain moves. Hell, Riddle couldn’t hold the Bromission, which gave Roddy a glimmer of hope towards the end, but Riddle pulls out the Cradle Tombstone Piledriver, which I haven’t seen him use lately. Good match when all was said and done, plus it got the crowd going within the last few minutes.

Winner: Riddle via Bro Derek

Rating: ****

 

3. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 12: DOUKI vs Will Ospreay

Given the fact I haven’t been able to really sit down and watch all of the BOSJ matches and have only been picking and choosing, Douki put on a hell of match. He’s got great flexibility and mixed Lucha Libre style with Japanese Junior Heavyweight style very well. His flexibility is also very hard to argue.

A nice wrinkle through this match was Taichi’s interference since he was at commentary. It didn’t play a big part, so instead of detracting from the storytelling, it actually seemed to help. DOUKI had a few close calls, a big near fall with a Gory Backbreaker, that he brings them down as he does a split and then does a backslide to go into he pin. Very cool moves, but Ospreay is just too much.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker

Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 12: Bandido vs Robbie Eagles
Winner:  Bandido via Moonsault Press
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT Takeover XXV: NXT North American Title: Tyler Breeze vs Velveteen Dream (c)
Winner: Dream via Purple Rainmaker
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 13: Dragon Lee vs Marty Scurll
Winner: Dragon via Desnucadora
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT: Mia Yim vs Bianca Belair
Winner: Yim via Protect Yo Neck
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Raw: Seth Rollins vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Rollins via Stomp
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT Takeover XXV: NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Io Shirai
Winner: Baszler via Kirifuda Clutch
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 12: Ren Narita vs YOH
Winner: YOH via Calf Crusher
Rating: *** 1/4
SmackDown Live: Kofi Kingston vs Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/4
Impact: Street Fight: Killer Kross vs Eddie Edwards
Winner: Edwards via Boston Knee Party
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: Drew Gulak vs Kushida
Winner: Kushida via Gedo Clutch
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: Cesaro vs Ricochet
Winner: Ricochet via Hurricanrana
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 13: SHO vs Jonathan Gresham
Winner: SHO via Shock Arrow
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Number 1 Contender for Universal Title Elimination Match: Baron Corbin vs The Miz vs Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman
Winner:  Corbin via End of Days
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 12: Rocky Romero vs BUSHI
Winner: BUSHI via MX
Rating: ***
SmackDown Live: Roman Reigns & R-Truth vs Elias & Drew McIntyre
Winner: Reigns via Spear
Rating: ***
NXT Takeover XXV: NXT Tag Team Championship 4 Way Ladder Match
Winner: Street Profits
Rating: ***
Impact: Moose & The North vs RVD, Sabu & Tommy Dreamer
Winner: RVD via 5 Star Frog Splash
Rating: ***

 

2. NXT Takeover XXV: NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Adam Cole

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Cole argues with the ref, and goes to the outside. He gets a chair! The ref tells Cole to drop the chair but Cole doesn’t care. So the ref grabs the chair, only for Gargano to DIVE! But Gargano gets the ref instead of Cole! And now, Cole swings! But Gargano dodges and SUPERKICKS the chair into Cole’s face! Gargano puts Cole in the ring and covers, but the ref is out! The fans count past 10 but it doesn’t matter because the ref has to do it. Gargano hobbles to help the ref, but of course Cole has help of his own. Cole waves, and Gargano prepares for the Undisputed Era. But when the Era doesn’t appear, Gargano goes to the ring. Cole gets Gargano with a draping piledriver!! Cover, TWO?!? Cole is at his wit’s end. But fans know “This is Awesome!”

Cole sits Gargano up and runs, but Gargano just flops over. Gargano denies Last Shot just by not being able to do anything. Cole makes Gargano sit up again, but gets caught in GargaNO Escape! And Gargano uses his own leg to prop up the other! Cole crawls for ropes but Gargano rolls him away! Cole elbows the bad leg over and over and over until he’s free! He mule kicks the leg over and over, then hosp up again, PANAMA- Gargano sits down! TWO, roll, and Gargano can’t get up. PANAMA SUNRISE!! LAST, SHOT!! Cover, Cole wins!!

Winner: Cole via Last Shot

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 13: Shingo Takagi vs Taiji Ishimori

This match was for the A block. Shingo’s perfect record, and Taiji had only one loss. A match between two journeymen, Taiji from Pro Wrestling NOAH and Shingo making his name in Dragon Gate. What comes from this dream match up?

Just, wow. Both took it to one another with hard quick strikes. Ishimori’s speed was his greatest asset and Shingo’s power has kept him ahead of the pack. Ishimori pulled off great moments, a snap Hurricanrana, his Sliding Middle Rope German Suplex, and most of his signature stuff, just everything felt like it mattered a little more.

The finish was different since Ishimori had all the moment, went for Bloody Cross, Shingo blocked and just powered Ishimori into Last of the Dragon position, and landed his finish for the pinfall. So Shingo becomes the first person to have a perfect record in block. LIJ’s dragon is damn impressive.

Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Shingo was always a favorite of mine. He was one of the main reasons I even pretended to care about Dragon Gate in the last few years, his participation in last year’s Champion Carnival was a treat, and now that he’s in New Japan…I’m just giddy. Yes, this is all leading to me picking Shingo vs Taiji as the match of the week, and it’s not even really close.

So there we go. Let’s here your opinion on the month of May and this week’s matches!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 5 A Block

KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?

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KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?

Shmoxley in the opening tag team match means we should start off fun. Tanahashi and Sabre are in the battle of, well, someone needs to get at least a point out of that.

Then we’ve got Ospreay and Ibushi who are banged up but most likely still going to be psychopaths in the ring. Let’s get ready for the carnage, I mean, no…I meant carnage.

Ratings:

  • Shota Umino & Jon Moxley vs Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura: Shooter wins via Fisherman Suplex Hold @5:45 – ***
  • Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb & YOSHI-HASHI vs Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson: YOSHI wins via Butterfly Lock @9:30 – ** 1/4
  • Tomoaki Honma, Ren Narita & Toru Yano vs Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @8:50 – ** 1/2
  • BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi vs Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @8:35 – ** 1/2
  • A Block: KENTA vs Lance Archer: Kenta wins via Game Over @12:00 – *** 
  • A Block: SANADA vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @18:10 – **** 1/4
  • A Block: Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Double Legged Cradle @10:15 – ** 1/2
  • A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Triangle Counter Pin @13:55 – *** 3/4
  • A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye Knee @27:15 – **** 3/4

 

Analysis:

Moxley and Ishii start off trying to kill one another. This is a great opener and the respective Young Lions have to pull their veteran off as to not incur a disqualification. The Young Lions then take the bulk of the match and Shota has definitely picked up a few mannerisms from Moxley that we slowly see him unlocking. This may be our evolution of Shooter, but for an opening match this was very fun and the fact Moxley and Ishii just want to fight added for a neat dynamic.

Juice and Cobb are both respectful Gaijin faces, so not a lot of heat for this match. Plus YOSHI-HASHI was in it, so I could’ve downed a few Valium and been more invested in staring at a wall. Pork Chop Sandwiches later, and YOSHI-HASHI wins with that awful Butterfly Lock. Great…I can now taste colors.

So Yano wanted to get him a piece of the Jay White on the down turn, but Jay tried to still play the calculating heel. Honma put in a bit of decent work but Narita was obviously the one sent out to eat the pin. Narita held his own against Yujiro and Chase, but Chase eventually stopped playing with his feud and hit the Package Piledriver to tie things up in a nice little bow.

Shingo took a hell of a beating in this match. Kanemaru played random interference and Taichi took Shingo to the woodshed. Naito also continued his distaste of Taichi and Suzuki while being a little protective of Shingo at points. Now being the unabashed fanboy of Shingo, yet also a subscriber to Holy Emperor weekly, I’m very torn about this whole thing. The match played up the G1 tensions and the LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun tensions very well, but my heart knows not which to root for.

Lance is a good foot taller than KENTA and that was the story of the first 75% of this match. Lance was shrugging off the strikes of our returning striker. KENTA was getting effectively crushed, until Lance pushed the anime comeback button and said “You’re fucking Hideo! That’s who you are! HIDEO!” – which prompted the anime comeback in KENTA. KENTA managed to even lift Lance for a few things, but relied heavily on the dropkicks and strikes. He couldn’t quite pull off the Go 2 Sleep, so he went to his Crossface submission, Game Over. And boy howdy, it was game over! (I will see myself out after that)

EVIL and SANADA have this brotherly rivalry in LIJ. Being former 2 time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions, familiarity is obvious. SANADA starts off the match quickly and this is definitely a match of quick bursts when the one gets an advantage. I guess they are transitioning SANADA away from the Paradise Lock since this is the second match where he had it mostly on, but “something happened” and the opponent gets out of the move. We get a bunch of great back and forth, but something that continues to plague SANADA is his limited moveset when it gets down to crunch time. EVIL pulled out a plethora of tricks, including using the referee as an anchor for the Magic Killer. Whereas, SANADA sticks to Dragon Sleeper variants, into Skull End attempt or a Moonsault. With how over SANADA is, I really expect him to start getting more crunch time maneuvers. EVIL wins and quickly wants to bury the hatchet by extending the LIJ fist bump. SANADA bumps fists, and all is fine in our ungovernable world.

Fale tends to have Okada’s number in tournaments, and he starts off by attacking him in the back and dragging him out. So we get a typical Bullet Club brawl with heel tactics and ref bumps, but Okada perseveres. Okada is able to lift Fale a few times, but can’t hit the Rainmaker, and wins via the wrestling move he tends to fall back on, the Double Legged Cradle.

Well both Tanahashi and Sabre come into this match 0-2, so there’s a level of desperation that both bring to the table. Sabre wrestled circles around Tanahashi, and Tanahashi just tried to keep up for most of the match. After countering the High Fly Flow, Sabre locks in a Triangle Arm Bar, but Tanahashi floats over for the bridging pin counter. The Ace finally has 2 points!

There have been well known injuries for both of these men, and they played into the story of the match well. Focusing on each other’s injuries, calling back to their Wrestle Kingdom match and just a generally high energy and high impact match. Watching this match, you have to assume one of them will die with their style, but it is damn entertaining. Everyone expected this to be a great match and it delivered.

Overall Score: 8/10

Well we had a lot of good storylines and matches that mostly paid off. Lance Archer has been doing great work, Fale and Okada was at least somewhat entertaining and the cripple fight in the main event was fantastic. The inner faction turmoil was now squashed, so we can have a nice tournament while The Ace gets a few points over the petulant British child.

So great show, great entertainment, and generally a good time. I can only hope the B Block carries equal weight.

Block A Standings:

  • Kazuchika Okada: 3-0 (6 Points)
  • KENTA: 3-0 (6 Points)
  • Lance Archer: 2-1 (4 Points)
  • EVIL: 2-1 (4 Points)
  • SANADA: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Will Ospreay: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Bad Luck Fale: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Kota Ibushi: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Zack Sabre Jr: 0-3 (0 Points)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Tiffany: New Japan Pro Wrestling: An Introduction From a Newbie

Tiffany decides to check out New Japan! Let’s see how it comes across to a puroresu rookie!

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Tiffany decides to check out New Japan! Let’s see how it comes across to a puroresu rookie!

I’m going to be upfront, I’ve been a fan of WWE my whole life, I NEVER thought I’d get fully into another wrestling promotion, let alone a Japanese one, and my initial interest in New Japan Pro-Wrestling was simply because Jon Moxley, aka Dean Ambrose, had signed with NJPW and I wanted to watch him, however I’ve found myself very intrigued with NJPW as a company the more I watch it and thought that if there was anyone who was wanting to check it out, it would be nice to get some tips from someone also new to the promotion.

TV: The first thing to know about NJPW is that they don’t have a weekly television show like RAW or SmackDown. They do have a weekly show for their Mexican…affiliate, called CMLL, but that show features more Latino wrestlers. They do have ‘Road to-‘ which is a build to their next big show, but it’s more of a series of house show matches to build the actual show than a TV show. CMLL is offered on NJPW and on Fite TV, but neither of them have English Commentary, which makes it a little hard to follow if you don’t understand Japanese or Spanish that well.

The Schedule: NJPW’s schedule is really odd if you’re only used to USA wrestling and seems more like UFC or boxing than the 52 week schedule US fans are used to. NJPW’s schedule seems to consist of building and putting on a show, then taking a break and then starting all over again and their shows seem to consist of a lot of tournaments with a few one day shows, rather than one show running into another. The logic seems to be to give the wrestlers time to rest and recover before starting a new circuit, which seems to work considering that several of their top guys are in their late 30s and move around like guys in their 20s.

The Matches: If you’ve never seen a NJPW match before, it’ll definitely be a shock. NJPW’s matches are a lot more physical than WWE matches and the competitors have more leeway than WWE superstars do. There’s a standing 20 count on the floor and using weapons outside the ring doesn’t create a disqualification and the refs give even more leeway in big match situations.

The Promos: There aren’t a lot of promo spots in a NJPW show, there are some, but they don’t take up tons of time with them. Most promos are done at the post match press conferences, which are literally done right after the matches. Jon Moxley even commented during his first one that they ‘weren’t even going to let him catch his breath’. The fun part about it is that you get their real-time reactions. Yes, it’s still in kayfabe, but it’s definitely not scripted and they can say what they want. Also, there is a LOT of swearing, which is fun and makes things seem more…real. Also, even though most of the promos are in Japanese, save for non-Japanese wrestlers, there is a translator who translates the promos into English and if you watch the promos on YouTube, the Closed Captioning button will translate the Japanese into English you can read.

Women: NJPW does NOT have a Women’s Division and it’s becoming quite the controversy. There are women’s wrestling promotions in Japan like Stardom, but they don’t have a relationship with NJPW and it doesn’t seem like NJPW is interested in changing that. So far, I’ve seen ONE woman in NJPW and it’s Miho Abe, who is the valet of Taichi, a heel with a weird J-Pop gimmick.

The Young Lions: The Young Lions, which is a term you hear a LOT in NJPW, are one of the coolest parts of the promotion. In essences, the Young Lions are the rookies of NJPW, coming up through their dojo system, but they are so much more. The Young Lions train and learn in the NJPW dojos either in Japan, LA, Mexico, or Europe, but they are also the ring crew, part of the security team during matches, the first aid guys after the match, the gophers for the older wrestlers, and the job guys. Young Lions are also fillers in tag matches and don’t really have gimmicks outside of being a Young Lion until they are sent on ‘Learning Excursions’ to another dojo. They aren’t hard to miss and it’s a very cool part of watching NJPW.

Tag Matches: If you are someone who complains about WWE putting on a lot of tag matches, NJPW is NOT for you because that’s a large part of their shows. Seriously, almost anyone who doesn’t have a singles match on a show is usually in a tag match. My understanding is that it’s partly to help build future feuds, but also to keep the wrestlers from getting too much wear and tear on their bodies. The downside is that there’s usually at least three tag matches back to back during a show, which can get tiring.

Titles: Of all the differences between NJPW and US Wrestling, the way the titles are treated is the biggest surprise. NJPW’s titles don’t carry the promotion’s name, they are almost all IWGP __, which is the Japanese equivalent to the old NWA,  and title defenses are few. In fact, the commentators can tell you how many times a particular champion has defended their title and it’s usually in the single digits and champions hold their titles for a LONG time. Current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Okada, held the title for two years and defended the championship 12 times back in 2014-16, which would never fly in the US. That said, the champions usually get spots in any tournament they qualify for, which gives opportunities to build future feuds, but it’s very strange to see a full card and NO title defenses. Also, NJPW does not give their champions an advantage over their opponents. Titles DO change hands if the champion gets DQ’d or counted out, which is actually really fun because it means the champ has to beat the challenger, not the other way around and the champion’s long reign seems more justified because they seem to earn it.

Video OnDemand: Like WWE, NJPW has its own video subscription service called NJPW World, which offers their shows with Japanese or English commentary, an archive of shows, which is admittedly very incomplete, but one thing they offer that WWE could learn from is how they offer PPVs once the show is over. About a week or so after a show is done, NJPW will let the view pick a series and they have the option of watching the whole show, start to finish, or they will be offered the option of picking from, and watching, individual matches. Example: If I want to watch the Jon Moxley’s debut match at the Super Jr. Final, I have the option of watching the whole show, prelim tag matches and all, OR I can scroll down the list, click on Jon Moxley vs Juice Robinson, and not have to sit through a bunch of matches I’m not interested in. WWE sort of offers this with the search option and the dots that show when a match starts and stops, but NJPW’s way of doing it is more efficient, IMO, and more user friendly. Also, one very funny thing that almost always pops up at the start of the PPV is a PSA about how to behave properly in the arena. The video is always full of really ham acting, but the fact that it’s shown even to people watching at home makes me laugh.

So, I hope that this list gives anyone who is thinking about checking out NJPW some information that will help them enjoy the shows. There also a lot of people in the US who enjoy NJPW and are always happy to explain things, or try to. It is quite easy to get the hang of and a lot of fun to watch because you learn a lot about the difference in wrestling culture between Japan and the US. In Japan, professional wrestling is still treated and respected as a sport, while in the US, professional wrestling is often dismissed as ‘fake’ or ‘kids’ stuff’. So, check it out and broaden your wrestling horizons from the comfort of your couch, you won’t regret it.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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