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Andrew’s Top Matches: Week Ending 8/11/2019

Action packed weekend! WWE, NXT and G1 Climax…so we got some good stuff. Right?

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Action packed weekend! WWE, NXT and G1 Climax…so we got some good stuff. Right?

So we know how this works by now. First I update the MoTY pool, and then we reveal the week winner. I will say at least we have more than just G1 Climax matches.

Time to get the revelations out of the way.

Updated Match of the Year Pool:

  • 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
  • March – Stardom: Wonder of Stardom Title Match: Jungle Kyona vs Momo Watanabe (c)
  • April – WrestleMania 35: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan (c)
  • May – AEW Double or Nothing: Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes
  • June – NJPW BOSJ 26 Finals Day: BOSJ 26 Finals: Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay
  • July – NJPW G1 Climax Night 6: Jon Moxley vs Tomohiro Ishii

Our first match of the August pool is, NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 13, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi. Well with the G1 finals being on Monday (so for next week’s matches), it’s safe to assume we’ll probably see some more of these.

Now on to this week’s matches!

 

5t. WWE SummerSlam: WWE United States Championship: Ricochet vs AJ Styles (c)

Styles worked over Ricochet’s knee and Ricochet sold the injury well. We saw a slower paced match than many probably expected from the two, but it was still a damn good match. Anderson and Gallows didn’t really interfere until the last minute or so, and they played an important role in distracting Ricochet, but it didn’t really detract. Ricochet went for a Phoenix Splash that AJ Styles caught Ricochet and hits the Styles Clash for the pinfall. Damn solid match.

Winner: Styles via Styles Clash

Rating: **** 1/4

 

5t. NXT Takeover Toronto: Io Shirai vs Candice LaRae

Io’s evil transformation seems to suit her very well. She has very similar body language to that of Akira Hokuto, and Candice looking for a modicum of payback after the betrayal is a nice story. The match was hard hitting, paced well, Candice hit some solid moves and had great near falls. Candice kicking out of the Moonsault caused a lot of conflict and Io emotes these well. Her ring psychology transcends a language barrier.  Damn good match.

Winner: Shirai via Modified Koji Clutch

Rating: **** 1/4

 

4. NJPW G1 Climax Night 17: A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Will Ospreay

Even partially crippled, Tanahashi still has a tendency to put on good matches against smaller opponents. Tanahashi pulled out a few technical tricks we haven’t seen in a long time as long as numerous modified Slingblade counters. This was just a really well wrestled match with a great story of the Next Generation trying to prove themselves and unseat the older generation. Generational wars are very big in Japanese wrestling and we even saw a bit of it when Shinsuke Nakamura started his King of Strong Style gimmick.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. NXT Takeover Toronto: North American Championship: Velveteen Dream(c) vs Pete Dunne vs Roderick Strong

This was a great match. Dunne and Dream teamed up on Strong early, they had a little flair between the two when Dream did his Rick Rude hip swivel, and then it was more wide open. Everything about this match was hard hitting, interesting, built off of past events and the finish was a shock. After Strong hits End of Heartache, we get a 1 count, and then Dream crashes down and steals the 3. The initial camera angle made it look like a steal, but replays showed it to be the Purple Rainmaker. Everything was very well executed with this match.

Winner: Dream via Purple Rainmaker

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW G1 Climax Night 18: B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi
Winner: Taichi via Black Mephisto
Rating: **** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax Night 17: A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs KENTA
Winner: Sabre via Jim Break Special
Rating: **** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax Night 15: A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr
Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye
Rating: ****
NJPW G1 Climax Night 18: B Block: Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto
Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon
Rating: ****
Stardom 8.10.2019: Wonder of Stardom Championship: Arisa Hoshiki (c) vs Jungle Kyona
Winner: Arisa via Brazilian Kick
Rating: ****
NXT Toronto: NXT Championship 2 out 3 Falls: Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole (c)
Winner: Cole 2-1
Rating: ****
NJPW G1 Climax Night 16: B Block: Jay White vs Juice Robinson
Winner: White via TTO
Rating: ****
NJPW G1 Climax Night 18: B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White
Winner: White via Blade Runner
Rating: ****
NJPW G1 Climax Night 15: A Block: SANADA vs Lance Archer
Winner: SANADA via Japanese Leg Clutch
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax Night 15: A Block: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 3/4
IMPACT! Impact World Tag Team Championship Match: The North (c) vs Daga & Ortiz
Winner: The North via Torture Rack/Spine Buster Combo
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT!: X Division Championship Match: Jake Crist (c) vs Aiden Prince
Winner: Crist via Super Cutter
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW G1 Climax Night 15: A Block: KENTA vs Will Ospreay
Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE SummerSlam: WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs Ember Moon
Winner: Bayley via Avalanche Bayley to Belly
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax Night 18: Will Ospreay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada vs Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki
Winner: Tanahashi via Cross Legged Cradle
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax Night 17: A Block: EVIL vs Lance Archer
Winner: Archer via EBD Claw Hold
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE SummerSlam: WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins
Winner: Rollins via Stomp
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax Night 16: B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs Jeff Cobb
Winner: Naito via Destino
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE SummerSlam: Bray Wyatt vs Finn Balor
Winner: Wyatt via Mandible Claw
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax Night 16: B Block: Jon Moxley vs Hirooki Goto
Winner: Goto via GTR
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax Night 17: Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto
Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax Night 18: Shota Umino & Ren Narita vs Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji
Winner: Narita via Boston Crab
Rating: ***
WWE SummerSlam: WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Oney Lorcan vs Drew Gulak(c)
Winner: Gulak via Cyclone Crash
Rating: ***
WWE SummerSlam: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Randy Orton
Winner: Double Count Out
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax Night 15: Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii & Ren Narita vs Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI
Winner: BUSHI via MX
Rating: ***
NXT Toronto: NXT Tag Team Titles: Street Profits(c) vs Undisputed Era
Winner: Ford via Frog Splash
Rating: ***
WWE SummerSlam: If Shane Wins Kevin Quits WWE: Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon
Winner: Owens via Stunner
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax Night 16: Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr & Lance Archer vs KENTA, Clark Connors & Karl Fredericks
Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver
Rating: ***
WWE SummerSlam: Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus
Winner: Flair via Figure Eight
Rating: ***

 

2. NJPW G1 Climax Night 17: A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi

So after being ahead the entire tournament, Ibushi was the only one with a prayer to steal the block away from Okada. This was everything and more that you would expect from the two. Ibushi pulled out all his tricks, and when he attempted the Bom-Ba-Ye Okada was all too familiar with Nakamura’s move. Definitely one of the best matches of the tournament. A must watch for everyone.

Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye

Rating: *****

 

1. NJPW G1 Climax Night 16: B Block: Shingo Takagi vs Tomohiro Ishii

Wow, Jesus…wow. They’ve both been exceptional all tournament, and this was a hell of a bout. Even after losing, Ishii crawls to Takagi and they still keep clawing. This will be a NEVER Openweight match that everyone should look forward to. Just amazing, action never stopped, rarely slowed, these two just tried to reach down one another’s throats and rip out the other’s soul. Ishii is now eliminated, but that was a hell of a match.

Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon

Rating: *****

 

Thoughts:

Sometimes I pick a dark horse just to mix things up, but damn the Takagi vs Ishii match was amazing. So I rated it number 1, and I can’t pick another match on this list.

Aside from that, hopefully everyone finds something they’ve seen on this list. Would be the first time in a couple week’s where the more household names show up.


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Opinion

Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 7/25/2021

So it’s been about a month, but we finally got enough good matches to inspire a Top 5! Let’s see what stood out this week!

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Been a while since this has happened, right? Well much like a bunch of people, wrestling hasn’t really lit my world on fire lately. Plus when there’s only like 1 or 2 decent matches a week, it’s pointless to make a Top 5.

With that said, I’ll play the executive decision card here and declare a winner for June.

  • January: NJPW New Beginning Nagoya: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • February: NXT Vengeance Day: North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Kushida
  • March: NJC 3.21.21: NJC Finals: Will Ospreay vs Shingo Takagi
  • April: NXT Stand & Deliver: UK Championship: Walter (c) vs Tommaso Ciampa
  • May: WWE WrestleMania Backlash: Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs Cesaro
  • June: Stardom: World of Stardom Championship: Utami Hayashishita (c) vs Syuri

Let’s be honest here, anyone that saw those two women put the work in, won’t question its place in the list. IF you haven’t seen it…go, find it. The initial match and the overtime I personally count together, and it was just beautifully done.

Depending on next week, this might end up being the July vote, so make your vote count this time around. I really hope that with all the in-ring returns and return of fans, wrestling picks up again.

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: **** ¼
  2. NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: Kazuchika Okada vs Jeff Cobb
    Rating: ****
  3. NXT UK: NXT UK Tag Team Championships: Pretty Deadly (c) vs Subculture
    Rating: ****
  4. NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: SANADA & Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Dangerous Tekkers
    Rating: ****
  5. GCW Homecoming 7.24: GCW World Title: Nick Gage (c) vs Matt Cardona
    Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado (c) vs Robbie Eagles
    Rating: *** ¾
  • NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles: Mega Coaches (Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & ELP) (c)
    Rating: *** ½
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 2: IWGP US Championship: Lance Archer vs Jon Moxley (c)
    Rating: *** ½
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 2: AEW Women’s Championship: Britt Baker (c) vs Nyla Rose
    Rating: *** ¼
  • IMPACT!: Chris Bey vs Rohit Raju w/Shera
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: KOPW 2021 New Japan Rambo w/Handcuffs
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: Bobby Fish & Kushida vs Tyler Rust & Roderick Strong
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Knockouts Tag Team Titles: Fire N Flava vs Havok & Rosemary (c)
    Rating: ***

2t. GCW Homecoming 7.24: GCW World Title: Nick Gage (c) vs Matt Cardona

So Cardona took his shots in an area he’s not comfortable in, and much like WWE wrestlers treading into ECW territory, he was not met kindly. Cardona came out, action figures adorned on his gear and around the ring, along with appropriate chants made this feel very…ECW in the 90s. Part of the thing that added to this match was that rabid tension in the air, where the crowd is loyal to their brand and hates outsiders.

When we get around to the match, Cardona busts up Gage first, and pulls off the old Broski Boot, which pisses off Gage as he’s being fed light tubes from the outside. The early part of this match felt like someone in hostile territory and literally everyone not in the back, were trying to help Gage kill Cardona. Murder Death Kill was in full effect.

Cardona eventually loses the small upperhand he gets, when he just tries to treat this as a normal match at times, and Kid Ref has to be like “nope, that’s not how this works”. So playing in the space of Cardona only understanding sterile wrestling and being out of his element was amusing. The fact he came in with purple gloves that the fans and announcers decreed “Purple Prolapsed Anus” gloves or something like that, was amusing but got old the 20th time it was said.

Gage carved Cardona up, but then we go from ECW style death match to more of an AEW overbooking gimmick. First Judas starts playing, and some masked person rushes the ring, Gage handles him, but it’s not Jericho. Purely a mind game. But then 44OH come out, minus Ricky Shane Page. They attack Gage, RSP hits the ring after, RSP and Gage fight off 44OH, stand tall together for GCW…until RSP shows his true colors, Low Blows Gage, helps out Cardona and the end is nigh.

Three bundled Light Tubes and a Radio Silence/Ruff Ryder crown Zack Ryder..erm…Matt Cardona as GCW champion!

Yes it was overbooked, but it’s hard to deny the atmosphere and the cool factor of the old school ECW vibe of a packed house wanting to see a literal murder. It also was a little more pro wrestling than most American death matches, so I found myself enjoying mostly everything except the commentary. They are really awful.

Winner: Cardona via Radio Silence/Ruff Ryder

 

2t. NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: SANADA & Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Dangerous Tekkers

From My Results:

Naito and ZSJ start and mess with each other, as SANADA and Taichi continue their own personal rivalry around respect and pec dancing.

Most of Naito’s offense focused on ZSJ’s knee, but a huge portion of this match felt more like a tornado tag. We saw plenty of time where all four men were in the ring at the same time. Dueling submissions, stereo submissions, everyone hitting a finish/signature, just a lot of hard work. Call backs galore to previous encounters, but unless I blinked, no cheating. The beauty of the Tekkers this year have been that they are more tweeners than heels.

SANADA cut off Taichi at many times, but we saw great babyface moments from the Suzuki-Gun duo. ZSJ asking Red Shoes to stop the double knockout count so they could finish it correctly, Taichi imploring Zack that what ended up being the ending sequence was “their last chance”. So there was great desperation, great mutual needling. ZSJ pulled off the counter he couldn’t figure out when they lost the belts; and ends up surprising Naito by turning a Destino into the European Clutch.

Winner: Tekkers via European Clutch

 

2t. NXT UK: NXT UK Tag Team Championships: Pretty Deadly (c) vs Subculture

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

The ref is upset, but the count is over and this match continues! BT Sports Studio says “This is Awesome!” as Howley drags Andrews out. Howley whips Andrews at steps but Andrews jumps up to QUEBRADA! Howley catches him, but Andrews tilt-o-whirls to DDT Howley to the floor! Stoker victory rolls FMW, TWO! FMW has a cover, TWO!! Stoker and FMW run in, ETON RIFLE!! Tag to Andrews and he goes up the corner! FALL TO PIECES FLOPS as Howley drags Stoker out of harm’s way! The ref reprimands but FMW FLIES in! Only to be caught! DOUBLE BARRIER SNAKE EYES! Pretty Deadly get in the ring, but Andrews DECKS Howley!

Andrews fires off on Stoker, forearms and CHOPS on repeat! Howley grabs the tag title belts! Andrews DECKS Howley again and the belt falls in the ring! The ref grabs that as Andrews continues to fire off on Stoker! Stoker gets under, Howley runs in, SPILT MILK!! Cover, Pretty Deadly wins!!

Winner: Pretty Deadly via Spilt Milk

 

2t. NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: Kazuchika Okada vs Jeff Cobb

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Fans return to the thunderous rallying as Okada and Cobb stir. Okada sits up but Cobb follows, and the two stare down. They go forehead to forehead before going forearm for forearm! Okada hits, Cobb hits, and then Cobb slaps Okada on the head. They stand, Okada forearms but Cobb forearms back. Cobb eggs Okada on so the forearms go faster and faster! Fans rally up as the shots keep coming, and Okada gets the edge. Okada EuroUppers, talks some trash, and walks into a CHOP from Cobb! Cobb BLINDSIDE LARIATS! Cobb gut wrenches for the DOCTOR BOMB! Cover, TWO!?! Okada survives and Cobb can’t believe it! Cobb gets Okada up, whips, TOUR OF THE-

NO! Okada slips out and wants to gut wrench! Cobb fights free and SUPERKICKS! Okada staggers, fires up, but runs into a HEADBUTT! Cobb whips again, TOUR OF THE- Wait, Okada slips out again! Okada wristlocks, ripcords, but Cobb ducks to ripcord for a COBB MAKE- NO! Okada Alabama lifts but Cobb sunset flips, only for Okada to sit on it! Cover, OKADA WINS!!

Winner: Okada via Double Legged Cradle

 

1. NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam: IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

From My Results:

In typical Tanahashi fashion though, he powers through and gets better as the match pushes forward. His desperation attacks were well-timed and looked great. Tana had callbacks and all of his finishers and signatures come to mind. Texas Cloverhold was used to weaken Takagi’s base, just like earlier in the year, Slingblade countered Last of the Dragon once, and Dragon Suplex, were all kicked out of. These all won Tanahashi titles in the past and Takagi overtook them. The major moment was when Tana hit the first High Fly Flow to take Takagi off his feet, but Takagi grabbed the Ace’s foot. He refused to let him hit the follow up, so Tana smacked him around more and even pulled out the reference to Ibushi with a Kamigoye! God uses the move invented to surpass him!

A second High Fly Flow…BUT TAKAGI KICKED OUT! That’s the first time, in quite a long time that anyone kicked out of the sequential High Fly Flow. Also as we saw during his match with KENTA, Shibata handed Tanahashi a few new moves as well. The corner Dropkick and a resounding Headbutt kept Tanahashi alive at many times in the match.

This had a lot of moments of the “old gunslinger” style of fight, but I feel like that’s been consistent with Tanahashi the last 3 or 4 years. Tana took a beating, even ate Stay Dream, and kept kicking. A desperation strike exchange turned into Takagi getting the better of it and putting down the Ace with Last of the Dragon.

Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon

 

Final Thoughts:

Like I said at the start, wrestling has been weird the last few months. Not sure if it was just the pandemic wearing on me personally, but it was really hard to find things about this entertainment medium to enjoy. I really hope this is a turning point since most things are coming back, including covid…see this proves Loki was too popular since now even covid has variants.

ANYWAY – bad observational humor aside, we got a solid week for a bunch of different fans. My vote will honestly go to. GCW Heavyweight Championship: Nick Gage (c) vs Matt Cardona. Was it the best wrestled match in the Top 5? Nope. But hot damn was it electric. It was probably one of the most interesting scenes in wrestling since I went to ECW shows at the old Trenton CYO back in the day.

So maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe I just also enjoy watching brutality sometimes. But either way, Cardona and his action figures pulled off an upset in my personal preferences too! Until next…week? Hopefully next week…


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News From Cook’s Corner 7.26.21: Returns Out The Yin Yang

Cook’s News has returned thanks to wrestling being interesting lately! Has the current direction of wrestling helped to peak your attention as well?

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and I’m here because there are things worth writing about. See, that’s one of the things about me. Maybe it’s held me back over the years, tough to say. All I know is I’m not one of those guys that has to have an opinion on every single thing going on in the wrestling business. Come to think of it, that probably has held me back, since wrestling websites want me to have opinions.

It’s nothing new.

Why do you think I burn out on wrestling writing every few years and transition to writing about other things that interest me? Why do you think the most common phrase I utter on podcasts other than “Good times” is “It is what it is”? I probably shouldn’t be admitting this live & in public, but I go to “It is what it is” when I have nothing further to say about a topic that is either relevant or true. My man Larry, he had a take on every single thing going on in the wrestling business, and after he was done talking he’d throw it to me and I’d reply with “Uh, well, it is what it is, man. Am I right?”. The poor bastard. If only he had a proper podcast partner.

It’s a weakness of mine.

Though, I feel like it might be preferable to the weakness many of you have, where y’all feel compelled to comment on every single thing for the most ridiculous of reasons. I was looking on the Twitter just after work ended on Sunday, and I noticed that Eddie Guerrero was a trending topic. Twitter usually kills people, so Twitter bringing somebody back to life would have been a welcome change of pace. No, unfortunately, it was just some jackhole Twitter account calling Eddie a B+ player. See, the “B+ player” thing is a trigger for a lot of folks. Including some folks in the business!

All because one thirsty guy trying to get attention from a female Internet wrestling personality in her replies said something. I remember when Colin Cowherd slandered wrestling fans for caring about Eddie’s death. That was actually worth responding to because the guy had an ESPN Radio show. The guy everybody’s complaining about barely has more Twitter followers than I do. Why waste your time? You’re giving the guy clout, which is what he wants so he can get attention from the female Internet wrestling personality.

This whole thing tells me that y’all are too thirsty. People need to keep themselves lubricated. That’s the lesson to be learned here. On to the news!

Summer of Cena!

WWE is back on the road, which means they have to fill some of those seats for television purposes. While just the idea of seeing rasslin live is enough for some, others need a little bit more. WWE knows the number one thing that appeals to those fringe fans…previous stars!

That’s why we’ve got the Summer of Cena coming to a town near you. John Cena is back in the mix and appearing on WWE live events up to SummerSlam, and people are pretty darn excited about it. It’s nice to see Cena getting this type of appreciation now after years of wrestling fans whining & moaning about Super Cena and his lack of work rate. I wonder if this is because the fans have done a 180, or if the fans that whined & complained about Cena back in the day have moved on to other things. Maybe it’s just the natural course of things. Jeff Gordon went from getting boos to getting cheers at NASCAR races.

Either way, Cena’s return seems to have sparked some interest, and a feud with Roman Reigns should spark some more. Seems pretty obvious after one week that Reigns is playing the role of 2011 John Cena, while Cena is playing 2011 The Rock. Some take artists will jump on the Reigns bandwagon since he’s pointing out that Cena’s playing the hits, while folks like me will point out that Cena’s doing what the fans want him to do. Play the hits.

You just have to make sure you don’t play the same songs too long. Then you end up like Bill Goldberg, making yet another comeback to challenge Bobby Lashley. It’s the same song we’ve heard a few times at this point, and I’m not really sure who it’s appealing to. Is there a large number of fans out there that want to see Goldberg vs. Lashley? Was there a large number for Goldberg vs. McIntyre, or Goldberg vs. Reigns/Strowman? Goldberg vs. Lesnar worked for what it was, but it’s been diminishing returns ever since.

Nothing against Goldberg, who seems like a good dude. But the 2021 nostalgia kick would be just fine without another Goldberg championship match. I feel like if he shows up in a few years at age 60 still all jacked, maybe you get some morbid curiosity buys out of it. Otherwise I’m not seeing a use for Goldberg.

Plenty of use for Cena though. Word is that WWE isn’t done, and that this is “just the beginning” with even bigger names to come! I get the feeling that some of these names are being oversold. As much as we love Becky Lynch, she isn’t bigger than John Cena. The only pro wrestling name out there bigger than John Cena is The Rock, who we might be seeing at Survivor Series if the rumors are true. Anybody else, well, they’re nice but they’re not bigger than John Cena.

AEW also going to that nostalgia well!

Say what you will about WWE digging up the likes of Cena & Goldberg to wrestle, but at least they’ve been in the ring fairly recently. AEW is reportedly going to bring in somebody that hasn’t wrestled since the 2014 Royal Rumble. Talk about ring rust!

CM Punk is the fella in question. They say he’ll be back for the All Out PPV in September, which I’m told is in Chicago. You might say it’s an easy commute for him, but saying that would tell me you’ve never been to Chicago. Indianapolis would be an easier commute.

Some question the idea of bringing Punk in at this point, largely because they don’t like him. That’s the main argument against CM Punk, some people don’t like him because he quit wrestling back in 2014. They got their feelings hurt and he didn’t properly apologize to them. It’s a strong energy these people have.

Not saying Punk doesn’t come without controversy. The first meeting with him & Colt Cabana should be interesting. The other big name reportedly coming to AEW is much less controversial.

Return of the Danielson

Bryan Danielson is a name we haven’t heard regularly except from super smart fans refusing to use his WWE name for over a decade now. Seems like we’ll be hearing it more often now, as Bryan is reportedly on his way to AEW. The scuttlebutt says that Danielson will be debuting at the Arthur Ashe Stadium show.

It was long believed that Danielson would sign wherever he could get the most freedom to do other things, with New Japan as a particular destination. To WWE’s credit, Nicholas Khan tried to get a deal done to make that happen. However, Anthony Khan was able to swing the deal, as we’ve seen with the IWGP US Championship regularly featured on Dynamite. Y’all thought that online promo he did was unhinged, but he knew what was going on. That forbidden door has been opened, and Bryan looks to be one of the folks jumping through. It’s a pretty cool wrestling universe right now with AEW, NJPW, AAA, Impact Wrestling and even ROH having some links to it. (Could we see a Bryan Danielson appearance in ROH? Since I recap their weekly show I’m certainly hoping so. Their spot in the grand scheme of things isn’t great, but maybe he has a soft spot for them.)

From a wrestling fan perspective, AEW is a good landing spot for Bryan. All kinds of new matches for him, and some that are ready to be re-visited. Yes, he wrestled Kenny Omega before, but that was before Kenny became Kenny BY GOD Omega. That’s an easy main event for some show.

Punk & Danielson are the two biggest names AEW can bring in right now. We all know that bringing in names is one thing. TNA was great at that. The important part is the follow-up. What Punk & Danielson do in AEW will decide whether they generate interest or not. Just showing up isn’t enough to change much of anything.

It is exciting, though. I root for exciting & interesting, and we’re getting plenty of that these days.

GCW > NXT

Here’s a truth: I’ve never watched a full GCW show. I have seen plenty of NXT shows. However, I can say that Game Changer Wrestling obviously has smarter booking than NXT. They know to take their championship off of a wrestler before he jobs on national television. They also know how to make a top heel, as indicated by the reaction of their fans to…Matt Cardona? OK, so that wasn’t the guy I expected to see covered in blood getting a reaction like he was the NWO in 1996.

I did expect to see Nick Gage on AEW television at some point. Given Tony Khan’s fandom of all things 2000s Combat Zone Wrestling, it was bound to happen. We just needed the right time for it, and MJF needing outside help to take care of Chris Jericho was as good a time as any. You gotta love 2021 giving us weird matches like Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage, right?

Not if you’re a stick in the mud, apparently. Some folks are outraged that AEW would book somebody like Gage. One complaint is the fact that he robbed a bank, which, granted, wasn’t the brightest thing to do. That said, Gage did his time in prison, paid his debt to society, and has been a better person since. I’m told that America is a forgiving place and people deserve a second chance, so I don’t see the issue here. If Gage robs another bank before Wednesday, sure, throw the book at him.

Then there’s the argument against deathmatch wrestling. It can be argued that AEW goes to that well a little too often, as we’re getting this match a week after Lance Archer beat Jon Moxley by choke slamming him on a barbed wire board. Some would argue that any deathmatch wrestling is too much, and folks like Gage don’t belong in a wrestling ring. Me, I’m ok with it as long as the people involved are ok with it. You don’t have to watch it if you don’t like it, but the people that get on their high horse and claim that *fill in the blank* isn’t wrestling irritate me. Wrestling is a large number of different things.

You might not like people getting stabbed with a fork. Maybe you don’t like Alexa Bliss hypnotizing people. It’s still wrestling.

And that’s all we have time for this week. Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!


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