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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 9/15/2019

WWE brings us Clash of Champions, New Japan has Destruction in Beppu and Impact Wrestling brought back Victory Road. What made the Top 5 cut this week?

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WWE brings us Clash of Champions, New Japan has Destruction in Beppu and Impact Wrestling brought back Victory Road. What made the Top 5 cut this week?

Yes yes, I know Bloodsport happened this weekend as well…but time is an evil construct. The fact that it was live concurrently with Victory Road meant I had to choose. Again, yes, I probably chose wrong in hindsight…but that’s beyond the point.

We still get a decent amount of larger scale shows to work with this week.

Firstly, let’s see which match won our vote for August.

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
  • August – NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff: WWE UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs Tyler Bate

The Cardiff match wasn’t a surprising win, but we most definitely got a surprise for the first match of September. AJPW Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara vs Naoya Nomura, won the vote for the week. Now it was a damn good match, I’m just surprised it got enough love to sneak a week win in.

Now, let’s see this week’s Top 5!

 

5. NJPW Destruction in Beppu: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI

From My Analysis:
Now we see the beauty of the Guerrillas as heels in Japan. YOSHI-HASHI is an unimpressive failure of a wrestler, but due to how worthless he is, the fans rally behind him occasionally to try and motivate him. G.o.D. worked this match beyond well, the fans popped hard for HASHI, even though he has the worst Superkick and Running Blockbuster in wrestling. Plus he just falls backwards when Tama went for the Gun Stun. The fans believed, or at least hate Bullet Club/G.o.D. enough to root for the other people. KENTA however, saves us from an awful upset and as a thank you for his NEVER victory. He distracts YOSHI-HASHI just enough for Tama to get the Roll-Up and possibly some tights, to retain the titles. YOSHI-HASHI remains as relevant as the Phoenix Suns.

Winner: Tama via Roll-Up

Rating: *** 3/4

 

4. Impact Victory Road: TJP vs Michael Elgin

From My Analysis:
Even though there’s a size discrepancy, TJP is still a known technical wrestler, so there’s a level of believability. This saw a lot of the usual big man versus little man kind of pacing, but Elgin being a more athletic big man, lent itself to a few faster paced exchanges. Both men went for a number of submissions, TJP managed to catch Elgin with a few well placed kicks to get an advantage. So the Rings of Saturn gave TJP a few close hope moments, but Elgin’s power won out in the end. Countering an Armbar, into a one armed Buckle Bomb, normal Buckle Bomb, and then Elgin Bomb…yeah, TJP could only absorb so much. Pretty good match, that made you buy into both at different points.

Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb

Rating: *** 3/4

 

3. WWE Clash of Champions: Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs Sasha Banks

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Becky stomps Sasha down on the steps and fights right in front of the fans! They go up higher, but Sasha uses whatever she can grab for a weapon. Becky still punches Sasha down, and they continue even higher up. Becky throws Sasha down on the stairs! Then she puts an arm through the railing for a Disarm-Her! Sasha taps but it doesn’t matter out there! So Sasha chop blocks Becky and runs for it! They’re at the very top now but the brawling still continues. Sasha keeps retreating, and ends up out of the arena and in the pavilion. Becky chases Sasha down and throws her into concession stands! Becky sprays hot mustard on Sasha before throwing her into walls! They end up back among the fans, and Becky takes a moment to soak in the moment.

Now Becky brings Sasha down the steps, but Sasha fights back. Sasha kicks Becky down as fans chant and duel. Becky hits Sasha back, then sends her staggering down the way. Becky feeds Sasha to a trash can! Becky throws Sasha back to ringside, but Sasha rams her into barriers! Sasha throws Becky into the LED apron, then into more barriers! Sasha drags Becky around and into the ring. Word comes in that, with the downed referee being Becky’s doing, she is DISQUALIFIED!

Winner: Sasha via DQ

Rating: *** 3/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Clash of Champions: No DQ Match: Roman Reigns vs Erick Rowan
Winner: Rowan via Iron Claw Slam
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Destruction in Beppu: Jay White & Chase Owens vs Tetsuya Naito & EVIL
Winner: Naito via Destino
Rating: *** 1/2
Stardom Blue Stars Day 4: Konami vs Arisa Hoshiki
Winner: Konami via Triangle Lancer
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Clash of Champions: SmackDown Live Tag Team Titles: The Revival vs The New Day (c)
Winner: Dawson via Inverted Figure Four
Rating: *** 1/2
Impact Victory Road: Knockouts Championship: Taya Valkyrie (c) vs Rosemary
Winner: Taya via Curb Stomp
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Destruction in Beppu: SANADA, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs Rocky Romero, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada
Winner: SANADA via Skull End
Rating: ***
Stardom Blue Stars Day 4: Jamie Hayter vs Utami Hayashishita
Winner: Utami via Torture Rack Bomb
Rating: ***
Impact Victory Road: World Class Heavyweight Championship: MVP vs Chavo Guerrero Jr (c)
Winner: MVP via Drive-by Kick
Rating: ***
NJPW Destruction in Beppu: Young Lion Cup: Karl Fredericks vs Yota Tsuji
Winner: Fredericks via Modified Half Crab
Rating: ***
WWE Clash of Champions: United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Cedric Alexander
Winner: Styles via Styles Clash
Rating: ***
Stardom Blue Stars Day 4: Kagetsu vs Andras Miyagi
Winner: Miyagi via Tombstone Piledriver
Rating: ***
NJPW Destruction in Beppu: Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI vs Jyushin Thunder Liger, SHO & YOH
Winner: SHO via 3k
Rating: ***
Impact Victory Road: Rohit Raju & Shera vs Eddie Edwards & Brian Cage
Winner: Cage via F5/Boston Knee Party combo
Rating: ***
Stardom Blue Stars Day 5: Natsuko vs Jungle Kyona
Winner: Kyona via Hammer Throw Powerbomb
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: Ace Austin vs Eddie Edwards
Winner: Ace via DQ
Rating: ***

 

2. WWE Clash of Champions: WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs Kofi Kingston (c)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Kofi kicks and punches, but Orton smothers Kofi then rakes Kofi’s eyes! Orton runs but into SOS!! Cover, TWO!! Both men are down but the fans don’t stop cheering. Kofi gets up first and goes to the corner. Kofi climbs but slowly. Orton stands again, and trips Kofi up! Orton climbs up to join Kofi now, but Kofi resists! Kofi fights back, clubbing Orton on his back. Kofi headbutts Orton but Orton punches back. Orton keeps throwing hands, then climbs back up. But Kofi slips out to trip Orton up! Kofi runs, but into the powerslam! Cover, TWO! Orton is still only annoyed while Kofi goes to the apron. Orton follows after and he drags Kofi through the ropes. Classic Orton with the draping DDT! Orton soaks up the cheers and the jeers as he hears the voices in his head!

Orton dares Kofi to stand with every pound of his fist on the mat. Kofi does stand, but he rolls Orton up! TWO, and Kofi is in the corner. Kofi slips out to kick Orton back! Orton staggers away as Kofi gets back in. Kofi follows after Orton but RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!! Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Kofi survives, but even now Orton isn’t frustrated, just annoyed. Orton drags Kofi to a corner, and thinks of what to do next. Orton tells Kofi to stay put, and he backs up. Is Orton bringing THAT back?! Orton aims, runs, but Kofi dodges the punt! Kofi spins Orton, TROUBLE IN PARADISE!! Cover, Kofi wins!!

Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise

Rating: ****

 

1. RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr

From My Analysis:
So…this was a different match for these two. Tanahashi took the belt at Royal Quest doing something he never did, and that was a clean Finisher into pinfall, instead of a cradle variation. This match was a character change for both. Tanahashi worked on hitting multiple submissions and taunting Sabre throughout the match. Sabre got frustrated many times, even attacking Yuya Uemura on the outside.

Tanahashi hit a High Fly Flow on Sabre’s back, and instead of turning him over for a second, he captures the arm and pulls him up into a Modified Texas Cloverleaf. Sabre fights through, and then they stand up for an Uppercut exchange. Tanahashi worked the Cobra Twist and Cloverleaf during the match, so when he went back to it, it wasn’t surprising. However, Sabre had a trick, and got out of Tanahashi’s Cobra Twist, with a Twist of his own, that sent Tanahashi to the mat, and Sabre picked up the pinfall. Sabre winning by flash pin/cradle has a little bit of poetic irony since that was how Tanahashi achieved most of his wins.

Winner: Sabre via Cobra Twist into Cradle

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Thoughts:

Now since we’ve had like 4 Tanahashi versus Sabre matches in 5 months, it definitely feels a little played out even though the matches are always good. I enjoyed the wrinkles and the style flips, but that won’t be my vote for the week.

I gotta give love to, WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs Randy Orton. Kofi’s best feud of his title reign turned into his first great title defense. Randy’s voices got the best of him and Kofi’s resilience finally paid off on a big hurdle. Damn nice story telling helped along by blurring the lines a little.


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NXT Minus 6: A Tale of Two Champions

Bradley Jay is here with the WWE NXT Minus 6, and we have new champions. Two very, very different new champions.

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Bradley Jay is here with the WWE NXT Minus 6, and we have new champions. Two very, very different new champions.

Our two new champions could not be more different…

Karrion Kross return vignette airs during NXT TakeOver: WarGames

6. Doomsday Saito comes to the ring and gives a painful, cliched promo. Any wrestler in the back could have said those exact words. Train harder and beat people up. He’s angry. We get it. The only thing Saito could do that would interest me is move to RawDown. On the other hand…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Not gonna lie, that promo was wasn’t even hot garbage. It was cold garbage.]

Raquel Gonzalez & Rhea Ripley And Bianca Belair Celebrate | Franky Monet Debut | WWE NXT Highlights - YouTube

5. Raquel Gonzalez delivers a genuine, heartfelt promo that only she could give. Tears of joy. It told her story, and it’s exactly why she got the pop and the chant she deserved. The addition of Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair, complete with throwback pic, was icing on the cake. I’m excited for whatever Gonzalez does next. Speaking of…

WWE: Dakota Kai on what she misses about New Zealand and her quest to be NXT champion | Newshub

4. Fantasy booking alert!!! Two weeks ago, Raquel Gonzelez told the world I was the one who believed in her. I was the one who made her a champion. Then Rhea Ripley shows up, and Bianca Belair shows up, and I’m the one sent to the back. How quickly you forget who your real friends are. I was the one who took you to the top, and chicka, I am the one who is going to drag you to the bottom. I used you to get to the top and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I am Dakota Kai.

Santos Escobar loses the Cruise Championship to Kushida | Superfights

3. No more Santa Claus Ice Cream Bar. Santos Escobar has earned his name back. His match with KUSHIDA is everything great about NXT. Say it with me. Good things happen when you let wrestlers wrestle! Fast paced. Great action. Surprise ending. I’m going 4.5 stars. Give me a match that good every Tuesday and I’m a happy camper. 

WWE NXT results – 13/04/2021 (Raw and Smackdown Champions appear, Franky Monet debuts) » FirstSportz2. Right now, I don’t know if any two wrestlers have better chemistry than Swerve Scott and Leon Ruff. Every time they get together, it’s electric, and this week was no different. This is quickly climbing into Rivalry of the Year territory. I thought I was happy to see Swerve pick up the victory and move on. Then Ruff goes insane in the membrane and now I’m excited to watch them fight forever.

WWE News: Roderick Strong 'Resigns' From NXT, Video of Karrion Kross' NXT Promo | 411MANIA

1. This week’s That’s Why I Love Wrestling goes to…Roderick Strong. Kayfabe. Work. Shoot. I don’t care. Strong deserved a better goodbye than what he got. He is the Perfection of Performance (shout out to the Hitman). He and Kyle O’Reilly were the best version of the Undisputed Era tag team champions. I always got excited for a Strong match because I knew he’d deliver. Roderick Strong is exactly the kind of wrestler that makes me love wrestling. Until he returns, he will be sorely missed.


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Steve Cook’s Fave Five: April 2021

It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means…

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It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means.

It’s time to talk about my current five favorite wrestlers like I’m Booker T. Let’s break down the Fave Five!

5. Samoa Joe

I figure what happened between Samoa Joe & WWE was the following: WWE offered Joe an announcing contract since either they didn’t want to use him in the ring or their doctors wouldn’t clear him to wrestle. Joe looked at the contract, noticed the financial discrepancy, realized he could probably get NJPW to let him train young boys in California for that kind of money and said “thanks but no thanks”. Nothing else really makes sense to me.

Unfortunately, those who thought that WWE wouldn’t utilize Joe to their fullest potential were right. It wasn’t all WWE’s fault though. Joe had a lot of miles on his tires when he got there. Injuries are always more of a concern with larger wrestlers the older they get. And when Joe was healthy, he did get to do some good stuff and show people a glimpse of the Samoa Joe that people like me raved about back in the mid to late 2000s.

In any event, Joe got his WWE run. It was a thing that happened. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t wind up in AEW because he seems like the kind of guy Tony Khan would throw all the money at. Should be fun!

4. Kris Statlander

AEW does have a pretty insane number of factions right now. It risks the possibility of all of the groups blending together, with none of them really capturing the attention of fans. However, there are positive things about AEW’s faction warfare that shouldn’t be overlooked. It makes booking fresh matches to fill cards pretty easy. You can have groups facing off each week, but in different combinations that keep it fresh.

Another good thing: It can help us decide how we feel about characters that we might be on the fence about. Kris Statlander’s character was a topic of discussion from the moment she entered AEW. A lot of people weren’t sure how to take her. Wrestling aliens, or wrestlers who think they’re aliens, aren’t exactly common. Its the kind of thing that gets over in the indies, because those feds attract fans that are more willing to buy into unique concepts. Mainstream is a tougher sell.

Aligning Kris with the Best Friends makes sense to those in the know, since she came up working shows with them. It also helps people that don’t know about her figure out more. The Best Friends are a happy go lucky group that are the whitest of white meat babyfaces you’ll find in AEW, and that’s a good thing. They’re welcoming to people with unique personalities, as Orange Cassidy’s presence establishes. A friendly alien couldn’t ask for a better group to surround herself with, and from their appearances so far she seems like a perfect fit.

Add in the fact that the time on the shelf helped her get into better shape and refine her look & presence, and the sky’s the limit for Statlander. As long as she can stay in the ring, I’m expecting big things from her in 2021.

3. Tay Conti

Sometimes, all one needs is a change of scenery to approach their true potential. Tay spent a few years at the WWE Performance Center learning how to be a professional wrestler. During her time there, Tay never showed much in the way of potential. Even though she had a combat sports background and had the type of physical appearance that gets attention, Conti’s TV time was very limited and uneventful. She seemed like one of those wrestlers that was bound to stay in developmental until WWE gave up on them, then drop off the face of the earth without most wrestling fans noticing.

Tay’s story took a different route. She ended up being one of the cuts that AEW took an interest in, and was brought in for the Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Tournament. Her teaming with Anna Jay worked well on & off-camera, and she pretty much fit right in with the group immediately. She started training with Dustin Rhodes, and pretty much immediately started looking better in the ring & figuring out what worked for her. Now, she’s one of the people helping AEW’s women’s division go to a higher level.

This isn’t meant to denigrate WWE’s Performance Center or its methods. There just isn’t a wrestling training center out there that’s going to work for everybody. Tay had to find what worked for her. The people that recently got cut will have to do the same. Hopefully, the people that recently got signed by WWE will thrive in that environment.

2. Bianca Belair

We’ve recently seen three new Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella, all of whom are great in their own way. I’ve talked about Rhea Ripley before, she’s got unlimited potential and so far she’s done very well on the main roster. Raquel Gonzalez is doing very well on NXT and her push to the championship made perfect sense & got over. I do think the best of the title changes was Bianca’s defeat of Sasha Banks in the main event of WrestleMania Saturday. It was a special moment for Bianca, a very fun match to watch, and a great performance from both Bianca & Sasha Banks, who did everything she could to make Bianca in that match.

You see the video of the NXT segment up above, with the three current Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella celebrating together. Apparently there was a picture taken in 2019, and there were pictures taken after this week’s NXT, with Triple H making sure to get in there as he likes to do with all new champions. I’ve never really been a fan of that sort of thing, even the “Horsewomen” celebrations on previous NXT shows didn’t do much for me.

Besides the usual complaints people have about things like that, the thing that I didn’t like was how Rhea & Raquel came off. They were all smiling & happy like they were Big Daddy Cool Diesel after beating Mr. Bob Backlund in 1994. Completely against what Raquel has been up to this point, and what Rhea has been when she’s been at her best. Hopefully this is just a one-time thing for Rhea for the portion of the NXT audience that likes their lady wrestlers crying & happy after their performances, and hopefully it’s leading to Raquel getting dismembered by Dakota Kai, who can’t be happy about her heater winning the championship and then turning into Smilin’ Diesel.

Fortunately for Bianca, it does nothing to affect her character or our opinion of her. That’s why I think her title run will go best. I’m also putting her here because I’m pretty well convinced there isn’t a wrestling move or spot she can’t do well. Insanely talented, and the more experience she gets the better she’ll be.

1. Darby Allin

Sometimes you just want to watch something that’s stupid fun. Something that doesn’t need too much thought in order to enjoy it. Just people doing crazy things to entertain an audience. Darby Allin matches are just what you need when you’re looking for something like this. There isn’t anybody crazier in pro wrestling today than Darby, which is probably for the best. I’m convinced this kid has a death wish.

The one thing that kinda gets me about Darby sometimes is how he kicks out of everything. Poor Matt Hardy wasn’t going to beat that kid unless he shot him with a gun, and apparently there’s a metal detector at Daily’s Place. (Shoutout to Matt by the way, hell of an effort in that match.) But then I remember that Darby Allin is a daredevil and constantly posting videos online where he’s jumping off high places and doing crazy things. Obviously, it’s going to take a little more to beat a daredevil than your average pro wrestler.

What’s it going to take to beat Darby Allin? That’s a good reason to keep watching.


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