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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 9/22/2019

With the NJPW Destruction Tour winding down this week, how much variety did we get in the Top 5?

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With the NJPW Destruction Tour winding down this week, how much variety did we get in the Top 5?

So even though we had two really good WWE matches from Clash of Champions, they stole a few votes from one another and we had a clear winner. RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr, hard to argue with it, last week was just a tough week.

Now this week, we’ve got a healthy portion of New Japan, but there are some other companies that slipped in to fill out the Top 5.

Take a look…it’s in a book…great now I’ve got the Reading Rainbow theme stuck in my head. Just read the list.

 

5t. IMPACT!: LAX vs Willie Mack & Rich Swann

From My Analysis:
This was definitely more of a fitting way for Santana and Ortiz to head to AEW. The story was as simple as Mack and Swann wanting to give their friends a chance to go out on their own terms. There’s a lot of smiling and pandering to the crowd early, and then we got the break neck speed match that we expected. So many tandem moves from both teams, this match was just very entertaining. It was also nice to see that the referee was allowing them to play, without getting in the way with 5 counts and unnecessary rules lawyering. With the gravity of what this meant to Santana and Ortiz, the match was definitely an enjoyable watch. The face locker room clearing out to say goodbye to LAX was nice as well.

Winner: Mack via 6 Star Frog Splash

Rating: *** 3/4

 

5t. NXT: North American Championship: Velveteen Dream (c) vs Roderick Strong

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Strong goes at Dream but Dream fires haymakers back. Strong resists being brought back in, but Dream resists being brought out. They end up on the apron, Dream fireman’s carries but Strong slips out. Dream throws more hands but Strong KNEES hard! Dream is hanging in the ropes now, and fans declare “This is Wrestling!” Strong underhooks and drags Dream in, but Dream powers out to get away. Dream SLAPS Strong, but Strong KNEES back! Strong has Dream on the ropes, and traps him in them! Dream kicks but he can’t reach Strong. “You did this to yourself!” Strong goes side to side for endless elbows! Another backbreaker, to a TIGER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Into Strong Hold! Dream endures being twisted as Strong sits down deep! Dream powers up, reaches, goes around the ring, screams in pain, but gets the ropebreak!!

Everyone is going nuts, and here come the rest of the Undisputed Era! Cole, O’Reilly and Fish are shouting at Strong to end this! Dream and Strong start throwing haymakers, and Dream rocks Strong over and over! Dream whips, back drops Strong, and sees he’s surrounded. Strong uses that distraction to throw Dream into the ref! Strong drags Dream up but Dream gets Strong, DREAM VALLEY DRIVER! Cole and O’Reilly get in, they get a SUPERKICK and a haymaker! Strong KNEES again! To END OF HEARTACHE!! Cover as the ref revives, TWO!?! And no one can believe it! Strong drags Dream up again, but Dream gets him again, DREAM VALLEY! But now Cole aims at Dream SUPERKICK! O’Reilly distracted the ref from seeing that! END OF HEARTACHE AGAIN! Cover, Strong wins!!

Winner: Strong via End of Heartache

Rating: *** 3/4

 

4. Stardom 5 Star GP Day 8: STARS (Riho, Mayu Iwatani, Tam Nakano & Arisa Hoshiki) vs Oedo Tai (Jamie Hayter, Andras Miyagi, Kagetsu & Natsu Sumire)

From My Analysis:
The evening show had a big faction fight, where Oedo Tai even brought back Michiko Omukai. Kagetsu referred to her as Oedo Tai’s Final Boss, since when she came out of retirement in 2017, she helped Konami and Yoko Bito beat Oedo Tai. But I guess since Oedo Tai is for kids, she’s had a change of heart and decided to come out with them (as well as what I assume are her children) and get a little involved.

The match starts off quickly with Oedo Tai going after the STARS members, and setting up situations for Michiko to get a few pot shots with a Kendo Stick. Kagetsu and Tam eventually remember it’s a wrestling match and not a Rugby scrum, so wrestling starts to happen. Hot damn, poor little Tam gets singled out for a good bit of this match. Oedo Tai take turns beating her up, Andras hits a few Scoop Slams, Sumire hits her…I’m gonna call it a Bronco Buster, but yeah…it’s very…unique to Sumire. Jamie was the last to get in on beating up Tam, but Tam finally shows some life. Granted, Oedo Tai sees that and wipes out the STARS members so she has no one to tag in.

Eventually Tam does tag in Riho, and the High Speed Champion starts to equalize the match, all 98 pounds of her. Riho runs a few of them over, and STARS gets something going. Arisa comes in for a kick war with Kagetsu, and then the wild aspects continue. After a little more brawling, all eight women get in the ring, STARS gets thrown into the middle, but Oedo Tai eats kicks from each girl. Then each STARS member dives out of the ring onto someone and the crowd loved every second of this.

Mayu throws in Andras, and it’s about time to put an end to this madness. Mayu hits her Moonsault and then Dragon Suplex Hold for the pinfall. Damn good multi-person match.

Winner: Mayu via Dragon Suplex Hold

Rating: ****

 

3. NJPW Destruction in Kobe: Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto

From My Analysis:
Takagi got one of his largest Heavyweight victories over Goto in the G1, so Goto needs to try to get his win back. This was every bit the hard hitting power match we expected. They started off countering one another’s moves and then just hitting huge lariats and just being two angry bulls trying to kill each other. Goto pulled out everything, Ushigoroshi, Reverse GTR, Shouten Kai, Modified GTR…it was just an insane match. Shingo pulled off most of his moves as well, but never hit Last of the Dragon, so that move was protected nicely. I personally have a Shingo bias, but this was a great match and might finally help Goto become more than just a gatekeeper.

Winner: Goto via GTR

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW Destruction in Kagoshima: Wrestle Kingdom Contract Rights: Kota Ibushi (c) vs KENTA
Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye
Rating: *** 3/4
Stardom Blue Stars Day 6: Jungle Kyona vs Kagetsu
Winner: Kyona via Kinniku Buster
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Raw: KOTR Finals: Chad Gable vs Baron Corbin
Winner: Corbin via End of Days
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Destruction in Kobe: SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada & Robbie Eagles
Winner: SANADA via Skull End
Rating: *** 1/2
Stardom Blue Stars Day 8: Konami vs Andras Miyagi
Winner: Time Limit Draw
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Destruction in Kobe: Young Lion Cup: Karl Fredericks vs Shota Umino
Winner: Fredericks via Modified Liontamer
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: #1 Contender Four Way: Candice Larae vs Io Shirai vs Bianca Belair vs Mia Yim
Winner: Candice via La Quebrada
Rating: *** 1/4
Stardom Blue Stars Day 7: Bea Priestley vs Kagetsu
Winner: Kagetsu via Death Valley Driver
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Destruction in Kagoshima: SANADA, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 1/4
SmackDown Live: New Day vs The Revival & Randy Orton
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: Bliss Cross vs Boss N Hug
Winner: Sasha via Bank Statement
Rating: ***
NJPW Destruction in Kobe: Will Ospreay, YOH, SHO, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs KENTA, Guerrillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori & ELP
Winner: YOH via Inside Cradle
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: Street Fight: oVe (Sami Callihan, Jake Crist, Dave Crist & Madman Fulton) vs RVD, Tommy Dreamer, Rhino & Tessa Blanchard
Winner: Tessa via Cobra Clutch w/Kendo Stick
Rating: ***
NJPW Destruction in Kobe: DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tiger Mask, Rocky Romero & Jyushin Thunder Liger
Winner: Suzuki-Gun via DQ
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Cesaro vs Rey Mysterio
Winner: Mysterio via Code Red
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: The Rascalz (Dez, Wentz & Trey) vs Arez, Toxin & Australian Suicide
Winner: Rascalz via Hot Fire Flame
Rating: ***
NJPW Destruction in Kagoshima: Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI vs Jyushin Thunder Liger, Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: Liger’s team via DQ
Rating: ***
NJPW Destruction in Kagoshima: Young Lion Cup: Clark Connors vs Yuya Uemura
Winner: Uemura via Boston Crab
Rating: ***

2. NJPW Destruction in Kobe: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito (c)

From My Analysis:
This match lived up to the build. They played mind games, taunted and were just generally douchey to one another, but it was fantastic. Tons of mocking and talking, both men kept telling the other to ‘Smile’, the odd enjoyment and disdain of each other made for a fun dynamic. Naito pulled out a few unique applications of Combinacion Cabron, and did his Tornado DDT by kicking off of Gedo at one point. We saw the culmination of a story where if the situation was a little different, these two could be best friends. Gedo didn’t really get involved much, so that was nice, this was just a great match if you were following the feud a little. Also I did appreciate Jay White gingerly walking down the ramp, and taking a big step over the metal connector, as a reference to when YOSHI-HASHI face planted last year.

Winner: Jay via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1. NJPW Destruction in Kagoshima: IWGP Juinor Tag Team Championship: Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & ELP) (c) vs Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles)

From My Analysis:
Words do tend to fail a little bit to encapsulate what happened in this match. The main thread was that Ospreay and Eagles both have issues mainly with ELP. ELP instigated things beautifully and of course there were a ton of high flying spots, but damn it did tell a great story.

Eagles left Bullet Club, so BC wanted to prove it was the wrong call. Birds of Prey pulled off a tandem flip out of the powerbomb, they followed it up with a tandem Tope con Hilos and just a lot good work. Eagles still maintained his Sniper gimmick by focusing on Taiji’s leg as set up for the Ron Miller Special. But ELP managed to break up the hold and throw caution to the wind by hitting a Top Rope Moonsault over the first barricade and into the first row of fans just to try and take Ospreay out of the equation. This really was the Phantasmo show, not to say Taiji didn’t hold his own and isn’t still one of the best Juniors in wrestling today…but the story was all ELP. Phantasmo did just enough to wipe out Ospreay and a combination of finishers from Taiji and ELP kept the belts in Bullet Club’s possession. A damn crazy match.

Winner: ELP via Bloody Cross/CR2 combo

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Unsurprisingly, I really enjoyed the New Japan Destruction tour, for the first time in a couple years. It’s usually generally considered the reset point from the G1 Climax to get us to Wrestle Kingdom, and there’s usually a disappointing show, but not this year!

Liger’s reveal of Kishin Liger has eclipsed everything else about the tour, but when it comes down to the best match…I was just tickled at every interaction between Naito and Jay. The match had a lot of personality and was just a blast to watch how the whole thing built up. But yeah, Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White, gets my vote for the week.


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