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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 10/6/2019

With some controversial finishes, but not a ton of outside of America events…what exactly made up the Top 5 this week?

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With some controversial finishes, but not a ton of outside of America events…what exactly made up the Top 5 this week?

Now I like to start off with last week’s winner, but last week’s winner was also the last match of the September MOTY Pool. So let’s see what matches made the cut for September.

September Pool:

  • AJPW Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara vs Naoya Nomura
  • NJPW Destruction in Beppu: RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr
  • NJPW Destruction in Kobe: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito (c)
  • Stardom: 5 Star Grand Prix Red Stars: Final Day: Momo Watanabe vs Mayu Iwatani

This isn’t too often that we have an all Japanese pool, much less a pool with two Japanese promotions not named New Japan. All that being said, I’m very torn between AJPW and Stardom’s matches. Ultimately, I think I’ll go with, AJPW Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara vs Naoya Nomura, because the match did a lot to make Naoya a legitimate contender.

Let’s get to this week.

5. NXT: NXT Tag Team Championship: Street Profits vs Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Kyle runs in but catches a boot. Kyle puts it on the ropes to fire off on Dawkins. The ref backs Kyle off, but Fish Dragon Screws the leg! Dawkins still back drops Kyle out onto Fish! Dawkins crawls on one leg but Kyle climbs up top. Kyle leaps to drop a knee on the bad leg! HEEL HOOK! Dawkins flails, endures, reaches, but Fish helps Kyle drag Dawkins away! Ford runs in and brawls with Fish, but Fish hops on for a guillotine! Dual submissions from reDRagon! But Ford falls onto Kyle with Fish!! All four men are down and Full Sail is thunderous for “NXT! NXT!” The teams regroup, Dawkins and Kyle get up. They brawl back and forth, forearms for kicks. Kyle gets the leg, but Dawkins enziguris! Fish tags in and he hurries up, but Dawkins hot tags Ford! Fish FLOPS, Ford doesn’t!! Cover, TWO!?

But the Profits coordinate! Electric Chair for Fish, but Kyle kicks Dawkins. Ford watches from above as reDRagon runs away. But Dawkins comes around to go after them! They all brawl in the corner, Ford FLIES!! Ford makes it over the corner to wipe everyone out! Full Sail loses their minds as Ford puts Fish in. But here comes Roderick Strong! Strong gets SPEARED by Ford! But Fish trips Ford up, tags Kyle, TOTAL ANNIHILATION!! Cover, the Undisputed Era win!!

Winner: Undisputed Era via Total Annihilation

Rating: *** 3/4

 

4. AEW Dynamite: Cody Rhodes vs Sammy Guevara

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Fans rally up and Cody gets to his feet. Sammy goes at Cody in the corner, shoulder tackle and big enziguri! Cody staggers but BOOTS Sammy down! Brandi laughs at silly Sammy, then Cody runs to build speed. Sammy uses Brandy as a shield as Cody DIVES! Cody wipes out his wife! Fans boo Sammy’s cheap tactics but Cody worries about getting his wife to her feet. Brandi says she’s fine so Cody goes at Sammy. Sammy rams Cody into the post! Fans tell Sammy what they think of him but Sammy just climbs up top. Sammy adjusts and MOONSAULTS, but lands on his feet as Cody moves! Sammy moonsaults again, but Cody still evades, but the Shooting Star hits! Cover, TWO! Cody made Sammy do a lot of work for that one, and Sammy grows frustrated. Sammy drags Cody up, torture rack but Cody slips out. Cody drop toeholds Sammy onto ropes, and Brandi SMASHES Sammy with a heel! Beautiful Disaster Kick! Cover, TWO!! Sammy survives the Rhodes’ teamwork as a couple!

The 10 minute mark passes and Cody drags Sammy up. Sammy is dead weight but Cody still gets him up top and backwards. Cody climbs up and has Sammy in a dragon sleeper, INVERTED SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!? Sammy survives and frustrates Cody, but DC is loving this opening match! Cody fires up with the fans as he drags Sammy up. Cody has Sammy in the inverted chicken wings and lifts him up, but Sammy slips out to shove Cody at a corner. Cody elbows back, then climbs up top, but Sammy jumps up! And has Cody in a SUPER SPANISH FLY!! Cover, TWO!! Cody survives and Sammy is shocked! This is what the opener means to Cody! Sammy climbs up, takes aim, SHOOTING STAR onto knees! Cradle cover, Cody wins!!

Winner: Cody via Cradle 

Rating: *** 3/4

 

3. Pro Wrestling Zero 1: Zero 1 Heavyweight Championship: Daisuke Sekimoto (c) vs Yuji Hino

So for those that know, this match took place in September, but it was just made available on Puroresu Dream on the 3rd. Usually the site is a good indicator of when the show was on Japanese television, so I like to base qualifications on when the show is available to the masses as opposed to live date.

With the formalities out of the way, this is two big thicc boys in a fight over the Zero 1 Heavyweight Title. Yuji is the master of the Fucking Bomb (no lie, that’s it’s name) and Sekimoto is just an elite wrestler and does well in any promotion he graces. So this is gonna be a lot of strong strikes, and tons and tons of beef. Someone call Vinnie Mac.

There’s a short bit of feeling one another out, before they do what any 500 IQ gentleman would do. They rotate corners and run into one another with Shoulder Tackles until someone falls down. After that exchange, we get an infamous Hino chop exchange where he puts his hands behind his back and dares Daisuke to get in some free shots.

This is just a hell of a slobber knocker. On the outside Hino keeps Daisuke down and slaps him as he’s trying to get distance, and then back inside the ring there’s multitudes of lariats and suplexes. Hino attempts the Fucking Bomb once, but Daisuke blocks it and manages to pull off one of his own, as the crowd pops loudly. Also it shouldn’t be lost that both men utilize Frog Splashes from the top rope, and they pulled out most of the moves in their respective arsenals.

After beating the hell out of one another, Daisuke drops Hino and looks to head to the top turnbuckle to end things. Hino manages to crawl to the corner and grab his foot, stopping the move attempt and cinching in a German Suplex. Hino keeps pulling to execute the German, but Daisuke is holding onto the ropes for dear life. Eventually, Daisuke’s grip slips, Hino hits an impactful German Suplex Hold, and wins the Zero 1 championship!

If you like heavyweight slugfests, this is your kind of match.

Winner: Hino via German Suplex Hold

Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

NXT: Io Shirai vs Mia Yim
Winner: Io via Moonsault
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE SmackDown Live: Career vs Career Ladder Match: Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon
Winner: Owens
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Hell in a Cell: Tornado Tag Match: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs Eric Rowan & Luke Harper
Winner: Reigns & Bryan via Superman Busaiku Spear
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT!: Daga vs Chris Bey
Winner: Daga via Double Underhook Gut Buster
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Candice LeRae
Winner: Baszler via Kirifuda Clutch
Rating: *** 1/4
AEW Dynamite: PAC vs Hangman Page
Winner: PAC via Brutalizer
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Hell in a Cell: King Corbin vs Chad Gable
Winner: Gable via Roll-Up
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Hell in a Cell: Women’s Tag Team Championship: BlissCross (c) vs Kabuki Warriors
Winner: Asuka via Green Mist + Head Kick
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: Michael Elgin vs TJP w/Fallah Bahh
Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb
Rating: ***
NXT: Johnny Gargano vs Shane Thorne
Winner: Gargano via Superkick
Rating: ***

 

 

2. WWE Hell in a Cell: Hell in a Cell Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs Sasha Banks

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Becky leaps for a BIG leg drop, cover, TWO!! And Becky is almost in tears. But then she talks to herself, working out what to try next. Fans chant “Table! Table!” and Becky agrees. Becky gets that table up on its feet, but Sasha hits a Backstabber! Sasha drags Becky over to the corner and throws forearms. “I’m the Boss around here!” Sasha hoists Becky up and then makes sure the table is in the right spot. Sasha climbs up to join Becky, but Becky fights back! Becky slips down, Sasha holds on and fights back, and then adjusts. Sasha METEORAS Becky through the table!! Cover, TWO!?! No one can believe Becky lived! The referee clears the wreckage and Sasha returns to the ladder and hanging chair. Sasha doesn’t go for either of those, she has a new kendo stick! And she uses it in a Bank Statement crossface!!

Becky endures, turns purple, but wriggles her way under the bottom rope. There’s no ropebreak, but Becky keeps moving to get out of the ring entirely. They now tug o’ war for the stick, and Becky wins, to SMACK away on Sasha! Becky drags Sasha back around to whip, but Sasha reverses to send Becky into the hanging chair! Sasha’s method appears through the madness as she now puts Becky back in. Sasha brings chair after chair after chair with her! Fans are anticipating what plan the #Blueprint has, because it involves even more chairs! Some chairs even hit Becky as they’re tossed in. Sasha gives Becky a CON-CHAIR-TO! Repeatedly! Sasha gloats and soaks up all the noise. But she’s far from done. She climbs up, gloats more, but Becky throws chairs back at Sasha! Then climbs up top, SUPER BECKSPLODER, ONTO THE CHAIR PILE!! DISARM-HER!! Sasha pulls hair, grabs at chairs, but taps out! Becky wins!!

Winner: Becky via Disarm-Her

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NXT: NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Matt Riddle

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Cole goes out to the apron, smirking at Riddle. Cole leaps, into another Bro Trigger! Riddle puts Cole in, climbs up top, FLOATING BRO gets knees! Cole hurries to get up to the corner, leaps, PANAMA SUNRISE!! Cover, TWO!?! Riddle lives and Cole can’t believe it! Full Sail loses their minds as both men are stirring on the mat. Cole backs away to a corner as fans duel hard as ever. Cole aims, Riddle sits up, and Cole brings the knee pad down. Cole runs, but Riddle drops. But Cole just smirks, because he goes back to the corner. He hops up, leaps, but Riddle stops his sunrise! And spins it around, to the Bro to Sleep! Powerbomb, FINAL FLASH!! Riddle hurries, climbs, FLOATING BRO HITS! Cover, TWO!?! Now Cole shocks everyone! Fans argue over the decision, but somehow Cole survives, so they just figure, “Fight Forever!”

Riddle gets up and climbs again. Cole revives, stands up, and trips Riddle up in time! Cole climbs up to join Riddle but Riddle fights back. Riddle and Cole fight for control, and Riddle forearms Cole, and CHOPS him down! Riddle hops down, slingshots, into a SUPERKICK! And then a SUPERKICK to the back! Cole hops up again, leaps, PANAMA SUNRISE AGAIN!! riddle flounders, Cole hits- No, hi misses! BROMISSION!! Cole is caught! Full Sail is freaking out! Cole slips up and around to a cover, TWO! Riddle gets Cole with the Fujiwara! Cole’s bad arm is feeling even worse! But Cole crawls , so Riddle drags him away, only for Cole to crucifix roll-up! TWO and back to the Fujiwara! Riddle has the good arm, but that doesn’t change that it hurts. Cole slips out and CLOBBERS Riddle with the cast! LAST SHOT 2.0! Cole wins!!

Winner: Cole via Last Shot

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Thoughts:

So a plethora of questionable finishes aside, we did get some pretty high quality matches this week. The Women’s Hell in a Cell and NXT are easily the two that stick out the most to me, which is also a good reason why they’re 1 and 2. When it comes to my personal vote though, NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Matt Riddle, was just a better wrestling match. Both men showed up nicely, and to think it was the lead off match on a weekly TV episode and not on a PPV is just crazy.

Women’s Hell in a Cell shouldn’t be scoffed at, but Cole versus Riddle was just a damn good match to watch.


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Cook: Don’t Bet Against Greatness

It’s a mistake that’s easy to make, but it’s an equally important lesson to remember. As Steve Cook says: don’t bet against greatness.

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Tom Brady Super Bowl Trophy

It’s a mistake that’s easy to make, but it’s an equally important lesson to remember. As Steve Cook says: don’t bet against greatness.

It would take at least a thousand columns like this one to explain the biggest mistakes we pundits make. I use the phrase “we” because I’ll never sit here and tell you I’m infallible. I make more mistakes than I care to remember. Today, we’ll talk about one that I’m guilty of pretty often.

Too often, we don’t give greatness the benefit of the doubt.

We jump to quick conclusions when the greats of a genre do things that don’t seem in character, or are different from what we’re used to. We don’t consider the idea that maybe these people, who have already accomplished many things in life, might actually have a better idea what they can do to improve their future than we do.

Hard to believe, I know. This past weekend saw great success for two of the most successful people in the world of sports & entertainment. They serve as perfect examples of my hypothesis.

Example 1: Tom Brady

Tom Brady

For years, I have resisted the idea of calling Tom Brady the Greatest Quarterback of All Time. I never like crowning current stars the greatest of anything, as it disrespects the people that came before them. Unless they just accomplish so damn much that it’d be silly to deny them the honor. Sometimes, people get GOAT status that don’t really deserve it. They seem to be on pace to get there, but never make the jump.

Tom Brady made that jump a long time ago. There isn’t really a metric people can use to sell him short at this point. He’s at or near the top of every significant passing category in league history. There’s also the number of Super Bowls won, and number of rings/titles/championships always wins any sports argument, regardless of the sport. It can’t really be denied at this point.

The one thread people had to hang on to? Bill Belichick. The Patriot Way. Brady & Belichick formed a dynasty together. The other players & assistant coaches always changed, but Tom & Bill were always there. Which provided a bit of drama over the past few years whenever we needed something to talk about. Who was responsible for the success? The answer was obviously a little bit of both, but it was always a big debate.

Brady went to Tampa, and some folks thought it might not work. Many talking heads went on about how Tom was just going to Tampa because he wanted out of the cold weather. He just wanted to have fun for the last couple years of his career. They didn’t think that he could do these things and also win championships.

He’s one game away from doing just that. Are you going to bet against him? I’m not!

Example 2: Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon Laughing

How many articles have you read questioning McMahon’s mental acumen? Especially over the past several years as he’s advanced in age? It seems like everybody has dismissed the old man as a fossil that needs to step aside and let the kids run things.

We think we have evidence for this theory from WWE television. I’ll admit it, Raw most weeks is thoroughly unwatchable. You may disagree, but I’m the one typing this thing up. SmackDown is a little bit better, but Raw’s ineptitude overshadows it for the most part. Then there’s NXT, which most people seem to agree goes downhill the more that Vince pays attention to it.

A good percentage of the Internet wishes that Vince would step aside and not be all over everything.

This places us on the opposite side of most investors, who don’t watch the shows religiously, if at all, and don’t get inside knowledge from the dirt sheets & message boards. What they know is that Vince McMahon is the most successful promoter in wrestling history, and that he knows how to make a lot of money. Which, most would argue, is a lot more important than the quality of the shows one produces.

McMahon has shown an ability to make the right business moves at the right time. 1984 was the right time to go national and wipe out the territories, cable television expanding wrestling program reach made it only a matter of time. Vince was the first one to jump.

The late 1990s when the company was at a mainstream acceptance high was the right time to go public. You didn’t see him trying it in the early 1990s when he was fighting off various scandals and the company was at a mainstream acceptance low. Once people forgot about the steroid & sex stuff and saw how popular the Superstars of the time were, it was time to buy in.

Streaming was the wave of the future when WWE Network started becoming a thing. It was the culmination of nearly thirty years of Vince McMahon collecting nearly every bit of wrestling footage he could. He wanted to own wrestling & create his own history, then he wanted to get everybody else’s history too. He got most of it. There’s stuff sitting in the WWE archives that still hasn’t seen the light of day, and maybe it never will. Everybody and their brother has some kind of streaming service now. WWE was there before most, and now they got the chance to cash in from a media company trying to bolster their own streaming service.

Now, McMahon’s business record isn’t perfect. We know about the WBF & the XFL (twice). We remember how WWE wasn’t the original name. The early 90s scandals have been mentioned. And as major UFC and boxing events have shown, Vince was too quick to give up on pay per view. Left some money on the table there.

Every businessman makes mistakes. Its how they recover from those mistakes that matters. McMahon always comes out of his smelling like roses. There’s never really a long-term negative effect afterward. Vince got Dwayne Johnson to buy the XFL. His attempt to compete in bodybuilding led to no hard feelings. We all eventually got used to saying & writing “WWE”.

All those things we get mad at about Vince? They don’t keep most of us from watching his programming. Which is why WWE is so valuable to media companies. WWE has an audience that it can’t scare away, no matter what it does. People will follow them from USA to Fox to Spike TV to the WWE Network, whatever’s got some of that sweet content.

So the next time somebody wants to tell you that Old Man Vince is out of touch and doesn’t get it anymore…ask that person the last time they deposited a billion dollar check. If it was sometime in the last week, then they might have a point.

I might not be in love with most of the wrestling Vince McMahon produces these days. Are you going to bet against him making money off of it? I’m not!

Do not bet against greatness. More often than not, you will lose.


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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 1/24/2021

Well even on a quiet-ish week, all of the bigger NA companies get a version of representation and even AJPW found their way into the Top 5! Let’s see what we’re working with!

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Well now, we didn’t have much that really stood out on North American television, but we did get a few additions from All Japan Pro Wrestling!

Last week’s voting was pretty cut and dry, NXT UK: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs A-Kid, managed to control the voting narrative. Now we get this week, and it’s definitely a little more interesting.

Which match will get the most support? Let’s find out!

Quick Top 5:

  1. AJPW New Year Wars Final Round: Triple Crown Championship: SUWAMA (c) vs Shotaro Ashino
    Rating: **** 1/4
  2. AJPW New Years Wars Final Round: World Junior Championship: Fuminori Abe vs Koji Iwamoto (c)
    Rating: *** 3/4
  3. WWE Raw: Ricochet vs AJ Styles
    Rating: *** 3/4
  4. IMPACT! Private Party w/Big Money Matt Hardy vs Beer Guns (James Storm & Chris Sabin)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  5. NXT: Fight Pit: Tommaso Ciampa vs Timothy Thatcher
    Rating: *** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • NXT UK: Dave Mastiff vs Rampage Brown
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NXT: Imperium vs Lucha House Party
    Rating: ***
  • WWE Raw: Asuka vs Alexa Bliss
    Rating: ***
  • AEW Dynamite: MJericho vs Sammy Hager vs Santana & Ortiz
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff VS The Way
    Rating: ***

4t. NXT: Fight Pit: Tommaso Ciampa vs Timothy Thatcher

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

The ref checks on Thatcher but Thatcher grabs at Ciampa over the ref’s back! Ciampa uses the leverage for WILLOW’S BELL!! But Ciampa can’t win off a cover, he wants to know if that knocked Thatcher out! The ref starts a count, Thatcher is still conscious but he has to get up before 10! The count is 5, then 6! Thatcher uses the cage and drags himself up at 9.9! But Ciampa CLOBBERS him, underhooks, but Thatcher spins out to throw EuroUppers! Ciampa forearms, they’re brawling back and forth with fury! The fans are fired up as Ciampa CHOPS but Thatcher tackles him into steel!

Ciampa throws elbows, has a facelock, and he RAMS Thatcher into steel! FAIRYTALE ENDING!! And then a SLEEPER HOLD!! Ciampa wants Thatcher to pass out, but Thatcher fights up! And scoops Ciampa to RAM him into the steel! Thatcher gets Ciampa in a sleeper hold of his own, but Ciampa uses the corner to go up! Thatcher shoves Ciampa into the corner! Thatcher CLUBS Ciampa over and over and over, then has the leg trapped in the girder! HANGING STRETCH MUFFLER!! Ciampa shouts in pain, he TAPS! THATCHER WINS!!

Winner: Thatcher Hanging Stretch Muffler

 

4t. IMPACT! Private Party w/Big Money Matt Hardy vs Beer Guns (James Storm & Chris Sabin)

From My Results:

Fast paced as expected, but early on we see Tony Khan and Jerry Lynn walk out to sit at ringside and watch the match. Storm didn’t slow down too much, which is surprising since aside from his brief stint back in Impact at the end of 2020, we saw him tagging with Eli Drake in much slower, less workrate dependent matches.

Private Party were their usual high flying, fun having, break dance inspired flourishes to some offense we’ve seen for years. Beer Guns had a cool tandem move with Sabin Sunset Flipping from outside in, Quen rolled right into the Backstabber from James Storm. Lots of signature spam, a few dives, highlighted by a nice Fosbury Flop from Quen.

Sabin looked to be setting up for the finish, when Jerry Lynn hops the familiar guardrail, grabs Sabin’s foot while Matt Hardy distracted the ref; and Private Party hit Gin & Juice for the heel tactic upset! Interestingly, Private Party still comes off as great babyface kids who are being swindled by scummy adults. So they aren’t playing heel, but everyone around them is doing it for them.

Winner: Private Party via Gin & Juice

 

2t. WWE Raw: Ricochet vs AJ Styles

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Ricochet is frustrated but Omos is relieved as Styles survives. Ricochet fireman’s carries but Styles fights out. Ricochet mule kicks a leg then back flips into the DEAD LIFT GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO! Ricochet grows further frustrated but he watches Styles stand. Ricochet runs out from the corner but Styles dodges. Styles runs in, Ricochet elbows back, QUEBRADA into a LARIAT! Styles gets Ricochet up, SNAP BRAIN BUSTER!! Cover, TWO!! Styles fireman’s carries Ricochet for USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO! Omos says it’s alright but Styles is still surprised Ricochet survives!

Styles goes to a corner, goes to the apron, and takes aim. Styles springboards, but Ricochet hits the RECOIL!! Both men are down, Ricochet crawls to the cover, TWO!! Styles survives and Ricochet is beside himself! Ricochet goes to the corner, climbs up top, but Styles trips him up! Ricochet lands hard on his stomach and flops to the apron! Omos coaches Styles as Ricochet drags himself up. Styles goes to the corner, brings Styles up, but Ricochet hotshots! Ricochet aims, slingshots, but into Styles’ suplex, that rebounds off the ropes! Into the STYLES CLASH!!! Cover, Styles wins!

Winner: AJ Styles via Styles Clash

 

2t. AJPW New Years Wars Final Round: World Junior Championship: Fuminori Abe vs Koji Iwamoto (c)

Iwamoto has finally started to blossom as the Ace of the current Junior Division. Fuminori Abe on the other hand, is a freelancer who can do anything and everything. This should be a great test for the Junior Ace, since Abe can hit you from every conceivable angle.

There’s a brief period of feeling out we saw the versatility of Abe. He delved into a little bit of his comedic side with the long set up on a Penalty Kick to the back, but he also snapped off some great Frankensteiners and high spots. He also worked over the upper body well to try and go for his signature Octopus Hold, but Iwamoto was able to get the rope break.

Iwamoto’s saving grace was his Judo background. A few Dropkicks to get distance and just catching Abe with multiple Judo Throws, set up beautifully for the Koko no Geijutsu, because it is also a fast snapping Judo Throw, but he uses the ropes for the added momentum to make it a finish.

Smooth as butter, and only rated under a 4 because of how fast the match was. If it had a longer build or another back and forth, this could’ve been epic. But it was still a damn great match.

After the match Cima challenged via video.

Winner: Koji Iwamoto via Koko no Geijutsu

 

1. AJPW New Year Wars Final Round: Triple Crown Championship: SUWAMA (c) vs Shotaro Ashino

Suwama’s hand picked opponent because of their similarities. Ashino being the former ace of Wrestle-1, a disciple of Keiji Mutoh and an accomplish amateur style wrestler; this all rings true with Suwama. So we get part two of the Mutoh’s favorite son challenge!

This match did have a few of the same issues as their first one, since a slower mat based style doesn’t resonate well with no crowd or a muted crowd. Suwama did keep up with Ashino for the most part, and the match had many similar elements as the first match. Ashino worked over the Ankle and went for the Ankle Lock; where Suwama showed he could counter most of it and apply his own submissions.

Smartly, Ashino did his best to avoid the Last Ride Powerbomb, which is how he lost his first challenge, and force Suwama to dig deeper. Ashino was explosive with German Suplexes, but he fell into the SANADA trap. Ashino drags Suwama to position him from the corner, even commentary is confused since Ashino is no high flier, but Ashino goes for the Mutoh Moonsault, and hits nothing!

After the miss it felt like Ashino was looking for something he didn’t have to take down Suwama. Suwama did have to pull off numerous Backdrop Drivers and finally the Backdrop Suplex Hold to retain the title. A very solid defense that built off the previous matchup, and would’ve been much better if the mat wrestling didn’t feel like it dragged because of the world situation.

Kohei Sato comes out after to challenge.

Winner: Suwama via Backdrop Suplex Hold

 

Thoughts:

Now I’m really intrigued at how this vote will shake out. A few matches from the lesser view AJPW, a match from Raw, a crossover with AEW & Impact and a gimmick match from NXT.

My vote personally will go to Private Party vs Beer Guns, because this is the first interaction that really does feel interesting for the invasion/war/crossover/takeover whatever story. Great use of former Impact talent, great screwjob and ideally should lead to bigger things. Plus it’s nice to see a younger/undercard team like Private Party getting their star elevated a bit.

Do I think any of these matches touch the first week of the year? No, not at all. But they weren’t stinkers, so let’s make the month interesting before Royal Rumble!


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