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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 11/3/2019

A fun Friday and general interesting week should give us some good matches. What made the Top 5?

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A fun Friday and general interesting week should give us some good matches. What made the Top 5?

Since most of the Top 5 happened in November, I figured we’d seal up the October pool with the winner of last week.

October Pool:

  • NXT: NXT Championship: Matt Riddle vs Adam Cole (c)
  • NXT: UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs Kushida
  • NJPW King of Pro Wrestling, Minoru Suzuki vs Jyushin Thunder Liger
  • NXT: North American Championship: Roderick Strong (c) vs Keith Lee vs Dominiki Dijakovic

SO –  it’s a very NXT heavy pool for October. All of these matches were damn good, but my vote will go to, Suzuki vs Liger, because of the history between the two.

Now let me just say, I wanted to watch MLW Saturday Night Superfight, but I had previously made plans for Saturday, and couldn’t find time to fit it into my Sunday.

With that said, this is the Top 5 of what I saw!

5, AEW Dynamite: Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals: SCU (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr & Fenix)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Fans rally up, hot tag to Scorpio! Scorpio rallies on the Lucha Brothers, big leaping elbow and a big dropkick take them down! Scorpio runs in at Pentagon but is put on the apron. He hits back and slingshots, headscissors throws Pentagon out! Fenix returns, waistlocks but Scorpio elbows free. Scorpio runs, dodges Fenix and FLIES out onto Pentagon! Scorpio hurries back but Fenix wrecks him with a dropkick! Kaz climbs up to LEAP! His huricanrana crashes against the apron as he throws Fenix onto Pentagon! All four men are down and the referee checks on Kaz again. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” but Kaz almost did himself in. Teams regroup and Scorpio has Pentagon. Kaz runs in and gets the assist for the tornado DDT! Fenix runs in, Scorpio tilt-o-whirls for his own DDT! Cover, TWO!! SCU almost had it but Scorpio calls Kaz in.

Scorpio chicken wings Fenix up but Pentagon runs in to kick SCU away. Pentagon lines up the shot, springboard DESTROYER! Scorpio boots Fenix and runs, into a somersault CUTTER! Cover, TWO!! Fenix is shocked but “This is Awesome!” Scorpio fights out of a waistlock again, but Fenix reels him out. They both run, they both crossbody! Pentagon aims at Kaz and runs over, but Kaz hops over to then kick. Pentagon blocks and says Cero Miedo, before he POWERBOMBS Kaz through the timekeeper’s table!! Fans lose their minds, Kaz has to be broken here. Pentagon and Fenix regroup but Scorpio fights them both! He runs, into a SUPERKICK! Fenix gets the boost from Pentagon for a BIG splash! Cover, TWO!! But the Lucha Brothers coordinate, Fenix climbs but Scorpio cradle counters! Somehow Kaz is back and he intercepts Fenix, SCU WINS?!

Winner:  Sky via Cradle

Rating: ****

 

4. Impact World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match: Brian Cage (c) vs Sami Callihan

From my Analysis:
This started off before the bell even rang. Callihan Dropkicked the door before Cage could get in, and we saw a brawl on the outside. Callihan got some space, ran into the cage and locked the door. So he thought he was pretty smart until Brian Cage scaled the steel cage like a Silverback. King Kong ain’t got shit on Brian Cage.

Their Bound for Glory match was a great blood feud match and this was as well. Hell they even flipped the blood. Sami was busted open at Bound for Glory and Cage was busted open during this match. We saw some great brawling, solid spurts of great moves and solid workrate, but everything worked towards their overall story and who they both were. Callihan was dirty and aggressive, Cage was resilient and wouldn’t die, like The Terminator that he is.

Sami dodged most of Brian’s bigger moves. Lands 3 Piledrivers in a row, but Cage kicked out and even managed to land a Discus Lariat for a near fall. Cage takes things to the turnbuckle, looks for something big, but Sami fights back, rocks Cage and hits an Avalanche Piledriver. Callihan goes for the cover and… wins the championship!

Winner: Callihan via Avalanche Piledriver

Rating: ****

 

3. NJPW Power Struggle: Super Junior Tag League Finals: Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH) vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

From my Analysis:
Kanemaru and Desperado jump SHO and YOH during entrances, SHO was laid out on the ramp and YOH fought a handicap match for a good portion of this. The heel team pulled out chairshots and the Satori Mist, but the fan favorite Roppongi team, played great babyfaces in peril. SHO’s back was heavily taped up before the match, so that was an easy target. This was just a lot of resolve shown from SHO and YOH. SHO eventually got the hot tag, sold his ass off, and there were believable near falls on both sides. With the win, Roppongi 3k becomes the first team to win 3 years in a row. Really good, Rock ‘n’ Roll Express style match

Winner: SHO via 3k

Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW Power Struggle: Taichi w/Miho Abe vs Tetsuya Naito
Winner: Naito via Destino
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW Power Struggle: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs Will Ospreay (c)
Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker
Rating: *** 3/4
NXT: Women’s Tag Team Championship: Asuka & Kairi Sane (c) vs Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai
Winner: Kairi via Insane Elbow
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Power Struggle: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White (c) vs Hirooki Goto
Winner: White via Blade Runner
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT: NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era vs Keith Lee & Matt Riddle
Winner: Undisputed Era via Total Elimination
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT!: Naomichi Marufuji vs Josh Alexander w/Ethan Page
Winner: Marufuji via Shiranui
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: Io Shirai vs Candice LeRae
Winner: Io via conveniently placed chair
Rating: *** 1/4
NWA Powerrr: Ken Anderson, Nick Aldis & Colt Cabana vs James Storm, Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer
Winner: Colt via Superman Pin
Rating: *** 1/4
AEW Dynamite: Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs Kip Sabian, Jack Evans & Angelico
Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Power Struggle: Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki vs EVIL, SANADA & Shingo Takagi
Winner: SANADA via Rolling Double Leg Cradle
Rating: ***
WWE Crown Jewel: Team Hogan vs Team Flair
Winner: Roman Reigns via Spear
Rating: ***
NJPW Power Struggle: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada
Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow
Rating: ***
WWE SmackDown: The Miz vs Tommaso Ciampa
Winner: Ciampa via Fairytale Ending
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Becky Lynch vs Kairi Sane
Winner: Becky via Disarm Her
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: Street Fight: Ace Austin vs Eddie Edwards
Winner: Austin via Avalanche Fold through table
Rating: ***
WWE Crown Jewel: Mansoor vs Cesaro
Winner: Mansoor via Moonsault
Rating: ***
AEW Dynamite: Hikaru Shida vs Shanna
Winner: Hikaru via Knee Strike
Rating: ***
NXT: Cameron Grimes vs Tyler Bate
Winner: Grimes via Running Double Foot Stomp
Rating: ***
NJPW Power Struggle: Rocky Romero & Robbie Eagles vs ELP & Taiji Ishimori
Winner: ELP via CR2
Rating: ***

 

2. WWE Friday Night SmackDown: NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Daniel Bryan

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Bryan wrenches hard but Cole manages to roll to the ropebreak! Bryan lets go but damage has been done. Bryan wants Cole to get up, and then he gives a YES Kick to the leg! “You want to be a champion?! Get up!!” Cole does and fires off forearms, but he gets kicks and CHOPS! Bryan fireman’s carries, but Cole pops out to a BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO, into the LEBELLE LOCK!! Cole is caught, HHH is freaking out again, but Cole pops out, only to get Danielson Stomps! Bryan then drags Cole back into position, for another LeBelle Lock!! HHH shouts at Cole as Cole endures, and Cole works his way around. Cole reaches, but Bryan grabs the other arm for a Rings of Saturn! Cole uses his legs for the ropebreak! HHH is relieved but still frustrated that his champion is on the defensive.

Fans duel harder as Bryan gives Cole YES Kicks! Kick after kick after kick, but the buzzsaw misses! Cole O’Conner rolls, but Bryan pulls out of it, TWO! BUZZSAW! But Cole gets to a corner while Bryan fires himself up. Bryan is in the opposite corner, runs out, but into a SUPERKICK! Cole hops up, Bryan stands, PANAMA SUNRISE!! But that’s not all, LAST SHOT 2.0!! Cover, Cole wins!!

Winner: Cole via Last Shot

Rating: ****

 

1. NJPW Power Struggle: NEVER Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii vs KENTA (c)

From My Analysis:
Both men have a pretty big dislike for one another. Ishii is still irritated at KENTA for his betrayal and the way he screwed him in the tag team championship match. KENTA however, is just reveling in being a smug prick for all of the fans to hate.

This match was probably KENTA’s best match since joining Bullet Club. Great hard hitting back and forth matchup, no Bullet Club interference, and no one can question his health or ability to take a hit. KENTA gave a few glimpses of old NOAH KENTA, with great striking, a cold demeanor and enjoying inflicting the pain. The fact that KENTA lowered the knee pad and hit a second Go 2 Sleep, just to make a point, says a lot without saying anything at all. Damn good match.

Winner: KENTA via Go 2 Sleep

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Thoughts

We had a lot of good television matches, so much so, they hold their own against the New Japan event. I really enjoyed Callihan finally getting his culmination as the World Champion. SCU winning makes me happy for Scorpio Sky, since he’s done so much on the Indy level, he finally gets a large accolade. Also, can’t forget how fun SmackDown was, so we need more NXT invasions.

However, my vote goes to, KENTA vs Ishii, not because of a bias, but because it was KENTA’s best match since the G1. Plus it can’t be understated that KENTA won the match with no help. So Ishii got a legit match out of Bullet Club KENTA.

Cast your vote! Let me know what you think!


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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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