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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 1/5/2020

First week of 2020! Let’s see how much of the Top 5 is dominated by Wrestle Kingdom!

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First week of 2020! Let’s see how much of the Top 5 is dominated by Wrestle Kingdom!

Now this first Top 5 of the year will not be something for fans who don’t watch puroresu. Also, taking some readers thoughts into consideration, I figured I would change the format of the article a little. At the top will be a quick Top 5, with the matches and ratings, below will contain the match picture, finish and analysis.

So if you didn’t see the match yet, the Quick Top 5 can be a reference tool for things to search out without knowing too much about the match. Honorable Mentions also won’t contain the finish.

Admittedly, Wrestle Kingdom’s format screwed that up a little since the Winner Take All match, spoils other matches purely by how the two cards were conceived. Moving forward though, the Quick Top 5 won’t contain any spoilers.

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: Double Gold Dash Winner Takes All IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Tetsuya Naito (c)
    Rating: *****
  2. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White (c)
    Rating: *****
  3. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1: IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kota Ibushi
    Rating: **** 1/2
  4. AJPW New Year Wars Day 2: Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara (c) vs Jake Lee
    Rating: **** 1/2
  5. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi vs Will Ospreay (c)
    Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: Chris Jericho vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: ****
    NOAH Reboot: GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima) (c) vs Naomichi Marufuji & Masaaki Mochizuki
    Rating: ****
    NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto vs KENTA (c)
    Rating: ****
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 2: Vacant Junior Heavyweight Championship: Susumu Yokosuka vs Hikaru Sato
    Rating: ****
    NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: British Heavyweight Championship: SANADA vs Zack Sabre Jr (c)
    Rating: *** 3/4
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 1: World Tag Team Championship: Violence Giant (Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa) vs Zeus & Ryoji Sai (c)
    Rating: *** 3/4
    NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: Jay White vs Kota Ibushi
    Rating: *** 3/4
    AEW Dynamite: Cody vs Darby Allin
    Rating: *** 3/4
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 2: Shigehiro Irie & Lucas Steel vs Shuji Ishikawa & Yusuke Oakda
    Rating: *** 1/2
    NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: IWGP Junior Tag Titles: El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori (c) vs Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH)
    Rating: *** 1/2
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 1: Susumu Yokosuka vs Koji Iwamoto
    Rating: *** 1/2
    WWE Raw: Buddy Murphy vs Aleister Black
    Rating: *** 1/2
    NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: Liger the Final: Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi vs Jyushin Thunder Liger & Naoki Sano w/Yoshiaki Fujiwara
    Rating: *** 1/2
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 2: Yuma Aoyagi, Ryoji Sai, Danny Jones & Ayato Yoshida vs Zeus, KAI, Naoya Nomura & Yoshi-Tatsu
    Rating: *** 1/4
    AEW Dynamite: Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs PAC & Lucha Bros
    Rating: *** 1/4
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 1: Omori Hokuto, Yuma Aoyagi, Kento Miyahara & Yoshi-Tatsu vs Izanagi, Shigehiro Irie, Utamaru & Lucas Steel
    Rating: *** 1/4
    NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: IWGP US Championship: Juice Robinson vs Jon Moxley (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 1: Kagetora vs Hikaru Sato
    Rating: *** 1/4
    AEW Dynamite: Fatal 4 Way AEW Women’s Championship: Riho vs Nyla Rose vs Hikaru Shida vs Britt Baker
    Rating: ***
    NOAH Reboot: Tadasuke, Daisuke Harada, YO-HEY, HAYATA & Keiji Mutoh vs Chris Ridgeway, Yoshinari Ogawa, Kotaro Suzuki, Atsushi Kotoge & Doug Williams
    Rating: ***
    WWE Raw: Andrade vs Ricochet
    Rating: ***
    AJPW New Year Wars Day 2: Kagetora, Black Menso-re & Nasahiro Takanashi vs Koji Iwamoto, Fumnori Abe & Francesco Akira
    Rating: ***
    NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1: Liger the Final: Ryusuke Taguchi, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Shinjiro Otani & Naoki Sano w/Kuniaki Kobayashi vs Great Sasuke, Tatsumi Fujinami, Tiger Mask IV & Jyushin Thunder Liger w/El Samurai
    Rating: ***

 

5. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi vs Will Ospreay (c)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Hiromu has a wild look in his eyes again as he brings Ospreay up into a fireman’s carry. Corner Death Valley! Hiromu drags Ospreay up, fireman’s carry and a spin, but Ospreay kicks free! Hiromu SUPERKICKS, and SUPERKICKS! Ospreay is on his knees but Hiromu fireman’s carries. Ospreay slips out, HOOK KICK! Underhoooks, Canadian rack but Hiromu slips out, only to run into a SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives but Ospreay wants the kill shot! Hiromu rises, Ospreay aims, HIDDEN BLADE!! But Ospreay doesn’t cover, he underhooks and drags Hiromu up! Canadian rack, but Hiromu pops through to hit ANOTHER DESTROYER! Cover, TWO?!?! Ospreay survives again and Tokyo is electric!

Hiromu drags himself up with the ropes and shouts at Ospreay! Hiromu runs to LARIAT!! But he’s not done, fireman’s carry to TIME BOMB!! Cover, TWO!?!? This cannot be! Hiroum is beside himself, but he drags Ospreay up again. Hiromu runs, runs and LARIATS! Then a scoop, tucking Ospreay in, INVERTED AIR RAID!! Cover, Hiromu wins!!

Winner: Hiromu via Time Bomb 2

 

4. AJPW New Year Wars Day 2: Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara (c) vs Jake Lee

From my Analysis:
This is Jake’s second attempt at the Triple Crown championship in less than 9 months and his 4th singles match against Kento in the same span of time (finals of Champion Carnival and Royal Road tournaments). Jake managed to win the Royal Road Tournament, but he’s come up short when it really counts. Can he over come the Triple Crown demon that is Kento Miyahara?

Both men start off quickly aiming for the head. Moments where they’d usually give respite for a little gloating or mocking are quickly met with a kick in the face. There isn’t quite the level of disdain that Jake had in his last match, but both men are trying to create openings by striking early and often in the earlier portions of the match.

After a Big Boot from Jake knocks Kento to the floor from the turnbuckle, his countenance changes a bit. Apron PK, and the sarcastic side comes out a little as he mimics the count on the outside with a big grin on his face. He breaks the count to put Kento on the apron, pick his face up to the crowd and then raise a knee into his chin. Kento does manage to turn the tide with an Apron Piledriver, which sets up for a Blackout, and when he goes for a second Blackout, Jake catches it and kicks him in the face for his troubles.

Both men are exhausted and mostly throwing haymakers at this point. Kento with the German Suplex and Blackout, Jake hit his Giant Killing Backdrop, but only for two. It was just last ditch efforts from both, but Jake got caught with a Blackout after Kento countered the Backdrop, and that was the opening Kento needed to slap on the Shutdown Suplex, and make his 9th successful defense.

Winner: Kento via Shutdown Suplex Hold

 

3. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1: IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kota Ibushi

From My Analysis:
As with many Okada matches it’s hard to really put to words how the match plays out. This one was a slow build and honestly, following the other two matches, it was a little bland early on. They both traded strikes, but it wasn’t until Okada unlocked Ibushi’s second health bar, that we saw the dark side of Ibushi show up and turn up everything.

Ibushi with the closed fists, stiff kicks, generally head hunting and looking like he was trying to actually injure Okada. Ibushi also tapped into a few friends/idols moves with a Bom-Ba-Ye, V-Trigger, and an attempted Avalanche Tiger Driver. Okada pulled out some old tricks, Red Ink, Heavy Rain, Rolling Rainmaker and the Fire/Thunder Driver, before winning with the Rainmaker. The second half of this match made it one worth watching.

Winner: Okada via Rainmaker

 

2. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 1: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White (c)

From My Analysis:
We watch a great story play out in this match. Naito’s usual Traquilo countenance has changed over the last few months with all of the loses and short comings. Jay has managed to take advantage of short cuts, blindside attacks and general great heel tactics. Naito’s evolution and Jay embracing his character fully has been wonderful during this feud. So we finally get to see which one has come further when there’s double gold on the line.

Naito brought a meticulous and methodical approach early on, but Gedo’s interference proved to be exactly what White needed to regain advantages. White worked over the knees, which Naito sold well, had a huge Chairshot while Red Shoes was recovering from a bump, and just a lot of great near falls and moments to keep you on the edge of your seat. The story played out perfectly with Naito being able to Jay behind him, but not without tons of struggles and nearly failing again. Now, one more step for Naito.

Winner: Naito wins via Destino

 

1. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Day 2: Double Gold Dash Winner Takes All IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Tetsuya Naito (c)

From My Analysis:
As we’ve grown to expect, this wasn’t going to be a short match. The progression in the story was fantastic. Naito showed his undying resolve and Okada went from just wanting to prove he’s the best, to things turning a little to him wanting to send a message while taking out Naito.

Okada pulled out most of his tricks against Ibushi, so we didn’t really see any special moves, more just his attitude slowly changed as the match went on. Naito though, he pulled off the Stardust Press which he doesn’t try often and was his old finisher before his Los Ingobernables persona. This was a classic back and forth, but you knew it was going to be great when Naito kicked out of the Rainmaker. It happens so infrequently anymore, and the match hit one final gear before Naito figured out a way to hit a second Gloria and then the official Destino, to become the first ever dual singles champion!

Winner: Naito via Destino

 

Thoughts:

It’s an impressive week when nothing in the Top 5 is less than a 4.5 – that’s just insane quality. Like I said, if you don’t watch puroresu or haven’t gotten through everything, this isn’t going to be a week for you. But aside from that, we’ve got a vote that happens weekly!

My vote will go to, Double Gold Dash: Tetsuya Naito vs Kazuchika Okada. It’s very close between the two Naito matches for me, since they both told great parts of the story. But the final chapter of this story paid off wonderfully, had great work and was just what most people wanted. So here’s to hoping Naito gets a decent reign out of this.

Let your opinion be known about the new format and of course, your choice for Match of the Week!


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Opinion

NXT Minus 6: Let’s Make History!

Bradley Jay makes history in this week’s edition of the NXT Minus 6. What kind of history is he making? Well, that’s for you to read and see!

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WWE NXT Undisputed Era Breezango

Bradley Jay makes history in this week’s edition of the NXT Minus 6. What kind of history is he making? Well, that’s for you to read and see!

This will be the most historic column in the history of history!

Less than half of Americans know that alcohol is a carcinogen. Big Booze wants to keep it that way.

6. Did you notice how many people want to make history? It’s all anybody talked about this week. I turned it into a drinking game. Every time someone said they wanted to make history, I took a shot. After 10 minutes, I died from alcohol poisoning. So much history.

NXT's Shotzi Blackheart Reveals Ember Moon as Women's Dusty Classic Partner

5. Shotzi Blackheart will make history as the first person with green hair to win a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro will become the first tag team in history to win a DRTTC whose collective weight would qualify for 205 Live. Ember Moon will make history as the first person to leave NXT, return and win a tournament that didn’t exist the first time she was there. BTW, the tag team I want to see is Kayden Carter & Ember Moon.  

MSK Revealed After Debut on Tonight's WWE NXT

4. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory will make history as the first mentor/mentee team to win the DRTTC. KUSHIDA will make history as the first wrestler to win in all caps! MSK will make history as having the most God-awful name of any team to win. Unless it’s a shout out to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, then the name is doo doo on a stick.

Killian Dain | WWE3. Grizzled Young Veterans are sssssooooooon to make history as the first team to lose in the finals and win it the next year. Killian Dain by himself will be the hairiest team ever to win the DRTTC. Bollywood Boyz will make history as the first…I can’t finish that sentence. Those gomers aren’t winning Jack Squat. 

WWE NXT Releases the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Bracket

2. Overall, it was a good start to the tournament. Every match was 3.5 stars. Nothing memorable, nothing horrible. Breezango versus Undisputed Era was the best of the bunch. It would have been better without the horribly overbooked end. I’m not sure the point of it all if Breezango couldn’t use it to pick up a victory.   

Video: Wade Barrett sits down with Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher before NXT Fight Pit on WWE NXT - Wrestling Inc.

1. “You look like a man who is questioning if he’s still got it.” It was a filler line, but that’s the story! I’m slightly excited for Tommaso Ciampa versus Timothy Thatcher, primarily because of the Fight Pit. Right now, it’s two tough guys wanting to beat each other up. I want to see Ciampa fighting to prove he’s still got it. I want to see Thatcher fighting to crush the soul of the locker room leader. That’s the story.  


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Cook: Breaking Down The 2021 NFL Divisional Round

Steve Cook breaks down the NFL Divisional Round Playoffs, getting you ready for one of the best football weekends of the year!

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NFL Divisional Round Playoffs Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers

Steve Cook breaks down the NFL Divisional Round Playoffs, getting you ready for one of the best football weekends of the year!

Many experts say that the Divisional Round is the best weekend of the NFL season, and I agree with them. The Wild Card Weekend gets rid of all the riff-raff, and we’re left with teams that deserve to be there. A bitter pill to swallow for me as a Cincinnati Bengals fan whose team can never win one playoff game when they get there, due to the Bo Jackson Curse. I still have to swallow it because it is what it is. The cream rises to the top, and any team that manages to win one playoff game has earned their position on the stage.

I know everybody out there is wondering who will win these games. Fortunately, I’m here to break it down for you, and let you know what’s going to happen. After all, I did win 3 out of the 3 fantasy leagues I was in this season. Just saying, I know what these folks are capable of statistically. Ask anybody here on The Chairshot. I broke them all down and made them humble at some point during the fantasy season. Laid waste to all these folks, who all are intelligent in their own right. No disrespect to anybody I was up against. Their arms were just too short to box with God.

Saturday, 4:35 PM: LA Rams at Green Bay Packers

You know it’s a stacked weekend of action when this is the curtain-jerker. We got the best defense in the NFL going against Aaron Rodgers, on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Where there will be 6,000 ticketed fans, along with first responders. Not enough to make a difference like a typical Packers home game.

As good as that Rams defense is, you don’t like them nearly as much when Aaron Donald is off the field. Donald says he’s ready to do, so does Jared Goff, so the Rams are heading into Green Bay with all hands on deck. I went with the Rams at +6.5, largely because they’re looking as healthy as possible heading into this one, and you have to be impressed with what they did in Seattle. That being said, the Packers represent much stiffer competition. And I don’t care if Aaron Rodgers has only won one Super Bowl, I’m still picking his team to win in Green Bay. They don’t have to leave Wisconsin until the Super Bowl, though they might want to leave before then.

Yeah, I know. Kentucky guy talking state smack.

Cook’s Pick: Green Bay Packers

Saturday, 8:15 PM: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

Lamar Jackson finally got that monkey off of his back and won a playoff game. I was in a tough spot seeing Lamar compared to Andy Dalton, a perfectly competent Bengals QB that couldn’t win a postseason game. This is the closest line right now, because Vegas and everybody knows this: Once you let Lamar Jackson out of his cage, he’ll pile the bodies to the sky. One of the most fun athletes to watch of my, or anybody else’s, lifetime. I mean, if you don’t like Lamar, what do you like?

I’m a big fan of the Bills’ story, and I’d like for them to go a long way. Josh Allen is a talented SOB and fun to watch. I’m not sure he’s as fun as Lamar Jackson, but then I’ve seen many more Lamar Jackson games. This will be a big game for the future of both men, and might not be the last time we see them face off in the playoffs. I picked Baltimore at +2.5 largely because of my Lamar Jackson fandom, and the fact that the Ravens are just one of those franchises that excel in the playoffs. You always see them making a deep run. Buffalo? Well, they had four pretty deep runs, and you don’t mention any of those in Buffalo if you want to get out alive.

Cook’s Pick: Baltimore Ravens

Sunday, 3:05 PM: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

One of those games that will be closer than it should be for most of the game. Imagine the Browns going into an overly loud Arrowhead Stadium against Patrick Mahomes. It would be ugly. The fact that this stadium won’t be crowded as usual kind of gives Cleveland a chance. The spread is -10. I’d typically take Cleveland on those odds in this environment. Except…man, that offense is pretty awesome and I bet KC wants to put on a show. Pittsburgh couldn’t do it because they’re awful, but Kansas City definitely can.

Browns fans are hoping that the Chiefs overlook them, and the team itself is trying to use Chiefs quotes as bulletin board material, but I just don’t see Kansas City overlooking these guys. The “NOBODY RESPECTS US!” motivational tactic is as old as time and more often than not is based off of nothing. Listen, if you’ve made it to this point of the NFL season, there is somebody out there that respects you. This is the best Browns team since the days of Bernie Kosar. Just don’t ask Cleveland fans of a certain age what happened when they played an AFC West team in the playoffs. Still a touchy subject.

I’m kind of hoping the Browns go away for one simple reason: It’s awkward being a Bengals fan and seeing everybody in love with these guys. Not to be “NOBODY RESPECTS US!” guy, but I sure don’t remember the Bengals getting the same type of good vibes from the people when they were good. What’s up with that?

Cook’s Pick: Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, 6:40 PM: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

We got Tom Brady & Drew Brees up past their bedtime. Nah, we need to get past the old people jokes, as honestly I’m pretty happy to see a game with two quarterbacks older than me playing in it. Makes me feel not quite as old. They still got skill too, both men were in the top 10 QBR rankings for the 2020 regular season. I’m pretty sure QBR gives Brady & Brees 50 points just based off of being Brady & Brees, but they still had impressive seasons. We’re talking about their buddy Ben Roethlisberger possibly retiring, but nobody’s really talking about either of these guys doing it. Unless they just want to go out on top, which with Brees is definitely a possibility.

The Saints won the first two meetings, and we all know the old saying about teams that meet three times. We also know that it’s dang near impossible to beat a Tom Brady-quarterbacked team in the postseason. Dude’s won more postseason games than some teams have won games over the past twenty years. OK, a little exaggeration, but would you be surprised if it’s true? Betting against Tom Brady in the postseason is like betting against Undertaker at WrestleMania. You just don’t do it.

Unless it’s in New Orleans.

Wrestling Fans

See what I did there? I like the Saints because I like their skill position players better. Alvin Kamara looks good and recovered from the rona. Michael Thomas is back in the mix, which can only be a good thing for the Saints’ passing game. They also have a slightly better defense, and we all know that as much as we talk about the shiny quarterbacks, defense wins championships. Saints in a barn burner to end the weekend on a good note.

Cook’s Pick: New Orleans Saints

Thanks for reading! Fun to do the ol’ sports again, maybe I’ll do more of it in the future…


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