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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 2/2/20

Stacked week of action with NOAH having a big event that was free for all to watch, NJPW with 2 New Beginning shows! How many matches have you seen?

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Stacked week of action with NOAH having a big event that was free for all to watch, NJPW with 2 New Beginning shows! How many matches have you seen?

Now whenever there are big Japanese events, we can usually expect some high quality matches. Nothing really crazy on American TV, but there was a match that snuck through.

Firstly, last week was the last match qualifier for January. So let’s go over the January Pool:

  • NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Double Gold Dash: Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito
  • NXT UK TakeOver Blackpool II: Tyler Bate vs Jordan Devlin
  • NXT: South Wales Subculture vs The BROserweights
  • WWE Royal Rumble: Men’s Royal Rumble

My vote for the month will go to Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito, that was a big culmination of a multi-year story and a damn good match to boot.

Now let’s get to this week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW The New Beginning 2.2: RevPro British Heavyweight Championship: Zack Sabre Jr (c) vs Will Ospreay
    Rating: **** 3/4
  2. NOAH Global Junior League Finals Day: GJL Finals: Dick Togo vs Daisuke Harada
    Rating: **** 3/4
  3. NJPW The New Beginning 2.1: NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto (c) vs Shingo Takagi
    Rating: **** 1/2
  4. NJPW The New Beginning 2.2: Taichi w/Miho Abe vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: **** 1/2
  5. NXT: Dusty Tag Team Classic Finals: BROserweights vs Grizzled Young Veterans
    Rating: ****
  6. NOAH Global Junior League Finals Day: GJL Semi-Finals: Daisuke Harada vs Hajime Ohara
    Rating: ****

Honorable Mentions:

NOAH Global Junior League Finals: Sugiura-gun (Hideki Suzuki, Kazuyuki Fujita & Takashi Suguira) vs AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima) & Shuhei Taniguchi
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW New Beginning 2.1: EVIL vs Tomohiro Ishii
Rating: *** 3/4
IMPACT!: Best of 5 Series: Match 1: Eddie Edwards vs Michael Elgin
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW New Beginning 2.2: Robbie Eagles, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii vs Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & EVIL
Rating: *** 1/2
NOAH Global Junior League Finals: KONGOH (Yoshiki Inamura, Masa Kitamiya, Nio, Hao & Kenoh) vs Junta Miyawaki, Minoru Tanaka, Kaito Kiyomiya, Hitoshi Kumano & Naomichi Marufuji
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW New Beginning 2.1: Kazuchika Okada & Jon Moxley vs Taichi & Minoru Suzuki
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW New Beginning 2.2: KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT!: Josh Alexander w/Ethan Page vs El Hijo del Vikingo
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW New Beginning 2.2: Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & DOUKI vs SHO, YOH, Ryusuke Taguchi & Jon Moxley
Rating: *** 1/4
AEW Dynamite: Chris Jericho, Ortiz & Santana vs Darby Allin & Private Party
Rating: *** 1/4
NOAH Global Junior League Finals: GJL Semi-Finals: Yoshinari Ogawa vs Dick Togo
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: Trent Seven vs Finn Balor
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: Asuka vs Charlotte
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW New Beginning 2.1: Ryu Lee & Robbie Eagles vs Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW New Beginning 2.1: El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori vs Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: Murder Clown & Pagano vs Dez & Wentz
Rating: ***
NOAH Global Junior League Finals: 50 Funky Powers (Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm) vs Dark Agents Return (Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue)
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy vs Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe
Rating: ***
NXT: Dominik Dijakovic vs Damian Priest
Rating: ***
NJPW New Beginning 2.1: Jay White & KENTA vs Tetsuya Naito & SANADA
Rating: ***
AEW Dynamite: Young Bucks vs Butcher & Blade
Rating: ***
WWE SmackDown: 4 Way #1 Contender Match: Miz & Morrison vs The Revival vs Lucha House Party vs Heavy Machinery
Rating: ***

 

5t. NOAH Global Junior League Finals Day: GJL Semi-Finals: Daisuke Harada vs Hajime Ohara

From My Analysis:
The match starts off slowly with both men trying to get early mat advantages, but that’s more Ohara’s wheelhouse than Harada’s. After the referee gets clipped during a kick out, Ohara tries to focus on the back. Backbreakers, Modified Romero Special, Gory Backbreaker, Emerald Flowsion, wonderful focus on a body part.

Thinking he’s done enough, Ohara calls for the Muy Bien, but Harada is able to crawl to the ropes. Harada starts trying to swing the momentum after an Electric Chair Quesadora Roll and Hurricanrana buy him some time. After a heavy lariat, Ohara kicks out at one, a quick grapple counter turns into Harada hitting a Tombstone, Ohara trying to counter with a Rolling Head and Arm cradle, but Harada gets the advantage, hits the Knee Lift and Katayama German Suplex Hold. Damn good match.

Winner: Harada via Katayama German Suplex Hold

 

5t. NXT: Dusty Tag Team Classic Finals: BROserweights vs Grizzled Young Veterans

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Riddle gets in but Drake intercepts! Riddle powers out to use Drake as a backpack and a battering ram into Gibson! Dunne is freed and all four men are down again. Fans are loving this and rallying back up as the teams regroup. Gibson tags in Drake, Dunne tags in Riddle. MAYHEM IN MO- NO! DOUBLE POWERBOMB ONTO GIBSON! Then the Broserweights take fingers and SNAP! Pump handle, BITTER FINAL FLASH! Cover, TWO!?! Drake survives but the Broserweights have more to try. In fact, they’re doing something GYV would usually do! Dunne is up top and Riddle gut wrenches Drake into position, but Gibson denies them their Ticket to Mayhem as he hotshots Dunne! Drake gets out, trips Riddle and jackknife covers, TWO!

Riddle waistlocks, ripcords but Drake breaks free to enziguri! Drake runs off Riddle, MAYHEM IN MOTION hits Dunne! Gibson has Dunne on his shoulder in the Electric Chair! Drake builds speed, TOPE DOOMSDAY DEVICE!! Full Sail loses its mind as Dunne is wiped out! Gibson tags in but Riddle fights them both. Gibson holds Riddle in the corner, GRIT YOUR TEETH dropkick! Then the lift, HELTER SKELTER, to Mayhem 450! Cover, TWO!?! The Bro is superhuman but the GYV are supervillains! Drake tags back in, Gibson feeds Riddle to the gut wrench. But Dunne returns to pump handle Gibson as Riddle reverses the position on Drake! BRO DEREK IN STEREO!! But that’s not all, as they both climb up top! Simultaneous MOONSAULT AND FLOATING BRO!!

Riddle is fired up, Full Sail is thunderous, and Dunne tags back in! Fireman’s carry, BROSERWEIGHT TO SLEEP! Cover, Broserweights WIN!!

Winner: BROserweights via BROserweight to Sleep

 

4. NJPW The New Beginning 2.2: Taichi w/Miho Abe vs Kazuchika Okada

From My Analysis:
We saw a bit of a transformation in Taichi last year. After feeling snubbed from the G1 in 2018, he got more serious in 2019 with his matches against Ishii and Naito. After the hellish beating that Taichi gave Okada last night, Okada comes into the match heavily taped, reminiscent of the G1 match against Kenny Omega in 2017.

We saw many faces of Taichi during this match. He tried to go for the Iron Fingers early, but Okada had an answer. As Taichi took advantage of the heavily taped neck, Okada just continued to power through. Much of Okada’s early offense got him some space, but at the detriment of his neck. Most notably, no kip ups from Okada and belabored movement for his Zoom Out Pose and a few other good psychology/selling moments.

Taichi was in great form for this match though. He combined the heel aspects of his persona, along with a hard hitting and determined resolve to prove himself. Sure Kanemaru distracted the referee so Taichi could use a chair, and Taichi even grabbed the referee so he could hit a low blow, but it was all great elements to what makes Taichi, well…Taichi. Great strikes, Kawada Kicks with more effort than usual and Taichi even pulled off a damn nice Dropkick (he doesn’t do that often). Even if the heel tactics are something you dislike, it added well to the story of the match and to Taichi’s evolution the last year or so.

Notably, the crowd was even on Taichi’s side for a good portion of the match. He played to the crowd, and seems to be accepted, at least in his home town. Okada may have won, but during his speech he started the old taunt of “Taichi go home” but the crowd responded with “Let’s go Taichi”. Hopefully this means bigger things for Taichi and him staying more in the Dangerous T aspect instead of douchey heel vampire singer…whatever.

Winner: Okada via Rainmaker

 

3. NJPW The New Beginning 2.1: NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto (c) vs Shingo Takagi

From My Analysis:
This was one of the matches I was generally excited for since I’ve been a fan of Shingo for years, he was one of the few reasons I paid attention to Dragon Gate. We get a nice basic feud of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’. Shingo dashed Goto’s hopes at making the G1 Finals, but Goto did get the win back a little after that. This is the rubber match, and we get to see how the plans for Shingo are looking in New Japan.

The small elements the last match didn’t contain, were here in spades. Shingo’s facial expressions and selling makes everything more enjoyable to watch. Heavy Lariat exchanges, hell there was even dueling Headbutts…who does that? In what book do you go into a match thinking “Let’s smash skulls a couple dozen times”? Another little thread during the match was SHO being down at Japanese commentary. SHO and Shingo had a rivalry during the Best of Super Junior tournament, so it sowed an early possible challenge if Shingo won.

Goto pulled out every move in his arsenal short of the actual GTR, but Shingo pulled off the rope assisted GTR (Great Takagi Revolution). Shingo counters Goto’s first attempt at the normal GTR, grabs the wrist and turns it into Made in Japan for a big near fall. Both men were tremendously resilient and this was a fun match to watch, not only because of the violence, but because of the expressions and selling. NEVER matches are truly impressive when it’s rooted in the more Strong Style/hard hitting technique.

Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon

 

2. NOAH Global Junior League Finals Day: GJL Finals: Dick Togo vs Daisuke Harada

From Hisame’s Newsletter Vol. 69:

Daisuke Harada (who had known Dick Togo, but not often had matches with him from his Osaka Pro days) faced off in the finals with Dick Togo in an explosive match. Togo working to grind Harada down by working on his knee, not as technical as the other two matches of the night they had both had, it was memorable nonetheless, and at times it threatened to spill out into a brawl, with Togo in frustration going to use a chair on Harada, but being stopped by the referee. Daisuke Harada won the match, and his second Global Junior League, via Katayama German Suplex in 19 minutes, and 43 seconds. With this win Harada now wins the right to challenge Yoshinari Ogawa for the GHC Junior Heavyweight. NOAH are yet to announce a date.

Winner: Harada via Katayama German Suplex Hold

 

1. NJPW The New Beginning 2.2: RevPro British Heavyweight Championship: Zack Sabre Jr (c) vs Will Ospreay

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
ZSJ stalks Ospreay and kicks him down off the ropes! Then a scoop, but Ospreay blocks the driver! ZSJ cranks with a guillotine then scoops, but Ospreay slips out to inverted lift, BLOODY SUNDAY! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Ospreay grits his teeth. Ospreay underhooks, lifts, but ZSJ fights out to pump handle and flip Ospreay over. EUROCLUTCH, TWO!! Ospreay narrowly escapes, but ZSJ Penalty Kicks again! But Ospreay springs right up!? ROUNDHOUSE! Fans are reaching that fever pitch at the 25 minute mark! Ospreay drags ZSJ up, powerbomb lift, but ZSJ guillotines to a triangle hold! Ospreay dead lifts for the BOMB! Cover, TWO!!

Ospreay hurries up top, SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives again but Ospreay has more to give! Sapporo cheers as Ospreay drags ZSJ up. Underhooks and Canadian Rack, but ZSJ pops out to the cobra twist! Ospreay pops out to gut wrench and scoop, then flip ZSJ over! But ZSJ slips out again to hop back on, IRON OCTOPUS! Ospreay endures as ZSJ pulls hard on the arm, but drops to the mat! ZSJ squeezes tight and Ospreay is turning purple! Ospreay has a triangle hold of sorts, and CRANKS back hard! Red Shoes checks on Ospreay, and calls it! ZSJ WINS!

Winner: ZSJ via Referee Stoppage

 

Thoughts:

Well damn, this was a good week for wrestling. Taichi had probably the best match of his career, ZSJ got something to hang his hat on after a luke warm 2019 (as far as New Japan is concerned), but neither of them will be my vote this week. Global Junior League Finals: Dick Togo vs Daisuke Harada, really just struck me as tremendous. Hell, I’ve watched that match about 3 times already.

The NXT match may garner more votes because it’s seen by more people, but the top end of this list may hold up throughout the year. Generally great stuff, and make sure to make your votes known!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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