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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!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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