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Opinion

Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 6/28/2020

This week we had a lot of good wrestling…and a Top 6! Hooray for ties!

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For people who don’t follow New Japan, this will be a difficult, if not uninteresting, week for you. It’s always hard for television matches to hold a candle to Japanese tournament or big show matches. That being said, there is at least one match that cracked the crowded Top 5.

Before that that though, the grandpa showdown won the vote last week! Meaning, of course that, New Japan Cup Day 2: Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki, moves on to the monthly pool.

With the New Japan Cup raging on, we have an interesting Top 5. Since not only is it 6, because of ratings ties, but it’s technically a 5 way tie for second. So let’s see what matches we get to vote from!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: Yuji Nagata vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: **** 1/4
  2. NJPW NJ Cup Day 3: SHO vs Shingo Takagi
    Rating: ****
  3. NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: Tomohiro Ishii vs Togi Makabe
    Rating: ****
  4. NXT: NXT North American Championship: Finn Balor vs Johnny Gargano vs Keith Lee (c)
    Rating: ****
  5. NJPW NJ Cup Day 4: EVIL vs Satoshi Kojima
    Rating: ****
  6. NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: Toru Yano vs Hiromu Takahashi
    Rating: ****

Honorable Mentions:

  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 3: Zack Sabre Jr vs Kota Ibushi
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • AEW Dynamite: FTR vs SCU
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 4: Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & SHO vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • WWE Raw: Raw Tag Team Championship: Street Profits (c) vs Viking Raiders
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 3: Taichi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • IMPACT!: Madman Fulton w/Ace Austin vs Eddie Edwards
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 4: Yujiro Takahashi w/Jado vs Hirooki Goto
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WWE SmackDown: Lucha House Party & New Day vs Miz & Morrison & Shinsuke & Cesaro
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: Taiji Ishimori vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: Santos Escoar vs Jake Atlas
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 3: Ryusuke Taguchi vs SANADA
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Taya Valkyrie w/John E. Bravo vs Susie
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 4: YOSHI-HASHI vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan
    Rating: ***
  • WWE Raw: Women’s Tag Team Championship: The IIconics vs Sasha Banks & Bayley (c)
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: DOUKI, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Chris Bey, Johnny Swinger & Rohit Raju vs Willie Mack, Cody Deaner & Cousin Jake
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: Karrion Kross w/Scarlett vs Bronson Reed
    Rating: ***

2t. NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: Toru Yano vs Hiromu Takahashi

From My Results:

How do you continue to build on Yano’s torment of Hiromu? Hiromu comes out in a hard hat, and tripping over his own feet, scared for his life. Yano goads him at multiple times, pulls out clippers to taunt him. Hiromu hides under the ring, when Yano goes to chase, Hiromu pops up and thinks he’s got the upper hand since he has the clippers. He throws away the helmet, Yano runs in for Hiromu to put the boots to him…only to find the clippers don’t work. Yano purposely started with busted clippers.

Yano produces more clippers and the chase is on. There’s so much scrambling and brawling, just great physical comedy that tells their story. Yano then produces scissors, is that safe? You can’t run with scissors, but can you wrestle with them? Long and short, we get a double call back. Yano grabs trainer’s tape, and Yota Tsuji. Tapes Yota to Yano, and clips a chunk of Hiromu’s hair. This is a double call back because not only did Yano tape Hiromu’s feet yesterday, but that’s also how he beat Jon Moxley in the G1; by taping him to Yota Tsuji.

With the familiar path taken, Yano revels in his victory, but surprisingly, Tsuji and Hiromu are up. They tackle down Yano. Hiromu tapes Yano’s hands and eyes while Tsuji calls for an elevator. The doors open, they throw in Yano, send it to the bottom floor and 3 Legged Man race into the ring.

Winner: Takahashi via Elevator Assisted Count Out

 

2t. NJPW NJ Cup Day 4: EVIL vs Satoshi Kojima

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:

Kojima survives but Evil won’t let up. Evil fireman’s carries, DARKNESS FALLS!! Cover, TWO!?!? Kojima shocks Evil by surviving one of his best! Evil gets to his feet and slashes the throat. Evil drags Kojima up, spins him around, but Kojima denies him the STO. Evil kicks, spins but into a forearm! Kojima runs, but Evil swats the lariat away! Evil runs, into a SOUTHPAW LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!! Evil shocks Kojima now but Kojima gets back up. Kojima brings Evil into the suplex, for the BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Kojima is beside himself as Evil lives. Kojima staggers up to his feet, powers up the arm, and runs, but Evil uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil kicks low, lifts Kojima, and makes Red Shoes help him in the MAGIC KILLER!! Everyone is down, even Red Shoes!

Evil and Kojima stir while Red Shoes goes to a corner. Kojima gets up in a corner, Evil runs in, BIG corner clothesline! Evil hoists Kojima up top then climbs up to join him. They stand on the very top, for a SUPERPLEX!! Evil crawls to the cover, TWO!?!? Kojima still lives and Evil has no words! Evil takes off his elbow pad, runs, but into Kojima’s LARIAT!! Both men fall and commentary is losing its mind! Kojima crawls and rises, hurries to cover, TWO!!! Evil survives because of that delay! Kojima rises again and dares Evil to stand. Evil does stand, Kojima runs in, but Evil swats the lariat away! And again! Evil ducks one but gets the southpaw again! Kojima runs, into EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, EVIL WINS!!

Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil

 

2t. NXT: NXT North American Championship: Finn Balor vs Johnny Gargano vs Keith Lee (c)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:

Keith fades again, drops to a knee, but Gargano SUPERKICKS them both!! Gargano goes to the apron, aims at Balor, ONE FINAL BEAT! Cover, but Keith breaks it! Gargano goes after Keith with forearms and elbows from all sides, but Keith clamps onto Gargano for a whip. Gargano tilt-o-whirls but Keith blocks the DDT! Keith powers back up, swings Gargano into Balor, but Gargano uses that to DDT Keith! But Keith rolls out of the ring! Gargano has no one to cover, but he DIVES to tope Keith into railing! Gargano hurries and DIVES to hit Balor, but Balor catches him! Balor throws knees on Gargano in the single underhook. Balor lifts Gargano, but Keith POUNCES Bloody Sunday apart!! All three men are down at the ramp and the crowd is losing its mind!

Keith rises and drags Balor up with him. He puts Balor in the ring, reels him in and lifts. Balor turns the Spirit Bomb into a DOUBLE STOMP! Balor takes aim, runs but into a SUPERKICK from Gargano! Gargano SUPERKICKS Keith, but Balor shotgun dropkicks Gargano into Keith! Keith falls onto Gargano’s back! Gargano is trapped under Keith’s weight as Balor climbs up! The crowd is at a fever pitch as Keith grabs Balor in a choke grip! Gargano knees Keith in the back, rolls him up, and uses the ropes! TWO!! Gargano flounders up, Keith pops him up, and BOMBS him into Balor at the corner! Then Keith brings Gargano back up, fireman’s carries, BIG BANG CATASTROPHE! Cover, COUP DE GRACE! But Keith got clear so only Gargano gets crushed! Keith brings Balor up, ANOTHER Big Bang Catastrophe!! Cover, Keith wins!!

Winner: Keith Lee via Big Bang Catastrophe

 

2t. NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: Tomohiro Ishii vs Togi Makabe

From My Results:

If we remember anything about their bouts for the NEVER championship, they were basically what established the title as the “tough guy” title for so many years. This match had numerous elements from the previous tilts, including immediately starting off with crashing into each other like bulls.

Any thoughts that Makabe might be losing a step, should be eliminated after this match. He pulled out most of his classic moves, 10 Count Punches, Northern Lights, Spider Suplex; but Ishii wasn’t going to be denied. Great lariat and strike exchanges, hard hits, everything rang true like their old title matches. Ishii ends the match with his signature Brainbuster, but it was a great back and forth with resiliency and big moves.

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster

 

2t. NJPW NJ Cup Day 3: SHO vs Shingo Takagi

From My Results:

This story has been building for a year since Shingo basically embarrassed SHO during their forays in the Junior division. Now as NEVER champion, SHO did show a renewed interest in the rivalry with Shingo before the quarantine, and this moves it along nicely.

SHO worked the right arm, to try and remove some power from Shingo’s moveset and take the sting out of the Pumping Bombers. Shingo still brought great intensity and fantastic power spots, but SHO had a resolve. After the Sunset Flip into Powerbreaker, it was looking like momentum shifted. Shingo had a few spots with Made in Japan and Pumping Bomber, but SHO kicked out at 2; the earlier damage to the arm proved fruitful.

Going back to the arm, SHO rolls off the Last of the Dragon, goes for a Kimura, but they Gator Roll into a Crossarmed Piledriver. SHO surprised himself, hits Shock Arrow and gets the upset! Now we should get SHO challenging for the NEVER at Dominion.

Winner: SHO via Shock Arrow

 

1. NJPW NJ Cup Day 5: Yuji Nagata vs Kazuchika Okada

From My Results:

Okada had a different aura about him in this match. He gave an actual clean break instead of his usually condescending pats, and seemed to have respect early on. But that quickly dwindled when he went for a cocky cover and we saw that evolutionary match style that Okada loves.

One thing that is special in all of Okada’s matches is how there’s always a portion tailored for his opponent. Meaning, he will purposefully wrestle in a way to their strengths, just to prove how good he is. This was no different since Nagata loves to strike, and outside of Shibata and Nakamura, Okada doesn’t usually go for a strike heavy layout.

We saw some great moves from both men, Nagata pulling out the Nagata Lock #2 and nearly executing the Exploder of Justice. Okada did drop the cockiness, and as Nagata fired up after strikes you could see the “Freaking really” look all over Okada’s face. It was just great action, showed that Nagata can still be a real challenger for any title, and helped Okada find new ways to lock in the Cobra Clutch.

Winner: Okada via Cobra Clutch

Thoughts:

Well Nagata has really been the match based MVP so far in the Cup, but after his Okada match, his run is over. All of these matches were great fun to watch; for one reason or another. But if I’m voting, I’d give my vote to the North American Triple Threat. A little more overall significance in that match, and it carries a better storyline thread of: Who will be double champion? Unlike Okada/Nagata which is just: Who will face Taiji Ishimori?

So yes it was a New Japan heavy top end, but there was a lot more WWE in the Honorable Mentions than usual. So all in all, a solid week for wrestling.


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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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