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Andrew’s Top Matches: Week Ending 6.21.20

Top 5 matches! How many Japanese matches are featured? Is there a surprising match that made the list? Find out!

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Well now, this was the most writing I’ve done for the site in a while, since we have a lot of moving pieces. New Japan came back, NOAH punctuated the end of their empty arena shows with a big title match, and things are just really starting to roll. Before we go Puro crazy this week, let’s address last articles vote!

Last week we had a few WWE matches take a lot of limelight, and one of them did win. SmackDown: Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles, won the vote last week. Which makes tons of sense, since the Orton and Edge match seemed to have more mixed opinions than the match that won the vote.

Let’s see what we’re working with this week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. New Japan Cup Day 2: Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki
    Rating: **** 1/4
  2. NOAH Go Forward Day 2: GHC National Championship: Katsuhiko Nakajima (c) vs Manabu Soya
    Rating: ****
  3. BJW Crisis Survivor Vol. 2: 567 Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match: Abdullah Kobayashi vs Yuki Ishikawa vs Toshiyuki Sakuda
    Rating: ****
  4. New Japan Cup Day 1: El Desperado vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: *** 3/4
  5. NXT: Women’s Tag Team Championship: Shotzi Blackheart & Teagan Nox vs Sasha Banks & Bayley
    Rating: *** 3/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • New Japan Cup Day 1: Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata, Kota Ibushi & Yuya Uemura
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AEW Dynamite: TNT Championship: Ricky Starks vs Cody Rhodes (c)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NOAH Go Forward Day 2: GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Kaz Hayashi vs Kotaro Suzuki (c)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NJPW Together Project: Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi vs Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • IMPACT!: Impact Tag Team Championship: The Rascalz (Wentz & Dez) vs The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW Together Project: EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ryusuke Taguchi & Satoshi Kojima
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • IMPACT!: Street Fight: Ace Austin vs Eddie Edwards
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup Day 2: EVIL, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto, SHO, YOH & YOSHI-HASHI
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup Day 1: Yota Tsuji vs Togi Makabe
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW Together Project: Gedo, Jado, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi vs YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Tomoaki Honma & Toru Yano
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NOAH Go Forward Day 2: Yoshinari Ogawa, HAYATA & Kinya Okada vs Daisuke Harada, YO-HEY & Tadasuke
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup Day 1: Tomoaki Honma vs Hiromu Takahashi
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WWE SmackDown: Matt Riddle vs AJ Styles
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: TNA Heavyweight Championship: Hernandez vs Moose (c)
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup Day 2: Yuya Uemura vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru
    Rating: ***
  • AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega vs The Natural Nightmares
    Rating: ***
  • NOAH Go Forward Day 2: KONGO (Kenoh, Hao & Nio) vs FULL THROTTLE (Atsushi Kotoge, Hajime Ohara & Seiki Yoshioka)
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW Together Project: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura
    Rating: ***
  • NOAH Go Forward Day 2: Akitoshi Saito vs Shuhei Taniguchi
    Rating: ***
  • WWE Raw: WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) & R-Truth vs MVP & Bobby Lashley
    Rating: ***
  • NOAH Go Forward Day 2: Go-Kai (Go Shiozaki & Kaito Kiyomiya) vs The Tough (Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura)
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup: Gedo vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: ***
  • NOAH Go Forward Day 2: Sugiura-Gun (Kendo Kashin, NOSAWA Rongai, Kazushi Sakuraba & Takashi Sugiura) vs M Alliance (Keiji Mutoh, Naomichi Marufuji, Masaaki Mochizuki & Yuko Miyamoto)
    Rating: ***

5. NXT: Women’s Tag Team Championship: Shotzi Blackheart & Teagan Nox vs Sasha Banks & Bayley

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:

Tag to Shotzi and Tegan helps her go up, up and FLY! Double crossbody at the ramp! Shotzi howls right over the champions then gets Bayley up and in. She brings Bayley up, has help from Tegan for the SLICED BREAD! Cover, but Sasha barrels into Tegan and breaks it up! All four women are down but the crowd is thunderous! Teams regroup and hot tags to Tegan and Sasha! Sasha and Tegan fire off fast and furious fists on each other! Tegan ROCKS Sasha then brings her up to whip to the corner. Sasha goes up but Tegan blocks the headscissor for an Electric Chair! Tag to Shotzi and she climbs up. Sasha slips off to POST Tegan! Shotzi still missile dropkicks! Cover, TWO to the ghost pin, TWO! But Sasha gets the BANK STATEMENT! The crossface is on deep! Shotzi pries the hold apart, gets the arms, CATTLE MUTILATION!!

Bayley runs in with a chair but Tegan stops her! The ref spots Tegan with the chair and reprimands her. Bayley uses the distraction to flip Shotzi off the submission! Sasha gets the Bank Statement back, and Bayley tackles Tegan! Shotzi taps, Sasha and Bayley win!!

Winner: Sasha via Bank Statement

 

4. New Japan Cup Day 1: El Desperado vs Tomohiro Ishii

From My Results:

The story here was Desperado reminding us that Ishii’s left knee was giving him issues before the quarantine, and pulling out every heel tactic he knew. Eye poke, ref shields, low blows, exposed turnbuckles, referee as a weapon…sheesh. Ishii sold wonderfully and there was even a great spot where he was going to Powerbomb Despy, but his knee gave out so he just kind of flipped Despy and fell backwards into the ropes. Botch or good sell work, it was a nice touch and no one landed funny so it added to Desperado’s chance to win.

Despy pulled out most of his signature finishers except for Pinche Loco. So while it was a pretty solid story and well enough wrestled, Despy’s constant reliance on heel tactics got a little old.

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster

 

3. BJW Crisis Survivor Vol. 2: 567 Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match: Abdullah Kobayashi vs Yuki Ishikawa vs Toshiyuki Sakuda

Now I’m no fan of Deathmatches, AT ALL. But I do get interested when people get hype about a match. So the fact that it was easy enough to find, I figured I might as well see if I hate it.

So, the match title isn’t wrong, the ring was curtained with light tubes, there were some stacked on the outside in the shape of a pallet, as well as attendants pulls out boxes upon boxes of light tubes. Now, where most death matches are violent for the sake of violence, this was…nearly comically violent.

The two smaller guys double teamed Kobayashi, there was a spot with all three of them throwing a handful of tubes and they meet and shatter; so think DBZ with light tubes. Then we’d get headbutts through tubes, or chopping glass into someone’s throat, followed up by Tiger Feints and Springboard 450s. The mixture of over the top violence and real moves was…captivating.

Sakuda decides to shove a metal rod through Ishikawa’s mouth and stick him to one corner turnbuckle pad, while using a few more light tubes and a 450 Splash to finish Kobayashi. After the pinfall, Sakuda sees that he’s sliced a vein, so he’s got blood coming out of his forearm like water would from a hose; and this crazy mofo starts drinking it and pulls down his pads to show it more.

This was – an experience. I’ve never be amused and concerned at the same time watch other death matches. This had the irreverence of old ECW hardcore, mixed with anime insanity. I give this a lot of credit for grabbing me the way it did, since I’m usually very vocal on my dislike of Deathmatches.

Winner: Sakuda via 450 Splash

 

2. NOAH Go Forward Day 2: GHC National Championship: Katsuhiko Nakajima (c) vs Manabu Soya

From My Results:

Even if he’s a cocky bastard, Nakajima told a great story about having some pride in this championship. Soya dominated with his power early, and it wasn’t until Nakajima got in some desperation kicks and took it to the outside, that we saw more of an even trade. An apron Penalty Kick, mixed with an assortment of barricade spots, gave the champion his first semblance of momentum. With the pace he took, you’d almost feel he was milking the count so he’d roll in at 19 and just win, but he threw in Soya first and they were both in at 19.

Great striking and big hope spots for both were at a surplus. Soya hits a Death Valley Driver and Avalanche Power Slam, but only for two. After a strike exchange, Nakajima hits a Death Valley Driver of his own and it becomes anyone’s match really. A few more strikes, suplex attempts, Nakajima finally pulls off the Vertical Spike to retain his championship.

Winner: Nakajima via Vertical Spike

 

1. New Japan Cup Day 2: Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:

Suzuki throws more palm strikes but so does Nagata! They’re just picking up more speed! Suzuki fires off a flurry but so does Nagata! Suzuki fires off half a dozen, but Nagata comes back with his own trio. Suzuki HEADBUTTS! Nagata falls to a knee, but Suzuki headbutts him again! Nagata staggers about, Suzuki headbutts him again, and both men fall!! Suzuki sits up and smiles again! He’s truly evil! Nagata sits up and grits his teeth as he and Suzuki head for each other. They throw more forearms, and Suzuki eggs Nagata on. Nagata ROCKS Suzuki, then eggs him on. Suzuki ROCKS Nagata, Nagata wobbles, but still hits Suzuki again. Suzuki laughs as he wobbles, then comes back to ROCK Nagata again. And again! Suzuki swings another forearm, but into Nagata’s EXPLODER! But Suzuki’s right back up!?

Suzuki rushes Nagata, Nagata side steps and swings on Suzuki, but Suzuki gets around him to headlock! Nagata hits a SAITO SUPLEX! Cover, NAGATA WINS!!

Winner: Nagata via Backdrop Hold

 

Thoughts:

Hooray! Look at all the Japanese matches! Seriously though – a rather slow week was saved by honestly, neither NOAH nor New Japan’s best work. These are still fun matches to watch, but this is the equivalent of waiting til the last second to write an essay and still getting a B.

Whereas I think Nagata and Suzuki was the best match, my vote will go to the BJW Triple Threat…cause it’s still amusing me a day later. Sakuda being the pocket sized death machine is just…wow.


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