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Opinion

Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 7/12/20

Dominion, Cup Finals, Great American Bash, Fyter Fest, and who knows what else. Did some of your favorite matches this week make the Top 5?

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With so much great wrestling, there’s a number of matches that could’ve made the Top 5 this week. AEW, NXT and New Japan; all bring a lot to the table this week. But first, who won last week?

Even though it wasn’t my vote, New Japan Cup Day 7: Tomohiro Ishii vs Hiromu Takahashi, edged out the competition. This brings us to the fun possibility of now since New Japan is back and regaining their footing; how much will that change our current MOTY pool? Speaking of which, June’s Pool was voted on, and the winner had the early lead and never lost it.

Match of the Year Pool:

  • January – Wrestle Kingdom 14: Double Gold Match: Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito
  • February – AEW Revolution: AEW World Tag Team Championship: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega (c) vs The Young Bucks
  • March – AEW Dynamite: AAA Mega Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Sammy Guevara
  • April – WrestleMania 36: NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs Charlotte Flair
  • May – NXT: Pit Fight: Matt Riddle vs Tim Thatcher
  • June – NXT In Your House: NXT Women’s Champion Triple Threat: Io Shirai vs Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley

So it’s fun to see that 2 NXT matches have taken the last two months, 3 if you count the fact the Mania match was for the NXT title. Plus it can’t be overlooked that Charlotte and Rhea are reoccurring names in the matches.

Now let’s look at this week’s Top 5!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW Dominion: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs SHO
    Rating: **** 3/4
  2. AEW Fyter Fest Night 2: Chris Jericho vs Orange Cassidy
    Rating: **** 1/4
  3. NXT Great American Bash Night 2: NXT Championship & North American Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Keith Lee (c)
    Rating: **** 
  4. 2AW Launching Business 1 Anniversary: 2AW Openweight Championship: Ayato Yoshida vs Yuji Okabayashi (c)
    Rating: ****
  5. NJPW New Japan Cup Finals: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: ****

Honorable Mentions:

  • NJPW Dominion: IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs EVIL
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • NJPW Dominion: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Golden Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi) (c) vs Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NXT Great American Bash Night 2: Street Fight: Mia Yim vs Candice LeRae
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NJPW Cup Finals Day: Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr, El Desperado & Taichi vs Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Yuji Nagata
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • IMPACT!: Josh Alexander w/Ethan Page vs Sami Callihan
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WWE Raw: Sasha Banks vs Kairi Sane
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 2: AEW Tag Team Championship: Private Party vs Hangman Page & Kenny Omega (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW Dominion: Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi vs Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 2: SCU vs Dark Order & Colt Cabana
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW Cup Finals Day: DOUKI vs Master Wato
    Rating: ***
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 2: Young Bucks & FTR vs Butcher & Blade & Lucha Bros
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary vs Susie & Kylie Rae
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW Cup Finals Day: CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, SHO & Toru Yano) vs LIJ (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi)
    Rating: ***
  • NXT Great American Bash Night 2: Isaiah Scott vs Johnny Gargano
    Rating: ***
  • WWE SmackDown: SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro vs New Day (c)
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW Cup Finals Day: Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs Great Bash Heel (Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe)
    Rating: ***

5. NJPW New Japan Cup Finals: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada

From My Results:
This match played into their past, EVIL’s current trajectory and Okada doing the Okada thing. EVIL got a quick jump on things, as he’s done in the past, but Okada won’t fall in a 2 minute match. EVIL applied his signature chairs with the chair wrapped around the arm into the ring post and of course, the Home Run Chairshot. Red Shoes was bumped and bullied quite a few times allowing EVIL numerous moments to uppercut Okada between the legs, Garvin Stomp the boys and even counter the Cobra Clutch with a well aimed backwards leg.

EVIL brought back memories of their first meeting when he hit Darkness Falls on a pile of chairs. Much like their first meeting, this match ended well for EVIL. At first when we saw Gedo run out to distract the referee and Yujiro hit the Miami Shine on Okada, announcers and everyone seemed confused. But once EVIL hit Everything is Evil to win the Cup, it all made sense.

Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil

4. 2AW Launching Business 1 Anniversary: 2AW Openweight Championship: Ayato Yoshida vs Yuji Okabayashi (c)

This falls under the category of me following some of the Puro-Twitter buzz. It’s lead me to interesting deathmatches that I enjoyed and some off kilter stuff before. Ayato Yoshida is a name some might recognize since he was a psuedo Young Lion. He was involved in a bunch of Lion’s Break Project shows, but he was billed as being from Kaientai Dojo. Since Taka Michinoku had the affair scandal, Kaientai Dojo, rebranded to 2AW. Okabayashi however is a well traveled power wrestler, notably in BJW, Zero1, AJPW and DDT.

Being the second Openweight title in this Top 5, there is a noticeable difference. Okabayashi is a power guy and utilized it for great early gains against Yoshida. Yoshida had to catch Okabayashi with Dropkicks, or bringing his knees up to counter the Golem Splash. A hard hitting affair is an understatement, since they really brought it well. Yoshida was mostly getting stretched and beaten down, but refused to quit, even when he was in the Argentine Backbreaker for what felt like minutes.

Youth and determination powered Yoshida through the match for one last surge of energy to slip behind Oka, lock in the waistlock and hit a desperation Backdrop Driver for the stunning victory. Taking it purely at face value, since I don’t keep up enough with 2AW to know the story, it was well wrestled and told a great coming up story for Yoshida.

Definitely a fun watch if you like puroresu.

Winner: Yoshida via Backdrop Driver

3. NXT Great American Bash Night 2: NXT Championship & North American Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Keith Lee (c)

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Cole grits his teeth and tells himself Keith is not better. Cole aims as the crowd is thunderous for “Keith Lee! WOOP WOOP!” Keith slowly sits up, Cole runs again, but into a LARIAT! Cole lands on his head but Keith can’t cover as he flops over! The crowd reaches a fever pitch as Cole rolls to a corner. Keith stirs, spots Cole, and powers up again. Cole manages to stand, and he mule kicks a leg out! Cole goes up, leaps, PANAMA SUNRISE!! Cover, TWO!?!? And again Cole is in shock! The crowd loves “NXT! NXT!” for this main event! Cole drags himself to ropes and dares Keith to get up again. He gets in Keith’s face about it, Keith grabs at Cole but Cole pushes him away. Cole aims again, SUPERKICK! SUPERKICK! SUPERKICK!! Cover, TWO!!! Cole is beside himself!

Keith clutches his face. The damage done by Gargano around TakeOver: In Your House is still present. Cole brings that knee pad down now, runs once more, LAST SHOT!! But he won’t let that be it! Cole goes back to the corner, wanting Keith to get up. Keith does rise, Cole leaps at him again, PANAMA- NO!! SPIRIT BOMB!! But then the flip, Keith roars as he fireman’s carries, and BIG BANG CATASTROPHE!! Cover, Keith wins!!!

Winner: Keith Lee via Big Bang Catastrophe

 

2. AEW Fyter Fest Night 2: Chris Jericho vs Orange Cassidy

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Cassidy gets up and DECKS Jericho! But he falls over, too! Cassidy drags himself up with the ropes, but gets a bunch of ORANGE JUICE in the face! The ref sees it plain as day but Best Friends appear to attack! They toss Santana and Ortiz over the railing and brawl with them! But Jericho uses FLOYD THE BAT!! And a CODE BREAKER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Jericho can’t believe Cassidy still lives! Jericho clubs away on Cassidy but Cassidy kicks low and throws forearms. Cassidy runs, into a back elbow! LIONSAULT FLOPS! Cassidy scoops for a MICHINOKU DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Jericho and Cassidy have given so much already but it’s not over. They brawl on their knees back and forth. Cassidy gets the edge, runs, and rallies with clotheslines! But Jericho knees low, suplexes, only to get STUN-DOG MILLIONAIRE!

Cassidy watches Jericho rise, runs, tilt-o-whirl DDT! Cover, TWO?!?! Jericho survives but barely! Cassidy gets up, brings Jericho into an Alabama lift but Jericho clubs down. Jericho swings, Cassidy dodges and comes back, JUDAS EFFECT!! Cover, Jericho wins!

Winner: Jericho via Judas Effect

 

1. NJPW Dominion: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs SHO

From My Results:
SHO brought everything and then some in this match. It starts off fast with strikes and power moves and never really feels like it slows down. SHO has a very smart game plan, by focusing on Shingo’s right arm the entire time. This took a lot of sting out of Pumping Bombers, strikes and made it harder for Shingo to pull off his two big moves Made in Japan and The Last of the Dragon.

Both men showed a lot of heart and resolve during the bout, and it reached a point where anyone could’ve won. SHO locked in a cross armbar, which transitioned into a Triangle Choke when Shingo tried to fight out of it. But Shingo either barely made it to ropes, or found just enough strength left in his arm to lift up SHO and slam him. Death Valley Drivers, Powerbombs, sometimes countered, but always impressive that Shingo just refused to look weak.

There was great selling, tremendous action and two guys just beating the hell out of each other. Shingo did manage to retain, but he looked beat to hell.

Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragon

 

Thoughts:

Now anyone who reads or listens to things with my input, should know I don’t really enjoy AEW’s indyrific way of spotfests, or Cornette’s little dog pockets…but that was a damn good match. IF – IF – SHO vs Shingo didn’t exist this week, I would probably have voted for Pockets vs Jericho. It was nice to see Cassidy change up his attitude immediately, instead of slowly building during the match, like what he did with PAC. Shingo and SHO however, most of us knew was going to be a banger, and god damn did they try to kill each other.

Hell, Shingo vs SHO is currently my number 2 match of 2020. That was so good I might just go watch it again. #UseYourHead


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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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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