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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 7/26/20

A week with a bunch of important Japanese title matches! How much of the Top 5 contains Japanese wrestling?



This week is much different from the last, we’ve got a lot of bigger shows in Japan and only North American television product to contend with it. So exactly how stacked is this Top 5 with Japanese matches? Let’s see!

Now now – you know I go over who won last week’s vote first as to slow roll the goods. Riding the wave of positive vibes and good faith, Impact Slammiversary: Vacant Impact World Championship 5 Way: Eric Young vs Ace Austin vs Trey vs Rich Swann vs Eddie Edwards, won the popular vote. So it goes into the pool, and this week’s choice will fill out the July bunch!

Let’s get to see the options to fight for the July Match of the Month.

Quick Top 5:

  1. IMPACT!: Impact World Tag Team Championship: The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) (c) vs Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)
    Rating: **** 1/4
  2. NJPW Sengoku Lord: IWGP Intercontinental & Heavyweight Double Gold Match: Hiromu Takahashi vs EVIL (c)
    Rating: **** 1/4
  3. AJPW Summer Action Series: Triple Crown Championship: SUWAMA (c) vs Shuji Ishikawa
    Rating: **** 1/4
  4. NJPW Sengoku Lord: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs El Desperado
    Rating: ****
  5. NXT: Triple Threat for Qualification to North American Championship Ladder Match: Johnny Gargano vs Roderick Strong vs Bronson Reed
    Rating: ****


Honorable Mentions:

  • AJPW Summer Action Series: AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship: Koji Iwamoto vs Susumu Yokosuka (c)
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • WWE Raw: Kairi Sane w/Asuka vs Bayley w/Sasha Banks
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AJPW Summer Action Series: Yusuke Kodama, Kuma Arashi, Hokuto Omori & Shotaro Ashino vs Kento Miyahara, Akira Francesco, RISING Hayato & Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshiro
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NXT: Karrion Kross w/Scarlett vs Dominik Dijakovic
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NJPW New Japan Road: Suzuki-Gun (DOUKI & El Desperado) vs LIJ (SANADA & Shingo Takagi)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WWE Raw: Seth Rollins vs Aleister Black
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NXT: Timothy Thatcher vs Oney Lorcan
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW New Japan Road: LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI) vs Darkness Club (EVIL, Dick Togo & Taiji Ishimori)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • IMPACT!: X Division Championship: Chris Bey (c) vs Willie Mack
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW Sengoku Lord: Toru Yano, Gabriel Kidd & Tomohiro Ishii vs Togi Makabe, Satoshi Kojima & Ryusuke Taguchi
    Rating: ***
  • WWE Raw: Unsanctioned Match: Big Show vs Randy Orton
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW New Japan Road: Master Wato, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, ZSJ & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: Killian Dain vs Dexter Lumis
    Rating: ***
  • WWE SmackDown: Chad Gable vs Grand Metalik vs Lince Dorado vs Drew Gulak
    Rating: ***
  • AJPW Summer Action Series: KAI &Tajiri vs Seigo Tachibana & Yoshitatsu vs Izanagi & Zeus
    Rating: ***
  • AEW Dynamite: TNT Championship: Eddie Kingston vs Cody Rhodes (c)
    Rating: ***
  • NJPW Sengoku Lord: Yujiro Takahashi vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: ***
  • AEW Dynamite: Falls Count Anywhere: Butcher & Blade vs The Young Bucks
    Rating: ***

4t. NXT: Triple Threat for Qualification to North American Championship Ladder Match: Johnny Gargano vs Roderick Strong vs Bronson Reed

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:

Gargano throws haymakers and CHOPS on Reed, then goes after Strong. Strong fights Gargano back and fireman’s carries him up! Gargano fights that off, but Reed adds on with clubbing forearms. Reed has Gargano in an Electric Chair, Strong gets up, but Gargano avoids Doomsday with a POISON-RANA! But Strong KNEES Gargano first! Cover on Reed, Gargano SUPERKICKS it apart! All three men are down and “This is Awesome!” Reed is on the apron and Strong throws forearms from all sides. Reed CLUBS back, Gargano clubs Reed’s legs from behind! Gargano has Reed, Strong KNEES Reed into the POWERBOMB!! The crowd loses its mind while the ref checks on Reed. Reed writhes, Gargano turns around for Strong to WRECK him with a dropkick!

Strong puts Gargano in, runs corner to corner and SHINING WIZARDS! Back suplex SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Strong keeps his focus as he drags Gargano up. Gargano resists the underhooks but Strong still gets him up, only for Gargano to huricanrana! Gargano runs, tilt-o-whirl takedown to GargaNO Escape! But Strong makes it a cover, TWO! Gargano powers out of Strong Hold, ducks the boot and rolls Strong, TWO! SUPERKICK! Gargano drags Strong up to scoop and LAWN DART! The crowd fires up as Gargano aims but Strong dodges! Strong fireman’s carries, GUTBUSTER DROP! Gargano is on the apron, and enziguris Strong away! Slingshots, ONE FINAL BEAT!! But Gargano sputters to the cover, REED THICC BOI SPALSHES! Cover, REED WINS!!

Winner: Reed via Thicc Boi Splash


4t. NJPW Sengoku Lord: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs El Desperado

From My Results:

Desperado continued his plan from New Japan Road, and focused on Shingo’s left knee. Dragon Screws, Knee Breakers, Chairs to the knee, Stretch Mufflers, Indian Deathlocks…all of Despy’s offense was focused on the injured leg and trying to take the base away from the power fighter. It was a great plan, that Despy played into really well through the match.

Shingo’s selling is amazing, where he knows how to sell awkward movements in the ring, he sent a message to Desperado early in the match when he had him in the ropes, blocked a kick, grabbed both legs and Double Dragon Screwed Despy from the ropes to the mat. This was fun to watch since it told a great story of Desperado trying to methodically cripple the champion, while peppering in cheating tactics, with Shingo fighting from underneath most of the match.

He only needed to hit it once, and once he did, Shingo retained the title after Last of the Dragon. The beauty in this match is Shingo’s ability to sell the injury and the story. Always making sure to sit out on certain moves, to alleviate pain on his knee, leaning to the good side to carry the burden of weight and moving around the ring, sometimes scooting around the ring, because he really couldn’t move well. 

Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragon 


1t. AJPW Summer Action Series: Triple Crown Championship: SUWAMA (c) vs Shuji Ishikawa

From My Results:

The early goings was either stalemate since they’ve been tag partners for the last three years, or SUWAMA had a slight edge.  Once Shuji hit the Fire/Thunder Driver on the outside though, the match turned. SUWAMA sold a stinger for a while, his strikes were weak, his desperation was high and Shuji was in complete control. It wasn’t until SUWAMA got fired up out of pure frustration hitting a Belly to Belly Suplex that he started to bring the match closer to equal.

We saw a great back and forth slugfest, done in more of an old 90s style of All Japan. Two men, known for high impact power moves, nothing too flashy, just a downright fight. Both men were exhausted and even the moves reflected so. A few great German Suplexes from SUWAMA, but because of Shuji’s size and the exhaustion, he ended up throwing him more over his shoulder than straight over.

Shuji landed most of his big moves, Splash Mountain was a very close near fall, TSUNAMI, Kamigoye…just deliberate strikes and a hard fought fight. SUWAMA had to hit three Backdrop Drivers, finishing the last with the bridge for the Backdrop Hold to put his friend and tag team partner away.

Winner: SUWAMA via Backdrop Hold


1t. NJPW Sengoku Lord: IWGP Intercontinental & Heavyweight Double Gold Match: Hiromu Takahashi vs EVIL (c)

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Evil drags Hiromu up, slashes the throat, and with Dick’s help, MAGIC KILLER!! But that’s not all, Evil puts Hiromu in a drop zone as Dick climbs up. But Hiromu kicks Evil into ropes and trips Dick up! Dick lands on his namesake and tumbles to the floor. The fans are thunderous as Evil drags Hiromu up. Hiromu shoves Evil away, denies the STO to STEAL the STO!! The fans cheer but both men are down with no ref to count! Hiromu drags himself up, shouts for Red Shoes, then drags Evil back up. Red Shoes returns, Hiromu fireman’s carries Evil again, for a corner Death Valley to BARE BUCKLES! Hiromu and the fans fire up, fireman’s carry and TIME BOMB!! Cover, TWO!?! Evil survives all of that?!

Hiromu fires up again and the fans are thunderous again. Hiromu dragon sleepers, lifts, TIME BOMB II!!! Cover, but Dick drags out Red Shoes! Dick has his garrote! He chokes Hiromu with it!! Hiromu gets up and fireman’s carries Dick! Dick slips off, swings on Hiromu but Hiromu ducks to SUPERKICK! Hiromu brings Dick up, Evil LOW BLOWS! Dick chokes Hiromu again! Hiromu reaches but fades out and Dick lets him go. Dick gets Red Shoes back in the ring and Evil staggers up. Evil makes his way to Hiromu, drags him up, fireman’s carry for DARKNESS FALLS! But that’s not all, Evil wants to keep his promise! Evil drags Hiromu up, EVERYTHING! IS! EVIL!!! Cover, Evil wins!!

Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil


1t. IMPACT!: Impact World Tag Team Championship: The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) (c) vs Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)

From My Results:

Some early tandem attacks gave the Guns the advantage, and we even saw the classic between the legs dive that they always used to do. My best way to describe a good bit of this is Alex Shelley is the type of partner you want. Shelley took about 70% of The North offense through this match, including the Sliding Crossbody that Josh Alexander just kills people with. This is most likely since Sabin is only a few months cleared from I think his third ACL surgery? So Shelley being the workhorse is very smart.

We saw a great spot where Shelley has Page in a Crossface, Sabin catches Alexander and slaps on the Cloverleaf; but Page manages to turn it into a pin. So Sabin breaks his submission to stop the pinfall. At this point we get a bunch of bigger moves. Each man tries to wipe the other out.

The North manages to isolate Sabin, then they look to win with the Northern Assault. As Alexander flips Sabin forward, Sabin grabs Page’s head and rolls him up. Shelley slides in to keep Alexander at bay, and the Motor City Machine Guns win the tag titles!

Winner: MCMG via Small Package



This is the first time in a while that we’ve had a tie (ratings wise) at the top end of the list. Each of the top three had a different style and brought a unique feeling. Hiromu Takahashi vs EVIL, will get my vote this week. There were a lot of recent layers that people knew about, and the little nugget that popped up after the match, that Hiromu told LIJ not to help even if Bullet Club interferes; proves how seriously he took the whole situation.

A great week for fans of wrestling beyond the televised product! That’s not a slight, it’s more just yet another indication that the wrestling world is bigger and better than the cable box.

Most important thing though, is enjoy what you enjoy and #AlwaysUseYourHead

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