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

We’ve got a nice mixed bag of things to pick from this week! New Japan Cup, Fyter Fest, Great American Bash and AJPW had a Triple Crown challenge. Let’s see what made the list!

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We’ve got a nice mixed bag of things to pick from this week. New Japan Cup, Fyter Fest, Great American Bash and AJPW had a Triple Crown challenge. Before we get to this week’s Top 5, you should know the drill by now. Last week was the last qualifier for June’s MOTY Pool, so let’s see what we’ve got to work with.

June MOTY Pool:

  • NXT: NXT North American Championship: Finn Balor vs Johnny Gargano vs Keith Lee (c)
  • New Japan Cup Day 2: Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki
  • SmackDown: Vacant Intercontinental Championship: Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles
  • NXT In Your House: NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai vs Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley

Personally, my vote will go to to the North American triple threat. The weight the match carries, makes it more impactful to me (especially if the spoiler rumors are true).

Now let’s get to this week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. New Japan Cup Day 8: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiromu Takahashi
    Rating: **** 1/4
  2. WWE SmackDown: Matt Riddle vs John Morrison w/The Miz
    Rating: ****
  3. New Japan Cup Day 7: Tomohiro Ishii vs Hiromu Takahashi
    Rating: ****
  4. NXT Great American Bash Night 1: Io Shirai vs Sasha Banks w/Bayley
    Rating: ****
  5. AJPW Broadcast 2020 #8: Triple Crown Championship: SUWAMA (c) vs Shotaro Ashino
    Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • New Japan Cup Day 7: SANADA vs Taichi
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • New Japan Cup Day 6: Taichi w/ZSJ vs Kota Ibushi w/Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 1: AEW Tag Championships: Kenny Omega & Hangman Page (c) vs Best Friends
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • WWE SmackDown: Intercontinental Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Drew Gulak
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • New Japan Cup Day 8: EVIL vs SANADA
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • NXT Great American Bash Night 1: Timothy Thatcher vs Oney Lorcan
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • New Japan Cup Day 6: EVIL vs Hirooki Goto
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 1: MJF & Wardlow vs A Boy and his Dinosaur
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AJPW Broadcast 2020 #8: Jake Lee vs Kuma Arashi
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • New Japan Cup Day 6: SANADA vs SHO
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 1: AEW Women’s Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs Penelope Ford
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WWE SmackDown: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kofi Kingston
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup Day 8: Tomohiro Ishii, SHO & Hirooki Goto vs Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • AEW Fyter Fest Night 1: Private Party vs Santana & Ortiz
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup Day 8: Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, ZSJ & Taichi vs Gabriel Kidd, Yuji Nagata, Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: ***
  • NXT Great American Bash Night 1: Elimination Match: Dakota Kai vs Candice LeRae vs Tegan Nox vs Mia Yim
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup Day 7: Kazuchika Okada vs Taiji Ishimori
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Chris Bey w/Johnny Swinger vs Suicide
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup Day 6: Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Yota Tsuji vs Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito
    Rating: ***

2t. AJPW Broadcast 2020 #8: Triple Crown Championship: SUWAMA (c) vs Shotaro Ashino

Now for context, Shotaro Ashino was the ace of Wrestle-1 and SUWAMA was the handpicked ace of All Japan until Kento Miyahara has taken that title. Funnily enough, Ashino rose to prominence in Keiji Mutoh’s company and SUWAMA was picked by Mutoh during his reign as the president of AJPW. As for why this has weight in All Japan; since Wrestle-1 folded in April, the roster has been filling out in new places. Ashino has invaded the AJPW events, with his stable Enfantes Terrible, and made a mark. So he set his sights on SUWAMA, and now SUWAMA has the pride of his company to fight for.

Early on, this was a solid amateur wrestling match. Many holds, counter holds and mat positioning sequences. However, this doesn’t really play well to the lack of an audience. While this was a technically sound match, with great submission attempts and suplexes. It just was paced a little awkwardly, perhaps an audience to play off of for momentary beats would have been better received.

Ashino fought off the Last Ride about halfway through the match, and worked over SUWAMA’s legs since his bread and butter finish is the Ankle Lock. The fight from both men was great, and the desire to win from Ashino was a little off-putting since he’s the outsider heel. Ashino fought out of about 5 finish attempts, before SUWAMA FINALLY hit the Last Ride Powerbomb to keep Ashino down.

So for a company that doesn’t get nearly the notoriety as others currently, this was a very solid championship outing. My qualms are more observational on the world situation. Even if it would’ve been better under normal circumstances, it’s definitely a good match to jump into AJPW this year if you’ve been dragging feet.

Winner: SUWAMA via Last Ride Powerbomb

 

2t. NXT Great American Bash Night 1: Io Shirai vs Sasha Banks w/Bayley

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Shirai adjusts while Sasha is in the drop zone, DESCENT- NO! Sasha avoids the moonsault, BOOTS Shirai back, then hops up to leap, METEORA! Cover, TWO!! Sasha and Bayley can’t believe it but Shirai survives! “This is Awesome!” but far from over. Sasha clutches a leg and hobbles up. Shirai stands, drop toeholds Sasha onto ropes, then runs, but Sasha avoids the  619 this time. Shirai and Sasha brawl with the ropes between them, and Sasha ROCKS Shirai. Shirai ROCKS back, the brawling continues, Shirai gets the edge. Shirai hits Sasha hard, springboards, but Sasha stops her! Shirai counter punches then springboards, but Sasha catches her again! Sasha shouts, “I! AM! NXT!” and ROUNDHOUSES Shirai down! Bayley laughs like a hyena as Sasha runs and sunset flips! Shirai holds on but she still gets BOMBED into the Plexiglas!!

The crowd is thunderous as Bayley bows to The Boss’ greatness. Sasha drags Shirai up and into the ring then high fives her best friend. Sasha climbs up top, the crowd taunts, “You Don’t Go Here!” Sasha ignores that and Frog Splashes, to FLOP! Into a CROSSFACE from Shirai! Shirai is stealing the Bank Statement and Sasha must endure her own move! Sasha scrambles around, reaches for ropes, but she can’t reach. So Bayley throws in one of the tag title belts! Sasha grabs for that, the ref has to stop her, but this allows Sasha to get to the ropes and Bayley DECKS Shirai! The ref suspects something but Bayley grabs the belt back from him. Sasha still has the other tag belt, but someone else grabs it? It’s ASUKA!! Asuka SPITS MIST! Shirai rolls Sasha, TWO!?!

Shirai SHOTEIS! Asuka and the crowd cheers Shirai as she WRECKS Bayley into the Plexiglas! Shirai hurries up top, the crowd is thunderous, and DESCENT INTO DARKNESS! Cover, Shirai wins!

Winner: Io Shirai via Moonsault

 

2t. New Japan Cup Day 7: Tomohiro Ishii vs Hiromu Takahashi

From My Results:

This match told a great story for Hiromu. His return and growth since he wants to face Naito, has been a great motivating tool. Ishii brought the hard hitting style that we all know and love, so Hiromu was forced to adjust.

We saw less athletic/daredevil spots and more direct striking. Hiromu leaned heavily on headbutts and kicks. Hiromu also broke out his submission hold, the Triangle Choke he calls The D (he claims he didn’t know what that meant, he just thought it sounded cool…and was going to adjust the name, but I haven’t heard a new name yet). Ishii turned Hiromu inside out multiple times with lariat variations, but couldn’t land his Vertical Drop Brainbuster.

Hiromu on the other hand, needed every trick in his book. Dynamite Plunger, The D, Time Bomb and Time Bomb #2, after he even hit Ishii with a Vertical Drop Brainbuster for the rub ins. You’ve got to wonder how much further Hiromu can go, if Ishii made him use all his moves already. Should be interesting to see if he gets Ishimori or Okada for the Semi-Finals.

Winner: Hiromu via Time Bomb #2

 

2t. WWE SmackDown: Matt Riddle vs John Morrison w/The Miz

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:

Morrison elbows Riddle away, but Riddle comes back! Morrison dumps Riddle to the outside but Riddle rocks him with a right. Riddle CHOPS, then climbs back up, for Morrison’s SUPER SPANISH FLY! Then a STANDING Spanish Fly! Cover, TWO!?! Corbin is furious on behalf of Morrison but the ref tells him to keep back. Morrison and Riddle slowly rise, brawl on their knees, then brawl as they stand. Riddle fires off palms strikes, Morrison ducks a kick but Riddle counters a kick to a PELE! Morrison wobbles into the FINAL FLASH! Riddle reels Morrison in for a bomb lift but Morrison gets out to dropkick! Riddle slips out of the tilt-o-whirl to POWERBOMB, flip and KAMI-BRO-YE!! Cover, TWO!?

Riddle grits his teeth, fires up and brings Morrison back up. Riddle gut wrenches but Miz distracts now. Riddle decks Miz, then he swings on Corbin. Morrison rolls Riddle, TWO! Morrison goes for the leg, Riddle cradle counters, Riddle wins!!

Winner: Riddle wins via Leg Laced Cradle

 

1. New Japan Cup Day 8: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiromu Takahashi

From My Results:

This was a slow burn of a match, where both men had control doing what they do best. Hiromu with the insanity and Okada mostly with his size advantage. Early on Hiromu used the running Apron Dropkick to kick Okada through the gate door on the barricade. He rolled in the ring, grinned and then had a look on his face like “FIIINE”, like he heard someone’s voice in his head saying “a champion doesn’t take cheap wins”.

As the strikes and signature moves came out, the intensity of the match built. Hiromu countered the Cobra Clutch once by lifting Okada up and driving him into the corner turnbuckle with the Death Valley Driver. Funnily enough, since Okada is reinventing himself a little, the first Rainmaker of the tournament was hit…by Hiromu. That Rainmaker lead into Time Bomb and that was a very close near fall. You could audibly hear Red Shoes saying “Only 2”.

Receiving the moderate insult, Okada made sure to send a message. Rolling Rainmaker hit clean, and then he did something we don’t see often, by holding wrist control and hitting multiple Short Arm Lariats. Hiromu was all heart in this match, trying to counter, fight from underneath, and pop back up from most of the bigger moves Okada threw at him. But this was too much, Repeating Rainmakers into the Cobra Clutch, Hiromu was out. Red Shoes calls for the bell, but to show Hiromu’s resolve, he never tapped.

Winner: Okada via Cobra Clutch

 

Thoughts:

A lot went on this week, and surprisingly the Top 5 was WWE product and Japanese matches. Everything on here deserves some recognition, and definitely give them a look if you already haven’t. BUT – my vote will go to New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiromu Takahashi. I considered it the best match of the week, and the way Okada put over Hiromu while throwing a little shade around, could always lead to interesting developments.

With all that said, there’s two votes, watch whatever you need to; and enjoy whatever it is that you like! This week proved that there was solid work across the board for the major promotions, and that’s always reassuring.


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