Wow, we had one of the closest votes of the year for the July Pool! The show that surprised everyone, Slammiversary, and it’s main event…came up short by 1 vote!
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
- July – NJPW Dominion: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs SHO
Advantageously, the way we do the December match, is basically a second chance vote since we like to have a MOTY by end of year. So maybe the Impact 5 way will get another shot later in the year.
Oh! Yes, last week’s vote did have a decisive winner as well, being murder grandpas on ice! NJPW Summer Struggle: Minoru Suzuki vs Yuji Nagata.
Let’s see what this week gave us!
Quick Top 5:
- NOAH Departure Day 2: GHC Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki (c) vs Naomichi Marufuji
Rating: **** 3/4
- NJPW Summer Struggle: Vacant NEVER 6 Man Championship: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Toru Yano) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii)
- IMPACT!: Impact Wrestling World Championship Open Challenge: Eddie Edwards (c) vs Sami Callihan
Rating: *** 3/4
- AEW Dynamite: AEW Championship: Jon Moxley (c) vs Darby Allin
Rating: *** 3/4
- NXT: #1 Contender for Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai
Rating: *** 3/4
- NJPW Summer Struggle: CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & Master Wato
Rating: *** 1/2
- NOAH Departure Day 1: GHC National Championship: Kenoh vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (c)
Rating: *** 1/2
- NJPW Strong Ep.1: Tanga Loa vs Jeff Cobb
Rating: *** 1/4
- NJPW Summer Struggle: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Toru Yano) vs LIJ (Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & SANADA)
Rating: *** 1/4
- NXT: NXT Tag Team Championship: Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) (c) vs Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reily)
- NJPW Strong E.1: Brody King vs Tama Tonga
- WWE RAW: Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott vs The IIconics
- IMPACT!: Chris Bey & Rohit Raju vs TJP & Fallah Bahh
3t. NXT: #1 Contender for Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai
Dakota is seething as she watches Rhea get up. KAI-RO- NO! Rhea pops out and BOOTS Dakota down! Then Rhea gets Dakota’s legs, PRISM TRAP!! The hanging Clover Leaf has Dakota caught! Dakota claws, crawls, rolls and sends Rhea into buckles! Dakota gets space as Rhea manages to stand. Dakota runs Around the World to BOOT! Rhea ends up on the apron, Dakota drags her up to the top rope. Rhea resists, Dakota clubs her back, but Rhea holds onto ropes. Dakota clubs more, tries with all her might, but Rhea hits back. Rhea DECKS Dakota off the top! But while the ref checks on Dakota, MERCEDES MARTINEZ BOOTS Rhea outta nowhere!! Does Robert Stone Brand still have beef with Rhea?!
Dakota drags Rhea back up, manages to fireman’s carry for a GO TO KICK!! Cover, Dakota wins!!
Winner: Kai via Go To Kick
3t. AEW Dynamite: AEW Championship: Jon Moxley (c) vs Darby Allin
Darby rises and hurries to a corner! He goes up top, COFFIN DROP!! Cover, TWO!?! MJF’s screw job didn’t work out, but Moxley is bleeding! Taz loves this on commentary because of his issues on behalf of Brian Cage. Darby seethes as Moxley flounders. Moxley manages to stand, Darby throws haymakers on the wound! Moxley shoves Darby away but walks into boots! Darby leaps up and over to shotgun dropkick Moxley back! Then the THROWBACK STUNNER! Moxley wobbles into Darby’s run, and perhaps back elbow and back of the head collide with Moxley! Darby crawls over to another corner, heads back up top, and goes for COFFIN DROP into body scissors! REAR NAKED CHOKE!!
Moxley smothers Darby, Darby fades but gets a second wind! Darby sits up, reaches for ropes, Moxley wants Darby to tap! “Tap, you little bastard!” But Darby doesn’t, he just rakes Moxley’s bloody forehead!! Moxley cranks harder on the hold, spins Darby around, and shouts out Suzuki-san with the GOTCH PILEDRIVER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Moxley cannot believe it and neither can anyone else! Moxley shakes his head. He told Darby to stay down but also knew Darby wouldn’t listen, and that’s what happened. Moxley says one more prayer, drags Darby up, and underhooks the arms, for PARADIGM SHIFT!! Cover, Moxley wins!
Winner: Moxley via Paradigm Shift
3t. IMPACT!: Impact Wrestling World Championship Open Challenge: Eddie Edwards (c) vs Sami Callihan
RVD attacks Sami during his entrance while Katie Forbes twerks and holds off security. Callihan still goes down to the ring after RVD and Katie leave, but this sets up an easy excuse for Sami’s loss.
A very good match came from the gimmick angle open. Sami hit an early Piledriver on the apron and slammed Eddie into the barricade a few times to soften him up, which Eddie sold his neck for the rest of the match. Both had great offense and solid references to other styles or wrestlers that matter to them. We know of Eddie’s NOAH history, but Sami hit a Go 2 Sleep variation and Masato Tanaka’s Sliding D.
So great back and forth action, with an ending that created more questions. Sami grabbed a chair, pondered the usage and then got rid of the chair. Eddie took advantage of indecision, hits a normal Boston Knee Party, drops the knee pad, and his the Boston Knee Party to the back of Sami’s head.
Winner: Eddie via Boston Knee Party
2. NJPW Summer Struggle: Vacant NEVER 6 Man Championship: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Toru Yano) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii)
Goto kicks Yano back out and tells Ishii to finish this! Ishii fires up and drags Sho into the suplex, but Sho breaks free! Ishii swats Sho’s punch and HEADBUTTS! Sho is in a daze as Ishii suplexes again. Sho slips out and pops Ishii up for the ARMBAR!! Hashi and Okada fight on one side while Goto and Yano are on the other! Sho has the armbreaker in deep but Ishii kicks around. Goto gets back in to stomp Sho but Yano throws Goto out. Sho grits his teeth as he drags Ishii up with a wristlock. Sho wrenches to a shoulder breaker! And another! And another! Sho ripcords Ishii, ducks Ishii’s clothesline, and hits a STRAITJACKET GERMAN!! Briding cover, TWO!?! Ishii escapes but Sho just powers up more! Sho runs, LARIAT!!
Fans are thunderous again while Okada keeps Hashi down. Sho aims his bow and drags Ishii up. Sho underhooks for the double pump handle, but Ishii resists and back drops free. Sho is up, runs at Ishii to clothesline him at the ropes. Sho keeps going, but Goto returns! SUPERKICK USHIGOROSHI!! METEORA! SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, but Okada breaks it in time!! Goto and Hashi kick Okada and Yano back out and Ishii takes aim again. Ishii runs, to LARIAT Sho down! Cover, TWO?!? Sho survives but Ishii just suplexes, for the BRAIN BUSTER!! Cover, Hashi anchors Okada, Hashi’s team wins!!
Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster
1. NOAH Departure Day 2: GHC Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki (c) vs Naomichi Marufuji
We had a decent build up for this match, coupled with a slight branding change, which makes the foundation of the fight more poignant. Shiozaki has been considered the Spirit of NOAH for a while, and took on more of an embodiment of the brand after his title win this year. I AM NOAH, WE ARE NOAH – has become his battle cry. Marufuji being the main protege of Misawa (basically his son in every way beyond blood); Marufuji has gone after the NOAH mantle, exploring the fact that HE is NOAH. So with CyberFight becoming a thing next month, the last vestiges of NOAH will live with one of these two. Misawa’s trainee or Kobashi’s trainee?
Marufuji did a wonderful job at pulling out bigger moves he only uses in big fights. Apron Piledriver, Double Jump Triangle Moonsault, his new Tiger King and Perfect Keylock. The last two were huge call backs because those gave Marufuji visible victories over Shiozaki in previous tag matches. Another part of Marufuji’s attack was to try and take Shiozaki’s chops out of the picture by focusing the arm heavily.
Shiozaki fought from underneath most of the match, and he really gave it his all. This match pulled a lot from their trainers, the pacing was great, the moment when they both grabbed one another’s wrist and just chopped away at each other was great. Shiozaki had some great counters, especially when he countered the Tiger King with an Emerald Flowsion. The last big spot of reference was when Marufuji hit the Kobashi style Spinning Back Chop and Shiozaki’s eyes were full of fire. So he returned the favor with the classic Misawa Rolling Elbow, before taking Marufuji’s head off with a Gowan Lariat.
Marufuji kicks out, so Shiozaki wins with the Moonsault, another Kobashi reference that he’s used more often their last year or so. Great match purely from in ring action, amazing with the context.
Winner: Shiozaki via Moonsault
Now I’ll be honest, the CHAOS vs CHOAS 6 man match had no business being as good as it was. But also, YOSHI-HASHI finally has a belt…2020 is a weird timeline man. Can Bill and Ted fix whatever it is that went wrong?
Anyway, I LOVED the NOAH match. This has been a big year for NOAH for me personally, where 3 of my personal Top 6 matches are from NOAH. Great stuff from Shiozaki and Marufuji; PLUS Shiozaki has another defense on 8/10 so he might be in the Top 5 again! Go Go Shio-zaki…Mighty Morphin – wait no…wrong song.
Okay go home, I’m drunk.
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