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Andrew’s Top 5 (10) Matches: Week Ending 9/20/2020

Okay, there were a lot of good matches this week, so it’s 10 instead of 5. But it’s not only Japanese tournaments! The list is fairly diverse, feast your eyes!

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Holy cavalcade of coverage Batman! With all the Japanese tournaments and the fact that north american television decided to put on a few pretty big matches – WHO HAS THE TIME!?

Well I think I made time for most of it…I still have a 9-5 shoot job, so it’s a little rough. Let’s get last week’s winner out of the way, NXT: Vacant NXT Championship: Finn Balor vs Adam Cole, won the vote. Now let me preface this week a little bit. First world problems, I know, but there are TOO MANY good matches. It’s a Top 10 this week because just wow. I also numbered the Honorable Mentions to highlight how much quality there was all week.

So let’s get to this monster of a list!

Quick Top 10:

  1. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 1: Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: **** 1/2
  2. N-1 Victory B Block: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Kenoh
    Rating: **** 1/2
  3. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 2: Tetsuya Naito vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: **** 1/2
  4. AEW Dynamite: Parking Lot Fight: Santana & Ortiz vs Best Friends
    Rating: **** 1/4
  5. Stardom 5Star GP Red Stars Day 6: Tam Nakano vs Giulia
    Rating: ****
  6. NXT: Shotzi Blackheart vs Io Shirai
    Rating: ****
  7. N-1 Victory Day 2: A Block: Manabu Soya vs Masa Kitamiya
    Rating: ****
  8. AJPW Champion Carnival Day 3: Shotaro Ashino vs Kento Miyahara
    Rating: ****
  9. IMPACT!: The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) & Madman Fulton & Ace Austin vs Motor City Machine Guns & The Good Brothers
    Rating: ****
  10. Stardom 5Star GP Blue Stars Day 5: Momo Watanabe vs Utami Hayashishita
    Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

  1. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 1: Shingo Takagi vs Jay White
    Rating: *** 3/4
  2. N-1 Victory A Block: Masaaki Mochizuki vs Kaito Kiyomiya
    Rating: *** 3/4
  3. Stardom 5Star GP Blue Stars Day 6: Utami Hayashishita vs Maika
    Rating: *** 3/4
  4. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 2: KENTA vs Hirooki Goto
    Rating: *** 3/4
  5. NXT: North American Championship: Timothy Thatcher vs Damian Priest
    Rating: *** 3/4
  6. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 1: Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi
    Rating: *** 3/4
  7. Stardom 5Star GP Blue Stars Day 5: AZM vs Syuri
    Rating: *** 3/4
  8. N-1 Victory Day 2: B Block: Takashi Sugiura vs Shuhei Taniguchi
    Rating: *** 3/4
  9. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 2: EVIL vs Zack Sabre Jr
    Rating: *** 3/4
  10. AJPW Champion Carnival: SUWAMA vs Jake Lee
    Rating: *** 3/4
  11. AEW Dynamite: Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs Private Party
    Rating: *** 1/2
  12. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 2: YOSHI-HASHI vs Juice Robinson
    Rating: *** 1/2
  13. N-1 Victory Day 2: A Block: Masaaki Mochizuki vs Kazushi Sakuraba
    Rating: *** 1/2
  14. Stardom 5Star GP Blue Stars Day 5: Jungle Kyona vs Natsuko Tora
    Rating: *** 1/2
  15. N-1 Victory A Block: Go Shiozaki vs Manabu Soya
    Rating: *** 1/2
  16. NXT: NXT Tag Team Championship: Breezango (c) vs Imperium
    Rating: *** 1/2
  17. AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Frankie Kazarian
    Rating: *** 1/2
  18. Stardom 5Star GP Red Stars Day 5: Tam Nakano vs Saya Kamitani
    Rating: *** 1/4
  19. NJPW Strong Ep. 7: Alex Zayne & ACH vs Guerrillas of Destiny
    Rating: *** 1/4
  20. IMPACT!: Trey Miguel vs TJP
    Rating: *** 1/4
  21. UWN Prime Time Live: West Coast Pro Championship: Hammerstone (c) vs EJ Sparks
    Rating: *** 1/4
  22. N-1 Victory Day 2: B Block: Naomichi Marufuji vs Yoshiki Inamura
    Rating: *** 1/4
  23. Stardom 5Star GP Red Stars Day 5: Mayu Iwatani vs Himeka
    Rating: *** 1/4
  24. Stardom 5Star GP Blue Stars Day 5: Jungle Kyona vs Maika
    Rating: *** 1/4
  25. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 1: Taichi vs Jeff Cobb
    Rating: *** 1/4
  26. Stardom 5Star GP Red Stars Day 6: Mayu Iwatani vs Saya Kamitani
    Rating: ***
  27. IMPACT!: Brian Myers vs Willie Mack
    Rating: ***
  28. N-1 Victory B Block: Yoshiki Inamura vs Takashi Sugiura
    Rating: ***
  29. IMPACT!: Kimber Lee & Deonna Purrazzo vs Susie & Kylie Rae
    Rating: ***
  30. NJPW Strong Ep. 7: Misterioso & Fred Rosser vs PJ Black & Rocky Romero
    Rating: ***
  31. Stardom 5Star GP Red Stars Day 5: Mayu Iwatani vs Death-Yama
    Rating: ***

5t. Stardom 5Star GP Blue Stars Day 5: Momo Watanabe vs Utami Hayashishita

From Mathew’s Review:

Utami slammed her down and went for the pin as Momo kicked out, leaving Utami frustrated as she went to pin her again but no luck with Momo kicking out again. Utami throws her into the corner and charges at her but Momo moved to deliver a Dropkick and delivers one more once Utami sat down and picked her up for a Suplex as Utami kicked out. Utami catches Momo with a judo flip and does it one more time before pinning her and Momo kicked out again as not a lot of time is left. The two are on the top rope and Momo attempts a Superplex but she would toss her over with what looks like a Uranagi and tops it off with a Somato as Utami barely kicked out. Momo went for a kick but Utami ducked and catches her for a German Suplex. The two slowly get up as they go blow for blow until Momo got up and roundhouse her in the face and delivers a Somato to her back and then a regular one to pin her and Utami kicked out again! Momo is wasting no time and delivers a Package Driver to get her down but Utami with another kickout as she just won’t quit.

Momo climbed to the top rope and goes for a Dropkick but Utami went under her and catches her for another German Suplex, making her crash into the turnbuckle and that looked brutal. Utami picked her up for the Kryptonite Krunch and pins her as Momo would kick out but just barely! Utami puts her in a Sleeper Hold and would turn it into a German Suplex Hold and Momo would kick out again as we have less than a minute left now! Utami attempts the Torture Rack but Momo fought off her to apply the Crossface Chickenwing for a moment and turns it into a Torture Rack of her own. Momo puts her down to hit the Tequila Sunrise and Utami kicked out! Momo calls for the Peach Sunrise and Utami flipped over her and got up to hit a Lariat as the bell rings and we have a tie!

Winner: Time Limit Draw

 

5t. IMPACT!: The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) & Madman Fulton & Ace Austin vs Motor City Machine Guns & The Good Brothers

From My Results:

Ace tagged out to Josh Alexander while the Guns and the Machine Gun were having some discourse and we get some beautiful fluid tandem offense from The Guns. Shelley hits the blind tag, shoulder blocks, slingshot Sentons and Splashes, each member of the heel team comes in and The Guns dispatch each one, even Fulton. As the Good Brothers react like Emilio Esteves and Charlie Sheen during Men at Work, “Golf Clap? Golf Clap.”

After the commercial, Alexander gets an opening to bring in Ethan Page and the heels get rolling. Page then tags in Fulton and Shelley has this look on his face like “dammit”. Fun moment when Alex tries to jump over Fulton, Fulton grabs him, but only Sabin is reach out for the tag. Good Brothers are more like “We’re over here, get closer…” which then allows a really nice Northern Lights Suplex for Fulton for a near fall.

After Shelley eats offense for a while, Sabin finally gets sick of waiting, jumps into to help Shelley and Shelley tags out to Karl. The match goes into 5th gear from here. Dives, tandem moves, signature spams, both teams do the Japanese corner train spot, more signature moves, just a frenetic pace that you don’t see much in American wrestling.

The North manage to pull off their Tandem Inverted Mat Slam finish, but Ace Austin tags himself in right beforehand, so Ace gets the pin on a champion and The North are fuming a bit as we fade to black.

Winner: Ace Austin via Inverted Mat Slam (The North’s Finisher)

 

5t. AJPW Champion Carnival Day 3: Shotaro Ashino vs Kento Miyahara

From Mathew’s Review:

We got the crowd clapping to the beat of a Metallica song while Kento’s finger was playing along with them, it’s great since Ashino’s theme is from Metallica. The two locked up and they struggled till they made their way to the ropes as the referee calls them to break it up, but it looked like Kento was about to slap him but doesn’t as the two are in a standstill. When it comes to just ground work, Shotaro has a better advantage and he showed that while they locked up again and he had Kento’s arm locked till Kento backed into the ropes as the ref called for the break again, but Shotaro doesn’t give Kento the same courtesy he gave him and hits a European Uppercut before backing up. Once they got outside, Kento does his usual headbutts to him and throws him around before bringing him back into the ring and once Kento had one foot over the rope, Ashino went into the attack and hits a Dragon Screw on that leg and has him where he wants him now. Ashino just gets Kento’s leg around the turnbuckle post and twists it onto the post, making him scream in agony before letting go. This is the type of stuff Yoshi should’ve been doing when they fought but Ashino does leg work the best and he shows it. There was one takeaway from making this match great and that was that I could’ve done it without the interference from Enfants Terribles since it would’ve just been better without help from anyone as this match alone screams Triple Crown Championship and we’re getting it for the Carnival.

Damnit, camera guy for cutting off what Kento was doing to get momentum back since he focused on Yuma watching from the back, he does this twice and it was annoying. Kento had Shotaro in the corner and hits the first Blackout, making him go out the ring again. Koji Doi chopblocks Kento when the referee wasn’t looking and Shotaro has time to breathe. Ashino hits stiff European Uppercuts to daze him and runs the ropes, metting a kick from Kento and gets him with the Brainbuster, causing them both to go down. Kento hits a second Blackout and a German Suplex on top, and as he goes for another Blackout, Shotaro ducked and grabbed his foot to apply the Ankle Lock. Ashino has it locked in tight and Kento is trying to fight it off. Love how he struggles here with all the leg work Ashino did but tapped to Yoshi with miminal work during day one. Kento was able to flip around to try and pin him as Ashino kicked out at two to break the hold. Kento goes for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold but Shotaro broke it off and kneeled down to grab his ankle again for the Ankle Lock! Kento was able to get to the ropes as Ashino hits a German Suplex but Kento gets up and hits another Blackout. Ashino is dazed as Kento quickly went over behind him and would hit the Shutdown German Suplex Hold for the pinfall victory! Kento is still in the race but it seems like Shotaro is now eliminated as well.

Winner: Kento via Shutdown Suplex Hold

 

5t. N-1 Victory Day 2: A Block: Manabu Soya vs Masa Kitamiya

From My Results:

This was a titanic bout between two heavyweights. There was lariats, clubbing, standing and taking punishment; everything you could ask for from two power wrestlers. Both trying to get the other to budge with Shoulder Tackles and displays of power that fizzled at the force of the other.

Realizing that the power was very close to equal between the two, Soya broke out a kneeling Neck Crank variation to get Kitamiya to tap. This was a great win for Soya since it helps stabilize him in the tournament; it was inner faction, so it gives him personal bragging rights and hopefully leads to more with him. Kitamiya however, tends to struggle quite a bit against other power wrestlers.

Winner: Soya via Neck Crank

 

5t. NXT: Shotzi Blackheart vs Io Shirai

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Shotzi brings Shirai up to a fireman’s carry but Shirai fights out. Shirai shoves and FLAPJACKS Shotzi down! Shotzi flounders up, into the TIGER FEINT! Shirai climbs up top, aims at Shotzi, for the missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! Shirai won’t slow down, she goes back up top, but Shotzi trips her up! Shotzi spins Shirai around, goes up top and SUPER STEINERS! Cover, TWO!! Shotzi can’t believe how close yet so far she is from defeating the champion! Shotzi puts Shirai in the drop zone, heads back up top, but Shirai SHOTEIS first! Shirai climbs up, throws forearms and then grabs a leg. Shotzi resists the superplex, clubs Shirai back and puts her down on the apron! Shotzi boots Shirai, hops on abut Shirai bucks her off! Shirai APRON GERMAN SUPLEXES Shotzi down!!

Both women are down but only Shirai is on the apron! Shotzi is dazed as she slowly stirs and is somehow still okay to continue! Shirai drags Shotzi up and in to finish this directly. Cover, TWO!! Shirai is frustrated that Shotzi survived, but Shotzi is in the corner, still dazed. Shirai runs corner to corner, SHINKANSEN! Then Shirai puts Shotzi back in the drop zone before going back up top. Shirai goes OVER THE MOON!! Cover, Shirai wins!!

Winner: Io via Moonsault

 

5t. Stardom 5Star GP Red Stars Day 6: Tam Nakano vs Giulia

From My Results:

Even if Tam can’t cut a pre-match promo without the giggles, boy does she know how to wrestle with hatred. The strikes between these two were great, the fact that when one had the upper hand, the smiled with dubious delight. It was a great match that helped you feel the level of their disdain.

Giulia hit a gorgeous flying Octopus hold which Tam fought to the ropes, but Giulia transitioned to a Sunset Flip leaving our number 1 idol in the universe on the backfoot for a while. It wasn’t until Tam slipped a Glorious Driver into a Dragon Sleeper, broke the hold and then cold cocked Giulia with a Spinning Crane Kick that looked on point. Tam hits a German Suplex, a regular Tiger Suplex, holds on, to hit one more Tiger Suplex with the bridge. Tam picks up the win, eliminating Giulia from 5Star contention and solidifying her bid at the White Belt next month.

Winner: Tam via Tiger Suplex Hold

 

4, AEW Dynamite: Parking Lot Fight: Santana & Ortiz vs Best Friends

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

PNP regroup and they point at Trent and his bloody back. Ortiz SMACKS Trent with what’s left of the wood! Santana toys with Chuck while Ortiz rains down rights. Another SMACK from the wood! Trent gets up on noodle legs but Ortiz ROCKS him! Santana presses Chuck into another car’s trunk, and says, “This was the biggest mistake you have ever done in your f***ing life!” Santana punches Chuck over and over into the car’s license plate! Chuck can barely cover up! But he refuses to give up! Meanwhile, Ortiz has put Trent on that wood bridge on the truck bed! Santana grabs the baseball bat Chuck found and takes aim. But wait, who is that coming out of the car trunk!? It’s ORANGE CASSIDY!!

Cassidy has his fist wrapped in something, and gives Santana a FULL METAL ORANGE PUNCH! That something was a steel chain!! Cassidy drags Santana up and fireman’s carries him over to the red sedan. He hands Santana off to Chuck for an AWFUL WAFFLE on the hood! Trent turns things around on Ortiz to get him up and around for a CRUNCHIE through the wood!! Cover, Best Friends win!!

Winner: Best Friends via Strong Zero

 

1t. G1 Climax 30 B Block Day 2: Tetsuya Naito vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

From My Results:

Whenever Naito would put a few things together, Tanahashi would strike back and go after the knees. It wasn’t until Naito tapped into a small bit of viciousness and grabbed Tanahashi’s wrist and smashed him about 20 times with clubbing back elbow strikes. Tana did manage to hit a few Sling Blades after that, but it was at that point that Naito looked to be building towards an idea.

Tanahashi hit a Standing High Fly Flow, so he went to hit it flush once Naito was down, but Naito rolled and Tanahashi ate mat. Gloria, Valentia, Running Destino and finally the full arm wringer Destino. A really well paced match, with great offense from both and showed a lot of character from both men.

Winner: Naito via Destino

 

1t. N-1 Victory B Block Day 1: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Kenoh

From My Results:

This starts off very pensive. Both circle for a few seconds, try to engage in a lockup, but back away quickly. Both were very familiar with one another before being a part of the same faction, so it’s no shock things will start slowly. Especially given the last two big victories were taken by Kenoh and he managed to knock Nakajima out twice.

After the slow start, they start measuring one another with traded kicks and the “anything you can do, I can do better” mentality. But once one stings, the pace sharply quickens. To say strikes were traded is an understatement. I mean, if you watch this, you’d be hard pressed to remember they are in the same faction.

Kenoh gets an advantage and goes for a few of his Double Foot or Double Knee dives, while Nakajima opens up slightly altered spots. He applies a Cobra Twist, pulls out his old Diamond Bomb, to go along with a flurry of kicks and his corner cocky pose spot. This match was less of a kickfest than usual, but still contained all of the grit and aggression that we’ve come to expect from their matches.

After lighting up Kenoh with a Punt Kick, he goes full mount and rains down elbows on what looks like a barely conscious body. But instead of looking for the knockout, Nakajima makes a point to win with the Vertical Spike.

Winner: Nakajima via Vertical Spike

 

1t. G1 Climax 30 A Block Day 1: Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Suzuki brings Ishii around but Ishii LARIATS first! Ishii dares Suzuki to sit up, then runs, bu tinto a spin and a SLEEPER! Then the spin, but no Gotch as Ishii Alabama lifts for a CRUNCHIE!! Both men are down and the fans are thunderous! Ishii gets up and sits Suzuki up, for the SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Suzuki survives but Ishii isn’t going to stop! Ishii suplexes, Suzuki resists and goes aftre the arm! Ishii breaks free to enziguri! Suzuki is down again but Ishii steadies himself first. Ishii runs at Suzuki, to clothesline him at the ropes! Ishii keeps moving, Suzuki gets around to waistlock and drag him down, into a SLEEPER! Ishii fights up but Suzuki spins him, GOTCH-

NO! Ishii powers up and back drops out! Suzuki boots, Ishii LARIATS! Suzuki stays up and fires off more palm strikes. Both men SLAP and SLAP, then Suzuki ROCKS Ishii and then DECKS him!! Suzuki sits Ishii up, runs, and BASEMENT BOOTS! But Ishii is up!? Ishii LARIATS Suzuki down! Ishii rests in a corner but Suzuki laughs as he rises! Suzuki boots, Ishii blocks and headbutts! Ishii fires up, waits for Suzuki to stand, and runs to LARIAT again! But Ishii isn’t done, he drags Suzuki up for the suplex, and- No! Suzuki rolls back, spins Ishii around, Gotch PILEDRIVER!!! Cover, Suzuki wins!!

Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver

 

Thoughts:

Wait, there’s a few more weeks of this? Oh boy…

ANYWHO, I don’t even know where to start with this week. AEW was surprisingly good, NXT wasn’t far behind, the Japanese tournaments top my personal enjoyment and the Impact 8 man was patterned like a Japanese match…so put all of these on a dart board, close your eyes, and toss a dart.

I guess I’ll personally pick Tanahashi versus Naito as my pick for the week, but damn it’s close. Seven different companies, three women’s matches, and this is still early on in a few of the tournaments.

 


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Bandwagon Nerds

BWN Nerds’ Movie Review: Godzilla vs Kong (2021)

Big boy monster throw down of the year! The Nerds return with a current movie review, and this one should be interesting. Is Dave too forgiving? Is Patrick taking his role as the German judge too seriously? Find out where the overall ratings lands between these two!

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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review!  Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different movie from the Nerdosphere.  This week Dave and Patrick review the fourth installment of kaiju cinematic universe Godzilla vs. Kong!

The Flick:  Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

What’s it About:  A researcher believes a hollow world beneath the Earth’s surface is the birthplace of the mighty Kaiju.  He convinces and old friend to help him take the mighty Kong to find his birthplace even if it means incurring the wrath of the King of Kaiju Godzilla.   The battle between the two alpha Kaiju could result in the end of all mankind.

Metacritic Score: 59

The Nerds’ Take on Godzilla vs Kong (2021):

Dave It is time for the Main Event of Legendary’s MosterVerse, the showdown we have been waiting for: Godzilla v. Kong. If you have been following along with our Nerd Reviews, then you knew this was coming. What you don’t know is whether we feel the climax to the series is worth your time or not. Well allow me to give you my take on that topic.

Plot wise, it has been some five years since Godzilla defeated Ghidorah and things have been relatively quiet and peaceful. Meanwhile, on Skull Island, Monarch has created a dome like structure to observe and try and control Kong. Kong has developed a relationship with a little girl, Jia, who seems to be the last surviving member of her clan. Jia has, for lack of a better term, been adopted by Dr. Ilene Andrews. Jia is deaf and she seems able to communicate with Kong through sign language.

Halfway across the globe, Apex Cybernetics is engaged in some sort of experimentation that attracts the attention of Godzilla, who shows up and annihilates their facility in Florida. Godzilla’s attack shatters humanity’s notion that he is their friend. Bernie Hayes is an employee of Apex, but he also hosts a Podcast focusing on conspiracy theories involving the Titans. He is soon joined by Madison Russell (from Godzilla: King of the Monsters) who is a fan of the Podcast, and her friend Josh as they start poking around the remains of the Apex site in Florida. We soon discover that Apex is looking for a massive power source that they believe is located in Hollow Earth. Hollow Earth is really more of an Earth within the Earth (Middle Earth, perhaps?) and the quandary is how to survive the trip to Hollow Earth. Nathan Lind is a Hollow Earth expert whose brother perished in a prior expedition to Hollow Earth due to a reverse gravitational effect. But Apex has developed vehicles that can survive the voyage. They just need Kong to lead them there.

In the process of transporting Kong to Antarctica, which has an entry point to Hollow Earth, Godzilla senses his old rival and attacks. Godzilla definitely gets the better of this battle, forcing the expeditionary force to transport Kong by air to Antarctica to avoid detection by Godzilla. Kong gets the group to Hollow Earth and it becomes clear there has been an ancient rivalry between Kong’s ancestors and Godzilla’s. Kong discovers an axe made out of portions of Godzilla’s ancestor’s skins. Back on the surface, Bernie, Madison, and Josh have been whisked away to Hong Kong and they discover what Apex is really up to….Mechagodzilla. Mechagodzilla can be telepathically controlled and it is Dr. Serizawa’s son who is pulling the strings, using the severed head of Ghidorah to do so. The problem is that to utilize Mechagodzilla to its full potential, they require more power, much more power to be exact. This is where the search for the Hollow Earth power source comes into play.

Mechagodzilla is activated and this attracts Godzilla. Godzilla also senses what Kong is doing in Hollow Earth and he sends a blast of atomic breath from Hong Kong to, in essence, the center of the Earth. Kong and the Hollow Earth expeditionary force follow the hole made by Godzilla to the surface. Everyone emerges in Hong Kong for a massive fight between Kong and Godzilla. Kong fares better this time around but is ultimately rendered near death by Godzilla. At about this time, Mechagodzilla is imbued with the power source from Hollow Earth and he also achieves sentience. This leads to the big brawl between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla and it is a mismatch in favor of Mechagodzilla…. until Kong is revived, evening the odds in an enormously predictable moment. Godzilla supercharges Kong’s ax with his atomic breath and the two Titans take down Mechagodzilla. Godzilla and Kong show each other a sign of respect and go their separate ways. Apparently, there can be two alpha Titans after all.

Let’s talk about the good stuff first: the monster fights. They are all fantastic. The battles between Kong and Godzilla feel as big as you would expect. They are titanic clashes in every sense of the word. Godzilla fans will have bragging rights after watching this movie because it is clear that Godzilla whups Kong’s ass on more than one occasion. Kong fans save face though by noting that without Kong, Mechagodzilla would surely have triumphed. As for Mechagodzilla, his appearance in the movie was not a secret and he did not disappoint. The clash between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla was done very well to show just how much more powerful Mechagodzilla was and why it took the combined might of Godzilla and Kong to turn the tide. If massive Kaiju action is your thing, then Godzilla vs Kong is definitely your movie.

Now for the bad: The people. Now, I know what Patrick is going to say. That the movie shifts the focus to the people too much and detracts attention from the monsters. I know he thinks the concept of humans using a defibrillator on Kong is absurd. I am OK with those points in a movie like this. The problem I have with the people is this: They don’t matter. Not at all! They are white noise in the purest sense of the word. 90% of the characters are wholly uninteresting and meaningless. They add little to the plot and just get in the way. So, to be real, Patrick and I are, to a certain extent, talking about different sides of the same coin. The exceptions to this involve Jia, who is quite important to the whole notion of establishing Kong as the “good guy”, and Bernie, who is a fun character and kind of represents a microcosm of conspiracy theorists that are quite common in the real world today. Bernie epitomizes the notion that just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t watching you. But, beyond those two, the characters are quite dull and just felt very pointless.

As far as this being the series finale, I greatly enjoyed the movie. The dynamic between Kong and Godzilla is interesting and keeps you engaged, regardless of whether you are rooting for one, the other, or both. There are some interesting concepts in the movie, specifically how Hollow Earth is different than you might expect and much more interesting, no matter how far-fetched the idea might be. Interestingly, this movie really showcases just how bad ass Godzilla is. I am not sure why it took three movies to get it right, but I digress. Then there is Kong, who ends up being a multi-layered creature that is shown even more heroically than he was in Kong: Skull Island. As for me, I always favored Kong over Godzilla and I left the movie feeling fine with the outcome of everything. If there is a downside it’s that it appears the MonsterVerse has come to an end, just when it was getting really good. That’s too bad. As for Godzilla vs Kong, the awesome action sequences and special effects vastly outweigh the issues involving the people. This is a very good final installment (we think) in this franchise. It is the best of the movies involving Godzilla. I still liked Kong: Skull Island more, but this was a close second.

Dave’s Rating: 4/5

Patrick:  Here we are again covering the fourth film in the Warner Brothers/Legendary produced Kaiju Monster universe.  And once again this film somehow finds a way to mess up a simple concept.  If you recall, in my review of Godzilla King of the Monsters I said good kaiju movies minimize the involvement of human beings in the film and let the monsters take center stage.  Unfortunately, the folks at Warner Brothers still have not quite grasped the concept here in its fourth Kaiju film. The result is an uneven film that shines when the monsters are on screen and leaves me tuning out when the focus shifts to the little primates.

In this fourth installment, we learn that Monster research organization Monarch I closely monitoring Kong.  Going so far as to create an enclosure around Skull Island so that he is safe from Godzilla.  This of course will not last because, well, humans.  One human in particular, a man named Nathan Lind comes with the backing of a mysterious tech corporation called Apex to search for “Hollow Earth.” Hollow Earth is a world beneath the surface of our Earth that is believed to be the birthplace of all Kaiju.  Lind visits his friend and Monarch researcher Ilene on Skull Island.  Lind believes Kong is the key to finding this hidden world.  Despite knowing, Godzilla will attempt to kill Kong, Ilene agrees to embark on the expedition.  Of course, Godzilla attacks and we get the first of three rounds of monster battling that we paid for.

Unfortunately, to get to round two and three, the audience has to sit through overwrought dialogue and subplots all in an attempt to help the audience connect to the experience.  It’s all really boring.  You know why?  PEOPLE DON’T WATCH KAIJU MOVIES FOR THE HUMANS. But, I digress.  Naturally the tech corporation Apex is not on the up and up with Lind.  Color me stunned, but Apex turns out to be the real enemy to both Kong and Godzilla.  I haven’t even covered the conspiracy theory guy and his gang of teenagers trying to expose Apex from the inside.  Again, no one cares because, read it aloud…NOBODY WATCHES KAIJU MOVIES FOR THE HUMANS.

But this isn’t the end of the dumb.  The audience is treated to an ancient history between Kong’s ancestor and the other Kaiju where we see Kong find the ancient axe of his ancestors.  Because a monkey wielding an axe is cool looking.  Did I mention Kong can charge the thing up with Godzilla’s radioactive breath?  AWESOME?  How about the humans using a high tech battery as defibrillator to revive a dying Kong?  Just dumb on top of dumb followed by more dumb.  And humans.  All of the humans.

The cast for Godzilla vs. Kong is quite the list of names.  Alexander Skarsgard essentially fills the role of human protagonist Nathan Lind.  Honestly, he is the only human character given anything to work with.  Kyle Chandler is back in his role as researcher Mark Russell, but if you blink you miss him.  Millie Bobby Brown is also back as Madison Russell, but horribly wasted in a sidekick sort of role to the previously mentioned conspiracy theorist.  She is limited to trying to discover why Godzilla has started attacking human cities.  Someone of her talent could have and should have been used better.  There are tons of other folks in this movie, and yet I struggle to understand why we needed them all.  All they do is distract from what the audience wants to see which is GODZILLA and KONG FIGHT.

Ok.  So what’s good about this film?  Well, the Kaiju.  The special effects team outdid themselves crafting these battles.  Kong and Godzilla’s bouts all feel epic.  I was also impressed with how much more well lit some of the night scenes were.  As Kong and Godzilla battle at night in a Chinese city, everything is well lit without appearing phony.  The choreography of the battles are terrific, albeit a little silly at times.  Again, radioactive monkey axe.  But the joy of Godzilla vs Kong is in these epic clashes.  I watched the movie on HBO Max, I can only imagine how amazing it would have appeared on an IMAX movie screen with Dolby sound shaking my eardrums.

I came into Godzilla vs. Kong with pretty low expectations.  I want to stress that I loved, loved, loved the action sequences involving the Kaiju.  Unfortunately, you have to sit through an inordinate amount of human exposition to get to those epic moments.  That’s not to say the humans and their stories need to be gone entirely.  The audience does need a guide and some context.  But Godzilla v. Kong would have been so much stronger with a pared down human side of things and a focus on the monsters. It seems Warner Brothers and Legendary pictures still haven’t learned the key to Kaiju: it’ all about the monsters.

Patrick’s Rating: 2.24/5.0

 

Overall Nerds’ Rating on Godzilla vs Kong (2021): 3.12/5.0


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NXT Minus 6: Stand and Deliver…After

Brad breaks down the NXT Takeovers and his favorite matches! Do you agree?

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These are the six best matches from Takeover week, plus a new bonus feature! 

The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver 2021 Review – Night 2 - TJRWrestling - WWE, AEW News, TV Reviews, PPVs, More!

6. Jordan Devin versus Santos Escobar, 4.3 stars Devlin turned in a star making performance. His moonsault off the ladder was absolutely perfect and batshit crazy. Escobar is technically so sound, everything he hits looks great, and he’s top notch on the mic. But he’s not a cruiserweight, and I will never forget that fact. Still, an exciting match that surpassed my expectations.  

Bate battles Dar and more: NXT UK highlights, Dec. 19, 2019 - YouTube

5. Tyler Bate versus Noam Dar, 4.3 stars This match was a blast. Both guys have such a wide array of moves, you’ll never see the same match twice from either of them. The only thing holding this back was the Heritage Cup format. I like it, but it’s hard to have the sustained exchanges necessary to elevate a match to greatness. The breaks slow things down right as they are speeding up. Give these two a straight 20 minutes for the NXT UK championship #1 contender, and you’re look at a MOTY.

WWE NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver results – Night One – 07/04/2021 (New Champions crowned) » FirstSportz

4. Gauntlet Match, 4.4 stars Another match that was just pure fun. Leon Ruff continues to prove he’s not a fluke champion. Cameron Grimes is 100% working the rich hillbilly gimmick. They made the right call by getting L.A. Knight and Dexter Lumis out quickly. And in another star making performance, Swerve Scott started the match against flyweight Ruff and ended it against Bronson Reed. That kind of versatility is enough to earn my #3 Star of the Night. 

WWE NXT Stand & Deliver Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and More from Night 1 | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

3. Io Shirai versus Raquel Gonzalez, 4.5 stars

This was the intense, inspired Shirai I don’t think I’ve seen since her match with Dakota Kai at Takeover 30. If this was her last match, as some are speculating, then she’s leaving on a high note worthy of her greatness. As good as Gonzalez was in ring, her performance after the match was even better. You could tell she kept flipping from “Holy crap, this is real and I couldn’t be happier” to “Yes, I’m a bad ass and I’ll power bomb every one of you chumps.” 

MSK def. Grizzled Young Veterans and Legado del Fantasma to win the vacant NXT Tag Team Championship | WWE

2. MSK versus Legado Del Fantasma versus Grizzled Young Veterans, 4.5 stars

Some other federation might be on their level, but nobody does tag teams better than NXT. All three teams got considerable time to shine. In a match stuffed with terrific action & individual performances, Wes Lee shined the brightest. His hot tag was Cesaro-level awesome, and his athletic ability rivals Ricochet. He is a star in the making, and his performance earned him my #2 Star of the Night.

  WWE NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver results – Night One – 07/04/2021 (New Champions crowned) » FirstSportz

1. WALTER versus Tommaso Ciampa 4.7 stars

I gave Ciampa about a 1% chance of winning. Despite the lack of necessary drama, these two told a masterful story with near flawless execution. Something about WALTER brings out the best in whoever he faces. He did it with Tyler Bate and Ilja Dragunov. He did it with Ciampa. This was easily his best performance since his return from neck surgery. People say he’s a brawler, while guys like Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong are known for their gas tank. Ciampa showed that he can run with the best. His effort against WALTER earned him the respect of Imperium and my #1 Star of the Night.


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