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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 11/15/2020

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Since we had two votes let’s just jump on the good foot and do the bad thing this week! Last week’s vote winner was; AEW Full Gear: TNT Title Match: Cody Rhodes (c) vs Darby Allin, the best match on Full Gear to me won over enough people to make it into the November Pool!

With that said, let’s take a look at who won October and how that shapes up the MoTY pool so far!

MOTY 2020 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
  • August – NOAH the Chronicle Vol 3: GHC National Openweight & GHC Heavyweight Championship Double Title Match: Kenoh (c) vs Go Shiozaki (c)
  • September – AEW Dynamite: Parking Lot Fight: Santana & Ortiz vs Best Friends
  • October – NXT UK: United Kingdom Championship: Walter (c) vs Ilja Dragunov

Looks like Walter and Ilja captured votes from more people than just Jim Cornette! We’ve got a decent array of brands from WWE main, NXT, NXT UK, NJPW, AEW, and NOAH; so quarantine might have helped a little on opening up some variety to people’s viewing.

Now on to this week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. AEW Dynamite: Penta El Zero M vs Rey Fenix
    Rating: ****
  2. NJPW BOSJ Day 1: Hiromu Takahashi vs Taiji Ishimori
    Rating: ****
  3. Turning Point: Impact Wrestling World Championship: Rich Swann (c) vs Sami Callihan
    Rating: ****
  4. Turning Point: Impact Wrestling Tag Team Championship: The North (c) vs The Good Brothers
    Rating: *** 3/4
  5. NJPW Strong Ep. 15: Fred Rosser vs Tom Lawlor w/JR Kratos & Rust Taylor
    Rating: *** 3/4
  6. NJPW WTL Day 1: Fin Juice vs G.o.D.
    Rating: *** 3/4

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Turning Point: Beer Machine (James Storm & Chris Sabin) vs XXXL (Acey Romero & Larry D)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  2. IMPACT!: X Division Championship: TJP vs Rohit Raju (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  3. NJPW: BOSJ Day 1: Ryusuke Taguchi vs El Desperado
    Rating: *** 1/4
  4. NJPW Strong Ep.15: ACH & Blake Christian vs Alex Zayne & Adrian Quest
    Rating: *** 1/4
  5. Turning Point: Eddie Edwards vs Daivari
    Rating: *** 1/4
  6. NJPW: BOSJ Day 1: DOUKI vs Robbie Eagles
    Rating: *** 1/4
  7. IMPACT!: Josh Alexander w/Ethan Page vs Karl Anderson w/Doc Gallows
    Rating: *** 1/4
  8. Turning Point: TNA Heavyweight Championship: Moose (c) vs Willie Mack
    Rating: *** 1/4
  9. NJPW Strong Ep. 15: Tanga Loa, Jay White & Chase Owens vs Juice Robinson, Karl Fredericks & Brody King
    Rating: ***
  10. Turning Point: Tenille Dashwood & Jordynne Grace vs Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary
    Rating: ***
  11. AEW Dynamite: Brian Cage vs Matt Sydal
    Rating: ***
  12. NJPW: WTL Day 1: Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs Dangerous Tekkers (ZSJ & Taichi)
    Rating: ***
  13. NJPW: BOSJ Day 1: Master Wato w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Yuya Uemura
    Rating: ***
  14. NJPW Strong Ep. 15: Tama Tonga vs PJ Black
    Rating: ***
  15. Turning Point: Defeat Rohit Challenge: X Division Title: Rohit Raju (c) vs Cousin Jake W/Cody Deaner
    Rating: ***
  16. NXT: Candice LeRae vs Toni Storm
    Rating: ***
  17. NJPW: WTL Day 1: Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL w/Dick Togo vs SANADA & Shingo Takagi
    Rating: ***
  18. Talk’N Shop-A-Mania 2: Ball for a Ball Match: Chadd 2 Badd vs Sex Ferguson
    Rating: Watch THIS!

4t. NJPW WTL Day 1: Fin Juice vs G.o.D.

From Mitchell’s Review:

FinJuice coordinate now, Juice brings Tatma up and Finlay runs in, shotgun Russian leg sweep! Cover, TWO!! Tama survives and Juice grows frustrated. Juice drags Tama back up and Finlay builds speed, but Loa gets in to LARIAT Finlay! GOD hit MAGIC KILLER on Juice!! Cover, TWO!?! Juice survives and GOD is shocked! Jado calls for Super Bomb and GOD brings Juice up. Loa RAMS Juice into a corner, Tama hits his corner splash! Loa climbs, but Juice suplexes Tama instead! Finlay hits Loa, climbs up and clubs away. Finlay brings Loa up for a SUPERPLEX! Juice FROG SPLASHES in! FinJuice fires up but Jado gets on the apron! Juice DECKS Jado with the Left Hand o’ God!

Tama runs in but Finlay turns his Gun Stun into a BACKBREAKER! Juice hoists Tama up in an Electric Chair and Finlay is up top, DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Cover, FinJuice wins!!

Winner: Fin Juice via Doomsday Device

 

4t. NJPW Strong Ep. 15: Fred Rosser vs Tom Lawlor w/JR Kratos & Rust Taylor

From My Results:

Where I usually take off points for Rosser’s slower WWE approach to some spots, Lawlor’s aggression easily masked it or fired up Rosser to not lean into the WWE style as much. Lawlor started focusing on the left arm of Rosser, and Rosser sold that like a champ. One armed push offs, comebacks and any attempts at the Gut Check were done lifting from the good side.

Lawlor hit a nice Exploder Suplex during the match, the Ura GTR and hunted for submissions like he was Minoru Suzuki. He turned Rosser’s Seated Senton attempt into a Sleeper Hold, that he tried to transition to an Arm Breaker, but Rosser used the ropes to great advantage through the match. Rosser kept grabbing ropes with his good arm, or his feet and fighting back from underneath, when he finally hit the Gut Check, there was a small delay before going for the Sliding Kick he started doing.

So when he attempts the kick, Lawlor catches it, ties up his legs then goes to neutralize the arms, turns him over like a Surfboard and the referee calls for the bell. Not sure if Rosser verbally submitted or the referee protected him, but this was the best match I’ve seen of Rosser over the last few months between Strong and UWN.

Winner: Tom Lawlor via Submission

 

4t. Turning Point: Impact Wrestling Tag Team Championship: The North (c) vs The Good Brothers

From My Results:

The Good Brothers isolated Josh Alexander early on and then when Ethan Page managed to get in, The North started keeping Karl Anderson on their half of the ring. Both teams’ really showcasing great tag team basics and it’s hard to really pinpoint and real highlights when it’s just good old school tags and isolation. Karl finally slams Ethan and both make a tag, which gives Gallows a great chance to make the hot tag.

Page cuts off Karl on the apron, then they pinball LG’s head between the two of them, hit the Inverted Mat Slam, for only a two! Northern Assault attempt gets broken up by Karl Anderson, as the Brothers hit the Backdrop/Neckbreaker combo for only 2! Magic Killer tease, Ethan Page save and a nice fallout from all four guys.

Page takes the tag, goes after the battered Karl Anderson, Karl dodges, Spinebuster for Page, Gun Stun for Alexander. Tags in Big LG, Magic Killer and The Good Brothers are new tag team champions!

Winner: Good Brothers via Magic Killer

 

1t. Turning Point: Impact Wrestling World Championship: Rich Swann (c) vs Sami Callihan

From My Results:

Sami’s torture fuels Rich to working through the pain. Multiple kicks variations from both, and just great fire and fighting spirit moments from both. We go from a slow strike, a small rest and then explosive strikes, especially when Sami comes out of dead stop to Buckle Bomb Rich and then Brainbuster for a near fall. Both men are selling their asses off and just keeping the pressure up.

Rich hits the Cartwheel Moonsault, but only a 2 count. He takes a few beats to climb the ropes for the Phoenix Splash, but Callihan cuts him off.  Rich goes for Shiranui, but Sami catches him and hits the Bastard Driver!  Piledriver on the apron makes you think it’s done. Sami goes to throw Rich back in, and Rich pulls off the Handspring on the apron for the Lethal Injection!  Both barely slide in at 9.75.

Sami tries for the Piledriver again, but Rich gets away from it, Spinning Back Heel kick, and he goes for the Phoenix Splash, but Ken Shamrock starts heading to the ring! Eddie Edwards cuts off Ken and they spill over the guardrail. Sami looks to take advantage of the distraction, but Rich flips out of the hold, Three Spinning Back Heel Kicks, a Roundhouse Kick and then a deliberate Thrust Kick to the kneeling Sami, and Rich retains his title!

Winner: Swann via Thrust Kick

 

1t. NJPW BOSJ Day 1: Hiromu Takahashi vs Taiji Ishimori

From My Results:

Both men seem to be trying to break each other’s necks, which is punctuated from Taiji hitting an Apron Piledriver and looking sadistically pleased with himself. Not content with a count out, Taiji goes for the Triangle Moonsault, hits some of it, but Hiromu returns the effort with a Michinoku Driver and both are now subject to the 20 count.  It’s close, but they both beat the count.

Two Shotgun Dropkicks and a Dynamite Plunger later, Hiromu picks up…only a 2 count! Okay, the punishment continues! A lot of quick attacks and crazy moves continue. Ishimori looks for his arm trap Crossface, Red Shoes almost goes to the bell when Hiromu sort taps, but slams his hand more to help repositioning, so that was close. Hiromu twists away from the Bloody Cross, counters a Frankensteiner into a Sitout Powerbomb. Hiromu goes for Time Bomb #2, but Taiji counters, then Bloody Cross attempt again, Hiromu twists into a Mexican arm drag, holds on, Death Valley Driver into the corner, and then Time Bomb give Hiromu the win!

Winner: Hiromu via Time Bomb

 

1t.AEW Dynamite: Penta El Zero M vs Rey Fenix

From Mitchell’s Review:

Fans rally for the Lucha Brothers again as the standing count climbs. Fenix and Penta slowly stir at around 3, then sit up. Penta fires up, makes sure his mask is somewhat on, and then brings Fenix up. “CERO! MIEDO!” But Fenix headscissors out of the suplex! Fenix runs to FLY, TORNILLO takes Penta down! Fans are thunderous as Fenix looms over Penta. Fenix drags Penta up into the ring, then he climbs up to the top rope. SWANTON BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Penta survives and Fenix can’t believe it! Fenix drags Penta up to a fireman’s carry, but Penta slips out to the apron. Penta suplexes Fenix up and out to join him, kicks low and reel shim in! But Fenix pushes him away, so Penta SUPERKICKS him! Penta tucks Fenix in, APRON PACKAGE PILEDRIVER!!

The referee goes out to check Fenix and even Kingston says that was too much. Penta leaves Fenix behind but Fenix somehow rises! So Penta leaps to SUPER DESTROYER to the floor!! Penta puts Fenix in, drags him back up and tells him, “CERO! MIEDO!” Another tuck, another PACKAGE DRIVER!! Cover, Penta wins!

Winner: Penta via Fear Factor

 

Thoughts:

This was a pretty solid week for wrestling, especially given the different types of shows that went on. With all that said, I think my vote will go to The North vs The Good Brothers, purely because of all four personalities and the way some stuff went down in Talk’N Shop-A-Mania 2.

I’m going to be curious what the last few weeks will bring, since come December we tie things up and don’t do official Top 5s to get to the end of year match award.

MORE TORTURE!

 

 


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Opinion

NXT Minus 6: A Tale of Two Champions

Bradley Jay is here with the WWE NXT Minus 6, and we have new champions. Two very, very different new champions.

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Bradley Jay is here with the WWE NXT Minus 6, and we have new champions. Two very, very different new champions.

Our two new champions could not be more different…

Karrion Kross return vignette airs during NXT TakeOver: WarGames

6. Doomsday Saito comes to the ring and gives a painful, cliched promo. Any wrestler in the back could have said those exact words. Train harder and beat people up. He’s angry. We get it. The only thing Saito could do that would interest me is move to RawDown. On the other hand…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Not gonna lie, that promo was wasn’t even hot garbage. It was cold garbage.]

Raquel Gonzalez & Rhea Ripley And Bianca Belair Celebrate | Franky Monet Debut | WWE NXT Highlights - YouTube

5. Raquel Gonzalez delivers a genuine, heartfelt promo that only she could give. Tears of joy. It told her story, and it’s exactly why she got the pop and the chant she deserved. The addition of Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair, complete with throwback pic, was icing on the cake. I’m excited for whatever Gonzalez does next. Speaking of…

WWE: Dakota Kai on what she misses about New Zealand and her quest to be NXT champion | Newshub

4. Fantasy booking alert!!! Two weeks ago, Raquel Gonzelez told the world I was the one who believed in her. I was the one who made her a champion. Then Rhea Ripley shows up, and Bianca Belair shows up, and I’m the one sent to the back. How quickly you forget who your real friends are. I was the one who took you to the top, and chicka, I am the one who is going to drag you to the bottom. I used you to get to the top and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I am Dakota Kai.

Santos Escobar loses the Cruise Championship to Kushida | Superfights

3. No more Santa Claus Ice Cream Bar. Santos Escobar has earned his name back. His match with KUSHIDA is everything great about NXT. Say it with me. Good things happen when you let wrestlers wrestle! Fast paced. Great action. Surprise ending. I’m going 4.5 stars. Give me a match that good every Tuesday and I’m a happy camper. 

WWE NXT results – 13/04/2021 (Raw and Smackdown Champions appear, Franky Monet debuts) » FirstSportz2. Right now, I don’t know if any two wrestlers have better chemistry than Swerve Scott and Leon Ruff. Every time they get together, it’s electric, and this week was no different. This is quickly climbing into Rivalry of the Year territory. I thought I was happy to see Swerve pick up the victory and move on. Then Ruff goes insane in the membrane and now I’m excited to watch them fight forever.

WWE News: Roderick Strong 'Resigns' From NXT, Video of Karrion Kross' NXT Promo | 411MANIA

1. This week’s That’s Why I Love Wrestling goes to…Roderick Strong. Kayfabe. Work. Shoot. I don’t care. Strong deserved a better goodbye than what he got. He is the Perfection of Performance (shout out to the Hitman). He and Kyle O’Reilly were the best version of the Undisputed Era tag team champions. I always got excited for a Strong match because I knew he’d deliver. Roderick Strong is exactly the kind of wrestler that makes me love wrestling. Until he returns, he will be sorely missed.


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Steve Cook’s Fave Five: April 2021

It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means…

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It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means.

It’s time to talk about my current five favorite wrestlers like I’m Booker T. Let’s break down the Fave Five!

5. Samoa Joe

I figure what happened between Samoa Joe & WWE was the following: WWE offered Joe an announcing contract since either they didn’t want to use him in the ring or their doctors wouldn’t clear him to wrestle. Joe looked at the contract, noticed the financial discrepancy, realized he could probably get NJPW to let him train young boys in California for that kind of money and said “thanks but no thanks”. Nothing else really makes sense to me.

Unfortunately, those who thought that WWE wouldn’t utilize Joe to their fullest potential were right. It wasn’t all WWE’s fault though. Joe had a lot of miles on his tires when he got there. Injuries are always more of a concern with larger wrestlers the older they get. And when Joe was healthy, he did get to do some good stuff and show people a glimpse of the Samoa Joe that people like me raved about back in the mid to late 2000s.

In any event, Joe got his WWE run. It was a thing that happened. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t wind up in AEW because he seems like the kind of guy Tony Khan would throw all the money at. Should be fun!

4. Kris Statlander

AEW does have a pretty insane number of factions right now. It risks the possibility of all of the groups blending together, with none of them really capturing the attention of fans. However, there are positive things about AEW’s faction warfare that shouldn’t be overlooked. It makes booking fresh matches to fill cards pretty easy. You can have groups facing off each week, but in different combinations that keep it fresh.

Another good thing: It can help us decide how we feel about characters that we might be on the fence about. Kris Statlander’s character was a topic of discussion from the moment she entered AEW. A lot of people weren’t sure how to take her. Wrestling aliens, or wrestlers who think they’re aliens, aren’t exactly common. Its the kind of thing that gets over in the indies, because those feds attract fans that are more willing to buy into unique concepts. Mainstream is a tougher sell.

Aligning Kris with the Best Friends makes sense to those in the know, since she came up working shows with them. It also helps people that don’t know about her figure out more. The Best Friends are a happy go lucky group that are the whitest of white meat babyfaces you’ll find in AEW, and that’s a good thing. They’re welcoming to people with unique personalities, as Orange Cassidy’s presence establishes. A friendly alien couldn’t ask for a better group to surround herself with, and from their appearances so far she seems like a perfect fit.

Add in the fact that the time on the shelf helped her get into better shape and refine her look & presence, and the sky’s the limit for Statlander. As long as she can stay in the ring, I’m expecting big things from her in 2021.

3. Tay Conti

Sometimes, all one needs is a change of scenery to approach their true potential. Tay spent a few years at the WWE Performance Center learning how to be a professional wrestler. During her time there, Tay never showed much in the way of potential. Even though she had a combat sports background and had the type of physical appearance that gets attention, Conti’s TV time was very limited and uneventful. She seemed like one of those wrestlers that was bound to stay in developmental until WWE gave up on them, then drop off the face of the earth without most wrestling fans noticing.

Tay’s story took a different route. She ended up being one of the cuts that AEW took an interest in, and was brought in for the Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Tournament. Her teaming with Anna Jay worked well on & off-camera, and she pretty much fit right in with the group immediately. She started training with Dustin Rhodes, and pretty much immediately started looking better in the ring & figuring out what worked for her. Now, she’s one of the people helping AEW’s women’s division go to a higher level.

This isn’t meant to denigrate WWE’s Performance Center or its methods. There just isn’t a wrestling training center out there that’s going to work for everybody. Tay had to find what worked for her. The people that recently got cut will have to do the same. Hopefully, the people that recently got signed by WWE will thrive in that environment.

2. Bianca Belair

We’ve recently seen three new Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella, all of whom are great in their own way. I’ve talked about Rhea Ripley before, she’s got unlimited potential and so far she’s done very well on the main roster. Raquel Gonzalez is doing very well on NXT and her push to the championship made perfect sense & got over. I do think the best of the title changes was Bianca’s defeat of Sasha Banks in the main event of WrestleMania Saturday. It was a special moment for Bianca, a very fun match to watch, and a great performance from both Bianca & Sasha Banks, who did everything she could to make Bianca in that match.

You see the video of the NXT segment up above, with the three current Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella celebrating together. Apparently there was a picture taken in 2019, and there were pictures taken after this week’s NXT, with Triple H making sure to get in there as he likes to do with all new champions. I’ve never really been a fan of that sort of thing, even the “Horsewomen” celebrations on previous NXT shows didn’t do much for me.

Besides the usual complaints people have about things like that, the thing that I didn’t like was how Rhea & Raquel came off. They were all smiling & happy like they were Big Daddy Cool Diesel after beating Mr. Bob Backlund in 1994. Completely against what Raquel has been up to this point, and what Rhea has been when she’s been at her best. Hopefully this is just a one-time thing for Rhea for the portion of the NXT audience that likes their lady wrestlers crying & happy after their performances, and hopefully it’s leading to Raquel getting dismembered by Dakota Kai, who can’t be happy about her heater winning the championship and then turning into Smilin’ Diesel.

Fortunately for Bianca, it does nothing to affect her character or our opinion of her. That’s why I think her title run will go best. I’m also putting her here because I’m pretty well convinced there isn’t a wrestling move or spot she can’t do well. Insanely talented, and the more experience she gets the better she’ll be.

1. Darby Allin

Sometimes you just want to watch something that’s stupid fun. Something that doesn’t need too much thought in order to enjoy it. Just people doing crazy things to entertain an audience. Darby Allin matches are just what you need when you’re looking for something like this. There isn’t anybody crazier in pro wrestling today than Darby, which is probably for the best. I’m convinced this kid has a death wish.

The one thing that kinda gets me about Darby sometimes is how he kicks out of everything. Poor Matt Hardy wasn’t going to beat that kid unless he shot him with a gun, and apparently there’s a metal detector at Daily’s Place. (Shoutout to Matt by the way, hell of an effort in that match.) But then I remember that Darby Allin is a daredevil and constantly posting videos online where he’s jumping off high places and doing crazy things. Obviously, it’s going to take a little more to beat a daredevil than your average pro wrestler.

What’s it going to take to beat Darby Allin? That’s a good reason to keep watching.


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