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Opinion

Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 11/8/2020

We flesh out the MOTY pool for October matches and see what made the grade this weekend! Do we go more Full Gear, or does NJPW win the Power Struggle?

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Last week was pretty much a run away with who won the vote to make it into the last slot for October matches. Let’s go over the October Match of the Year Pool.

October Pool:

  • NXT UK: NXT UK Championship: Ilja Dragunov vs Walter(c)
  • WWE Hell in a Cell: SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs Bayley (c)
  • G1 Climax Day 17: Jay White vs. Tomohiro Ishii
  • AJPW Champion Carnival Finals: Kento vs Zeus
  • Impact Wrestling Victory Road: Eric Young vs Eddie Edwards

Surprisingly, three of these matches made my personal list, so it’s not an easy decision. For my money, AJPW Champion Carnival Finals: Kento Miyahara vs Zeus, barely edges out Ilja vs Walter. I’m anticipating a closer than usual vote, so this should be interesting.

Now let’s see what the first official wrestling week of November gave us!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW Power Struggle: NEVER Openweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs Shingo Takagi
    Rating: **** 1/4
  2. AEW Full Gear: TNT Title Match: Cody Rhodes (c) vs Darby Allin
    Rating: **** 1/4
  3. AEW Full Gear: AEW Tag Team Titles: FTR (c) vs The Young Bucks
    Rating: ****
  4. NJPW Road to Power Struggle: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Dangerous Tekkers (c) vs YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto
    Rating: ****
  5. NJPW Power Struggle: IWGP G1 Briefcase Contract Holder: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Jay White
    Rating: *** 3/4

Honorable Mentions:

  1. AEW Full Gear: #1 Contender for AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega vs Adam Page
    Rating: *** 1/2
  2. UWN PrimeTime Live Ep. 8: Rocky Romero vs Shawn Daivari
    Rating: *** 1/2
  3. NXT: Ember Moon vs Dakota Kai w/Raquel Gonzalez
    Rating: *** 1/2
  4. NJPW Power Struggle: IWGP US Briefcase Contract Holder: KENTA (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
    Rating: *** 1/2
  5. AEW Full Gear: AEW World Championship I Quit Match: Jon Moxley (c) vs Eddie Kingston
    Rating: *** 1/4
  6. WWE SmackDown: SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs Bayley
    Rating: *** 1/4
  7. IMPACT!: Sami Callihan & Eric Young vs Eddie Edwards & Rich Swann
    Rating: *** 1/4
  8. NJPW Strong Ep. 14: Rust Taylor & JR Kratos vs Rocky Romero & Jeff Cobb
    Rating: *** 1/4
  9. NJPW Power Struggle: Great O’Khan w/Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: *** 1/4
  10. AEW Full Gear: NWA Women’s World Championship: Serena Deeb (c) vs Allysin Kay
    Rating: ***
  11. UWN PrimeTime Live Ep. 8: Kevin Martenson vs Mike Bennett
    Rating: ***
  12. NJPW Power Struggle: KOPW 2020 No Corner Pad Match: Zack Sabre Jr vs Toru Yano (c)
    Rating: ***
  13. NXT: Tommaso Ciampa vs Velveteen Dream
    Rating: ***
  14. AEW Full Gear: Chris Jericho vs MJF
    Rating: ***
  15. WWE Raw: Sheamus vs Kieth Lee vs Braun Strowman
    Rating: ***
  16. NJPW Strong: Danny Limelight vs Chase Owens
    Rating: ***

5, NJPW Power Struggle: IWGP G1 Briefcase Contract Holder: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Jay White

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Both men are down but the fans are fired up! Ibushi aims as he calls upon the power of Nakamura, but White dodges the Bomaye! White full nelsons but Ibushi standing switches to a SNAP DRAGON SUPLEX! Did Ibushi learn that from Tanahashi or Omega? White sits up into the BUZZSAW! Ibushi says he’ll end it and Gedo freaks out! Ibushi grabs the wrists and sits White up, but White RAMS into Ibushi first! And again! And again! White has Ibushi back up, kangaroo kicks him in the stomach, but Ibushi BOMAYES! Ibushi won’t end it there, he has White in the position, LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!! White survives and Ibushi can’t believe it!

Fans rally up and Gedo shouts at White to get up. Ibushi has the wrists, but White reels him in! BLADE- NO! IBushi slips out, V-Trigger misses, SNAP SLEEPER, but Ibushi lands on his feet! ROUNDHOUSE! Ibushi has the wrists, Gedo gets on the apron but Ibushi BOOTS him down! White gets Ibushi, but still no Bladerunner! V-TRIGGER!! Ibushi wants to end this and he gets the wrists again! White slips around to underhook and BACKSLIDE! But he has feet on the ropes!!! White wins?!?!

Winner: Jay White via Feet on Ropes Back Slide

 

3t. NJPW Road to Power Struggle: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Dangerous Tekkers (c) vs YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto

This match was a logical progression from the 6 man match in October. The story of the 6 man was that DOUKI and YOSHI-HASHI were the weakest links and forced to show their worth. HASHI ended up better utilizing his CHAOS teammates help, which gave him the confidence to aim for the tag belts. So this will be a match to see how far HASHI has come and if he can pull more of his own weight.

As this match grinds, HASHI absorbs a lot of punishment and has great no sell and fire moments. Taichi seems to have taken the role as measuring stick, so the last 10 minutes of so feels more like a singles bout. Goto and ZSJ are barely seen except to make an occasional save and then they neutralize one another. HASHI powered through Stretch Plums, Gamengiris, Axe Bombers, Tensho-Zack Driver and even had a few near falls with his Butterfly Lock.

When the match reaches the end, the difference was purely positioning. Taichi manages to kick Goto to the floor, where HASHI only dispatched ZSJ to the apron. So when Taichi counters Karma, he gets him up for Black Mephisto, but ZSJ is there to add the tandem effect of Zack Mephisto and Goto can’t make the save. So HASHI looked really good in a loss and Taichi is really turning more and more into Kawada with his more serious demeanor. Sure he’ll still take a short cut here or there, but it’s nice to see the Kawada training finally shine through the gimmick.

All hail the Holy Emperor!

Winner: Tekkers via Zack Mephisto

 

3t. AEW Full Gear: AEW Tag Team Titles: FTR (c) vs The Young Bucks

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Fans are electric as Cash goes after the leg! Cash takes off the boot and even the sock to stomp the foot itself! Tag to Dax, Dax ties up the legs in a deathlock and Cash goes up, FLYING STOMP!! Dax then laces the legs up for a TRAILER HITCH! Matt crawls to the ropes but Cash DIVES at Nick, only to MISS! Nick gets up top, and he 450 SPLASHES Dax! Matt is free, he crawls to cover Dax, TWO!?! Dax survives and Matt is beside himself! Fans rally up again as Matt clutches his leg. Nick helps Matt get to his corner but Cash SUPERKICKS Nick?! Nick falls out of the ring and Cash helps Dax to his corner. Cash tags in, and he has Matt all to himself now.

Cash Too Sweets then flips Matt off before he SUPERKICKS Matt down! Cash doesn’t cover, he wants to go for broke! SPRINGBOARD 450 but it FLOPS!! Matt fires up and hobbles to SUPERKICK Cash down!! Cover, THE BUCKS WIN!!

Winner: Bucks via Superkick

 

1t. AEW Full Gear: TNT Title Match: Cody Rhodes (c) vs Darby Allin

From My Results:

We get a few threads pulled on during the match and its all great stuff. Cody getting introduced as the “Prince of Pro Wrestling” continues those little moments of heel ego that we’ve seen the last few months. He does the same thing when he starts doing push-ups and Arn gets pissed off, Cody goes up for the Moonsault and Arn is incensed. The further Cody strays from the game plan, the more Darby gets a few opportunities to stay alive.

Darby hits a great comeback spot utilizing paintbrushes with the good arm, headbutts and short drop kicks. Cody manages to absorb that, even an unintentional naked turnbuckle shot and unleash a huge Avalanche Cross Rhodes, but Darby takes the bump and rolls clear across the ring. So when Cody goes for the pin, Darby’s arm is still under the rope and the referee stops the count. Darby gets a quick flourish where he hits the Last Supper for a near fall and even lands a Coffin Drop, but the extra weight Cody put on for this match helps him roll the shoulder. Nice little elements from their previous matches and the current build mesh really well.

We see back and forth Locomotion Cradle attempts from both, where Darby gets the best of things and pulls off the upset (possible thanks to that earlier turnbuckle shot injuring the ribs).  So Darby is the new TNT champion!

Winner: Darby via Locomotion Cradles

 

1t. NJPW Power Struggle: NEVER Openweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs Shingo Takagi

From My Results:

Rocky Romero calls this the BMF title (we all know what the stands for), and straight from jump street this was just fun to watch. Suzuki started off a bit stronger since Shingo came in with his back taped and Suzuki had a plan. Focusing the back with strikes, chairshots and Boston Crab variations to send a message were aplenty.

Shingo also shows a lot of his talent as a wrestler in this match, selling the back injury between his posture while selling and how he crumbled during spots he usually pulls off with ease. Made in Japan, Shingo crumbled, even a simple backdrop, Shingo’s back gave out. He fired through with adrenaline, but was logical in when the adrenaline wore of, or when things were just too much. Suzuki was of course insane in his ability to absorb punishment, egg on more and dish out a ton of his own.

Fantastic strikes, fantastic resolve from both and the ending flurry showed Suzuki getting rocked but trying to reestablish his base. Every strike send Suzuki reeling forward or backwards, sometimes the selling looked a little silly, but it got across the concept of being “knocked silly”. Shingo double clutched on the Last of the Dragon, again selling the back, but he managed to pull it off and regain the NEVER title!

Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon

 

Thoughts:

An interesting week honestly. Full Gear was better than I expected, and even though I was much like many other fans and wanted nothing else to do EVIL vs Naito 4; Power Struggle was surprisingly solid.

Now we all know I have a fairly large Shingo Takagi bias…but I’m also a bit of a Cody Rhodes flag waver. Cody understands how to build a story and tell it in a match, so it’s hard for me to pick yet another great Shingo match, when it’s not his best of the year. Whereas, Cody definitely made Darby for people who were on the fence about him. Granted, Darby is still an imbecile with a lot of the spots he chooses to do, the match with Cody was beautiful.

So my vote will go to, AEW Full Gear: TNT Title: Cody Rhodes (c) vs Darby Allin.

I feel dirty choosing AEW over NJPW. So I’m gonna go shower with bleach or something – UNTIL NEXT WEEK!


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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