This is the third day of my countdown list, meaning that we are now at the halfway point of my list. We looked at ten great matches and it’s time to look at five more before we arrive at the top ten. Let’s see what the next five are.
The previous lists if you’re new to the articles.
15. Kagetsu vs. Meiko Satomura (Kagetsu Retirement Show 2/24/2020)
– One of the hardest things to happen in 2020 was to see Kagetsu retire from the world of professional wrestling. I felt like she had a lot more to offer, especially at such a young age but this was something she has decided to do. She wouldn’t leave us empty-handed since she would produce a show for her farewell, even competed in different promotions before the show took place. She fought Saya Iida at the beginning of the show but she had one more match to do before walking into the sunset and that was to fight her mentor, Meiko Satomura.
If this would be her final match, then it was a great way to end her career as it was intense and compelling. It was over ten years of progress, all leading to fighting her mentor, and Meiko made sure she gave it everything she had as well to put her pupil to rest. In old school fashion, Kagetsu would go out on her back to lose her final match, and just like that, her career would be over. Kagetsu was one of my favorites in Stardom and it’s sad to see her go but I’m thankful for all the memories she has given me as a wrestling fan. Thank you for everything, Kagetsu, and what a legacy you left behind in the Joshi world.
14. Go Shiozaki vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH Departure 8/5/2020)
– This will be the first of many that you see of Go Shiozaki on here and the first one to make it on my list was with his third GHC Heavyweight Championship defense against Naomichi Marufuji. There was a lot to tell with this specific story of his title reign as Go’s goal was to prove that he was in fact NOAH. Marufuji, however, took exception to that and pinned Go in a tag match and told him that he was the real NOAH since he was considered the Symbol of NOAH for so long, so Go trying to make this claim would offend him. For Go to prove himself once again, he would have to challenge Marufuji in a match for the GHC Heavyweight Championship to prove if he was truly worthy of carrying the NOAH torch. This would be the pupil of Kenta Kobashi taking on the pupil of Mitsuharu Misawa.
The two went to war for a half-hour and they were able to do what they needed to do to deliver us a great match. The fighting spirit between two of these men was something else, hard-fought, emotional, and did enough to give it a proper conclusion. Go would eventually defeat the Symbol of NOAH to retain the title, and would be another step closer to being the guy to carry the company to new heights. Great match with one of the best reigns of 2020 by Go Shiozaki.
13. Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado (NJPW Best of the Super Junior XVII 12/11/2020)
– This’ll be one of the other later entries into the countdown but if it’s a fantastic match, then it’s something that should be mentioned here. New Japan has had a rather awkward year with very questionable booking ever since they took that break during the Covid pandemic. Hiromu would lose the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and his new goal would be to win the BOSJ to try and get revenge against Taiji Ishimori. However, there would be an obstacle in his way as he had to fight the man who was also in the finals with him, El Desperado. Before the finals, they did fight in the regular tournament in another great match with Desperado getting the upset victory over the ticking time bomb. With the two of them meeting in the finals, Desperado wanted to prove that he could beat him for the second time in a row.
With their previous match, you had a feeling that they were holding back and could do so much, and they would show that with this match right here. El Desperado has always been an underrated talent in New Japan, and he was something that people should keep an eye on because he has proven time and time again that he was more than just a member of Suzuki-Gun, he was a wrestler and a damn good one. One of my favorite moments in the match was when Desperado would rip his own mask off after Hiromu trying to rip it up, so Desperado just did it for him to reveal his face, showing that he is a rather beautiful man under that mask. For the third straight year in a row, a final from the Super Juniors would make its way on my list, and this was an excellent final to boost it up. Hiromu would win the match and is now going to Wrestle Kingdom to hopefully win that belt back.
12. Kento Miyahara vs. Suwama (AJPW Dream Power Series 3/23/2020)
– So much history built into this one match. You have the current ace and Triple Crown Champion at the time, Kento Miyahara taking on the ace of the Mutoh era, Suwama. Both of these men had a lot to gain in this match with Kento wanting to set a new record for successful title defenses in a single reign after tying the record with Toshiaki Kawada with ten defenses. With Suwama, he wanted to be the first man to win the title seven times and to put an end to Kento’s reign and make sure he didn’t add another defense under his belt to break the record. These two are no strangers to each other and Kento defeated him over a year ago as one of his defenses during this reign, so it’s something Suwama also wants to correct.
2020 was the year of Suwama as he would up his game during the whole year, starting with this match where a spark would ignite in him to show that he is a guy who can still go on a main event level. To the surprise of many fans during that night, Kento would fail to retain the title, failing to make a record of his own as Suwama would defeat him to win the Triple Crown Championship for the seventh time. Many expected Kento to retain but at the same time, it would’ve been overkill, and just having the same record with Kawada is just as good to have. Suwama would still hold the title in what some might speculate to be his last run with the Triple Crown Championship and it if truly is the case, then he has done an excellent job.
11. Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW G1 Climax 9/20/2020)
-We all had to wash the awful taste of the Naito/EVIL series of matches out of our mouths sooner than later, and we were lucky enough to get exactly that with this match. After regaining the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, it was time to start our G1 Climax tournament and he had quite the challenge for the first day of his block as he faces our beloved Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi has had a rough year with losses and this was the match he needed to prove that he was still at the top of his game. I love their matches together, their stories are always so unique, and the match quality on top of it is just a chef’s kiss of perfection. Now we see if they can still give us that bit of magic like they always do.
This would be Tanahashi’s best match this year and despite his track of losses in the year, he was still on top of his game, showing that he’s still on top. This was also a nice breath of fresh air now that he didn’t have to deal with EVIL for a while and we get to see Naito involved in great wrestling matches outside of him and Okada earlier in the year. With another classic written down in their long rivalry, Naito would be able to get the victory over the Ace to show that he runs the place now as the Double Champion. As I said before, the two hardly disappoint when they’re in the ring together and this one was no exception.
That about does it with the next five matches on my list and starting tomorrow, we begin our top ten matches in our countdown. Hope you all enjoyed it!
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?
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!
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?
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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