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Opinion

Mathew’s Top Matches of 2020: #5-1

Mathew caps off his Top 5 with his first ever allowed Top 5 Hat Trick! I think we all know who deserves the honor, but the fun is seeing the match order! Check out 5 through 1!

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This is it, everyone. It’s time to bring this countdown to a close with our final five matches. It’s been a fun ride but now we gotta bring this to a close. So many great matches this year but these five are what I considered the best for the year. What are they? Let’s find out.

Previous Lists

25-21

20-16

15-11

10-6

 

5. Go Shiozaki vs. Kenou (NOAH The Chronicle Vol.3 8/10/2020)

– Go and NOAH makes their return to the list as we had a big match for the final show in Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium as he takes on GHC National Champion, Kenou. Six days before the event, Kenou defeated Go’s partner, Katsuhiko Nakajima to win the championship, he would then make a challenge to Go, telling him that he wants to have a winner take all match. With both the GHC Heavyweight and National Championships on the line, a lot of fans were speculating what the outcome would be since it would’ve been too son for Kenou to drop the belt and people were enjoying Go’s reign that they didn’t want it to end just yet. A lot of possible outcomes can happen and just that alone was to make fans excited to see what would actually happen.

The match itself was another excellent title match for both of them as this screamed a big main event match even with the six days of hype in between them, it made it seem like it’s been going on for months. The match itself ended in a sixty-minute draw, meaning no titles changed hands and this was the best possible outcome of this match. It protected both of them without losing, made them both look credible, and gave the fans a fantastic match to close out the venue. Both of them are still their respective champions and this match made them come out as bigger stars that day than they already were. A fitting chapter for 2020 and these two men,

 

4. Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus (AJPW Champion Carnival 10/5/2020)

– Once again, All Japan Pro Wrestling would make its way into my top five and for the second time, it’s the finals of the Champion Carnival. The finals this time around is between Kento Miyahara and Zeus. These two also made it into my top 5 two years ago, and it’s no surprise to see them on here once again since they always work so well together. Neither of them was the Triple Crown Champion this time around but the two would fight in this Champion Carnival to find out who would face the champion. Kento trying to reclaim his title to get back on top and we have Zeus wanting to get gold back after two years.

Their match was just as good as their big match two years ago but this one was slightly better in a story perspective of things. This was a new side of Zeus that we’ve seen as he was more aggressive in this match, which was something we’ve seen during the whole tournament but this was kicked into a higher gear. Kento also held his ground to send both Zeus and himself to their limits. Zeus would also kick out of the Shutdown German Suplex Hold, one that not many have done in All Japan, leaving Kento shocked. Zeus would eventually hit a Jackhammer onto Kento, winning the Champion Carnival while defeating his rival. While Zeus failed to win the title from Suwama, he still gave us another memorable Carnival and the best All Japan match this year.

 

3. Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 1/5/2020)

– Of course, this match was going to make it to my list, this was still the best match New Japan produced this year and it was only on their second show. I will admit that this probably would’ve been lower to 5 or 6 but since I was there for this match live, the experience for it was indescribable. There was a lot of long-term storytelling involved in this match as this was the third time they fought at Wrestle Kingdom, with their big main event match happening two years ago with Naito losing and leaving a lot of fans outraged due to how popular he was. Naito would be stuck with the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and would eventually decide to make the belt useful as his next goal was to be the double gold champion. This was when they decided to do a winner takes all type of match at Wrestle Kingdom for the second day where the winners of their respective title matches would fight for both titles, leading to Kazuchika Okada defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Tetsuya Naito.

We finally get the rematch that fans wanted and Naito getting to be apart of the Tokyo Dome main event once again, the story they’ve built for years was all coming down to this specific match. There were a lot of close calls in the match, fans getting worried that Naito might lose once again but suddenly, the crowd would erupt when Naito finally defeats Okada at the Tokyo Dome and won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the event. His dream was finally realized and his celebration wouldn’t last long as KENTA knocked win out, getting mega heat for ruining Naito’s moment. While the booking of the double gold has declined but this is the match that people will remember when it actually mattered.

 

2. Go Shiozaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (NOAH The Chronicle Vol.4 11/22/2020)

– Go appearing twice in the top 5? Well, he’s earned it and I did say there was someone that was an exception to the two-match rule, and can you blame me? The man has had an incredible year with each match topping his previous match. This was a match that had a long time coming. Once Axiz failed to win the GHC Tag Team Championships, Nakajima would betray his partner by attacking him after the match, dissolving Axiz and would align himself with Kongoh. The last time they fought in singles action was last year with Go defeating Nakajima, which was what lead to him to challenge for the GHC Heavyweight Championship, and even winning it on January 4th, 2020. Nakajima wanted to take the belt from him but for him to do that, he would need to win the N1 Victory, which he would be able to, and one of the more anticipated matches this year would happen.

This match was absolutely brutal, Nakajima made sure that his former partner would suffer in this match from how stiff he was. Go has been banged up from all the big title matches he’s had that it even lead to people being concerned for his health and to take a break. Go wouldn’t resist as he would also deliver a stiff contest to Nakajima, a lot of tension built up here during the match and it was to show that Nakajima deserves to be back in the main event scene. However, Go would pull through and delivers a Gowan Lariat to Nakajima, retaining the title for the 5th time by barely surviving. People thought Nakajima would finally win the belt but it seems like his time to get it is not right just yet. This would’ve been my number one match if this next one didn’t happen down below.

 

1. Go Shiozaki vs. Takashi Sugiura (NOAH The BEST 12/6/2020)

– That’s right, for the first time on my countdown list, a single wrestler has appeared on my Top 5 three times with two of their matches being back-to-back. Remember how I said Go’s title matches keep elevating in quality and storytelling with each defense? Well, this was his next defense after the one with Nakajima and this happened about two weeks later. Go’s story during this year was talking about how he is NOAH, defeating the biggest names NOAH had to offer and he would have one more test to solidify that claim, having to defeat Takashi Sugiura as this one final test. This was another match that hasn’t happened in over a year but this time, it would be for the GHC Heavyweight Championship with Go’s story coming to full circle and Sugiura wanting to reclaim the title again.

The striking in this match was incredible, Sugiura is still one of the best wrestlers over 50, showing he can go as if he was fifteen years younger. The two would destroy each other just as much as the match between Go and Nakajima but this kicked it up to eleven. Just seeing Sugiura going full-on killer mode near the near towards Go made people think that his reign could be in jeopardy. Go would find the fighting spirit when he hits multiple Gowan Lariats with Sugiura not falling, not going down without a fight but Go delivers one more Lariat, sending him down and getting the victory. This match showed that he is NOAH like he has claimed to be during 2020 and he has absolutely earned it with the incredible year has had. NOAH was my promotion of the year and it also had my favorite match, wrestler, and title reign with all in one person, Go Shiozaki.

That will conclude our Top 25 Best Matches list, I am thankful that you all took the time to share this journey with me as we now head into 2021. Let’s see who will make it in next year’s list.

Expect more coverage this year since the Covid era made it difficult for me to write but now with things possibly slowing down, time to get back into the swing of things.

 


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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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