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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 3/14/2021

So this is a weird week since New Japan Cup was going strong and Impact had an app event along with normal TV. So since I had 7 shows to cover, along with a normal 9-5 and other obligations, I didn’t watch much beyond Impact and New Japan. Still plenty of quality matches, but it might not be what you enjoyed the most. Let’s find out!

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So this is a weird week since New Japan Cup was going strong and Impact had an app event along with normal TV. So since I had 7 shows to cover, along with a normal 9-5 and other obligations, I didn’t watch much beyond Impact and New Japan. Still plenty of quality matches, but it might not be what you enjoyed the most. Let’s find out!

First let’s go over which match won February.

MOTY Pool:

  • January: NJPW New Beginning Nagoya: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • February: NXT Vengeance Day: North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Kushida

Since we see who won the February pool, now we get the first winner of March; New Japan Cup 3.6.2021: Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi, so Shingo is looking to maybe be the first wrestler with two MOTY pool candidates in 3 months.

So now we can check out the Impact & NJPW Top 5!

Quick Top 5:

  1. New Japan Cup 3.13: NJC: Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto
    Rating: **** 1/4
  2. Impact Sacrifice: TNA & Impact World Heavyweight Title Unification: Rich Swan (c) vs Moose (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  3. New Japan Cup 3.14: NJC: Zack Sabre Jr vs Will Ospreay
    Rating: **** 1/4
  4. IMPACT!: Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton vs Chris Bey
    Rating: ****
  5. New Japan Cup 3.9: NJC: SANADA vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Impact Sacrifice: Impact World Tag Team Titles: FinJuice vs The Good Brothers
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • New Japan Cup 3.13: NJC: KENTA vs Minoru Suzuki
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • Impact Sacrifice: X Division Championship: TJP (c) vs Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • New Japan Cup 3.10: NJC: Jay White vs Toa Henare
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • New Japan Cup 3.11: NJC: Jeff Cobb vs EVIL
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • Impact Sacrifice: Hold Harmless Match: Eddie Edwards vs Brian Myers
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup 3.9: NJC: Yuji Nagata vs Yota Tsuji
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup 3.10: NJC: YOSHI-HASHI vs Yujiro Takahashi
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • New Japan Cup 3.14: NJC: SANADA vs Yuji Nagata
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • Impact Sacrifice: Violent By Design (Joe Doering & Deaner) w/Eric Young vs Beer Guns w/Jake Something
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • Impact Sacrifice: Knockouts Tag Team Titles: Jordynne Grace & Jazz vs Fire N Flava (c)
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup 3.9: LIJ (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada & SHO)
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Beer Guns vs Rohit Raju & Shera
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup 3.11: LIJ (BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (SHO, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada) & Yuji Nagata
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Sacrifice: Decay (Crazzy Steve & Black Taurus) w/Rosemary vs Reno Scum
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup 3.14: LIJ (BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito& Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, SHO & Kazuchika Okada)
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Sacrifice: Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo w/Kimber & Susan (c) vs ODB
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan Cup 3.11: NJC: Great O-Khan vs Toru Yano
    Rating: ***

 

4t. New Japan Cup 3.9: NJC: SANADA vs Tomohiro Ishii

From My Results:

SANADA did what SANADA normally does. He tries to wrestle his opponent’s style of match, until his techniques can garner him an advantage. Early strike exchanges favored Ishii, but Ishii is a stubborn pitbull and wants a good fight. So after treating SANADA’s head like a speed bag, Ishii tries to goad him into giving more, trying harder and showing some heart.

Eventually, SANADA’s spine stiffens and he starts absorbing elbows and returning the favor. This then becomes a great dance of familiarity and who has the best counters. SANADA pulled out the Skull End and Japanese Leg Clutch, but Ishii was able to get out. Ishii threw everything short of the Vertical Drop Brainbuster and Ishii Spike. We see a great exchange where Ishii blocks SANADA coming to the corner, SANADA ducks a lariat, escalera into the backflip Dragon Sleeper, Ishii Snapmares him out, SANADA ducks the Sliding lariat, and then simultaneous strikes lay both out for a moment.  The finish is off another great exchange, where Ishii gets caught charging, SANADA hits the Pop-Up Cutter and immediately goes into the Moonsault for the win.

Winner: SANADA via Moonsault

 

4t. IMPACT!: Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton vs Chris Bey

From My Results:

When he gets back inside, Ace looks to finish things, but they start fighting on the top rope. Ace starts reeling, he’s seated on the actual rope, Bey gets him into a Fireman’s Carry, but Ace fights out and falls to the outside off the apron, shortly followed by a dazed Bey.

As we get back from commercial, both men are in the ring but sluggish and we get some attempts at haymakers, or finishes. Bey hits the VerteBEYker, but Ace actually kicks out. Bey starts trying to find an answer for Ace, especially involving a gorgeous Code Red, and Ace powders to Madman. Madman shields Ace, then Ace gives him the iggy and Ace uses Fulton as a jumping point to kick Bey in the face.

It looks like Ace is about to win because of Madman, but TJP comes to the top of the ramp with a chair of his own to take a seat. This causes Ace to get distracted, Fulton goes to run him off, and Bey hits a Cutter out of nowhere, followed by Art of Finesse. So Bey beats the number one contender, with a small assist to TJP.

Winner: Chris Bey via Art of Finesse

 

1t. New Japan Cup 3.14: NJC: Zack Sabre Jr vs Will Ospreay

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Ospreay fights to keep the armbar away but that end sup in a DISARMER! ZSJ gets the other arm!! A modification on Far Away From Home, but Ospreay is fighting it off! ZSJ drags him around, to lock it in!! Ospreay still fights, ZSJ shifts for Clarky Cat, but Ospreay gets a ROPEBREAK with his foot! ZSJ lets off, and fans are fired up! Fans rally up as Ospreay and ZSJ slowly sit up. ZSJ has a bloody elbow, Ospreay has a bloody nose, ZSJ KICKS Ospreay down! ZSJ dares Ospreay to get up, Ospreay rises, but he blocks the PK! ZSJ SLAPS Ospreay, BOOTS him, but Ospreay fires up, Gory Especial! ZSJ slips out, IRON OCT- NO! Fireman’s carry, and TOSS! Cover, TWO!!

Fans are thunderous and Ospreay wipes the blood from his nose. Ospreay takes off the elbow pad and drags ZSJ up. Ospreay turns ZSJ but no Dream Smasher, he backslides then bridges to a jackknife, TWO!! ZSJ PENALTY KICKS! SUPERKICK from Ospreay! Ospreay goes to the corner, SUPER OS- NO! ZSJ blocks this, drags Ospreay to a sleeper then scoop, but Ospreay flips out to DREAM SMASHER ELBOW!! Ospreay fires up and fans are thunderous! Underhooks, lift, STORMBREAKER!!! Cover, Ospreay wins!!

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker

 

1t. Impact Sacrifice: TNA & Impact World Heavyweight Title Unification: Rich Swann (c) vs Moose (c)

From My Results:

The two big highlight reel spots are after Moose Pump Kick countered Rich’s Lethal Injection, he ran to the corner to do his Triangle Moonsault, but Rich reacted by hitting the ropes for an Oscutter, so we had a beautifully timed RKO style counter spot. Then after Rich fought Moose off the top rope, Rich was getting ready for something, but Moose leaps up, grabs Rich for an Avalanche Moonsault Slam which looked gorgeous. Just really nice big spots mixed within a tough match where both wanted to win, but Rich seemed to have a strategy where Moose was more and more frustrated as the match went on.

This gets punctuated with Moose forcing the Lights Out three times. Rich plays possum and it ends up in the corner where Moose put a chair early before the Brian Hebner talked sense into him. After eating the chair, Rich went for the Sunset Flip, but Moose resisted, powered Rich up, but Rich wasn’t havin that. Rich counters Moose with a Crucifix, then adjusts the pinfall into a Jacknife and barely holds Moose for the 3 count!

Winner: Swann via Crucifix Jacknife Cradle

 

1t. New Japan Cup 3.13: NJC: Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Goto breaks free but Takagi JABS, but lariats into a fireman’s carry! G T W!! But again Goto can’t make the cover! Fans rally up hard as ever as both men slowly stir. Goto drags Takagi up, reels him into the dragon sleeper, but Takagi fights it! Goto spins Takagi to HEADBUTT! Goto facelocks for the REVERSE G T R! Cover, TWO!! Takagi survives but Goto grits his teeth. Goto powers up as Takagi sits up, to BUZZSAW Takagi down! Goto drags Takagi back up, dragon sleepers, but Takagi drops to victory roll! TWO!! Goto narrowly escapes and shocks himself! Goto kicks but Takagi blocks to HEADBUTT and LARIAT! Fans are thunderous again, and Takagi fires up as he rises again.

Takagi drags Goto up, pump handles and fireman’s carries, but Goto slips out to dragon sleeper! Takagi spins around but the two struggle for suplex control! Takagi powers through but Goto fights it off! Goto powers up to get Takagi up but Takagi fights free! Takagi gets Goto on the ropes, turns him around, DRAPING TAKAGI GTR! Takagi drags Goto back up as fans are thunderous again, and Takagi runs to PUMPING BOMBER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Goto survives again and Takagi is beside himself! Fans rally up as Takagi drags Goto into the pump handle and fireman’s carry. LAST OF THE DRAGONS!! Cover, Takagi wins!!

Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon

 

Thoughts:

I did preface all this with the fact that coverage responsibilities and other things stopped a wider breadth of brands, but anyone that usually reads these knows I tend to dabble in most. Some week’s are just busy.

Either way, this is rough and it’s also very easy. Shingo had probably the best match to me personally, but aside from the finish; I really enjoyed Moose vs Rich. My vote will go to Moose vs Rich, just because I don’t want March to turn into the month of Shingo.

Mom said other people get a turn on the Nintendo too, ya know?


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Opinion

King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

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Randy Orton 4

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.

While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.

Randy Orton’s Return to WWE

On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.

‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.

The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.

The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!

This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Opinion

AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt

So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.

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Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.

As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.

Initial Thoughts

Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.

Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.

Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends

We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.

Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.

After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.

Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)

In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.

Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)

Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)

Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.

…Okay…… (4)

Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.

O…okay…… (5)

The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…

Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble

I absolutely hate it.


This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…

Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.

I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.


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