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Opinion

Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 3/7/2021

Now this was a pretty packed week of wrestling action! Between the normal television products, we had four different New Japan events, AEW Revolution and Stardom’s All Star Cinderella!

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Now this was a pretty packed week of wrestling action! Between the normal television products, we had four different New Japan events, AEW Revolution and Stardom’s All Star Cinderella!

There were even more events that I just couldn’t find time for, because trying to balance consumption with any other hobby or interest is mad difficult on weeks like this. Yes – first world problems, I’m aware.

Anyway! Let’s see what match won last week to fill out February!

February Pool:

  • NXT: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher vs The Undisputed Era
  • NXT Vengeance Day: Johnny Gargano vs Kushida
  • AEW Dynamite: Riho vs Serena Deeb
  • NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii

My vote will go to Riho vs Serena Deeb. Yes Gargano and Kushida was a beautiful match, but Riho and Deeb really helped a tournament and division that is the laughing stock of an already meme worthy company. So I feel like it had a larger impact for the year.

Before we get into the Top 5, yes I saw the Sting cinematic, and it falls in line with my feelings about the Boneyard match and what not. I don’t officially rate cinematics, but I thought it was damn good, definitely comparable to Undertaker’s Boneyard match. It would’ve made the Top 5 if I rated cinematics.

Quick Top 5:

  1. New Japan Cup 3.6.2021: Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi
    Rating: **** ½
  2. New Japan Cup 3.5.2021: Taichi vs Hirooki Goto
    Rating: **** ½
  3. Stardom 10th Anniversary: Wonder of Stardom Championship: Hair vs Hair: Giulia (c) vs Tam Nakano
    Rating: **** ¼
  4. New Japan 49th Anniversary: IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) vs El Desperado
    Rating: **** ¼
  5. New Japan Cup 3.7.2021: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Will Ospreay
    Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • New Japan 49th Anniversary: New Japan Cup: Great O-Khan vs Tetsuya Naito
    Rating: *** ¾
  • NXT UK: UK Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs Meiko Satomura
    Rating: *** ¾
  • IMPACT!: Deonna Purrazzo vs Jordynne Grace vs Kiera Hogan
    Rating: *** ¾
  • AEW Revolution: AEW Women’s Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs Ryo Mizunami
    Rating: *** ½
  • NJC 3.7.2021: Gabriel Kidd vs Zack Sabre Jr
    Rating: *** ½
  • Stardom 10th Anniversary: Mayu Iwatani vs Yoshiko
    Rating: *** ½
  • NJC 3.6.2021: New Japan Cup: Juice Robinson vs KENTA
    Rating: *** ½
  • IMPACT!: Black Taurus vs Chris Bey vs Ace Austin
    Rating: *** ½
  • New Japan 49th Anniversary: New Japan Cup: Satoshi Kojima vs Jeff Cobb
    Rating: *** ½
  • NJC 3.7.2021: LIJ (SANADA, BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, SHO, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii)
    Rating: *** ¼
  • AEW Revolution: AEW World Heavyweight Championship: Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch: Jon Moxley vs Kenny Omega (c)
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJC 3.6.2021: New Japan Cup: Tomoaki Honma vs Minoru Suzuki
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJC 3.5.2021: Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, DOUKI) vs Gabriel Kidd, Yuya Uemura & Tomoaki Honma
    Rating: ***
  • AEW Face of the Revolution Ladder Match: Penta El Zero M vs Cody Rhodes vs Scorpio Sky vs Ethan Page vs Max Caster vs Lance Archer
    Rating: ***
  • NJC 3.7.2021: Bullet Club (Jay White, EVIL, Dick Togo & KENTA) w/Gedo vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson
    Rating: ***
  • New Japan 49th Anniversary: LIJ (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Tomohiro Ishii)
    Rating: ***
  • NJC 3.5.2021: Bullet Club (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori) w/ Dick Togo vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tiger Mask IV, YOSHI-HASHI, David Finlay
    Rating: ***
  • AEW Dynamite: Shaq & Jade Cargill vs Cody & Red Velvet 
    Rating: ***

 

5. New Japan Cup 3.7.2021: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Will Ospreay

From My Results:
Ospreay fires up, but runs into a BIG LARIAT from Tenzan! Fans fire up as Ospreay stumbles about, into Tenzan’s scoop! T T D!! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay survives but Tenzan wants the Anaconda Vice again! Ospreay flails and reaches as Tenzan thrashes around again. Ospreay fights up, but Tenzan hits the ANACONDA BUSTER! Cover, TWO!!! Ospreay survives again but Tenzan heads up top! Ospreay anchors a leg but Tenzan clubs at him! Ospreay tucks Tenzan in! CHEEKY NANDOS! And then Ospreay gets Tenzan up for a LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!?! Tenzan survives and fans fire up, but Ospreay calls his shot!

Ospreay springboards, OSCUTTER!! Cover, TWO?!?! Tenzan survives and no one can believe it! Ospreay gets up, reels Tenzan in, underhooks and gets Tenzan up, but Tenzan slides off to headbutt! MONGOLIAN CHOP! And again! Tenzan fires up, scoops but Ospreay resists! Ospreay elbows away on Tenzan, scoops him, and pops him up to a fireman’s carry, for a SIT OUT SLAM!! Cover, TWO!! Tenzan survives but Ospreay takes off the armband! Ospreay brings Tenzan up, around, and hits a DREAM CRUSHER ELBOW! Ospreay keeps going, underhooks and lifts, for STORMBREAKER!! Cover, Ospreay wins!!

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker

 

3t. New Japan 49th Anniversary: IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) vs El Desperado

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
NO! Ibushi fights out to wrench and LARIAT! Ibushi fires up and fans respond in kind! Ibushi gets Desperado up, reels him in, and lifts, for a LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!! Desperado lives but Ibushi vows to end it! Ibushi grits his teeth, gets Desperado’s wrists and sits him up. Desperado wrenches through to ES EL CULERO! Cover, TWO!!! ROUNDHOUSE from Ibushi hits clean! Ibushi sits Desperado up again, KAMI- NO! ROLL UP, but to the STRETCH MUFFLER!! And he puts it on tight! Then gets NUMERO DOS SUPREME! Ibushi endures but he is caught! Desperado holds on as hard as he can but Ibushi refuses to give in!

Ibushi pries an arm free, reaches, but Desperado rolls him from ropes! Ibushi make sit a cover, TWO!! KAMIGOYE!!! Cover, TWO!??!?! Ibushi can’t believe Desperado still lives! Ibushi gets the wrists again, for ANOTHER KAMIGOYE!!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!

Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye

 

3t. Stardom 10th Anniversary: Wonder of Stardom Championship: Hair vs Hair: Giulia (c) vs Tam Nakano

Tam and Giulia has been an on going feud since Stardom returned to activity. Giulia has been seen as the new It Girl, and Tam is always popular with her cute exterior, but her drive for the white belt was for her former tag partner. Arisa Hoshiki had to retire for a second time because of neck injuries, and even though they fought and acted like oil and water for a while, Arisa and Tam became great friends. This being Tam’s fourth shot at Giulia, her only win so far being in the 5 Star Grand Prix. So when Tam demanded one more title shot, Giulia wanted the Universe’s Cutest to put her hair on the line. Tam agreed, and that brings us here.

This told a great story. Tam had moments of despair and frustration where Giulia was just toying with her and Tam couldn’t find an angle to get in offense. Giulia’s hubris was her undoing though. Giulia had Tam down in the ring for a 10 count, but she shoved the referee and went into full mount to continue the punishment.

After that point, Tam’s frustration turned into motivation, we had a great slap exchange which showed Tam’s heart and Giulia even clasped her hands behind her back, showing that much disrespect to Tam. It’s honestly hard to tell if Giulia was trying to get this side of Tam out, or if she was just cocky, but it was great heel psychology.

Tam countered the Glorious Driver variations often, landed the Shining Knee, ther Tiger Suplex Hold and really started to come alive in the second half of the match. Once Tam landed Giulia’s Glorious Driver, it was all but over. So Tam hammerlocks both of Giulia’s arms, and locks in the Twilight Dream for the win! Tam finally has the white belt!

The story of the match was great, the emotion of the struggle for the last 9 months was fantastic and Tam finally gets a chance to show how she went from a teased and lost girl who needed Io Shirai and Mayu Iwantani to protect her at different times; to now she’s leading her own faction, and a great asset to Stardom.

Winner: Tam via Twilight Dream

 

1t. New Japan Cup 3.5.2021: Taichi vs Hirooki Goto

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Taichi paces, drags Goto but Goto is dead weight. Fans rally up and Taichi drags Goto by his hair. Taichi stands Goto up but Goto blocks the forearm into a spin and suplex, SHOUTEN KAI!! Both men are down again and fans fire back up! Goto grits his teeth and rises again! Goto gets himself to ropes while Taichi sitrs. Goto drags himself to his feet, Taichi is in a daze but Goto powers up now. Taichi sits up into the BUZZSAW! But he pops right up to BOOT?! Goto forearms, Taichi mule kicks, Goto HEADBUTTS! Taichi is down but Goto shakes his head. Fans are thunderous again as Goto fires up and drags Taichi into the dragon sleeper!

Taichi slips out, Alabama lifts, but Goto escapes to dragon sleeper! Taichi gets out to ROUNDHOUSE! Taichi hooks the arms, TAICHI STYLE GEDO CLUTCH! TWO!!! Goto narrowly escapes and the fans are thunderous yet again! Taichi and Goto slowly rise, and Taichi goes to a corner. Taichi fires himself up, builds power and takes aim, but Goto blocks the kick! Goto fireman’s carries to G T W!!! Cover, TWO!?!?! Taichi survives and the fans are now electric! Goto isn’t done, he dragon sleepers to TRUE G T R!!! Cover, GOTO WINS!!

Winner: Goto via GTR

 

1t. New Japan Cup 3.6.2021: Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi

From My Results:
Shingo added his arrogant flair to a lot of things in this match, including the Rainmaker pose that Japanese Commentary called the “Pumping Steel Maker”, which also worked well when Shingo countered the Rainmaker with his own Pumping Steel Maker. Even injured this was a great slugfest between the two. Okada still hit a good number of his classics, but he was visibly hampered as the match wore on. Shingo managed to escape the Money Clip twice, which was an important element since Shingo passed out to the Money Clip in the G1.

Superplex, Noshigami, Made in Japan and an Uranage Backbreaker were some of the bigger moves towards the end that swayed the momentum for Shingo. Shingo went for Last of the Dragon a few times, but Okada usually had an answer. At the end, Okada slips behind the Last of the Dragon, winds up the Rainmaker, but Shingo ducks it and continues the momentum to lift Okada to his shoulders and finally hit his finish to win the match!

Winner: Takagi via The Last of the Dragon

 

Thoughts:

Well now this is a very Eastern centric week, but I tried, you saw other stuff in honorable mentions. Now I’m conflicted since I’m a big fan of Tam, and really enjoyed her story the last few months. However, Shingo versus Okada II is fantastic. These two have great chemistry and it’s cool to think of the former top guy of Dragon Gate facing the current top guy of New Japan is nice dream matching.

Big match Holy Emperor showed up really well for a loss, I just personally don’t see it surpassing my Shingo/Okada fanfic of amazingness. So yeah, Tam Nakano vs Giulia is close to winning my vote, but beefy Shingo getting the Rainmaker rub is my vote this week!

There we go, Japan was great this week and I never even got around to NOAH’s show. *grumbles about time and flat circles* 


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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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