WWE Survivor Series 2018 Review

wwe-survivor-series-2018-wwe-network-e1542392420449

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Raw defeats Smackdown in the Women’s Survivor Series Match with Nia Jax as the Sole Survivor @20:14 *1/2
  • Seth Rollins defeats Shinsuke Nakamura @21:28 ***1/4
  • AOP defeat The Bar @9:10 **
  • Buddy Murphy defeats Mustafa Ali to retain the Cruiserweight Title @12:18 ****1/4
  • Raw defeats Smackdown in the Men’s Survivor Series Match with Braun Strowman, Drew Mcintyre, and Bobby Lashley as the Sole Survivors @24:00 ***1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Charlotte Flair @14:12 ***1/2
  • Brock Lesnar defeats Daniel Bryan @18:44 ****1/2 

 

Women’s Survivor Series Match:

  • Huge deserved big boos for Nia Jax.
  • Mandy Rose joins the SD Live Women’s Team. 
  • Naomi and Tamina start the match.
  • Everybody brawls, Superkick by Tamina eliminates Naomi, Carmella rolls up Tamina eliminating her. 
  • Carmella has a dance break. 
  • Octopus Lock by Asuka on Mickie James, near fall rollup by James to escape. 
  • Bayley tags herself in from Mickie creating some inter-team tension. 
  • Botchy sequence into the pin by Rose on James eliminating Mickie. Rose steals the pin from Deville. 
  • Bayley to Belly by Bayley eliminates Carmella.
  • Banks Statement by Sasha taps out Rose eliminating another SD Live superstar. 
  • Spinebuster by Deville to Bayley, Nia saves the match to a chorus of boos. Asuka takes out Nia and Sasha Banks hits a Meteora to ringside taking out Asuka. 
  • Bayley and Deville brawl ringside, Bayley hits a Bayley to Belly and a double countout eliminates both of them. 
  • Sasha Banks and Asuka square off to a big crowd reaction. 
  • Running Hip Attack ringside by Asuka takes out Banks. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Asuka to Banks, near fall. 
  • Near fall roll up by Banks on Asuka. Double knees in the corner by Banks, Nia takes Banks off the top rope and Asuka capitalizes by tapping out Banks in the Asuka Lock. 
  • Nia Jax beats Asuka with a Samoan Drop to a chorus of boos. 

Winner: Nia Jax and RAW @20:14

Brand Record: 1-0, RAW Winning

Rating: *1/2, This was a sloppily wrestled, badly booked match with the absolute worst winner coming out on top. Nia Jax shouldn’t be in any type of spotlight right now with the heat she has. The only redeeming part of this match was the brief exchange between Banks and Asuka and Asuka is continuing to be driven through the mud. 

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins Midcard Champion vs Champion:

  • Rollins does his own “Come On!” Taunt beginning the fire to the match. 
  • Guillotine Leg Drop over the apron by Rollins, Rollins goes for a suicide dive but Naka catches him with an enzugiri.
  • Drive-By Knee Strike by Naka to Rollins over the apron. 
  • Naka dominates Rollins for a while, Rollins rises up and hits an STO sending Nakamura into the corner. 
  • Slingblade by Rollins gets him fired up a bit, Rollins dumps Naka ringside and follows it up with a suicide dive and then another suicide dive and then a 3rd suicide dive. 
  • Flying Lariat by Rollins goes for a near fall. 
  • Top Rope Knee by Nakamura goes for another near fall, however, the crowd isn’t into it. 
  • Rollins catches Nakamura sliding with a hard superkick, Naka kicks out slowly.
  • Rollins gets fired up by a cheap shot from Nakamura and goes for a lariat but Naka transitions into a Triangle Hold. Rollins deadlifts into hitting the buckle bomb to escape the hold. 
  • Big Strike sequence into a Landslide by Nakamura, solid near fall. 
  • Superplex Falcon Arrow by Rollins goes for a good near fall. 
  • Strikefest, Naka baits Rollins and Naka hits a flurry of strikes and an exploder suplex.
  • The Kinshasa misses and Rollins hits a Ripcord Knee for another near fall. 
  • Rollins goes for the Frog Splash but misses, Nakamura, hits a Kinshasa and gets a great near fall. The crowd has heated up a bit. 
  • Rollins catches a Kinshasa attempt with a superkick and the two go through a big strike sequence and Rollins hits the curb stomp for the close. 

Winner: Seth Rollins @21:28!

Brand Record: 2-0, RAW Winning

Rating: ***1/4, The match started very slow and the crowd was dead but it seemed like Nakamura kicked into another gear around ten minutes in and both delivered solid performances. The strikes hit hard and the match had a great pace for the closing stretch but never fully regained the crowd. 

Authors of Pain vs. Sheamus Tag Team Champions vs. Champions:

  • Sheamus and Rezar start the match.
  • Something happens in the crowd and the fans get distracted. 
  • Rezar saves Akam from the Cesaro Swing. 
  • Sheamus and Rezar brawl, Cesaro goes for a roll up but the referee is distracted.
  • Springboard Uppercut by Cesaro opens up tags. Hot tag by Sheamus to a dead crowd. 
  • 10 Beats of the Bodhran by Sheamus followed up by a Battering Ram to Rezar goes for a near fall. 
  • Maverick distracts the ref but The Bar hits a strike sequence ending in a Brogue Kick, Maverick saves Rezar but gets choked by Big Show until he literally pees, The Last Chapter by AOP closes Sheamus. 

Winners: Authors of Pain @9:08

Brand Record: 3-0, RAW Winning

Rating: **, The match was a whole lot of nothing and Drake Maverick peed so this was a bad usage of 10 minutes. 

 

Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy(c) for the Cruiserweight Title:

  • Ali hits a huricanrana sending Murphy to ringside and hits an awesome diving 450  taking out Buddy. 
  • Murphy chucks Ali off the top rope sending him into the barricade. YEEET!
  • Murphy tosses around Ali hitting the apron, barricade, and going back into the ring. 
  • Slingshot into the corner by Ali followed up by a pop-up dropkick.
  • Ali goes for the rolling facebuster but Murphy launches him to ringside, Murphy hits a great tope con hiro. 
  • Superkick Sequence by Ali but Murphy stays up, spikerana by Ali takes Murphy down for a near fall.
  • Stiff elbow strikes by Ali starts a strike fest, spinning heel kick by Ali knocks Murphy to the apron, amazing tilt-a-whirl draping DDT by Ali and another near fall. 
  • Murphy throws Ali off the top rope and Ali gets chin checked by the apron. 
  • Amazing Spanish Fly off the announce table by Ali. 
  • Ali goes for the 054 but Murphy stops him and hits 2 powerbombs and gets a near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Murphy’s Law attempt fails, Ali gets caught mid-springboard with a knee by Murphy. Murphy successfully hits Murphy’s Law to close WWE’s first good PPV match in a LONG time. 

Winner: Buddy Murphy Retains @ 12:18!

Rating: ****1/4, WHAT A MATCH! WWE made a great decision and had the Cruiserweights have a showcase. The crowd got insanely invested and for the first time since the inception of 205 Live, it seemed that the Cruiserweights were finally a successful part of the main roster. The spots were cleanly worked and a Spanish Fly off the announce table is always fun. 

Men’s Survivor Series Match:

  • Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe were supposed to start but Drew Mcintyre tags himself in. Coquina Clutch locked in but Mcintyre escapes and hits the Claymore kick eliminating Joe. 
  • Dolph Ziggler and Shane Mcmahon face-off to remind us of the worst tournament of all time on the worst PPV of all time, Crown Jewel.
  • Fameasser by Ziggler to Shane goes for a near fall. 
  • Ziggler catches Shane in mid-air with a Zig Zag and Miz makes a near save. 
  • Braun Strowman tags himself in on Ziggler and Mcintyre tags himself in again on Strowman. Strowman and Drew brawl and SD Live takes out Braun and Rey hits a 619.
  • Great Elbow Drop through the announce table by Shane takes out Strowman.
  • Mcintyre refuses to tag Balor but Balor takes out Mcintyre from the back and tags himself in. 
  • Double Stomp by Balor but he loses his balance and falls on Miz, slight botch but it’s Balor so he gets a pass. 
  • Miz dodges the Coup De Grace but eats a basement dropkick from Finn after he rolls ringside. 
  • Rey Mysterio delivers a hot tag to Finn Balor, Balor shuts down Rey’s momentum with an inverted DDT.
  • Finn ducks a 619 and hits the slingblade and a shotgun dropkick driving Mysterio into the corner. Mysterio dodges the Coup De Grace and finally hits the 619/West Coast Pop to eliminate Balor. 
  • Mcintyre attacks Finn Balor, Mysterio attacks Drew from behind and goes for a 619 but Lashley interrupts Rey with a big boot. 
  • Hot tag by Jeff Hardy on Dolph Ziggler, Hardy hits a ringside tornado DDT to Mcintyre. Back in-ring Ziggler hits a Snap DDT for a near fall.
  • Twist of Fate by Hardy followed by a Swanton Bomb but Ziggler gets his knees up.
  • Coast 2 Coast by Mcmahon hits to Ziggler to eliminate Dolph similar to Crown Jewel. 
  • Miz coaches Shane to hit another Coast 2 Coast to Lashley, Braun catches Shane mid-air with a lariat. Rey Mysterio makes the save for Shane. 
  • Twist of Fate by Hardy fails and Braun powers it into a Running Powerslam to eliminate Hardy. 
  • Braun catches Mysterio mid-619 and eliminates him with a Running Powerslam. Rey was the MVP of the match so far. 
  • Braun catches Miz with a Running Powerslam to eliminate him, Shane is the only person left for SD Live. 
  • Shane says Bring it on to Braun, Braun hits a huge dropkick and lays out Shane with a Running Powerslam.

Winners: Team RAW @ 24:00

Brand Record: 4-0

Rating: ***1/4, While this was a RAW dominant performance it was great to see Rey Mysterio putting in an awesome performance and each character shined on a whole new level. I hate WWE’s lazy tendency to just have Strowman destroy stuff and end it there. It’s time for Strowman to either go back to the absolutely insane monster or Universal Champion because right now he is in bland limbo. Each person delivered a solid moment other than Samoa Joe, poor Joe. 

Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey:

  • This is a HUGE match. 
  • A pretty fast-paced start.
  • Charlotte sends Rousey face first into the bottom turnbuckle. 
  • Triangle Arm Bar over the top rope by Rousey.
  • Front Release Superplex by Rousey drops Flair, Rousey rolls into a Cross Armbreaker and transitions it into a Triangle, Flair transitions it into a Boston Crab, Rousey fights out. Pretty solid submission sequence.
  • Rousey counters the Natural Selection into another armbar, Flair fights out again. 
  • Most involved match that Rousey has had in WWE and she’s doing great. 
  • Moonsault by Flair but Rousey gets her feet up. Judo Throw by Rousey, she fires up. Charlotte hits a spear out of nowhere and gets a great near fall. 
  • Rousey grabs Flair but Charlotte rolls into the Figure Four, Rousey flips the pressure, both roll to the outside. 
  • Chops by Flair rattle Rousey, Ronda blocks one but Flair fires back with a big boot that gets a near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Piper’s Pit hits by Rousey and Ronda goes for the armbar but Flair locks her hands to escape the hold and rolls ringside.
  • Rousey runs to Flair but Charlotte attacks Rousey with a kendo stick saving the match for another time, likely the Rumble or Mania if Lynch vs. Rousey plans fall through. 

Winner: Charlotte Flair @14:12!

Rating: ***1/2, This was great and both women delivered some of their best performances. The crowd was insanely invested and the commentary did a great build of the match. The match felt like a genuine fight and it a perfect example of the effectiveness of the Women’s Evolution. The Non-Finish makes sense even though it takes the star rating from being above a 4. 

  • Charlotte is delivering a great performance snapping out of anger. Flair stomps on a chair around the neck of Rousey. 

Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan World Champion vs. Champion:

  • Daniel Bryan is playing an amazing heel. 
  • Bryan is being a chickenshit heel as the bell rings escaping Lesnar. 
  • Lesnar hits a hard lariat to Bryan delivering the first strike. 
  • 2 German Suplexes and 3 Overhead Suplexes by Lesnar.
  • Lesnar takes Bryan ringside and whips him into the barricades. 
  • Another German Suplex and Overhead Suplex and the First F5, Lesnar goes for the pin but breaks it himself to continue attacking Bryan.
  • Another F5 but the ref gets hit and Bryan hits a low blow and a Running Knee for an awesome near fall. 
  • Yes! Kicks by Bryan and stomps to the face like he did to AJ. 
  • Bryan dumps Lesnar to outside and dives to ringside, Lesnar catches Daniel but Bryan sends him into the post. Running Knee off the apron by Bryan wipes out Lesnar. 
  • Suicide Dive by Bryan caught, Lesnar tackles Bryan into the post. 
  • Bryan sends the steel steps into Lesnar and delivers another Running Knee off the apron. 
  • Running Knee in-ring by Bryan another great near fall.
  • Bryan chop blocks Lesnar down and wraps his leg around the post. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Bryan rocks Lesnar, Running Dropkicks in the corner, F5 by Lesnar but Bryan’s work on Lesnar’s leg makes him collapse and Daniel locks in the Yes! Lock, Daniel transitions into a Triangle but Lesnar deadlifts out and hits an F5 to close. 

Winner: Brock Lesnar @18:44!

Rating: ****1/2, Like him as champion or not (and I certainly do not) Brock Lesnar brings drama to WWE like no one has since The Rock or Stone Cold. Pair that with the new and improved heel Daniel Bryan and mix it together to get this masterpiece. WWE has been incredibly lackluster this year and this goes immediately to the top of my favorite Main Roster matches of the year (Wouldn’t even be in the top 20 NXT matches of the year though.) WWE made me care about the product for the first time in a very long time and most of this praise goes to commentary, to be honest. The pairing of Corey Graves, Michael Cole, and Renee Young isn’t always effective but they sold the come back of Daniel Bryan like crazy and the performances from both wrestlers were outstanding. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: This brought WWE back to prominence after the rough couple of months they’ve had recently. Aside from the back to back matches on Super Show Down of Murphy vs. Alexander and Joe vs. Styles this show has provided some of the best Main Roster wrestling this year. Even though it ended in a DQ, Rousey vs. Flair shocked me on how good it was, Bryan vs. Lesnar made me care about a wrestling story which is something the Main Roster hasn’t done since the days Bryan left in 2014. The Men’s Tag Match and Naka vs. Rollins were fun and Murphy vs. Alexander was an incredible Cruiserweight Showcase. The show didn’t feel too long which is often a problem WWE ends up having. The only stiff cons were Drake Maverick peeing his pants and Nia Jax being the sole survivor and at the end of the day, those are just really good examples of WWE not taking themselves too seriously and trolling the fans. WWE fixed much of what I often complain about their product on their show and delivered on a show I had NO expectations for. 

MOTN: Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar 

 

NXT Takeover War Games 2 Review

nxt-takeover-wargames-711-x-399-696x391

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Matt Riddle defeats Kassius Ohno @0:04 N/A
  • Shayna Baszler defeats Kairi Sane to retain the NXT Women’s Title in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match @10:53 ****
  • Aleister Black defeats Johnny Gargano @18:04 *****
  • Tomasso Ciampa defeats Velveteen Dream to retain the NXT Title @22:16 ****3/4
  • War Raiders, Pete Dunne, and Ricochet defeat Undisputed ERA in War Games @47:01 ****1/4

 

 Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno:

  • Matt Riddle comes out to a huge crowd reaction and calls out Kassius Ohno. 
  • Kassius Ohno agrees to a match. 
  • Matt Riddle hits an immediate knee for the win. 

Winner: Matt Riddle @0:04

Rating: N/A, Squash City just to get Matt Riddle on a Takeover.

wwe-nxt-takeover-war-games-shayna-baszler-kairi-sane

Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler 2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Women’s Title:

  • First 2 out of 3 Falls match for the NXT Women’s Title. 
  • Fast aggressive start by Sane. 
  • Sliding Elbow by Sane knocks Baszler to ringside, Flying Forearm off the apron by Sane knocks Shayna ringside. 
  • Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke attack Kairi Sane with the referee focused on Shayna, Baszler locks in the Coquina Clutch tapping out Sane for the first fall at 2 minutes into the match.
  • Great bicycle kick by Baszler gets the first near fall. 
  • Coquina Clutch by Baszler locked in again, Sane gets a rope break. 
  • Stretch Buckler by Baszler, Baszler stomps on the face of Sane to break the hold. 
  • Near fall roll up by Sane getting out of another Coquina Clutch by Baszler.
  • Strikefest wears both out, Lariat by Baszler ends the sequence. 
  • Amazing reversal to the vertical suplex by Baszler, Sane turns it into a snap DDT on the apron. Really innovative spot. 
  • Sane dodges both Four Horsewomen and throws them into the steps, Great Diving Elbow drop the ringside wipes out Shafir, Duke, and Baszler. 
  • In-Sane Elbow by Sane in-ring scores Kairi the first fall 7 minutes and 30 seconds in.
  • 3 Consecutive Spears by Sane, 2 spinning backfists knock down Shayna. Baszler catches Sane up on the top rope and they brawl on the top. Great Reversal out of a super gut wrench suplex by Baszler, Sane hits a super sunset flip and gets a near fall.
  • Duke distracts the ref as Shafir knocks Sane off the top rope. Dakota Kai comes out to try and even the odds. Io Shirai comes down and hits an awesome diving moonsault to wipe out the 2 Horsewomen. 
  • In-Sane Elbow by Kairi gets caught and rolled up by Baszler for the win. 

Winner: Shayna Baszler Retains @10:53!

Rating: ****, This is the 3rd matchup between these 2 and each have been over 4 stars so obviously they know how to work a great match. The underdog babyface versus cocky MMA heel stable is a great dynamic and this match perfected the story. While the match should’ve gone a bit longer it retained intensity and fire throughout and had some great spots and kept a fast pace.

wwe-nxt-takeover-war-games-aleister-black-johnny-gargano

Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano:

  • Great entrance attire on Black.
  • One of the best stories of the year with Gargano costing Black the title and 3 months of his career. Anti-hero Gargano is fantastic and vengeful Black is even better. Another great example of NXT storytelling. 
  • Stare down after the bell rings, the tension is insane. Gargano slaps Black and Black boots him back.
  • Black catches Johnny springboarding to the outside with a stiff buzzsaw kick. 
  • Gargano dodges Black and does Aleister’s sitting taunt.
  • A series of strikes by Black, Black does the fake suicide dive flip back sitting taunt but Gargano catches him with a kick from behind. 
  • Near fall roll up for Johnny neatly transitioned into a surfboard lock by Gargano, Black near falls pins Gargano out of the hold. 
  • Black boots Gargano off the apron and follows it up with an amazing tope con hiro to ringside wiping out Johnny.
  • Amazing springboard standing moonsault by Black for a near fall.
  • Diving Moonsault by Black misses, Gargano hits an amazing suicide tornado DDT to ringside. In-ring, Gargano hits a springboard DDT for a great near fall.
  • Gargano trash talks Black and hits a stiff elbow and a running strikefest begins. Double Lariats into more strikefest, Gargano hits a spikerana but Black hits a bicycle kick to end the awesome sequence. Standing ovation from the crowd. 
  • The match changes rings and Black catches Gargano with a knee to stop the slingshot spear. Black hits a springboard double knees/German Suplex bridge combo for a great near fall. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl into the Gargano Escape, near fall rollup by Black to escape the Escape.
  • Lawn Dart into the corner by Johnny Gargano hits. 
  • Gargano taunts for the DIY superkick, Black sits in the ring and says Bring It. Johnny removes the knee pad but missed Black. Superkick and an exposed running knee by Gargano hits, great near fall. 
  • Gargano is hitting Black aggressively with elbows but Black begins to fight back into another strikefest, stiff buzzsaw kick by Black connects. Gargano pushed Black off the springboard to the outside. 
  • Black catches Gargano in mid-air with a bicycle knee off the suicide dive, one of my favorite spots of the year. 
  • Gargano begs Black to hit the Black Mass baiting him in and rolling him up for a great near fall. Gargano Escape locked in, Black rolls out of it and hits a spinning knee knocking Gargano. 
  • Black removes the knee pad and hits a bicycle knee and a stiff black mass but Black holds Johnny up and hits another one.

Winner: Aleister Black @18:04

Rating: *****, The story building up to this match definitely set up the 5-star rating for these guys but the in-ring match could’ve never been bad. Gargano and Black have had amazing years this year with some quality performances but this is my favorite from both. While I don’t think this is better than Gargano vs. Ciampa 2 it is the 3rd best NXT match of the year in my opinion (just after Almas vs. Gargano). The dark and determined heel Gargano was done so well that they are reflecting it with Daniel Bryan on the main roster and the angry vengeful Aleister Black was an amazing character that made this match have just an added level of aggression. The spots in this match were very smart especially the catching knee to the suicide dive which is one of the best spots this year. Even without the story, this would be a MOTY contender, the story makes it one of the best matches I’ve ever seen.

wwe-nxt-takeover-war-games-tommaso-ciampa-velveteen-dream-nxt

Tomasso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Title:

  • 2 of the most polarizing characters in 2018 Professional Wrestling. 
  • Crowd firmly behind the Dream. Velveteen also came out as Hollywood Hogan.
  • Dream escapes Ciampa but loses the Hollywood Headband, Dream rolls to ringside. Dream grabs the title and Ciampa chases him back into the ring.
  • Great standing dropkick by Dream and a flurry of ring-based offense follows capping off with a Diving Axe Handle. 
  • Dream taunts for the Atomic Leg Drop, Ciampa rolls ringside. Dream hits a Diving Axe Handle taking out Ciampa ringside. 
  • Ciampa dumps Dream off the springboard, Dream hits the apron hard on his way to ringside. 
  • Running Knee in the Corner by Ciampa knocks out Dream, Ciampa doesn’t capitalize. 
  • Hangman’s Neckbreaker over the top rope by Ciampa launches Dream to ringside. 
  • Running Knee with the brace to Dream over the announce table by Ciampa. 
  • Headlock by Ciampa is deep in, Dream does an amazing job of selling it and escapes the hold.
  • Rude Awakening Neckbreaker by Dream puts both down.
  • Big Boot and 3 Atomic Leg Drops by Dream pays homage to Hulk Hogan. 
  • Spinebuster by Dream, near fall. 
  • Amazing plancha to ringside by Dream followed by an attempt at the Purple Rainmaker but Ciampa baits him in and takes him ringside. 
  • Dream drops Ciampa’s previously injured knee over the apron and does the Bret Hart post Figure 4, Ciampa taps with the referee distracted. 
  • Velveteen Dream locks in Flair’s Figure 4 further working the knee of Ciampa, Ciampa reversed the pressure but Dream rolls back into it, Ciampa passes out and delivers a great near fall but Ciampa eventually grabs the bottom rope. 
  • Insane Suplex rolling over the top rope to the outside by Dream. Dream brings in Ciampa and escapes a near countout. 
  • Strikefest, Dream misses a superkick almost just missing the ref, Ciampa rolls up Dream but the ref catches him using the tights. A superkick hits for Dream catching Ciampa arguing with the ref, awesome near fall. 
  • Ciampa catches Dream in mid-air with a knee of the springboard. Ciampa hits the Project Ciampa lungblower and hurts the knee but goes for the pin and gets another great near fall.
  • Ciampa grabs the title belt and brings it in the ring and argues with the ref, Dream hits a Twisting DDT onto the belt for an awesome near fall. 
  • Ciampa boots Dream to ringside and on Dream’s way back in Ciampa catches him with a Draping DDT for yet another great near fall. 
  • Ciampa takes off padding to reveal ringside concrete, Ciampa tries to hit a draping DDT off the apron but Dream spears him over the announce table. Ciampa throws paper at Mauro Ranallo and Dream catches him with a Rolling DVD ringside. In-ring Dream hits the Purple Rainmaker and another awesome near fall happens. 
  • Dream goes to hit the elbow drop to Ciampa on the apron and misses and crashes to ringside. 
  • Draping DDT onto the steel holding the rings together by Ciampa closes the match. 

Winner: Tomasso Ciampa Retains! @22:16 

Rating: ****3/4, How does NXT keep doing it? How do they keep having these special matches?  These 2 polarizing figures combined their characters to perfection and involved inventive spots and constant awesome near falls in front of a RED HOT crowd. Ciampa is an absolutely great heel as always here and Dream played a great babyface who played the classic moves of Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair to huge crowd reactions. The ending stretch was fantastic with great big move/near fall sequences and the exposed concrete and metal DDT spots. The referee spots were great too especially the DDT onto the title by Dream which got a very near fall. NXT continues delivering like no other wrestling product in the world. The only possible con with this match is you felt a bit of burn out from the last 5-star match. 

wwe-nxt-takeover-war-games-undisputed-era-adam-cole-roderick-strong-kyle-oreilly-bobby-fish-war-raiders-ricochet-pete-dunne

Undisputed ERA vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunne, and War Raiders in War Games:

  • Ricochet and Adam Cole start the match. 
  • Catching Backstabber by Cole lays out Ricochet.
  • Amazing springboard forearm by Ricochet hopping from one ring to the other.
  • Kyle O’Reilly is chosen next for ERA.
  • Between the rings Ricochet strikes off Era until O’Reilly hits a Dragon Screw Leg Whip taking Rico down.
  • Stiff series of strikes by Cole and Kyle into an assisted ushigoroshi to Cole.
  • Hanson is chosen next for the faces. 
  • Hot Tag of sorts for Hanson taking out Cole and Kyle with great agility. 
  • Amazing shooting star press off the back of Hanson by Richochet to Kyle. 
  • Roderick Strong is chosen next for ERA.
  • A series of Backbreakers into the Lumbar Check by Roddy to Cole.
  • Axe and Smash by Kyle to Hanson, Cole shows great strength and hits an Olympic Slam by Hanson.
  • Rowe is chosen next for the faces. 
  • Great entrance for Rowe taking out Undisputed Era with a great flurry of offense. Powerbomb/Powerslam combo by Rowe to Kyle and Roddy at the same time. 
  • War Raiders chuck Roddy, Cole, and Kyle into the cage. 
  • Bobby Fish is last for ERA, Fish goes for Dunne in the cage and attacks him and locks him in the cage and throws away the key. Fish brings chairs into the ring. 
  • ERA uses the chairs to dominate the match, O’Reilly air guitars the chair which is totally cool with me. ERA throws Hanson into the steel cage. Hard Uranage by Roddy sends Rowe into a set-up chair. ERA throws Rowe so hard into the cage he lands on the injured knee of Fish. 
  • The referee unkeyed the original lock on Dunne’s cage but can’t get the other one done even though it’s his time to join the match. 
  • Stereo Superplexes by Adam Cole and Bobby Fish to the War Raiders.
  • The referees get bolt cutters and finally free Pete Dunne, ERA stops him from getting in the cage but Dunne gets a kendo stick to take out ERA from the door of the cage.
  • Diving Crossbody by Ricochet wipes out Undisputed ERA. 
  • Dunne enters the ring and War Games officially begins.
  • The faces surround ERA with weapons, Dunne throws Kyle from ring to ring and stomps his arm brutally over the middle.
  • Explex by Dunne sends Roddy into O’Reilly on the ground. 
  • O’Reilly calls back the chair rope spot from last year but avoids it this time but turns into a boot by Hanson knocking the chair into his face. 
  • Hanson spears Rowe into the corner with Cole and a trash can already there, Rowe slams Hanson onto O’Reilly in between the two rings. 
  • Fish and O’Reilly work together to strike out Rowe. Lungblower/Backstabber combo by Roddy and Cole to Rico. ERA surrounds Pete Dunne. Dunne throws Roddy into the cage and catches him mid-air with a German suplex. 
  • Kimura Lock by Dunne locked in on O’Reilly, Fish saves Kyle with a chair shot to Pete. Ankle Lock by O’Reilly with a crossface with a chair by Strong to Dunne while Era still surrounds him. 
  • Stereo Superplexes by Rico and Dunne, Dunne hit a Butterfly Suplex and Rico hit a supercanrana. 
  • Hanson tries to set up Cole on a table but the leg gives way, slight botch.
  • Great spear by Fish sends Rowe into a table set up in between the rings. 
  • Triangle Hold by O’Reilly to Rico on the table, Hanson hits a Diving Crossbody to O’Reilly to break the hold, first near fall. 
  • Cole and Ricochet fight on top of the cage. Roddy helps Cole and they try to push Rico to the outside to cost the faces the match. Awesome chain superplex led by Hanson take Adam Cole off the top of the cage. 
  • AMAZING Double Rotation Moonsault by Ricochet off the top of the cage wipes everyone out. Another spot of the year contender.
  • The teams separate into the different rings and standoff to a great crowd reaction. The teams brawl in the middle of the rings. 
  • Fallout by the War Raiders hit on Fish, Roddy and Kyle come to take out the Raiders but an awesome backspring elbow by Hanson wipes out ERA. Cole catches a flying from ring to ring Rico with a Superkick, Last Shot by Cole to Dunne, Bitter End/Standing Shooting Star combo by Rico and Dunne to Cole close the match.

Winners: The Faces @47:01

Rating: ****1/4, There was no way this match could’ve been bad but it wasn’t as good as last years. Mostly because Sanity turned in an amazing performance at last years War Games. The spots in this match were for the majority more lackluster however the double moonsault Ricochet hit is one of the better spots I’ve ever seen. The match felt really long but ERA kept it fresh. The dastardly heel plans that ERA delivered gave the match an added dimension. 

Show Grade: A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race For Wrestler of the Year: October 2018

 

5ab91-1521122748-800

Wrestler of the Month: Tyler Bate, If you are a WWE-Centric wrestling fan most of what you know of Tyler Bate is that he’s a goofy but talented midcarder. However, in Progress, he is a main eventer and one of the best talents in the Professional Wrestling World and this month he solidified that claim. At Progress’ Wembley show Tyler Bate faced the Progress World Champion Walter in one of the highest quality matches I’ve seen this year. Tyler Bate played an absolutely amazing underdog babyface and looked like he was going to beat the dominant champion Walter and even though he lost he provided one of the best performances in a match that I have seen this year. 

toniinjury

Women’s Wrestler of the Month: Toni Storm, Storm had an amazingly packed month in October. She started the month in a Progress Women’s Title Match which she turned in a good performance, then put on some amazing matches in the Mae Young Classic, and then went onto beat Io Shirai to win the Mae Young Classic at Evolution. Even though this month was HUGE for women’s wrestling, Toni Storm delivered by far the most memorable and diverse performance. 

waltertylerbate

Match of the Month: Tyler Bate vs. Walter, I can’t stop talking about this match and probably won’t for the rest of the year. I absolutely loved this match and if you’ve never seen Progress I highly recommend it. The dominant heel/underdog babyface dynamic was better than it has ever been here. This match felt like a modernized version of Andre vs. Hogan but actually an amazing in-ring encounter as well. Both men turned in probably their best ever performance and the match felt HUGE. It main evented Progress’ biggest ever show and had one of the biggest fight feels of all time. This year has had some classic matches and I think this comfortably fits in the top 3. 

d2d6a-15406338742412-800Feud of the Month: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte, I guess WWE was forced to have a feud with some fire going into Evolution because they didn’t book anything else other than this match. Even though October was a very weak wrestling month outside of Progress Wembley which happened in September but aired in October, WWE Evolution was a history-making event with some great matches. Lynch vs. Flair had a lot of fire around their feud and Heel Becky Lynch is a great character. The underdog heel vs. the spoiled brat babyface is a weird dynamic but it somehow worked here to fuel a great Last Woman Standing Match. 

thunder-bastard

Tag Team of the Month: Aussie Open, in an absolute car crash of a Thunderbastard tag match that happened at Progress Wembley Aussie Open absolutely shined. The team of Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis consistently mix high flying and big boi athletics to a tee. They came out the victors in an amazing tag match and delivered the best tag performance of the month. 

5ab91-1521122748-800

Most Improved: Tyler Bate, I’m going to go back to talking about Walter vs Tyler Bate. As I alluded to earlier, in NXT Tyler Bate if often the goofball babyface who can deliver in great matches but not much more than just a guy who had an awesome match against Pete Dunne that one time. In Progress, he was booked like a god. He was shown as an actual threat to a dominant champion and his character and in-ring skills added dimensions to it we haven’t seen before the match against Walter. He came out of that match a different beast and one of the best professional wrestler. 

Over 4-Star Matches:

  • Walter vs. Tyler Bate Progress World Title Chapter 76 *****
  • Doug Williams vs. Trent Seven Atlas Title Progress Chapter 76 ****¼
  • Thunderbastard Tag Team Match (Points go to G.Y.V and Aussie Open) Progress Chapter 76
  • Mark Haskins vs. Matt Riddle Progress Chapter 76 ****¼
  • Paul Robinson vs. Jimmy Havoc Death Match Progress Chapter 76 ****
  • Mark Andrews vs. Eddie Dennis TLC Match Progress Chapter 76 ****½
  • Pete Dunne vs. Ilja Dragunov Progress Chapter 76 ****¾
  • Kushida vs. Marty Scurll for the IWGP Jr Title NJPW KOPW ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White for the G1 Briefcase NJPW KOPW ****½
  • Kenny Omega vs. Cody vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Hvy Title NJPW KOPW ****½
  • Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Title WWE SSD ****½
  • AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title WWE SSD ****½
  • Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne vs. Adam Cole North American Title NX TV ****½
  • Tony Nese vs. Gran Metalik vs. Cedric Alexander vs. TJP vs. Lio Rush ****¼
  • Meiko Satomura vs. Mercedes Martinez Mae Young Classic ****
  • Toni Storm vs. Meiko Satomura Mae Young Classic ****
  • AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan WWE Title SD Live ****¼
  • Zack Gibson vs. Noam Dar NXT UK ****
  • Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai Mae Young Classic Final WWE Evolution ****
  • Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Womens Title WWE Evolution ****
  • Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Last Woman Standing SD Womens Title WWE Evolution ****½
  • Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali NO DQ 205 Live ****¼

Champions:

WWE:

Universal Title: Vacant

Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey 75+ Days

Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins 75+ Days

Raw Tag Titles: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose 11+ Days

Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy 27+ Days

WWE Title: AJ Styles 360+ Days

SD Women’s: Becky Lynch 47+ Days

US Title: Shinsuke Nakamura 110+ Days

SD Tag Titles: The Bar 17+ Days

NXT Title: Tomasso Ciampa 107+ Days

NXT North American Title: Ricochet 76+ Days

NXT Womens Title: Shayna Baszler 5+ Days

NXT Tag Titles: The Undisputed Era 134+ Days

UK Title: Pete Dunne 531+ days

NXT UK Women’s: Rhea Ripley 68+ Days

NJPW:

IWGP Heavyweight Title: Kenny Omega 144+ Days

IWGP IC Title: Chris Jericho 144+ Days

IWGP Us Title: Cody 31+ Days

NEVER Openweight Title: Tai-Chi 44+ Days

IWGP Tag: Guerillas of Destiny 31+ Days

IWGP Jr Title: Kushida 23+ Days

IWGP Jr Tag Titles: El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru 239+ Days

Never Openweight 6-man Titles: Firing Squad 80+ Days

ROH:

ROH World Title: Jay Lethal 123+ Days

ROH TV Title: Jeff Cobb 32+ Days

ROH  Tag Titles: So Cal Uncensored 17+ Days

ROH Six-Man Titles: Cody and the Bucks 102+ Days

WOH Title: Sumie Sakai 207+ Days

Progress:

Progress World Title: Walter 93+ Days

Tag Titles: Aussie Open 26+ Days

Atlas Title: Trent Seven 26+ Days

Womens: Jinny 159+ Days

PWG:

World Title: Jeff Cobb 9+ Days

Tag Titles: The Rascalz 189+ Days

kennyAgain Still Leader of the Leaderboard: Kenny Omega:

  1. Kenny Omega 246 Points
  2. Kazuchika Okada 221 Points
  3. The Young Bucks 170 Points
  4. Kota Ibushi 160 Points
  5. Walter 147 Points
  6. Will Ospreay 140 Points
  7. Zack Sabre Jr 132 Points
  8. Hiromu Takahashi 127 Points
  9. Hiroshi Tanahashi 117 Points
  10. Johnny Gargano 116 Points
  11. AJ Styles 110 Points
  12. Tomasso Ciampa -Undisputed ERA 107 Points
  13. Tyler Bate 102 Points
  14. Marty Scurrl 98 Points
  15. Tomohiro Ishii 95 Points
  16. Seth Rollins 93 Points
  17. Cody 86 Points
  18. Adam Cole 71 Points
  19. Trent Seven -Cedric Alexander 70 Points
  20. Pete Dunne 69 Points
  21. Sanada -Hangman Page -Hirooki Goto 66 Points
  22. Jay Lethal 64 Points
  23. Jay White 60 Points
  24. Alexa Bliss -Travis Banks -Zack Gibson 58 Points
  25. Kushida 56 Points
  26. Tetsuya Naito -Dalton Castle 55 Points
  27. Ricochet -Jeff Cobb 51 Points
  28. Andrade Almas 50 Points
  29. Matt Riddle -Brock Lesnar 49 Points
  30. Shinsuke Nakamura -Juice Robinson 47 Points
  31. Becky Lynch -Chris Jericho -Flip Gordon -Minoru Suzuki -Evil -The Briscoes 45 Points
  32. El Desperado 41 Points
  33. The Miz 40 Points
  34. Toni Storm 39 Points
  35. Charlotte 37 Points
  36. Aleister Black -Michael Elgin -So Cal Uncensored 35 Points
  37. Firing Squad 34 Points
  38. Rascalz -Dolph Ziggler 33 Points
  39. Dragon Lee -Roman Reigns 32 Points
  40. Braun Strowman -Finn Balor -Chuck Taylor -Buddy Murphy 30 Points
  41. Ronda Rousey 29 Points
  42. Aussie Open -Bandito 28 Points
  43. Doug Williams -Shayna Baszler -Kairi Sane -Mustafa Ali -Yoshinobu Kanemaru -Jonathan Gresham -Doug Williams 25 Points
  44. James Drake -The Bar  -Matt Taven -Sumie Sakai:23 Points
  45. Chris Sabin -Keith Lee -Jinny 22 Points
  46. Joey Janela -Roppongi 3k -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Ember Moon -Jeff Hardy -Velveteen Dream -The Bar  -David Starr 20 Points
  47. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan -Bludgeon Brothers -Shayna Baszler -Punishment Martinez: 17 Points
  48. New Day: 16 Points
  49. Drew Gulak -Trent Baretta -Asuka -Usos -John Cena -Silas Young -Bobby Roode -EC3 -Kevin Owens -Timothy Thatcher -Jimmy Havoc -Samoa Joe: 15 Points
  50. Nia Jax -The Kingdom: 13 Points
  51. Toni Storm -Drew Mcintyre: 12 Points
  52.  Pentagon Jr -Rey Fenix -Sanity -Kenny King -Dave Finlay -Lars Sullivan -Bray Wyatt -ACH -Jack Gallagher -Sasha Banks -Yoshi-Hashi -Rusev -Jonah Rock -Rey Horus -Aussie Open -Kassius Ohno  -Dean Ambrose -Hideo Itami: 10 Points
  53. Nick Aldis -Rey Mysterio-Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH -Rysuke Taguchi -Naomi -Elias -Daniel Bryan -Rhea Ripley -Adam Brooks -Brody King -Mark Haskins -Chris Brookes -Jordan Devlin: 5 Points

WWE Crown Jewel Review

crown-jewel-696x391

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev to retain the United States Title @9:27 **1/2
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton to advance in the World Cup @5:14 **1/2
  • The Miz defeated Jeff Hardy to advance in the World Cup @6:54 **
  • Seth Rollins defeated Bobby Lashley to advance in the World Cup @5:24 **1/4
  • Dolph Ziggler defeated Kurt Angle to advance in the World Cup @8:15 **3/4
  • The New Day defeated The Bar to retain the SD Live Tag Titles @10:28 ***
  • The Miz defeated Rey Mysterio to advance in the World Cup @11:09 ***
  • Dolph Ziggler defeated The Miz to advance in the World Cup @13:04 ***1/4
  • AJ Styles defeated Samoa Joe to retain the WWE Title @11:09 ***1/2
  • Brock Lesnar defeated Braun Strowman to win the Universal Title N/A
  • Shane Mcmahon defeated Dolph Ziggler to become the Best in the World @2:29 N/A
  • Degeneration X defeated The Brothers of Destruction @27:48 *

Shinsuke Nakamura(c) vs. Rusev for the United States Title:

  • Announced at the last minute.
  • Vertical Suplex by Rusev sends Naka into a hard landing on his shoulder. 
  • A series of kicks into an enzugiri by Naka knocks down Rusev for the first near fall. 
  • Naka gets Rusev down with a Front Facelock, Rusev powers up and launches Naka off. Interesting rest hold spot. 
  • Rusev hits a comeback series and taunts for the Machka Kick, Naka dodges. 
  • Buzzsaw Kick by Rusev connects, very near fall. 
  • Sliding Penalty Kick by Nakamura goes for a near fall. 
  • The Saudi Arabian crowd is less dead than last time but that isn’t saying much. 
  • Catching Machka Kick by Rusev, very near fall. 
  • Rusev looks for the Accolade but Nakamura instantly rolls to the ropes, Naka climbs to the top rope and hits a Flying Knee. Nakamura tries to go for a pin, is under the ropes but tries to go for the pin. Slight Botch. 
  • Machka Kick into the Accolade by Rusev, Rusev drags Naka into the middle of the ring, Naka hits a low blow but gets away with it. Kinshasa wins for Nakamura. 

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura Retains @9:27

Rating: **1/2, this was an okay starter. Some strikes landed hard and these 2 are both talented. It did look like Nakamura wasn’t on his game though with some botches and lack of energy. A Rusev win might’ve made sense if it wasn’t on the kickoff of a controversial show. 

  • Hulk Hogan comes out, this makes me legitimately so pissed off. So they have a public racist come out to start a show taking place in Saudi Arabia?? Does WWE genuinely want to drive itself into the ground and have everyone watch the indies? I have to try and watch this show for the wrestling and not the politics. 

wcbracketRey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton World Cup First Round:

  • Great catching dropkick by Orton to Mysterio off a springboard, first near fall.
  • Orton goes for the mask of Mysterio on the top rope, Diving Senton by Mysterio followed up with a springboard crossbody takes down Orton. 
  • Wheelbarrow facebuster by Mysterio, near fall. 
  • 619 by Mysterio caught into a Hangman DDT by Orton, good big move sequence. 
  • Orton taunts for the RKO, Mysterio rolls up Orton for the win!

Winner: Rey Mysterio Advances @ 5:14! 

Rating: **1/2, a fun sprint with two very talented guys. I wished it would’ve gone longer but the match went down without a hitch and Orton was protected with the finish which is a smart move. 

  • Randy Orton attacks Rey Mysterio after the match. 

Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz World Cup First Round:

  • Near fall roll up by Jeff Hardy.
  • Delete Turnbuckle Smashes by Hardy to Miz’s moneymaker. 
  • This match has started without any momentum and a silent crowd.
  • A comeback series by Hardy picks up the pace and brings in the crowd. 
  • Whisper in the Wind by Hardy hits, near fall. 
  • Figure 4 Leg Lock rolled up by Hardy, very near fall. 
  • Hardy jumps off the barricade with a crossbody to take down Miz ringside.
  • Miz rolls out of the way of a Swanton Bomb, Miz rolls up Hardy using the ropes but the official catches him, near fall rollup by Hardy.
  • Twist of Fate reversed into the Skull Crushing Finale by Miz for the win. 

Winner: The Miz advances @6:54!

Rating: **, this match lacked any momentum and relied way too heavily upon roll up moments and neither men looked good. The crowd was silent and this was an awkward match to watch. Jeff Hardy tried all that he could to get the crowd into the match with his comeback series and dive off the barricade but it just becomes the 2nd meaningless tournament match in a tournament that had a lot of potential. 

Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley World Cup First Round Match:

  • Suicide Dive by Seth Rollins stopped with a chokeslam by Lashley, first near fall. 
  • Swinging neckbreaker by Lashley, near fall. 
  • Lashley has squashed the opening minutes of this match.
  • Rollins knocks Lashley ringside and hits 2 suicide dives. Rollins hits his back hard against the barricade. 
  • Roll Up into the Curb Stomp by Rollins for the win. 

Winner: Seth Rollins Advances @5:24!

Rating: **1/4, this was a very average match and the undercard on this show continues to be VERY weak. However, I’m glad that Seth Rollins won and can have good matches later on tonight, hopefully. 

Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler World Cup First Round:

  • This match has legitimate dream match potential. 
  • Belly to Belly suplex by Angle starts a series of German Suplexes. Angle attempts a german suplex off the apron, Ziggler knocks Angle to ringside with an elbow.
  • Ziggler sends Angle shoulder first into the steel steps. 
  • A sleeper hold by Ziggler weakens down Angle but is locked in for a long time. 
  • 3 Consecutive German Suplexes by Kurt Angle, near fall. 
  • Angle Slam countered by Ziggler into a spike DDT on the formerly injured neck of Angle, near fall.
  • Fameasser caught into the Angle Slam for a near fall. 
  • Fameasser by Ziggler hits, another near fall.
  • Sunset Flip by Ziggler rolled into an Ankle Lock by Angle, Ziggler rolls Angle over removing the hold.
  • Ziggler sends Angle into the post and follows it up with a Zig Zag for the win. 

Winner: Dolph Ziggler Advances @8:15!

Rating: **3/4, This match actually had a very solid layout unlike the other tournament matches so far. It was very surreal to see Kurt Angle and Dolph Ziggler in the ring together and even though age was a factor it didn’t get in the way of the match. This was a fun match and the best so far on the card. 

New Day vs. The Bar for the SD Live Tag Titles:

  • The New Day enter on a flying magic carpet platform, the coolest part of the show so far to be honest. 
  • Big E and Sheamus start the match. 
  • Great Monkey Flip by Cesaro but Kofi lands on his feet and runs back with a dropkick, first near fall. 
  • Hopscotch Springboard Crossbody by Kingston to Cesaro, near fall. 
  • Big Show accompanies the Bar at ringside and Xavier Woods accompanies New Day.
  • Stiff chops by Kofi to Sheamus as Kofi tries to make a tag but Sheamus kicks Kofi down and tags in Cesaro, the Bar are isolating Kofi. 
  • Double Team Jackhammer/Suplex by The Bar to Kofi for a near fall. 
  • Kofi sends Sheamus into the post and Big E makes a hot tag.
  • Uranage by Big E to Sheamus, near fall. 
  • V-Trigger by Sheamus to Big E in the corner. 
  • Powerbomb/Double Stomp combo by New Day gets a near fall on Sheamus. 
  • Big E launches Kofi over the top rope to take out Cesaro, Big Show KO punches Big E and Sheamus hits a brogue kick to retain.

Winners: The Bar retain @10:28!

Rating: ***, easily the best match of the card so far. It was a really fun and smart tag match which is routine for the Bar and New Day. We’ve seen this exact match SOOO many times but independently each match always delivers. The ending was flat as I still don’t understand why Big Show is with the Bar and helping them cheat to win put a bad ending to a good match. 

Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz World Cup Semi-Final:

  • Fast start unlike Miz vs. Jeff.
  • Miz slides Rey to ringside, Rey lands on his feet. Rey takes Miz ringside and slides under the bottom rope to splash Miz at ringside. 
  • Alley Oop Facebuster by The Miz plants Rey. 
  • Bow and Arrow hold by Miz, Mysterio flips into a cover for a near fall. 
  • Saudi Arabians chant “CM Punk”. I’m not about that at all.
  • Miz drives Mysterio into the barricade, in-ring near fall. 
  • Abdominal Stretch by Miz works the weakend midsection of Rey. Rey turns it into a DDT to escape the hold. 
  • Slow strikefest between the two, Springboard Crossbody by Mysterio for a near fall. 
  • Mysterio goes for a facebuster but Miz sends him into the turnbuckles then hits a Skull Crushing Finale for a great near fall. 
  • It! Kicks by The Miz, Mysterio tries to go for the pinning combo that eliminated Orton but Miz kicks out.
  • 619 hits for Rey, followed up with a Frog Splash but The Miz gets his knees up and rolls up Miz for the finish. 

Winner: The Miz Advances @11:09!

Rating: ***, This is the best tournament match so far mostly because it went longer than the rest of them. The match had some great moments including a great near fall after Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale. However, I really don’t agree with the finish on a fan level I realize we could’ve seen Mysterio vs. Rollins but on an industry level, firing Mysterio from SD Live if he doesn’t have an exclusive deal and they are mad he was at the Jericho Cruise would’ve made perfect sense. The match was fun and made both men look pretty good. 

Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler World Cup Semi-Final:

  • Ziggler is immediately working the neck of Rollins injured in the Lashley match.
  • Rollins and Mcintyre stare down ringside, Ziggler catches Rollins with a Spike DDT for a near fall in-ring. 
  • Really uneventful opening.
  • Ziggler mocking Rollins with cocky kicks to the face, Rollins sends Ziggler into the turnbuckle and hits a neckbreaker. 
  • Backslide by Rollins, weird near fall. Rollins catches Ziggler’s DDT and more roll up near falls happen and it becomes a sequence of roll-ups into a deadlift powerbomb by Rollins that gets rolled up for one last near fall by Ziggler, Ripcord Knee by Rollins takes out Ziggler for a near fall. 
  • Mcintyre distracts Rollins but Rollins sends Ziggler to ringside, Suicide Dive by Rollins takes out both Ziggler and Mcintyre.
  • Springboard by Rollins misses, Ziggler hits a Fameasser for a near fall. 
  • Superplex by Rollins but the Falcon Arrow is countered into a Zig Zag by Ziggler for a great near fall.
  • Another Zig Zag attempt fails, Suicide Dive by Rollins wipes out Mcintyre, Ziggler distracts the referee, Mcintyre pushes Rollins off the top rope, Ziggler hits a superkick for the win.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler advances @13:04!

Rating: ***1/4, The match started slow and the crowd was silent. Over time they worked the crowd back into it but the match was worked surprisingly sloppy for these two guys. There were some exciting moments like the Falcon Arrow into the Zig Zag and the finish was okay but this is probably the worst Ziggler vs. Rollins match but it’s still the best match on this show so far. I don’t exactly think of Ziggler vs. Miz when I think of Best in the World though. 

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title:

  • I don’t blame Daniel Bryan for not going to Saudi Arabia, however, the match at Super Show Down was a fantastic way to close the Joe vs. Styles feud. 
  • Fast aggressive start with Styles on top after a kick to the injured knee of Joe.
  • Awesome suicide dive by Joe launches Styles into the announce table.
  • Step-up enzugiri in the corner by Joe goes for a near fall. 
  • Okay, the assholes in Saudi Arabia are starting a wave in this match even though it’s the best match of the night already. 
  • Great hard-hitting strike fest.
  • Great Moonsault DDT by Styles for a near fall. 
  • Springboard Forearm by Styles to Joe ringside. 
  • Joe dodges Styles on the springboard and hits a snap powerslam for another near fall. 
  • Stiff lariat by Joe knocks down Styles. 
  • Calf Crusher by Styles locked in on the injured knee of Joe, Joe grabs ropes. 
  • Roll up by Styles is caught into the Coquina Clutch, Styles works the bad leg to escape the hold. 
  • Pele Kick by Styles knocks Joe down, Phenomenal Forearm ends the match. 

Winner: AJ Styles Retains @11:09!

Rating: ***1/2, I don’t think I’ve ever hated a crowd more than these guys. I hope WWE is happy with the fucking payday they made from this PPV. This was the first actually good match of the show and the crowd SHAT on it for no apparent reason releasing a wave, Cm Punk and Ole Chants. They ended this match earlier than they should’ve but while it was going it was a fun, hard-hitting match but it was hard to focus on. If it wasn’t in front of such a bad crowd on such a despicable payday glorified house show I might have given it a higher rating. 

Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar for the Vacant Universal Title:

  • Baron Corbin attacks Strowman with the title, Lesnar hits an F5 on Strowman for a near fall.
  • A 2nd F5 hits and Strowman kicks out again. 
  • A 3rd F5 hits and the same shit happens, Strowman kicks out. 
  • A 4th F5 by Lesnar sends Strowman to the outside, near countout.
  • A 5th F5 hits for the close.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Rating: N/A, WWE is never this serious but I’m typing this review crying about how horrible this show is. After this show, WWE might never be watched by me again and I know I’m not the only one in this boat. They just put the title on the inactive, horrible champion that was champion for forever. This is probably the worst thing that’s happened in WWE for years AND it comes after Roman had to relinquish the title due to cancer. This is despicable, who in the absolute blue fuck is booking this show?!

The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler World Cup Final:

  • Weird choice for the finals. 
  • The referee sends Drew Mcintyre to the back, Miz attacks a distracted Ziggler.
  • Ringside, The Miz tripped and hurt his leg. Miz looks genuinely hurt or he’s doing an amazing sell.
  • The Ring Announcer announces a forfeit, Shane Mcmahon interrupts him and says SD isn’t gonna go down like that, Shane Mcmahon takes his place. 

Shane Mcmahon vs. Dolph Ziggler:

  • So, that crappy tournament meant absolutely nothing. 
  • Baron Corbin trips Shane, the referee sends Corbin to the back. 
  • Zig Zag by Ziggler but the referee is late to the count making a near fall. 
  • Slingshot by Shane sends Ziggler into the corner, Coast 2 Coast by Shane closes the match. 

Winner: Shane Mcmahon is the Best in the World @2:29

Rating: N/A, the Best in the World tournament up to this point was absolute garbage and it was a waste of time because Shane (someone who wasn’t even in the match) won. This show has gone absolutely horribly and nothing has gone right. I love the crazy fun of Shane winning if it was a Battle Royal or something but I just watched 2 hours of this tournament for a Mcmahon blowjob moment. 

Degeneration Bald vs. The Brothers of Aging:

  • The Mayor of Knox County and the Savior of WWE start the match. (Kane and Triple H)
  • It’s great to see Shawn back in the ring however he doesn’t look too good bald. 
  • Undertaker and Michaels stand-off.
  • The Brothers send DB to ringside so the bald men can be there standing while Taker and Kane put up the fist which incidentally means White Power which Kane should’ve known that so now the mayor of a Tennesee county has been in Saudi Arabia releasing the White Power symbol, that’s great politics. 
  • This show has driven me crazy. 
  • Taker hits old school on Michaels.
  • So, Saudi Arabia is chanting This is Awesome, no it’s not. It’s absolutely not. 
  • Michaels has NXT on his tights, representing actual good wrestling is the highlight of this retirement home tag match. 
  • Elbow Drop by Michaels to Kane, only Michaels and HHH “Still got it”.
  • Sweet Chin Music blocked by Kane into a Chokeslam, Taker tags in. 
  • Sweet Chin Music by Michaels catches Undertaker when he was distracted with HHH and both lay on the ground for FOREVER. Taker sits up and takes it ringside.
  • Kane chokeslams HHH through the announce table. 
  • Apron Leg Drop by Taker to Michaels.
  • This match is very boring.
  • Moonsault by Shawn Michaels wipes out Taker and Kane ringside even though it mostly misses it was still really cool to see. 
  • Pedigree by HHH to Undertaker.
  • Undertaker locks HHH in Hells Gate, Michaels superkicks Kane into the hold breaking it. 
  • Pedigree by HHH pins Kane.

Winners: Degeneration X @ 27:48

Rating: *, THIS WAS 30 MINUTES OF OLD PEOPLE LAYING ON THE FLOOR MOANING. MICHAELS ALMOST KILLED HIMSELF WITH THE MOONSAULT AND IVE NEVER BEEN SO BORED I LITERALLY STARTED DOING HOMEWORK AROUND MINUTE 15 OF THIS MATCH.

Show Grade: F-

Last Word: I could take this space to recap the show like I normally do but I’m just not going to worry about it. This is without a shadow of a doubt the worst show I’ve ever seen and I believe it was WWE fucking with Saudi Arabia and putting over Evolution. Multiple times the announcers were literally saying the show was trash, nothing went right, it went WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too long. It will be a while until I volunteer to watch WWE again. If you feel the same way and are looking for other companies to watch I’ll be reviewing PWG BOLA 2018 and Progress Chapter 77 very soon so look out for that. 

 

 

 

 

 

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Review

 

resem74969njpw_king_of_pro_wrestling_2018

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Desperado defeat Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask via pinfall to retain the IWGP Jr Tag Titles @10:15 ***
  • Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe defeat Juice Robinson and Toa Henare via pinfall @10:21 ***1/4
  • Firing Squad defeat Bullet Club Elite via pinfall @12:06 ***1/2
  • Chaos (Will Ospreay, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hirooki Goto) defeat Suzuki-Gun (Izuka, Minoru Suzuki, and Tai-Chi) via pinfall @12:09 ***1/4
  • Los Ignobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Bushi, and Sanda) defeat Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, and Roppongi 3K) via pinfall @9:30 ***1/4
  • Evil vs. Zack Sabre Jr goes to a No Contest @0:00 N/A
  • Kushida defeats Marty Scurrl via pinfall to win the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title @18:32 ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Jay White to retain the G1 Briefcase via pinfall @20:40 ****1/2
  • Kenny Omega defeats Cody and Kota Ibushi to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Title via pinfall @34:13 ****1/2

 

1008_01jrtagKanemaru and Desperado (c) vs. Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask for the IWGP Jr Tag Titles:

  • Spear by Desperado hits Tiger Mask, near fall save by Liger. 
  • Swinging Dropkick by Suzuki Gun lays out Liger, isolating Tiger.
  • Tiger Driver by Tiger Mask to Desperado, very near fall.
  • Desperado goes for the mask and Tiger strikes him hard and hits a super Butterfly suplex, near fall save by Kanemaru. 
  • Cannonball off the apron by Liger wipes out Kanemaru. 
  • Tiger Mask ducks a shot with the title belt by Desperado, Tiger Suplex hits but no referee to count the pin. 
  • Pop-up low blow by Desperado to Tiger Mask, Pinche Loco hits to close the match

Winners: Desperado and Kanemaru Retain! Day Count: 214+ Days @10:15

Rating: ***, this was a routine Suzuki-Gun match with them cheating to secure the victory. Desperado and Kanemaru have been champions for way too long but these were not the challengers to dethrone them. It’s always great to see Liger in action and Tiger Mask is still very talented even with the age. 

Juice Robinson and Toa Henare vs. Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe:

  • Honma and Henare start the match.
  • Stiff chops by Honma in the corner to Henare. 
  • Long-holding Vertical suplex by Robinson to Honma, near fall. 
  • Suplex attempt battle into a vertical suplex by Honma opening the tag to Makabe.
  • Hot Tag by Togi Makabe.
  • Huge Lariat by Makabe to Robinson, near fall. 
  • Cannonball by Juice to Makabe in the corner followed up by the Full Nelson Bomb, near fall. 
  • Juice punches to Makabe, Makabe ducks it and hits a huge lariat flipping Juice. Makabe makes the tag to Honma. 
  • Hard chop by Juice to Honma, Stiff lariat by Honma, near fall save by Henare. 
  • Robinson slams Honma off the top rope and makes the tag to Henare. 
  • Huge lariat by Henare to Honma, very near fall. 
  • Running Shoulder Block by Honma takes down Henare.
  • Great rugby tackle by Henare on Makabe, near fall save by Honma.
  • Stiff lariat by Makabe knocks Henare down. 
  • Double Team Lariats by Honma and Makabe, then a headbutt/Gorilla Knee Drop combo puts Henare away. 

Winners: Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe @10:21

Rating: ***1/4, Juice Robinson is on a bit of a downward spiral and it continues here. Honma has been having to have a great moment to prove himself. This was a fun and hard-hitting tag match and every member of this match is talented and it delivered as an opening tag match. 

Bullet Club Elite (Young Bucks, Chase Owens, and Hangman Page) vs. Firing Squad (Taiji Ishimori, Bad Luck Fale, and The Guerillas):

  • Tonga Loa and Chase Owens start the match. 
  • Nick Jackson and Taiji Ishimori tag in, the pure athletes.
  • Great sequence from Taiji and Nick into the double dropkicks. 
  • Everyone strikes off in the middle of the ring. Elite dropkicks Firing Squad to ringside. 
  • Diving Senton by Nick wipes out Firing Squad ringside, Loa stops Matt’s dive and hits a powerslam ringside again targeting the bad back.
  • The Firing Squad isolates Matt’s back by removing the belt and tape and having Fale stand on his back.
  • Hot tag by Hangman Page, Dropsault on Toa and Ishimori.
  • Great Diving Moonsault to ringside by Hangman Page. 
  • Buckle Bomb by Page into the enzugiris by the Bucks to Ishimori followed by a Backbreaker by Owens, near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page takes out Tama, German Suplex by Loa to Page. Superkick Party by The Bucks to Fale. Doublerana by Ishimori takes the Bucks ringside, Ishimori hits a twisting plancha.
  • Gun Stun reversed into a Roll up by Owens on Tama, near fall.
  • Pop-Up Gun Stun by G.O.D closes Chase Owens. 

Winners: Firing Squad @12:06

Rating: ***1/2, This was a good little tag match continuing the Bullet Club vs. Firing Squad feud. It could’ve been better if there were more spots but in the end, it was just an opening tag and the continuation of Matt Jackson’s back injury and Hangman Page looking awesome. 

Chaos (Will Ospreay, Hirooki Goto, and Tomohiro Ishii) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Tai-Chi, and Izuka):

  • Shockingly, Suzuki Gun attack early leading to a brawl ringside.
  • Tandem sequences by Chaos take out Tai-Chi and Suzuki.
  • Armbar over the top rope by Suzuki to Goto. 
  • Suzuki attacks Ishii with a chair and Izuka attacks Goto with a chair. 
  • Near countout on Goto who just escaped being isolated by Suzuki Gun ringside. 
  • Izuka biting the head of Goto, Izuka is pure nonsense. Izuka bites Ospreay and Ishii as well. 
  • Stiff mid-kicks by Suzuki to Goto, Goto squares up and chops Suzuki’s chest. Brainbuster by Goto opens up tags.
  • Hot tag by Tomohiro Ishii. 
  • Strikefest from Ishii and Suzuki, Ishii wears Suzuki down and spits at him. Suzuki rises up and smiles and decks Ishii with an elbow. A series of hard elbows by Suzuki but Ishii squares up and attempts the brainbuster but it fails, Gotch Neutralizer by Suzuki fails, and a Flying Shoulder Tackle by Ishii puts both down. Awesome stand-off. 
  • Handspring Enzugiri by Ospreay on Tai-Chi, near fall. 
  • Izuka chokes Ospreay with a chain, lariat by Tai-Chi into a near fall. 
  • Izuka grabs his iron finger but Tiger Hattori gets in his way, with Tiger distracted Tai-Chi goes to hit Ospreay with the title but Ospreay hits a Spanish Fly.
  • Storm Breaker by Ospreay closes the match on Tai-Chi, huge win for Ospreay. Ospreay challenges Tai-Chi for a Never Openweight Title Match, yes, please. 

Winners: Chaos @12:09

Rating: ***1/4, The Izuka stuff almost ruined this entire match. He took so much out of a match with 4 really talented guys. The best thing about this match was the sequence of Goto and Ishii striking the crap out of each other and Ospreay’s first big heavyweight win. Ospreay looks to challenge for the Never Openweight Title next.

  • A great video package build suspense about the new Los Ignobernables member. 

Los Ignobernables de Japon (Bushi, Naito, Sanada, and Shingo Takagi) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, and Roppongi 3k):

  • After a long reveal, the new L.I.J member is revealed to be Shingo Takagi a former Dragon Gate star. 
  • Shingo Takagi and Yoh start the match.
  • The Halloween attire on Bushi is sick.
  • Paradise Lock by Sanda wraps Yano around the bottom rope. 
  • Paradise Lock by Sanada on Yoh, Sanada kicks Yoh into Yano to break the hold on both. 
  • Hot tag by Kazuchika Okada. 
  • Roll up/Dropkick combo by Naito and Bushi on Okada, near fall. 
  • Rainmaker attempt by Okada reversed into a Destino attempt by Naito, Naito hits flying forearm knocking down Okada. 
  • Widow’s Peak facebuster by Takagi on Sho, near fall.
  • Great suicide dive by Bushi.
  • Last Falconry by Takagi puts away Sho. 

Winners: Los Ignobernables de Japon

Rating: ***1/4, This was centered around Shingo Takagi and it was an awesome debut for him. It was a bit of a squash but Takagi looked awesome and his finisher the Last Falconry looked sick. I’m really excited to see how the future of L.I.J goes. 

1008_6Evil vs. Zack Sabre Jr:

  • A special “King of Darkness” entrance for Evil, one of the druids attacks him. The druid unmasks as Chris Jericho after a Codebreaker on Evil. 
  • ZSJ comes in and still tries to wrestle Evil but a no contest is called. Zack attacks the referee and Evil. ZSJ locks Evil in an armbar, Tetsuya Naito comes down to save Evil. 
  • ZSJ and Naito striker off and Naito hits a Tornado DDT to take out ZSJ. 

Winner: No Contest @0:00

Rating: N/A, At this point in the show there, hadn’t been a standout match in about 2 and a half hours of the show. So when I saw this match was next I got excited. However good it is to see Chris Jericho it was a bit of a disappointment that this match didn’t happen. I don’t know when we’ll see ZSJ vs. Evil but it’s definitely Evil vs. Chris Jericho at Wrestlekingdom. 

1008_7_jr

Marty Scurrl vs. Kushida for the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship:

  • Jumping catch into the armbar by Kushida, Scurrl rolls it up for a near fall.
  • Roll up battle sequence, near fall by Kushida. 
  • Apron Superkick by Scurrl blasts Kushida. 
  • Stiff chops by Scurrl ringside. 
  • Romero Special by Scurrl hoists Kushida in the air and works the bad knee of Kushida. 
  • Spike DDT by Kushida gives him space from Scurrl. 
  • Kushida fires up and hits a great cartwheel dropkick. 
  • Hoverboard Lock attempt by Kushida fails and Scurrl dumps him on the apron. Step-up enzugiri by Kushida knocks down Marty. Scurrl springs up to stop Kushida on the top rope. 
  • Superplex by Scurrl but Kushida holds on for a roll up, near fall. Thrust kick by Scurrl nails Kushida. 
  • Another roll up battle sequence with a few very near falls.
  • Handspring by Kushida caught into a backslide rolled into a thrust kick by Scurrl again nailing Kushida.
  • They take turns kneeing each other in the head and it turns into a strike sequence. Double lariat into a double slap takes both out.  
  • Wheelbarrow kick by Kushida catches Scurrl against the ropes sending him ringside. 
  • Super Diablo Armbar by Kushida off the top rope by Kushida, Marty fights under the bottom rope and slingshots Kushida into the rope. 
  • STO into the corner by Kushida into a Back to the Future attempt countered into the Cross Face Chicken Wing by Scurrl, Scurrl locks it in tight and Kushida rolls through to get out.
  • Hoverboard lock by Scurrl, Kushida fights out. 
  • Half and Half suplex by Scurrl dumps Kushida on his head.
  • Graduation attempt by Scurrl reversed into an Air Raid Crash by Kushida.
  • Hand stomp by Scurrl. Kushida goes for the hoverboard lock but the damage to the hand stops Kushida from locking in the hold. 
  • Back to the Future attempt by Kushida rolled up by Scurrl, near fall.
  • Graduation by Scurrl finally hits, great near fall. 
  • 2 consecutive Back to the Future Bombs hit by Kushida closes the match.

Winner: Kushida New Champion!

Rating: ****, This match lacked the amount of excitement and urgency that Ospreay vs. Scurrl had but this was still a very good junior match. These 2 worked an exciting technical match and battled their signature submissions. While the match lacked character, it was great in-ring and Kushida delivered another good performance in grabbing the title.

1008_8_kenriJay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi(c) for the G1 Title Shot:

  • Rematch from Wrestlekingdom 12.
  • Jay White immediately rolled to ringside and tries to escape Tana.
  • White throws Tana into the barricade and delivers a stiff chop. Tana turns the tables and dropkicks White over the barricade. 
  • Gedo cheap shots Tana, Tana chases him and White from behind delivers a blow to the bad knee of Tana. 
  • White smashes the leg of Tana into the apron and then wraps the leg around the ring post. Gedo hits the knee of Tana with the G1 Briefcase. 
  • Tana hangs onto the top rope and dropkicks Gedo into the barricade, White catches Tana on his way back into the ring and continues to attack the knee. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Tana hits getting himself some needed space from White.
  • Somersault Senton by Tana goes for a near fall. 
  • Cloverleaf by Tana, White gets the ropes. 
  • Saito suplex near the ropes by White dumps Tana all the way to ringside. 
  • White slams Tana into the barricade three times and Jay grabs a chair. 
  • White is distracted by Red Shoes leading to a Dragon Screw over the middle rope by Tana. 
  • Diving High Fly Flow off the top rope to ringside by Tana hits. 
  • Stiff chops by White but Tana keeps going. STO/German Suplex combo by White lays out Tana. 
  • Strikefest into a big move attempt sequence, Twist and Shout by Tana lays out White. Tana maintains control and hits another Twist and Shout. Twisting Vertical Suplex by White ends the sequence. 
  • Slingblade by Tana, Gedo hops up on the barricade and Tana punches him down. Blade Runner attempt by White fails, Dragon suplex by Tana, near fall. 
  • High Fly Flow to a standing White then a High Fly Flow to a downed White, amazing near fall save with Gedo pulling out the referee. 
  • With the referee out, Tana ducks the Brass knuckles from Gedo but White hits a low blow on Tana. White goes to attack Tana with a chair but Tana fires back with a low blow of his own. Tana has been pushed so far to cheat by White. High Fly Flow onto a chair misses sending Tana directly onto the steel chair. White throws a chair into the face of Tana knocking him down. 
  • With Red Shoes back in, White goes for the Blade Runner but Tana rolls it up to close the match. 

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi Retains the Title Shot!

Rating: ****1/2, the story here was Gedo and Jay White were the big deal heels taking over NJPW and betraying Chaos. Tanahashi again played an awesome babyface and this match was a saga. The working of Tana’s knee was great and the Gedo interference never got annoying and actually played into the match. The near fall after Tana hit 2 High Fly Flows on White and Gedo pulled out the referee was awesome. The urgency in this match was great too as there were a lot of moments were you thought Jay White could cheat to win. Tanahashi having to roll up to win the match protects Jay White as they continue to strap the rocket to his back and have him carry the heel portion of NJPW. 

  • Kazuchika Okada comes down to save Hiroshi Tanahashi from an attack. The Firing Squad comes down. Firing Squad forced Okada to chose between Chaos and Gedo and Tama hits a Gun Stun laying out Okada. Gedo, Jado, and the Firing Squad attack Okada with Jay White forming a new faction. 

1008_9_iwgpKenny Omega(c) vs. Cody vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title:

  • Hugs all around before the match.
  • Cody quickly tosses Ibushi out to focus on Omega.
  • Omega gets in the way of the Golden Triangle by Ibushi inadvertently saving Cody. 
  • Kitaro Crusher by Omega to Cody but Ibushi goes for the pin, Omega pulls him off. 
  • Explex by Cody to Omega, near fall. 
  • Front Release Vertical Suplex ringside by Cody to Ibushi driving him ribs first into the floor.
  • Cody backdrops Ibushi over the barricade into chairs in the crowd. Ibushi might have hurt his knee. 
  • The rise of the Terminator hits by Omega. 
  • More Bang for your Buck by Golden Lovers but Cody dodges and Omega goes for the One-Winged Angel on Ibushi out of nowhere but Kota fights out. 
  • Powerslam/Moonsault combo by Ibushi on Cody, near fall. 
  • While in Mid-Suplex by Omega, Cody rolls up Kenny for a near fall. Innovative little spot there. 
  • Figure 4 by Cody locked in on Omega, Omega grabs the foot of Kota and applies an ankle lock. Standing moonsault by Ibushi on Omega still in the hold, near fall save by Cody. 
  • Standing Moonsault by Ibushi but Cody gets his knees up. 
  • V-Trigger attempt by Omega intercepted with a missile dropkick by Ibushi. 
  • Spike DDT by Cody to Ibushi, near fall. 
  • Cody ducks a lariat by Ibushi and hits a great suicide dive to Omega ringside, Cody stops the Golden Triangle and goes for a Cross Rhodes on the apron. Omega grabs Cody on the apron and drives him through the announce table with a powerbomb. 
  • Amazing Corkscrew Tope by Ibushi takes out Omega. 
  • Ibushi and Omega stand-off. Stares turn into strikes and a strikefest ensues. They take turns booting each other and then Ibushi hits his strike combo but Omega hits a stiff chop. Snap Dragon by Omega. Omega hits 2 consecutive V-Triggers into a reverserana but Ibushi lands on his feet. Stiff lariat by Ibushi flips Omega and ends an awesome sequence. 
  • Cody shoves Ibushi off the top rope to ringside and Ibushi takes a hard fall, Canadian Destroyer by Cody on Omega, near fall.
  • Omega escapes a Vertebreaker attempt by Cody and hits a spinning heel kick sending Cody into the corner. Hard corner V-trigger connects for Omega. 
  • Omega buckle bombs Ibushi into the corner with Cody in it putting Rhodes in the Tree of Woe. 
  • V-Trigger by Omega on Ibushi but the One-Winged Angel attempt fails. Lawn Dart by Ibushi sends Omega into the corner with Cody in the Tree of Woe, really smart spot. 
  • Deadlift German on the ropes by Ibushi fails but Omega goes for a springboard sunset flip, slips a little but still hits a pretty solid chain bomb. 
  • V-Trigger party by Omega, One Winged Angel attempt on Cody fails. Cody powerbombs Omega into a German Suplex by Ibushi using a Golden Lovers move. 
  • Cody pushes Omega off the top rope springboard to ringside through a table, great spot. Omega takes a hard landing.
  • Superplex by Kota but Cody holds on into a roll up, near fall. Would be a better spot if we didn’t see it in Scurrl vs. Kushida. 
  • Sit-out Powerbomb by Ibushi to Cody, great near fall. 
  • Kamegoye dodged by Cody but Ibushi maintains control into a German Suplex.
  • Kamegoye hits for Ibushi on Cody but Omega slides in to stop the referee’s hand, great near fall. 
  • Omega tries to apologize to Ibushi for costing him the title but Ibushi strikes at Omega. An intense strikefest ensues, Cody tries to join but Ibushi slaps him down. The stiff strikefest ensues and Ibushi gets Omega on the ground and hits more palm strikes. This is a different Ibushi than normal. Bomaye hits for Ibushi, near fall. 
  • Kamegoye attempt by Ibushi but Cody pulls him ringside. Cody hits a Cross Rhodes on Omega, great near fall save by Ibushi making the diving double stomp hit the pin. 
  • Another Cross Rhodes hit for Cody, amazing near fall on Omega. 
  • Vertebreaker by Cody hits on Ibushi, near fall save by Kenny. 
  • Cody grabs his US Title but decides not to use it. He grabs a steel chair anyway. Ibushi saves Omega from a steel chair shot.
  • Reverserana into a Jay Driller by Omega on Ibushi, great near fall. 
  • V-Trigger into a One-Winged Angel that hits for Omega closing the match. 

Winner: Kenny Omega Retains! Day Count: 119+ Days

Rating: ****1/2, This match flowed so well. Everyone in this match was a fantastic wrestler. I heard complaints about Cody being in this match but they are still going to have to save Omega vs. Ibushi for a larger show. The story between Omega and Ibushi was outstanding, especially after Omega broke up the pin after the Kamegoye on Cody. Kota wanted the title so bad that he kept striking on Omega and you could feel the heat and emotion. This match had some awesome near falls and the in-ring work was top notch. The main complaint with Cody is that he takes to long to focus on the match and he taunts too much, the triple threat environment forced him to keep up with 2 of the best wrestlers in the world which brought out the best Cody I’ve seen in a while. While the match is 5 stars, there have been so many 5 star matches this year which might make this towards the bottom of the top ten matches of the year but it was an absolute instant classic. It was a gamble too, the triple threat is new to NJPW and it had 2 foreigners in the match. It could’ve been badly received by the Japanese audience but it wasn’t and the gamble paid off big time. 

Grade: B

Last Words: This is a 3 match card, once you get into Kushida vs. Scurrl the show actually gets great. It’s hard to watch 2 hours of meaningless tag matches and love the show. The final 3 matches were all great though. This has been my main complaint about NJPW, they use too many tag matches and that takes away from the show as a whole. On something like a Progress Chapter or an NXT Takeover the cards are a lot smaller but also have a lot less filler. This isn’t the best NJPW show this year by a long shot but it’s also been one of New Japan’s best years. The Long Beach show last week was better but this still wasn’t bad. This show also worked as a storyline progression show as well. The additions of new storyline development in Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi with adding Firing Squad into the mix and the new member of LIJ helped make this show significant. If you are rushed, only watch the LIJ tag match, Tanahashi vs. White, Scurrl vs. Kushida, and the Main Event. 

MOTN: Cody vs. Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

MVP: Kenny Omega 

The Race for Wrestler of the Year: September 2018

njpw-kazuchika-okadaThe Wrestler of the Month: Kazuchika Okada, Okada has been on a tear the entire year but now that he doesn’t have to keep the IWGP Championship schedule he was on, he has a lot more freedom to wrestle where he wants. He had an amazing match against Marty Scurrl at All in getting a ****3/4 star rating, had a MOTY contender against Hiroshi Tanahashi at NJPW Destruction in Kobe getting a ***** star rating, and capped off his month in one of the best tag matches I’ve ever seen teaming up against Tomohiro Ishii to face the Golden Lovers grabbing another ***** star rating. Kazuchika Okada went absolutely mental this month and made 3 separate excursions into the US in a span of a month.

becky-lynch-smackdown-645x370

Women’s Wrestler of the Month: Becky Lynch, Lynch has been on a roll for a long time and has finally been booked correctly and this month it finally came into action as she beat Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Title in a good match. The achievement of winning the title isn’t all that got her Women’s Wrestler of the month, her character as a heel who’s been out of the spotlight is very refreshing and in WWE’s current landscape a refreshing character is a great thing. 

0930_09Match of the Month: Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii vs the Golden Lovers, I’m normally someone who wants to put a great match with a storyline over a match with a better in-ring performance but that went the opposite way this month. Up until 3 days ago, when this match happened, I thought nothing could top Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada but then these 4 came along. This match absolutely ruled these 4 men couldn’t put on a bad match if they tried. It was amazing to see Okada and Omega, who had my current MOTY, in the ring again together but that wasn’t all that made this special, Kota Ibushi and Tomohiro Ishii towards the end had an amazing sequence of moves that just battered the hell out of each other. This match was 100 MPH towards the end with one of my favorite closing sequences of the year and these 4 put on one of my favorite tag matches of all time in terms of in-ring work. 

allin2Feud of the Month: Marty Scurrl vs. Kazuchika Okada, the story here was simple, nobody thought Scurrl could beat Okada and Scurrl tried to improve himself to get on the level of Okada creating a multi-layered really fun storyline. Marty Scurrl delivered a great performance in the storyline but also the match and Kazuchika Okada played the perfect legend that Scurrl had to take down. One of my favorite near falls came from this match, when the referee was down Scurrl hit Okada with the umbrella and a rainmaker finisher and got really close to 3. Scurrl improved his ability to tell a story by being in this feud and it really stood out in a busy wrestling month. 

all-in-thumbThe team of the Month: So Cal Uncensored, while I could’ve given this to the Golden Lovers and had Kenny Omega get even more points I decided that SCU had a better performance this month. These guys have been a great comedy act for a while now and this month decided to go after the ROH tag titles. They delivered a good match at All In against the Briscoes, they delivered a great match again against the Briscoes at Death Before Dishonor, and a very solid tag match against Chase Owens and Hangman Page at NJPW FSU. These guys have shown that they are the perfect mix of comedy acts and in-ring talents this month and I’m excited to see the future for these guys. 

01_

Most Improved: Marty Scurrl, while there wasn’t a lot of room for improvement for Scurrl as he was already one of the top tier wrestlers, he showed a new side to him this month that I loved. Scurrl is focused on joint manipulation and being a dick mostly in matches. This month, in his feud with Okada he was an underdog fighting a heavyweight and showed that he can really play any role. Not only was he a great underdog he hung with Okada in a great match and delivered a great match against Will Ospreay at NJPW FSU and a 10-Man Tag at Death Before Dishonor. 

Champions:

WWE:

  • Universal: Roman Reigns 42+ Days
  • Raw Women’s: Ronda Rousey 42+ Days
  • IC: Seth Rollins 42+ Days
  • Cruiserweight: Cedric Alexander 175+ Days
  • Raw Tag: Drew Mcintyre and Dolph Ziggler 27+ Days
  • WWE: AJ Styles 327+ Days
  • SD Women’s: Becky Lynch 14+ Days
  • US: Shinsuke Nakamura 77+ Days
  • SD Tag: New Day 40+ Days
  • NXT: Tomasso Ciampa 74+ Days
  • NXT North American: Ricochet 43+ Days
  • NXT Women’s: Kairi Sane 42+ Days
  • NXT Tag: Undisputed ERA 101+ Days
  • UK: Pete Dunne 498+ Days
  • UK Women’s: Rhea Ripley 35+ Days
  • NJPW:
  • IWGP Heavyweight: Kenny Omega 115+ Days
  • IWGP IC: Chris Jericho 115+ Days
  • IWGP US: Cody 2+ Days
  • NEVER Openweight: Tai-Chi 15+ Days
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag: Firing Squad 2+ Days
  • IWGP Jr Tag: Suzuki Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Desperado) 210+ Days
  • NEVER 6-man: Firing Squad (G.O.D and Ishimori) 51+ Days
  • ROH:
  • World: Jay Lethal 93+ Days
  • TV: Jeff Cobb 3+ Days
  • Tag: The Briscoes 206+ Days
  • 6-Man: The Young Bucks and Cody 72+ Days
  • WOH: Sumie Sakai 177+ Days
  • PWG:
  • World: Walter 164+ Days
  • Tag: The Rascalz 164+ Days
  • Progress:
  • World: Walter 69+ Days
  • Tag: Aussie Open 2+ Days
  • Atlas: Trent Seven 2+ Days
  • Women’s: Jinny 135+ Days

 

Over 4-Star Matches:

  • Joey Janela vs. Hangman Page Street Fight All In ****1/2
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Nick Aldis NWA Title All In ****1/4
  • Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr All In ****3/4
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurrl All In ****3/4
  • The Young Bucks and Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido, Rey Mysterio and Fenix All in ****
  • Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham ROH World Title Iron Man Match ****
  • Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Will Ospreay NJPW Road to Destruction ****1/2
  • Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii IWGP Heavyweight Title Destruction in Hiroshima ****3/4
  • Drew Mcintyre and Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins RAW Tag Team Titles WWE Hell In a Cell ****1/2
  • AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe WWE Title Hell in a Cell ****
  • Drew Gulak vs. Cedric Alexander Cruiserweight Title 205 Live ****1/2
  • Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne Champ vs. Champ Match NXT TV ****1/2
  • Kushida vs. Bushi IWGP JR Title Tournament NJPW Destruction in Kobe ****1/4
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada G1 Briefcase NJPW Destruction in Kobe *****
  • Bullet Club (The Young Bucks, Marty Scurrl, Hangman Page, and Cody) vs. Chaos (Best Friends, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Rocky Romero) ROH DBD ****
  • Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay ROH World Title Death Before Dishonor ****3/4
  • Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin, and Flip Gordon vs Hirooki Goto and The Best Friends NJPW FSU ****
  • Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurrl IWGP Jr Title Tournament NJPW FSU ****1/2
  • The Young Bucks vs. Firing Squad IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles NJPW FSU ****1/4
  • Cody vs. Juice Robinson IWGP US Title NJPW FSU ****1/4
  • Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii NJPW FSU *****

kennyStill Leader of the Race: Kenny Omega

  1. Kenny Omega: 234 Points
  2. Kazuchika Okada: 221 Points
  3. The Young Bucks: 167 Points
  4. Kota Ibushi: 155 Points
  5. Will Ospreay: 140 Points
  6. Zack Sabre Jr: 132 Points
  7. Hiromu Takahashi: 127 Points
  8. Walter: 120 Points
  9. Johnny Gargano: 116 Points
  10. Hiroshi Tanahashi: 112 Points
  11. Undisputed ERA: 105 Points
  12. Tomasso Ciampa: 102 Points
  13. Tomohiro Ishii: 95 Points
  14. Marty Scurrl -AJ Styles: 93 Points
  15. Seth Rollins: 85 Points
  16. Cody Rhodes: 73 Points
  17. Adam Cole -Sanada -Hangman Page: 66 Points
  18. Tyler Bate -Hirooki Goto: 65 Points
  19. Trent Seven -Cedric Alexander: 60 Points
  20. Alexa Bliss: 58 Points
  21. Jay Lethal -Travis Banks: 57 Points
  22. Pete Dunne: 56 Points
  23. Jay White -Tetsuya Naito -Dalton Castle: 55 Points
  24. Andrade Almas: 50 Points
  25. Brock Lesnar: 49 Points
  26. Zack Gibson: 48 Points
  27. Juice Robinson: 47 Points
  28. Flip Gordon -Minoru Suzuki -Evil -The Briscoes -Kushida: 45 Points
  29. Matt Riddle: 44 Points
  30. Ricochet: 43 Points
  31. Shinsuke Nakamura: 42 Points
  32. The Miz -Chris Jericho: 40 Points
  33. Jeff Cobb: 39 Points
  34. El Desperado: 38 Points
  35. Aleister Black -Michael Elgin: 35 Points
  36. Dolph Ziggler: 33 Points
  37. Dragon Lee –So Cal Uncensored -Taiji Ishimori -Roman Reigns: 32 Points
  38. Braun Strowman -Finn Balor -Becky Lynch -The Rascalz: 30 Points
  39. Chuck Taylor:29 Points
  40. Firing Squad -Bandido: 28 Points
  41. Ronda Rousey: 26 Points
  42. Jonathan Gresham -Charlotte: 25 Points
  43. Matt Taven -Yoshinobu Kanemaru: 23 Points
  44. Chris Sabin -Keith Lee: 22 Points
  45. Joey Janela -Roppongi 3k -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Ember Moon -Jeff Hardy -Velveteen Dream -Mustafa Ali -Buddy Murphy -The Bar -Sumie Sakai -Kairi Sane -David Starr -Doug Williams: 20 Points
  46. Jinny: 19 Points
  47. James Drake: 18 Points
  48. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan -Bludgeon Brothers -Shayna Baszler -Punishment Martinez: 17 Points
  49. New Day: 16 Points
  50. Drew Gulak -Trent Baretta -Asuka -Usos -John Cena -Silas Young -Bobby Roode -EC3 -Kevin Owens -Timothy Thatcher: 15 Points
  51. Nia Jax -The Kingdom: 13 Points
  52. Toni Storm -Drew Mcintyre: 12 Points
  53. Samoa Joe -Pentagon Jr -Rey Fenix -Sanity -Kenny King -Dave Finlay -Lars Sullivan -Bray Wyatt -ACH -Jack Gallagher -Sasha Banks -Yoshi-Hashi -Rusev -Jonah Rock -Rey Horus -Aussie Open -Kassius Ohno -Jimmy Havoc: 10 Points
  54. Nick Aldis -Rey Mysterio -Dean Ambrose -Hideo Itami -Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH -Rysuke Taguchi -Naomi -Elias -Daniel Bryan -Rhea Ripley -Adam Brooks -Brody King -Mark Haskins -Chris Brookes -Jordan Devlin

 

NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2018 Review: NJPW in America and Golden Lovers vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Kazuchika Okada

fighting-spirit-960x540-c-default

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Rysuke Taguchi, Jushin Liger, and ACH defeated Roppongi 3K via pin @8:55 ***1/4
  • So Cal Uncensored (The Addiction) defeated Bullet Club (Hangman Page and Chase Owens) via pin @8:12 ***1/2
  • Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin, and Flip Gordon defeated Chaos (Goto and Best Friends) via pin @12:06 ****
  • Suzuki Gun (ZSJ and Killer Elite Squad) defeated Los Ignobernables (Tetsuya Naito, Evil, and Sanada) via pin @9:22 **1/2
  • Gedo and Jay White defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida via pin @8:49 **1/2
  • Marty Scurrl defeated Will Ospreay to advance to the finals of the IWGP Jr Title Tournament via pin @16:10 ****1/2
  • Firing Squad defeated The Young Bucks to win the IWGP Tag Titles via pin @19:20 ****1/4
  • Cody defeats Juice Robinson to win the IWGP US Title via pin @16:43 ****1/4
  • The Golden Lovers defeated Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii via pin @23:05 *****

 

Roppongi 3K vs. Rysuke Taguchi, Jushin Liger, and ACH:

  • Liger and Yoh start the match.
  • A good face-off between Yoh and Liger.
  • Surfboard Lock by Liger to Yoh, ACH, and Taguchi put ankle locks on Rocky and Sho creating a triple submission spot. 
  • Taguchi coaches his team to lariat Yoh in the corner. Taguchi follows it up with a hip attack. 
  • Yoh whips Liger into Taguchi’s butt and Yoh grabs Taguchi’s ass sending him to ringside, wrestling is weird.
  • Sho inadvertently punches Romero off the apron, Liger hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker to Sho, hot tag by ACH leads to him hitting an awesome suicide crossbody. 
  • German Suplex Bridge by ACH on Sho, first near fall. 
  • Hot tag by Taguchi fails as he misses a Hip attack on Romero, Romero takes the momentum and hits 2 lariats to Taguchi in the corner. Taguchi goes on a hip attack rampage. 
  • Lungblower/Double Superkick combo by R3K on Taguchi, near fall. 
  • Great suicide dive by ACH wipes out Sho and Yoh, Dodon by Taguchi on Romero closes the match.

Winners: Liger, ACH, and Taguchi

Rating: ***1/4, a very fun tag team sprint. Taguchi played the comedy wrestler but took a lot of the offense of this match, ACH delivered some great dives, and it’s always great to see Liger. R3K is always fantastic and delivered here. A good opener to start the show. 

So Cal Uncensored vs. Chase Owens and Hangman Page:

  • SCU finally back in Southern California. 
  • Frankie Kazarian and Hangman Page start the match, a former feud in ROH. 
  • Kazarian’s head is patched up after the Briscoes match at Death Before Dishonor. 
  • Lariat sequence by Page and Kazarian leads to both men making tags. 
  • Great Dropsault combo by Page onto Kazarian, first near fall.
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Page onto Kazarian, another near fall. 
  • Bullet Club isolating Kazarian, Kazarian finally makes the tag and Daniels does a  hot tag. 
  • Wheelbarrow Facebuster by Daniels on Owens, near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page knocks Daniels down, Springboard Backbreaker by Owens on Daniels, another near fall. 
  • Shooting Star Shoulder Block off the apron by Page caught in mid-air by Kazarian with a codebreaker. 
  • Best Meltzer Ever by SCU closes Owens. 

Winners: So Cal Uncensored

Rating: ***1/2, another fun sprint with a hometown SCU and the very talented Hangman Page. The pacing was great, the spots were great, and Page really shined. Another good opening tag match. 

Chaos (Hirooki Goto and The Best Friends) vs. Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin, and Flip Gordon:

  • Having Cobb with the ROH TV title kinda spoils the fact that he wins at a taping because it hasn’t been broadcasted yet. Weird move. 
  • Chuck Taylor and Chris Sabin start the match.
  • Early roll up attempts by Sabin and Taylor leads to near falls. 
  • Triple Strikefest ensues with the match participants.
  • Tandem Sequence by Team ROH leads to a near fall by Sabin on Taylor. 
  • Crucifix Cutter by Best Friends takes out Flip, Cobb teases a suicide dive on Best Friends but Goto stops it with a lariat, apron Penalty Kick by Sabin to Goto, Trent teases a suicide dive but Taylor stops him with a hug. The Best friends hit stereo tope con hiro taking everyone out. 
  • Standing Elbow Drop by Goto on Sabin, near fall. Sabin has been the only one legal for his team in the 5 minutes so far. 
  • A stiff chop by Baretta fires up Sabin inciting a chopfest but Trent wins. 
  • Sabin drop toe holds Taylor into Baretta headbutting a low blow, Tornado DDT by Sabin finally opens up tags. 
  • Amazing Hot tag by Flip Gordon, Great diving corkscrew off the top rope to the outside by Flip. Springblade by Flip gets Baretta into the drop zone for the 450. Baretta dodges and lays Flip out with a running knee. 
  • Tags made to Goto and Cobb, it’s big boi time. Double Lariat sequence, Goto knocks down Cobb first. Saito suplex by Goto, near fall. 
  • Deadlift Vertical Suplex by Cobb followed but by a standing moonsault that misses. Great mini-sequence between Cobb and Goto. 
  • The Best Friends suplex Cobb together, Cobb Saito suplexes both of them.
  • Taylor hits a great deadlift piledriver on Cobb, near fall save by Sabin. 
  • Diving Moonsault by Taylor misses, lariat by Cobb into the Wrath of the Gods.

Winners: Jeff Cobb, Flip Gordon, and Chris Sabin

Rating: ****, this was as close as perfection an NJPW opening tag match can get. Everybody performed great especially Jeff Cobb and put on a great tag match. The dynamic of comedy spots from the Best Friends, high spots from Flip Gordon, hard-hitting action from Cobb and Goto and the underdog Sabin mixed greatly to make one of the best opening tag matches I’ve ever seen in New Japan. 

Zack Sabre Jr. and Killer Elite Squad vs. Los Ignobernables:

  • Suzuki Gun attacks early. 
  • Pop-Up powerslam by K.E.S to Sanada. Davey Boy goes to attack Evil ringside.
  • Davey Boy works the leg of Sanada. Series of German suplexes by Davey Boy but Sanada flips over the 3rd one and goes for a tag but Lance Archer tries to stop it, after a huricanrana by Sanada to Archer, Naito tags in. Hot tag by Naito. 
  • Sidewalk Splash by K.E.S on Naito, near fall. 
  • Naito fights out of a Killer Bomb attempt by K.E.S and hits a Tornado DDT on Archer. Evil and ZSJ tag in. 
  • Strikefest between ZSJ and Evil. Double Wristlock by ZSJ, Evil powers into a fisherman’s buster.
  • One-Arm Plancha by Sanada knocks out K.E.S, in-ring, Evil hits Darkness Falls, near fall. 
  • Victory Roll with the middle fingers up by ZSJ closes Evil. 

Winner: Suzuki Gun

Rating: **1/2, a very mediocre Suzuki Gun match with them doing heel Suzuki Gun things. L.I.J never got in a groove and this match was heel work then it was done. 

Jay White and Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida:

  • Set up at Destruction in Kobe when Jay White attacked Okada and Tana post-match, the only G1 match that Hiroshi Tanahashi lost was to Jay too. 
  • Tanahashi went straight to attacking White having them start the match.
  • Tana popped up on the post and White pushes him to ringside, White tries to choke out Tana with his boot against the barricade. 
  • Saito Suplex by White on Tana, first near fall.
  • Tanahashi being isolated by White and Gedo, Tana looks pretty hurt. Limp Crossbody by Tana takes down Gedo, Tana finally makes the tag. 
  • Hot tag by Kushida. Jumping DDT into a Cross Armbreaker by Kushida on Gedo, White breaks the hold. 
  • Handspring Elbow by Kushida knocks White down and opens the tag to Tana.
  • Hot tag by Tanahashi on White. Blade Runner attempt countered into a Twist and Shout by Tanahashi.
  • Slingblade by Tana, near fall. 
  • White grabs Tiger Hattori to distract him, Gedo lays out Tana with Brass Knuckles. Blade Runner by White closes the match.

Winner: Jay White and Gedo

Rating: **1/2, this follows the trend of Gedo (NJPW’s secret booker) trying to turn New Japan Pro Wrestling into a better in-ring, Attitude Era WWE with the brass knuckle finish. This was a very story-based match and rightfully so not only is the whole Gedo and White vs. Okada and Tana story great it’s also the biggest story right now in NJPW. White seems to be strapped as the next golden boy of NJPW. This match, however, was too story focused to be anything other than mediocre and that’s not a complaint but it had some great talent in it and if it wanted to be great it could’ve been. I’m excited for the future of this feud. 

  • Post-match promo by Jay White, White says NJPW doesn’t want him to be in the Main Event of WrestleKingdom but he will bring on a new era. 

gakfmgibjpgllaem

Marty Scurrl vs. Will Ospreay IWGP Jr Championship Tournament:

  • These guys have my current favorite rivalry of all time in term of match quality, I gave their match at Power Struggle last year 4.75 * and their match at Sakura Genesis this year 5*. Their matches always manage to impress me a bit more than Kenny vs. Okada’s even though I like those matches better. 
  • Immediate Spanish Fly by Ospreay into a near fall.
  • Space Flying Tiger Drop into a Shooting Star Press early by Ospreay, near fall. Awesome opening sequence by Ospreay. 
  • Flying Forearm by Ospreay, Will slows his offense down.
  • Winner faces Kushida at King of Pro Wrestling for the Jr Title. 
  • Uppercuts by Scurrl knock Ospreay ringside, stiff apron superkick by Scurrl lands. 
  • Stomp on the head of Ospreay by Scurrl followed up by a sequence of stiff chops by Scurrl. Marty gains firm control.
  • Scurrl drapes Ospreay over the middle rope and stomps him over it torquing his neck.
  • Handspring Enzugiri by Ospreay gives Will much-needed space. 
  • Top Rope 619 by Ospreay followed by a failed springboard, Scurrl knocks Ospreay ringside. Scurrl chops Ospreay into the barricade. They go on the apron and strike-off. 
  • Attempt at the Spanish Fly on the apron by Ospreay, the move that crushed Will’s neck at Sakura Genesis. 
  • Amazing Sunset Bomb by Ospreay to ringside with Scurrl on the apron. Tribute to Hiromu Takahashi.
  • Great Robinson Special by Ospreay, Oscutter caught by Scurrl into a backslide rolled into a knee by Scurrl. 
  • Stormbreaker attempt by Ospreay but Scurrl gets out, mini-strikefest into a huge lariat by Ospreay. 
  • Top Rope Fighting led to Ospreay falling and low blowing himself on the top rope, awesome springboard supercanrana by Scurrl. Scurrl follows it up with a huge lariat, near fall. 
  • Stiff chops by Scurrl but Ospreay refuses to go down. Welts grow on the chest of Ospreay. Ospreay starts to strike back. Mid-air counter into the Chicken Wing by Scurrl, roll up by Ospreay near fall, roll up by Scurrl near fall. Sequence including a powerbomb near fall by Scurrl, graduation attempt by Scurrl but Ospreay hits an enzugiri putting both down.
  • Stormbreaker attempt but Scurrl carries Ospreay on his shoulders to the top rope, Ospreay fights out and hits the Cheeky Nandos kick. Scurrl takes Ospreay down off standing on the top rope, Chicken Wing attempt on the top by Scurrl transitions into an Underhook superplex by Scurrl, near fall. 
  •  Package Piledriver into the Graduation by Scurrl closes the match. 

Winner: Marty Scurrl advances!

Rating: ****1/2, this was a great sprint and a good addition to the Scurrl vs. Ospreay story. The spots were great and the starting opening offense by Ospreay got the crowd really hot. These 2 have natural chemistry and played off of it the entire match. However, it lacked the urgency that the Sakura Genesis match had. It was a great match for the IWGP Jr Tourney but is their first encounter in the past 2 years in NJPW that hasn’t been a MOTY contender. I’m not complaining though, they didn’t need to put on an absolute classic and what was here was a very high-quality Junior Heavyweight match. It was jarring to see Ospreay as a dastardly heel in Progress and ROH but be the underdog in this match. Also, Scurrl put Ospreay away with relative ease compared to what it normally takes to beat Ospreay but I’m over-thinking it. 

oddaajjfhpodejen

The Young Bucks(c) vs. The Firing Squad IWGP Tag Titles:

  • The Elite vs OG storyline has been great so far. 
  • Big fight feel.
  • Nick Jackson and Tama Tonga start the match. 
  • Great speed showdown from Nick and Tama. Double strikefest with everyone in the match. 
  • Haku accompanies Firing Squad. 
  • Pop-up Double Dropkick by the Bucks starts a solid tandem sequence of moves by Matt and Nick. 
  • Matt’s back went out on him, this is going to play majorly into the story of the match.
  • Tonga Loa bodyslams Matt ringside targeting the back.
  • Loa tries to superplex Matt off the apron onto a table but Nick saves him. Nick hits a great suicide dive driving Loa into the barricade.
  • Great mini-sequence of offense by Nick on the OGs, Loa flattens it with a stiff lariat. Matt climbs to the top, Loa throws him off the top rope through the table ringside. Great spot, Matt will be out of the match for a while isolating Nick.
  • Diving Headbutt by Loa, Frog Splash by Tama on Nick, near fall. 
  • Long-Holding vertical suplex by Loa on Nick, very near fall.
  • Great Springboard Facebuster by Nick on Tama followed by an apron moonsault by Nick to Loa ringside.
  • Nick goes to make a tag but Matt is still on the floor, Tonga Twist by Tama on Nick, near fall. 
  • Tama Twist countered by Nick handstanding, superkick by Nicks takes both out.
  • Matt makes the hot tag successfully, Cease and Desist Sharpshooter by Matt on Tama, Loa takes a shot at the back of Matt to stop the submission. 
  • Fire up spear by Matt takes both Tama and him down, tags are made.
  • Superkick Party by the Bucks on Loa, great near fall.
  • Nick helps Matt get Loa up for the More Bang for Your Buck, Nick hits the 450 but Matt hesitates on the Moonsault, Matt finally hits the moonsault on Loa, near fall. 
  • Meltzer Driver stopped by Tama hitting an awesome Mid-air gun stun on Nick, Tombstone by Loa on Matt, awesome near fall. 
  • Matt fights out of the Magic Killer attempt by the Og’s but they get him back in on a pop-up Gun Stun closing the match. 

Winners: Firing Squad New Champions!

Rating: ****1/4, The story behind this match was great. This is the first huge match behind the Firing Squad vs. Bullet Club Elite feud. In this match, Matt Jackson brought back his back injuries which added a lot more urgency and story to an already story-packed match. The match started really hot and continued hot with some great spots. Everyone in this match contributed to something great but my only complaint is the section with Firing Squad on top was too long and got boring. The comeback for the Bucks was great and the ending sequence was pretty good. 

iacifmgnfigofahd

Juice Robinson(c) vs. Cody for the IWGP US Title:

  • After All In as a face, Cody turns the heel on tonight.
  • Stiff chops by Cody fire up Juice and they start the momentum 3 minutes in. 
  • Dive off the top rope to ringside by Cody is caught into an overhead suplex by Juice.
  • Brandi flops after Juice barely touched her, distracting Juice into an inverted DDT by Cody ringside.
  • Brandi grabs Juice’s foot distracting him, Juice comes ringside. On his way back in, Cody hits a flatliner in between the ropes, near fall. 
  • Pulp Friction attempt by Juice, Backslide roll up by Cody, near fall. Pile roll up by Juice, near fall. 
  • Cannonball into the corner by Juice into a powerbomb attempt, Cody hits a huricanrana to Juice sending him into the corner, cheap shot by Brandi on Juice. 
  • Juice ducks a disaster kick and hits a diving crossbody to Cody, Juice hurts his ribs and is unable to make the pin. 
  • Pulp Friction attempt by Juice reversed into a Figure Four by Cody, Juice flips the hold after a while in the lock. 
  • Cody takes off the weightlifting belt, distracting Red Shoes. With Red Shoes distracted, Cody spits water at Juice and hits a Disaster Kick, near fall. 
  • Pulp Friction hits for Juice finally but Brandi pulls Cody ringside so Juice is unable to capitalize. 
  • The count starts but Juice doesn’t want to accept the win via countout.
  • Cross Rhodes ringside by Cody both back in at 19. 
  • Strikefest ensues but Cody wins with a superkick after a thumb to the eye. Cody goes for the Vertebreaker.
  • Cody hits a great Vertebreaker, great near fall. 
  • Superplex by Juice, Cody holds onto Juice in a small package getting a roll-up victory.

Winner: Cody New Champion!

Rating: ****1/4, Cody used his shenanigans again to win but that didn’t take too much away from the match. Juice is raw talent and emotion and delivered an amazing performance in this match. Cody is my favorite wrestler currently and used his great character to perfection in this match. This is my favorite NJPW Cody match since his match against Kota Ibushi at WK12. I feel like the win was unneeded for Cody and I felt bad for Juice because he’s just such a likable guy but that’s not a complaint with the match. 

0930_09

Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii vs. The Golden Lovers:

  • Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi start the match. 
  • Kenny Omega and Tomohiro Ishii face-off. These 2 strike-off for a little bit.
  • Kitaro Crusher by Omega on Ishii, near fall. 
  • Stiff strikes from Ibushi and Ishii to each other, a shoulder block by Ishii trucks over Ibushi. 
  • Neckbreaker by Okada on Ibushi, near fall.
  • Ishii and Omega brawl at each other again. Ishii takes Omega ringside and runs him into the barricades. 
  • The match has been building up to Omega’s face off with Okada. I’m excited. 
  • Hot tag by Omega to Ishii, Ishii and Omega strike off again but Omega gets the upper hand with a Tornado DDT and Omega lands awkwardly on his knee. 
  • Okada and Omega are finally both tagged in at 11 minutes in but don’t face off immediately. 
  • Cross Slash Moonsault Dives by the Golden Lovers. 
  • You Can’t Escape into Double Team Moonsaults by the GL, near fall on Okada. 
  • Great vertical suplex by Ibushi to Ishii, a powerful shotgun dropkick by Okada knocks Ibushi into the corner. Omega and Okada finally face off.
  • Omega and Okada strike-off, stiff chop by Omega, Omega dodges the dropkick by Okada. The first rainmaker fails, One Winged Angel attempt by Omega fails, Another Rainmaker attempt by Okada fails, Dragon Suplex by Omega hits. 
  • Great Dropkick by Okada to Omega.
  • Ibushi saves Omega from a Rainmaker, V-Trigger/German Suplex combo by GL, Ibushi dives down Ishii allowing Omega and Okada to face off. 
  • Tombstone/Running clothesline by Okada and Ishii, near fall save by Ishii. 
  • Rainmaker by Okada countered into a stiff uranage by Omega.
  • “This is Awesome” chants. 
  • Ibushi and Ishii strikefest again, mid kick by Ibushi takes Ishii down. Knee Drop moonsault by Ibushi, near fall. 
  • Powerbomb/German Suplex combo by GL, near fall save by Okada. 
  • Okada saves Ishii from the Golden Trigger. 
  • Dropkick by Okada into an amazing mid-air powerbomb counter by Omega, Backflip kick by Ibushi to Ishii puts all 4 down. The crowd gives a standing ovation. 
  • Ibushi and Ishii strike off yet again, Ibushi hits a huge lariat taking down Ishii, near fall. 
  • Kamegoye by Ibushi dodged by Ishii, huge lariat by Ishii flips Ibushi, very near fall. 
  • Okada Dropkick sends Ibushi into a powerbomb by Ishii, great near fall.
  • German Suplex Bridge by Ibushi to Ishii, very near fall.
  • Enzugiri/V-Trigger combo by GL takes Ishii down. Omega kicks Okada off the apron into the barricade. Golden Trigger by GL pins Ishii closing the match. 

Winners: Golden Lovers

Rating: *****, while Golden Lovers Vs. The Young Bucks was better due to the mix of storyline drama and huge spots, this comes a close second as my favorite tag match of the year and maybe all time. This match focused all on in-ring work and it was between 4 guys who couldn’t have a bad match if they tried. I absolutely loved every second of this match. The hard-hitting Ibushi and Ishii parts of the match especially towards the end was fantastic, the Omega vs. Okada part was fantastic as well and the sheer creativeness of some of the moves in this match made it something special. While the big showdown of Tanahashi vs. Okada was amazing it was something we had already seen before. This match because of the tag elements was incredibly refreshing and had some of the best in-ring work I’ve seen all year so it becomes my Match of the Month for September. 

Grade: A+

Last Word: This is easily the best wrestling show since Dominion this year and even though Dominion was better this showed a lot as well too. The flow of this show was fantastic starting with good opening tag matches and starting the second half with an electric Jr. Title match in Scurrl vs. Ospreay, The IWGP Tag Title match was really good and so was Juice vs. Cody but the Main Event Tag was amazing and one of my favorite matches of the year. I don’t think it’s quite MOTY but it’s in my top ten. NJPW delivered again and this is their best show in America yet.