NJPW WrestleKingdom 13 Review

eaf76-15420123077203-800

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Taguchi Japan wins the Never Openweight 6-Man Gauntlet to become #1 Contenders for the titles @27:12 **1/2
  • Will Ospreay defeats Kota Ibushi to win the Never Openweight Championship@18:13 *****
  • Los Ignoberables de Japon defeat Desperado and Kanemaru and Roppongi 3k to win the IWGP Jr Tag Titles @6:49 ***
  • Zack Sabre Jr defeats Tomohiro Ishii to win the RevPro British Heavyweight Championships @11:37 ****
  • Evil and Sanada defeat The Young Bucks and Guerillas of Destiny to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Championships @10:14 ***1/2
  • Juice Robinson defeats Cody to win the IWGP US Championship @9:04 **
  • Taiji Ishimori defeats Kushida to win the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship @11:16 ***1/2
  • Tetsuya Naito defeats Chris Jericho to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship @22:33 *****

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Titles #1 Contenders Gauntlet (Bullet Club: Marty Scurrl, Hangman Page, Yujiro Takahashi vs Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb, and Dave Finlay vs. Chaos: Trent Baretta, Chuck Taylor, and Hirooki Goto vs. Suzuki Gun: Minoru Suzuki and Killer Elite Squad vs. Taguchi Japan: Rysuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, and Toru Yano) :

  • Bullet Club and Nagata, Cobb, and Finlay start the match.
  • Nagata and Scurrl begin the match for those 2 teams. 
  • Nagata locks Scurrl in an Indian Deathlock but Marty grabs the ropes.
  • All 3 members of Bullet Club take out Cobb and bring him to the outisde, Scurrl hits the apron superkick as Page follows it up with the Shooting Star Press.
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page to Cobb gets the first near fall. 
  • Finlay and Yujiro strike off, Yujiro caps off the sequence with a Fisherman Buster near fall save by Nagata. 
  • Chase Owens sweeps the leg ringside of Finlay but Page accidentally takes him out, with Page distracted Finlay rolls up Yujiro to eliminate the Bullet Club. 
  • Chaos is the 3rd team. 
  • Chaos and Nagata, Cobb, and Finlay brawl the start the second match.
  • Plancha Dive by Baretta is caught by Cobb but Trent fights out as Chuckie T hits a Tope Con Hiro over Trent to take out Cobb and Finlay, Baretta hits a beautiful springboard moonsault to also take out Cobb and Finlay.
  • Spinning UshiGoroshi by Goto to Nagata for a near fall. 
  • Best Friends seem to be on the same page unlike they were in World Tag League. 
  • Nagata hits an overhead suplex on Trent to open up tags, Goto and Cobb tag in. 
  • Jeff Cobb hits Goto with an amazing Deep Six/Standing Moonsault combo, near fall.
  • Double Lariat Battle by Goto and Cobb, Goto gets a final lariat in to win the sequence. 
  • Double Saito Suplex by Cobb to Baretta and Taylor, incredible strength. 
  • Stiff knee strike followed by a piledriver by Taylor to Finlay, near fall save by Nagata. 
  • Taylor misses a moonsault, Finlay rolls him up to eliminate Chaos. 
  • Suzuki-Gun is the 4th team. 
  • Nagata and Suzuki strike off calling back former WrestleKingdom matches between the two. 
  • Olympic Slam followed by a Standing Moonsault that misses by Cobb and Davey Boy capitalizes by hitting a stiff Saito Suplex.
  • Finlay gets a near fall roll up on Archer but Archer calls in Davey and they hit a Killer Bomb to eliminate Nagata, Cobb, and Finlay.
  • Taguchi Japan is the 5th team. 
  • Taguchi is successful on hitting a hip attack on Suzuki and is able to tag in Togi Makabe. Makabe delivers a hot tag but Suzuki stops it. 
  • PK by Suzuki for a near fall on Makabe. 
  • Suzuki and Makabe strike off and it hits hard but Makabe gets Suzuki down with a rebound lariat and opens tags. Toru Yano and Davey Boy come in. 
  • Hart Attack by Killer Elite Squad for a near fall on Yano.
  • Last Chapter by Killer Elite Squad for another near fall on Yano. 
  • KneeDrop Backbreaker by KES to Yano but Taguchi makes the save. 
  • Taguchi hits a hip attack twice on Suzuki to save Makabe from the Gotch Piledriver.
  • Yano fights out of a Killer Bomb and goes for a low blow but Taguchi attacks Killer Elite Squad first, Makabe distracts KES as Yano gets a low blow in followed by a roll up for the win by Taguchi Japan. 

Winners: Taguchi Japan #1 Contenders @27:12!

Rating: **1/2, This was a really long gauntlet match with weird winners that took up a lot of unneeded time but at the same time the New Japan Rumble that normally takes up this time on a Wrestlekingdom card is normally worse with a weirded winner so this is an upgrade. The 2nd match between Cobb, Finlay, and Nagata vs Chaos was pretty good too so this was fine enough. The Suzuki-Gun and Taguchi Japan shenanigans are getting beyond old now. 

0_Ospreay

Kota Ibushi(c) vs. Will Ospreay for the Never Openweight Championship:

  • An obviously fast start as Ospreay Monkey Flips Ibushi out of the ring and follows it with a taunt which Ibushi almost hits the Kamegoye to but Ospreay escapes. Ibushi and Ospreay stare down. 
  • Ibushi dropkicks Ospreay to ringside, Ibushi goes for the Golden Triangle Moonsault but Ospreay capitalizes with a mid-kick to Kota in mid-flight. Ospreay goes back in-ring to hit a Space Flying Tiger Drop wiping out Ibushi ringside. 
  • Ospreay has idolized Ibushi since he was 15, now I’m idolizing Ospreay when I’m 15. Hmm.
  • Ospreay starts to slow down the pace as he goes to work on the back of Ibushi. 
  • Strikefest from Ibushi and Ospreay, Ibushi hits a snaprana to get Ospreay to ringside. Ibushi hits an insane springboard corkscrew moonsault to Ospreay ringside. 
  • Springboard missile dropkick by Ibushi followed up with a rolling German Suplex for the first near fall on Ospreay. 
  • Roll up by Ospreay for a near fall but Ibushi catches Ospreay with a stiff buzzsaw kick when he gets back up. Ospreay gets Ibushi down after a handspring enzugiri. 
  • Cheeky Nandos Kick by Ospreay in the corner for a near fall. 
  • Strikefest fires both up, Ibushi gets with a stiff chop knocking him down. 
  • Ospreay gets out of the Last Ride Powerbomb attempt by Ibushi as the 2 tradeoff powerbomb attempts and strikes at a breakneck speed and Ospreay end the sequence with an impressive standing Spanish Fly. Amazing sequence!
  • Stiff Wrap Around Kick by Ospreay catches Ibushi, Will goes for the Stormbreaker but Ibushi counters it with a huricanrana into a rollup for a near fall. Ibushi goes for a Lawn Dart but Ospreay counters that with a German Suplex. Stiff running knees by Ibushi slam Ospreay down. Another great sequence.
  • Great Last Ride Powerbomb by Ibushi gets a great near fall on Ospreay. 
  • Ibushi goes to the top rope but Ospreay clips the leg and Ibushi falls down and gets trapped in the Tree of Woe, Ospreay sits down and slaps at Ibushi but Ibushi strikes back and the two strike off in the Tree of Woe until Ospreay viciously stomps at the head of Ibushi. Ospreay gets Ibushi out of the tree of woe but Ibushi hits his head against the top of the apron. Both fight on the top rope, Ibushi hits a great jumping double stomp to Ospreay draped on the top rope. Another smart and innovative sequence. 
  • Deadlift German Suplex by Ibushi from the apron but Ospreay flips through and lands on his feet. Amazing! Oscutter attempt but Ibushi catches Ospreay and hits a Straightjacket German Suplex for a near fall. Ibushi maintains wrist control and goes for the Kamegoye but Ospreay dodges. 
  • Stiff Lariat by Ospreay knocks down Ibushi.
  • Another Stormbreaker attempt fails for Ospreay, Ibushi flips into a Jumping Tombstone for a great near fall.
  • Another stiff wraparound kick by Ospreay catches Ibushi, Ospreay hits the Beheader which absolutely knocks the hell out of Ibushi. The referee tries to remove Ospreay from attacking more but Ospreay hits the Stormbreaker for the win. 

Winner: Will Ospreay New Champion @18:13!

Rating: *****, Not only was this probably one of the greatest Jr. Style matches I have ever seen, these two innovated like crazy and Ospreay shows a vicious side which is great character development. They also hit each other so hard and their styles mixed so freaking well. I hope Ibushi is okay, he got stretchered out after an insane Beheader by Ospreay. The match left a shocked vibe not only because of Ibushi’s injury but the fact that these guys did what they did in the opener of Wrestlekingdom. A MOTY contender gets delivered in the 2nd match I’ve seen this year. That’s hopefully an indicator of how this year is gonna go. This is one of the most entertaining matches I’ve ever seen and these guys are legitimately not human. The rest of the show has something insane to follow. 

0_Tag-match-another

Desperado and Kanemaru (c) vs. Roppongi 3K vs. Los Ignorables de Japon for the IWGP Jr Tag Team Championships:

  • Roppongi 3k stay standing tall after an initial brawl and hit stereo Tope Con Hiros taking out Takagi and Bushi.
  • A rematch of the Final of the Super Junior Tag League. 
  • Instantly in the dead spot after an insane opener. 
  • Shingo Takagi and Sho strike off, Takagi is a heavyweight for sure but is labeled as a Junior to start his career in NJPW. 
  • Sho does a great German suplex to Takagi and Kanemaru simultaneously.
  • Kneedrop Backbreaker by 3k to Takagi gets the first near fall.
  • Double Superkicks by 3k to Suzuki Gun as they spit out whiskey. 
  • 3 Pumping Bombers by Takagi to Sho gets a great near fall.
  • Bushi hits a suicide dive sending Yoh into the barricade. 
  • Last of the Dragon by Takagi to Yoh closing the match.

Winners: LIJ New Champions @6:49!

Rating: ***, This was a fine short match that had a bit of a dead spot from the 5-star opener but it was good to see Kanemaru and Desperado get the titles taken off of them and put of Bushi and Takagi who are both very talented. I’m disappointed that Takagi is in the Junior Tag Division right now as he could genuinely be the next Tanahashi if booked right. 

0_Sabre-JrTomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the RevPro British Heavyweight Championship:

  • Very good exposure for RevPro having their title defended on the 2nd biggest company in the world’s biggest show. 
  • A fast start to the match until ZSJ grabs Ishii into a Cross Armbreaker, Ishii grabs the ropes. 
  • ZSJ keeps Ishii down with mid-kicks until he grabs the arm to work the Cross Armbreaker again but Ishii grabs the ropes again. 
  • ZSJ starts to hit Ishii with cocky kicks which is ill-advised, ZSJ hits a Northern Lights Suplex and then transitions into an Ankle Lock Ishii fights into an Ankle Lock of his own, ZSJ hits an enzugiri to escape. 
  • Stiff chops by Ishii in the corner, ZSJ starts to fire up but Ishii catches him with an overhead suplex to escape the Guillotine Choke. 
  • Great Holding Superplex by Ishii but ZSJ pops back up to intensely torque the arm. Smart move by ZSJ. 
  • The 2 speed up and go at each other in a move attempt sequence until ZSJ locks in the Octopus Lock, ZSJ transitions into a great Sunset Flip to get a near fall.
  • Stiff Penalty Kick by ZSJ keeps Ishii down. Ishii gets up as ZSJ strikes him with mid-kicks, Ishii hits a stiff chop to knock down Sabre. Powerbomb by Ishii into a near fall. 
  • Running Lariat, impact weakened by the work ZSJ has done on the arm, by Ishii for a near fall.
  • Victory Roll Up by ZSJ for a great near fall. Ishii catches ZSJ with a sliding lariat then attempt the Vertical Brainbuster but ZSJ locks in a Guillotine Choke, Ishii fights out but ZSJ locks in another Octopus Lock, ZSJ brings Ishii to the ground and locks both arms in the Octopus Lock to submit Ishii.

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr New Champion @11:37!

Rating: ****, This was a very good technical match with some great selling by Ishii. ZSJ did his normal great technical shtick making a smaller skinny dude look like he’s incredibly unstoppable. Ishii had some great fire in this match like he always does and the strikes hit pretty hard. The match was also great exposure for RevPro and what product they put on because I’d pay to see more matches like this one. 

0_Tag-match

Guerillas of Destiny (c) vs. Evil and Sanada vs. The Young Bucks for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Championships:

  • A controversial match because many felt that The Young Bucks were an unneeded addition.
  • Nick Jackson and Tama Tonga start the match. 
  • Tama Tonga convinces Evil he’s a good guy but Evil tags in and pulls him out of the ring unglueing the match. 
  • Evil bodyslams Matt Jackson on the stage attacking the formerly injured back, Evil follows it up with a Running Lariat.
  • Tanga Loa hits a Frog Splash on Evil but the Young Bucks stop Tama Tonga from doing so.
  • Neckbreaker/Swanton combo by the Bucks on Evil, Matt throws Sanada ringside and The Bucks hit a float over neckbreaker combo on Evil for a near fall. 
  • Sharpshooter by Matt on Evil, Nick hits a great springboard corkscrew to the outside taking out Sanada. Tanga Loa stops his brother from breaking rules to break the hold.
  • Sanada locks in a Paradise Lock on both of the Young Bucks but Tama Tonga comes in to interrupt, Sanada sends Tanga ringside and hits 4 plancha dives to all of the Young Bucks and Guerillas, great dive sequence.
  • Sanada has Matt in the Skull End but Nick hits a blockbuster to have his brother escape the hold. Good tandem sequence from all men, Matt ends the sequence with a spear to Tanga Loa.
  • Chain Superplex in the corner led by Tama Tonga, Nick Jackson hits a 450 Splash to Sanada but can’t capitalize due to the impact. Good sequence. 
  • Jado and Bad Luck Fale come in but get taken out by the Young Bucks and Evil. 
  • Step-up Avalanche Huricanrana by Nick to Loa, Double Superkicks to a mid-air Sanada. Gun Stun catches Matt Jackson mid-air off the Meltzer Driver. Magic Killer by Evil and Sanada to Matt followed by a moonsault by Sanada ending the match. 

Winners: Evil and Sanada New Champions @10:14!

Ratings: ***1/2, A pretty solid 3-way tag match that was better than the Jr. Tag Title match but never kicked into another gear. This was wrestled at a solid pace and had some good sequences and big spots but wasn’t super impressive and lacked urgency and drama. In-ring wise this was pretty good but it didn’t add much more than that.

0_CodyCody(c) vs. Juice Robinson for the IWGP US Championship:

  • Cody tries to hit Juice with the title early on but Juice dodges. 
  • Juicebox by Robinson takes Cody down early, Juice gets on the top rope but Brandi comes in to protect Cody from a diving attack. Brandi dares Juice to hit her but Juice won’t.
  • Cody comes into the match with a knee injury. 
  • Cody goes for a Cross Rhodes off the apron but Juice fights into a Pulp Friction attempt on the apron but Cody throws Juice into the post. Hard Landing for Robinson. 
  • Cody wears the Jacksonville Jaguars colors because the owner bought All Elite Wrestling.
  • Cody distracts the referee Tiger Hattori while Brandi attacks Juice Robinson. Tiger ejects Brandi from ringside. 
  • Cross Rhodes by Cody gets a great near fall. 
  • Vertebreaker by Cody attempt but Juice fights out into a failed Pulp Friction attempt. 
  • Juice hits a Cross Rhodes for a near fall. 
  • Cody hits a rough Pulp Friction that doesn’t get all of the impact but still gets a good near fall on Juice. 
  • Cody hits Juice with his weight belt but Juice fires up, both trade Juice’s signature jabs until Juice hits a ton of them but Cody catches him with a superkick. Juice catches Cody in mid-air with a stiff left hand. Juice hits another hard-hitting punch to take out Cody. 
  • Juice hits a Pulp Friction but decides to hit another one and is successful, Juice takes his time to go for the pin but gets it. 

Winner: Juice Robinson @9:04!

Rating: **, As a huge fan of both men this match severely disappoints me. I knew Cody was going to lose because of AEW but this match really wasn’t much of anything. The first half was taken up by Brandi interference then at about 6 minutes they were trading finishers like they were out of ideas. They traded finishers for about 3 minutes until Juice hit the 2 Pulp Frictions for the win. Cody can normally take match drama into another gear and make the best out of his opponent and this really should’ve been an underdog Juice versus a dominant cocky Cody which took the best out of both but that really didn’t happen. Big disappointment. 

0_Kushida-c-Vs-Taiji-IshimoriKushida (c) vs. Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship:

  • Kushida comes out with a big head and as a little kid but then Rysuke Taguchi comes out as Doc Brown and changes time and Kushida comes out of an explosion of pyro as himself, great Back to the Future entrance. 
  • Another fast start no surprise.
  • Crossface by Ishimori is locked in early, Taiji holds it in for a while but Kushida grabs the ropes. 
  • Springboard Standing Senton by Ishimori takes down Kushida.
  • Ishimori has firm control of the match around the 5-minute mark.
  • Amazing sliding German Suplex by Ishimori to Kushida draped on the middle rope, 450 by Ishimori misses as Kushida locks Taiji in a Cross Armbreaker, Kushida transitions into a Triangle but Ishimori powers it up. Kushida goes back for the arm but Ishimori escapes and does a Tilt-A-Whirl into a Crossface but Kushida instantly escapes. 
  • Ishimori prevents the triangle with his strength and goes for a Tombstone Kneebuster but Kushida holds on and places Ishimori’s legs on the referee to set him up for a stiff kick to the arm. 
  • Kushida tries for the Back to the Future Bomb but Ishimori holds on and hits the Tombstone Kneebuster for a great near fall. 
  • Kushida locks in the hoverboard lock but can’t get all of it, Kushida rolls into the center of the ring and torques the hold in, Ishimori rolls through and hits a high momentum Death Valley Driver.
  • Running double knees by Ishimori to Kushida in the corner.
  • Kushida rolls into a Back to the Future Bomb but can’t hit the 2nd one. Kushida hits a big right hand but Ishimori comes back with a Standing Double Stomp. Ishimori hits the Bloody Cross to win the match. 

Winner: Taiji Ishimori New Champion @11:16!

Rating: ***1/2, With Ospreay into the Heavyweights and Hiromu Takahashi, injured it’s great to have a young champion like Ishimori. The match was pretty good and hit decently hard but it never reached that upper gear and is nothing compared to Ospreay vs. Ibushi earlier on which pretty much was a glorified Jr match. Kushida probably is getting a semi-sendoff soon as he might go to the E. The submission work in this match was really good and Ishimori is unbelievably athletic and showed it again. I’m excited to see where he goes with the title. 

1_Okada-White

Kazuchika Okada Vs. Jay White:

  • This is a HUGE match and represents the future of NJPW. New Japan is in a new era and this is one of that new era’s first big matches. With many foreigners leaving to AEW or WWE it’s time for Jay White to take over big time. A lot of pressure is on him tonight. 
  • The Rainmaker entrance has returned as Okada is no longer broken. 
  • Kazuchika Okada has also returned to the trunks. 
  • A new position for Okada being in a special singles match that isn’t the main event. 
  • Gedo is ringside for Jay White. 
  • Jay White starts the match dominant by using cheap tactics.
  • White jams Okada’s back into the apron then into the barricade. 
  • Saito suplex by Jay White gets the first near fall.
  • Kazuchika Okada fires up by hitting a clothesline as the match begins full momentum, the crowd is very much behind Okada. 
  • Okada hits a great dropkick to White on the top rope knocking him to ringside. 
  • Okada boots White over the barricade, Gedo goes to attack Okada but gets sent over the barricade too. Okada does his amazing crossbody suicide dive over the barricade to take out White and Gedo to a huge pop. 
  • Huge diving elbow drop by Okada, Kazuchika does the Rainmaker pose as the camera does the great zoom out thing, White takes down Okada with an STO/German Suplex combo.
  • Stiff Uranage by Jay White for a near fall.
  • Blade Runner attempt by White fails as Okada strikes his way out but White meets him with a stiff lariat to knock him down.
  • Gedo distracts the referee as White goes to hit him with a chair, Okada knocks White into Gedo knocking him off the apron. Okada hits his signature dropkick and goes for the Rainmaker but White takes him down with a Dragon Suplex. 
  • Kiwi Crusher by White for a great near fall. 
  • Blade Runner fails again for White as Okada escapes and hits the Tombstone Piledriver and both get laid out. 
  • Okada misses a dropkick but White fails the Blade Runner attempt allowing Okada to roll White away from him and hit the dropkick. 
  • Tombstone fails for Okada but White tries to transition into the Blade Runner and fails. Okada hits a spinning Rainmaker. 
  • Another Rainmaker attempt goes into the Blade Runner for the shock win for Jay White.

Winner: Jay White @14:09!

Rating: ****3/4, This is a huge match for NJPW. Jay White has taken over and has beat Kazuchika Okada. It might be the end of the era of Okada and whatever is next in his career will be special but it’s time for the new generation. New Japan is in good hands. However, the match itself was also really good. The clash of big match wrestling styles and Okada’s typical dramatic style was in peak form here. The match ended sooner than it should’ve and had it gone longer and added a couple more spots this would’ve been a legitimate early MOTY contender. The story told was incredible though. This match makes me excited for the future of New Japan and delivers another great big Okada match. 

1_Jericho-Naito

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship NO DQ:

  • Naito attacks Jericho from behind as these guys brawl before the match.
  • Hard piledriver on the stage by Naito sends Jericho to a stiff fall. 
  • Naito removes the turnbuckle pad and attacks Jericho with it.
  • Naito clotheslines Jericho to ringside and goes to suicide dive but Jericho catches him with a kendo stick shot to the head. 
  • Diving Kendo Stick shot by Jericho begins dominance. 
  • Great Triangle Dropkick by Jericho takes Naito off the apron.
  • Vertical Suplex ringside by Jericho. Jericho brings Naito into the crowd and jams him repeatedly into the barricade. Jericho climbs the announce table and delivers a hard DDT to Naito spiking him on the top of his head. Very hard landing for Naito yikes.
  • Jericho rings the bell and acts like he won after the intense table spot but then decides to go back to attacking Naito.
  • Diving Crossbody by Jericho gets a near fall on Naito. 
  • Jericho has been very dominant so far. 
  • Lionsault by Jericho for another near fall.
  • Naito springs off the ropes with a forearm to take down Jericho and try to come back in the match.
  • Slingshot dropkick by Naito caught by Jericho and entered in the Walls of Jericho,  Naito rolls out to escape. 
  • Codebreaker attempt fails as Naito throws him off, Naito follows it up with the Tornado DDT.
  • Gloria by Tetsuya Naito for a near fall. 
  • Destino by Naito fails as Jericho gets Tetsuya in the Walls of Jericho again, Jericho rolls Naito into the middle of the ring and torques in the hold again, Naito grabs a kendo stick and whacks Jericho down to escape the hold. 
  • Naito attacks Jericho with a kendo stick getting in a few hard strikes, Naito misses one shot and Jericho hits a Codebreaker which gets an amazing near fall. 
  • Jericho goes to ringside and grabs 8 chairs and puts them in the ring. 
  • Naito reverses Jericho’s powerbomb with a DDT onto the pile of chairs. 
  • Codebreaker by Naito for another great near fall. 
  • Jericho throws a chair at Naito on the middle rope, Jericho tries to superplex Naito onto a chair but Naito escapes and hits a German Suplex onto the chairs. 
  • Jericho shoves Red Shoes and hits a low blow and hits a codebreaker on Naito which gets like a near fall of the year level kickout. 
  • Jericho goes to grab the title and charges at Naito with it, Naito sends Jericho into the exposed turnbuckle and hits the Destino for another near fall of the year contender.
  • Naito eyes the belt and grabs it, Naito hits Jericho with the title belt and hits Destino for the win. 

Winner: Tetsuya Naito New Champion @22:53!

Rating: *****, This was a shock to me that this match was as good as it was. Jericho wrestled like he did in the 2000s and Naito like always delivered a dramatic and athletic performance. This match had some insane near falls and really went down to the wire. It was also one of the best brawls in wrestling since Jimmy Havoc vs. Will Ospreay in August of 2018. This really was a full package match: it had a solid story with the two absolutely despising each other, it had some great brawling moments, some great spots, good length, good in-ring work from both men, and the amazing near falls. I would go as far to say that this match is better than Omega vs. Jericho from WrestleKingdom last year and it’s one of Jericho’s all-time best matches. 

omegatana

Kenny Omega(c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship:

  • This is without a shadow of a doubt the biggest NJPW match of all time. It’s the foreign talent versus the natives, it’s the greatest of the modern era versus the greatest of all time, it’s a gigantic match-up and the main event of the biggest New Japan show in history.
  • Whether Omega goes to AEW or WWE it’s not certain but Tanahashi will forever stay in NJPW.
  • Tanahashi slaps Omega and Kenny fires up starting momentum in the match.
  • Omega goes for the One-Winged Angel early but Tana escapes into the Tana Twist Hold, Omega hip tosses out but Tana gets a roll up for the first near fall.
  • Stiff slaps from both men are hitting both hard as Kenny tries to escape from an Indian Deathlock, Omega grabs the ropes. 
  • Omega begins to dominate the match as he works the previously injured back of Tanahashi. 
  • Saito Suplex on the apron by Omega. 
  • Thudding chop by Omega hits ringside, Omega whips Tana into the barricade but Tana catches running Omega with a dropkick. Omega drives Tana’s back into the apron. Omega bodyslams Tana into the announce table where Tana lands hard on the edge of the table. 
  • Amazing Springboard moonsault off the barricade into the crowd by Omega. 
  • Omega looks like an erratic heel and it’s amazing. 
  • Omega sets up a table ringside. 
  • Stiff chops by Omega in-ring, Tana fires up and hits a running forearm. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Tanahashi allows Hiroshi to get some space. 
  • Shotgun Dropkick/Bodyslam/Somersault senton combo by Tanahashi.
  • Slingblade by Tana shut down with a chop by Omega, Kitaro Crusher by Omega takes out Tana. Tana rolls ringside. 
  • The rise of the Terminator is called for by Omega but Tana comes in and shuts him down by hitting a dropkick. Omega hits a snaprana that sends Tana to ringside. The rise of the Terminator is successful as Omega drops Tana ringside. Omega takes a hard landing on the stage but Tana also slams hard. 
  • Omega hits a stiff missile dropkick to the back of Tanahashi in the ring. Omega follows it up with a SnapDragon Suplex but Tana fires up, Omega hits another one but Tana again is back up. Omega hits the first V-Trigger.
  • You Can’t Escape by Omega but Omega tweaks his knee, Tana hits an intense Dragon Screw Leg Whip further attacking the leg of Omega.
  • Texas Cloverleaf by Tanahashi goes for the knee of Omega, Tana torques it in but Omega rolls onto his back. Tana picks up Omega and hits the Styles Clash which is an amazing tribute to AJ. Tana goes for the Hi-Fly Flo but Omega gets his knees up. 
  • Omega goes for a V-Trigger in the corner but Tana dodges as Omega sends himself flying into the corner. Dragon Screw Leg Whip over the middle rope by Tanahashi again goes for the knee of Omega. 
  • Amazing slingblade on the apron by Tanahashi. 
  • Tana sets Omega up on the table set-up ringside, Tanahashi goes for the Hi-Fly Flo through the table but Omega dodges and Tana crashes and burns through the table onto the floor. Omega decides to help Tana back in-ring instead of taking the countout. 
  • Omega drapes Tana over the middle rope and Omega hits a brutal double stomp while diving off the top rope. Brutal powerbomb by Omega for a near fall, Omega deadlifts and hits another powerbomb for another near fall, Omega hits yet another powerbomb for a great near fall.
  • Omega goes for a V-Trigger but Tana catches him running with a slingblade. 
  • Strikefest Tana gets Omega weakened but Omega gets him on the ground and knees him in the ribs. Omega hits a deadlift German suplex but Tana shrugs it off and gets himself back up. Omega hits a slingblade of his own to get Tana down. 
  • Hi-Fly Flo hits for Omega but Tana kicks out at one which is amazing and gets back up. Omega hits him with a stiff V-Trigger but Tana stays up. Omega and Tana stare at each other and start to strike off until Omega hits a V-Trigger to rock Tana. 
  • Reverserana by Omega jams Tana on his head. Omega hits a V-Trigger to Tana on the ropes. Tana fires up but Omega attempts the One Winged Angel, Tana hits a reverserana of his own to escape the One-Winged Angel.
  • Dragon Suplex Bridge by Tana, near fall. 
  • Tana climbs to the top rope and hits a Hi Fly Flo to a standing Omega, Tana hits another Hi Fly Flo for an amazing near fall. 
  • Omega hits a V-Trigger to Tana on the top rope, Omega hits an amazing Dragon Suplex off the top rope, Tana doesn’t take too hard of a fall on his neck because he over-rotated a bit which is good because we need an alive Tanahashi. 
  • V-Trigger into a One-Winged Angel attempt but Tana counters out and follows it up with a slingblade. 
  • Hi Fly Flo by Tana for the win. 

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi @39:12!

Rating: *****, Yep yet another 5-star match and I may have been too positive on the other 2 tonight but this was definitely 5 stars and maybe more. The biggest match in NJPW history killed and both men delivered probably their best career performances. Omega as an erratic foreign heel and Tanahashi being the hometown babyface hero. While this isn’t as good as Omega vs. Okada 4 it’s definitely better than the rest of them in my opinion. This was a huge match and it fulfilled like crazy in both story and in-ring work. I’m gonna have to see something groundbreakingly incredible to have this knocked off from Match of the Year and that means a lot when we’re only 4 days into the year. This was the longest Tokyo Dome Main Event and it felt short. Tana and Omega are 2 of the world’s greatest wrestlers. With Omega gone from NJPW most likely after this, Tana is the flag bearer into the new era of New Japan Pro. 

Show Grade: A+

Last Word: This very well might be the best Pro Wrestling show of all time. It came in a transition period for New Japan too as All Elite Wrestling is opening up and the foreigners versus natives argument were at an all-time high. However, New Japan stayed loyal to itself here which it had every chance to not but it was amazing to see how it went back to its roots and restored. Tanahashi as champion signifies that stronger than anything else on the show. While the show had some less than incredible matches it had 3 5-star matches and while I may have been a little too positive because New Japan had a lot on their plate going into this show and pulled off one of the best shows of all time and that’s god damn impressive. Ibushi vs. Ospreay is one of the best in-ring matches I’ve ever seen, Jericho vs. Naito was a mixing pot of entertainment, brutality, and good ‘ole wrasslin’ and the main event is one of the greatest pro wrestling matches in a historical and emotional standpoint. This was insane and had every ability in the world to be a bad show but it wasn’t and New Japan looks like it’s in good hands with the new management and Tanahashi and Jay White taking the company into the next era. 

MOTN: Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Progress Chapter 80: Gods and Monsters Review

DtluCbrW0AA7QC_-e1544139012939

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Paul Robinson defeats Chris Ridgeway @11:33 ***1/4
  • Drew Parker defeats Ligero @8:10 ***
  • Pete Dunne defeats Mark Andrews @6:02 ****1/2
  • Trent Seven defeats Dan Moloney to retain the Atlas Title @12:41 ***1/2
  • Eddie Dennis and Mark Haskins defeat Chuck Mambo and William Eaver via DQ @12:42 ***1/4
  • Ilja Dragunov defeats Tyler Bate @17:27 ****1/2
  • LAX defeat CCK to become the #1 Contenders to the Progress Tag Titles @28:00 ****3/4

DtM74xAXQAYWuCa-e1544138770339

Paul Robinson vs. Chris Ridgeway:

  • A match between 2 hard strikers.
  • Stiff front kick by Ridge knocks Robin down for the first time. 
  • STF locked in for Ridgeway, Robin gets the ropes to escape. 
  • Kick Battle from both men on the apron, Robin catches the leg and trips him out on the apron. 
  • Robin taunted but caught a buzzsaw kick to the head from Ridgeway. 
  • Robinson begins to work the leg of Ridgeway. 
  • Trading Kicks from both men to a great sequence, Robin goes for the leg of Ridgeway to end the sequence. 
  • Ridgeway starts to phase off kicks from Robinson and he catches him with a Dragon Screw Leg Whip to get back on top. Ridge hits a sequence of kicks to Robinson against the ropes. 
  • Curb-Stomp attempt by Robin is caught in mid-air with a German Suplex for the first near fall. 
  • Flying Spear by Robinson for a near fall. 
  • Robinson Special caught by Ridgeway into an ankle lock attempt but Robin catches him in a roll-up for a near fall. Robinson hits an enzugiri taking Ridge out for another near fall.
  • Brainbuster into a Falcon Arrow by Ridgeway, Chris locks in a Sleeper Hold but Ridgeway rolls him up for a near fall. 
  • Robinson Special misses again as Ridgeway kicks the back of Robin’s neck and both go down.
  • Robin grabs the chain from around his neck to distract the ref, Robin dropkicks Ridgeway into the ref to go and grab a bigger chain from ringside. With the referee down, Robin hits Ridge with the chain for the win. 

Winner: Paul Robinson @11:33

Rating: ***1/4, This was a very solid strike-off with some technical work of the leg thrown in there. Robinson had to throw in his normal heel shtick towards the end which was annoying but these 2 hit each other hard and fast for a little more than 10 minutes.

DtwW9i5XgAULPG8-e1544138818131

Drew Parker w/Spike Trivet vs. Ligero:

  • Drew and Spike are members of the new faction of undercard young guys who are taking over Progress. 
  • Spike Trivet does a pre-match promo saying the goal of his new faction is taking out the tired and washed up talent and blames the crowd for allowing those talents to be adored. This is an amazing promo.
  • Parker attacks Ligero early as Ligero goes to attack Spike. 
  • Ligero sends Parker to the outside taking out Spike, then Ligers hits a diving cannonball off the apron taking everyone out. 
  • Running superkick by Ligero ringside to Parker set up on a chair. 
  • Parker begins to dominate the match.
  • Ligero hits a comeback sequence capping it off with a Death Valley Driver/PK combo for the first near fall. 
  • Running Huricanrana ringside by Ligero ducking under Spike to hit Parker. 
  • Spike distracts Ligero on the top rope, Parker catches Ligero with a rolling elbow but Ligero fights back and starts an academic sequence into a springboard dropkick to Parker’s back. 
  • Sliced Bread by Ligero fails and Parker gets Ligero on the top rope, Ligero hits a Springboard Avalanche Huricanrna taking Ligero off the top. 
  • Big Move attempt sequence from both ends with a Cutter by Ligero.
  • Spike Trivet takes Parker out of the ring, Spike grabs onto the leg of Ligero so Parker can hit the Backseat Driver in ring for the close. 

Winner: Drew Parker @8:10

Rating: ***1/4, While the match itself, was nothing special and often had moments of silence where nothing was happening, this match was an important one. Parker’s faction is Progress’ answer to the WWE signings as they are a new guard of guys coming in to take over. The faction labeled Do Not Resuscitate made a huge statement in this match by looking dominant. This match starts a long stretch of DNR taking over. 

Dtw8u_vWsAAenVw-e1544138939242

Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews:

  • A huge match that might be either man’s last appearance in Progress due to the inevitability of NXT UK.
  • Dunne pushes Mandrews down instead of taking a handshake. 
  • As soon as the bell rings, Mandrews knocks Dunne ringside and hits a Tope Con Hiro and a Huricanrana back-in ring for the first near fall. 
  • Match plays to a long history between these 2. 
  • German Suplex by Dunne gets a rough landing and he follows it up with an Explex Powerbomb for a near fall. A fast start to this match. 
  • Bitter End attempt by Dunne but Mandrews takes him over with a huricanrana.
  • Dunne tries to catch Mandrews with a Tombstone but Mandrews hits a tornado DDT out of it. 
  • Mandrews hits a Stundog Millionaire out of the Explex by Dunne.
  • Bitter End attempt by Dunne but Mandrews flies into a piledriver, great spot that takes both out.
  • Dunne catches Mandrews ringside and hits a Tombstone. Back in-ring, Dunne hits the Bitter End finally for a great near fall. 
  • In the first 3 minutes, this is already amazing. 
  • Dunne stomps on the neck on Mandrews but Andrews fires back up and hits Dunne with a series of chops, Dunne gets him down and does the finger break, Mandrews gets a Huricanrana roll up for a near fall. 
  • Insane Avalanche Huricanrana by Mandrews followed up by a failed shooting star attempt, Dunne hits 2 consecutive Tombstones for the win. 

Winner: Pete Dunne @6:02

Rating: ****1/2, HOLY SHIT! This was incredible, it was an insane match that didn’t need a long stretch of time to tell a story or pack in incredible spots. This was a sprint for the ages and one of the top Progress matches I’ve seen so far and it was a great surprise. It also gets added points for being really impressive that they worked at the pace they did for more than 5 minutes straight. The definition of all thriller, no filler. 

  • Do Not Resuscitate attacks Mandrews after the match but Mandrews and Dunne work together to take them out. 

Dtmc8q9W0AEm4la-e1544138800455

Trent Seven Atlas Title Open Challenge:

  • Dan Moloney answers the Open Challenge, Who? Yeah, I don’t know either. He has wrestled for NXT UK though. Apparently, he’s also a close friend of British Strong Style.
  • Good comedy shoulder block sequence.
  • Stiff chops sent by both men start a chop off, Moloney wins the chop battle.
  • More chops turn Moloney’s chest red.
  • Snap Dragon Suplex/Landslide combo by Seven for the first near fall. 
  • Figure Four Leglock by Seven, Moloney grabs ropes by tweaking the knee of Seven.
  • Insane Inverted Suplex by Seven on the apron slams Moloney down hard. 
  • Super Exploder Suplex followed by a Ripcord Deep Six by Moloney gets a near fall. 
  • Powerbomb by Moloney for a near fall, Moloney follows it up with a Gutwrench Powerbomb for another near fall but Dan grabs in a Single Leg Boston Crab off the kickout, Seven grabs ropes.
  • Small Package by Seven for a near fall, Moloney also delivers a small package for a near fall. Strikes into a Seven Star Lariat/Piledriver combo by Seven for an amazing near fall. 
  • Burning Hammer by Seven to retain the title. 

Winner: Trent Seven Retains @12:41!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a really good big match wrestling encounter. Seven has been amazing as Atlas Champion and continues that with another good defense, Moloney also delivered a really good performance making believable near falls and delivering huge moves to precision. While not as good as Seven’s defense against Kyle Fletcher at the last Progress Chapter this goes up as one of Seven’s best title defenses.

Dtwl2fTXcAA89L1-e1544138837985Mark Haskins and Eddie Dennis vs Chuck Mambo and William Eaver of D.N.R:

  • Brawl outside of the ring before the match.
  • Double Yakuza Kicks by Dennis and Haskins to Eaver and Mambo set up on chairs ringside.
  • Air Raid Siren by Mambo to Dennis on the stage.
  • Haskins and Eaver get in the ring to start the match.
  • Eaver and Mambo isolate Haskins, Dennis is still laid out from the stage spot.
  • Eddie Dennis comes back to tag in and delivers a hot tag on Chuck Mambo and Eaver. Dennis picks up Eaver and Mambo simultaneously and hits a double fallaway slam. 
  • Great Superplex by Dennis to Mambo followed by a Jackknife powerbomb into the turnbuckles with a stiff lariat to cap off the combo for a near fall on Mambo.
  • Suicide Dives by Haskins wipe out Eaver and Mambo on different sides of the ring, 
  • Haskins rolls Mambo into a Landslide for a near fall, Mark grabs the arm off the kickout in a Fujiwara but Eaver breaks it up.
  • Next Stop Driver attempt by Dennis is rolled up by Mambo for a near fall.
  • Superkick by Mambo to Dennis saves Eaver from a Next Stop Driver, Haskins saves the pin on Dennis.
  • Meteora by Mambo gets a near fall on Dennis.
  • Vicky Haskins grabs the leg of Eaver, Mark Haskins locks in a Sharpshooter, Dennis locks in a Bow and Arrow on Mambo for a Double Submission spot but Drew Parker comes in to attack and end the match via DQ.

Winners: Do Not Resuscitate @12:42!

Rating: ***1/4, This was a very solid fast-paced tag match for the exception of the isolation bit on Haskins but DNR is a very good faction and got more TV time here. Haskins and Dennis worked very well together and the beginning brawl was decently fun. 

  • Mark Andrews comes out to save Dennis and Haskins from DNR but leaves immediately after he saves them from attack because of the sore history he has with Eddie Dennis.

Dtg6L9lWsAEtl0w-e1544138922273Tyler Bate vs. Ilja Dragunov:

  • Very Technical beginning to the match.
  • Monkey Flip in the corner by Bate begins the match’s momentum.
  • Discus Chop/Jumping Senton combo by Dragunov for the first near fall. 
  • Ilja starts to dominate the match with strikes keeping Bate down, Tyler begins to be unphased by strikes and punches Dragunov into the corner. Bate flies at Ilja with a European uppercut to get back in the match.
  • Vertical Suplex Bridge by Bate for a near fall. 
  • Rebound Lariat by Dragunov caught by Bate but Ilja rolls Bate over and hits a Blue Thunder Bomb, Ilja gets a near fall on Bate. 
  • Diving Senton by Ilja misses, Bate hits the Airplane Spin for so long that it makes me dizzy then turns and spins the other way, Ilja sells it amazingly by trying to strike the air once he escapes.
  • Great Torpedo Suicide Dive by Dragunov, Ilja hits a back senton to Bate on a row of chairs.
  • Superplex by Bate into a Small Package for a good near fall. Both men are laid out as the crowd chants “This is Progress”
  • Strikefest but Ilja begins to get the upper hand sending the strikes rapid fire but Bate hits an Exploder Suplex but Dragunov kips up and hits a Saito Suplex. Both men fire up and begin to lariat the hell out of each other. Both men go to hit a rebound lariat and hit each other on the way back, amazing spot to end a great sequence. 
  • Bate catches Dragunov with another Exploder and follows it up with a Standing Shooting Star, Dragunov kicks out at 1 and hits a Death Valley Driver into the corner and hits a Coast to Coast for a near fall. 
  • Torpedo Moscow attempt caught into a Wheelbarrow kick by Bate. 
  • Bate goes for the Tyler Driver 97 but Dragunov escapes and hits the Torpedo Moscow for the win.

Winner: Ilja Dragunov @17:27!

Rating: ****1/2, This was another great match for both men in 2018 and Dragunov continues to show his greatness on a larger scale. Their styles mixed perfectly as both are insanely athletic and energetic wrestlers and they often worked the match into amazing mixes of speed and technical wrestling. The double rebound lariat spot was amazing and they worked at an incredible pace. The ending was abrupt but it worked to protect Tyler Bate but also allow Dragunov to pick up the win as he settles into becoming a Progress mainstay.

DtHW4ayWkAEPAJM-e1544138896276CCK (Chris Brookes and Jonathan Gresham)vs. LAX (Santana and Ortiz):

  • A rematch of a very good tag match that these teams had on the Progress America Tour. 
  • Winner faces Aussie Open for the Tag Titles at Chapter 81.
  • Jonathan Gresham and Ortiz start the match.
  • Everybody including the referee brings it around town with their hips to huge pops from the crowd, Jonathan Gresham brings in his signature stapler and acts like it brings it around too. I love silly wrestling.
  • Santana flips off Ortiz to moonsault on Gresham, solid spot. 
  • Funky Monkey by Ortiz on Brookes for the first near fall.
  • Jonathan Gresham catches Ortiz mid-air with a German Suplex. 
  • CCK isolates Ortiz and works on his arm. Great Spinebuster by Ortiz knocks Gresham off and opens tags, Santana and Brookes come in. Great Hot Tag by Santana.
  • Lionsault/Leg Drop combo by LAX to Gresham for a near fall.
  • Running Corner Lariats by Gresham for a comedically long time, Santana sends Gresham into the post. 
  • Ortiz rolls Santana through to add momentum to a superkick on Brookes, great tag team sequence into a near fall save by Gresham. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Brookes over Santana hits Ortiz then collapses on Santana, great innovation. 
  • Springboard Moonsault by Gresham, Gresham rolls into an ankle lock on Ortiz but decides to hit a German Suplex Bridge for a near fall.
  • Great Springboard Cutter by Brookes on Ortiz, Gresham hits a 450 Headbutt on Ortiz, Santana comes in to save the match.
  • Gresham hits a Shooting Star Press on Ortiz, Santana sends Brookes into Gresham to save the match. 
  • Octopus Stretch attempt by Jonathan Gresham on Ortiz, Brookes grabs Santana in an Octopus lock and Gresham’s attempt becomes successful. Double Octopus Lock is stopped by Santana who powers up Brookes and throws him into Gresham. 
  • Strikefest between Santana and Brookes, Santana decks Brookes. Gresham comes into strikefest with Santana, Gresham wins. Ortiz and Gresham strikefest, Ortiz decks Gresham. All 4 strike off at the same time, the strikes become intense and everyone gets knocked down. Gresham goes low on Ortiz. LAX hit a leg drop/backbreaker combo on Gresham and a superkick/cutter combo on Brookes, Gresham comes in for the near fall save. Great sequence. 
  • Gresham and Santana strike off, Santana wipes out Gresham but Gresham fires up and hits an enzugiri/German Suplex combo. Gresham gets a near fall after Brookes takes out Ortiz, Gresham gets back on top and hits a forearm on Santana for another near fall. 
  • Snap German followed by a huge forearm by Gresham takes out Santana, near fall save by Ortiz. 
  • Rollins Assisted Cutter by CCK into a Praying Mantis Bomb with a superkick by Gresham for an amazing near fall save by Ortiz. Gresham and Brookes sell the near fall with great facial expressions.
  • Springboard Moonsault/Suicide Cannonball combo by Gresham. Brookes hits a springboard cutter followed by a Shooting Star Press by Gresham but Santana gets his knees up. Powerbomb on the apron by Ortiz to Brookes. Alley Oop Bomb/Powerbomb combo by LAX followed up by a Shooting Star Press by Santana, Brookes Frog Splashes in to make the save. 
  • Burning Hammer by Ortiz to Brookes, LAX both pin on Gresham for a great near fall. 
  • Amazing Powerbomb/Blockbuster combo by LAX puts away Gresham.

Winners: LAX #1 Contenders @28:01!

Rating: ****3/4, This was the definition of insane. These guys defined what you could do in a wrestling ring in a tag match without any added stipulations. These guys innovated like they were in PWG but added a bit of technical smarts and great high-flying. Both teams were at the peak of their game here and worked each other to perfection. This is one of the best tag team matches of 2018 and it’s a bit unfortunate that I waited until 2019 to watch it because I believe this is a legitimate MOTY Contender. I’m really excited to see LAX vs. Aussie Open on the next Progress Chapter. 

Show Grade: B+

Grade: There were 3 very good matches in Mandrews vs. Dunne, Bate vs. Dragunov, and LAX vs. CCK but the rest of the card was lukewarm making the show feel hard to get through, however. Each of those 3 matches are bangers especially CCK vs. LAX. This isn’t Progress’ best chapter but it delivers some very good entertainment and a fantastic main event as Progress is beginning to turn the page from the wrestlers who are signing to the WWE with most of them eating losses tonight like Tyler Bate and Ligero. Based off of this show, Progress looks like it’s future is in great hands. 

 

WrestleGrade Yearly Awards 2018

Attachment-1 (2)

This year has been incredible for Professional Wrestling, from all over the world wrestling has been in peak form. Here are my picks for the Top Ten Best Wrestlers of the Year, Top Ten Best Matches of the Year, Top Five Best Tag Teams of The Year, Top 5 Women’s Wrestlers of the Year,  Best Promotion of The Year, Best Wrestling Show of The Year, Best Feud of the Year, and what wrestler to look out for in 2019.

Top 5 Best Tag Teams of 2018:

aa9feacab55a00f66bbbce9b4fa21bbb

5. Aussie Open, The current Progress Tag Team Champions had an amazing year this year for the UK independent scene. Mark Davis is a big powerful dude filled with agility and having had battles with Walter for the Atlas Title, Kyle Fletcher is a great high-flyer and the mixing of these guys styles makes for often incredible matches. While their solo stuff might be some of their best work this year when they team together they’ve had great matches with the likes of Timothy Thatcher and Chris Brookes. They also shined big time in the Progress Tag Team Gauntlet match picking up the victory with a great performance. The future is only looking bright for Aussie Open. 

Kazarian-Daniels-Sky

4. So Cal Uncensored, the ROH Natives got over this year in a big way. At All In, in September these guys were one of the hottest acts in the business. The bold characters in SCU have also had some great matches this year including a banger at Final Battle with Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky battling the Briscoes and The Young Bucks. There is a great mix of comedy wrestling and in-ring skill when these guys are on however now that they have left ROH you have to wonder where they go from here. 

tumblr_phzaw5N9rr1waf7fpo1_500

3. The Rascalz, while these guys didn’t strike the mainstream until very late in the year when they debuted in Impact, they were absolutely tearing it up in PWG. These guys have had absolute tag team lucha classics with Flamita and Bandido and Pentagon Jr and Fenix. Zachary Wentz and Desmond Xavier are also some of the best high-flyers I’ve ever seen as what they can do in that ring is unique and incredible. Their finisher is Wentz jumping up in the air for a moonsault as Xavier pushes him in mid-air on top of the opponent and it’s incredible. These guys will only continue to strike gold as they make it further in mainstream professional wrestling. 

9602. Undisputed Era, Undisputed ERA made this year so enjoyable in tag team wrestling. The absolutely amazing heel antics and the great tag team work have mixed to deliver some legitimate MOTY contenders. The War Games match was incredible, The series of matches against Mustache Mountain has been incredible, and I don’t think they are anywhere close to stopping. Adam Cole as the frontman has been amazing as he is the perfect mouthpiece for a tag team like this, Kyle O’Reilly is one of the best in-ring talents in the world, and Roderick Strong made a shock move in joining Undisputed ERA and turning heel earlier this year. NXT has been an incredible place for Professional Wrestling and much of the greatness has come from the ERA. 

Being-The-ELite1. The Young Bucks/The Elite, the Bullet Club has absolutely dominated 2018. They have been everywhere popping up into the mainstream frequently, promoting their own event, and having incredible matches along the way. Specifically, the Young Bucks stand out, their matches against the Golden Lovers and The Briscoe/SCU Ladder Match and countless others have made their wrestling stand out leagues above everything else this year. They have become captivating characters that glue your eyes to the screen whenever they come on. This won’t be the only time I talk about The Elite on this list though. 

Promotion of the Year:

Logo_NewJapan_dnNew Japan Pro Wrestling has revolutionized Wrestling this year like no other company has before. The incredible matches stand out a cut above everything any other company put out this year and their expansion into the American Market has been successful. NJPW has skyrocketed themselves into the mainstream with wrestlers like Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Will Ospreay leading the ship. However, NJPW is beginning to have internal conflicts with management and foreigners taking over the spotlight of Japanese Natives but the company still looks to be holding onto greatness heading into Wrestlekingdom 13. 

Best Wrestling Show of the Year:

njpw_dominion_2018_1

NJPW Dominion, This show was stacked, like enormously. The top 3 matches on this show would’ve been MOTY contenders in their own rights. The 1-2-3 punch of Hiromu Takahashi vs. Will Ospreay, Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada ended this show historically. While the undercard also shined as this show had a very good layout the main event stole the show like nothing else. The 70 minutes closer of Okada vs. Omega 4 is one of the greatest matches of all time and boosted this show into the #1 spot of show of the year, in a year that had many amazing NXT Takeovers and All In to be competitors. 

Feud of the Year:

WWE.com_-2

Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano: The routine tag team breakup feud was done to perfection in NXT this year. Johnny and Ciampa had the perfect dastardly heel and underdog babyface dynamic with the crowd organically cheering for Gargano. Ciampa was one of the best heels in the business to the point where the boos he was getting were so powerful that he had no entrance music. The writing was incredible as well stretching this feud over a year-long and adding different elements to the story over that long period of time. The matches that came out of this feud is the best series of matches since Okada vs. Omega and maybe in WWE history. This feud was the main reason why NXT was preferred over the main roster this year. 

Top 5 Women’s Wrestlers of the Year:

1127-kairi-sane-wwe-7

5. Kairi Sane, Last year’s Mae Young Classic Winner had an amazing year for validating herself in the Women’s Division this year. Winning the NXT Title was huge but what meant even more for her career was the amazing matches she had with Shayna Baszler which are some of the best Women’s Matches of the year. It had taken me a while to buy into the hype around Kairi Sane but she destroyed in NXT this year and made me a believer. 

1545969878-Ronda_Rousey_WWE

4. Ronda Rousey, when she broke onto the scene for the first time in the WWE my initial thoughts were great a female Brock Lesnar is exactly what we need. As much of the critics like myself were shocked this year to see how fast Ronda Rousey became one of the best Women’s Wrestlers in the world. She took over in her debut having an amazing match against HHH and Stephanie Mcmahon with Kurt Angle that surprisingly stole the show. From her debut, she’s had great matches with the likes of Charlotte and Nia Jax. The future looks bright for Rousey if this is the accolades she has in her first year. Going into Wrestlemania, her Main Eventing will be amazing.

Charlotte-Flair-WrestleMania-34-645x370

3. Charlotte:  In my opinion, the greatest Women’s Wrestler of all time. While this year she took a back seat to 2 other wrestler’s she still had an overall amazing year. She has had probably the highest number great matches of any other wrestler in WWE this year having classics against Becky Lynch at Evolution, Becky Lynch and Asuka at TLC, and Ronda Rousey a Survivor Series but other than match quality Charlotte has revived Women’s Wrestling in WWE to a point that it has never been before. The Women’s Division is the best thing in WWE currently and that’s due to the work that Flair has put in. 

asuka

2. Asuka: The whole year wasn’t flattering to Asuka losing to Charlotte at Wrestlemania began a downward spiral that she only just recovered from in time to win the Smackdown Women’s Title at TLC in one of the best Women’s Matches I’ve seen. While, the year wasn’t all Asuka’s best work her highs are some of the highest achievements a Woman has ever reached in WWE. She made history winning the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble and had that amazing TLC match we’ve already talked about a lot. She also played a big role in the revival of the Women’s Division, going into Wrestlemania most likely with the Smackdown Women’s Title it will be interesting to see what match she gets and how she makes the most of it. 

gqz8wr6f0cpzglmgkptz1. Becky Lynch: You probably saw this one coming, the biggest star in WWE for the first time in history is a woman. Her character work is the best of any woman probably in wrestling history. WWE saw how fans reacted to her as a babyface and allowed her to take the ball and run her heel character into superstardom. While her achievements aren’t as spectacular as Asuka or Charlotte’s she has trailblazed like no woman before her has. Her achievements include the TLC match, the Smackdown Women’s Title, a great performance in the Women’s MITB, and the Last Woman Standing Match against Charlotte at Evolution. I’m VERY excited to see where Becky Lynch goes from here. 

Who to Look Out for in 2019:

bandido-roh

Bandido: This is most definitely not the last time you will hear this name not only on this list but future lists to come. Bandido is an incredible talent mixing high flying like you’ve never seen and adding the drama that many luchadores lack. He had an amazing 2018 but is still relatively underground as his biggest exposure was the main event of All In and he’s mostly been a PWG mainstay. Bandido recently signed a Full-Time deal with ROH which will boost him into the spotlight as I expect him to be one of the best luchadores of all time by the time he’s done but he’s just getting started.

Top Ten Matches of 2018:

Johnny-Gargano-Tomasso-Ciampa-NXT-Takeover-New-Orleans-645x370

10. Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa at NXT Takeover New Orleans, It might be an unpopular opinion to put this match this low on the list but I believe the NXT Takeover Chicago rematch topped this one. This match had an amazing story using the crutch as a weapon to represent the injuries both men have struggled through and it kicked off the 3 match trilogy from Ciampa and Gargano, this was also Ciampa’s return match which makes it even that more surprising that this is an incredible match. The layout on this match was incredible and it main evented one of the best wrestling shows of the year so it was even more memorable. 

Ospreay-Scurll-696x392

9. Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurrl IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title NJPW Sakura Genesis, any other year this would’ve had no problem whatsoever being the match of the year. These guys have had matches for many different promotions and most of them have been absolute bangers but this takes the cake. It started off fast but nobody would expect Will Ospreay to crush his neck on the apron trying to Spanish Fly Scurrl. Any other wrestler after taking a bump like that would quit and end the match soon but instead the absolute mad lad that Ospreay takes the match to the next level going absolutely insane to retain his title delivering one of the most impressive performances of the year. Marty Scurrl played an amazing heel taking advantage of the neck and trying to stomp it off but Ospreay gets the victory after one of the best IWGP Title matches ever. 

PROGRESS-Chapter-77-696x392

8. Walter vs. Zack Sabre Jr Progress World Championship Chapter 77: This was a fight and one of the best of the year. Wrestling is often about suspension of disbelief but I had to convince myself that this match was fake. These guys clobbered the shit out of each other with insane strikes and had some amazing submission work. Walter plays an amazing Andre the Giant style unbeatable heel every time he wrestles and that dominance was turned up to 11 in this match. ZSJ rarely plays an underdog but you can see that he was desperate to escape the match with the Progress Title and gave everything he could to win the match. This is my favorite technical match maybe ever.

unnamed-1-678x381

7. Jimmy Havoc vs Will Ospreay 2 out of 3 Falls No DQ Match Progress Chapter 75: This was utter chaos and my first big Progress match. The energy in this match was incredible with the crowd being into every second of this 30-minute long saga. This also included a heel Will Ospreay which is undoubtedly the best Will Ospreay and a vengeful Jimmy Havoc which delivered a HARDCORE performance. This was the most brutal match I’ve seen this year as these guys did some insane spots including a Spanish Fly off a balcony by Ospreay onto a table that didn’t break. This match isn’t for the faint-hearted but it was an amazingly entertaining car crash. 

43164558_1153427018130199_1241942089160196096_o-16. Tyler Bate vs. Walter Progress World Championship Chapter 80: At Progress’s biggest ever show in Wembley arena these 2 main evented and it was hard to expect anything other than greatness. This is a modern day Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan but with actual amazing in-ring work and great spots. Tyler Bate played an amazing underdog babyface getting huge crowd reactions when it looked like he was gonna win the match. This was a spectacle and the best ever Progress match and again in any other year would not have an issue being match of the year.

WWE-NXT-Takeover-War-Games-Aleister-Black-Johnny-Gargano

5. Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black NXT Takeover War Games, Another unpopular opinion in having this match this high but I believe this match is severely slept on and one of the best NXT matches of the year while not quite the best. The dynamic was so amazing in the newly heel Johnny Gargano being incredibly fresh and the vengeful Aleister Black being one of the most determined performances of the year. These guys put on an amazing in-ring clinic that mixed in the amazing story to perfection. This match also included one of my favorite spots of the year with Johnny Gargano’s suicide dive being caught by a huge jumping knee by Black. Incredible work by two guys who had an amazing year. 

main1

4. Shingo Takagi vs. Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb PWG BOLA 2018 Final: Nothing against Shingo Takagi but as soon as he was eliminated from this match it became a MOTY contender. BOLA is a long weekend full of insane matches so it’s easy for the crowd and especially the wrestlers to become sluggish and that happened for about the first 5 minutes of this match but what happened for the rest of the match was something special. The crowd was entirely behind Bandido getting louder and louder making one of the best environments of the year. After every near fall and big spot, the crowd became unglued and it is one of the most exciting things I have ever seen. Jeff Cobb and Bandido put on a great match in its own right but in front of every other crowd, this wouldn’t be on this list. This match was an incredibly exciting, nerve-wracking, and emotional event that I felt I was a part of while I was sitting at home. Wrestling often lacks emotional investment but only one other match made me feel that way. 

andrade-cien-almas-vs-johnny-gargano-nxt-takeover-brooklyn-750x422

3. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas NXT Championship Takeover Philadelphia: No one really expected this one to be as good as it was. Up until this point, NXT was already better than the main roster but it was still dwarfed in quality compared to NJPW and ROH but this match broke that barrier. NXT was missing that coveted 5-star match and this delivered that. It was 2 of the best in-ring talents in the world doing what they do best. The spots were incredible and this match was wrestled at a pace like I have never seen before. It also had some great manager spots with Zelina Vega and Candice LeRae going at each other. The drama was turned extra high and this match is historically important as it was WWE’s first 5-star match in 7 years. This was a flawless match and really should be MOTY in any other year. 

8c5a5-1529266758-800

2. Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano NXT Takeover Chicago Street Fight: Another possibly unpopular opinion but I believe this is the greatest WWE match of all time. It was so iconic and had some insane spots, like the exposed ring DDT and the Air Raid Crash off the rafters through a table below. It was chock full of amazing moments and the feud was hotter than it was at Takeover NOLA with Johnny Gargano becoming so desperate to win that he cost himself the match. Tomasso Ciampa was also an incredibly dastardly heel putting Johnny Gargano through hell for the fun of it. One of the best matches of all time is only number 2 on this list though which really should show you how incredible wrestling was this year. 

kazuchika-okada-vs-kenny-omega-njpw-dominion-750x4221. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Title 2 Out of 3 Falls Match: Yeah you probably guessed it. There’s not much I can tell you about this match that hasn’t already been said. It was an absolute saga reaching 70 minutes but not once slowing down, which is incredible. The story was insane too as Kenny Omega had gone from hell and back to try and win the IWGP Heavyweight Title. I haven’t ever been this invested in wrestling, I sat biting my nails for 70 minutes waiting to see if Kenny could end Okada’s amazing championship reign. This match’s spots were top notch too as you would expect from Okada and Omega but the wrestling logic was what really stole the show. For all 70 minutes of the match, something smart was happening as everything legitimately felt like these guys were going through a life-changing experience. It will take a lot to convince me that this isn’t the greatest wrestling match of all time. 

Top Ten Wrestlers of the Year:

bandido-roh

10. Bandido: And we’re back with this guy. Nobody else in the business currently is as impressive as him and he wasn’t shy to show it this year having the MOTY contender against Cobb and Takagi that we’ve already talked about and main eventing All In. The dude also had 2 5-star matches in a single night with the triple threat and an amazing match against Joey Janela. Bandido is an incredible talent that ROH is so lucky to have signed, the future is so scarily bright for this guy and he showed it at every chance he could this year. 

tanahashi

9. Hiroshi Tanahashi, The Ace of NJPW is one of the best Japanese Natives currently in New Japan and is currently one of the brightest stars there. While the Japanese guys are being taken over by new management and guys like the Elite are being pushed into the mainstream, Hiroshi is keeping his spot strong. This year he had 2 incredible matches against Kazuchika Okada and won the G1 Climax which is one of the biggest accolades in modern wrestling, going into the Kenny Omega main event of Wrestlekingdom 13 I’m excited to see how 2019 treats the John Cena of Japanese Wrestling. 

20180912_nxt_ciampa-17f1a83426345730c480f0b50b9636c3

8. Tomasso Ciampa, the best heel performance in modern wrestling was turned in this year by Tomasso Ciampa. I’ve probably already talked your ears off about how amazing he was and how amazing his matches with Johnny Gargano were. Not only did he have that amazing sequence of matches he went on to win the NXT Title and have another MOTY Contender match against Velveteen Dream. Tomasso Ciampa is another guy that the future is really bright for as it is hard to forget with the amazing performance he put in that he is still in the so-called “developmental” of WWE. 

ospreaywon

7. Will Ospreay, Ospreay showed this year that he is just so much more than a guy who can do flips. Ospreay has had so many amazing matches this year including the ones against Havoc and Scurrl that we’ve already talked about but also matches against guys like Jay Lethal, Walter, and Hiromu Takahashi come to mind. He has spent most of 2018 being a heel in the UK and a face in Japan showing how versatile he can really be. He is also shifting to becoming a heavyweight in NJPW and going into a match with Kota Ibushi for the Never Openweight Championship the sky is the limit. Ospreay also put his career on the line more times this year than Mick Foley did in his prime so for that Will I’m thankful. Thank U, Next.

b0d98-15421741186422-8006. Kota Ibushi, It took a while for Ibushi to focus on serious wrestling and he finally did this year and took the world by storm. He started the year right with a great match at Wrestlekingdom 12 against Honorable Mention Cody Rhodes and from there reunited Golden Lovers with Kenny Omega which is one of the biggest moments in wrestling this year. Ibushi has had so many amazing matches that it’s hard to keep track of but matches against the likes of Omega, Ishii, and The Young Bucks stand out. Ibushi ends the year with the Never Openweight Title and next year could be the defining year for Kota Ibushi. 

94ee6-1522863097-8005. Zack Sabre Jr, Maybe the greatest technical wrestler of all time had a stand out year in 2018. Having 5-star matches against Walter, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Kazuchika Okada and winning the New Japan Cup defeating New Japan legends in one of the best tournament runs I’ve ever seen. ZSJ has been around the world this year winning championships and wrestling in every single major indy promotion from PWG to Progress to NJPW to ROH he did it all this year and kept it fresh and unique all along the ride. 

Kazuchika-Okada-640x360

4. Kazuchika Okada, Okada started the year in one of the greatest title reigns of all time and had amazing defenses against Tetsuya Naito at Wrestlekingdom, Zack Sabre Jr at Sakura Genesis, and Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestling Dontaku but the cream of the crop for Okada this year was the greatest professional wrestling match of all time against Kenny Omega. However, since he started the year off hot after the title loss to Omega he began to broke down and had a couple good matches in the G1 and an amazing match against Marty Scurrl at All In but he slowed down and fell from relevancy a little bit. Going into 2019, I hope to see Okada regain momentum and be back on top. 

walterwwe

3. Walter, The Undisputed King of the Indies this year with his championship reigns in PWG and Progress being incredible and him taking up 2 of the Top 10 match of the year spots makes it easy to see why he is so captivating. Walter is an absolute beast of a man and all of his matches make it seem like he brings his opponent to the brink of death but they always seem to fight back and have extremely captivating matches. Along with his MOTY contenders against Tyler Bate and ZSJ, he has had amazing matches against Timothy Thatcher, Ilja Dragunov, and Shingo Takagi. Still having the Progress Title going into WWE with a deal with NXT UK it will be interesting to see how 2019 plays out for the big man from Austria. 

omega-injured

2. Kenny Omega, Omega was penciled in for the top spot on this list until he ended the year the way he did. He has a very similar story to Okada building his heat early in the year and being one of the greatest acts in wrestling history. Defining himself with instant classics against The Young Bucks with Kota Ibushi, the famed Okada match, and the solo G1 Climax match against Kota Ibushi. He also had one of the feuds of the year contenders against Cody Rhodes that involved 2 very good matches. Omega started the year with so much momentum he could be called the Greatest of All Time but looking back on the first half at the end of 2018 you wonder where all the momentum has gone. Sure, he’s still IWGP Champ but he hasn’t done much with the title which is in sharp contrast to the last champion Kazuchika Okada who was the greatest ever IWGP Heavyweight Champion. 2019 will be incredibly interesting for Omega, he has a match in 4 days against Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestlekingdom but after that where does he go. Is it WWE time for the face of the alternative? Will he show up in the new All Elite Wrestling Full-Time? Will he stay the Golden Boy of New Japan?

johnny-gargano-looks-ready-to-challenge-his-bitter-rival-nxt-champion-tommaso-ciampa_126_NXT_08182018ej_4864__dad4bea19f5f7965e1da33b134712657

1. Johnny Gargano, the best babyface in the modern era Johnny Gargano took over wrestling like no one has before. In a place like WWE, Johnny Gargano shined head and shoulders above everybody else this year. Johnny Gargano takes out 40% of the Top Ten Matches of the Year which is an incredible feat and is all around one of the best modern in-ring wrestlers. I have nothing but good to say about Johnny Gargano which is why he just inches by Kenny Omega for wrestler of the year. Going into 2019, he has reformed a heel DIY and is one of the most captivating characters as a tweener going right now. 2019 will be another amazing year for Gargano and the future is bright on the main roster for this guy. 

WWE Tables Ladders & Chairs 2018 Review

759104-1

Star Ratings + Results:

  • Carmella and R-Truth defeat Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox to get the #30 Spot in the Royal Rumble @5:37 *
  • The Bar defeat New Day and The Usos to retain the SD Live Tag Titles @12:20 ***3/4
  • Natalya defeats Ruby Riott in a Tables Match @12:46 ***1/4
  • Finn Balor defeats Drew Mcintyre @12:09 ***
  • Rey Mysterio defeats Randy Orton in a Chairs Match@11:30 ***
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Nia Jax to retain the Raw Women’s Title @11:00 ***3/4
  • Daniel Bryan defeats AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship @23:52 ****3/4
  • Dean Ambrose defeats Seth Rollins to win the IC Title @22:52 ***1/4

 

 

Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth and Carmella MMC Final for the Royal Rumble #30 Spot:

  • Is this seriously who’s in the Mixed Match Final?
  • Truth and Mahal start the match. 
  • Annoying dance break mid-match, the Singh brothers join.
  • None of these wrestlers deserve the #30 spot in the Royal Rumble, especially R-Truth. 
  • Hot tag by Truth.
  • Fox goes for the scissor kick on Truth because he stole her hat but Carmella hits a superkick for a near fall. 
  • Sloppy transition into the leg submission thing Carmella does to tap out Fox.

Winner: Carmella and R-Truth get the #30 Spot @5:37!

Rating: *, This is peak annoying for WWE. This is who they chose to fight for the prestigious Royal Rumble spot. The dance break was annoying, the match had no action, and it felt too long at 5 minutes. No Thanks. 

20181203_TLC_TagMatch-7c6aaf1fcfde4804684b818e3a27a687The Usos vs. The Bar(c) vs. New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles:

  • Kofi Kingston and Sheamus start the match. 
  • Strikefest between Usos and Cesaro and Kofi sends Cesaro ringside, Jey goes for a suicide dive but is caught over the ropes with an uppercut by Cesaro. Sheamus catches Woods running with an Irish Curse Backbreaker for a near fall. 
  • The Bar isolating Xavier Woods, Woods hits a draping missile dropkick to Sheamus to open up tags. Hot tag by Kofi. 
  • Jimmy Uso tags himself in blindly, Cesaro catches Kofi mid-air in a vertical suplex hold. Jimmy dives to Kofi to slam him down, great spot.
  • The Usos superkick party everything, doing it a little bit better than the Bucks. And follow it up with a pop-up Samoan Drop on Kofi, near fall save by Woods.
  • Jimmy Uso hits the Frog Splash, Cesaro grabs Uso and throws him into the post to try and steal the pin on Kofi and gets a great near fall. 
  • Cesaro Swing to Kofi goes 12 times and steps into the Sharpshooter, Woods comes in with a DDT through the ropes to Cesaro to break the hold. 
  • Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick, Kofi rolls it up for a near fall. Kingston hits a standing double stomp to Sheamus. Trouble in Paradise by Kofi followed up by the Diving Elbow by Woods for a near fall save by the Usos. 
  • Cesaro knocks Jey Uso down with a pop-up European uppercut. Once everybody goes outside, Kofi hits the diving trust fall to ringside.
  • Through the ropes DDT by Woods gets caught with a Brogue Kick by Sheamus to close the match. 

Winner: The Bar Retains @12:20!

Rating: ***3/4, This was a very fun triple threat tag match between 3 of the best ever WWE tag teams. While it could’ve been much better, I’ve learned to temper my expectations with the WWE but this was very solid. It had some great new spots from these guys that seem to repeat spots over and over especially New Day. The match was surprising and fast-paced and very enjoyable. 

  • Baron Corbin comes down to the ring to propose a match against the injured Braun Strowman with Heath Slater as the referee to get himself the easy win via countout but Strowman returns and brings a ton of Raw people out to attack Corbin capping off with Kurt Angle hitting an Angle Slam and Finn Balor with the Coup De Grace, Heath Slater counts the pin giving Strowman a match against Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble for the Universal Title. 

20181203_TLC_NatalyaRiott-17fb8ee6497e38d1a81fcde1017bb293

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott in a Tables Match:

  • Feud over the late Jim the Anvil Neidhart is a bit cheap. 
  • Natalya tries to german suplex Riott off the apron into a table she fails but decides to spear her off instead, Liv Morgan hops in to take the spear off the apron through the table to save the match for Riott. 
  • Natalya kicks a table into the midsection of Sarah Logan to stop her from interfering.
  • Natalya whips Riott into the barricade, Natalya hits a bodyslam to Logan sending her through a table set up ringside. 
  • Riott pushes Natalya up against the table with Jim Neidhart printed on it getting great heel heat, Riott chucks Natalya into the steel steps. 
  • Riott tries to through Natalya through the table with her father on it but Natalya fights out and locks Riott in the Sharpshooter, Riott dumps the table on Natalya to escape the hold. 
  • Riott struggles to set up the table, Natalya deadlifts her up and hits an electric chair driver.
  • Natalya brings out a table with Ruby Riott printed on it and she grabs the jacket of Jim Neidhart and pays respect. Natalya catches a Riott kick and attempts to dump Riott through her own table but doesn’t succeed and eats a superkick. 
  • Off the middle rope, Natalya hits a powerbomb sending Riott through the table with her on it to close the match. 

Winner: Natalya @12:45!

Rating: ***1/4, Natalya put in an amazing babyface performance knocking out Riott and her squad with intensity. Riott also played an amazing heel and stirred the pot whenever she could. While there were moments of awkwardness and in-ring roughness it was a relatively clean match that told a very good story out of a bad feud. 

20181203_TLC_FinnMcIntyre-4f6b73a4d6edf886dc0fe3ce6ccd4d52Finn Balor vs. Drew Mcintyre:

  • Mcintyre starts the match dominantly.
  • Dropkick to the knee by Balor gets him some space but Drew gets back on top with chops in the corner.
  • Mcintyre gets Balor up on the top rope but Finn breaks free and assaults the leg of Mcintyre. 
  • Huge Belly to Belly suplex by Mcintyre launches Balor across the ring but also hurts Drew’s knee. 
  • Another huge suplex by Mcintyre launches Balor across the ring and gets the first near fall. 
  • Deadlift vertical suplex by Mcintyre shows impressive strength. 
  • Finn Balor hits a comeback sequence but Mcintyre halts it. Balor escapes and hits a double stomp to get him space from Drew. 
  • Tornado DDT by Finn Balor, Balor sends Drew to ringside. Tope con hiro by Balor wipes out Drew. 
  • Slingblade by Balor, shotgun dropkick caught into a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker by Mcintyre for a near fall. 
  • Inverted Alabama Slam by Mcintyre gets rolled into a pinning combo by Balor for a near fall. 
  • Coup de Grade attempt by Balor fails as Mcintyre chops him on the top rope and delivers a great Super Air Raid Crash for a near fall. 
  • Balor traps Mcintyre’s legs in the ring apron and attacks him with strikes. Mcintyre gets free and Finn goes for a penalty kick but Drew knocks him off the apron to a hard landing. Mcintyre hits a stiff headbutt ringside.
  • The referee is distracted as Dolph Ziggler hits a superkick to Mcintyre, Ziggler goes for a steel chair shot but Drew kicks it back into his face. 
  • Finn Balor shotgun dropkicks the chair into Mcintyre then hits a Coup De Grace on the chair to close the match.

Winner: Finn Balor @12:09!

Rating: ***, This was a Raw match on PPV that should’ve been better. The pace was mostly slow except for bursts of offense from Balor and Mcintyre did an okay performance as a dominant heel but took the loss nonetheless. The Dolph Ziggler interference was unnecessary and added nothing. Yet, it was a match between two very talented men and they mixed in some good wrestling here. 

20181211_TLC_MysterioOrton-8b6878662e67fa18fb286f1a26dfcd94Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton in a Chairs Match:

  • Mysterio immediately attacks Orton with a steel chair. Mysterio bounces off a chair and dives at Orton but Orton catches him and sends him into the corner. Orton hits Rey with a steel chair shot in the corner. 
  • Mysterio kicks Orton off the apron and uses the chair as a boogie board to dive under the ropes and crossbody Orton with the chair, great spot. 
  • Rey sits Orton on a chair ringside and goes for a senton but Orton dodges and Mysterio flies hard into the chair.
  • Orton removes the hood of the Raw announce table and places a chair on top of it, Facebuster by Orton drives Rey into the chair on the table. 
  • Mysterio huricanranas Orton into a chair set up in the corner, Orton no sells it and hits a powerslam to get a near fall on Mysterio.
  • Hangman DDT by Orton escapes, Mysterio gets in a failed 619 attempt. Mysterio springboards at Orton but Randy throws a chair at him.
  • Mysterio hits Orton with a chair to the back sending him into the ropes for a successful 619, Orton no sells it again to remove Mysterio from the top rope. Orton slams Rey face first into a chair from the tree of woe. 
  • Orton sets up a row of 4 chairs, Rey flips off the chairs to hit a pinning combination and win the match. 

Winner: Rey Mysterio @11:30!

Rating: ***, This match had a very weird layout but kept interesting with some unique spots. Like most Orton matches, this was really really slow at parts but the energy of Mysterio kept some moments highlights. This was a match ripped from WWE in 2009 but with men who have aged. There was almost no story here but there was a dynamic of cocky heel versus underdog face that was worked decently. 

20181203_TLC_RondaNia-5374273659a0be0ece65e7e242932b82

Ronda Rousey(c) vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Title:

  • Rousey gets Nia in an armbar attempt early buy Jax reverses it into a Sit-out Powerbomb. 
  • Jax throws Rousey into the post and hits a hip attack from the apron jamming the shoulder of Rousey into the post. 
  • Guillotine Choke by Rousey, Jax tries to vertical suplex out of it but Rousey locks in a sleeper from the back, Jax tries to escape but Rousey locks in an armbar. Jax rolls with Ronda to ringside and throws Rousey into the barricade. 
  • Powerbomb attempt by Jax but Rousey huricanranas out. Ronda sidesteps Jax sending Nia into the post. 
  • Rousey climbs the top rope and hits a diving crossbody to ringside to take out Jax in a risky spot by Ronda that was executed greatly. 
  • Rousey fires up and hits Ronda with a series of strikes including an amazing one-two of a step up knee then a superman punch for a near fall. 
  • Diving Crossbody by Rousey but Jax rolls through and hits a Samoan Drop for a great near fall. 
  • Nia Jax climbs the ropes with Rousey on her shoulders but Ronda fights out and powerbombs Nia off the middle rope for a great near fall. 
  • Tamina distracts Rousey so Jax can avoid the armbar and Jax goes for the Facebreaker but Rousey hangs on and goes into an armbar and Nia immediately taps. 

Winner: Ronda Rousey @11:00!

Rating: ***3/4, It’s finally totally hit me how well Rousey has taken to the WWE. She is incredible. She carried one of the worst current wrestlers on the women’s roster to a near 4-star match. She fights with amazing intensity and hits her moves so cleanly. Jax did some good work in this match but most of it was on Ronda’s side. The match felt big and Ronda impressed again. This is yet another showcase of how good women’s wrestling has gotten in WWE. 

20181203_TLC_BryanStyles-a6876e25834c419cc94bdce1b8fecc5dDaniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles WWE Championship:

  • I love this Daniel Bryan more than I love myself.
  • I have high hopes for this match.
  • Daniel Bryan immediately rolled ringside and plays mind games with Styles.
  • Styles clotheslines Bryan to ringside after a flurry of offense begins the match’s momentum. Styles goes for a plancha dive but Bryan catches Styles with a mid-kick in the air.
  • Bow and Arrow lock by Bryan weakens Styles for a while until he gets a rope break. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Bryan, Styles returns the favor with chops of his own in the corner. Bryan strikes him down and gets him in the Tree of Woe to continue and work the back. 
  • Bryan does Yes! Kicks against the ropes until he knocks Styles to ringside.
  • The slower pace at the beginning stretch here. 
  • Corner Dropkicks by Bryan, Styles meets him before the 3rd one with a lariat flipping Bryan. 
  • Spinning Backfist by Styles gets the first near fall. Styles starts to stomp at Bryan’s face similar to how Daniel did after his title win. 
  • Styles sends Bryan into the post and begins to fire up ringside, Styles rolls him back in ring and Bryan tells him to wait, Bryan tries to sucker him in but Styles hits an UshiGoroshi Backbreaker. 
  • Styles goes for the Reverse DDT but Daniel gets a Cravat Locked in, Daniel hits a series of brutal knees and suplexes him back. 
  • No! Kicks by Bryan and the final one clips Styles on the head, near fall.
  • Styles flips out of a suplex attempt by Bryan and hits him with an enzuguri to get space. 
  • Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Bryan kicks him down. Styles gets back up to repeatedly kick out the leg of Styles. 
  • AJ wrenches the knee of Bryan around the post to continue work on the leg. 
  • In-ring, Styles hits a chop block to take out Bryan’s leg. 
  • Avalanche Huricanrana by Bryan rolled into a pin by Styles for a near fall, Styles decides to go for the Styles Clash but Bryan fights out. 
  • Single Leg Boston Crab by Styles locked in on the weakened leg of Bryan, Styles has it deep in the middle of the ring, Bryan slides out and transitions into the LeBell Lock (Yes! Lock) Styles fights into a rollup for a near fall, Bryan gets a roll-up for a near fall. Both kick each other out to end an awesome sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Bryan goes for a Running Knee but eats a dropkick from Styles. 
  • Springboard 450 by Styles for a great near fall. 
  • Calf Crusher by Styles locked in and continues to work the injured leg of Bryan, Styles wrenches it in but Bryan finally gets to the ropes. Bryan rolls ringside.
  • “This is awesome” chants go which is impressive because this is a storyline match and not a flip fest like the WWE fans like. 
  • Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade ringside by Styles. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm back in-ring but Bryan dodges, Running Knee by Bryan misses, Styles rolls up Bryan for a near fall but Daniel rolls up Styles for the win. 

Winner: Daniel Bryan @23:53!

Rating: ****3/4, This was INCREDIBLE and easily the best thing WWE has given us this year. This was a barnburner but didn’t feel long at all, I never wanted this to end. These guys told an incredible story and Daniel Bryan is the best heel in the world right now even though that’s a weird sentence today. The WWE crowd resonated with the storyline too getting this is awesome chants even though the match was never at a breakneck speed. They mixed the typical amazing in-ring work like always and had a lot of great technical wrestling moments in here too. This was a stand-out match in a bad year for the WWE. 

20181203_TLC_RollinsAmbrose-44570fe3d6dd94cae95dacb67ffeab87

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Title:

  • This has been one of WWE’s better feud this year mostly because of an incredible performance from Dean Ambrose. 
  • Rollins runs at Ambrose ringside, Dean catches him and drops him face first on the announce table.
  • Corey Graves keeps talking about Renee Young’s relationship with Ambrose which makes the commentary hilarious because she gets awkward as hell.
  • Ambrose whips Rollins into the corner and on the rebound hits a discus lariat for the first near fall. 
  • Diving standing elbow by Ambrose for another near fall, Dean is working at a dominant slow pace. 
  • Ambrose goes for a ton of pins and doesn’t get any and becomes frustrated. 
  • The crowd is very quiet and has been all night. 
  • Ambrose begins to work the knee of Rollins and locks in a Cloverleaf, Rollins grabs the ropes. 
  • Suicide Dive attempt by Rollins gets caught with a fist by Ambrose from ringside. 
  • Rollins lariats Ambrose to ringside and is finally able to hit the suicide dive on 2 different sides of the ring.
  • Rollins goes for a sunset bomb off the top rope but can’t get it due to his knee calling back his injury from a while ago. Rollins still powers him up for the buckle bomb though.
  • Strikefest into a Double Crossbody taking both out. Fuck this crowd man. 
  • Another strikefest into a Wheelbarrow Facebuster by Ambrose for a near fall.
  • Rollins goes for the Falcon Arrow but the knee gives in and he drapes himself over the top rope, Ambrose hits a flying clothesline taking Rollins off the top rope for a near fall. 
  • “This is boring” chants.
  • Ripcord Knee by Rollins for a near fall. 
  • Frog Splash by Rollins, Ambrose gets the knees up and rolls up Rollins for a near fall. 
  • Super Falcon Arrow by Rollins for a near fall. 
  • Rollins went for the superkick but Ambrose wanted the Shield fist bump and Rollins knocks Dean down and hits the superkick. They brawl to ringside. 
  • Buckle Bomb into the barricade by Rollins. 
  • Rollins slaps Ambrose and fires up and runs at him, Ambrose hits a Dirty Deeds for the win. 

Winner: Dean Ambrose New Champion @22:52!

Rating: ***1/4, the crowd ruined a match that was a genuine fight with so much great storytelling. Yes, this was a disappointing match but it wasn’t boring or even bad. I kept expecting it to end via DQ or Countout but Ambrose won cleanly which no one expected. The match never kicked into really any gear but kept itself running off of great storytelling. I want them to get another chance to put on a banger because I believe this match should’ve been better than it was. It was worked really slowly which is shocking from Rollins and Ambrose but the crowd really took a shit on this one. 

20181203_TLC_WomansTripleThreat-4bf3facf9a279574f9caa3bc1b30b6fc

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka in a TLC Match for the Smackdown Women’s Title:

  • I am so so happy that this is main eventing. 
  • Flair and Lynch begin to argue so Asuka takes them both out.
  • Asuka and Flair bring in ladders, Flair shoves the ladder out onto Asuka on the floor. 
  • Flair sets up a table in the corner and smashes Asuka’s face into it but it doesn’t break, while Lynch is focused on Asuka Lynch sets up a ladder but Flair boots the ladder into her face.
  • Spear by Flair countered into a codebreaker by Asuka. 
  • Asuka slams Lynch off the top rope into a hard landing on a ladder.
  • Flair starts to climb the ladder but Asuka pulls her down, Asuka powerbombs Flair through a table set up in the corner. 
  • Asuka starts to climb the ladder but Lynch knocks her off with a missile dropkick. 
  • Hip attack by Asuka knocks Lynch off the apron, Flair fires at Asuka with a chair shot. With both ringside, Flair hits a diving moonsault off the top rope. 
  • Flair sets up a table, Lynch starts to attack both Flair and Asuka with a chair. Flair throws Lynch into the barricade. 
  • With Asuka and Flair on the announce table, Lynch begins to climb up a huge ladder and flies down with a senton hitting brutally on Flair but not Asuka who rolls off. Great spot. 
  • Lynch and Asuka begin to climb a ladder in the ring, Flair comes back with a kendo stick to attack both getting them off the ladder. 
  • Lynch hits a Bexploder against a table on the barricade to Charlotte, Asuka goes crazy with kendo stick shots to Lynch.
  • Amazing spear through the barricade by Flair sends Asuka into the crowd. 
  • Lynch begins to climb the ladder in-ring, Flair grabs her down and they stare off. Lynch and Flair strike off and look intense, they begin to fight ringside and Flair unloads with chops. 
  • Flair sets Lynch up on a table ringside, Amazing Swanton bomb off the top rope through the table below by Flair.
  • Flair climbs up the ladder but Asuka runs up to meet her, they strike off for the title. Lynch brings in a ladder to the side of the other ladder, Flair knocks Asuka down. Lynch and Flair strike off for the title now. Ronda Rousey comes down and dumps Becky and Charlotte off setting up a match at Wrestlemania. 
  • Asuka climbs up the ladder to great crowd response and wins the match. 

Winner: Asuka New Champion @22:39!

Rating: ****3/4, This was another incredible match out of nowhere and it’s amazing to see how far the women have come in WWE. This main evented a PPV for another reason than the fact that they were women which to me is the biggest step in the evolution so far. These 3 ran through insane spots while working really clean and stories were getting continues, Rousey comes out to attack Lynch and Flair and Asuka completes her dream. This was similar to a match like Lesnar vs. Rollins vs. Cena from Royal Rumble 2015 but an amazing step in history for women’s wrestling. I’m proud this was the last WWE match this year. 

Grade: A-

Last Word: This is without a doubt one of WWE’s best shows in the past 2 years. While unfortunately, that isn’t saying much this show feels like a huge step in the right direction. While outside of 2 amazing matches the show suffered from being really long and WWE’s typical lame booking, those 2 matches were some of the best WWE matches in a long time. Styles vs. Bryan was an amazing storytelling technical match and Asuka vs. Flair vs. Lynch made history and looked great doing it. While WWE still has it’s problems they are now realizing what they can do to make it better. I believe Vince Mcmahon is stepping down on Monday and giving control of the company to his kids who while HHH loves killing the indies, the WWE will be in more relevant hands. I’m looking forward to 2019 because this show sets a precedent for what could be. 

ROH Final Battle 2018 Review

edited

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Kenny King defeats Eli Isom @8:58 ***
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Hangman Page @13:30 ****1/2
  • Kelly Klein defeats Sumie Sakai, Karen Q, and Madison Rayne @13:40 ***
  • Zack Sabre Jr defeats Jonathan Gresham @12:22 ***1/2
  • Matt Taven defeats Dalton Castle @15:51 **
  • Marty Scurrl defeats Christopher Daniels to Retain his Title Shot and Retire Daniels @17:42 ***1/2
  • Flip Gordon defeats Bully Ray in an I Quit Match @14:22 ***1/4
  • Jay Lethal defeats Cody to Retain the ROH World Title @23:25 ****1/4

Eli Isom vs. Kenny King:

  • Eli is a promising young talent but gets slammed by Kenny King in a pre-match promo saying he’s not good enough.
  • King starts the match off with a cheap shot. 
  • Amazing Corkscrew Tope Con Hilo by King takes out Isom ringside. 
  • Solid academic leapfrog sequence allows Isom to take control for the first time. Tope Con Hilo by Isom returns the favor taking out King ringside. 
  • King begins to dominate again and does a good job of being the cocky dominant heel.
  • Suplex Stunner by King gets the first near fall on Isom.
  • Isom is a little rough around the edges but can work great for someone who’s been in the industry for a year.
  • Isom powerbombs out of a Triangle hold by King for a near fall. 
  • King dumps Isom off the springboard and hits a chinchecker/flying hotshot/blockbuster combo to follow, King gets a near fall but pulls Isom up to continue to dominate. 
  • Royal Flush by King rolled into a small package by Isom for a great near fall.
  • Gory Special/Pinning Combo 1-2 by Isom for another near fall. 
  • King catches Isom mid-air and hits a Royal Flush for the win. 

Winner: Kenny King @8:57

Rating: ***, The dynamic between the cocky dominant heel and the young upstart was really good in this match but Isom had shown that he wasn’t technically sound as much of the match was dead space but both men turned in very good acting performances in a good story. 

Jeff Cobb(c) vs. Hangman Page for the ROH TV Title:

  • The match starts fast and furious. 
  • Page dropkicks Cobb to ringside, Page goes for the Apron Shooting Star Press but Cobb catches him with an overhead suplex. Awesome spot. 
  • Lionsault by Page for the first near fall.
  • Amazing dropkick by Cobb hits Page on the top rope, Cobb follows it up with a great stalling superplex he only gets one count on Page but follows it up with a Standing Moonsault. 
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Cobb misses Page.
  • Crossbody by Cobb but Page rolls through with amazing strength to hit a fallaway slam. Another awesome spot. 
  • Page lariats Cobb to the outside to follow it up with a suicide dive which takes out Cobb ringside. Page goes to the top rope and moonsaults down to the floor taking Cobb out again.
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Page, One Count. Page hits another one for a near fall.
  • Strikefest turns into a staredown, Cobb knocks Page into the corner and deadlifts him up into a Tombstone Piledriver for a great near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Headbutt by Cobb knocks Page onto the apron, Cobb runs at Page but gets caught with a Buckshot Lariat.
  • Rite of Passage attempt by Page is rolled through into an F5 for a near fall. 
  • Tour of the Islands by Cobb into an amazing crucifix counter by Page for a great near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page caught into a Tour of the Islands followed by another one to close. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Retains @13:30!

Rating: ****1/2, This match was outstanding and intense. These 2 mixed with each other amazingly and the crowd was red hot. This is what ROH was founded on. Jeff Cobb is one of the sleeper picks for wrestler of the year and drops another instant classic. The spots here were insane and it was one of the most fun, well-paced matches I’ve seen from ROH this year. 

Sumie Sakai vs. Karen Q vs. Madison Rayne vs. Kelly Klein for the Women of Honor Title:

  • Double Strikefests to start the match.
  • Sumie Sakai and Madison Rayne face-off to start the action after initial chaos. 
  • Crossbody by Rayne for the first near fall on Sakai. 
  • Sakai rolls into a Coquina Clutch but Karen turns both women into a Double Boston Crab, Sakai and Rayne escape. 
  • Klein chucks Sakai to ringside taking her out of the match momentarily. 
  • Q and Klein decide to team up and take out Rayne. After being dominated for a while, Rayne fires up and hits a Crucifix Bomb on Q for a near fall.
  • Chain Bomb led by Klein but Sakai stays on the top rope and hits a missile dropkick to Klein.
  • Q and Klein face-off, K Power Slam by Klein finishes Karen Q from the match.
  • Tornado DDT by Rayne to Klein for a near fall. 
  • Cutter by Rayne on Sakai gets really close near fall. 
  • Smashmouth by Sakai on Rayne but she can’t capitalize and Klein pushes Sumie aside to get the pin and eliminate Madison Rayne. 
  • Sakai takes Klein down into a Cross Armbreaker but Klein holds the fingers together and powerbombs out of it but Sakai keeps it locked, Kelly eventually gets to the ropes.
  • Smashmouth by Sakai to Klein gets a close near fall. 
  • Deadlift Powerbomb by Klien gets another near fall. 
  • K Power by Klein slams Sakai and gets yet another close near fall. 
  • Klein hits a Super K Power slam to win the women’s title.

Winner: Kelly Klein New Champion! @13:40

Rating: ***, The match was worked at a rushed pace and not much was sold but it finally felt like ROH was invested in the Women’s Division. Klein is hopefully a good person to take the title and make it prestigious because Sumie Sakai absolutely sucked as champion. Klein turned in a great performance but the rest of the women were lackluster. This was a little bit better than okay because it was driven by drama for having a new champion. 

Jonathan Gresham vs. Zack Sabre Jr:

  • Amazing technical match-up.
  • ZSJ slaps Gresham before the bell rings. 
  • Both attempt pinning combinations beginning the heat of the match 4 minutes in.
  • Some solid mat work into an Octopus Lock by ZSJ but Gresham fights into his own Octo Lock, ZSJ rolls through and applies the hold on the ground beginning the mat work again. 
  • Stiff chopfest into a hard arm stomp by ZSJ, Gresham comes up to fight back and the strikes fly harder and faster. Gresham hits an enzugiri/German Suplex combo for a near fall but Jonathan flies back with a stiff forearm. Single leg crab by Gresham locked in but ZSJ transitions it into a Triangle Choke, Gresham fights out. 
  • Octopus Stretch attempt by Gresham rolled into a deeply wrenched ankle lock by ZSJ, Gresham gets his own ankle lock but ZSJ escapes and takes Gresham down with a Penalty Kick.
  • Springboard Moonsault by Gresham into a pinning combo but it’s blocked by ZSJ and he gets in a roll-up of his own for the win. 

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr @12:22

Rating: ***1/2, This was a great technical match but never stepped into another gear due to the abrupt finish. It was great to see Gresham get his much-deserved exposure but I expected more from this match. Yet, the final product was actually pretty good and was a refreshing take on an ROH show. 

Dalton Castle vs. Matt Taven for Taven’s “Real” World Title:

  • Castle’s first big match since returning from injury.
  • Matt Taven gets great heel heat and comes out with his fake world title belt.
  • Castle looks like he’s put on some weight during his injury sabbatical. 
  • The match starts with a strikefest that transitions into a brawl ringside.
  • Series of ducked clotheslines in the corner goes on for a while and Castle and Taven stare down afterward. 
  • Kick of the king by Taven knocks Dalton off the apron but Castle is caught by the Boys getting Dalton back in-ring to take advantage.
  • Taven dodges a crossbody by Castle sending him ringside, Taven hits a suicide dive but attempts another one but misses and eats the barricade brutally. Castle flies at Taven with a running knee.  
  • Taven whips Castle into the entrance steps as Dalton hits the bad back. 
  • Backbreaker by Taven attacks the back of Castle and gets the first near fall. 
  • The match begins to come apart and the pace gets really slow. 
  • DDT by Taven after a series of strikes gets a near fall on Castle. 
  • TK O’Ryan from the Kingdom takes out Castle with the referee distracted, The Boys take out TK with a suicide dive. Vinny Marseglia comes out from the bottom of the ring and takes out the Boys. 
  • Taven clocks Castle with the title belt with the referee distracted but gets a great near fall. 
  • Roll-up by Castle gets a near fall and Castle begins to fire up but Taven clocks him with a stiff Penalty Kick to knock both down.
  • Running knee by Castle to Taven draped over the top rope sends Matt to the floor. A great Bangarang into the post by Castle lays out Taven.
  •  Powerbomb by Castle, TK throws one of the boys to break up the pin. The referee ejects TK.
  • Bangarang by Castle gets a very close near fall as Taven gets a last-second rope break. 
  • Another Bangarang attempt by Castle, Taven hits the Climax DDT to win the match.

Winner: Matt Taven Retains His Fake Belt @15:51

Rating: **, This match was really lethargic. It had so much going on but the in-ring work never reached another gear. The story is a weird attempt at a 2011 CM Punk with a fake belt. The story never really got too over with me. Dalton Castle is coming back after an injury but wasn’t effective in this match. He looks worse and doesn’t wrestle with the same spirit and fire he normally does. Matt Taven is just genuinely annoying and I’d let that go if this was a solid in-ring match but it wasn’t and it was severely overbooked. 

Christopher Daniels vs. Marty Scurrl Title Shot against Career:

  • Christopher Daniels might be going to the E if he loses this match, Daniels is an ROH legend and this match could be great as a sendoff to either the big league or retirement. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Scurrl, Daniels fires up with chops of his own. Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker by Daniels shuts down Marty.
  • Superkick off the apron by Scurrl misses, Daniels hits a great springboard Arabian Moonsault taking out Scurrl on the floor.
  • Superplex by Scurrl.
  • Apron Superkick is successful by Scurrl, Mary whips Daniels into the barricade. Scurrl superkicks Chris while he is set up on a chair. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Scurrl to the back of Daniels for a near fall. 
  • Half and Half Suplex by Scurrl, Daniels pops up to hit a Blue Thunder Bomb and both are taken out. 
  • Daniels fires up and hits a comeback sequence into a Wheelbarrow Facebuster for a near fall. 
  • Bodyslam/Lionsault combo by Daniels for another near fall.
  • Chopfest into a discus elbow by Scurrl knocking Daniels down. 
  • Graduation by Scurrl blocked into a roll-up by Daniels for a near fall. Mary fights into hitting a Package Piledriver for a near fall. 
  • Chicken Wing attempt by Scurrl into a roll up by Daniels for a near fall. Daniels lifts up Scurrl and slams him down with a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. 
  • Tombstone Piledriver by Scurrl with an Undertaker pinfall for a near fall, Scurrl breaks the fingers of Daniels and rolls into another Chicken Wing attempt it fails but Marty snaps the fingers of Daniels again. 
  • Daniels goes for Angel’s Wings but the fingers can’t lock in due to the snaps but Marty can’t capitalize. Daniels finally gets the Angels Wings but gets a great near fall. 
  • Best Moonsault Ever by Daniels blocked, Scurrl hits a lariat knocking down Daniels. 2 Superkicks by Scurrl into a Neck Stomp and a Graduation by Scurrl for a great near fall. 
  • Neck Stomps by Scurrl knock out Daniels, Scurrl locks in the Chicken Wing and taps out Daniels. 

Winner: Marty Scurrl Retains His Title Shot and Retires Christopher Daniels @17:42!

Rating: ***1/2, the match was a slight disappointment and was a weird way for Daniels to go out but Scurrl delivered a great desperate performance and the drama was cranked high towards the end. The story resonated with me and is a bit of a passing of the torch. The ending sequence was amazing too with Scurrl having to resort to brutally stomping on the neck of Daniels to win. The match was driven by a great story which makes up for the almost lackluster in-ring work. 

Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon I Quit Match:

  • Bully Ray attacks Christopher Daniels and transitions into the next match. 
  • Flip Gordon makes his entrance through the crowd in a tactical vest with an American Flag. 
  • Flip comes hot out of the gates and the commentary does a great job of selling how much of a dick Bully Ray is. 
  • Bully Ray sets up a table ringside.
  • Flip’s girlfriend is ringside looking like she couldn’t give half a shit. 
  • Flip gets another table and places it in the ring. 
  • Bully Ray backdrops Flip from inside the ring to the floor stopping his momentum. 
  • Ray punches Flip with a chain wrapped around his fist.
  • Bully Ray takes out Bobby Cruise the ring announcer, Todd Sinclair the lead referee yells at Bully but Ray lays out Sinclair. Christopher Daniels comes back to take a kendo shot instead of ROH Ambassador Cary Silkin. Flip Gordon hits a plancha wiping out Bully but busting himself open. 
  • Bully Ray backdrops Flip over the table, Flip is asked if he quits answer is no. 
  • Bully grabs Flip’s girlfriend and attempts to powerbomb her through a table, Flip almost quits but Cary Silkin hits Bully with a kendo stick to save Flip’s girl. Flip’s girl low blows Bully.
  • Flip grabs the American Flag and hits Bully with it. Flip looks like a genuine hero. Flip gets Bully in a crossface with the flagpole but Silas Young comes down to save Ray from quitting. 
  • Silas Young drenches the set-up table with lighter fluid, Cheeseburger comes out to attack Young but gets planted with a Misery Slam from Silas. 
  • Colt Cabana comes down with a chair and attacks Bully and Silas. Young low blows Colt and throws him to ringside. 
  • They try to light the table on fire but the lights go out and ECW legend Sandman comes back out of nowhere to attack Silas with a Kendo Stick. Star Spangled Stunner by Flip and Gordon attacks Bully with 2 kendos making Bully quit. 

Winner: Flip Gordon @14:22!

Rating: ***1/4, This was fun over-booking nonsense with all of ROH and Sandman coming to take down Bully Ray who is one of the most convincing heels in a while. Flip looked like an amazing face but the match lacked any substance and was just a run-in car crash for 15 minutes. It was fun and that was all it needed to be. 

Cody vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship:

  • Rematch from Cody’s ROH debut 2 years ago at Final Battle. 
  • Jay Lethal’s attire reflects the list that Cody put out when he became independent of wrestlers he wanted to face.
  • Pre-match promo by Cody gets himself heel heat by telling the crowd to kiss his ass. 
  • Jay Lethal grabs the mic and says he is ROH and he will take Cody out. There are WWE vibes to Cody’s future. 
  • Cody sells a knee injury early on and Lethal acts super awkward about it by just laying on him with a front face lock. 
  • Cody pops back up having sold the injury and cheap shots Lethal.
  • Cody plays up the crowd getting very solid heat but Lethal comes out to brawl with him ringside. 
  • Hip toss dropkick hits for Lethal getting the first near fall. 
  • Cody dominates the match keeping the pace really slow.
  • Cody goes for the disaster kick but misses as Lethal takes out the knee with the brace on it. Lethal stomps on the knee on the apron. Lethal wraps Cody’s knee around the post twice and hits a dropkick forcing Cody’s knee into the post. 
  • Lethal continues to work the knee in-ring and the pace slows down again. 
  • Lethal rolls up Cody after a failed Figure 4 attempt but the referee is distracted by Brandi missing the near fall. 
  • Spear by Brandi with the bionic shoulder into a Cross Rhodes by Cody for a great near fall on Lethal. 
  • Lethal goes for Shattered Dreams out of Goldust’s moveset but the referee gets in the way, Lethal dodges Brandi and Brandi spears Cody. Lethal Injection attempt accidentally hits Brandi, Lethal is distracted and Cody hits the Cross Rhodes for another great near fall. 
  • Figure Four Leg Lock by Cody but the bell rings, Hangman is shown as who rung the bell and gives him the title belt but the referee stops it, Lethal goes for the Figure 4 but Cody gets a near fall roll up. 
  • Cross Rhodes by Lethal for another good near fall. 
  • Diving Elbow Drop by Lethal but Cody gets the knees up, Cody hits the Bionic Elbow paying tribute to Dusty. Lethal lariats Cody to ringside and hits 6 Consecutive Suicide Dives which is insane. Cody comes back in the ring and spits at Lethal to stop the 7th one. Vertebreaker by Cody for a great near fall. 
  • Lethal kicks Cody sending him into the referee, Lethal cheats and hits Cody with a title belt getting a lot of heat. Lethal mocks Stardust and hits 2 consecutive superkicks into a Lethal Injection and then hits another 2 superkicks but Cody grabs the 2nd Lethal Injection, Figure Four locked in for Lethal, Lethal drags him back into the middle of the ring and Cody taps. 

Winner: Jay Lethal Retains @23:25!

Rating: ****1/4, This was a saga and was investing even when the pace was really slow. The whole theme of representing honor from Lethal was great and Cody played an amazing heel. By the end, Lethal had become desperate and had to cheat to win with the title belt shot to the leg. This match pulled a successful double turn and that’s hard to do. Both played their hits and the match had an amazing closing sequence. From top to bottom, this was a ride from 2 of the best wrestlers in the modern wrestling world. The only con was the Cody antics that plagues some of the beginning moments but Cody eventually became a very good part of this match. 

So Cal Uncensored vs. The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks Ladder War for the ROH Tag Titles:

  • Huge Match.
  • The Briscoes try to isolate Nick Jackson but Matt dropkicks a chair into Jay’s face. Huricanrana by Kazarian sends Matt into Jay Briscoe for a DDT, solid spot. 
  • Twisting Cutter by Matt Jackson to Mark Briscoe off the apron. 
  • Diving Stomp off the apron by Mark Briscoe sends Scorpio Sky through a table. 
  • Kazarian is busted open from a chair shot from the Briscoes. 
  • Mark puts a ladder around his head and helicopters SCU down. The Bucks hit a double superkick to the ladder on the head of Mark.
  • Matt Jackson powerbombs Jay Briscoe into a ladder set-up in the corner. 
  • Stereo Suicide Dives by the Bucks take out The Briscoes and they stand tall for a little bit. The Bucks can 2 sweet again and do. 
  • Kazarian climbs the ladder for the first time in the match but the Young Bucks stop him. SCU and the Bucks fight to climb the ladder. Kazarian and Nick throw the ladder at each other but Matt comes through to spear Frankie down. Stereo Superkicks by the Bucks take out SCU and the Bucks try to climb again but Kazarian stops Nick with a springboard Codebreaker grabbing Nick off the ladder. 
  • The Briscoes return to the match to throw chairs at Kazarian stopping him from climbing the ladder. Backdrop by the Briscoes send the legs of Kazarian into a ladder set-up in the corner.
  • Scorpio sends Jay into a chair set up in the corner then the Bucks hit the see you later apron spot but with a chair. Scorpio hits a great tope con hiro taking out Mark, Nick hits a great diving corkscrew taking everyone out, Jay Briscoe stops Matt from making a dive and throws him from the other side of the ring to the outside through a table. 
  • Jay grabs a staple gun but Kazarian hits a low blow to avoid the intense violence. 
  • Amazing Assisted Cutter off the apron by SCU through a table ringside to Mark Briscoe, fantastic spot. 
  • Matt Jackson has a sledgehammer and Jay Briscoe says to bring it on, Matt superkicks him instead. The Bucks hit a pop-up spear on Sky. 
  • Amazing avalanche huricanrana by Scorpio into a set-up ladder to Nick Jackson.
  • Matt Jackson climbs the ladder but Mark Briscoe takes him down and hits a backbreaker sending Matt through a chair attacking the injured back. 
  • Hard Assisted Tornado DDT by SCU to Nick plants him on his head ringside. 
  • Mark Briscoe climbs a ladder in the corner, Sky meets him on the top, Matt Jackson spears Scorpio off the ladder. Meltzer Driver intercepted with a cutter off the ladder by Mark. Jay hits the Jay Driller piledriver and everybody is wiped out.
  • Mark Briscoe sets up a ladder up against another ladder and tries to powerbomb Kazarian through it but it doesn’t work. Kazarian pulls Jay off the ladder and hits a Styles Clash on a chair. Kazarian and Mark fight on the top of the ladder, Kazarian knocks Briscoe down as he crashed through the ladder he set up. Nick Jackson comes up to battle with them but Jay dumps him off the ladder all the way through a table set up ringside.
  • Jay Briscoe hits Kazarian with a ladder as he crashes down through a table below, Mark grabs the belts for the win. 

Winner: The Briscoes @22:32!

Rating: ****1/2, This was utter chaos and one of the most brutal matches I’ve seen this year. It was a car crash in the best possible way for near half an hour. It was incredible to see what these guys could do and all 3 teams delivered great performances here. It was carnage and it was beautiful, The Briscoes are now 10 time ROH tag titles. 

Grade: B

Last Word: This year was decently lackluster for ROH but it is capped off on a really good note. Cobb vs. Page, Lethal vs. Cody and The Ladder War were all bangers. Christopher Daniels is retired and the WWE shadow glooms heavily over this show. ROH has had a ton of filler storylines and annoying champions which is the case tonight in matches like Taven vs. Castle or The Women’s 4-Way but the main gripe with this show is it’s intensely long run time. The matches were draining and by the end, it was hard to get through any more wrestling but the wrestling on this show was great. Lethal vs. Ospreay is still the best ROH match this year though. 

Progress Chapter 79: One Big Neck With Sausage Hands Review

dsmwgrgxcaevhhg

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Jordan Devlin defeats Mark Andrews @11:17 ***1/2
  • Laura Dimatteo and Jinny defeats Nina Samuels and Charlie Morgan @9:20 **
  • Drew Parker vs. Jimmy Havoc Never Starts due to brawling before the bell
  • Jordynne Grace defeats Isla Dawn @8:03 ***1/4
  • Trent Seven defeats Kyle Fletcher to retain the Atlas Title @18:46 ****1/2
  • Anti-Fun Police defeat Team Tremendous @13:57 ***
  • Eddie Dennis defeats Mark Haskins @15:56 ***3/4

Jordan Devlin vs. Mark Andrews:

  • Crowd firmly behind the Finn Balor trainee Jordan Devlin.
  • Roll up battle between the two goes on for a bit and begins the momentum 2 minutes in and the 2 flip out to stare at each other. The match is on. 
  • Handshake but Devlin pulls Mandrews in and hits an uranage for a near fall, Devlin is a very solid heel. 
  • Devlin grabs in a Surfboard Lock and transitions it into a rollup for a near fall. 
  • Both are prominent in NXT UK.
  • Mandrews ducks under Devlin and hits a uranage, Mandrews goes for a springboard wheelbarrow but Jordan catches him with a German Suplex to stop the sequence of high flying moves. 
  • Wheelbarrow Facebuster hits by Andrews for a near fall. 
  • Northern Lights Suplex rolled into a Standing Moonsault by Mandrews but Devlin gets the knees up to evade it. 
  • Corkscrew Cutter by Devlin hits in the corner for another near fall. 
  • Stundog Millionaire into a Shooting Star Press attempt by Andrews but Devlin catches him on the top rope with an enzugiri, Mandrews hits a great avalanche frankensteiner for a great near fall. 
  • Superkick by Devlin followed up by a Saito Suplex goes for a near fall. Devlin finishes it with the Last Call Powerslam.

Winner: Jordan Devlin @11:17

Rating: ***1/2, This was a solid academic high-flying match between two men at the top of the UK game. Devlin is on a roll coming off his banger against Chris Ridgeway at Chapter 78 and is beginning to pick up major victories. Mandrews is on a downward spiral picking up loss after loss eventually leading to a breaking point storyline. The match itself here was nothing special but it was worked well and mixed technical and high-flying skills together decently well. 

Charlie Morgan and Nina Samuels vs. Laura Dimatteo and Jinny:

  • Most of Progress’ women’s division is wrapped up in this faction warfare feud that comes across as lazy booking. 
  • The match starts with a brawl. Jinny gets chucked into a pile of chairs from Morgan.
  • Running Huricanrana by Jinny takes Samuels down and follows it up with a corner dropkick for the first near fall.
  • Guillotine Choke by Jinny but Samuels deadlifts out into a vertical suplex to open up tags. 
  • Hot tag by Morgan. Swanton Bomb by Morgan for a near fall on Dimatteo. 
  • Tornado DDT by Dimatteo begins a sequence of big moves from all 4 ending with a Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker by Samuels to Jinny and all are laid out. 
  • Double strikefest, DDT by Morgan on Dimatteo but Jinny makes a near fall save. 
  • Jinny makes a blind tag and hits a ripcord wheelbarrow kick to pin Samuels. 

Winners: Laura Dimatteo and Jinny @9:20

Rating: **, The lazy “lets put most of the women into one poorly booked feud” continues. This match wasn’t worked very cleanly and the faces didn’t put in a strong performance at all. The ending was awkward but the middle portion was okay and had a solid pace. Not much to say about this one, hopefully, Grace vs. Dawn delivers a good women’s wrestling match later in the show. 

Drew Parker vs. Jimmy Havoc:

  • Parker cost Jimmy Havoc a shot at the World Title at Chapter 78.
  • Acid Rainmaker by Havoc lays out Parker before the match even starts. 
  • Havoc grabs his ax but Spike Tremaine comes out to save Drew Parker. Chuck Mambo and William Eaver save Havoc from attack. Eaver takes out Havoc to turn heel. Chuck Mambo also turns heel by attacking Havoc and a 4-1 attack ensues. 
  • The match never starts.

Winner: Match Never Happens @0:00

Isla Dawn vs. Jordynne Grace:

  • Originally scheduled to be a Triple Threat with Millie Mackenzie but Mac is injured. 
  • Dawn keeps herself in control by continually kicking Grace down. Grace gets herself some space by hitting a Spinebuster.
  • Powerslam by Grace drops Dawn on her head and gets a near fall. 
  • Clothesline sequence by Grace but Dawn boots her off and hits a Saito suplex with a great show of strength.
  • Roll up sequence into a Half N Half suplex by Dawn for a near fall.
  • Double Knees in the corner followed up by a hard sliding elbow by Grace capped off with a Vader Bomb. Bearhug by Grace locked in and taps out Dawn.

Winner: Jordynne Grace @8:03 

Rating: ***1/4, A very good debut one-on-one in Progress for Grace and Dawn is intense and sells everything greatly like always. The match never really kicked into another gear but was a fun little women’s match that delivers something of note on a so far heavily lackluster show. The match was quick and not too much happened but it was fun while it lasted. 

Trent Seven Atlas Title Open Challenge:

  • Kyle Fletcher from Aussie Open is the challenger this time.
  • Mark Davis the other half of Aussie Open joins commentary.
  • Shoulder tackle sequence but Kyle Fletcher comes out on top.
  • Seven hits the Running Crossbody for a near fall calling back the move that retired Doug Williams in Wembley. 
  • Stiff chop by Seven makes Fletcher angry and he returns with a stiff chop of his own. Another hard chop by Seven and a final one by Seven knocks Kyle in the corner as Trent continues to strike away in the corner. Fletcher takes Seven down with a great springboard moonsault. 
  • Trent fake strikes out Kyle into a DDT and hits a series of moves into a Running Powerslam for a near fall. 
  • Figure 4 Leg Lock by Seven, Trent knocks him down with a chop. Kyle is nursing a knee injury coming into this match. Fletcher reverses the hold but Seven rolls the 2 to the ropes. 
  • Kyle and Trent fight on the apron, Seven hits a dragon suplex on the apron in a highlight spot.
  • Low Suicide Dive by Seven knocks Fletcher into chairs ringside, Fletcher runs back in the ring and dropkicks Seven off the apron. Tope Con Hiro off the top rope to ringside by Fletcher. “This is Progress” chants. 
  • German Suplex by Seven but Kyle runs and hits a Claymore Kick. Lawn Dart in the corner by Fletcher for a near fall.
  • Running Crossbody by Seven caught into a Michinoku Driver by Fletcher, a great spot for a near fall. 
  • Seven Starts Lariat by Trent for another near fall. Seven goes for the Burning Hammer but Fletcher takes out the injured leg of Seven to escape. Deadlift Sit-out Powerbomb by Fletcher goes for a great near fall. 
  • The 2 fight on the top rope, Insane super Dragon Suplex by Seven for an amazing near fall. 
  • Seven locks in a Figure 4 tapping out Kyle Fletcher. 

Winner: Trent Seven Retains @18:46!

Rating: ****1/2, This match spent almost the entire second half in top gear. These 2 pulled some insane tricks out of their sleeves and worked together very well. The Dragon Suplex off the top rope was crazy and Seven had his first legitimately challenging opponent 3 defenses in. The hard-hitting vs high-flying styles were present and these 2 turned a slow start into an incredible match. With NXT UK on the horizon, great Progress matches like these will become a rarity.

The Anti-Fun Police vs. Team Tremendous:

  • Team Tremendous is making their Progress debut. Dan Barry was in the really fun 10-man tag at PWG BOLA.
  • The huge Bill Carr and Santos stare down. Carr hits an insane huricanrana as a 300 pound plus dude flipping another 300 pounds plus dude.
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Carr, Santos walks it off but goes to hug his tag partner, no fun Dunne, who tags in. Carr chops Dunne in the corner and he screams and goes to tag in Santos who pulls out a finger gun, Barry takes the finger gun from Santos but Dunne comes back and takes the finger gun, Carr ends up with the finger gun and the referee takes it away. All 4 pul out finger guns, amazing comedy stuff. They “shoot” one of the crew members who sell like he died. 
  • Dan Barry hits a suicide dive taking out Santos ringside, Team Tremendous regroup ringside and big ass Santos hits a suicide dive taking them out. 
  • Sidewalk elbow by Anti-Fun Police gets a near fall on Barry. 
  • Carr comes in and throws Dunne around like a rag doll, Santos comes in but Carr catches him with a Deep Six.
  • Anti-Fun police regroup ringside, Barry hits a great tope con hiro. Carr hits a tope con hiro plancha wiping out the Police what a great move for a huge dude. 
  • Wheelbarrow kick by Santos knocks Carr ringside, Police work on Barry and Santos hits a Sit-out powerbomb but Carr rag dolls Dunne into the pin breaking it. 
  • Strikefest from all 4 ends with a stiff lariat by Carr taking out Santos. Carr catches Dunne mid-air with a jumping Deep Six. Amazing Doomsday Sliced Bread for a near fall save by Santos.
  • Big Ending by Santos takes out Carr, Santos catches Barry with a uranage, 619 by Dunne and a Wheelbarrow Codebreaker by the Police pin Barry. 

Winner: The Anti-Fun Police @13:57

Rating: ***, This match was really fun however the wrestling itself was weirdly worked and awkward at times. This was similar to the PWG 10-Man Tag which is one of the best tag matches this year, however, the only similarity was the comedy stuff and big men doing moves they shouldn’t be able to do the PWG match had a lot better in-ring work and was absolutely frantic in the closing stretches. This was a solid comedy match that dragged on too long. 

Eddie Dennis vs. Mark Haskins:

  • Both men have been on really good runs as of late, Haskins had a MOTY contender with Bate at Chapter 75, a great match with Riddle at Wembley and another great match against Walter at Chapter 78. Dennis beat Mandrews in a great TLC match as is the current #1 contender for the Progress title. 
  • Suicide Dive by Haskins knocks Dennis out ringside, Haskins follows it up with another suicide dive on the other side of the ring.
  • Running Leg Lariat by Haskins takes Dennis out who was set up on a chair ringside. 
  • Diving Double Stomp by Haskins misses, Uranage by Dennis lays out Mark. 
  • Dennis is working the neck of Haskins and maintains control in the middle portion of the match. 
  • Haskins tries to kick down the long legs of Dennis but hits a Dragon Screw Leg Whip to get back in the match. 
  • Crucifix Bomb into the corner by Dennis, Haskins fires back with a bicycle kicks but a stiff lariat by Dennis lays both out to end the mini-sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Dennis rolls up Haskins but Mark transitions into a Crossface, Dennis goes for the rope but Mark wrenches the hold. Eddie eventually grabs the rope.
  • Deadlift Deep Six by Dennis goes for a near fall. 
  • Crucifix bomb by Dennis gets rolled up by Haskins into a Landslide, great move sequence into a solid near fall. 
  • Deadlift Holding Superplex by Dennis into a successful Crucifix Bomb into the corner, Dennis hits a Next Stop Driver for an awesome near fall.
  • Sharpshooter by Haskins locked in, Dennis grabs the rope to escape. Haskins kicks Dennis and hits the Diving Double Stomp for a great near fall. 
  • Haskins goes for the Fujiwara but Dennis rolls it up to win. 

Winner: Eddie Dennis @15:56 

Rating: ***3/4, The match was a mediocre showcase of both men’s talents as they worked a pretty solid match together. The work was clean and the drama was high so there’s not much to complain about but this is yet another match on this show that hasn’t kicked into another gear. 

  • The newly formed faction of Chuck Mambo, William Eaver, Spike Tremaine, and Drew Parker attack both men after the match.

Travis Banks vs. David Starr:

  • The two brawl before the match, Banks cost Starr a match against Ilja Dragunov at Chapter 78.
  • Suicide dive by Starr wipes out Banks ringside. 
  • Banks fires back with a suicide dive of his own as the two continue to fight ringside. 
  • Travis Banks’ first Progress match since he lost the title to Walter a few months ago. 
  • Chopfest ringside ensues but Banks wins. Starr sets up back to back chairs. Banks hits a running PK off the apron so he can overhead suplex Starr through the set-up chairs. Great spot.
  • Strikefest in-ring gets intense with chops, Snapmare/PK combo by Starr takes Banks down but Travis fires back with a running knee to close the strike sequence. 
  • Snap German Suplex by Banks, near fall on the bridge. 
  • Stiff ass lariat by Starr knocks Banks out. 
  • Strikes from both men fire each other up, they both no sell german suplexes. They keep firing at each other but eventually both collapse to a standing ovation from the crowd. 
  • Rematch from PWG Neon Knights earlier this year which was a banger.
  • Shotgun dropkick by Banks into the corner, Travis hits a slingshot double stomp for a near fall. 
  • Banks locks in a sleeper, Starr plants Banks to escape and locks in a Crossface but Banks rolls him up to escape, Banks locks in his own crossface Starr deadlifts into a backbreaker to finally escape. 
  • Roll up sequence into a double stomp by Banks.
  • The 2 fight on the top rope but Starr falls, Diving Double stomp by Banks to the back of Starr for a near fall. 
  • Lariat by Starr catches Banks mid-air, Brainbuster over the knee by Starr for a near fall. 
  • Starr goes for his Han Stansen lariat but Banks catches him with an enzugiri to pick up an abrupt victory. 

Winner: Travis Banks @13:51

Rating: ****, Similar to their PWG encounter this match was a sprint with 2 men beating the crap out of each other. It was fun but not a Progress caliber main event and this show leaves me disappointed. 

Grade: C-

Last Word: This is my least favorite Progress show of the ones I’ve watched however Banks vs. Starr and Fletcher vs. Seven were quality. Progress has been on fire recently and takes a deserved break here, however, I believe NXT UK also plays a huge impact on this show being bad. WWE had picked up their biggest talents before this show leaving Progress in a moment of transition. It will be interesting to see how they write out the wrestlers leaving for the horrible big bad ‘E but Progress is currently in shambles but hopefully, Chapter 80 and 81 deliver next week. 

 

 

 

 

PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2018 Finals Review

2018-678x381

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Trevor Lee defeats Brody King @14:17 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Rey Horus @9:05 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/2
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Robbie Eagles @10:05 to move on to the Semi-Finals ****1/2
  • Joey Janela defeats CIMA @14:25 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/2
  • Walter defeats Jonah Rock @5:21 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***
  • Bandido defeats Flamita @10:57 to move on to the Semi-Finals ****1/4
  • The Rascalz defeats The Lucha Bros @11:15 to retain the PWG Tag Team Titles ****3/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Trevor Lee @0:18 to move on to the Finals N/A
  • Bandido defeats Joey Janela @14:27 to move on to the Finals *****
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Walter @17:24 to move on to the Finals ****3/4
  • Team PCO defeats Team DJZ in the Consolation Tag Match @18:23 ****1/2
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Bandido and Shingo Takagi to win Battle of Los Angeles 2018 @23:52 *****

Brody King vs. Trevor Lee Second Round:

  • Pre-Match heel promo from Trevor Lee, Lee calls out King for being a stereotypical atheist and Trevor calls himself the “God of PWG”. King attacks Lee starting the match. 
  • King lariats Lee to the outside and follows it up with a suicide dive attempt but Lee dodges, King comes to ringside to attack Trevor. King hits a chop to Trevor on a chair and then against the post. They fight deeper into the crowd but they come back and King hits the post chop again but misses sending his hand into the steel. 
  • Chokeslam by King sends Lee into the apron. 
  • Lee hits 4 apron Penalty Kicks followed by a cannonball to King ringside. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Lee, King fights back with strikes of his own but Lee catches him with a dropkick and continues to dominate. 
  • Huricanrana attempt by King reversed into a powerbomb by Lee and Trevor continues to control the match. 
  • Stiff big boot by King begins the comeback sequence, King hits a huricanrana into a cannonball to Lee set up against the ropes for the first near fall.
  • Lee bridges King to outside to try the dive but King rolls back in, Trevor adjusts and hits a moonsault to a standing Brody, near fall. Lee gets up and hits a Running PK for another near fall.
  • Strike sequence into a lariat by King flipping Lee gets a near fall.
  • Standing Double Stomp by Lee, very near fall. Lee inadvertently over-covers King getting Brody’s shoulder up.
  • Brainbuster by King followed into a Deep Six for a near fall. 
  • King seems to have a little bit of a back injury gained in his first round brawl against PCO.
  • While the referee is distracted, Lee hits a low blow and rolls up King for a great near fall. 
  • King goes for a running crossbody but Lee flips through into a pin getting the win and advancing. 

Winner: Trevor Lee Moves On! @14:17

Rating: ***1/4, This was a pretty solid brawl but suffered from King showing some effects from his banger against PCO leading to the match being worked slower and King lacking the fire and agility he always has. Trevor Lee was great though and carried most of the match. The end got very competitive and King began to fire up until Lee eventually beat him with the smart flip through finish. 

Rey Horus vs. Jeff Cobb Second Round Match:

  • A pop-up by Cobb reversed into a huricanrana by Horus, Rey begins the momentum. 
  • Guillotine Leg Drop by Horus for the first near fall.
  • Cobb pops-up Horus and follows it up with a huge lariat.
  • Jeff beals Horus from corner to corner, follows it up with a stiff chop and beals Horus again for a near fall. 
  • Fallaway Slam/Standing Moonsault combo by Cobb for another near fall. 
  • Cobb catches Horus off the Swinging DDT and hits an Elevated F5, solid reversal spot.
  • Horus dodges Cobb sending him into the post, Springboard Dropkick by Horus sends Cobb to ringside. Springboard Plancha to the outside by Horus, Horus rolls Cobb in-ring for a near fall. 
  • Pop-Up by Cobb reversed into a Tornado DDT by Horus for another near fall. 
  • Swanton Bomb by Horus misses, Cobb catches a Tornado DDT attempt and hits the Tour of the Islands Slam to win and advance. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves On @9:05!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a really fun sprint and was one of the shortest matches on the entire BOLA card but that wasn’t an issue. Jeff Cobb continues to do a great job as the hulking olympian and Horus did an amazing job of being the underdog luchador but eventually failing, The pace was worked very well and while it was nothing revolutionary it was a solidly good use of 10 minutes. 

Shingo Takagi vs. Robbie Eagles Second Round Match:

  • Eagles takes Shingo off the apron and hits a Tope Con Hilo through the ropes to Takagi outside.
  • A little bit of crowd fighting, Robbie sends Shingo into the post but Takagi ducks a kick sending Eagles’ leg into the post. 
  • Dragon Screw over the middle rope by Takagi and Shingo continues to work the leg. 
  • Strikefest, Shingo punches Robbie to the outside but Eagles rebounds and hits a leg lariat, Double knees in the corner by Eagles.
  • Standing Sliced Bread by Eagles for the first near fall. 
  • Diving 450 by Robbie misses, Shingo follows it up with a Dragon Screw again targeting the leg. 
  • Shingo goes for the Figure 4 but Robbie kicks him away, Takagi returns with a sliding lariat for a near fall.
  • Landslide by Eagles for another near fall.
  • Eagles tries to lariat Shingo down but Takagi catches him with a Death Valley Driver.
  • Made in Japan attempt fails, Leg Lariat attempt by Eagles misses and the Made in Japan hits for Shingo and an awesome near fall. Takagi comes back with a huge lariat for another awesome near fall. Standing Ovation from the crowd. 
  • Avalanche huricanrana by Eagles, Robbie follows it up with a 450 Splash but can’t immediately capitalize due to the knee and Takagi escapes a near fall. 
  • Great strikefest into a Pop-Up powerbomb by Takagi, near fall. Shingo transitions into an STF tapping out Eagles.

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @10:05!

Rating: ****1/2, Another amazing match in BOLA from Takagi. These 2 flew at each other for 10 minutes and delivered one of the top matches from the tournament. While Eagles took a step up here in facing a legitimate heavyweight while he was still a high flyer the dynamic worked really well and the pace kept up the entire time. Eagles delivered a performance of a lifetime and Shingo did a great job of working the leg and taking offense from Eagles. My one complaint about this match was that Eagles kept doing things with the injured leg he shouldn’t have been able to do like kick Tagaki with a step-up enzugiri or run around at 100 MPH like he did, I guess it isn’t really PWG’s style to go into full effect in selling an injury so that was just a minor gripe. 

CIMA vs Joey Janela Second Round Match:

  • The crowd is behind Joey Janela.
  • Slower more technical start.
  • Double knees in the corner by CIMA, CIMA hits a diving double knee to the back of Janela drapes against the ropes for the first near fall.
  • Janela throws CIMA to the outside and runs at him with a Diving Elbow off the apron. 
  • A little bit of submission wrestling but CIMA locks in an Indian Deathlock and Joey gets the ropes.
  • Diving Stomp by CIMA followed by a knee drop gets a near fall on Janela. 
  • Chop battle into an elbow strike by Joey knocking CIMA outside, Janela hits a great diving crossbody from the top rope to the outside wiping out CIMA. In-ring, Diving Stomp by Janela for a near fall. 
  • 2 Inverted Fisherman Busters hit by CIMA for another near fall. 
  • Meteora by CIMA hits off all the bottom and middle turnbuckles but Janela dodges the top rope Meteora. 
  • Super Fisherman Buster by CIMA followed up with a successful top rope Meteora for an awesome near fall. 
  • Superkick by Janela wins the match. 

Winner: Joey Janela Moves On @14:25!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a weird match up as it was a Japanese legend versus a dastardly American bad boy. The match started slow and felt like nothing happened in the first 5 minutes but eventually, it looked like they figured each other out and got it together for a great closing sequence. The match was worked at one of the slowest paces of the weekend but it just felt all the better when it picked up. The Super Brainbuster/ Meteora combo by CIMA that got an awesome near fall made me invested to the fact that either of these guys could’ve won. Unfortunately, it was given a bit of a dead spot after the awesome Eagles vs. Takagi match and the crowd only got into it for the final moments of the match. Joey Janela advances and I’m excited to see what else the bad boy can do in this tournament. 

Walter vs. Jonah Rock Second Round Match:

  • Jonah Rock attacks Walter before he can get in the ring and Rock continues to fight with Walter in the crowd but Walter fights back. Rock spears Walter into the post and rolls back in-ring. 
  • Superplex by Walter lays both out and the match is officially started.
  • Big Boot/Stiff Lariat combo by Walter lays out Rock. 
  • Strikefest but Walter wins with a brutal chop. 
  • DDT by Rock to escape the Sleeper Hold attempt from Walter gets the first near fall.
  • Bodyslam by Walter followed up with a Bonsai Drop gets a near fall. Samoan Drop by Rock knocks Walter down.
  • Uranage/Senton/Brainbuster combo by Rock gets another near fall. 
  • Rock goes for a moonsault by Walter rips him off the middle rope with a German Suplex. 
  • Rock goes Roman Reigns and hits a Superman Punch and tries a spear but Walter hits him with a big boot to stop it. 
  • Walter hits a Sleeper Hold to weaken Rock and transitions into a powerbomb for the win. 

Winner: Walter Moves On @5:24!

Rating: ***, I was really excited for this match as it should’ve been 2 Super Heavyweight clubbing the shit out of each other. Instead, it was a little bit of brawling and a quick win by Walter. Rock got some offense in but neither men had the opportunity to shine in a match that should’ve been a Match of the Tournament Contender. 

Flamita vs. Bandido Second Round Match:

  • This should be an absolute lucha classic. Two tag team partners who have had amazing years should tear this house down. 
  • The crowd is very excited before the match even starts.
  • Show of respect in a hug before the match. 
  • Bandido isn’t taken down by a shoulder block and flosses, Flamita flosses as well. Fortnite is quite a game, isn’t it? The referee flosses too and gets a huge pop.
  • Double big boots take both men down.
  • Both men springboard to each other from different sides of the ring and go into a stare down. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl huricanrana by Flamita reversed the Angle Slam attempt by Bandido. 
  • Chop Battle on the apron, Flamita hits a DDT on the apron. Amazing Shooting Star Press off the apron by Flamita taking out Bandido ringside. 
  • Bandido dropkicks Flamita off the apron and follows it up with a super elevated Tope Con Hiro. 
  • Flamita catches Bandido in mid-air with a dropkick for a near fall. 
  • Great sequence in the corner into a Muscle Buster Lung Blower by Flamita for another near fall. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl Piledriver by Bandido but Flamita hops back up and hits a Shining Wizard Kick to take both out. 
  • Fast chopfest, Flamita rocks Bandido with a right hand. Superkick by Flamita. Standing Spanish Fly also by Flamita for a near fall. 
  • Tiger Driver by Flamita knocks Bandido down for the 450 Splash by Flamita getting another near fall on Bandido. 
  • Inverted GTS/Sit-out Powerbomb combo by Bandido for a near fall.
  • Bandido attempts to hit a Tilt-A-Whirl but Flamita catches him with a German Suplex and gets a very near fall. 
  • Pop-Up Mid-Kick by Bandido followed up with a Springboard German Suplex for the win. 

Winner: Bandido Moves On @10:57

Rating: ****1/4, While there is a tad bit of disappointment that these two didn’t go absolutely crazy this match was still very fun. These 2 are some of the best luchadores in the world currently and maybe all-time and they can work a very fast pace while hitting insane moves very cleanly. The crowd energy was off the charts and I was fully ready for a five-star match and while I didn’t get that the product was very entertaining. These 2 did some moves I’ve never seen before like Bandido’s insane Tilt-A-Whirl Piledriver or Flamita’s Muscle Buster Lung Blower. The Springboard Staredown was also an awesome moment and this was a showcase on how far Lucha Wrestling has come. 

The Rascalz vs. The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr and Fenix) for the PWG Tag Team Titles:

  • Rascalz took the masks of Feniz and Penta and are mocking their ring entrances.
  • Xavier and Pentagon start the match.
  • The mocking from Rascalz continue through the opening stages of the match and is great comedy stuff. 
  • Stiff chop by Penta after he takes off the glove, Xaver takes off his glove and returns the favor. 
  • Another Lucha Showcase on our hands. 
  • Slingblade by Penta, Xavier returns the favor with one of his own. Double Cero Miedo taunts and both men tag the wrong person confused on who’s who. This is great. 
  • Fenix Wents and the actual Fenix face off. 
  • Great sequence from Fenix and Wentz trying each other’s moves with Wentz hitting Fenix’s signature Hopscotch Huricanrana. 
  • The Lucha Bros unmask Wentz and Xavier so the games finally stop.
  • Stereo Superkicks by The Rascalz send the Lucha Bros ringside for stereo suicide dives, Lucha Bros come back in to hit Stereo Tope con Hiros. 
  • Great Sequence of kicks from all 4 men all get taken down. 
  • Corner Dropkick by Wentz to Fenix sends him all the way to ringside. 
  • Tandem Stomp Combination by The Rascalz to Penta gets a near fall. 
  • Great Rebound Roundhouse/Superkick Combo by The Lucha Bros into the Wheelbarrow Splash getting a near fall.
  • Diving Stomp/Powerbomb Combo by the Lucha Bros, near fall on Xavier. 
  • Amazing Backspring Elbow attempt by Xavier caught with a Superkick by Fenix, Wentz hits a cutter on Fenix, Penta hits a Canadian Destroyer on Wentz. Awesome Sequence.
  • 619 around the post by Xavier to Penta.
  • Diving Stomp/Package Piledriver combo on the apron by the Lucha Bros to Wentz. In-ring the same move hits on Xavier and Fenix hits a suicide dive to Wentz ringside to stop him from making the save. Amazing near fall. 
  • Swanton Bomb/Sky Twister by Rascalz to Penta, Fenix comes into make the save but Xavier moves out of the way and Fenix hits a Swanton accidentally to Pentagon. 
  • Assisted Moonsault by The Rascalz to Fenix closes the match.

Winners: The Rascalz Retain @11:15!

Rating: ****3/4, This was almost what I expected Flamita vs. Bandido to be. An absolute lucha classic. These guys flew around the ring and hit insane spots like I expected them to. Sometimes it is hard to be shocked at these guys doing INSANE things when the Stronghearts vs. Horus, Flamita, and Bandido main event of Night 2 resembled this match. However, The Diving Stomp Piledriver on the apron by the Lucha Bros is one of the most brutal tag moves I’ve ever seen. Also, The Rascalz pretending to be Penta and Fenix in the early stages was hilarious. Of the 3 DVD’s this match is in my Top 3 favorite matches so far. It was just all around good time and it was also really hard again to take notes on because these guys were always doing something crazy. 

Jeff Cobb vs. Trevor Lee Semi-Final Match:

  • Trevor Lee tries to deliver another pre-match promo but Cobb stops him with a series of suplexes.
  • Tour of the Islands by Cobb puts Trevor Lee away in under 20 seconds advancing Jeff to the finals.

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves to the Finals @0:18

Rating: N/A, Jeff Cobb is positioned as an unbeatable monster going into the finals and Trevor Lee gets his mouth shut after trash talking his way through the tournament. Good stuff even though there was no match. Cobb puts away one of the favorites to win the tournament and PWG shocks the audience in attendance. 

Bandido vs. Joey Janela Semi-Final Match:

  • Both had amazing showings at All In, the same month that BOLA happened. 
  • Handshake showing respect before the match gets going. 
  • Great mini-sequence from the 2 but Janela shuts it down after rocking Bandido with a stiff jab.
  • Handstand by Bandido to escape a lariat but Janela superkicks him down. Snap Suplex by Joey follows for the first near fall. 
  • Crossbody by Bandido to Janela against the ropes sends him ringside, Bandido fires at him with a suicide dive.
  • Amazing Corkscrew Dive by Bandido takes out Janela set up on a chair ringside.
  • Strikefest on the apron, Janela hits a Death Valley Driver on the apron and follows it up with an Inverted DDT on the apron. Bandido took rough landings on both. In-ring, Janela goes for a pin but gets a near fall. 
  • Amazing Diving Tornado by Bandido for a near fall.
  • Super Brainbuster by Janela gets a great near fall on Dido. 
  • Janela brings in a chair, Janela sets Bandido up on the chair but Bandido superkicks him back. Bandido hits an awesome springboard German Suplex into the chair, one of my favorite spots of the year and gets another great near fall almost putting Janela away. 
  • Joey dodges Bandido flying from the top but catches him on the ground with a superkick, near fall. Janela superkicks Bandido again but Bandido kicks out at on and fires up. 
  • Deadlift Piledriver by Bandido gets yet another great near fall. 
  • More chairs brought in the ring by Bandido, and fans help Bandido make a pile of chairs. Superkick by Janela sends Bandido into the pile of chairs.
  • Janela sets up a chair bridge, they fight on the top rope above the bridge but Bandido gets the upper hand. Amazing Backflipping Fallaway Slam off the top rope by Bandido sends Janela into the chair bridge and closes the match. 

Winner: Bandido Moves on the Finals @14:27!

Rating: *****, This was insane and one of the most fun matches I’ve ever seen. These dudes went crazy and the extreme American style mixed perfectly with the insane lucha libre of Bandido. The match involved spots that I would never think of and Excalibur on commentary sold each near fall like crazy. I was really invested in who would win while being absolutely shocked at what they were able to pull off. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is my favorite match from this year’s tournament as it wasn’t just Lucha Flips or Hard Bumps but it was an investing encounter with the crowd hot as hell. 

Shingo Takagi vs. Walter Semi-Final Match:

  • This will be hard-hitting, to say the least.
  • Shoulder tackle battle but Walter tries to grab in the sleeper but Takagi breaks free, Big boot by Walter knocks down Takagi.
  • Stuff chop by Shingo but Walter escapes a counter strike and hits a shoulder block to finally take Walter off his feet.
  • 4 consecutive elbow drops all from different heights by Takagi ending with one of the top rope for the first near fall.
  • Strikefest, Walter sends Takagi to ringside. A brawl ensues ringside, Walter hits a big backdrop sending Takagi into the apron. Walter rolls Takagi in the ring for a near fall. 
  • Walter stands on the neck of Takagi over the top rope sending Takagi down to the apron, Walter is beginning to dominate this match. 
  • Shingo unsuccessfully tries to bodyslam Walter but eats a vertical suplex by Walter instead. 
  • Walter clubs Shingo in between the ropes Sheamus-Style but a lot harder, Shingo falls to ringside. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Takagi takes Walter down and gives him space. 
  • Takagi displays a lot of strength and hits a vertical suplex to Walter.
  • 3 Consecutive lariats in the corner by Shingo, Takagi dodges a dropkick by Walter and capitalizes with a sliding lariat but Shingo can’t capitalize for the pin. 
  • Saito Suplex attempt by Shingo but Walter shifts his weight to fall directly on Shingo. 
  • Hard lariats by Takagi but Walter hits a hard boot/German Suplex combo and follows it up with a very stiff lariat for a near fall.
  • Stiff strikes sent by both men, horrible chop by Walter and the crowd literally screams. Jesus Christ. “Holy Shit” chants from the stiffness of the chop by Walter. 
  • Saito Suplex by Takagi is finally successful but only gets a 2 count/ 
  • Made in Japan attempt by Takagi, Walter escapes but Takagi lariats him in the corner. Walter runs at Takagi and hits a dropkick, follows it up with a powerbomb but transitions the pin into the Boston Crab. Walter transitions into a very wrenched in STF but his grip breaks to just let Takagi out of the hold.
  • Walter strikes at a kneeling Takagi but Shingo fires up and hits an insane Death Valley Driver on Walter for a great near fall. 
  • Uranage by Walter plants Takagi and gets another near fall.
  • Chops by Walter but he maintains wrist control to hit a consecutive chop but Shingo breaks free and hits a flurry of lariats but Walter chops back. Shingo hits a final lariat to pick up a shock win. 

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @17:24!

Rating: ****3/4, This match was a technical showcase very similar to the Walter vs. Timothy Thatcher match from Night 2. However, this match brought the fire from Shingo Takagi playing a great underdog and firing up to shake off Walter’s strikes and pick up the shock win. Walter has been established as an absolute monster and Takagi had finally slain him and the crowd lost their minds. The finish also protects Walter from looking weak because it wasn’t definitive and moved very fast. The stiff strikes in this match were mostly nothing compared to the strikes in the Thatcher vs. Walter match however the absolutely disgustingly hard chop by Walter got genuine screams from the crowd and was a hard moment to watch for a second. Walter played the hits but Takagi really shined here. Takagi in the finals versus the other BOLA MVP Contender Bandido and the monstrous olympian Jeff Cobb will be interesting to watch. 

Team PCO (Darby Allin, Dan Barry, Puma King, PCO, and Jody Fleisch) vs. Team DJZ (David Starr, DJZ, Timothy Thatcher, T-Hawk, and Adam Brooks) Consolation Tag Match:

  • David Starr does the awesome pre-match intro but Darby Allin interrupts him. 
  • DJZ and Puma King start the match. 
  • Solid mini-sequence from King and DJZ feeling very lucha-technical. DJZ brings more of the air horn sound effects.
  • Amazing corkscrew springboard armdrag by DJ to King. 
  • Avalanche Headscissors by King to DJ followed by a diving crossbody. 
  • King dropkicks DJ to ringside but Starr stops the dive to heel heat. 
  • Starr superkicks King to ringside but chooses to go after Darby Allin instead of hitting the dive. 
  • Allin and Starr face-off, another good mini-sequence. Capped off by a counter stunner by Allin taking out Starr. 
  • Good sequence by Fleisch and Hawk with Jody trying hard to escape the chops. 
  • Triangle Kick by Brooks to Dan Barry in the ropes for the first near fall. 
  • Strike-off from Thatcher and PCO. 
  • Allin tries to Coffin Drop Thatcher but Thatcher catches him in the Sleeper and places him in the Tree of Woe, Team DJZ wipes Team PCO off the apron and hits a 4-way dropkick to Allin in the corner.
  • Dan Barry goes 5-1 and pulls out a finger gun and takes out the other team. Amazing comedy stuff. PCO puts the finger gun in his mouth, Brooks grabs the finger gun from Barry and shoots PCO. PWG is fun.
  • Canadian Destroyer by Allin to Hawk, Starr breaks the pib,
  • Brooks tries to go for the dive but PCO revives and stops Brooks. Pop-up powerbomb by PCO to Brookes. Puma King and PCO tandem take out Brooks. King and PCO throw DJZ into diving out on everyone. Brooks comes back to attack King and PCO with a chair. Starr joins him and it looks like their gonna dive off the chairs but they sit on them and taunt. Dan Barry hits a great corkscrew tope and Allin hits a Coffin Drop to the outside. Puma King powerbombs DJZ into the sea of people outside and King hits a tornado dive to everyone. Jody hits an amazing Springboard Shooting Star Press dive to everyone, PCO hits a diving moonsault taking everyone out. One of the best dive sequences I’ve ever seen. 
  • PCO rolls Starr to the other side and tries to dive out but Starr catches him with an apron DDT. PCO grabs Starr in a Tombstone and PCO chokeslams DJZ and Hawk at the same time that he piledrives Starr. 
  • Brooks hits an awesome super Canadian destroyer to PCO. 
  • Jody Fleisch hits an awesome 720 tornado DDT to Brooks. Thatcher lariats Jody out. Thatcher gets Dan Barry in the sleeper hold but PCO hits a Swanton Bomb to help Barry escape but it fails so PCO pins Thatcher over Barry to win the match anyway. 

Winners: Team PCO

Rating: ****1/2, This was genuinely the most fun 10-Man tag I’ve witnessed. It had the great PWG charm to it and every wrestler who got knocked out in the first round got a chance to shine on Night 3. PCO especially. The Dive sequence was absolutely insane and these dudes tore the house down while being absolutely hilarious. I don’t think a wrestling match has made me laugh more than this one. The in-ring work was great too as BOLA gets some of the top talents from across the world for this tournament so big deal wrestlers like David Starr, Darby Allin, Adam Brooks, Timothy Thatcher, and DJZ were thrown in there with comic relief guys like PCO, Puma King, and Dan Barry. It was a fun mix of work rate and comedic relief and the best 10-man tag I’ve seen in November, yeah I’m talking to you Survivor Series. 

Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi Final Match:

  • The match goes by Elimination Rules. 
  • Everybody shakes hands. 
  • Strike tandem sequence by Shingo and Bandido takes Cobb ringside, Takagi elevates Bandido for an elevated Tope con Hiro to Cobb ringside.
  • Chain Superplex led by Cobb powerbombing Shingo who superplexes Bandido. 
  • Shingo and Bandido team up to hit a vertical suplex on Cobb. Shingo suckers in Bandido with a handshake but ends up rocking him with a right hand.
  • Hard Superkick by Bandido to Cobb gets the first near fall. 
  • Superkick/Death Valley Driver combo by Takagi and Bandido takes out Cobb.
  • Springboard Crossbody by Bandido takes Shingo out.
  • Bandido tries to get his opponents to floss with him but neither do, Shingo hits a DDT/Flatliner combo on Cobb and Bandido. 
  • Widow’s Peak Facebuster by Takagi on Cobb, Hugle lariat by Shingo but Cobb rolls ringside to avoid pinfall. 
  • Shingo takes Bandido to the top rope, Bandido hits the awesome Flipping Fallaway Slam to put away Shingo and ruin his BOLA 2018 hopes. Proved to be a fatal mistake for Takagi taking Bandido to the top. 
  • Bandido and Cobb face-off and they handshake. 
  • Bandido works the leg of Cobb but Cobb spins Bandido across the ring by his mask, brute show of strength. 
  • Stiff uppercut by Cobb flips Bandido.
  • Cobb brings Bandido to the top rope and hits a vertical superplex to bring Bandido back down and get a near fall. 
  • Cobb beals Bandido across the ring and begins to dominate the match. 
  • F5 by Cobb gets a near fall on Bandido. 
  • The crowd is really behind Bandido. 
  • Diving Tornado by Bandido caught by Cobb, Jeff goes for Tour of the Islands but Bandido turns it into a Tornado DDT. Cobb rolls to ringside. Bandido hits a flying huricanrana off the apron. Cobb looks to have hurt the shoulder that he separated at All In. 
  • Deadlift Piledriver by Cobb, near fall. Jeff pops up and hits a standing moonsault for another near fall. Crows standing ovation and more love for Bandido. 
  • Springboard flying Huricanrana by Bandido caught into Tour of the Islands for an amazing very close near fall, one of the best near falls of the year.
  • Pop-Up powerbomb by Cobb turned into a huricanrana by Bandido, great reversal. 
  • Strikes by Bandido but Cobb goes for Tour of the Islands, Bandido turns it into the Crucifix Bomb and gets another amazing near fall. The crowd is so invested. Now the crowd is showing love for Jeff. 
  • Amazing Springboard Bouncing German Suplex by Bandido with an amazing show of strength for another amazing near fall and another crowd explosion. 
  • Thudding chop by Cobb to get Bandido off, Jeff Cobb is acting a bit hurt and probably really is. 
  • Bandido and Cobb fighting on the top rope, Cobb knocks Bandido down and dives at him. Bandido catches it and hits his own Tour of the Islands for another great near fall and following crowd explosion. 
  • “Fight Forever” Chants and actually please do. 
  • More fighting while on the top rope, Cobb hits a super Tour of the Islands and follows it up with another one to win the 2018 BOLA.

Winner: Jeff Cobb WINS the Battle of Los Angeles in 2018 @23:52!

Rating: *****, The crowd energy was intense. The match started to seem like the men were wasted in the early stages and wiped out from the weekend. Shingo Takagi and Bandido tried to attack Cobb together and the early stretches were okay but as soon as Takagi left things got unglued. The crowd was hot for Bandido as he played the perfect babyface and as Cobb and Bandido traded big move after big move and put on an amazing in-ring match but the crowd made it something special. The explosions after each near fall were intense and going in I knew Cobb was going to win however this match made me forget that as I was rooting like crazy for Bandido. Jeff Cobb is an insanely great wrestler too and it takes 2 to tango and this was the tango to top them all. What a match and what a tournament, probably the greatest wrestling tournament of all time. 

Show Grade: A+, PWG had a bit of a down year this year so far with only Matt Riddle vs. Keith Lee from Neon Knights being a top tier match. I loved this show so much and it is probably the final to my favorite wrestling tournament of all time. PWG took big-name star power from people like Jeff Cobb, Walter, Shingo Takagi, Ilja Dragunov, and especially Bandido to boost and promote this show. The tournament was stacked from top to bottom with fantastic matches. It also helped the tournament tremendously that Bandido and Joey Janela had amazing showings at All In which reeled me into buying this show on DVD. Bandido and Joey Janela put on a 5-star classic on this show but somehow the main event completely overshadows it. Bandido is a maniac, he had 2 5-Star matches in the same fucking night!!! Not to mention the other amazing matches such as Shingo Takagi vs Robbie Eagles, Shingo Takagi vs. Walter, Bandido vs. Flamita, Rascalz vs. The Lucha Bros and The Consolation Tag Match. This all happened in one night. Other than maybe NXT Takeover NOLA and NJPW Dominion this is my favorite wrestling show of the year. This show is so much more impressive than Dominion and Takeover though because the same few wrestlers put on multiple instant classics in a single night. WHAT AN EVENT! If you haven’t heard of PWG or haven’t bought the DVD yet, go out of your way for this epic (despacito) night of professional wrestling. 

MOTN: Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi