NJPW G1 Climax 28 B-Block Night 6/July 21st Review

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Current G1 Standings Before Show (2 points per win)

A-Block:

  • Jay White- 6 Points (3-0-0)
  • Michael Elgin-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Togi Makabe-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Evil-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Hangman Page-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Bad Luck Fale-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Kazuchika Okada-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Minoru Suzuki-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Yoshi-Hashi- 0 Points (0-3-0)

B-Block:

  • Kenny Omega(c)-4 Points (2-0-0)
  • Kota Ibushi-4 Points (2-0-0)
  • Tama Tonga-2 Points (1-1-0)
  • Tomohiro Ishii-2 Points (1-1-0)
  • Hirooki Goto-2 Points (1-1-0)
  • Tetsuya Naito-2 points (1-1-0)
  • Zack Sabre Jr-2 Points (1-1-0)
  • Sanada-2 Points (1-1-0)
  • Juice Robinson- 0 Points (0-2-0)
  • Toru Yano- 0 Points (0-2-0)

G1 Climax Night 6 (B-Block) Results

 

Kota Ibushi(4 Points) vs. Toru Yano(0 Points)

  • Rocky Romero on commentary tonight.
  • The story going in here is Yano has to cheat to be able to win matches in the G1 and Yano has been cleaner lately.
  • Series of near fall roll-ups very early on by Toru Yano. 
  • Great looking plancha dive by Ibushi takes out Yano on the outside. 
  • Toru Yano removes the turnbuckle pads from 2 different turnbuckles but on the 3rd turnbuckle, Ibushi dives with an amazing corkscrew moonsault taking out Yano. 
  • Yano sends Ibushi face first into the exposed turnbuckle. After a little bit of fight back from Ibushi, Yano Irish whips Ibushi into the exposed buckle 3 times. 
  • Ibushi dodges the Standing Moonsault and Yano hits Ibushi with the loose turnbuckle pad. 
  • Yano tapes Ibushi’s hands together but Ibushi manages to dropkick Yano down, hit a series of kicks and a Standing Moonsault for a near fall.
  • Yano tries to low blow Ibushi but inadvertently takes out the referee. Yano low blows Ibushi and rolls him up for the upset win. 

Winner: Toru Yano via pinfall @ 8:26

Records: Toru Yano 2 Points (1-2-0), Kota Ibushi 4 Points (2-1-0)

Rating: ***, this was a very fun character clash with Ibushi being as athletically amazing as ever and Toru Yano being his goofy cheating self. While the match lacked the work rate of other NJPW matches it made up in the comedy and character aspects. Yano gets his first win and even though he’s not a favorite to win he will continue to provide a good comedy break from the serious work rate tournament matches. 

Zack Sabre Jr (2 Points) vs. Sanada (2 Points) 

  • Rematch from the NJPW Cup earlier this year. In that match, ZSJ won. 
  • Amazing counter to the snapmare by Sanada just floating out and over back into a standing position. Sanada is so athletic. 
  • Sanada is holding his own in the submission game keeping a lock on the Full Nelson hold while ZSJ keeps trying to fight out. 
  • Amazing Roll Up sequence from both, into a near fall rollup by Sanada. What a match early on!
  • Great submission sequence with Sanada again holding his own in a Straight Jacket Rest Hold Choke. Sanada looks great in this match.
  • Backslide Battle won by Sanada but ZSJ locks Sanada into a Kimura Lock, Sanada fights into a Skull End Attempt but ZSJ grabs him into a Spider Lock, Sanada fights into another near fall rollup battle. ZSJ ends the sequence with a Penalty Kick straight to Sanada’s chest.
  • European Leg Clutch Roll Up for a very near fall by ZSJ. 
  • Skull End Attempt by Sanada, ZSJ fights out, European Leg Clutch rollup by Sanada for the win. 

Winner: Sanada via pinfall @ 10:46

Records: Sanada 4 Points (2-1-0), ZSJ 2 Points (1-2-0)

Rating: ****1/4, What a technical wrestling match! It was amazing to see Sanada be able to hold his own with submissions against ZSJ. ZSJ is the king of modern technical wrestling and Sanada was able to believably hang with him at a technical standpoint. Early on, there were so many amazing sequences including Sanada keeping the Full Nelson on ZSJ no matter what, the very near fall fast roll-up sequence and even a rest hold submission sequence. There were no boring points in this match and Sanada got a shock win by turning the tables on ZSJ and using his own roll up to win. 

Juice Robinson (0 Points) vs. Tetsuya Naito (2 points)

  • Two NJPW fan favorites facing off. 
  • Juice has been more seriously since the start of this tournament, taking defeats heavily and being less flamboyant in his character lately. 
  • Tetsuya Naito working the broken hand of Juice.
  • The slingshot dropkick of Naito hits the hand of Juice, great selling of the hand by Juice even though he might actually be hurting. Adds a lot more empathy for Juice in this match.
  • Working the hand makes Naito look like a dastardly heel.
  • Juice starts to fire up by Naito spits at Juice starting a sequence into a spinebuster by Juice.
  • Sliding Dropkick to the hand of Juice by Naito, Naito locks in a submission stretch on the hand but Naito gets the ropes. 
  • Supercanrana by Naito, Juice rolls the supercanrana into a very near fall roll up.
  • Swinging DDT by Naito stopped and powered into a Jackhammer by Juice, Juice can’t capitalize though. 
  • Super Fallaway Slam by Juice sends Naito into the opposite corner, Cannonball followed by a powerbomb by Juice for a near fall. 
  • Amazing Leg Lariat by Juice flips Naito, Juice goes for the Electric Chair Drop but Naito reverses it with a reverserana.
  • Destino stopped by Juice and turned into a Pulp Friction attempt but Naito reverses it into a German suplex. Flying Forearm by Naito. Another Destino attempt fails and Juice fires back with a lariat. 
  • Another Pulp Friction Attempt reversed into a failed Destino attempt. A Juicebox attempt by Juice reverses into a successful Destino by Naito for a very near fall.
  • A final Destino wins the match for Tetsuya Naito.

Winner: Tetsuya Naito via pinfall @ 16:43

Record: Tetsuya Naito 4 Points (2-1-0), Juice Robinson 0 Points (0-3-0)

Rating: ****3/4, The story here was amazing. Juice Robinson was the underdog and had been in a slump so far this tournament. Naito was a dastardly heel working the broken hand of Juice but by the end, Juice Robinson had awakened and fought valiantly. Juice had fought like hell and looked like he was going to win. There was a mix of high spots, near falls and story in this match to perfection. Naito is killing it in match quality so far this G1. The end played out awesomely with the constant finisher attempts and near fall battle from both men that played out to a great finish. Naito hit a Destino but Juice barely kicked out showing a crazy amount of heart. Tetsuya has to immediately hit another Destino to defeat Juice. I’ll bet this is the breaking point tournament match for Juice Robinson and from now on he’ll be successful.

Tama Tonga (2 Points) vs. Kenny Omega (4 Points)

  • Before the bell, Firing Squad attacks Kenny Omega. Chase Owens and Hangman Page come out to even the attack. 
  • The rise of the Terminator by Omega wipes out the brawl outside. 
  • Tama sneaks in from behind to hit a spear to get the upper hand. 
  • While Tonga attacks Omega, Tama yells at Kenny stuff like “You Divided Us!” “It’s Your Fault”
  • Tornado DDT by Omega for the first near fall. 
  • You Can’t Escape by Kenny but Tama gets his knees up to the Moonsault. 
  • Gun Stun by Tama reversed into the first V-Trigger. 
  • Alabama Slamma by Tama Tonga hits Kenny hard for a near fall. 
  • V-Trigger by Kenny to Tama on the ropes, Omega tries to hit the snapdragon on the apron but Tama grabs on to Red Shoes as Tonga Loa attacks Omega. Omega hits a huricanrana to take out Loa. 
  • Tonga Loa comes back to distract Omega, Tama accidentally hits Loa off the apron, Loa managed to throw a chair at Omega, near fall rollup by Tama. 
  • Styles Clash attempt by Tama on the chair but Red Shoes kicks the chair away, Tama Gun Stuns Red Shoes for the DQ finish. 

Winner: Kenny Omega via DQ @ 10:12 

Records: Kenny Omega 6 Points (3-0-0), Tama Tonga 2 Points (1-2-0)

Rating: **, The overbooking here was at an all-time high. The faction war feud is awesome but the match here was taken the momentum out of because of the ongoing Firing Squad vs Bullet Club feud. Kenny Omega is still undefeated in G1 28.

  • Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens, and Hangman Page save Kenny Omega from a post-match attack. 

Tomohiro Ishii (2 Points) vs. Hirooki Goto (2 Points)

  • Shoulder Block Battle Sequence into a strikefest, very stereotypical of an Ishii match. The sequence is won by Goto.
  • Ishii yells “What is the Champion going to do!” at Goto firing him up to hit a sequence of moves into a side suplex for a near fall.
  • Hard kicks by Goto fire up Ishii into knocking Goto down with a hard punch. 
  • German Suplex by Ishii but Goto no sells and fires up into chopping Ishii down with a kick to the mid-section. 
  • Lariat battle takes a lot out of both men and the selling is incredible with both refusing to go down but Goto gets Ishii down first but the lariats don’t stop as they double lariat each other until they both collapse. Amazing strong style sequence. 
  • Headbutt by Ishii collapses Goto into the corner, Super Brainbuster by Ishii for a near fall. 
  • GTR by Goto attempt reversed by Ishii into a side suplex taking both men down
  • Another strike-fest ends in an insane lariat by Ishii flipping Goto, near fall by Ishii.  
  • Shoto Kai by Goto plants Ishii for a near fall. 
  • GTR attempt fails again, headbutts and enzugiri by Ishii, sliding lariat by Ishii for a very near fall. 
  • Vertical Drop Brainbuster by Ishii closes. 

Winner: Tomohiro Ishii via pinfall @ 18:19

Records: Tomohiro Ishii 4 points (2-1-0), Hirooki Goto 2 points (1-2-0)

Rating: ****1/2, While this match did lack any story it made up for it by miles with in-ring work. WHAT A HARD-HITTING MATCH! For near 20 minutes these two strikes the hell out of each other with intense lariats and shoulder blocks. The only match this reminds me of is Ishii vs. Elgin in the NJPW Cup. The match here lacked a few near falls and high spots that the Ishii vs. Elgin match had but this match wasn’t about the theatrics. It was about seeing who can strike who unconscious first. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: This show hosted some amazing tournament matches in ZSJ vs. Sanada, Ishii vs. Goto and Juice vs. Naito. Even though, Omega vs. Tama was overbooked it was entertaining as it continued the feud warfare. Each match on this card offered something different and it continued this year’s amazing G1. 

G1 Standings After Show: 

A-Block:

  • Jay White- 6 Points (3-0-0)
  • Michael Elgin-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Togi Makabe-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Evil-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Hangman Page-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Bad Luck Fale-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Kazuchika Okada-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Minoru Suzuki-2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Yoshi-Hashi- 0 Points (0-3-0)

B-Block:

  • Kenny Omega-6 Points (3-0-0)
  • Tomohiro Ishii-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Tetsuya Naito-4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Sanada-4 Points (2-1-0) 
  • Kota Ibushi- 4 Points (2-1-0)
  • Hirooki Goto- 2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Tama Tonga- 2 Points (1-2-0) 
  • ZSJ- 2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Toru Yano- 2 Points (1-2-0)
  • Juice Robinson- 0 Points (0-3-0) 

 

 

 

 

 

Extreme Rules 2018 Review

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Extreme Rules 2018 Results:

  • The B-Team defeats Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt to win the RAW Tag Titles **1/2
  • Finn Balor defeats Baron Corbin ***
  • Carmella defeats Asuka to retain the SD Live Women’s Championship with James Ellsworth in a shark cage *
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Jeff Hardy to win the US Title: N/A
  • Kevin Owens defeats Braun Strowman in a Steel Cage Match ***
  • Bludgeon Brothers defeat Team Hell No to retain the SD Live Tag Titles ***1/4
  • Bobby Lashley defeats Roman Reigns ***3/4
  • Alexa Bliss defeats Nia Jax in an Extreme Rules match to retain the RAW Women’s Title *1/2
  • AJ Styles defeats Rusev to retain the WWE Championship ****
  • Dolph Ziggler defeats Seth Rollins in a 30-Minute Iron Man Match to retain the IC Title ***1/2

 

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Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt(c) vs. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas for the RAW Tag Team Titles

  • The crowd is hot for the “Delete” Chant. In my opinion, Bray and Matt haven’t been that hot as an act lately. 
  • Ronda Rousey and Zach Browne (her UFC fighter husband) are shown ringside. 
  • Matt Hardy and Bo Dallas start the match. 
  • Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas stare off, the Rotunda Brothers look like they are playing off of each other in this match. 
  • Elbow Drop by Hardy to Axel for the first near fall. 
  • Cheap shot by Bo to Hardy gets the B-Team back in charge. 
  • DDT by Axel to Hardy gets a near fall.
  • Side Effect by Matt to Axel opens up tags, Hot tag by Bray Wyatt against his bro. 
  • Neckbreaker off the top rope to Hardy by Bo gets the shock tag title win for the B-Team. 

Winners: The B-Team New RAW Tag Team Champions.

Rating: **1/2, While this was a very run of the mill tag match the ending made it memorable. Matt and Bray were getting stale and B-Team are a rare for WWE hot act right now and even though they don’t look incredibly strong I think they will have a solid short reign with the tag belts. 

  • Kurt Angle gives Brock Lesnar an ultimatum, if he doesn’t show up to RAW tomorrow to accept his duty as Universal Champion he will be striped of the title. 

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Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin

  • This match is pointless and both of these men have talent and deserve better. 
  • Cool silver attire on Finn Balor
  • Corbin is wrestling in the suit which is annoying as hell. 
  • Brutal catching punch by Corbin to Balor off the springboard for the first near fall. 
  • Corbin pulls Balor off the top rope Coup De Grace attempt for a backbreaker clothesline into a near fall. 
  • Deep Six by Corbin for a very near fall. 
  • Shotgun Dropkick by Balor but the Coup De Grace attempt was stopped by Corbin. 
  • End of Days attempt rolled up by Finn for the win. 

Winner: Finn Balor

Rating: ***, The match wasn’t that long and didn’t have any good spots but it was a good even sprint. Corbin and Balor end up looking good and there was some good near falls in this match which helped add to the evenly matched vibe of this match. 

  • The Bludgeon Brothers attack Team Hell No backstage. Kane is injured so this angle saves him from having to wrestle tonight. 

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Carmella (c) vs. Asuka for the SD Live Women’s Title with James Ellsworth in a Shark Cage

  • Ellsworth does get locked in and raised in the shark cage. 
  • Ellsworth passes Carmella a chain but Asuka grabs it and gets rid of it. 
  • James passes Carmella the spray bottle but again Asuka stops Carmella from using it. 
  • There is too much reliance on Ellsworth in this match leaving horrible momentum when there is just Asuka and Carmella in focus. 
  • Asuka Lock gets in but Carmella reaches the ropes.
  • James Ellsworth picks the lock and gets himself free but James gets caught by his leg and Asuka attacks.
  • Asuka attacks the security trying to put James back in the steel cage and continues to kick the hell out of Ellsworth. 
  • From behind, Carmella sneaks up and shoves Asuka into the Shark Cage and pins her for the win. 

Winner: Carmella Retains

Rating: *, last year the worst match of the year was Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss in the kendo stick on a pole match at Extreme Rules. This match right here is the worst I’ve seen this year so far. Ellsworth being the prime focus took all the momentum out of Carmella and Asuka. Asuka continues to look like shit and Carmella continues to be annoying. Whenever Asuka and Carmella were the focus I felt bad, both of these women had worked there entire lives to have their current career overshadowed by a chinless rodent-person. What a waste of time WWE can make itself!

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Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the US Championship

  • Jeff Hardy has some awesome Black and White facepaint on. 
  • The Hardy vs. Nakamura match has been actually interesting so far.
  • Low Blow immediately by Nakamura, the referee didn’t see it. 
  • Kinshasa after the bell rings for the win.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura New Champion!

Rating: N/A, The immediate Shinsuke win was a bad decision especially when no match so far has been any good and this could’ve been. However, I think Nakamura is the perfect person to be US Champion. He fits in the upper middle card well and can carry the title through good matches and couldn’t win the WWE Title because AJ is a strong champ. I’m excited to see Nakamura’s reign. 

  • Randy Orton returns (goddamnit) and kicks Hardy in the nuts. 

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Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens in a Steel Cage Match

  • The feud has been abhorrent so far, Owens being dumped off the stage in the porta-potty was horrible and Strowman looks like such a bully that he is the heel in this match and Owens is the face even though according to WWE the roles are switched. Who is writing WWE storylines?
  • Owens keeps trying to escape early on but fails. 
  • Strowman charges at Owens but Owens dodges sending Braun into the steel, Superkick, Cannonball and Frog Splash combo by Owens for just a near fall. First actual sense of urgency in a match so far tonight.
  • Strowman sends Owens into the steel cage, Crowd chants “One More Time”  so Strowman does it twice more. 
  • Snake Eyes into the steel cage by Strowman sending Owens face first. 
  • The Crowd in Pittsburgh is annoying, being silent but  occasionally chanting crappy taglines like “Get These Hands” or “One More Time” 
  • Stunner by Owens to Strowman opens an opportunity to escape but Strowman grabs him and closes the door on the face of Owens. 
  • Owens handcuffs Strowman to the top rope, great strategy, but instead of escaping attacks Strowman to get revenge. One-Handed Chokeslam by Strowman, Strowman tries to break free. So, Braun can flip a truck, dump a piece of the stage on Lesnar and Kane but can’t easily escape handcuffs?
  • Strowman breaks free of the handcuffs.
  • On top of the cage, Braun sends Owens through the announce table ringside. Great spot but Strowman just made himself lose. “Holy Shit” Chants. The only great spot of the show so far. 

Winner: Kevin Owens via escape

Rating: ***, this is the only match so far that feels like it fits on an Extreme Rules card and not on a C-Grade PPV. However, like a lot of steel cage matches the constant escape attempts ruin the momentum of the match. Strowman spends a lot of the match in charge but when Owens is in charge there is a good sense of urgency to the match. The end of the match was dumb but a good spot while the Chokeslam off the cage was a good spot it ended up with Owens winning and Braun saying “Screw it, I lost” and leaving. If I was booking WWE I might make matches seem like they mean something this match looked like it didn’t mean anything. 

  • Jeff Hardy requests his rematch for the US Title for Tuesday’s Smackdown. 

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(C) Bludgeon Brothers vs. Daniel Bryan (Kane out due to attack earlier) 

  • Daniel Bryan and Rowan start the match.
  • Another good underdog moment for Bryan. 
  • Supercanrana by Bryan to Harper. 
  • Yes! Lock on Harper but Rowan drags out Bryan and stops the hold. 
  • Ringside, Rowan bodyslams Harper onto Bryan. Good strong tag team spot.
  • Crowd chanting “We Want Kane” 
  • Suicide Dive by Bryan caught by Rowan, Harper suicide dives but Bryan dodges so Harper takes out Rowan. 
  • Kane comes down with a foot cast kinds weakening his character as a demon. 
  • Slow Hot Tag by Kane, Chokeslam to Rowan and Harper.
  • Kane attempts a Tombstone on Harper, Harper escapes and kicks out the leg of Kane. 
  • Hot Tag by Daniel Bryan. 
  • Rowan makes a blind tag and stops the Running Knee by Bryan, Double Powerbomb by 2B closed. 

Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers Retain

Rating: ***1/4, The best match of the night so far but not by far. Also saying it’s MOTN is not saying all that much. The underdog 2-1 beginning was good and Bryan continues to be amazing. 2B looked great too and continued their solid tag title reign. When Kane comes down the match slowed down but didn’t take away the momentum. 

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Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley

  • Slow starting pace.
  • Drive-By by Reigns gets the first near fall.
  • Lashley is dazed by an early match elbow by Reigns. 
  • “Rusev Day” Chants start the series of chants, “CM Punk” follows right after. 
  • Reigns tries to hit Lashley with the steps but Lashley blocks starting a tug of war for the steps won by Lashley. 
  • Powerslam by Lashley for another near fall. 
  • Sloppy Crossbody by Lashley takes down them both, Lashley heads to the top rope to hit a double ax handle. 
  • Reigns throws Lashley over the top rope ringside, great spot and hard landing by Lashley, Lashley gets in at 8, Reigns leg drops Lashley over the middle rope for a near fall.
  • Vertical Suplex by Lashley to Reigns for a very near fall. 
  • Spear attempt by Lashley caught with a Superman Punch by Reigns for another very near fall.
  • Reigns charges at Lashley ringside but Lashley catches Reigns with an Overhead Suplex onto the announce table.
  • Reigns Superman Punches Lashley off the top rope.
  • Spear attempt by Reigns caught with a spear by Lashley for the win. 

Winner: Bobby Lashley

Rating: ***3/4, Wow, this match was great for these two guys. Everyone who said either of these guys can’t wrestle just got proven wrong. I did not expect this match to be as good as it was but I knew Reigns and Lashley could find an okay match. The match had great near falls, good wrestling logic and great spots. Lashley looked great in a match for the first time since his return and the match is the new MOTN, even though again that isn’t saying much.

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Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax in an Extreme Rules for the RAW Women’s Title 

  • Mickie James accompanies Bliss and Natalya accompanies Jax. Ronda Rousey is shown ringside.
  • The commentary is burying the extreme rules stipulation.
  • Jax awkwardly throws Bliss onto a chair.
  • Jax delivers a good gorilla press to Bliss onto a trash can, Rousey is shown in approval.
  • Bliss attacks with a trash can lid to finally gets her back in charge. 
  • Crappy dropkick by Bliss gets the match’s first near fall. 
  • Commentary putting over Bliss’ cheating strategy being allowed in this match but Alexa doesn’t even address that in the match. 
  • Bliss side-steps Jax sending her into a chair in the corner. James gives Bliss a trash can lid but Natalya takes James out, Bliss takes out Natalya but Rousey hops over the barricade to literally destroy Mickie James. Rousey chases Bliss but James comes back to attack Rousey with a kendo stick. Overbooking at its finest!
  • Jax catches Bliss but James attacks Jax with a steel chair giving Bliss the upper hand to hit the DDT on the chair for the win. 

Winner: Alexa Bliss Retains!

Rating: *1/2, while Bliss did look good in this match, this was overbooking at it’s finest. 5 Women were in the focus in this match which was a one-on-one women’s title match. Rousey is continuing to look better in the WWE too but there were too many shenanigans in this match to set up Bliss vs. Rousey at SummerSlam. Also, the in-ring work was sloppy and, like many other matches on the show, had the momentum taken away because of other people in the match.

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AJ Styles (C) vs. Rusev for the WWE Championship

  • A good pre-match video package makes Rusev look disliked by the crowd which is very wrong.
  • AJ working the leg of Rusev. Rusev is doing a good job selling it. 
  • Slow start especially for an AJ Styles match. 
  • Styles kicks Rusev’s leg on the top rope sending him to ringside, Springboard Forearm dive by Styles takes Rusev out ringside. 
  • Reverse DDT by Styles gets the match’s first near fall.
  • Styles goes for the calf crusher by Rusev powers through and punches AJ and sends him to ringside, Suicide Dive attempt by Rusev caught with a Forearm by Styles. 
  • Calf Crusher attempt rolled into the Accolade but AJ fights out, forearm by AJ caught with a boot by Rusev. These two are doing a really good job looking evenly matched.
  • Calf Crusher by Styles finally in, Aiden English pushed the ropes to get Rusev rope break. Styles chases English, Rusev catches Styles with a ringside belly to belly suplex. In-ring, Machka Kick by Rusev for a very near fall. Awesome sequence. 
  • Another Machka Kick attempt dodged and Styles hits a rebound Pele Kick, Atomic Drop/Superkick combo by Rusev for a near fall. 
  • Rusev goes for the Accolade but can’t because of the leg injury, great wrestling logic actually used in WWE, Rusev gets the hold with one leg but Styles grabs the ropes. 
  • English exposes the top turnbuckle behind the refs back, Rusev charges at Styles but Styles side-steps sending Rusev into the steel. Springboard 450 by Styles for an amazing near fall. Another great sequence. 
  • Styles dropkicks English down and out, Phenomenal Forearm closes. 

Winner: AJ Styles Retains!

Rating: ****, Easily MOTN and one of WWE’s best world championship matches this year. The challenger, Rusev, was elevated to a whole other level hanging with Styles honestly better than Nakamura could. The Aiden English interference sequences led to fantastic near falls. As always, AJ Styles is fantastic. I can now confidently say Rusev has a great future in WWE. The selling of the leg from Rusev was great wrestling logic which is rare in WWE. A good example of showing WWE is able to book good matches with actual logic. I’m super happy with this match. The slow start keeps it at 4-stars but it elevated into something special by the end. 

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Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins in a 30-Minute Iron Man Match for the IC Title

  • A very fitting stipulation for these two men. Also, the IC Title is in the main event! Rollins has elevated the title to the SKY. 
  • Why is there still a record scratch on Ziggler’s theme song? 
  • Drew Mcintyre accompanies Ziggler to the ring because Mcintyre beat Rollins last week on RAW. 
  • Slow start but it’s a long match so the pace should escalate soon. 
  • Buckle Bomb into a roll-up by Seth Rollins gets the first fall 5 minutes in. Crappy first fall. 
  • Diving Plancha by Rollins wipes out Ziggler ringside. McIntyre and Rollins face-off. 
  • The crowd is counting down the seconds like a Royal Rumble and making the buzzer sounds, most interesting the Pittsburgh crowd has been all night. 
  • Fameasser attempt by Ziggler follows into a roll-up sequence, Rollins powers into a powerbomb but Ziggler fights out, Rollins fires back with a Curb Stomp for the second fall 8 minutes in. 
  • Rollins calls for a 2nd Stomp but Drew McIntyre attacks Seth getting Rollins the 3rd fall via DQ also 8 minutes in. McIntyre throws Rollins against the apron and the barricade, Referee kicks out Drew but Drew leaves after hitting the Claymore kick on Seth, Ziggler goes for the pin and gets his first fall 10 minutes and 30 seconds in. 
  • Superkick by Ziggler for his second fall, 11 minutes later. 
  • The match has WAY too many falls so far, takes the piss out of the stipulation. 
  • Ziggler sends Rollins into the post and hits the Zig Zag for his third fall 12 minutes in. JEEZ STOP WITH THE FALLS.
  • Suicide Dive attempt by Rollins stopped with a forearm by Ziggler, Dolph rolls Rollins up using the ropes for ANOTHER FREAKING FALL STOP IT. Dolph goes 4-3. 16 minutes in. 
  • Ziggler gets a Sleeper Hold in deep on Rollins, they spend about 2 minutes in the hold until Rollins fights out.
  • Suicide Dive by Seth finally hits but Ziggler rolls ringside again so Rollins hits another Suicide Dive immediately afterward too. Springboard Forearm to get back in the ring by Rollins gets a near fall and shockingly not another fall. 
  • Blockbuster by Rollins for another near fall, the crowd goes ballistic for whatever reason. 
  • Ziggler drops Rollins off the top rope with a dropkick sending Seth ringside, Rollins gets back in at 9.
  • Ripcord Knee by Rollins hits for another near fall.
  • Frog Splash by Rollins for another good near fall. 
  • Awesome Falcon Arrow by Rollins for another believable near fall. 
  • Stomp by Rollins dodges and rolled up by Ziggler for a near fall, Rollins slingshots Ziggler into the corner and rolls him up to tie 4-4, 27 minutes in.
  • Sharpshooter by Rollins, shoutout to the iron man match with Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at WM 12, Rollins transitions into a Cross Face, Rollins releases and goes for a Stomp but Ziggler rolls out and tries to escape ringside. Rollins gets Ziggler back in the ring but Ziggler fires back with a Fameasser for an amazing believable near fall. 
  • Ziggler tunes up the band but Rollins catches Ziggler with a Superkick of his own and follows it up with a Stomp, Rollins goes for the pin but the time runs out. So due to the tie, Dolph Ziggler retains. 
  • Kurt Angle comes down and gets some cheap pops and announces a Sudden Death Overtime. 
  • Drew McIntyre comes back to distract Rollins and Ziggler hits a Zig Zag for the win.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler Retains!

Rating: ***1/2, These two successfully put on a good match while at the same time burying the Iron Man stipulation. The first 15 minutes of the match sucked with a fall a minute but as soon as Drew McIntyre left the match turned on. After getting used to the constant falls, the match delivered some amazing near falls especially with the fameasser towards the end. The near falls really built to Rollins’ desperation with the closing seconds of the match being fantastic with Rollins hitting his sequence of moves and hitting the stomp towards the end but the time running out. Overtime was useless because Ziggler retained either way but overtime just made the end confusing and screwing over Rollins with the final McIntyre interference makes the feud have to continue. The match was a tale of two halves. Good choice for the main event though regardless. 

Show Grade: C-

Last Word: The show played out like the main event did, the first half sucked with Orton’s return, Asuka vs. Carmella and Jax vs Bliss making a near nightmare PPV for any wrestling fan. As soon as Bobby Lashley vs. Reigns surprised with the good match they had and Jax vs. Bliss ended the show got solid. Styles vs. Rusev was MOTN and a very good WWE Title match and the Iron Man main event was a good match even though it wrecked the importance of the stipulation. The show looked good on paper and wasn’t explicitly horrible but didn’t live up to the expectation it had built. 

 

 

 

 

Race For Wrestler of the Year: June 2018

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Wrestler of June: Kenny Omega, the performance Omega had this month was historic. He opened it by having an amazing “7-star” clash between himself and Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Dominion. Omega picked up the title after the 700+ days Okada held the IWGP Heavyweight Title. Omega after the match reformed with The Bucks and created the Golden Elite. Omega again will dominate the race to the wrestler of the year for 2018. 

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Match of the Month: Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Dominion in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship: In my personal opinion, this is the best match I’ve ever seen. These two went for 70 minutes and managed to keep me invested the whole time. The spots to the storytelling to the work rate to the Kenny Omega win everything was done perfectly. The match felt HUGE and maybe had the biggest “big fight feel” of any match ever. NJPW knows how to book matches and this might be their best ever. 

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Feud of the Month: Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa, Man was this month for wrestling amazing. This match would’ve been the best match in any other month but got topped by Okada v Kenny just barely but the storytelling here was a tad bit better. The former tag team members put each other through hell and Johnny Wrestling continued to push how much the feud has changed his life. Ciampa was a dastardly heel and now, in my opinion, is now the best heel in wrestling going. The face vs heel dynamic works wonders here and grabs this feud it’s second Wrestlegrade feud of the month award. 

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Team of the Month: Undisputed ERA, and another repeat award for NXT. The Undisputed ERA again shined better than any other team in the world. They boast in-ring skill, crowd heat and character like no other tag team (other than the Young Bucks). The ERA has grown so much since Roderick Strong joined and this month they did amazing, having amazing matches with Burch and Lorcan, Moustache Mountain and British Strong Style. The Undisputed ERA continues to be WWE’s best current faction going and maybe in the whole world of wrestling. 

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Women’s Wrestler of the Month: Alexa Bliss, even though she is very overpushed she did amazing this month. Winning the MITB, cashing in the same night and pushing the heel champion agenda led to her standing out this month. Her performance at Money in the Bank will go down as one of the best for women in recent memory. Even though other women were more deserving Bliss did very well in this role. 

 

Most Improved: Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan, going from jobbers to excellence in a month really sums up what this award is for. Burch and Lorcan were weird choices for challengers to Undisputed Era at Takeover Chicago but they shined in that match and now will be heavy contenders in the NXT Tag Team scene. 

Champions in June (Points are Given to who holds the title at the end of the month)

WWE:

  • Universal: Brock Lesnar 453+ Days
  • RAW Women’s: Nia Jax 70 Days, Alexa Bliss 13+ Days
  • IC: Seth Rollins 71 Days, Dolph Ziggler 12+ Days 
  • Cruiserweight: Cedric Alexander 82+ Days
  • RAW Tag: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt 63+ Days
  • WWE: AJ Styles 234+ Days
  • SD Women’s: Carmella 80+ Days
  • US: Jeff Hardy 74+ Days
  • SD Tag: Bludgeon Brothers 84+ Days

NXT:

  • NXT: Aleister Black 85+ Days
  • North American: Adam Cole 85+ Days
  • Womens: Shayna Baszler 85+ Days
  • NXT Tag: Undisputed ERA 202 Days, Moustache Mountain 2 Days, the Undisputed ERA 7+ Days
  • UK: Pete Dunne 405+ Days 

NJPW:

  • IWGP Heavyweight: Kazuchika Okada 720 Days, Kenny Omega 21+ Days
  • IWGP US: Jay White 151+ Days
  • IWGP IC: Tetsuya Naito 41 Days, Chris Jericho 21+ Days
  • Never Openweight: Hirooki Goto 156 Days, Michael Elgin 8 Days, Hirooki Goto 11+ Days
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team: Evil and Sanada 156 Days, The Young Bucks 21+ Days
  • IWGP JR: Will Ospreay 156 Days, Hiromu Takahashi 21+ Days
  • IWGP JR Tag: Desperado and Kanemaru 115+ Days
  • Never 6-Man: Marty Scurrl and The Young Bucks 56+ Days

ROH:

  • World: Dalton Castle 197 Days, Jay Lethal 1+ Days
  • ROH TV: Silas Young 70 Days, Punishment Martinez 14+ Days
  • Tag: The Briscoes 114+ Days
  • WOH: Sumie Sakai 85+ Days 

Matches over 4-Stars

  • Dragon Lee vs. Desperado NJPW BOSJ XXV ****
  • Flip Gordon vs. Will Ospreay NJPW BOSJ XXV ****1/4
  • Michael Elgin vs. Hirooki Goto vs. Tai-Chi NJPW Dominion Never Openweight Title ****
  • The Young Bucks vs. Evil and Sanada NJPW Dominion IWGP Tag Titles ****1/2
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs. Will Ospreay NJPW Dominion IWGP JR Title ****3/4
  • Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito NJPW Dominion IWGP IC Title ****1/4
  • Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Title 2 out of 3 Falls *****
  • Undisputed ERA vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan NXT Tag Titles Takeover Chicago ****
  • Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet NXT Takeover Chicago ****3/4
  • Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano NXT Takeover Chicago Street Fight *****
  • Elias vs. Seth Rollins WWE MITB IC Title ****
  • Women’s MITB (Bliss, Moon, Natalya, Lynch, Naomi, Charlotte, Banks, Lana) ****1/2
  • AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura MITB WWE Title Last Man Standing ****1/4
  • Men’s MITB (Owens, Roode, Miz, Balor, Strowman, Rusev, Joe, Kofi) ****
  • Michael Elgin vs. Hirooki Goto Never Openweight Title NJPW Kizuna Road ****
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs. Desperado IWGP Jr Title NJPW Kizuna Road ****
  • Taiji Ishimori vs. YOH NJPW BOSJ XXV ****
  • SHO vs. Marty Scurrl NJPW BOSJ XXV ****
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs. Kushida NJPW BOSJ XXV ****1/2
  • Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi NJPW BOSJ XXV Final ****3/4
  • Zack Gibson vs. Jack Gallagher WWE UK Tournament ****
  • British Strong Style vs. Undisputed ERA WWE UK Tournament ****1/2
  • Zack Gibson vs. Travis Banks WWE UK Tournament Finals ****1/2
  • Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler WWE RAW IC Title ****
  • Moustache Mountain vs. Undisputed ERA NXT Tag Titles WWE UK Tournament ****1/2
  • EC3 and Velveteen Dream vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet WWE UK Tournament ****
  • Zack Gibson vs. Pete Dunne UK Title WWE UK Tournament ****1/4
  • Jay Lethal vs. Kushida ROH BITW ****1/4
  • The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks ROH Tag Titles BITW ****3/4

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After June, the winner of the Race….. Kazuchika Okada (still) 

  1. -Kazuchika Okada 144 Points
  2. -Kenny Omega 143 Points
  3. -The Young Bucks 118 Points
  4. ↑Hiromu Takahashi 116 Points
  5. ↓ Will Ospreay 105 Points
  6. ↑ Johnny Gargano 96 points
  7. ↓ Kota Ibushi 89 points
  8. Zack Sabre Jr. 77 points
  9. AJ Styles ↑Tomasso Ciampa 62 points
  10. ↓ Marty Scurrl 61 points
  11. Seth Rollins- Strong and O’Reilly(ERA) 60 points
  12. Adam Cole 58 points
  13. Alexa Bliss 55 points
  14. Hiroshi Tanahashi 53 points
  15. Hangman Page 51 points
  16. Andrade Almas -Dalton Castle 50 points
  17. Cody 47 points
  18. Sanada -Jay White 46 points
  19. Brock Lesnar 42 points
  20. Cedric Alexander -Kushida -Hirooki Goto 40 points
  21.  Pete Dunne 38 points
  22. Minoru Suzuki -The Miz -The Briscoes 35 points
  23. Bobby Fish 31 points
  24. Evil -Flip Gordon -Tetsuya Naito -Jay Lethal -Aleister Black -Braun Strowman -Zack Gibson 30 points
  25. El Desperado -Dragon Lee 28 points
  26. Shinsuke Nakamura 27 points
  27. So Cal Uncensored -Finn Balor -Chris Jericho 25 points
  28. Charlotte -Matt Taven 22 points
  29. Ronda Rousey -Jonathan Gresham -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Ember Moon -Jeff Hardy       -Michael Elgin –Velveteen Dream -Ricochet -Taiji Ishimori 20 points
  30. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan -Chris Sabin 17 points
  31. Asuka -Usos -John Cena -Tomohiro Ishii -The Bar -Mustafa Ali -The Tongans -Buddy Murphy -Silas Young -Roppongi 3k -Bobby Roode -EC3 -Dolph Ziggler 15 points
  32. Nia Jax -Kingdom -Yoshinobu Kanemaru -Bludgeon Brothers -Becky Lynch 13 points
  33. sAnitY -Drew Gulak -Kenny King -Juice Robinson -Dave Finlay -Lars Sullivan -Carmella -Matt and Bray -Sumie Sakai -ACH -Shayna Baszler -Jack Gallagher -Kofi Kingston -Sasha Banks -Punishment Martinez -Kevin Owens -Moustache Mountain 
  34. Ruby Riott -Alex Shelley 8 points
  35. New Day -Hideo Itami -Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Trent Barretta -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Yoshi-HASHI -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH -Rysuke Taguchi -Rusev -Samoa Joe -Lana -Travis Banks -Naomi -Elias 
  36. Mandy Leon -Tenille Dashwood -Peyton Royce -Gallows and Anderson 

Monthly Wrap Up: June 2018 may have been the greatest month for wrestling ever. Including, NJPW Dominion one of the best PPV’s of all time, NXT Takeover Chicago which hosted Ciampa vs. Gargano in an amazing match topping anything else WWE has done this year. The WWE hosted a UK tournament which saw some amazing matches and highlighted Zack Gibson and the commencement of a new NXT UK brand. NJPW finished up the Best Of the Super Juniors and had Omega vs Okada in the same month. Way to go professional wrestling! 

 

 

ROH Best In the World 2018 Review

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ROH Best in The World 2018 Results:

  • The Kingdom defeat Los Ignoberables via pinfall to retain the ROH 6-man titles ***
  • Flip Gordon defeats Bully Ray via DQ *1/2
  • Sumie Sakai, Jenny Rose, Mayu Iwatani and Tenille Dashwood defeat Kelly Klein, Kagetsu, Hana Kimura and Hazuki via pinfall ***1/4
  • Austin Aries defeats Kenny King via pinfall ***3/4
  • Jay Lethal defeats Kushida via pinfall ****1/4
  • Punishment Martinez defeats Adam Page via pinfall in a Baltimore Street Fight to retain the ROH TV Title ***1/2
  • The Briscoes defeated The Young Bucks via pinfall to retain the ROH Tag Titles ****3/4
  • Dalton Castle defeats Cody and Marty Scurrl via pinfall to retain the ROH World Title **1/2

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The Kingdom (c) vs. Evil, Sanada, and Bushi representing Los Ignoberables de Japon for the ROH 6-Man Tag Titles

  • Both teams have been really good so far in 2018. LIJ has more solo stars but The Kingdom are some of ROH’s best characters. 
  • TK O’Ryan and Evil start the match.
  • Cheap Shot by Taven starts the match with a double team attack on Evil but Evil fights it off. 
  • Amazing Standing Moonsault by Sanada on Taven for the first near fall. 
  • Vinny Marseglia goes for the mask of Bushi starting a 6-man brawl. 
  • Matt Taven does the Naito Tranquilo pose getting a great crowd response. 
  • Spinebuster/Diving Headbutt combo by TK and Vinny for a near fall on Evil.
  • Evil gets the ref to hold the leg of TK O’Ryan so Evil can hit him with a kick to the previously injured leg opening up tags. 
  • Hot tag by Sanada
  • Paradise Lock by Sanada on Taven, TK tries to put the Paradise Lock on Sanada but fails, Sanada gets the PL on TK. Double Dropkick by Sanada opens both Locks. 
  • Vinny pops balloons at Sanada opening up a Triple Bomb by The Kingdom. Sanada fights out though. Magic Killer attempt by Sanada and Evil on TK fails as well. 
  • Just The Tip of the Knee by Taven to Sanada, near fall
  • Sanada works the previously injured knee of Taven
  • Double Huricanrana by Bushi to TK and Taven.
  • Strike sequence by LIJ ending with a backstabber by Bushi, near fall on Taven. 
  • Great Sequence of moves by The Kingdom on Bushi, Evil barely makes the save. 
  • Kick of the king by Taven to Sanada stops the Skull End on Taven.
  • Bushi mists Vinny.
  • Rockstar Supernova by Taven and TK closes the match on Bushi.

Winners: The Kingdom Retain

Rating: ***, This was a fun and fast-paced opener even with the predictable finish. Could’ve gone a little longer but both teams performed well and the Kingdom continue to be some of ROH’s Best characters. Solid start to the show. 

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Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon

  • Horrible feud leading to this point. 
  • HOPEFULLY, Bully Ray’s last match.
  • Immediate attack by Flip.
  • Plancha Dive by Flip.
  • Amazing Tope Con Hiro by Flip Gordon. 
  • Fantastic Springboard Forearm Dive to the outside by Flip.
  • Very hot start by Flip. 
  • Samoan Pop/Shooting Star Press/Springboard Moonsault combo by Flip for the first near fall. 
  • Bully Ray hits a lariat draining all the energy from the match. He sucks.
  • Vader Bomb by Bully Ray misses, crowd chants “Vader” 
  • Star Spangled Stunner by Flip blocked with a low blow. Match gets called off and Bully continues the attack. 

Winner: Bully Ray

Rating: *1/2, Words cannot explain how much I hate this feud, Bully Ray and even ROH writers for allowing shit like this to happen on a show that’s supposed to be all about wrestling. “No Filler just Thriller” right? So make it that way ROH. Bully is trash and maybe he’s just so good at his character he makes fans feel this hatred but he sucks in the ring and drives all the energy out of his matches. This match ended fast and thankfully. Flip Gordon is great however so his performance saves this match from absolute hell. 

  • After the match, Colt Cabana saves Flip from Bully Ray and a Table Spot. 
  • Jenny Rose, Sumie Sakai, Tenille Dashwood and Mayu Iwatani won a solid 8-Woman tag match featuring the women from Stardom. However, A Klein vs. Sakai Title match would’ve been better fitted to this show as an 8-woman tag can happen anytime. ***1/4

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Kenny King vs. Austin Aries

  • Rivalry based on Aries thinking he’s better than King and a former friendship. 
  • This match should’ve had the ROH TV Title instead of Page vs. Martinez. 
  • Good competitive start. 
  • Solid Leg Sweeps from King getting the crowd to ask “One More Time”
  • Another leg sweep but ringside this time from King getting fans to jokingly chant “Holy Shit”
  • Aries dropkicks King off the springboard to ringside and Aries hits a diving ax handle to ringside. 
  • Flipping Springboard Senton to get back in the ring by Aries for a two count.
  • Diving Back Elbow by Aries for the match’s first near fall. 
  • Solid Methodical Pace. 
  • Elbow Drop by Aries to King on the apron, pin inside the ring for a near fall. 
  • Great Springboard Blockbuster from King for a two count. 
  • The last Chancery by Aries, King gets the ropes. 
  • Neckbreaker in between the ropes by Aries sends King to the outside for a suicide dive. Amazing enzugiri to stop Aries mid-dive by King. Great spot. 
  • Back in the ring,Roll-up by Aries, near fall 
  • Half-Assed Royal Flush by King, near fall as Aries grabs ropes at the last second. 
  • Aries grabs his belt collection and tries to leave, corkscrew plancha by King stops Aries. 
  • Ringside Brainbuster by Aries getting “You Killed Kenny” Chants. 
  • Suprise roll-up by King, near fall. 
  • Brainbuster in-ring closes the match.

Winner: Austin Aries 

Rating: ***3/4, The match started with a technical methodic pace and evolved into a fast near-fall filled fun match. Aries was showing his character greatly while King did amazing in-ring. This is the best match so far on the card but that isn’t saying a hell of a lot. Hopefully, from here all the matches are great. The match ended a bit abruptly to get into the 4-star range but it was damn close. It will always be great to see Aries back in the ring and the crowd was hilarious in this match. The highlight spot was the enzugiri catching the suicide dive by King. Let’s continue this momentum with Kushida vs. Lethal. 

25a79c377572030fef8ac3d7958294b0a1b24835r1-1024-576v2_hqKushida vs. Jay Lethal

  • ROH treats Kushida like a star and Lethal is the franchise of ROH.
  • Kushida refuses a handshake from Lethal.
  • Hip toss dropkick sequence into three Tope Con Hiro’s by Kushida mocking Lethal’s Triple Suicide Dive.
  • Triple Ax Handle by Kushida, Kushida does the Macho Taunt targeted at Black Machismo from Lethal. 
  • Suplex Attempt Sequence 
  • Kushida tries for the Lethal Injection but Jay kicks out the leg of Kushida. 
  • Lethal working the taped knee of Kushida.
  • With Kushida down, Lethal finally gets his handshake. 
  • Texas Cloverleaf by Lethal, Kushida gets ropes. 
  • Slow pace after Kushida gets down selling the knee. 
  • Triangle Dropkick by Lethal into the Triple Suicide Dive, The 3rd one is caught into a Fujiwara Armbar by Kushida ringside. Great catching spot there. 
  • Good sequence including a near fall rollup by Kushida and ending with a Lethal Combination putting both down. 
  • Lethal Injection by Kushida caught into a Torture Rack by Lethal. 
  • Elbow Drop by Lethal caught into a Cross Armbreaker by Kushida, Lethal pins his way out into a near fall on Kushida. 
  • Figure Four by Lethal locked in, Kushida grabs ropes. 
  • “This Is Awesome” Chants. 
  • Hard Strikefest with some disrespect mixed in, they handshake mid-way through, the strikefest speeds up with more complex strikes and Lethal calls for the Injection. 
  • Lethal Injection caught into the Hoverboard Lock by Kushida, Lethal fights out into a roll up after a Back To The Future attempt by Kushida. 
  • Back To The Future by Kushida reversed into a cutter by Lethal. 
  • Lethal Injection closes. 

Winner: Jay Lethal

Rating: ****1/4, Yep, this match just topped Aries vs. King by a mile. This match was great and technical. This match mixed High Spots and Technical Wrestling with a good rivalry very well. Mid-match, the pace slowed down to turtle speed but they picked it back up. Kushida kept popping up and catching Lethal into different armbars and did a great job of selling the knee. The rivalry here was good too as Lethal was lost without a title and Kushida was his attempt at getting a big victory. Both of these men did very well but I wasn’t surprised that they did. These two always deliver and Kushida is having a great month. 

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Adam Page vs. Punishment Martinez in a Street Fight for the TV Title 

  • Page comes down with new entrance music. 
  • Punishment Martinez wears the Street Fight Jeans. 
  • Suicide Dive by Adam Page. 
  • Good feud leading up to this point with frequently canceled matches with these two because of brawling beforehand. 
  • Page whips Martinez into the corner with a chair set up. 
  • Apron Shooting Star Press by Page dodged, the Last Ride on the apron by Martinez then a chokeslam on the barricade. Two Brutal spots were taken by Page in a row getting a “Holy Shit” Chant.
  • Page dodges a Martinez knee sending him knee first into the barricade, awesome superplex off the barricade by Page. More “Holy Shit” Chants. 
  • Brutal Cradle Tombstone by Page onto a chair, near fall on Martinez. 
  • Curb-Stomp on the apron by Martinez puts Punishment back on top. 
  • Punishment zip-ties Page’s hands together 
  • Superkick by Martinez drives Page into a chair, near fall. 
  • Page spits on Martinez and fires up, Page spears Martinex through a table ringside set up on the post. 
  • Diving Moonsault to the outside by Page. 
  • Martinez boots Page off the apron into a Stacked tower of chairs. Not great delivery to a match-making spot. 
  • Martinez gets out thumbtacks. 
  • High back body drop by Page sends Martinez into the Thumbtacks.
  • South Avon Chokeslam through a table by Martinez closes. 

Winner: Punishment Martnez Retains

Rating: ***1/2, To me personally I thought this street fight was tacky (pun intended) and without much story dimension. Punishment and Page had some very good choreographed spots but in the end, the match ended up being worked a little bit underwhelming and Page very much should’ve won. After the amazing Gargano vs. Ciampa street fight 2 weeks ago this had a lot to live up to and predictably didn’t. The match itself wasn’t bad but the lack of story and logic dragged it down. 

f6e9c6df8797dd1ce5010c3fad7b0f253a29afa0r1-1024-576v2_hqThe Young Bucks vs. The Briscoes for the ROH Tag Titles

  • Two of ROH’s great all-time tag teams. 
  • Mark Briscoe and Nick Jackson start. 
  • Good Stand-off sequence early in the match. 
  • Good Tandem work from the Bucks. 
  • Redneck Bomb by The Briscoes, near fall save by Nick. 
  • Crowd Divided between the two teams. 
  • Briscoes isolating Matt Jackson. 
  • Mark inadvertently dropkicks Jay. Matt Jackson hits a Blockbuster ringside opening up a tag to Nick. 
  • Amazing Corkscrew Plancha by Nick outside then the awesome hot tag sequence by Nick hits ringside. 
  • Stereo Suicide Dives by The Bucks. 
  • Mark saves his brother from a superplex by getting Nick into a sleeper. Allowing the Briscoes to get on top again. 
  • Amazing Blockbuster off the apron by Jay to Matt ringside. 
  • Froggy Bow by Jay to Nick, near fall. 
  • Supercanrana by Nick Jackson to Mark Briscoe. 
  • Death Valley Driver by Jay Briscoe lays down the legal men triggering a “This Is Awesome” Chant. 
  • Double Superkick sequence into Double Lariats by The Briscoes. 
  • Jay Driller to Matt, very near fall save by Nick Jackson. 
  • Super Cutter by Nick to Mark, Matt rolls up Jay for a near fall. 
  • Springboard Doomsday Device by The Young Bucks imitating the Briscoes, near fall. 
  • Moonsault sequence by the Bucks on Mark, Jay hits the Froggy Bow on the referee to stop the count. 
  • Meltzer Driver to Jay, The referee barely wakes up and slowly counts to a near fall. 
  • Mark throws a chair at Nick to stop the Meltzer Driver, Jay Driller on the chair to Matt, amazing near fall. 
  • Super Redneck Boogie Bomb gets the final pin. 

Winners: The Briscoes Retain

Rating: ****3/4, This was an amazing tag match. It was so well worked in the ring and had some very believable near falls. Especially, the Jay Driller on the chair to Matt towards the end. In my opinion, this match is one of the Briscoes best and one of the best ROH matches this year. This was an amazing clash between some of the best ever ROH tag teams. Not really a MOTY contender but it was a fantastic tag team clash and one of the best tag matches since Golden Lovers Vs. The Young Bucks. Best match of the show so far. 

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Marty Scurrl vs. Cody vs. Dalton Castle for the ROH World Title

  • Darker Theme and attire on Marty Scurrl. He looks badass. 
  • Cody again accompanied by Burnard and Brandi 
  • Cody vs. Nick Aldis at All In is on the line here, so Cody is almost definitely going to win.
  • Hopefully, Dalton Castle can deliver here. He has only delivered against Jay Lethal in his title reign. 
  • Cody ejects Burnard from ringside. Hopefully, this means Cody is more focused on in-ring than shenanigans. 
  • The match starts fast out of the gates. 
  • Nick Aldis and the NWA Title are ringside. 
  • Tornado DDT off the apron by Scurrl to Cody. 
  • Cody and Scurrl Strike-off back in the ring. 
  • Superplex turned into a Judo Throw by Castle to Cody for a 2 count. 
  • Chicken Wing by Scurrl on Castle, Cody joins and gets in the American Deathlock on Castle, Dalton fights out. 
  • Great Snap DDT by Cody for the match’s first near fall. 
  • Cody grabs the title to distract the ref, Cody tries to low blow Scurrl but Scurrl blocks it. 
  • Scurrl tried to go for Goldust’s Shattered Dreams but Brandi distracts Scurrl, near fall rollup by Cody. 
  • Finger Break by Scurrl to Cody and Scurrl removes the ring and puts it on. 
  • Bangarang by Castle to Scurrl, Nick Aldis pulls out the referee for a near fall. 
  • Cody Double Springboard Dives to take out Aldis. 
  • With the ref distracted, Scurrl hits Castle with the belt, ref back in counting the pin for a near fall but Cody pulls the ref out. 
  • Three men roll up sequence into a triple strikefest. Scurrl hits Castle with a hard elbow to take out both Castle and Scurrl. 
  • Scurrl throws Powder in Cody’s Face, Cross Rhodes to Scurrl, Castle pins Scurrl to a near fall. 
  • Bangarang to Scurrl rolled up for a near fall. Chicken Wing by Scurrl to Castle, Cody pulls Scurrl off but Scurrl hits a Cross Rhodes to Cody. 
  • Bangarang by Castle to Scurrl ends the match abruptly. 

Winner: Dalton Castle Retains

Rating: **1/2, this match SUCKED honestly. This is one of my least favorite main events from all of 2018. Why did Castle retain? Why was Aldis there if Cody didn’t win? Why was Scurrl beefing so hard with Cody? Why was Scurrl wearing the Jericho make up? Why did the match end so abruptly? Where were all the important spots? Honestly, as being an ROH fan for a few years I have no idea. ROH books themselves into a corner and they have the talent to make these matches awesome. Even with Cody as my favorite wrestler, I can’t justify this match. I’m confused on how ROH let this main event happen to end a good show. The match quality was fine after all and only the logic dragged this down. 

Show Grade: B-

Last Word: This was a great show with some very good matches including Kushida vs. Lethal, Aries vs. King, Page vs. Martinez and especially The Young Bucks vs. The Briscoes. This show was dragged down by the usual ROH logic by having Castle retain in a lackluster main event and have Bully Ray stand tall over more talented people like Cheeseburger and Flip Gordon. For 2018 ROH this was a very good show. 

 

 

The Race for Wrestler of the Year: Weekly Awards 6/11 – 6/17/18

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Wrestler of the Week: Kyle O’Reilly, Kyle last week had an amazing match on NXT TV for the UK title against Pete Dunne. That alone wouldn’t get him this spot but then on NXT Takeover, he had a fantastic tag team match with Roderick Strong against Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan. Kyle mixes amazing selling and great technical talent to perfection and makes the majority of his matches really fun. 

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Women’s Wrestler of the Week: Alexa Bliss, her performance at MITB was historic for women’s wrestling. As much as I think that she is overpushed she delivers when called upon. Bliss won a very good MITB match and cashed in on Nia Jax later the same night to win the RAW Women’s Championship. Alexa has already made a case for women’s wrestler of the month with her performance here and maybe women’s wrestler of the year. 

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Match of the Week: Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa in a Chicago Street Fight at NXT Takeover Chicago, I don’t know what else to say about this match. If you want to see more of my thoughts check out my review of Takeover Chicago (https://wrestlegrade.com/2018/06/17/nxt-takeover-chicago-2-review/). This match mixed storyline, brutality and work rate to make a masterpiece and one of my favorite matches ever. 

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The team of the Week: Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, as previously mentioned there was an amazing tag match at NXT Takeover Chicago between Undisputed ERA and Oney and Burch. Oney and Burch were interesting choices for the challenger role but showed in the end that they deserved it. Lorcan really shined in the match and post-match they got a standing ovation. This week, these guys solidified themselves as serious contenders in the NXT Tag Division. 

 

Leaderboard: 

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And STILL the leader of the race for Wrestler of the year…Kazuchika Okada

  1. Kazuchika Okada 122 points
  2. Kenny Omega 106 points
  3. The Young Bucks 100 points
  4. Will Ospreay 95 points
  5. Kota Ibushi 89 points
  6. Hiromu Takahashi 80 points
  7. Zack Sabre Jr. -Johnny Gargano 77 points
  8. Hiroshi Tanahashi -Marty Scurrl 53 points 
  9. Hangman Page 51 points
  10. Andrade Almas -AJ Styles -Dalton Castle -Seth Rollins 50 points
  11. Cody 47 points
  12. Adam Cole 44 points
  13. Tomasso Ciampa 43 points
  14. Sanada -Jay White 41 points
  15. Minoru Suzuki -Brock Lesnar -Cedric Alexander 35 points
  16. Roderick Strong -Kyle O’Reilly 34 points
  17. The Miz -KUSHIDA 30 points
  18. Alexa Bliss 29 points
  19. Bobby Fish 28 points
  20. So Cal Uncensored -Pete Dunne -Hirooki Goto -Evil -Flip Gordon -Tetsuya Naito -The Briscoes 25 points
  21. Dragon Lee 23 points
  22. Shinsuke Nakamura 22 points
  23. Ronda Rousey -Jonathan Gresham -Jay Lethal -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Finn Balor -Aleister Black -SHO 20 points
  24. Matt Taven 18 points
  25. Charlotte -Chris Sabin 17 points 
  26. Chris Jericho -Asuka -Usos -John Cena -Tomohiro Ishii -The Bar -Mustafa Ali -Braun Strowman -Ember Moon- The Tongans -Buddy Murphy -Jeff Hardy -Desperado -Silas Young 15 points
  27. Nia Jax 13 points
  28. YOH -Bobby Roode -sAnitY -Drew Gulak -Kenny King -Juice Robinson -Michael Elgin -Dave Finlay -Velveteen Dream -Ricochet -Lars Sullivan -EC3 -The Kingdom -Taiji Ishimori -Yoshinobu Kanemaru -Bludgeon Brothers -ACH 10 points
  29. Becky Lynch -Ruby Riott 8 points
  30. Carmella -Matt and Bray -Sumie Sakai 7 points
  31. Alex Shelley 6 points
  32. Jack Gallagher -New Day -Hideo Itami -Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Trent Baretta -Sasha Banks -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Yoshi-HASHI -Punishment Martinez -Dolph Ziggler -Kevin Owens -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH -Rysuke Taguchi 5 points
  33. Mandy Leon -Tenille Dashwood -Peyton Royce -OGBC -Lana -Burch and Lorcan 4 points 

WWE Battle of the Brands: Raw and Smackdown 6/18-6/19 2018

Raw

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The show opens with Alexa Bliss’ Title Celebration

Fresh off her historic performance at MITB, Bliss here goes into another feud. Kurt Angle also announces Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Title at Extreme Rules. Bliss talks cocky until Ronda Rousey comes down. After Bliss roasts Rousey including a line saying “You are just an over-hyped rookie”, Rousey comes unglued and attacks. Rousey attacks Angle,Bliss and security. Rousey then powerbombs Bliss through a table. Backstage, Angle suspends Rousey for 30 days which just postpones her title win until Summerslam. This segment was fantastic. Bliss played a great cocky champion and Rousey showed her character off really well. 

(c) Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler IC Title Open Challenge

Rollins comes hot off a great match with Elias at MITB, Ziggler opens Rollins’ open challenge and is accompanied by Mcintyre. As soon as the bell rings, both men try to hit their finishers. The match gets slow but picks up and gets competitive. Rollins hits a suicide dive. There is also a sequence of roll up near falls ending in a Ripcord Knee by Rollins for another near fall. The Curb Stomp is reversed into the Fameasser which goes for a really good near fall. That spot triggers “This Is Awesome” chants. Rollins hits 2 superkicks for another near fall. A crossbody by Ziggler is rolled through and powered up into a buckle bomb by Rollins. Mcintyre distracts Rollins and Ziggler picks up a shock win. While this was a very good match and made this RAW get into great territory, I think for right now Ziggler winning is the wrong choice. For 1, unless this leads up to Rollins vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam it is absolutely pointless as Rollins was a great champion. For 2, if you wanted to give the title to someone give it to Mcintyre. He’s a fresh, young and dominant talent and would be a better champion than Ziggler. ***1/2

  • Bobby Roode beats Curt Hawkins stretching his loss record to 0-204

Braun Strowman Promo

Strowman says that winning Money in The Bank is his greatest accomplishment which is true. Strowman calls out Lesnar but Kevin Owens comes out. Selling his injuries from MITB, Owens tries to allign with Braun. Braun shakes Owens’ hand but holds on. Braun attacks but Owens rolls out immediately. This segment sets up the main event later. 

  • Bayley and Banks backstage segment, Bayley asks Sasha to be her partner against the Riott Squad. 
  • Bray and Matt beat Rhyno and Slater after a great B-Team impersionation of Bray and Matt video. 
  • Angle and Corbin backstage segment, Angle says he has a big announcement for tonight. 

Jinder Mahal vs. Chad Gable

Pre-match, Mahal cuts an annoying promo on self re-invention after his match against Reigns. Like anyone was watching that match and not chanting about unrelating wrestling. Gable hits a series of very solid suplexes. Gable hits a moonsault for a near fall. After Gable got to looking good in this match, Mahal hits the Khalas to close. ** Chad Gable deserves much better. Mahal still REALLY sucks. 

Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. The Riott Squad

Liv Morgan and Bayley start the match. Banks tags herself in creating tension. Bayley hits a sliding huricanrana ringside to Sarah Logan. Meteora by Banks to Liv, near fall. Bayley inadvertantely distracts the referee allowing Logan to cheap shot Banks and Liv gets the roll up win. So now finally, Banks vs. Bayley’s feud can finally start right?

  • Post-match, Sasha Banks and Bayley stare down, Banks slaps Bayley and leaves. 
  • Back from commercial break, Bayley and Banks are brawling backstage. Banks stands tall.

Kurt Angle’s “Big” Announcement

Angle says his announcement will be about Brock Lesnar’s next Universal Title Defense. Roman Reigns comes down and complains more about losing at Wrestlemania and Greatest Royal Rumble. Bobby Lashley comes down and decides to show actual character for once. Kurt Angle announces a Multi-Man at Extreme Rules (AGAIN) for Universal Title’s #1 contendership. Revival comes down and challenges Lashley and Reigns. 

Lashley and Reigns vs. The Revival

Dawson and Reigns start the match. Lashley hits an Elevation Spinebuster to Wilder and tells Reigns “That’s How It’s Done”. Sidewalk slam elbow drop by Revival for a near fall. Reigns adds a move to his 5 move moveset and hits a Leg Drop to Dawson draped over the middle rope. Superman Punch by Reigns to Dawson, Roll up to Reigns by Wilder for a near fall but Reigns recovers and hits a Superman Punch to Wilder. Lashley tags himself in and hits a mocking spear to Wilder to close the match. **1/2 While I liked the Reigns and Lashley one upping dynamic this match was not good. At least, Lashley actually showed character. I hate the Revival being booked like this and this match put them down even further as jobbers. 

  • Finn,Angle and Corbin Backstage Segment. Finn looks for entry into the multi-man. Owens interreupts and so does Strowman. Strowman stands up for Finn. Angle makes a Corbin and Owens vs. Finn and Braun main event. 
  • Mojo Rawley beats No Way Jose
  • Banks and Bayley segment again. Banks drives off from Bayley.
  • Elias concert
  • Seth Rollins interview with Renee Young, Rollins announces next week he’s invoking his rematch clause against Ziggler next week. 

Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman and Finn Balor

Corbin and Finn start. Corbin wrestles in a suit now. Corbin and Braun stand-off, somehowe Corbin is taller than Braun. Strowman gorilla presses Balor to ringside taking out Owens and Corbin. Owens is still heavily selling his injuries from the Money in the Bank match. Corbin punches Balor off of the springboard for a near fall. Deep Six by Corbin to Balor for a near fall. Hot Tag by Braun but Corbin dives off the apron to stop Braun from colliding with Owens. Strowman charges Owens through the barricade. End of Days to Balor closes the match. *** This was a very fun main event with some good heel work from Corbin. I also loved the team up from Balor and Braun. The match was also very competitive and Corbin picked up a rare victory. 

Raw Pros: 

  • Rousey and Bliss opening segment
  • Ziggler vs. Rollins
  • Owens/Corbin vs. Finn/Braun
  • Bayley and Banks segments

Raw Cons: 

  • Revival vs. Lashley and Reigns
  • Mahal vs. Gable

Raw Last Words:

This episode, by riding the momentum of Money in the Bank, massively improved from former week’s episodes of Raw. The show started hot with Rousey’s attack and then went to a great Ziggler vs. Rollins match with a shock win. Bayley and Banks finally brawled and the main event was fun. This was a great follow up to MITB

RAW Grade: B

Smackdown Live: rusev-wwe-smackdownShow opens with Paige announcing a WWE Title #1 Contender Gauntlet Match with Big E, Rusev, The Miz, Samoa Joe and, Daniel Bryan

Carmella Promo

Carmella cuts a VERY annoying heel promo on never having any self-doubt. Asuka comes down but removes her mask to be James Ellsworth. Ellsworth claims Asuka to be the greatest woman ever. The actual Asuka comes down. Ellsworth squares up to Asuka but gets kicked, Carmella takes down Asuka and stands tall. 

Billie Kay vs. Becky Lynch

Another REALLY annoying Iconics promo. Becky Lynch immediately attacks after the bell. Bexploder but Kay rolls ringside. Kay sends Lynch into the post. Cheap shot by Royce for a near fall. Becky hits another Bexploder for a near fall. Lynch hits a crossbody to take out Royce. Dis-arm-her taps out Kay. ** While this continued Lynch’s much deserved roll of victories and good performances the match was very sloppy and made Iconics look annoying. 

  • Jeff Hardy Backstage Segment on Shinsuke Nakamura, Hardy says Nakamura’s actions made him more focused, Hardy turns around and reveals the face paint. This was awesome. 
  • Daniel Bryan interview with Renee Young, Announcing he’s #1 in the Gauntlet
  • Usos promo on sAnitY and starting in the WWE, sAnitY comes down and a brawl starts. sAnitY stands tall. 

(c) Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Goodbrothers for the SD Live Tag Titles

Gallows and Rowan start the match. Plancha dive by Karl Anderson caught, Harper throws Anderson into the steps. Superplex by Rowan to Gallows. Facebuster on the apron by 2B to Anderson on the apron. Splash by Rowan to Gallows for an awkwardly close near fall. Gallows fires up and superkicks Harper. Hot Tag by Anderson, Spinebuster to Harper for a near fall. Deep Six by Harper to Anderson for another near fall. Rowan boots Gallows over the barricade and 2B hits the Bludgeoning on Anderson to close. *** While the smark in me wanted Gallows and Anderson to pull the victory this match pleasently suprised me. I continue to love the fast style 2B worked and this match was one of their best so far. Anderson and Gallows had the oppurtunity to shine and hopefully this leads to more for them. 

Gauntlet Match

Daniel Bryan enters at #1 (when Bludgeon Brothers are leaving) with Big E at #2. Big E hits a splash on the apron to Bryan. Diving Headbutt by Bryan misses, Big E pins for a near fall. Supercanrana by Bryan. Crucifix Backbreaker by Big E for a near fall. Amazing Apron Spear by Big E triggers a “This Is Awesome” chant. Running Knee by Bryan eliminates E. Samoa Joe comes down at #3, Joe chops the hell out of Bryan’s chest. Brutal snap powerslam by Joe, Bryan lands on his head. Ringside, Joe has a Coquina Clutch locked in, Bryan escapes and eliminates Joe by countout. Bludegon Brothers attack Bryan. The Miz comes down at #4, Miz hits a Skull Crushing Finale on Bryan to eliminate Bryan. Rusev comes down at #5. Rusev hits a Machka kick for a near fall. Miz sends Rusev into the steel steps and rolls him in for a near fall. Miz mockingly hits the It! kicks. Snap DDT by Miz for a near fall. Miz goes to mock Bryan and hit a Running Knee but is stopped by a second Machka kick by Rusev. The Accolade taps out The Miz for Rusev’s shock win. ***3/4 This match was REALLY REALLY good for SD Live. Bryan played the Iron Man and got taken out by Bludgeon Brothers which hopefully starts a new feud. The Miz played a great heel, Big E had some great spots, Joe played a dominant heel and Rusev pulled off a shock win. Unlike, the gauntlet match on RAW before elimination chamber every member of this match had a purpose and it played out perfectly. 

SD Pros: 

  • Gauntlet Match
  • Bludgeon Brothers vs. Gallows and Anderson
  • sAnitY debut

SD Cons: 

  • Lynch vs. Kay

Grade: B+

Last Word: It was hard to choose which show was better this week while both were good. In the end, I chose Smackdown because it meant better for the future of the brand and played less of a role as a MITB post-show. The Gauntlet Match was amazing with a deserving Rusev win. 2B vs GB was fast and hard-hitting and sAnitY’s debut was very well done. 

Record for 2018: 8-3 SD Live 

WWE MITB 2018 Review

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WWE Money In the Bank Results+Star Ratings: 

  • Daniel Bryan defeated Big Cass @15:13 via submission ***1/4
  • Bobby Lashley defeated Sami Zayn @6:30 via pin N/A
  • Seth Rollins defeated Elias @17:05 via pin to retain the Intercontinental Title ****
  • Alexa Bliss won the Women’s Money In the Bank @18:25 ****1/2
  • Roman Reigns defeated Jinder Mahal @15:37 via pin *1/2
  • Carmella defeated Asuka to @11:03 via pin to retain the SD Live Women’s Title **
  • AJ Styles defeated Shinsuke Nakamura @31:08 in a Last Man Standing Match to retain the WWE Title ****1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeated Nia Jax @10:47 via DQ, Nia retains the RAW Women’s Title ***1/4
  • Alexa Bliss cashes in her MITB on Jax to win the RAW Women’s Title @0:35 N/A
  • Braun Strowman won the Men’s Money in the Bank @19:51 ****

b9c167b30f257962a69c9602112c225970ab335cr1-1005-571v2_hqDaniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

The feud leading to this point has been pretty bad with Cass just gloating about his height until Bryan taps him out in the Heel Hook. In the build-up, no one looked strong. Big Cass is an amazing talker but I didn’t expect much out of this match. Surprisingly, the match picked up. The crowd LOVED Bryan and this made the match exciting. Cass looked good in-ring compared to how he has recently. Even though, Bryan had to carry most of the match it was a competitive bout. Surprisingly too, I went into this match bored and it grabbed my attention. I never thought this match would be a classic and it wasn’t but it was great for what it was supposed to be. ***1/4

  • Bobby Lashley defeats Sami Zayn in a crappy squash match to (hopefully) end a crappy feud

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Seth Rollins vs. Elias for the Intercontinental Championship

During Elias’ pre-match concert he was very over. The Chicago Crowd yelled Walk With Elias and it became obvious that Elias can even be over in a hardcore crowd. Seth comes down and the Wrestlemania 31 attire returns on Rollins. The match starts slow but picks up very well. This match had some very solid near falls especially toward the end when Elias attacked Rollins ringside and then hit a huge Elbow Drop for a convincing near fall. The Lesnar vs. Rollins Summerslam rumors led me to predict Elias. Even though, I don’t believe Elias is ready to take the title from Rollins he really shined here. In his short WWE career, this is definitely his biggest match. And in my opinion, his best. Elias spent a lot of the match working the neck of Rollins but then switched up to working the knee when Rollins tweaked it. Towards the end, Rollins looked desperate and picked up a roll-up victory. I expect this feud to continue at Extreme Rules. ****

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Banks vs Natalya vs Charlotte vs Moon vs Bliss vs Lynch vs Naomi vs Lana in the Womens MITB match 

This match was near perfect for what I expected it to be, the spots were great. Including, Moon’s springboard Crossbody onto Banks on the ladder and Charlotte’s powerbomb to Moon on the ladder. Ember Moon shined out in this match. The match was unpredictable even though I don’t agree with the finish. Becky Lynch looked to win the match and the Chicago crowd really wanted her to win too. In the end, Alexa Bliss takes out Lynch to win the MITB. Alexa Bliss, in my opinion, is the Roman Reigns of the Women’s Division. She is overpushed, consistently in the spotlight and (unlike Reigns) haven’t proved it in the ring by having a single great match. However, I won’t let the finish take away from the match. The match was smooth and the spots were done so much better than last years Women’s MITB. Also, I felt like this match portrayed the Women better than most recent (non-Rousey) matches have. Nice Job to the Women in this match! ****1/2

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Jinder Mahal vs. Roman Reigns

WWE should’ve known this was a bad idea to put on in a smart ass Chicago crowd. I was at MITB and this match was fun for all the wrong reasons. All the chants and beach balls were very deserved with what we’ve been given with this feud. Reigns was booed out of the building as fans chanted for NXT, The Elite, Velveteen Dream, CM Punk and to end this match. Not only was this match ill-advised, it went on for way too long. 15 minutes were spent with the crowd messing around and in the end, there was a predictable Reigns win. This sucked. *1/2

  • Carmella defeated Asuka in a very mediocre match that ended with a returning James Ellsworth distracted Asuka for a Carmella win. **

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AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship in a Last Man Standing

They FINALLY did it, these guys had an amazing match. This is their 6th big deal encounter. They fought in New Japan in a great match but then in WWE, they fought at Wrestlemania, Greatest Royal Rumble, BackLash and SD Live and now MITB. Shinsuke’s heel turn made this feud good towards the end and this match made the LONG feud worthwhile. The match had some great spots especially towards the end but like the feud the match was long. Clocking in at 30 minutes. In the end, Styles Styles Clashes Nakamura off the steel steps was amazing. After that, the finish was incredible. Nakamura says “Come On!” but Styles kicks Nakamura in the nuts. Then Styles climbs the top rope and Phenomenal Forearms Naka through the announce table. These two finally had an amazing match which was such a relief. I wonder where Nakamura goes from here. ****1/4

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Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey for the RAW Women’s Championship 

This match was going to be a challenge for Ronda, she shined at WM 34 but she was in the ring with Kurt Angle and HHH two in-ring greats. At MITB, she went against Nia Jax and as great as Jax is she has been known to be green and injure people. I was scared going into this match that the result would be a crappy match between two green women’s wrestlers but nope. This match was all action and no filler. Rousey continued to be intense and show she was deserving of her spot while Jax showed her ability to successfully put on a match as the ring leader. It could’ve gotten great however the match never finished. Bliss came down to cash in and succeeded on the same night. When I said earlier, Bliss is the Reigns of the Women’s Division this continued to prove my point. ***

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Owens vs. Roode vs. Miz vs. Balor vs. Strowman vs. Rusev vs. Joe vs. Kofi for the Men’s MITB

Wow, during the entrances I realized how STACKED this match was. 1) all of these guys but Kofi and Miz came from NXT beginnings 2) Every person in this match had great momentum coming in and 3) All these men deserved their spots. Kofi got announced as the New Day member joining and he really impressed with his athleticism last night. While the Women’s match had smoother transitions, this match had some CRAZY spots. Especially, when Owens was pushed from the top of like a 20-foot ladder down through tables by Strowman. Also, when Balor just cleared the ropes to Coup De Grace Roode. The storytelling in this match was great too as each member had their own distinct character. Owens was the leader of this match helping take out Braun but getting taken out himself. Towards the end, it was anybody’s game and I thought it could go on a lot longer. However, Braun very abruptly won. I LOVE Braun winning though however, I might’ve preferred Joe and his cash in to be pre-announced to Styles at Summerslam or Roode using the briefcase as a jetpack to heel turn stardom. Braun will be who dethrones Lesnar though and that is a great thing. ****

Grade: B

Last Word: This was another case of Takeover hangover however Money in the Bank tonight was really great and had 4 over 4-star matches, which is fantastic for WWE. However, the rest of the show very much sucked. Reigns vs. Jinder was only fun because I was in the crowd and Carmella vs. Asuka had a bullshit finish. This is WWE’s best 2018 PPV but honestly, that isn’t saying much. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m very positive on this show.