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. 

 

 

NXT Takeover Chicago 2 Review

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NXT Takeover Chicago Results + Star Ratings: 

  • Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly defeat Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships @16:00 ****
  • Ricochet defeats Velveteen Dream @22:03 ****3/4
  • Shayna Baszler defeats Nikki Cross to retain the NXT Women’s Championship @9:30 ***1/4
  • Aleister Black defeats Lars Sullivan to retain the NXT Championship @14:05 ***1/2
  • Tomasso Ciampa defeats Johnny Gargano in a Chicago Street Fight @35:37 *****

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(c)Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly(Undisputed ERA) vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan for the NXT Tag Titles

This match was the literal perfect opener. It started fast and got the crowd into it. The pop for UE was insane. Lorcan and Burch were interesting choices for the challengers here but they totally showed their ability in-ring to any doubters. Lorcan especially shined here, hitting an amazing diving double Blockbuster to ringside and being fast as lightning. After a Doomsday Uppercut by Lorcan and Burch, Adam Cole removes Lorcan from the pin and gets an ejected. The match continues at a splittingly fast speed and had an amazing double submission spot by Lorcan and Burch. After a flurry of strikes by ERA, the match ends. Even with a predictable match, Lorcan and Burch were amazing here and got a standing ovation post-match. ****

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Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

This feud had been all about Dream showing Ricochet whatever Ricochet can do Dream can do better. This played heavily into this match. The Dream came down in a Hulk Hogan-inspired attire which was surprising.  If you don’t know, Velveteen used to be on Tough Enough in 2015 and Hulk Hogan was a judge. Hulk Hogan was one of the main reasons Dream was kicked off the show and then Hogan had his “controversy” that then kicked Hogan off of Tough Enough. The match started slowly with Dream in control. Velveteen then dumps Ricochet ringside and hits an amazing tope con hiro. The crowd is split and starts to chant “Both These Guys”. Ricochet fired back with two topes of his own picking up the pace. Dream hit an amazing rolling Death Valley Driver off the top rope for a near fall. The dream also hit a Brutal Suplex to ringside, both men get in at 9. STO DDT by Dream gets a very near fall. Towards the end, this match got into very near 5-star range. Dream yells at Ricochet “I’m a Wrestling God!” This fires up Ricochet to hit Dream’s moves. Ricochet hits a Rolling DVD and hits a Purple Rainmaker but Dream gets his knees up and gets a near fall on Rico. Velveteen flies across the ring to hit the Purple Rainmaker but Rico misses. A 630 Senton by Ricochet closes. ****3/4 

I loved this match so much. I was at NXT Takeover and this match was so fun to watch live. This will go down as one of my favorite 2018 matches however it isn’t the best in quality so far this year. The characters clashed so well and Velveteen and Ricochet provided another amazing NXT Match. The feud was fantastic and this, in my opinion, was better than Dream vs. Black. 

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(c)Shayna Baszler vs. Nikki Cross for the NXT Women’s Championship

Cross vs. Baszler had so much potential and while it was better than almost all of the WWE Women’s matches in 2018, I was still left disappointed. Cross is fantastic while Baszler is one of my favorite women’s wrestlers ever. Early on, Cross was hilarious and crazy yelling at Baszler to choke her out. Ringside, Cross gets a choke on Baszler and Baszler drops Cross onto the ramp out of the hold brutally. In the arena, a beach ball was released but fans grabbed it and ripped it. A “Beachballs Suck” chant boomed through the arena. Knee strikes by Baszler fire up Cross. Cross hits a Diving Crossbody for a near fall. Cross hits a Reverse DDT on the apron. Cross tries to roll up Baszler but Baszler grabs in a coquina clutch. Cross smiles then abruptly passes out. While this was nowhere near bad, it could’ve been great and it was VERY short. ***1/4

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(c) Aleister Black vs. Lars Sullivan for the NXT Championship

This match follows the same theme as the last match, it could’ve been fantastic but one thing stops it from being amazing. In Cross vs. Baszler it was the finish but in this match, it was a major botch. The match starts hot though as Black moves like a cheetah out of the gates. Black goes for a Moonsault off the post ringside but Lars catches him, Dead eyes him on the apron and launches Black into the barricade. Lars goes for a Flying Headbutt but Black gets a single leg up but it hurts Black playing the leg selling into the rest of the match. Black manages to hit a Standing Springboard Moonsault for a near fall. Lars gets in a Brock Lock which Black pins Lars to get out into a near fall. Lars hits a great powerslam on the apron. Now it’s time for the botch, while Black tries to go for a Fade to Black it misses but Lars sells it for a near fall anyway. The commentary makes it worse by saying that it was because Lars was so hurt he passed out and Black hurt his leg too. The crowd chants “You Fucked Up”. This led to a great finish however as Black finally hits two Fade To Blacks for the win. ***1/2

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Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa in a Chicago Street Fight 

Okay, okay guys, this may be the greatest WWE match of ALL TIME. So, Ciampa vs. Gargano was MOTY at Takeover NOLA until Okada v. Omega 4 came along. This match, however, blew the Takeover NOLA match out of the water, however, I don’t know if it’s better than Okada vs. Omega but it’s on the same level.  Instead of continuing to rave on, I’m going to talk about the match. Before the match, Candice LeRae gives Johnny the crutch from Takeover NOLA. Ciampa wears an Infinity War Reference on his shirt. Gargano flies out of the gates. Gargano throws Ciampa over the announce table wiping out Nigel. The fight goes into the crowd. In the crowd, a fan has a sign for Johnny that hides a stop sign and Johnny attacks with it. Johnny hits an amazing dive off the rafters. The match returns ringside and later on, Ciampa wraps a chair around Gargano’s head and send him face first into the steel steps in a brutal spot. Ciampa slingshots Gargano brutally under the bottom turnbuckle. Ciampa hits a Shell Shock on the steel steps. At this point, Ciampa grabs Bolt Cutters and cuts the apron off to remove the bare wooden ring. Ciampa initially fails to slam Gargano on it as Gargano hits a Cheeky Nandos Kick. A Strike Fest ends in a Double Weapon shot, Gargano falls onto Ciampa in a pin for a very near fall. Ringside, a knee strike by Ciampa misses sending his knee into the steel steps. Gargano attacks the previously injured knee with a chair. Ciampa locks in a Gargano Escape, Gargano grabs a crutch but Ciampa repeatedly elbows Gargano. Ciampa hits Gargano with the crutch from Takeover NOLA for a near fall. There is an amazing callback to Takeover Chicago last year with Ciampa sending Gargano into the stage. They climb the rafters, at the top Ciampa removed Gargano’s wedding ring, spits on it and throws it away. From the top of the rafters, Gargano shell shocks Ciampa all the way down through tables. Security comes down to stretcher Ciampa away but Gargano at breaking point continues to attack, Gargano wipes out the security and the referee. In the Ring, Ciampa taps out to the Gargano Escape but there is no ref. Gargano handcuffs Ciampa but security comes down to stop Gargano. Gargano distracted gets DDT’d into the Bare Ring to close the match giving Blackheart the win. *****

This match mixed brutality, story and in-ring skill better than any other match this year. It was so captivating, as everyone cared about the results. This match reminded me of Mankind vs. Undertaker from King of The Ring in the Hell in a Cell but if it had better characters and in-ring skill. The callbacks to the Takeover NOLA match and the DIY break up were fantastic and Gargano was really aggressive as Ciampa was a despicable heel. The match last night rocked the arena and was maybe the best WWE match ever. It’s hard to think of a better match from the primary wrestling company. Everything mixed so well and it was so captivating. They topped their match from just a couple months ago and did so by miles. I’d give it 6 stars if I could. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: While this show hosted three amazing matches in Ricochet vs. Dream, Ciampa vs. Gargano and Lorcan and Burch vs. Undisputed ERA, the rest of the card was mediocre for a Takeover. Ciampa vs. Gargano is an instant classic and Takeovers continue to be the best shows. 

NJPW Dominion 2018 Review

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Star Ratings:

  • Desperado and Kanemaru defeat Roppongi 3K via pinfall @9:50 ***
  • Juice Robinson and Dave Finlay defeat Jay White and Yoshi-Hashi via pinfall @7:35 ***
  • Zack Sabre Jr. and Minoru Suzuki defeat Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii via submission @8:50  ***1/2
  • Michael Elgin defeats Tai-Chi and Hirooki Goto via pinfall to win the NEVER Openweight Championship @13:55 ****
  • The Young Bucks defeat Evil and Sanada via pinfall to win the IWGP Tag Team Championships @15:11 ****1/2
  • Bullet Club(Cody, Page, and Scurrl) defeat Rey Mysterio, Jyushin Liger, and Hiroshi Tanahashi via pinfall @11:35 ***1/2
  • Hiromu Takahashi defeats Will Ospreay via pinfall @20:22 to win the IWGP Jr Championship ****3/4
  • Chris Jericho defeats Tetsuya Naito via pinfall @17:50 to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship ****1/4
  • Kenny Omega defeats Kazuchika Okada in a 2 out of 3 falls match via pinfall (2-1) @69:30 to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship *****

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Kanemaru and Desperado(c) vs. Roppongi 3K for the IWGP Junior Tag Titles

Desperado, SHO, and YOH are straight off very good runs in Best Of The Super Juniors. However, none of that showed here. While this match was a good opener it wasn’t as good as it should’ve been. Since The Young Bucks left, the JR Tag division has been lacking and Roppongi 3k should have the titles to carry the division and in a night of MANY title changes, this was not one. This match worked like a normal Suzuki Gun match as there were crowd fighting and cheating to win. SHO carried most of this match and like the BOSJ shocked me in showing how good he is. In the end, Desperado takes down the ref and Kanemaru hits a cheap shot so Desperado could roll up SHO for the win. ***

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Juice Robinson and Dave Finlay vs. Jay White and Yoshi-HASHI

This match was solidly decent. The match continued the very good Jay White vs. Dave Finlay rivalry and had some work rate moments. Juice looked really good in this match as he was in the ring most of the time. Unfortunately, Yoshi continued to blend in and not do anything of note. Hopefully, a G1 run will fix Yoshi’s run recently. There was a good ending sequence with everybody hitting their signature move and Juice pins Jay with a Pulp Friction to win. After the match, Juice grabbed White’s US title and disrespected him after taunting with the title. This foreshadows a match for the title later on which Juice should win. ***

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Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr and Minoru Suzuki

This match was the first to break into great territory. In this match, Suzuki and Ishii stole the show, their strikefests and back and forths were amazing. Toru Yano was his normal comedic self and ZSJ was able to shine a little bit with his technical work. There’s not much to complain about here. ***1/2

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Michael Elgin vs. Hirooki Goto vs. Tai-Chi for the NEVER Openweight Championship

This match exceeded my expectations by far. I’ve been heavily down on Tai-Chi but his character in this match was actually pretty good. Big Mike looked very good in this match too. Early on, Elgin hit a Tope Con Hiro which amazed me because he’s almost a super heavyweight. Elgin also lead an amazing springboard powerbomb chain suplex spot. There were some believable near falls when Tai-Chi distracted the ref and hit a stiff superkick to Hirooki Goto for a near fall. The ending was fantastic too, Elgin buckle bombed Tai-Chi picking him up off of a roll up on Goto, Elgin then powerbombed Goto into Tai-Chi and then hit a finishing powerbomb on Tai-Chi to win the title. Although an Elgin vs. Goto clash would probably be better, and their stare off post-match might mean that comes later, these three worked very well together. ****

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Evil and Sanada vs. The Young Bucks for the IWGP Tag Team Championships

This is the Young Bucks’ first title match in their new run as Heavyweight Tag Champions. Also, the Tag Titles have changed hands at Dominion 4 years in a row and this year makes 5. The highlight of this match was the selling of the leg from Nick Jackson and the back from Matt Jackson. Mid-match, Nick went for an apron superkick to Evil, Evil ducked allowing Nick to smash his leg into the post. These injuries helped make the Bucks look like legitimate underdogs. There were some very close near falls too, off of a Magic Killer towards the end by LIJ and when LIJ hit the IndyTaker. These teams worked very well together and this match makes me very excited for the Young Bucks Tag Reign. ****1/2

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Rey Mysterio, Jyushin Liger and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bullet Club

The Highlight of the match was Rey Mysterio’s mask. Rey had a mask resembling the Lion Mark logo of New Japan. It was REALLY cool. The rest of this match was mostly, “I’m Cool, look at me” versus “I’m a Legend, Look at Me”. This match only had a couple of spots and it had potential. Every match this night didn’t need to be a banger. This was still really cool to see as it was Rey’s NJPW debut. If you know me, Cody is my favorite all-time wrestler so I would’ve booked this differently. I would have Marty and Page face Hiroshi and Jyushin in a tag match and Cody vs. Rey in a separate match.***

340d54a22b4610ccdfcc103f1cc47a9fe3ec5738v2_hqHiromu Takahashi vs. Will Ospreay for the IWGP JR Championship

Hiromu won the Best of The Super Juniors to get to this match while having some VERY good matches on the way. This was also a rematch from February when it won my match of the month. Unfortunately, this match got outshined tonight but it was still fantastic. The match started FAST and Ospreay hit a flipping stage dive off the ramp. Ospreay does have to maintain a slower pace after the stage dive in order to spread out the spots. Hiromu’s missile dropkicks continue to be some of the best in the game. There were also some insane sequences here which aren’t rare in either of these guys matches. The Stormbreaker got reversed into a Code Red by Hiromu which was awesome. Hiromu hits a Canadian Destroyer into a Triangle Hold, the submission sequence off of the Triangle hold was fantastic and Ospreay powered up Hiromu and dropped him straight on his head. There was a botched spot in which Hiromu Sunset Flipped Ospreay onto the exposed floor but Ospreay just landed on padding but sold it like he landed on the concrete. Hiromu hits a Piledriver, Death Vallet Driver into the corner then a final Timebomb for the win. The Japanese crowd loved Hiromu winning but I disliked it. Will has worked wonders for the JR division on this last run holding the title through some of the best cruiserweight matches ever. Hopefully, Hiromu can continue this with the division. ****3/4

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Tetsuya Naito Vs. Chris Jericho for the IWGP IC Championship

Starting off, it shocked me how good Jericho was here. He can still GO. The Clown Makeup was weird AF though. Jericho attacks early and puts Naito brutally through a table set up on the barricade. Jericho DDTs Naito onto the announce table. NJPW Jericho is unleashed and can do whatever he wants. Jericho surprised me by hitting a very solid lionsault at his age. Jericho is dominant early on but Naito switches the pace. At this point in the match, Naito has a cut in his eye that starts to bleed. It looks crazy brutal. On the top rope, Naito tries to go for a supercanrana but Jericho drops him on his head and transitions into the walls of Jericho. Naito fights out. Destino hits but Naito can’t capitalize. A Codebreaker catches a forearm by Naito which leads to a believable near fall. Naito goes for another Destino which Jericho reverses, takes out the ref, low blows Naito and hits a closer codebreaker. Jericho pulls off a shock win in a very good match. This means we get to see more of the great NJPW Jericho. I also predict that Naito moves back up into the Main Event scene. ****1/4

 

Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match for the IWGP Heavyweight Title

This is the match of the year, maybe all time. This match combines a story, amazing work rate, and genuine emotion to make a masterpiece. Obviously, this is the 4th match in their series and the idea behind this match is that it will be the last. Whoever wins here is crowned one of the best of all time and a tie isn’t possible. The 2 out of 3 falls stipulation fits these guys so perfectly. Going into this match Okada held this title for 700+ days. Omega is the perfect person to take it off of him too.

Let’s talk about the match, this match spans almost 70 minutes. The match starts with a long resthold period but as soon as the pace picks up it launches. Okada tries his suicide dive over the barricade but Omega catches it in a V-trigger. Omega misses a plancha dive but Okada runs back in the ring to hit a plancha dive of his own. Okada dropkicks Omega off the apron sending him brutally into the barricade. Omega hits his Rise of the Terminator spot. There was a sequence of v-triggers and german suplexes and rainmaker reversals that led to some very close near falls. Especially when Okada rolls up a v-trigger attempt leading to a very near fall. Okada goes for the Rainmaker but Omega fights out but Okada fights into a roll up to get the first fall.

I love what NJPW did with the intermissions, in between falls there were 2 minutes of free space allowing the wrestlers and the viewers to take a breather. Once the intermission is over the fight is back on. Omega hits a reverse huricanrana ringside and Okada gets back in at 19. The Rainmaker was reversed into a Spike Uranage which was a cool spot. V Trigger and a One-Winged Angel closes the second fall and now the third fall decides the winner.

Out of the gates, Omega hits another V-Trigger and One Winged Angel gets reversed into a finally successful Rainmaker for a one-armed very near fall. Kenny Omega hits a Styles Clash for another near fall and the Japanese crowd chants “AJ Styles” which is a very sweet moment. A worn out Okada hits a Rainmaker without any followthrough and both collapse. Here I thought they would end this in a double countout pulling a Styles/Nakamura but I was so relieved it didn’t happen. My favorite moment in this match, Okada went for another Rainmaker which then gets immediately reversed into a One-Winged Angel. This looked sick and snap fast. There is a great visual where both men are exhausted in the corner sitting together. Omega hits one last One-Winged Angel for the much-deserved win. 

This was the kind of match you could only dream of. This match had spots nobody else could ever do. These two solidified themselves as some of the greatest of all time. I almost gave it 6 stars but decided not to break the system even though it more than deserved it. *****

Show Grade: A+

Last Word: This show goes hand in hand with NXT Takeover as the best PPV of 2018. Every Match was good especially the last 3. The best match obviously is the main event which will go down as one of the greatest ever. 

May 2018 Awards: Race for Wrestler of The Year

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Wrestler of the Month +10: Hiromu Takahashi, Hiromu earns this spot by having 4 amazing matches this month in Best Of The Super Juniors with almost every opponent he’s had. In a lackluster wrestling month everywhere else but Japan, Hiromu shines in May. Hiromu blasting through great matches with Dragon Lee, Marty Scurrl and Rysuke Taguchi and (spoiler alert) winning the Best Of The Super Juniors in June. 

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Match of The Month +10: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestling Dontaku, The only match getting a ***** rating from me this month. The two behemoth stars of NJPW colliding was as great as you could dream it to be. Okada played a great cocky heel in this match and Tanahashi played a great underdog selling the knee and getting actual tears from the fans in Japan. The match went back and forth for a near hour but it felt like it zoomed by. 

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The Team of the Month +8: The Briscoes, before this month I thought these guys were overpushed and only good as characters. These hillbillies solidified themselves as a great tag team championship holder for ROH and this month helped me get on board for these guys to continue to be the “Best” Tag team in ROH. 

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Feud of the Month +8: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, these dudes again. They deserve all the praise they are getting from Wrestling Journalists here. This feud has been one of New Japan’s most heated in the past decade providing multiple 5-stars. To make this more relatable to a non-NJPW fan, this is like if Randy Orton vs. John Cena was actually fantastic. The two main stars put it to the limit. This is also most likely, one of Tanahashi’s last big feuds and this made him look like an underdog face. These two rekindled their amazing feud. 

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Most Improved +7: Dragon Lee, Lee has been on the verge of greatness for months and has finally achieved it by putting on some very fantastic matches. Especially, against Takahashi and SHO from Roppongi 3K. Dragon Lee got off to a hot start for the Best Of The Super Juniors. 

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Women’s Wrestler Of The Month +8: Ruby Riott, she could’ve also been the Most Improved. Out of literally nowhere, Riott put on a great TV match with Sasha Banks and outperformed the entire RAW Women’s Roster in a Last Chance Gauntlet Match. 

Champions in May 2018: 

WWE: 

Universal: Brock Lesnar 427 Days+

WWE: AJ Styles 208 Days+ 

RAW Women’s: Nia Jax 56 Days+

SD Women’s: Carmella 54 Days+

Intercontinental: Seth Rollins 56 Days+

US: Jeff Hardy 48 Days+

Cruiserweight: Cedric Alexander 56 Days+

RAW Tag Team:  Matt and Bray 37 Days+

SD Tag Team: Bludgeon Brothers 56 Days+

UK: Pete Dunne 379 Days+

NXT: Aleister Black 57 Days+

NXT North American: Adam Cole 57+ Days

NXT Women’s: Shayna Baszler 57+ Days

NXT Tag: Undisputed ERA 186 Days+ 

ROH: 

World: Dalton Castle 170 Days+

TV: Silas Young 57 Days+

Tag Team: The Briscoes 86 Days+

Six-Man: So Cal Uncensored 61 Days, The Kingdom 25 Days+

WOH: Sumie Sakai 57 Days+

NJPW: 

IWGP Heavyweight: Kazuchika Okada 715 Days+

IWGP IC: Tetsuya Naito 36 Days+

IWGP US: Jay White 127 Days+

NEVER Openweight: Hirooki Goto 151 Days+

IWGP Tag: EVIL and Sanada 151 Days+

IWGP JR: Will Ospreay 151 Days+

IWGP JR Tag: Kanemaru and Desperado 90 Days+

NEVER 6-Man: The Tongans 118 Days, Young Bucks and Marty Scurrl 31 Days+

Over 4-Star Matches:

  • Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay vs Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida NJPW Wrestling Dontaku Day 1 ****
  • Cody vs Kota Ibushi NJPW Wrestling Dontaku  Day 1 ****1/4
  • Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page NJPW Wrestling Dontaku Day 1 ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada IWGP Heavyweight Championship Wrestling Dontaku Day 2 *****
  • The Miz vs. Seth Rollins IC Championship WWE BackLash ****1/2
  • Flip Gordon vs. ACH NJPW Best of the Super Juniors ****1/4
  • Taiji Ishimori vs. Will Ospreay NJPW Best of the Super Juniors ****
  • Dragon Lee vs. SHO NJPW Best of the Super Juniors ****
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs. Marty Scurrl NJPW Best of the Super Juniors ****1/4
  • ACH vs. Will Ospreay NJPW Best of the Super Juniors ****
  • SHO vs. Chris Sabin NJPW BOSJ ****
  • Marty Scurrl vs. Kushida NJPW BOSJ ****1/4
  • Desperado vs. Hiromu Takahashi NJPW BOSJ ****1/4
  • Dragon Lee vs. Hiromu Takahashi NJPW BOSJ ****3/4
  • Dragon Lee vs. Chris Sabin NJPW BOSJ ****
  • Hiromu Takashi vs. Rysuke Taguchi NJPW BOSJ ****1/4
  • Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander Cruiserweight Championship 205 Live ****3/4

Current Leaderboard: kazuchika-okada-645x370New Leader: 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. 77 points
  8. Johnny Gargano 72 points
  9. Hiroshi Tanahashi -Marty Scurrl 53 points
  10. Hangman Page 51 points
  11. Andrade Almas -AJ Styles -Dalton Castle -Seth Rollins 50 points
  12. Cody Rhodes 47 points
  13. Adam Cole 44 points
  14. Sanada -Jay White 41 points
  15. Tomasso Ciampa 38 points
  16. Minoru Suzuki -Brock Lesnar -Cedric Alexander 35 points
  17. Roderick Strong 34 points
  18. The Miz -Kushida 30 points
  19. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly 28 points
  20. Alexa Bliss -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 -Gallows and Anderson -Lana 4 points

What Buddy Murphy Vs. Cedric Alexander says about the Main Roster Product in 2018.


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Last Night on 205 Live, Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander had an instant classic for the Cruiserweight Title. If on a random episode of 205 Live these guys can put on an instant classic why can’t the main roster be anything else than absolute trash right now?

The answer, in short, is decently obvious and its name is Triple H. Triple H has taken over backstage control of 205 Live and ever since then it’s been on the skyrocket up in quality and it peaked last night.

The long answer is more complex. WWE is heavily corporate and is a billion dollar corporation before it is a wrestling company in 2018. WWE has to please its sponsors and shareholders first leaving the true fans behind. This split created NXT and most recently 205 Live.

The issue here is, why can’t Main Roster WWE please its sponsors and fans at the same time? RAW and SD Live are pretty much 3-hour ads for a PPV while NXT and 205 Live always build their own identity weekly. The Main Roster needs to build its roster before it falls apart and spoils the sponsors by creating a bad product for everyone. Allowing Story Lines and Momentum to build around the wrestlers will help them maintain success in the long run and is something they have already done in the Ruthless Aggression and Attitude Eras. 

Battle of the Brands: Raw Vs. Smackdown 5/21 – 5/22/18

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Raw Grade: D+

Show opens with Kurt Angle :

Angle comes down to announce Rousey will be here tonight and some new MITB Qualifiers. Stephania Mcmahon returns and puts herself in charge of the Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey contract signing later tonight. Steph just mentions Roman’s name which causes him to come down to a chorus of boos. Roman continues his anti-management angle which causes Kevin Owens to come down. Owens acts like he likes Roman and tries to form a friendship with Stephanie but Stephanie refuses and schedules an Owens vs. Reigns match. 

Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns :

This match was actually very solid with Reigns looking good early on with his cool shoulder tackle that Owens sold with a full flip. The near falls were believable with the crowd into it but as soon as it got good Jinder Mahal attacked ending it in a Roman win by DQ. Seth Rollins comes down and saves Roman starting a tag team match. **3/4

Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens :

The match starts with Mahal and Rollins and starts hot with a Plancha Dive by Rollins. Rollins continues to showcase his greatness and Roman surprisingly takes most of the damage and this leads to a competitive with Rollins getting the Curb Stomp and Pin on Owens. ***

Impressively, with Reigns being in the shot for almost a full hour he entertained and shows that he has improved. If you think Roman is why WWE isn’t reaching it’s full potential currently, as many do, that’s not completely true. 

Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal announced for MITB

Sami Zayn “exposes” Bobby Lashley

After I was actually positive on Roman Reigns that tone gets taken down. Coming out of the gates, this is THE single worst RAW segment of all time. Lashley talking creepily about his sisters was already weird but the writers decided to take it further. Zayn brings out 3 sloppily dressed men in drag which is demeaning to the LGBT and Wrestling Fans. This is a segment you would never want to show a non-wrestling fan. The “Sisters” decide to have a full promo of how Lashley was a bully. Lashley comes down and no sells the trash that’s being thrown at him in this segment and has a full smile on his face and goes on to beat up his sisters. This was the WORST THING EVER. 

Alexa Bliss vs. Ember Moon

As these two are some of the best women wrestlers in the world currently they managed to only have an okay match with what they were given. Moon sold the shoulder like she did back in NXT and Bliss is AGAIN friends with Mickie James. Moon hits the Eclipse for the win. **

No Way Jose vs. Baron Corbin

No Way Jose has gone above the level of Adam Rose and Baron Corbin deserves so much more. When Jose gets serious he is great in the ring and he should have an amazing match to solidify himself on the main roster. This wasn’t it as it was an okay but unique Corbin led match with him picking up the win. **

Breezango vs. B-Team 

I’ve tweeted so many times that the B-Team is the highlight of Raw. When they won really quick here their celebration put the widest smile on my face. This is what the Social Outcasts should’ve been. It’s time for a RAW Tag Title run for Dallas and Axel. 

Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax RAW Women’s Championship Contract Signing

This was the 2nd most highlight on tonight’s RAW. This made the title feel prestigious and boosted Jax as the champion. Rousey is most likely going to win at MITB but that’s okay. She has been off to a HOT start and could be the future or even the NOW of Women’s wrestling. This match is going to feel like a fight too. 

Dolph Ziggler vs. Chad Gable 

These two are crazy underrated and put on a pretty solid TV match to show it. Ziggler FINALLY has momentum and needs to build on it more. He picked up a decisive victory here but Gable needs to be pushed too. **1/4

Elias vs. Bobby Roode AGAIN 

For like the 50th time these guys put on a solid match. Elias picks up a victory. My prediction is that Roode wins the briefcase and uses it to turn into a cocky heel. 

Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman

This was the best thing faded out by a boring show and a HORRIBLE segment. Balor looked great in this match giving Strowman some trouble. Strowman continues to be on a roll. Mid-match, Finn Balor hits a coup de grace off the barricade and throws Strowman over the barricade. Strowman rises up behind Balor giving an awesome monster visual. These two had a match kinda reminiscing something like Styles vs. Lesnar. ***1/4

Last Word: Nothing other than the Lashley segment was horrible the show dragged on and nothing was quite great. Lashley’s sisters’ segment was so, so bad it took the whole show down. Strowman vs. Balor was fun and the B-Team continues on their roll. Reigns looked impressive even with what he’s being given.

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SD Live 5/22 Grade: B+ 

Better Show Record since SuperStar ShakeUp 2018: 3-2 SD Live

Miz TV with the New Day 

Miz runs down each member of the New Day here explaining why they should be in MITB. Miz references Fortnite which means that that epidemic has gone too far. New Day says the member in the match is Big E but not MITB but in a match against Miz right now. Miz says no and leaves but runs into Paige backstage who confirms the match.

Big E vs. The Miz

This match had a lot of comedy and the Miz and Big E characters clashed well. New Day members switched out on commentary. The match itself had some believable near falls and went a good while for a TV match. The Bar attacks New Day on the outside and off the distraction Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. **3/4

Lana vs. Billie Kay Qualifying Match 

English puts over Lana heavily in this match. English waives around a Lana Day sign distracting the IIconics ending in a really quick Lana shock win. Putting Lana over as a babyface along with the rest of Rusev Day is the right way to go. Hopefully Lana performs well in MITB. 

Andrade Almas cuts a promo and beats a jobber. Almas is starting the shine and show character on the main roster after being one of the all-time NXT greats. 

AJ vs. Shinsuke Stipulation Revealed 

This segment was crazy corny at the start with Nakamura announcing a pillow fight as the stipulation which fired back at Styles calling him the King of Soft Style. But as soon as Naka became serious this segment got good. Their outside brawl was fast and furious and Naka counted Styles out announcing the Last Man Standing Match as the stipulation. Hopefully this match shines and creates magic. 

Usos vs. Gallows and Anderson winner faces Bludgeon Brothers at MITB

This match was hotly contested and finally showed a good side of the GoodBrothers. There were some very believable near falls and OGBC pulled out a suprise win in a good match. ***

Naomi vs. Sonya Deville MITB Qualifier

These two’s styles clashed so well. The MMA of Deville and the fire of Naomi made for a good quick match. The Kickfest these two had ending in a double step-up enzugiri was a great spot. Naomi pulled off a roll up victory to qualify for MITB. **1/2

Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy Winner Faces Samoa Joe to Qualify for MITB

This is a first-time ever match and even with that they had great charisma. Even though Bryan has to hold back on his normal insane moves since the injury. They both dived into each other and Bryan hit hard in this match. This was a very WWE style match and it got pretty good. Jeff Hardy hit a swanton bomb but bounced off of Bryan’s knees hard. The match ended abruptly with a brutal Bryan Dragon Screw and a Heel Hook Submission for Bryan. Post match Samoa Joe confronted Bryan. ***1/2

Last Word: Unlike RAW, this show actually built up to MITB. This show was very entertaining with only Kay vs. Lana as a con. Bryan vs. Hardy was a great main event, Styles and Naka continues their almost good feud. Hopefully the Good Brothers start their Career Revival here and New Day and The Miz’s characters clashed greatly. 

 

 

 

 

 

WWE BackLash 2018 Review

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Star Ratings:

Seth Rollins defeats The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship @ 20:30 ****1/2

Nia Jax defeats Alexa Bliss to retain the RAW Women’s Championship @10:17 **

Jeff Hardy defeats Randy Orton to retain the US Championship @11:48 **1/2

Daniel Bryan defeats Big Cass @ 7:45 **1/4

Carmella defeats Charlotte to retain the SD Women’s Championship @10:04 **

AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship ends in KO @ 21:09 ***

Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman defeat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn @ 8:50 *1/2

Roman Reigns Defeats Samoa Joe @ 17:55 **

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Seth Rollins vs. The Miz for the IC Title 

This was honestly the one great thing in a bad show. This match had two of WWE’s best and they showed why. Seth Rollins has officially made the IC belt the most prestigious title in WWE. Rollins is the now of WWE and is the best he’s been since 2015. This match had some insanely great believable near falls. Including, the best moment of the match where Rollins hit the Falcon Arrow but on the follow-up suplex Miz turned it into a Skull Crushing Finale. The Miz has completely gone against the haters who say he can’t be a work-rate wrestler. This match was a hot opener in a hot crowd that had the time to become a classic and it did. Rollins is the MVP of Main Roster WWE and put on WWE’s best 2018 match only overshadowed by a horrible show. ****1/2

Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship

The Bullying and Body-Shaming angle taken for this match made me sick to my stomach. Then a 5-foot Bliss beat up a 6-foot 272-pound Jax for 9 minutes up until the end was totally unbelievable. This match sucked especially in comparison to what it was following. However, it was great to see Jax end up on top again. **

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Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton for the US Championship

This started the SLOW match trend tonight. As all Randy Orton matches are it was very slow and rest holdy and Jeff Hardy has never come into his own with an even okay match yet in this after Mania 34 run. This was exactly what you expected it to be. I never expected Orton to win and he didn’t but it was still a very average match that could’ve been on SD. **1/2

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

Cass did a very good job of getting a bad match out of the work-rate Bryan if that was his goal. This was short and sloppy then Cass tapped. Not much to it. **

81f33-1525658920-800Carmella vs. Charlotte for the SD Live Women’s Championship

This match is summed up in this photo. Carmella rest held Charlotte for a few minutes then it ended fast with a leg kick/roll up by Carmella. Carmella is a good character and it was a good decision to keep it on her but this match had potential. Carmella isn’t bad in the ring but Charlotte is the workhorse MVP of the Women’s Division or at least WWE is telling us she is. This match lived up to none of that potential. **

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AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Title “No DQ”

Like GRR, these two were leading to an NJPW rivaling match. This match got much closer. These two were creating magic especially with the Kinshasa/ Chair Shot reversal that busted open AJ. This is closest they’ve gotten to WK 10 rivaling magic. Then the finish happened. The WORST finish imaginable had a strikefest end in a double low blow KO. In a No DQ match, they were still counted out. This is WWE getting revenge on NJPW for being better. ***

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman 

As it was just a rematch from RAW 2 weeks ago, I expected nothing. It was worse than nothing as nothing wouldn’t have wasted my time. This was this shows worst match but it also just followed the shitty finish of AJ and Naka. Then KO and Sami fought and then Braun Strowman did his normal annoying slam and scream shit. *1/2

roman-reigns-samoa-joe-wwe-backlash-645x370Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

This match sucked less than they crowd made it, even leaving after it started. This match started hot and then Joe kept Reigns in a rest hold for what felt like an hour. This had some good moments like Joe’s suicide dive and Joe’s uranage through the table but none of those were Reigns. Reigns’ momentum is clearly gone and this match did nothing to help. **

Grade: D-

Last Word: This was the worst PPV of the year so far and they’d have to deliberately try to have a PPV be worse. After the amazing start in WWE’s best 2018 match, it tanked hard. Each match after was boring and long with Braun/Lashley vs. KO/SZ being the worst offender. 

April 2018 Leaderboard: Race for Wrestler of the Year

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The Leader Is Still: Kenny Omega

  1. Kenny Omega 101 points
  2. The Young Bucks 99 points
  3. Kota Ibushi 94 points
  4. ZSJ 77 points
  5. Kazuchika Okada -Johnny Gargano 72 points
  6. Will Ospreay 69 points
  7. Andrade Almas 50 points
  8. Hangman Page 46 points
  9. Marty Scurrl -Seth Rollins 45 points
  10. AJ Styles -Dalton Castle 43 points
  11. Adam Cole 41 points
  12. Tomasso Ciampa 38 points
  13. Cody 37 points
  14. Sanada 36 points
  15. Hiromu Takahashi -Minoru Suzuki -Jay White 35 points
  16. Roderick Strong 31 points
  17. Brock Lesnar 28 points
  18. Alexa Bliss -SoCal Uncensored -Cedric Alexander -Fish and O’Reilly 25 points
  19. Pete Dunne -Shinsuke Nakamura 22 points
  20. Ronda Rousey 21 points
  21. Evil -Hirooki Goto -The Miz -Flip Gordon -Jonathan Gresham -Jay Lethal -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Finn Balor -Tetsuya Naito 20 points
  22. Charlotte 17 points
  23. Chris Jericho -Kushida -Asuka -The Usos -John Cena -Hiroshi Tanahashi -Tomohiro Ishii -The Bar -Mustafa Ali -Aleister Black -Braun Strowman -Ember Moon 15 points
  24. Roppongi 3k -Bobby Roode -Sanity -Drew Gulak -Kenny King -Juice Robinson -Matt Taven -Michael Elgin -The Tongans -The Briscoes -Silas Young -Dave Finlay -Buddy Murphy -Velveteen Dream -Ricochet -Lars Sullivan -EC3 10 points
  25. Motor City Machine Guns -Shayna Baszler -Nia Jax -Bludgeon Brothers -Desperado and Kanemaru 6 points
  26. Jack Gallagher -New Day -Hideo Itami -Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Trent Baretta -Sasha Banks -The Kingdom -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Yoshi-Hashi -Punishment Martinez -Dolph Ziggler -Kevin Owens -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -Jeff Hardy -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH 5 points
  27. Mandy Leon -Tenille Dashwood -Carmella -Matt Hardy -Bray Wyatt 4 points 

April Awards: Race For Wrestler of the Year 2018

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Wrestler of the Month: Adam Cole +10, it was an insane month for wrestling but coming out of it I believe one person stands out. Adam Cole was the MVP of NXT Takeover NOLA which was the best PPV of the month, won a ***** ladder match for the North American Championship and led a faction to solidified glory this month. Adam Cole had consistently the best performance of the month

 

Match of the Month: Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa in an Unsanctioned Match for Johnny Gargano’s NXT Career +10, This match had been built for hundreds of days. Since NXT Takeover Chicago last may, this had been one of the hottest storylines in NXT even with Ciampa sidelined. When it finally picked up this feud was straight fire. They rightly main evented NXT Takeover NOLA and had a story-filled, work rate and extreme match for the ages. Everything someone can love about wrestling is found in this match. 

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Team of the Month: Undisputed ERA +8, Even with Bobby Fish injured the ERA was really successful and intriguing this month. Roderick Strong FINALLY turned heel in WWE and joined Undisputed, they retained the tag titles and had just an overall fantastic character showing. 

Feud of the Month: Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano +8, as previously stated, this match had been built for hundreds of days. When it finally picked up it was so satisfying. Tomasso Ciampa was an amazing despicable heel and Johnny Gargano is the best face in wrestling right now. It was a former team break up story as well which added so much heat to it. It was a feud made in heaven. 

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Most Improved: Shinsuke Nakamura +7, a disappointing outing at Wrestlemania 34 against AJ Styles turned into something great. Nakamura immediately turned heel at WM 34 and this creates a great character. The sarcastic “No Speak English” motto and the repeated low blows made a great heel. The new theme song is such a great decision too. 

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Woman of the Month: Ronda Rousey +8, an incredible debut at Wrestlemania 34 got her this spot. Think about this, in her debut match she had MOTN at a Wrestlemania. That means a lot for her career. Her career will take off if she is a full-time talent. 

Champions in April (Champions at the End of the Month Get Points)

WWE:

  • Universal +7: Brock Lesnar  394+ days
  • RAW Women’s +5: Alexa Bliss 223 days, Nia Jax 23+ days
  • Intercontinential +5: The Miz 76, Seth Rollins 23+ days
  • Cruiserweight +5: Cedric Alexander 23+
  • RAW Tag Team +3: The Bar 70 days, Braun Strowman and Nicholas 1 day, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt 4+ days
  • WWE +7: AJ Styles 175+ days
  • SD Women’s +3: Charlotte 147 days, Carmella 21+ days
  • US +5: Randy Orton 28 days, Jinder Mahal 8 days, Jeff Hardy 15+ days
  • SD Tag Team +3: The Usos 182 days, Bludgeon Brothers 23+ days
  • NXT +5: Andrade Almas 140 days, Aleister Black 24+ days
  • NXT North American +3: Adam Cole 24+ days
  • NXT Women’s +3: Ember Moon 140 days, Shayna Baszler 24+ days
  • NXT Tag Team +3: The Undisputed ERA 153+ days
  • UK +3: Pete Dunne 346 days

NJPW: 

  • IWGP Heavyweight +7: Kazuchika Okada 680+ days
  • IWGP IC +5: Minoru Suzuki 92 days, Tetsuya Naito 1+ days
  • IWGP US +5: Jay White 92+ days
  • NEVER Openweight +5: Hirooki Gota 116+ days
  • IWGP Tag +3: Evil and Sanada 116+ days
  • IWGP Jr +6: Will Ospreay 116+ days
  • IWGP Jr Tag +3: Desperado and Kanemaru 55+ days
  • NEVER 6-man +3: The Tongans 115+ days

ROH:

  • ROH +7: Dalton Castle 134+ days
  • TV +3: Kenny King 56 days, Silas Young 21+ days
  • ROH 6-Man +3: So Cal Uncensored 50 days
  • WOH +3: Sumie Sakai 21+ days
  • Tag +3: The Briscoes 50+ days

4-Star and Above Ratings from April: 

  • Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurrl for the JR Title NJPW Sakura Genesis *****
  • Cody and Hangman Page vs. The Golden Lovers NJPW Sakura Genesis ****1/4
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada for the Heavyweight Title NJPW Sakura Genesis *****
  • Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor RAW April 2nd ****
  • Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto 205 Live ****
  • Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. EC3 Ladder Match for the North American Title NXT Takeover NOLA *****
  • Aleister Black vs. Andrade Almas for the NXT Title at Takeover NOLA ****3/4
  • Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano Takeover NOLA *****
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Hangman Page ROH Supercard XII ****1/4
  • Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali for the Cruiserweight Championship WM 34 ****
  • Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship WM 34 ****
  • Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie Mcmahon and Triple H WM 34 ****1/2
  • AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE title WM 34 ****
  • Flip Gordon and The Young Bucks vs. SoCal Uncensored Ladder Match for the 6man titles ROH Supercard XII ****1/2
  • Cody vs. Kenny Omega ROH Supercard XII ****1/2
  • Marty Scurrl vs. Dalton Castle for the ROH World Title Supercard XII ****
  • Jonathan Gresham vs. Jay Lethal ROH Masters of the Craft ****
  • Jay White vs. Dave Finlay for the US Title NJPW Road to Dontaku ****
  • Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto for the Cruiserweight Title GRR ****1/4
  • Tetsuya Naito vs. Minoru Suzuki for the IC Title NJPW Hi No ****
  • Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins for the IC Title Raw 4.30 ****