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

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Results + Star Ratings:

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

 

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

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

Winners: Liger, ACH, and Taguchi

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

So Cal Uncensored vs. Chase Owens and Hangman Page:

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

Winners: So Cal Uncensored

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

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

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

Winners: Jeff Cobb, Flip Gordon, and Chris Sabin

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

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

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

Winner: Suzuki Gun

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

Jay White and Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida:

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

Winner: Jay White and Gedo

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

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

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Marty Scurrl vs. Will Ospreay IWGP Jr Championship Tournament:

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

Winner: Marty Scurrl advances!

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

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

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

Winners: Firing Squad New Champions!

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

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

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

Winner: Cody New Champion!

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

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Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii vs. The Golden Lovers:

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

Winners: Golden Lovers

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

Grade: A+

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

Race For Wrestler of the Year: August 2018

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Wrestler of the Month +10: Hiroshi Tanahashi, The NJPW legend picks up more accolades this year as he wins the G1 Climax. The G1 is the most prestigious wrestling tournament every year and the winner is always presented as an almost unbeatable threat. Tanahashi had an amazing finals match against Kota Ibushi and a great time-limit draw with Kazuchika Okada. The legend continues to be on a tear this year and as he gets closer to his title shot at Wrestle Kingdom it will be interesting to see what else he has in store. X

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Women’s Wrestler of the Month +8: Kairi Sane, Sane had an amazing match against Shayna Baszler at Takeover which is one of my favorites Women’s Matches of all time. Sane played an amazing underdog babyface in that match and pulled out the victory she deserved. Sane showed her talent incredibly well this month and it will be great to see how she does as champion. 

roman-reigns-14Most Improved +7: Roman Reigns, WWE finally did it. They finally got me to like Roman Reigns. It might’ve been the fact that he was lesser of two evils against Brock Lesnar but I really think he delivered a good performance this month. He started it with some great character work in his feud against Lesnar, he won the title in a very mediocre match and is currently having another captivating feud with Strowman. I still don’t get why people hate Roman so much but I guess he is the Big Dog and has been shoved down our throats for a while. Hopefully, smarks can begin to realize that Reigns in NOT THAT BAD. X

3645a-1534636184-800The team of the Month +8: Undisputed ERA, this is the 3rd time that ERA has won team of the month. The ERA has an amazing character in their cocky heel personas and follows it up with amazing matches including this month’s absolute banger against Mustache Mountain. They always do a great job of mixing high spots and technical wrestling and Roddy and Kyle work so well together. As of right now, ERA might cross over The Young Bucks soon for the team of the year. Next Month is War Games and they will definitely pick up some points then. X

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Match of the Month +10: Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano NXT Title Last Man Standing Takeover Brooklyn 4, these guys did it again. I still can’t decide which is my favorite match of their 3 Takeover encounters. This match was BRUTAL and had some amazing spots including the ending with Gargano taking himself out of the match in order to hurt Ciampa and the back-to-back Table spot. This match also had the added dimension of Gargano getting aggressive and becoming an anti-hero instead of a super-face. This is my favorite Last Man Standing match of all time and I thought they used the stipulation to make an amazing match that sets itself out as unique from their other matches. XX

Champions at the End of the Month:

WWE:

  • Universal +7: Roman Reigns 12+ Days
  • Raw Women’s +3: Ronda Rousey 12+ Days
  • IC +5: Seth Rollins 12+ Days
  • Cruiserweight +4: Cedric Alexander 145+ Days
  • Raw Tag +3: B-Team 47+ Days
  • WWE +7: AJ Styles 297+ Days
  • SD Women’s +3: Charlotte 12+ Days
  • US +5: Shinsuke Nakamura 47+ Days
  • SD Tag+3: The New Day 10+ Days
  • NXT +5: Tomasso Ciampa 44+ Days
  • NXT NA +3: Ricochet 13+ Days
  • NXT Women’s +3: Kairi Sane 13+ Days
  • NXT Tag +3: Undisputed ERA 71+ Days
  • UK +5: Pete Dunne 468+ Days
  • UK Women’s Rhea Ripley 5+ Days

NJPW:

  • IWGP HVY +7: Kenny Omega 81+ Days
  • IWGP IC +5: Chris Jericho 81+ Days
  • IWGP US +5: Juice Robinson 53+ Days
  • NEVER Openweight +5: Hirooki Goto 73+ Days
  • IWGP Tag +5: The Young Bucks 81+ Days
  • IWGP JR Tag +3: Suzuki Gun 176+ Days
  • NEVER 6-man: Firing Squad 17+ Days

ROH:

  • World +7: Jay Lethal 60+ Days
  • TV +5: Punishment Martinez 74+ Days
  • Tag +3: Briscoes 173+ Days
  • WOH +3: Sumie Sakai 144+ Days
  • 6-Man +3: Young Bucks and Cody 38+ Days

Over 4-Star Matches: (5 Points for a 4-star Match, 10 Points for a 5-star)

  • New Day vs. The Bar SD Tag Tournament SD Live ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Michael Elgin G1 Climax NJPW ****
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Evil NJPW G1 Climax ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi NJPW G1 Climax Final *****
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki G1 Climax ****
  • Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz WWE Summerslam ****1/4
  • Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins IC Title Summerslam ****1/4
  • Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano NXT Title Last Man Standing Takeover Brooklyn *****
  • Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler NXT Women’s Title Takeover Brooklyn ****1/2
  • Ricochet vs. Adam Cole NXT North American Title Takeover Brooklyn ****1/4
  • Undisputed ERA vs. Mustache Mountain NXT Tag Titles Takeover Brooklyn ****3/4
  • Kenny Omega vs. Zack Sabre Jr NJPW G1 Climax ****
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Hirooki Goto NJPW G1 Climax ****
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega NJPW G1 Climax ****3/4
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito NJPW G1 Climax ****1/4
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs. Juice Robinson NJPW G1 Climax ****
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega NJPW G1 Climax *****
  • ZSJ vs. Tetsuya Naito G1 Climax ****1/4
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs. Sanada G1 Climax ****1/2
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi G1 Climax ****3/4
  • Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins IC Title RAW ****1/4

August Leaderboard: 

njpw-g1-28-3-kenny-omega-645x370Leader: Kenny Omega

  1. Kenny Omega 192 Points
  2. Kazuchika Okada 164 Points
  3. Young Bucks: 142 Points
  4. Kota Ibushi: 134 Points
  5. Hiromu Takahashi: 127 Points
  6. Johnny Gargano: 116 Points
  7. Will Ospreay: 105 Points
  8. Zack Sabre Jr -Undisputed ERA -Hiroshi Tanahashi: 102 Points
  9. Tomasso Ciampa: 97 Points
  10. AJ Styles: 81 Points
  11. Seth Rollins: 75 Points
  12. Adam Cole -Sanada: 66 Points
  13. Marty Scurrl: 64 Points
  14. Hirooki Goto -Tomohiro Ishii: 60 Points
  15. Alexa Bliss -Cody: 58 Points
  16. Hangman Page: 56 Points
  17. Jay White -Tetsuya Naito: 55 Points
  18. Andrade Almas -Dalton Castle -Cedric Alexander -Mustache Mountain: 50 Points
  19. Brock Lesnar: 49 Points
  20. Minoru Suzuki -Evil: 45 Points
  21. Pete Dunne: 43 Points
  22. Juice Robinson: 42 Points
  23. The Briscoes: 41 Points
  24. The Miz -Jay Lethal -Kushida: 40 Points
  25. Shinsuke Nakamura: 37 Points
  26. Flip Gordon -Aleister Black -El Desperado -Michael Elgin -Chris Jericho: 35 Points
  27. Dragon Lee: 32 Points
  28. Braun Strowman -Zack Gibson -Finn Balor -Ricochet: 30 Points
  29. So Cal Uncensored -Charlotte -Dolph Ziggler -Roman Reigns: 25 Points
  30. Matt Taven -Ronda Rousey -Taiji Ishimori: 23 Points
  31. Jonathan Gresham -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Ember Moon -Jeff Hardy -Velveteen Dream -Mustafa Ali -Buddy Murphy -Becky Lynch -Kanemaru -The Bar: 20 Points
  32. Burch and Lorcan -Chris Sabin -Bludgeon Brothers -Firing Squad -Sumie Sakai -Shayna Baszler -Punishment Martinez -Kairi Sane: 17 Points
  33. Asuka -Usos -John Cena -Silas Young -Roppongi 3K -Bobby Roode -EC3 -Kevin Owens: 15 Points
  34. Nia Jax -The Kingdom -New Day: 13 Points
  35. Sanity -Drew Gulak -Kenny King -Dave Finlay -Lars Sullivan -Bray Wyatt -ACH -Jack Gallagher -Sasha Banks -Yoshi-HASHI -Rusev: 10 Points
  36. Hideo Itami -Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Trent Baretta -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH -Rysuke Taguchi -Samoa Joe -Travis Banks -Naomi -Elias -Drew Macintyre -Daniel Bryan
  37. Rhea Ripley: 3 Points

 

Race For Wrestler of the Year: July 2018

 

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Wrestler of the Month +10: Tomohiro Ishii, Ishii has been killing it in the G1 Climax field this year. He’s had absolute classics with Hirooki Goto, ZSJ, and Kota Ibushi. Especially, the Goto match as that was one of the most hard-hitting matches I’ve ever seen. While Ishii might not be a favorite to win the G1 this year he hasn’t had a bad match yet in the tourney and has given an amazing effort the entire month.

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Women’s Wrestler of the Month +8: Becky Lynch, after last month’s excitement for the women’s wrestling division and this month announcing the all women’s PPV “Evolution”, one woman has stood out at both times. Last month, Becky got her opportunity to shine in the Money in the Bank match and this month she has fought her way to a SD Live Women’s Title match in a very solid TV match against Carmella. Lynch is shining currently and it is refreshing to see her back at the top after being in the lower card of the women’s division in WWE for a while. 

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Most Improved: Juice Robinson +7, Robinson has always been great however this month he really embraced his potential. He won the IWGP Us Title from Jay White at the G1 Special in San Fran in a great match. He has also had a good G1 performance even though he started the tourney as the biggest loser. He had an amazing match against Tetsuya Naito in the G1 and I’m excited to see how he continues to be more successful. 

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The team of the Month: Moustache Mountain +8, these two won the Team of the Month through a story told in a single match. Against Undisputed ERA on NXT TV they put on one of the best single-match tag stories I’ve seen. ERA went after Trent Seven’s leg and Tyler Bate was forced to throw in the towel to save his mentor but lose the title. Moustache Mountain had a short tag title reign but it was memorable with amazing performances along the way. 

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Match of the Month +10: Moustache Mountain vs. Undisputed ERA NXT TV Tag Titles, this might be an unpopular decision but I think this is one of the greatest tag matches of all time. The intense work on the leg of Trent by ERA, the high spots including the insane double spin (pictured above) by Tyler Bate and the selling of Trent Seven made this an absolute classic. The story I mentioned in the previous award section really tied all of the spots together and made it more than a meaningless spotfest. The undisputed ERA is an amazing tag unit but Moustache Mountain really shined in this match. 

Over 4-Star Matches:

  • Michael Elgin vs. EVIL G1 Climax A-Block ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki G1 Climax A-Block ****
  • Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada G1 Climax A-Block ****
  • Roman Reigns vs. Drew MacIntyre vs. Finn Balor RAW ****
  • AJ Styles vs. Rusev WWE Title Extreme Rules ****
  • Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy 205 Live NO DQ ****½
  • Undisputed ERA vs. Mustache Mountain NXT Tag Titles *****
  • The Young Bucks vs. Evil and Sanada IWGP Tag Titles G1 Special ****
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs. Dragon Lee IWGP Jr Title G1 Special ****¼
  • Juice Robinson vs. Jay White IWGP US Title G1 Special ****¼
  • Kenny Omega vs. Cody IWGP Heavyweight Title G1 Special ****¼
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr G1 Climax B-Block ****½
  • Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito G1 Climax B-Block ****¾
  • Sanada vs. ZSJ G1 Climax B-Block ****
  • Tetsuya Naito vs. Juice Robinson G1 Climax B-Block ****3/4
  • Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii G1 Climax B-Block ****½
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns RAW #1 Contenders Match ****¼
  • ZSJ vs. Tomohiro Ishii G1 Climax B-Block ****
  • Sanada vs. Kota Ibushi G1 Climax B-Block ****¼
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii G1 Climax B-Block ****¾
  • Kenny Omega vs. Sanada G1 Climax B-Block ****¼
  • Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black NXT TV NXT Championship ****¼
  • Yoshi-HASHI vs. Michael Elgin G1 Climax A-Block ****¼
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hangman Page G1 Climax A-Block ****

Champions at the End:

WWE:

  • Universal +7: Brock Lesnar 484+ days
  • RAW Women’s: Alexa Bliss 43+ days
  • IC: Dolph Ziggler 42+ days
  • Cruiserweight: Cedric Alexander 113+ days
  • Raw Tag: The B-Team 15+ days
  • WWE: AJ Styles 265+ days
  • SD Women’s: Carmella 111+ days
  • US: Shinsuke Nakamura 15+ days
  • SD Tag: 2B 113+ days
  • NXT: Tommaso Ciampa 12+ days
  • NXT NA: Adam Cole 114+ days
  • NXT Women’s: Shayna Baszler 114+ days
  • NXT Tag: Undisputed ERA 39+ days
  • UK: Pete Dunne 436+ days

 

NJPW:

  • IWGP HVY: Kenny Omega 51+ Days
  • IWGP IC: Chris Jericho 51+ Days
  • IWGP US: Juice Robinson 23+ Days
  • NEVER Open: Hirooki Goto 43+ Days
  • IWGP HVY Tag: The Young Bucks 51+ Days
  • IWGP JR: Hiromu Takahashi 51+ Days
  • IWGP JR Tag: Desperado and Kanemaru 146+ Days
  • NEVER 6: Bucks and Scurrl 88+ Days

ROH:

  • ROH World: Jay Lethal 29+ Days
  • ROH TV: Punishment Martinez 43+ Days
  • ROH Tag: The Briscoes 142+ Days
  • ROH Six-Man: Cody and The Bucks 8+ Days
  • WOH: Sumie Sakai 113+ Days

Overall Leaderboard after July 2018:

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The Leader and Current Wrestler of the Year: Kenny Omega

  1. ↑Kenny Omega: 165 Points
  2. ↓Kazuchika Okada: 149 Points
  3. ↑Young Bucks: 134 Points
  4. Hiromu Takahashi: 127 Points
  5. Will Ospreay: 105 Points
  6. Kota Ibushi: 104 Points
  7. ↓Johnny Gargano: 96 Points
  8. ZSJ: 92 Points
  9. ↑Undisputed ERA: 85 Points 
  10. AJ Styles: 74 Points
  11. Tomasso Ciampa: 72 Points
  12. Marty Scurrl: 64 Points
  13. Hiroshi Tanahashi: 63 Points
  14. Adam Cole -Sanada: 61 Points
  15. Seth Rollins: 60 Points
  16. Alexa Bliss: 58 Points
  17. Hangman Page: 56 Points
  18. Cody -Jay White: 55 Points
  19. Andrade Almas -Dalton Castle -Hirooki Goto: 50 Points
  20. Brock Lesnar: 49 Points
  21. Cedric Alexander: 45 Points
  22. Kushida -Pete Dunne -Minoru Suzuki -Evil -Tetsuya Naito -Moustache Mountain         -Tomohiro Ishii 
  23. The Briscoes: 38 Points
  24. The Miz -Flip Gordon -Jay Lethal -Aleister Black: 35 Points
  25. Shinsuke Nakamura -Juice Robinson -Dragon Lee -El Desperado: 32 Points
  26. Braun Strowman -Zack Gibson -Michael Elgin -Finn Balor -Chris Jericho: 30 Points
  27. So Cal Uncensored: 25 Points
  28. Charlotte -Matt Taven: 22 Points
  29. Ronda Rousey -Jonathan Gresham -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Ember Moon -Jeff Hardy      -Velveteen Dream -Ricochet -Taiji Ishimori -Mustafa Ali -Buddy Murphy -Dolph Ziggler -Becky Lynch: 20 Points
  30. Burch and Lorcan -Chris Sabin: 17 Points
  31. Yoshinobu Kanemaru -Bludgeon Brothers: 16 Points
  32. Asuka -Usos -John Cena -The Bar -Firing Squad -Silas Young -Roppongi 3K -Bobby Roode -EC3: 15 Points
  33. Nia Jax -Kingdom -Carmella -Sumie Sakai -Shayna Baszler -Punishment Martinez: 13 Points
  34. Sanity -Drew Gulak -Kenny King -Dave Finlay -Lars Sullivan -Matt and Bray -ACH -Jack Gallagher -Kofi Kingston -Sasha Banks -Kevin Owens -Yoshi-Hashi -Roman Reigns -Rusev: 10 Points
  35. New Day -Hideo Itami -Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Trent Baretta -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH -Rysuke Taguchi -Samoa Joe -Travis Banks -Naomi -Elias -Drew Macintyre: 5 Point

Monthly Wrap Up: The month of July has had some absolute banger matches such as Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega, Undisputed ERA vs. Mustache Mountain and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto. In the end, however, this month was semi-uneventful for 2018 has been for pro wrestling so far but going into August it will be great to see how the G1 Climax finishes up.