The Race for Wrestler of the Year: September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Champions:

WWE:

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

 

Over 4-Star Matches:

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

kennyStill Leader of the Race: Kenny Omega

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

 

ROH Death Before Dishonor Review

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Star Ratings + Results: 

  • Kenny King defeats Jushin Liger @12:11 via pinfall ***1/2
  • The Briscoes defeat The Addiction to retain the ROH Tag Titles @17:42 via pinfall ***3/4
  • Tenille Dashwood defeats Sumie Sakai to retain the WOH Title @13:05 via submission ***1/2
  • Punishment Martinez defeats Chris Sabin to retain the TV Title @7:59 via pinfall ***
  • Bully Ray and Silas Young defeat Colt Cabana and Flip Gordon in an Elimination Tables Match @13:29 ***1/4
  • Bullet Club defeats Chaos @21:14 via submission ****1/4
  • Jay Lethal defeats Will Ospreay @22:45 via pinfall ****3/4

 

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Kenny King vs. Jushin Liger:

  • An interesting big match for Jushin Liger reminiscent of Liger vs. Tyler Breeze at NXT Takeover. 
  • Liger sends King outside and hits a cannonball off the apron.
  • Liger ducks a few great looking kicks from King on the apron but King cuts him down, great corkscrew tope by King wipes Liger out ringside.
  • King is working the back of Liger and hits a backbreaker for the first near fall.
  • Boston Crab by King focuses on the worked back of Liger, Liger grabs the ropes.
  • Shotei palm strike by Liger into a wheelbarrow kick for a near fall on King.
  • Chin Checker into a Spinning Enzugiri by King, near fall. 
  • Chops by Liger into a failed Shotei, King hits a swinging backbreaker for a near fall.
  • Superplex by Liger, Liger takes out his own back in the process. 
  • Inside Cradle by Liger, near fall. Bulldog by Liger gets King down for a Frog Splash, near fall. Liger sells the back again. 
  • Kenny King shows respect for Liger while he’s down getting his back checked by the referee. Once Liger gets up, King shows a dirty side and hits a Spinebuster for the win. 

Winner: Kenny King

Rating: ***1/2, A good technical opener and it’s always great to see Jushin Liger in the spotlight. Kenny King keeps showing a lot of potentials recently and in this match he really shined hanging with the legend. Kenny delivers a great heel ending turning on Liger out of nowhere and delivering the spinebuster FTW. 

briscoesdanielskazThe Briscoes vs. So Cal Uncensored for the ROH Tag Titles:

  • SCU cuts a surprisingly face promo and The Briscoes cut a very creepy Bray Wyatt-like segment. 
  • Rematch from All In when Kazarian and Sky beat the Briscoes.
  • Jay Briscoe and Christopher Daniels start but a brawl ensues early. 
  • Good showing of Tandem offense by The Addiction take out both Briscoes. 
  • Kazarian chases Mark with a chair, Jay wipes out Kaz with a Baseball Dropkick. Great off-the-apron blockbuster by Jay onto Daniels. 
  • Running Shotgun Dropkick ringside by Jay floors Daniels.
  • Briscoes isolate Daniels, Jay takes him ringside and throws him into the barricade, big boot by Mark takes down Daniels. 
  • Rollins DVD into a Froggy Bow attempt by Jay, Blue Thunder Bomb by Daniels looks to open up tags but Mark stops it. 
  • Kazarian finally makes the hot tag, Great Combo Stunner/DDT by Kazarian for the first near fall. 
  • Great springboard huricanrana to ringside by Kazarian, Mark takes the energy out of Kaz with another big boot. 
  • Mark sets up chairs back-to-back but Daniels saves Kazarian with a diving crossbody. 
  • Combo Blue Thunder Neckbreaker by SCU, near fall on Mark. 
  • Great Cannonball Dive over the post by Daniels isolating Mark, slingshot cutter by Kaz for a near fall on Mark. 
  • Paul Turner the ref distracted allowing for a chair shot on Kazarian. Tope by Daniels. Stiff Uranage on a set-up chair by Jay to Kaz, Kaz looks to have his head busted open. Scorpio Sky runs down to check on him. The match is now 2-on-1.
  • Brainbuster by Jay on Daniels, near fall. 
  • Crucifix Neckbreaker by The Briscoes, very near fall on Daniels. If Kazarian is actually injured it would be smart to end this soon. 
  • If Kazarian isn’t actually injured, Daniels working alone against the Briscoes is pretty good storytelling.
  • Doomsday Device rolled through by Daniels stopping the move. 
  • Uranage into the Best Moonsault Ever by Daniels, very near fall save by Mark.
  • Jay Driller ringside by Mark Briscoe, great near fall inside the ring. Daniels is showing great resiliency. 
  • Jay Driller inside the ring by Mark Briscoe closes the match. 

Winner: The Briscoes Retain the Titles! Day Count: 202+

Rating: ***3/4, This match just barely tops the ALL IN tag match and both were great. The Briscoes looked dominant in this match and delivered some great tandem offense. The match was really going and heating up into a tag classic because both are established teams that have great chemistry but Frankie Kazarian gets hurt and isolates Daniels for the rest of the match. I was worried about Kazarian’s condition instead of the in-ring work but once the in-ring work picked back up again it very much delivered with Daniels turning in a great resilient performance.

Tenille Dashwood vs. Sumie Sakai for the WOH Title:

  • The first PPV defense of the WOH title after it meant literally nothing for a few months. 
  • Great Diving Crossbody by Sakai to Dashwood ringside.
  • Tenille protecting her taped up shoulder from Sakai who’s trying to work the arm. 
  • Super Butterfly Suplex by Dashwood, near fall on Sakai.
  • Really innovative Figure Four Chancery by Dashwood, Dashwood releases the hold and curbstomps Sakai, near fall. 
  • Huricanrana into a roll-up by Sakai, near fall. 
  • Shining Whizzer by Sakai, near fall. 
  • Allstar Smash by Sakai, very near fall. Tenille blocked some of the impact but fell on her shoulder. 
  • Armbar by Sakai, Dashwood gets ropes. 
  • Butterfly suplex into the corner by Dashwood. Tenille locks in the Tarantula Lock over the ropes. 
  • Hard landing for Sakai after a sliding powerbomb to ringside by Tenille. In-ring near fall on Sakai.
  • Roll up by Sakai caught into a German suplex affected by the shoulder by Dashwood, near fall. 
  • Strikefest into a powerbomb by Dashwood, Sakai transitions into an Armbar on the shoulder of Tenille, Dashwood passes out giving Sakai the win. 

Winner: Sumie Sakai Retains! Day Count: 174+

Rating: ***1/2, after nothing has happened with this belt or Sakai in ROH for MONTHS. It was very refreshing to see for these women to be in the spotlight and deliver. The match worked really well and Dashwood locked really good however the selling of the shoulder was a little weird and I didn’t know someone could pass out from an armbar. The work in this match was great and the sliding powerbomb by Dashwood to ringside is a standout spot from this match. Hopefully, more can be seen from the WOH division on this caliber. 

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Punishment Martinez vs. Chris Sabin for the ROH TV Title:

  • Chris Sabin gets his own really long comedy introduction. The feud here is centered around the retired tag partner of Sabin, Alex Shelley. 
  • Immediate chokeslam attempt by Martinez into a near fall rollup by Sabin.
  • Great Springboard Diving Crossbody to ringside by Sabin.
  • Suicide Dive by Sabin caught into a chokeslam on the apron by Martinez.
  • Stiff Lariat by Martinez knocks Sabin down taking his energy out. 
  • Supercanrana by Sabin takes Martinez off the top rope.
  • Strikes by Sabin fire up Martinez, Martinez falls to ringside and Sabin hits a suicide crossbody and a suicide dive to Martinez ringside.
  • Diving Dropkick by Sabin to Martinez back in-ring. 
  • Martinez boots Sabin into the referee and hits a spinning enzugiri taking Sabin out. Martinez grabs a chair, Sabin hits a Diving Tornado DDT onto the chair, near fall. 
  • Psycho Driver, Silencer Stomp and Chokeslam by Martinez closes the match.

Winner: Punishment Martinez retains! Day Count: 97+ 

Rating: ***, This match started well. Sabin looked great in this match with his comedy intro and his motivation to win the title. However, about 3 minutes in Martinez took over and dominated the rest of the match. There were dimensions that should’ve been played up to in this match with Sabin picking up the win but with Cobb being the likely next TV champ it makes sense. 

  • Post-match, Martinez grabs Sabin for the curb stomp on a chair. Jeff Cobb comes down surprisingly when you think it would be Alex Shelley and stares down Martinez. Martinez goes for a chair shot but it doesn’t phase Cobb and Martinez gets thrown around by Cobb. Great surprise appearance. 

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Flip Gordon and Colt Cabana vs. Bully Ray and Silas Young in an Elimination Table Match:

  • The new age talents vs. old age talents. Bully Ray still looks like just a salty has-been though. 
  • Flip attacks Bully Ray early. 
  • Kinder Suprise Kick knocks Silas off the top rope and allows Flip to hit the WAZZUP on Bully Ray with Cabana.
  • Bully Ray moves a table saving Silas from a double suplex through it. 
  • Double Backdrop by Silas and Ray but misses the table due to the save from Cabana. 
  • Great springboard moonsault by Cabana and a diving senton by Flip on Silas. Cabana misses a plancha dive allowing Ray to get back on top. Bully attacks Cabana with a steel chair. Bully talks trash to Ian Riccaboni, Ian goes down to ringside to save his friend Cabana. Suicide Dives by Flip knock both Bully and Silas out. Ian cheers on Cabana hitting Bully with a chair. 
  • Powerbomb by Bully sends Cabana through the announce table eliminating him.
  • Chopfest by Silas and Bully on Flip, Flip ducks Young sending him into Bully. Bully Ray saves Young from being whipped through a table. Miscommunication between Young and Bully starts a brawl.
  • Flip uses the table to flip off of, awesome and Bully Ray crashes through it eliminating himself. 
  • Silas lariats Flip flipping him off the apron crashing ringside. 
  • Misery attempt by Silas knocks out the ref, third ref knockout spot of the night. Awesome 450 through the table by Flip eliminates Silas but wait no ref can make the decision. Bully Ray attacks Flip Gordon making it look like he went through the table having the ref call the end for the old guys. Bad finish.

Winners: Silas Young and Bully Ray

Rating: ***1/4, This feud has had atrocious match after atrocious match and they finally managed to make a quality encounter. Flip Gordon delivered a great performance highlighted with the 450 through a table. The storytelling was decent and seeing Colt Cabana in-ring again is always welcome. Bully Ray is one of the worst things in wrestling currently and that still bleeds through. 

  • Tenille Dashwood shown attacked backstage.

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Bullet Club vs. Chaos:

  • Nick Aldis joins commentary.
  • Hangman Page and Tomohiro Ishii start the match. 
  • Stikefest from Page and Ishii fire up both men, suplex by Ishii ends the sequence.
  • Okada tags in and then Scurrl tags in getting a huge pop. ALL IN throwback stand-off from Marty and Okada, Okada tags in Rocky Romero.
  • Best Friends and The Young Bucks have a sequence. Best Friends stand tall.
  • Best Friends stereo dives and hug ringside.
  • Cody and Okada face-off.
  • Cody dives to ringside but nobody’s home, Barretta hits a tope to Cody, Shooting Star of the apron by Page to Baretta, Apron kick by Scurrl accidentally hits Page, Dive by Nick over Matt takes out the crowd ringside. Great Cannonball Dive off the stage by Chuckie T takes everyone out. Chaos calls for Ishii to dive and he hits a cannonball senton off the top rope to ringside, great dive sequence. 
  • Low Blow by Cody to Baretta with the ref distracted.
  • Superplex by Scurrl to Baretta on the top, near fall save by Romero. 
  • Lariat by Baretta to Cody opens up tags to Romero and Page, great hot tag by Romero. 
  • 5 Stereo Superkicks by all of Bullet Club takes out Rocky Romero. 
  • Hot tag by Okada, Double DDT on the Young Bucks by Okada. Reverse neckbreaker by Okada to Nick, near fall save by Matt Jackson. 
  • Great big move sequence from both teams men. Disaster kick by Cody doesn’t phase Ishii and Ishii takes out Page. Superkicks by the Bucks take out Ishii, Dropkick by Okada to Matt. Meltzer Driver stopped by Romero, Sliced Bread off the post by Taylor, Assisted Piledriver by Taylor and Okada on Matt, near fall save by Cody. 
  • Cody saves Matt from a Rainmaker and hits a Cross Rhodes on Okada. 
  • Rainmaker by Okada on Cody hits, near fall. 
  • Ishii and Page put on another sequence, maybe highlighting a singles match at a later date. Buckshot lariat by Page hits to Ishii. Rite Of Passage attempt fails and Ishii hits a stiff lariat, near fall save by Cody. 
  • Nick Aldis announces his match against Cody at NWA 70 will be 2 of 3 falls. 
  • Strikefest from Scurrl and Romero, Powerbomb by Scurrl, near fall. Chicken Wing attempt by Scurrl fails, Inadvertent superkick by Matt hits Scurrl. Romero stops the Meltzer Driver by sending Matt into Nick. Piledriver on the apron by Baretta to Matt Jackson. 
  • Counter into the Chicken Wing by Scurrl tapping out Romero. 

Winners: Bullet Club 

Rating: ****1/4, While it played out like the Survivor Series tag match from last year’s WWE Survivor Series with much of the beginning of the match focusing on star power, unlike that WWE match it really picked up and delivered some fun spots. Like most Bullet Club matches it was a great fury of dives and high spots. Everybody turned in a great performance in this match too which is rare for 10-man tags. I also loved the interaction between Hangman Page and Tomohiro Ishii which I’d love to see in a single’s match. This was fun and MOTN so far. 

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Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay for the ROH World Title:

  • Will Ospreay has gained a lot of muscle weight and comes into this match the heel. 
  • Ospreay takes a dirty shot firing up Lethal. Early finisher attempts by both men and they stare-off.
  • A chop by Lethal takes Ospreay off the top rope, 3 suicide dives by Jay Lethal. The third one knocks Ospreay into the crowd.
  • Great mini-sequence of dodges into the cartwheel dropkick by Lethal. 
  • Handspring enzugiri by Ospreay takes Lethal down.
  • Running Corner Dropkick by Ospreay, near fall.
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Lethal, Ospreay asks for more and gets it. Ospreay squares up again and asks for more, Lethal delivers a really stiff chop and Ospreay boots Lethal down to ringside, really fast suicide dive by Ospreay sends Lethal’s head into the barricade. 
  • Chops ringside by Lethal and they get out a ladder.
  • Springboard Forearm by Ospreay, near fall. 
  • Lethal Combination hits giving Lethal needed space. 
  • Strikefest into a huricanrana by Ospreay sending Lethal over the top rope. Flying Space Tiger Drop by Ospreay dodged by Lethal. A superkick by Lethal inadvertently hits Bobby Cruise and Ospreay catches the title, the referee checks on Bobby Cruise but Ospreay still doesn’t use the title. A strikefest ensues ringside, Flatliner by Lethal into the barricade. Lethal pulls the barricade to try and set up the ladder. 
  • DDT by Lethal drops Ospreay on his head in-ring, Lethal Injection taunt reversed into a reverserana by Ospreay. Flip-over into a sit-out powerbomb by Ospreay, near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” chants.
  • Sunset Flip by Ospreay on the apron sends Lethal into the ladder set up against the barricade.
  • Dropkick to the back of the head of Lethal by Ospreay, Great wrap around kick by Ospreay. Oscutter caught into a cutter by Lethal, Lethal Injection caught into another wrap around kick by Ospreay. 
  • Ospreay teases using the title again, hits a great series of kicks and an Oscutter, amazing near fall. 
  • Supercanrana reversed into a super powerbomb by Lethal, Lethal Injection by Lethal closes the match.

Winner: Jay Lethal Retains! Day Count: 90+

Rating: ****3/4, ROH this year has been too focused on polishing its craft and not delivering great matches. There are a few standouts but nothing I’d say would rank on a MOTY contender list. Once Lethal grabbed the title you could tell something was gonna change and it did. Lethal has taken the belt and ran with it. This match here is ROH’s best match of this year by far. Will Ospreay showed up as a heel and that’s awesome and these 2 had amazing chemistry and from minutes in until the end, the match was flying. These two striked the hell out of each other and delivered some great high-flying. This match was a big highlight of this show and ROH’s MOTY (so far)

Show Grade: B-

Last Word: While most of this show was kinda lethargic and without urgency, the highs were higher than anything so far this year in ROH. The undercard was good starting with Liger vs. King, SCU vs. The Briscoes and Sakai vs. Dashwood all good matches but Martinez vs. Sabin was a stinker, however, the Cobb appearance made up for it. The final two matches were a great way to end the show, The 10-Man tag was mindless fun and the main event of Lethal vs. Ospreay was ROH’s MOTY so far. The total show felt long and had a lame mid-card but the undercard shined and so did the final 2 matches. So far in 2018 ROH hasn’t been perfect and this continues that trend but Ospreay vs. Lethal comes to near perfection. 

WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Review

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Star Ratings + Results:

  • Randy Orton defeats Jeff Hardy inside Hell in a Cell @23:52 ***3/4
  • Becky Lynch defeats Charlotte Flair to win the SD Live Women’s Title @13:34 ***1/2
  • Drew Mcintyre and Dolph Ziggler defeat The Shield to retain the RAW Tag Titles @22:08 ****1/2
  • AJ Styles defeats Samoa Joe to retain the WWE Title @19:00 ****
  • Miz and Maryse defeat Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella @13:00 **1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Alexa Bliss to retain the Raw Women’s Title @12:12 ***
  • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman goes to a no contest @24:51 *

 

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Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton Hell in a Cell Match:

  • A WWE dream-match from 2010 that should’ve happened when both men were in their primes.
  • New painted red cell distracts from the match. 
  • Match starts fast and they start to brawl ringside sending each other into the cell, Hardy brings out a table.
  • Hardy kicks the table into the chest of Orton ringside sending him into the cell. 
  • Hardy also brings out a ladder and hits Orton with it, Orton fights back with a steel chair though.
  • Great Jumping Senton by Hardy off a steel chair ringside sends Orton into the cage.
  • Hardyiac Arrest Dropkick by Hardy for the first near fall. 
  • Great superplex by Orton, Orton deadlifted Hardy to get him higher sending Jeff down hard, near fall. 
  • Whisper in the Wind by Hardy, near fall. 
  • Hardy goes for another ladder and sets it up upside-down ringside. A front suplex by Orton sends Hardy through the ladder supports, innovative spot, near fall back in-ring.
  • Orton attacks Hardy with a steel chair, Orton grabs Hardy’s steel studded belt and whips him with it, a little kinky for WWE but okay…
  • Orton puts Hardy in between a ladder and stomps it down on him, near fall. 
  • These guys are working really slowly in this match, especially Orton. 
  • Hardy fires up and hits a sequence of dropkicks, near fall.
  • Twist of Fate countered into a Powerslam by Orton, near fall.
  • Orton pulls out tools and grabs a screwdriver, so Orton looks like he’s trying to kill Hardy and the ref is standing there like “how bout you don’t” good WWE logic. Orton puts a screwdriver through the ear lobe of Hardy and twists it, almost too brutal. Gross. Fitting for a HIAC match though.
  • Hardy attacks Orton with a chair, Hardy’s snapped and pins Orton, near fall.
  • Orton pulls Hardy off the top rope stopping the swanton bomb. From the belt whipping by Hardy to Orton Randy’s back is bloody and welted. 
  • Hangman DDT by Orton. Orton taunts for the RKO but fails hitting it, Twist of Fate by Hardy. Hardy lays a steel chair on Orton and goes for the Swanton Bomb and hits it on the chair on Orton, good near fall. 
  • The leg of Orton is busted open. This match is actually brutal but the crowd is lame as hell. 
  • Hardy sets up ladders and a table in the ring, Twist of Fate Stunner puts Orton on the table. Hardy climbs up to the tallest ladder and grabs the cell ceiling and swings off down through the table as Orton dodges. Great innovative cell spot. The referee calls for the cell to be called up and EMTs even though it’s Hell in a Cell and they didn’t do that shitty finish for Mick Foley or Triple H when they took worse spots. Randy Orton anti-climactically pins Hardy for the win. 

Winner: Randy Orton

Rating: ***3/4, this felt like an old school brutal match. These guys went for it all and this might be my favorite Randy Orton match since the Christian feud. Jeff Hardy shined in this match and took some insane spots like the screwdriver ear and the swing off the cell ceiling. The spots were really innovative too and like nothing we’ve ever seen in HIAC which it’s rare to see WWE try anything new. However, the match was worked really slow for the majority and the ending was weird. Never before have they stopped a HIAC match because someone took a hard spot, it didn’t look like Hardy landed unsafely at all so they were just trying to sell the intensity of spot and the whole point of the cell is so these guys can go crazy without any help from the ref. This match both made the cell look brutal but also made it look like just another stipulation which is honestly what it’s become in recent years. Orton vs. Hardy was a fitting feud for the cell but this match is another reason why WWE should only bring out the cell when it’s needed. Overall, this match was a breath of fresh air even if that breath was way too long. 

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Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte (c) for the SD Live Women’s Title:

  • The feud behind this match has been great and has really highlighted Becky Lynch. 
  • Early attempts by both at their submission finishers.
  • Diving Forearm off the apron by Lynch knocks Charlotte down ringside. 
  • Near fall roll up by Charlotte followed up with a Diving forearm by Lynch for another near fall.
  • Becky Lynch is doing a good job of working the arm of Lynch and keeps her in a hammerlock. Charlotte fights out and hits a chop but a lariat by Lynch goes for a near fall. 
  • Lynch misses a leg drop and Flair hits a sloppy knee stomp, Lynch hotshots Charlotte’s arm over the top rope. Lynch drops Flair shoulder first into the apron. Back in-ring near fall. 
  • Saito Suplex by Charlotte giver her much needed space. 
  • Big Boot by Charlotte knocks down Becky after a solid sequence. Charlotte follows it up with a moonsault that misses, Lynch locks in an armbar but Flair powers into a powerbomb, near fall.
  • Strikefest starts and Lynch fires it up and hits an inverted DDT landing Flair on her shoulder, near fall. 
  • Lynch flies off the top rope and neither of them do anything so Lynch just awkwardly falls and Flair locks in the Boston Crab, Lynch grabs rope.
  • Lynch pulls Charlotte’s arm into the post, in-ring roll up by Flair but Lynch locks in the Dis-Arm-Her as she kicks out, Flair escapes to ringside. 
  • Spear by Charlotte great reversal by Lynch into a shock pin and she wins the title. 

Winner: Becky Lynch New Champion!

Rating: ***1/2, this was a great match with both looking really good. The story of Lynch working the arm and at the end the story of Lynch finally getting her moment made this more than a good sprint. The pacing was much better than the last match and this match was for the most part cleanly worked. Becky Lynch deserves her moment to add a chapter to this good feud. 

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The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler and Drew Macintyre(c) for the Raw Tag Titles:

  • Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins start the match. 
  • Early Stomp attempt by Seth sends Ziggler ringside to recuperate with Drew. 
  • Drew and Dolph square up, Ziggler distracts Dean and Mcintyre clocks Ambrose from behind. 
  • Hot tag by Seth Rollins after isolation on Dean. Suicide Dive attempt stopped by Mcintyre, Spike DDT by Ziggler out of nowhere on Seth, near fall. 
  • Drew and Dolph isolate Rollins, Ziggler locks in a sleeper on Rollins, Saito suplex by Rollins breaks Dolph off and opens tags, Mcintyre pulls Ambrose off the apron to stop the tag. 
  • Reverse Alabama Slam by Mcintyre to Rollins, near fall save by Ambrose.
  • While on the shoulders of Mcintyre, Rollins makes the tag but Ziggler distracts the ref stopping the tag from being noticed and Drew and Dolph continue to isolate Rollins.
  • Seth finally tags in Dean for the hot tag. Jacknife cover by Ambrose for a near fall, swinging neckbreaker by Dean for another near fall on Drew. 
  • Dean sends Drew into the post and Dolph into the barricade. Dean goes to the top rope and goes for an elbow drop but Drew catches him and hits an exploder suplex into the corner. 
  • Hot tag by Seth Rollins, Rollins hits a suicide dive but gets caught by Drew and Dolph. Dean Ambrose hits a suicide dive to knock everybody down.
  • Falcon Arrow by Rollins on Dolph, very near fall.
  • Fameasser by Ziggler caught into a buckle bomb by Rollins, near fall save by Drew into a great sequence. Roll up by Ziggler, near fall, Roll up by Rollins, near fall and a Zig Zag by Dolph hits for an awesome near fall.
  • Claymore stopped with a superkick by Rollins, near fall. Another superkick by Rollins into a Frog Splash to the back of Drew, awesome near fall. Commentary is doing great selling the near falls. 
  • Plancha Dive by Rollins misses Ziggler sending Seth to a hard landing. Flying Lariat by Drew to Ambrose and Mcintyre kips up showing athleticism. 
  • Dean takes Drew to ringside, Superplex by Rollins but the Falcon Arrow stops with a Claymore kick by Drew out of nowhere for the close. Great finish. 

Winners: Drew Mcintyre and Dolph Ziggler Retain! Days Held: 14+

Rating: ****1/2, while my favorite conventional main roster WWE match is still The Miz vs. Seth Rollins from BackLash this places in the top 3. Seth Rollins has been the only consistently good thing about WWE this year and he continues to prove it by using actual logic, great high spots and amazing pacing in all of his matches. The addition of Dean and Drew made the great Ziggler vs. Rollins match even better.

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AJ Styles(c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title:

  • Really weird attitude era like feud behind this match.
  • Styles comes hot out of the gates. 
  • Good Dropkick by Styles knocks Joe ringside, sliding knee off the apron by Styles.
  • Styles looks really agressive in this match.
  • Baseball Slide by Styles knocks Joe into the announce table. 
  • Phenomenal Forearm attempt by Styles but Joe dodges to ringside. Plancha Dive to ringside by Styles caught with a kick by Joe. Big Boot ringside by Joe run Styles over. Joe chucks Styles into the steps.
  • Running Knee by Joe to Styles in the corner. Styles has lost most of his momentum. 
  • Step-up Enzugiri by Joe knocks Styles into the ropes, Joe kicks Styles to ringside. Amazing suicide punch dive by Joe to ringside, near fall in-ring. 
  • Running Uppercut by Joe absolutely flips Styles, near fall.
  • Superplex attempt by Joe but Styles slips under and snake eyes Joe on the top turnbuckle giving AJ some much needed space. 
  • AJ fires up the a series of strikes ending with a sliding forearm for a near fall. 
  • Moonsault Reverse DDT by Styles, near fall. Really good-looking move. 
  • Lionsault by Styles caught into the knees of Joe, Powebomb by Joe, near fall. Transition into a Boston Crab by Joe, transitioned into an STF by Joe, Styles grabs the ropes. 
  • Really impressive show of strength with a Burning Hammer Powerbomb by Styles for a near fall. 
  • Springboard 450 by Styles hits, near fall.
  • Slingshot by Joe sends Styles into the corner, hard running lariat by Joe for a good near fall. 
  • Joe looks for a Muscle Buster but Styles reverses into a failed Styles Clash, Stiff step-up enzugiri by Joe knocks Styles down, great near fall. The crowd should be a lot more into this. 
  • Pele Kick by Styles knocks Joe into the corner, Phenomenal Forearm caught into the Coquina Clutch by Joe, Styles rolls up Joe for the win. On replay it looked like Styles tapped out before the 3 count meaning Joe won but Styles gets to retain. 

Winner: AJ Styles Retains! Day Count: 314

Rating: ****, for a WWE match this was really hard-hitting and some of AJ’s best work in a while. The crowd was out of it due to the live crowd for this show, frankly, just being absolute crap. These 2 were hitting big strikes and moves going off of great pacing for a while. Hopefully, they can top this match due to the finish teasing another chapter. A rare occasion where a non-finish in WWE makes me excited but it happened. 

  • Miz and Maryse defeat Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan **1/4

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Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey(c) for the Raw Women’s Title:

  • Alexa Bliss is accompanied by Alicia Fox and Mickie James and Rousey is accompanied by Natalya. 
  • Rousey launches Bliss across the ring with a beal. 
  • Rousey follows Bliss to ringside, scares her then throws her back in. 
  • Rousey side-steps Bliss sending her diving and taking out her posse. 
  • Bliss pulls Rousey’s hair over the top rope getting her on top for a second. 
  • Stiff mid-kick by Bliss to Rousey, Rousey is coming into the match with sore ribs so they’re continuing the story. 
  • Rousey goes for the Judo Throw but the ribs gave out, Double knee moonsault by Bliss for a near fall. 
  • Bliss doing a good job of working the ribs of Rousey.
  • Bliss kicks Rousey in the ribs on the tree of woe, near fall. 
  • The most offense Rousey has taken since her joining WWE. 
  • Bliss drives Rousey into the bottom turnbuckle and stretches her ribs against the post. Fox and James stretch Rousey against the post too and Natalya takes out Alicia Fox, Rousey takes out Mickie James. Double Crossbody by both women. 
  • Roll up by Rousey, near fall. Backslide by Rousey, near fall. Mid-kick by Bliss catches Rousey. 
  • Rousey fires up and Judo Throws Bliss. 
  • Judo Drop by Rousey into an armbar ending the match. 

Winner: Ronda Rousey

Rating: ***, This match was good as Rousey held her own totally and these two put on a good long match. However, Ronda looked way too weak in this match selling the rib injury and giving Bliss the majority of the offense. 

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Roman Reigns(c) vs. Braun Strowman Universal Championship Hell in a Cell Match with Mick Foley as Guest Referee:

  • Strowman grabs the title and Roman comes agressive out the gates.
  • Strowman sends Reigns into the cell wall via a shoulder block on the apron. 
  • Strowman trucks Roman into the cell wall ringside.
  • Braun’s first HIAC match.
  • Drive-By by Roman saves him from a steel step shot by Braun. 
  • Chokeslam on the apron by Braun. 
  • Reigns attacks Strowman with a kendo stick shattering it. 
  • Roman attacks Braun with a steel chair, Braun catches the chair and charges at Reigns but Reigns sidesteps sending Strowman into the post. 
  • DDT on the chair by Reigns, Strowman powers out early. 
  • 2 Superman punches by Reigns, Strowman catches the 3rd one in a chokeslam and gets a 3-count by Foley but they treat it like a 2. Strowman should’ve won the match and ended it awkwardly off that botch by Foley. 
  • The 3rd Superman Punch hits for Reigns, near fall. 
  • Someone in the crowd keeps screeching, it got so bad that they had to turn off the crowd mic. 
  • Reigns runs around the ring to superman punch Braun but gets caught with a steel step shot from Strowman. 
  • Another steel step shot in-ring by Braun, near fall. 
  • Running Powerslam by Strowman, near fall.
  • Foley is a bad referee. 
  • 4th and 5th Superman Punches rock Strowman, the 1st spear sends Braun through a table set up ringside. 
  • Both are down as Dolph Ziggler and Drew Mcintyre come down, Dean and Seth come down to take out The Show. 
  • Ziggler starts climbing the cell and gets to the top, Rollins follows him and they brawl on top of the cell. Mcintyre comes up to help Ziggler and Ambrose comes up with a kendo stick to even the odds. Double lariat spot by Ambrose and Mcintyre on the top of the cell. 
  • Ziggler and Rollins brawl halfway down to the floor and both fall off half the cell through the announce table. 
  • Brock Lesnar comes down and literally kicks the door down off the hinges. Lesnar attacks Braun and Reigns with table fragments. F5 to Reigns onto Strowman by Lesnar. Heyman maces Foley so a new ref calls a no contest. 

Winner: No Contest Reigns Retains, Day Count: 28

Rating: *, so much overbooking bullshit made a bad match even worse. I’m tired of WWE putting the biggest men against each other in one-dimensional boring matches. Inside the cell it was lame but Lesnar’s return and the fact that Reigns and Strowman literally sat in the ring doing nothing for 10 minutes made this a crapshoot. I heavily dislike Braun Strowman and this continues my case that he’s no longer what he used to be, now he’s an annoying, whiny and boring big man in total contrary to what he used to be just a few months ago on raw. Reigns being bad still isn’t his fault at all. This match had nothing working for it in-ring and while it could’ve been a fun and insane spotfest WWE literally messed it all up and ended a HIAC match in a no contest. This show made the HIAC just another stipulation washed over in the system.

Show Grade: B

Last Word: The in-cell work tonight was stuff of nightmares, both matches made the HIAC look like a bitch boy palace with both matches ending in the referees deciding that the comabtants were too hurt. Just to double check, this is Hell in a Cell right?? The same stipulation that had Mick Foley’s teeth shoved out of his mouth and into his nose and he had to wrestle the rest of the match after multiple 20+ foot falls against the Undertaker?? Okay, so tell me why Brock Lesnar’s F5 is more brutal than a fall into thumbtacks or a fall through the cell. Is swinging off the cell ceiling more brutal either? No, the hell in a cell is a bitch boy palace now. Regardless, what was out of the cell on this show was stellar. The Drew and Dolph vs The Shield and Styles vs. Joe were very good while Lynch vs. Flair and Rousey vs. Bliss were both good. The show started well with the Orton vs. Hardy clash that even though ended really bad had a couple great brutal spots and the quality either got better or remained the same until the atrocious main event and ending. 

Progress Chapter 75: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends Review

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Chapter 75 Results:

  • Grizzled Young Veterans defeat Mills and Mayhew in the Thunderbastard Tag Series ***1/4
  • Millie Mackenzie defeats Chakara, Charlie Morgan, Candyfloss and Laura DiMatteo to earn a shot at the Women’s Title against Jinny at Wembley *1/2
  • Chris Brooks and Timothy Thatcher defeat Aussie Open in the Thunderbastard Tag Series ****1/4
  • Walter and Doug Williams defeat Trent Seven and Pete Dunne N/A
  • Tyler Bate defeats Mark Haskins in a 3 and In match to earn a shot at Progress Title against Walter at Wembley ****3/4
  • Will Ospreay defeats Jimmy Havoc in a NO DQ 2 out of 3 Falls Match with Paul Robinson as the Special Guest Referee *****

 

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Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) vs. Mills and Mayhew Thunderbastard Tag Series:

This was a very solid tag opener, Gibson and Drake are both established wrestlers having highlights in the WWE UK Tournament. Mills and Mayhew looked like local jobbers but honestly surprised me with talent in this match. Mills and Mayhew worked off of tension between Drake and Gibson leading to some solid spots like having M and M throw Gibson to the outside to dive on Drake. There were enough near falls to get the crowd heated up and it didn’t go too long but was fun while it lasted. ***1/4

  • Millie Mackenzie wins a sloppy 4-way to become #1 Contender *1/2

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Chris Brooks and Timothy Thatcher vs Aussie Open:

Another match in the Thunderbastard Tag Series and this match was awesome. It somehow successfully fused a comedy match and a hard-hitting technical encounter. Brooks and Thatcher were a makeshift team for Thunderbastard leading to some great comedy spots based on their difference in style and Brooks just trying to fit in with Thatcher. Mark Davis of Aussie Open really impressed me in this match. He’s a big guy but did some awesome hot tag work and worked great with Thatcher. At a point in the match, Davis and Thatcher just decide to strike the hell out of each other and they both grabbed their opponents into a Double Submission spot then continued to strike off, Davis hits a KO Punch knocking Thatcher down for a near fall, Frog Splash by Fletcher of Aussie Open breaks the pin and a Coast to Coast by Chris Brookes ends the awesome sequence. Aussie Open hits a Crucifix Bomb on the apron to Brooks ringside taking him out and hit a pop-up cutter on Thatcher for a great near fall. Aussie Open hit their signature Fidget Spinner move on Thatcher and Fletcher dives to stop Brooks from breaking the pin but Thatcher near fall kick-outs anyway. A Dual Submission spot by Brook and Thatch close the match. ****1/4

  • Thatcher and Brooks show respect for each other after a great match. 

progress-walter-vs-dunne-696x392-e1535123672611Doug Williams and Walter vs. Pete Dunne and Trent Seven: 

This was set-up as a preview match for Trent Seven vs. Doug Williams for the Atlas Title at Wembley. Pete Dunne played a great cocky heel in this match but it started off slow. Walter and Trent Seven do a shoulder block sequence where Seven tries to knock Walter down but Walter boots Seven down. Walter starts to hit the stiff chops on Seven, Dunne mocks throwing in the towel calling back the Moustache Mountain vs. Undisputed Era match on NXT TV. After Williams and Walter isolated Seven he makes a hot tag to Dunne. Dunne hits an Explex on Seven sending him onto Walter for a near fall. Williams goes for his Signature Chaos Theory rolling German Suplex on Dunne but lands bad suffering a stinger to the neck. The concern for UK wrestling legend Doug Williams set over the match and the guys try to wrap it up as soon as possible and the injury, unfortunately, put a dark cloud over the match. Thankfully, Williams will be good for his match against Seven at Wembley. N/A due to injury

  • Pete Dunne and Trent Seven help Williams out but WxW booker Christian Michael Jakobi comes down, Dunne attacks him but Pete’s opponent at Wembley, German Wrestling legend Ilja Dragunov attacks Dunne and stands tall.

dlt7jbrxoaaahq4-e1535123709205Mark Haskins vs. Tyler Bate winner faces Walter for the Progress Title at Wembley: 

The match starts very technically making it feel even. They start fighting ringside and Haskins sets up Bate on a chair, Haskins runs to hit a Yakuza Kick to Bate off the chair. Fighting on the apron leads to Haskins drops Bate on his knees. Haskins begins to wonderfully work the leg of Bate which was some of the best working of the leg I’ve ever seen, it added a lot to the story and Bate sold it incredibly well. Haskins locks in an STF to torque the leg of Bate but Bate gets rope break. Haskins locks in a Deathlock but gets tired of the hold and DDTs Bate for the first near fall. Bate hits a Suicide Dive and rushed back in for a standing shooting star for a near fall. Haskins hits a great Landslide for a near fall. A great strike-fest gets stereo and ends with a double head kick sending both men down. Bate hits a great one-legged German Suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Bate strikes Haskins into a corner but Haskins fires up and hits an awesome Canadian Destroyer, Suicide Dive and Diving Double Stomp for a near fall closing a great burst of offense by Haskins. Haskins locks in an armbar into his signature Made In England for a great near fall. Haskins goes for another Diving Double Stomp but Bate catches him and does an awesome one-legged airplane spin. Haskins locks in a Sharpshooter, Bate fights into a Tyler Driver 97 qualifying himself for a Progress Title Shot, This was an AMAZING match with the ending being some of the best work I’ve seen from either man and especially Tyler Bate was on fire here. The selling of the leg was tremendous and these two tore the house down and then Havoc and Ospreay wrote the blueprints for the next construction in blood. This show had one of the greatest Co-Main Event and Main Event sequences I’ve ever watched. I was contemplating whether I liked Bate and Haskins more than Bate vs. Dunne from Takeover Chicago but decided to just give this match 4 and 3/4 rating. ****3/4

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Will Ospreay vs. Jimmy Havoc No DQ 2 out of 3 Falls Match, Special Referee Paul Robinson and if Havoc wins he gets a spot in the main event of Wembley:

This absolute spectacle started with the best video package I’ve ever seen and it highlighted perfectly this brutal feud. Ospreay played an amazing heel that snapped unlike the babyface he plays in New Japan and Havoc plays an awesome death-defying face. These two literally want to kill each other and the feud feels real. Ospreay comes out with an army of people dressed in his entrance attire and they set up 5 tables around the ring. Before the match even starts it feels like I’m witnessing history with the crowd yelling “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Fucking Havoc”. The crowd was amazing in this match too making the match that much more special. This is the 5th match between them and Havoc leads 3-1.

Ringside, the match starts to heat up and Ospreay dives between the turnbuckles but Havoc throws a chair at him stopping the dive. Havoc duct tapes Will’s hands together and Ospreay gets pretty busted open. Havoc sets up Will in a tree of woe over the ropes on the outside and hits him with a chair a few times but follows it up with literally stapling paper to the chest of Ospreay. Havoc goes for the ear of Ospreay with scissors but Robinson takes them away and cuts Will free from the duct tape. Ospreay acts like Robinson is on his side and asks him to curb stomp Havoc, from behind Havoc hits an Acid Rainmaker on Ospreay for the first fall. Ospreay hits an awesome sunset bomb as a call to Hiromu Takahashi through a table set up ringside. Ospreay staples the head of Havoc busting him open. Fighting into the crowd allows Ospreay to set up 2 Back to Back tables. Havoc brings in a guitar to hit Will but Will hits a cheeky Nandos kick and busts the guitar over the head of Havoc. Ospreay brings a mystery bag in that is unsurprisingly thumbtacks. Havoc double stomps Ospreay into the tacks. Ospreay goes for an Oscutter but Havoc catches him and hits a Death Valley Driver onto a setup chair giving Ospreay a brutal landing. Explex by Ospreay sends Havoc into back to back set up chairs. Superplex onto a pile of chairs by Havoc. Acid Rainmaker attempt by Havoc gets reversed into a backslide by Ospreay using all of his weight to pin Havoc and tie up the falls. “Ospreay, go and fuck yourself” song by the crowd.

Ospreay is a fantastic heel in this match. They fight further into the crowd and Ospreay sets up Havoc on the tables set up in the crowd. Ospreay climbs a pile of speakers and hits an awesome elbow through the tables. Ospreay asks Robinson to countout Havoc and Havoc gets back in at 9 but Ospreay hits 2 back to back shooting star presses immediately for an awesome near fall. They fight back out and climb the balcony back over 2 back-to-back tables. They fight on the balcony until Ospreay hits a Spanish Fly off the Balcony down to the tables but they both bounce but don’t break leading to probably a harder fall for both men in one of the spots of the year. Robinson starts to count both out and both get back in at 9.

Ospreay ducks an Acid Rainmaker and hits an Oscutter for a very near fall, Will wants it to be over and attacks Paul Robinson but Robinson chases Ospreay around the ring. Havoc throws a chair at Ospreay but Ospreay ducks sending the chair into Robinson and sending him through a chair. Havoc hits the Acid Rainmaker and a new ref comes down for another great near fall, Havoc Death Valley Drivers that ref through a table in the corner. Ospreay hits a Diving Oscutter, another new ref and another awesome near fall but Ospreay crucifix bombs that ref through a table. The Progress mouthpiece Jim Smallman becomes the referee and Ospreay hits an Acid Rainmaker and Smallman counts to a near fall. Havoc hits a Diving Oscutter and Smallman counts another near fall. “Fight Forever” chants. An Acid Rainmaker by Havoc is reversed into an Essex Destroyer by Ospreay and follows it up with a 630 senton, Paul Robinson comes back to pull out Smallman from counting 3. Paul Robinson grabs the ax from the Ospreay and Havoc promos and looks both men down and puts it in the middle and both dive for it but Havoc hits a Death Vallet Driver on the tacks for another near fall. They keep wrist control and lariat the hell out of each other Havoc grabs the ax cuts Will’s leg and hits a final Acid Rainmaker but Paul Robinson attacks Havoc. “Robin, you’re a cunt” song by the crowd and Ospreay hits a Stormbreaker for the close. *****

This is one of my favorite matches of the year for the fact that it was an amazing story that was executed in match to perfection. Both played amazing characters and the ending with the ref destruction was insanely great. The spot of the year so far happened in this match with the Spanish Fly off the balcony through the unbreakable table by Ospreay. The crowd and atmosphere made this match something absolutely special and if you’ve never watched Progress before, go for the subscription to watch this instant classic. 

Show Grade: A

Last Word: This was the first Progress show I’ve ever seen and I got brought in because of the hype surrounding Ospreay vs. Havoc. The show had an amazing crowd in the Electric Ball Room and this show had a plethora of great matches. GYV vs. M and M was a good underdog vs cocky heel opening tag, Aussie Open vs. Brookes and Thatcher somehow was both a comedy match and a great technical match. Bate vs. Haskins was an amazing technical but exciting match with a great performance by both men. The highlight was definitely Ospreay vs. Havoc though. The package of this show was amazing and some of the best wrestling I’ve seen since NJPW Dominion. 

 

 

 

 

WWE SummerSlam Review 2018

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SummerSlam 2018 Results:

  • Seth Rollins w/Dean Ambrose defeats Dolph Ziggler w/Drew Mcintyre to win the Intercontinental Title via pinfall @22:17 ****1/4
  • New Day defeated The Bludgeon Brothers via DQ so 2B retains the SD Live Tag Titles @9:37 ***1/2
  • Braun Strowman defeats Kevin Owens to retain the Money in the Bank Briefcase via pinfall @1:55 N/A
  • Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch and Carmella to win the SD Live Women’s Title via pinfall @14:45 ***
  • Samoa Joe defeats AJ Styles via DQ so Styles retains the WWE Title @23:20 ***3/4
  • The Miz defeats Daniel Bryan via pinfall @23:25 ****1/4
  • The “Demon” Finn Balor defeats Baron Corbin via pinfall @1:30 N/A
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Jeff Hardy to retain the US Title via pinfall @10:14 **3/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Alexa Bliss via submission to win the RAW Women’s Title @4:41 N/A
  • Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar via pinfall to win the Universal Title @6:11 **1/2

Seth Rollins w/Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler(c) w/ Drew Mcintyre for the IC Title:

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These two have 2 bangers already under their belts and they continue it here. Drew Ambrose returning added a much-needed dimension to this match that set it out differently from other Rollins V Ziggler encounters. This was also a very solid decision to open the show and brought a lot of heat to the show early on. I loved this feud and think it ends here. 

Rollins comes down in an awesome Thanos-themed attire. The match starts slow but picks up gradually. Very early on, Ambrose squares up to Drew making sure that this is a fair one-on-one match. Ziggler begins to work the knee of Rollins as always. Ziggler whips Rollins into the corner and Seth takes a hard bump to the outside. Then the match slows down as Ziggler holds a rest hold for a few minutes but then follows it up with a backdrop to ringside giving Seth another hard bump. A crossbody by Ziggler is reversed into a very sloppy suplex to ringside by Seth. Rollins looked off his game in the first half of this match taking rough bumps and lacking the follow through on some of his moves. Rollins gets on fire with a sequence of big moves, suicide dive to ringside followed up by a springboard clothesline and a Ripcord Knee back in-ring for a great near fall. Ziggler hits a great looking Spike DDT on the apron to Seth, Rollins gets back in the ring at a nine count. Rollins hit a superkick/frog splash combo but the splash is rolled up by Ziggler for a near fall. Rollins hits an amazing inverted super falcon arrow for another great near fall. “This is Awesome” chants. Drew takes out Ambrose ringside, Zig Zag hits for a very near fall. Roll up sequence into a buckle bomb by Rollins. Dirty Deeds by Ambrose hits to Drew ringside and Rollins hits the Stomp for the win. 

Rating: ****1/4, Even though it’s close I don’t think this is the best one-on-one main roster WWE match of the year. That still goes to the Miz vs. Seth Rollins at BackLash. However, disregarding the slow and sloppy start, the closing to this match was FANTASTIC. The amazing inverted Falcon Arrow, the great near falls and the Spike DDT on the apron made the crowd hot and the match awesome. This match did exactly what it set out to do and that was fire up the live crowd for what was going to be a LONG show. The added dimensions of Drew and Dolph ringside made this match special and probably the best of their encounters. 

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Bludgeon Brothers(c) vs. The New Day for the SD Live Tag Titles:

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After a hot match to follow, these two teams were ready to lock horns again. Big E and Xavier Woods were the members of New Day to try and take down the undefeated Tag Champs. New Day won the #1 contender tag tournament on SD Live defeating the Bar for the right to face 2B at this show. 

Xavier and Rowan start the match. Early on, a big splash by Rowan gets the first near fall in on Woods. Ringside, a powerbomb on the steps attempt by Rowan to Woods fails and Woods goes for a huricanrana but ends up falling hard on the ringside floor. Big E gets himself in for a hot tag. A great Tope Con Hiro by Woods lays out Rowan, A ringside Deep Six by Harper wipes out Woods, A spear off the apron by E wipes out Harper and a crossbody off the apron by Rowan knocks down Big E to close a great sequence. In-ring Crucifix Bomb by 2B on Big E goes for a near fall save by Woods. Sit-out powerbomb by Harper to Woods for a near fall. Backdrop by Rowan to Kofi but E gets revenge with a Big Ending to Rowan. New Day hits the great uranage/backstabber combo off the apron to Rowan. Woods hits an awesome elbow drop to ringside and takes out Harper. New Day goes for the Midnight Hour to Harper but Rowan attacks with the hammer for a DQ. 

Rating: ***1/2, This is undoubtedly the best 2B match since the repackage and makes Summerslam 2-2 on the banger ratio. The match was just a rush of insane moves headlined by the amazing elbow drop to ringside by Xavier Woods. The ending didn’t make me too mad as it made sense. New Day pushed 2B to their limits for the first time as a team and they had to escape with a DQ to retain the titles. The Bludgeons are weakened now and might lose the titles to New Day at HIAC. 

  • Braun Strowman SQUASHES Kevin Owens. This made me so mad. This match had a lot of good story elements to work on with the briefcase on the line and the champion’s advantage for Strowman being taken away. However, Strowman won in a minute and a half. Strowman is honestly no longer interesting AT ALL. 

Carmella(c) vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch for the SD Women’s Title:

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Carmella has been an infuriatingly bad champion and Charlotte was just inserted into this match at the last minute. Lynch is the only one going into this match that deserves the title and that plays out in the match. 

The match starts out slow as Carmella works on driving a wedge in between the friendship of Carmella and Charlotte. Carmella spends way too much time early on talking and taunting. The match starts to fire up when Carmella hits a top rope huricanrana for the first near fall. Spear/STO spot led by Charlotte goes for a near fall on both Lynch and Mella. Middle rope drop by Charlotte in a Boston Crab on Carmella, transition into the Figure 4 by Flair, Lynch breaks it up with a flying leg drop for a near fall on Charlotte. A great suicide dive by Carmella takes out Becky but an even better Corkscrew Moonsault by Charlotte pretty much misses Carmella and Lynch but still takes them out. Dis-arm-her in the ring by Becky on Flair, Mella breaks it up. Lynch saves a few near falls and hits a Bexploder/Dis-arm-her combo on Mella, Charlotte breaks it up with a Natural Selection on Lynch for the win. 

Rating: ***, The beginning of the match was almost intolerable but it picked up one Carmella stopped taunting. The dynamic of the three women worked well together and Lynch looked really good in this match too. Carmella delivered one of her better performances while Flair took a backseat a majority of the match. Lynch’s heel turn after the match was very justified and was one of the highlights of the show. 

 

AJ Styles(c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title: 

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This feud has revolved around AJ’s family adding a lot of heat to the match. Joe continues to be amazing on the mic and feels incredibly fresh and different from WWE’s writing mold. AJ’s reign is finally starting to pick up too after nearly a year. 

Samoa Joe grabs the mic pre-match and calls out Style’s wife. The match starts with stiff strikes by both men and AJ going for the leg of Joe. Joe kicks Styles down off the apron for a hard landing and the first near fall. Amazing Suicide Dive by Joe sends Styles into the announce table. In-ring a stiff lariat by Joe flips Styles and goes for another near fall. Styles rocks Joe with a stiff right hand and plancha dives to ringside. Back in-ring, Styles hits a Moonsault Inverted DDT for a near fall. Joe goes to the top rope for a flying leg lariat for a near fall. Amazing show of strength by Styles hitting the ushigoroshi but hurting his knee in the process. Phenomenal forearm attempt by Styles is dodged into an intense snap powerslam by Joe for a near fall. AJ powers into a Styles Clash which doesn’t hit all the way but still goes for a near fall. A stiff strike-fest ensues and ends with an uranage by Joe putting both down. Styles locks in the Calf Crusher but Joe smashes AJ’s head into the mat to get out. Joe locks in the coquina clutch but Styles grabs the ropes. Joe signals bringing back the Muscle Buster finisher that ended a few careers including Tyson Kidd but Styles fights back. Joe step-up enzugiris Styles to ringside off the top rope. Joe sends Styles into the steps busting open AJ. Joe grabs a mic and stands on the announce table to call out Styles’ family again. Styles snaps and spears Joe off the announce table through the barricade and attacks Joe with a chair for a DQ finish. 

Rating: ***3/4, I was really close to giving this match a 4-star rating but the finish made the match weaker. The entire match was awesome, starting with stiff strikes and living at a fast pace. Joe looked awesome in this match and Styles got in the zone again. This tried less hard than AJ vs. Nakamura but was better early on. The match also was wrestled at a more strong style attitude which made it feel surreal that we are watching it in WWE. The end of the in-ring worked played out really well too with multiple near falls and the solid submission sequences. Joe hit an awesome step-up enzugiri to knock Styles ringside and before the DQ finish the work on the outside was awesome. Styles was busted open and therefore looked a lot more intense when he snapped. Joe looked like a devious heel and Styles’ family looked genuinely concerned. The camera cuts were great adding to the story here. However, because the match never had a decisive finish I couldn’t give it a 4-star+ rating. This match makes me really excited for the future of this feud though. 

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz:482b83b04467cf02882a8f4b466ba02063195f83r1-620-349v2_hq

It’s almost surreal that this match is finally happening. These two have been having an amazing feud since 2012 almost and they had some of the best encounters in 2017 on Talking Smack of the year. The rumors started circling that these two were gonna face off and we are finally here. Let me say, I was not disappointed at all by the outcome. 

An amazing video package starts the hype for this match. Miz hits Bryan’s strike sequence in the corner but Bryan fires up and hits his own strikes. Miz goes for Bryan’s Surfboard Lock but Bryan turns the tables again. The Miz is being an awesome heel and using Bryan’s moves against him. Clothesline off the top rope by Miz sends Bryan to a hard fall. Superhuricanrana by Bryan for the first near fall. Crossbody by Bryan off the top rope to ringside takes out Miz. Yes! kicks to Miz in the tree of woe by Bryan. Super Belly-to-Back suplex by Bryan off the top rope for another near fall. Yes! Kicks by Bryan get caught into a Snap DDT by Miz for a great near fall. Miz’s chest gets completely red due to Bryan’s chops. It! Kicks by Miz, Bryan squares up and delivers stiff ass slaps to the Miz. Running Knee attempt by Bryan caught into a slingshot by Miz sending Bryan into the corner, Skull Crushing Finale by Miz hits for a great near fall. Miz goes for the Running Knee but Bryan catches it with a Buzzsaw Kick for another near fall. Miz dodges Bryan’s kick sending his leg into the post, in-ring Figure 4 by the Miz, Bryan flips it over and the Miz grabs the ropes. Skull Crushing Finale attempt by Miz rolled up by Bryan for a near fall. Crucifix roll up by Bryan for another near fall. Bryan locks in the Yes! Lock but Miz grabs the ropes. Jumping Knee off the apron by Bryan sends Miz into the barricade near Maryse. Maryse gives Miz brass knuckles. Bryan goes for a suicide dive but is stopped with a Brass Knuckle punch, Miz gets the pin for the win. 

Rating: ****1/4, I loved this match. These two have insane chemistry and brought a surreal match into reality in the greatest way. The layout of this match was awesome too, the beginning of the match saw Miz try to defeat Bryan with his own moves. The middle of the match had some great showdowns between the two and the end had some awesome near falls but again the ending tarnished the match a little. The Miz cheating to win just means that the feud isn’t over but it also seems like WWE forgot it was Summerslam and is just using this show to progress feuds and not have it be the showdown like it should be. This is the 3rd match of the night without a clear finish and it’s starting to get insanely annoying. Watching the match on its own though shows that it is an absolutely great match with a smart layout and an amazing heel/face dynamic. 

  • Finn Balor brings back The Demon to squash Baron Corbin. 
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Jeff Hardy in a very mediocre match, Hardy takes a hard bump off a failed Swanton Bomb to the apron. Randy Orton comes down for a second but turns back around and goes backstage. **3/4
  • Ronda Rousey squashes Alexa Bliss but the celebration with Natalya and the Bella Twins was a great moment. Ronda deserved the title and hopefully, Bliss is out of the scene for a while. 

Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Title:

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I’m not going to lie, the build-up to this match succeeded in making me like Roman Reigns. WWE subliminally made us hate Brock Lesnar by never having him show up and so you look for Reigns to take the title and save the day. While I think they could’ve done something else with the main event like a Fatal 4-Way again or Lesnar vs. Balor it’s going to be great to see someone else with the big jam belt.

Braun Strowman comes down before the match making everyone think that he’ll cash in and make it a Triple Threat. But, he decides to just watch the match from ringside. The match starts and immediately Reigns hits 3 Superman Punches and 2 Spears, the 3rd Spear is reversed into a Guillotine Choke by Lesnar, Reigns powers into a spinebuster to get out. Lesnar re-applies the Guillotine Choke and Reigns powers out again. Lesnar hits 3 German Suplexes. The First F5 attempt is reversed but Lesnar side steps a spear sending Reigns diving into Braun ringside. F5 hits to Braun Strowman taking him out. Lesnar attacks Braun with the briefcase and launches it to backstage. A Spear that catches a distracted Lesnar in-ring wins the match for Reigns and the Reign of terror is OVER!

Rating: **1/2, this was a fun sprint with not much in-ring action but Braun ringside took much of the attention away from that. Lesnar is finally defeated and there was a definite pop when Reigns won. WWE has succeeded after 3 YEARS in making Reigns a solidified champion. It feels like he deserves the title and honestly he does. I’m going to be the first to say this, Reigns is good and gets an unneeded bad reputation. 

Show Grade: B+

Pros:

  • Demon Return
  • Bryan vs. Miz
  • 2B vs. New Day
  • Rollins vs. Ziggler
  • Lynch heel turn
  • Rousey title win
  • Styles vs. Joe
  • Reigns title win

Cons: 

  • Owens vs. Braun
  • Crappy endings to good matches

Last Word: The name of the game for Summerslam 2018 was to have a classic WWE match but end it with over-booking. Bryan vs. Miz, Styles vs. Joe and 2B vs. New Day all were great matches and all ended with cheating or confusion. The only straight up, no complaints good match was Ziggler vs. Rollins. It seemed like WWE forgot that Summerslam was a big show and just spent it to build new feuds instead of end good feuds. However, the highs in this show are more positive than anything in WWE lately like Rousey winning the title, the Demon returning, Reigns winning the title and the overall match quality. This show absolutely defeats BackLash and Extreme Rules but maybe 2nd or 3rd best PPV of the year against Royal Rumble and MITB. I was much more surprised at the quality of this show against NXT because I went into the weekend believing that NXT would completely overshadow Summerslam and Summerslam would be a bad show. This show was incredibly long and if you don’t have time to watch everything catch Dolph vs. Seth, Styles vs. Joe, Rousey winning and Bryan vs. Miz. 

 

 

 

WWE Raw Review 7/30

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  • In Memory of Nikolai Volkoff and Brian Christopher. 

Roman Reigns Opens the Show:

  • Brock Lesnar is shown actually here in the arena via satellite backstage.
  • Reigns says he won’t let Lesnar enter his “Yard” and run his mouth. Paul Heyman comes down. 
  • Heyman cuts an awesome promo and calls Roman insane for trying to challenge Lesnar again. Heyman also says Lesnar will retain and go on to UFC to become a “Two-Sport Champion”
  • Reigns asks for Lesnar and Heyman says Brock is here but he will only come out when and if he feels like it.
  • Roman says if Brock shows up at Summerslam he will return him to UFC as his bitch. WWE used it’s one and only swear word this year… I love how the crowd acted like saying “bitch” was the craziest thing Reigns has ever done and in PG WWE it probably is. 
  • Backstage Segment with Heyman and Lesnar, Heyman shows Lesnar what Reigns said about him and Lesnar destroys the phone and sits back down. He really couldn’t care less. 

The Brock vs. Reigns mega-feud has reached an official level. Brock’s gimmick is that he doesn’t care anymore which in real life he doesn’t either. Roman looks like the good guy here for once and finally, WWE has made Lesnar someone the hardcore fans hate more than Roman. 

Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin

  • This feud is bad for both men and it continues again this week. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Balor sends Corbin ringside, Finn hits a flying forearm ringside. 
  • Apron Clothesline by Corbin knocks Balor down for a hard landing.
  • Long Rest Hold led by Corbin takes out the match’s minimal momentum it had built up. 
  • Sliding around-the-post clothesline by Corbin gives the match the first fall. 
  • Pop-up Dropkick by Balor sends Corbin ringside and gives Balor some space.
  • Corbin punches Balor while he’s leaning over the ropes, Corbin follows it up with a Back Drop on the apron. 
  • Enzugiri on the top rope by Balor again knocks Corbin to ringside, awesome Tope Con Hiro dive by Balor wipes out Corbin. 
  • Another Long Rest hold by Corbin takes more momentum out. 
  • Chokeslam by Corbin rolled up for a near fall by Balor. 
  • Chokeslam Backbreaker is successful by Corbin for a near fall. 
  • End Of Days attempt reversed into a DDT by Balor getting Finn back on top. 
  • Coup De Grace attempt fails, Balor stays standing but Corbin catches Balor in the Deep Six for another near fall. 
  • Shotgun Dropkick ringside by Balor drives Corbin into the barricade. 
  • Shotgun Dropkick in-ring but the Coup De Grace fails, End of Days by Corbin closes. 

Winner: Baron Corbin

Rating: ***1/2, This match showed what I knew all along, Baron Corbin can absolutely put on a great match given the time. Corbin put on a 3 star+ match while in a suit which I don’t think I’ve seen done before. Finn Balor is still amazing and they have great chemistry after all the matches they’ve had recently. 

  • Baron Corbin comes back again to attack Finn Balor more. 
  • Kurt Angle confronts Paul Heyman saying Brock Lesnar needs to be in front of a live audience of Heyman’s contract is terminated. 
  • WWE Evolution video package transitions into Natalya vs. Alicia Fox.

Natalya vs. Alicia Fox

  • Alicia Fox’s first match back from injury on RAW.
  • Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss are ringside. 
  • Rest-hold-mania for a while. 
  • Alicia taunts Ronda allowing for Bliss to KO punch Natalya allowing Fox to pick up the win. 

Winner: Alicia Fox

Rating: N/A, Another throwaway match just so Bliss and Rousey can be the focal point again. Before Evolution WWE needs to learn how to book their women better. 

  • Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey chase each other around for a bit.
  • Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman backstage segment and Heyman asks Lesnar to come out to the ring. Brock says nope and asks Heyman to leave the room. 
  • Kurt Angle, Natalya, and Ronda Rousey backstage segment. Angle announces Rousey’s first RAW match against Alicia Fox next week
  • Elias concert interrupted by Bobby Lashley, Lashley sings for a bit but Elias attacks. 
  • Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin backstage segment, Owens brings up the idea that Braun Strowman could cash in tonight before he can win the contract at SummerSlam. 

Braun Strowman vs. Jinder Mahal

  • Jinder Mahal is still continuing the annoying self-renewal gimmick. 
  • Jinder distracts Strowman while Owens sneaks up and grabs the MITB contract. 
  • Strowman chases Owens, Owens gives the briefcase to Singh and Singh gets trucked by Braun. Braun chases Owens backstage for a count-out. Referring to the match at SummerSlam where if Braun gets Counted out or DQ’d he loses. 

Winner: Jinder Mahal via Countout

Rating: N/A, Even though it wasn’t a great match and nothing much happened in-ring there was some great wrestling logic. The countout loss refers to the match at SummerSlam and Owens is a smart heel again. 

  • Jobbers meet up backstage for a segment with Mojo Rawley, the most talented jobber on RAW Bobby Roode confronts Mojo and attacks him. A pretty lame pull-apart brawl ensues. 

Apollo Crews vs. Akam

  • Apollo hits a series of kicks to weaken Akam and finally gets him down with a flying forearm, Standing Moonsault by Crews gets a near fall. 
  • Roll up win by Apollo Crews. 

Winner: Apollo Crews

Rating: N/A, While I’m excited that the very talented Apollo Crews put on a show it came at the cost of making AOP look weak. I’m predicting AOP is another NXT transitioned turned sour, unfortunately. Without Paul Ellering, the Authors of Pain are majorly lacking any character. 

Seth Rollins vs. Drew MacIntyre

  • Great Deadlift Suplex by Drew.
  • Suicide Dive by Rollins is caught, Drew blasts Seth into the barricade. 
  • Slingshot under the ring to the exposed steel ring frame by Drew, a really unique spot sold really well by Seth Rollins. 
  • The Suicide Dive finally works for Rollins so he follows it up with a 2nd Suicide Dive.
  • Rollins whips MacIntyre into the exposed steel ring frame.
  • Amazing Tilt-A-Whirl Falcon Arrow by Rollins for a near fall. 
  • Stomp Attempt by Rollins caught in a Spinebuster by Drew for another near fall.
  • Great sequence of superkicks by Rollins knocking Drew down after Macintyre asked for more.
  • Amazing Super Air Raid Crash by Drewy Mac for another near fall. 
  • Rollins rolls up the inverted Alabama Slam by Drew for a near fall. 
  • Stomp by Rollins hits and Ziggler attacks for a DQ. 

Winner: Seth Rollins via DQ.

Rating: ***1/4, What a match until Ziggler got involved. The very unique ring frame spots matched with the typical big move into near fall flow by Rollins. They put on a banger that had a unique flavor to it and if it had finished clean and went on longer could’ve been one of the better WWE Matches of The Year. WWE does have to save the match quality for SummerSlam to make it feel more special. 

  • Kurt Angle and Roman Reigns backstage segment, Angle says to have Lesnar out in the ring they need to get Reigns out of the building. Police come to escort Reigns out. Reigns sucker punches Baron Corbin down and leaves. 
  • B-Team in-ring interview interrupted by the Deleters of Worlds and they cut the typical weird promo. The Revival come down and stake their claim for the titles. Brawl breaks out between Deleters and Revival but Matt and Bray stand tall. 

Revival vs. Matt and Bray

  • B-Team on commentary.
  • Side Effect by Matt Hardy on Scott Dawson allows tags, hot tag by Bray Wyatt.
  • The crowd is SILENT. 
  • Miami smarks chanting “CM Punk” and “Rusev Day”. People complain the Revival are misused but crap on their matches. 
  • Shatter Machine gives Revival the pin over Bray Wyatt.

Winners: The Revival

Rating: *1/2, the crowd really ruined this one. The Revival finally gets a break from jobbing and the Miami crowd craps on this match. All things considered, the match itself had nothing interesting going on and lacked momentum. 

  • Seth Rollins interview with Renee Young. Drew and Dolph attack Seth. 

Riott Squad vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley

  • AGAIN??
  • Sarah Logan and Bayley start the match. 
  • The Bayley and Sasha frenemy feud is the worst thing on RAW currently. Do something with the feud or drop it already WWE. 
  • Hot tag by Bayley on Liv Morgan. 
  • Diving Meteora by Banks on Morgan goes for a near fall but Logan saves the match. 
  • Cool Backstabber/Bayley to Belly combo gives Bayley the pin over Liv.

Winner: Banks and Bayley

Rating; **, The feud is crazy repetitive and a snoozefest at this point especially this late into RAW. The only good thing was the Double Team Backstabber/Bayley to Belly finish. Stop with the feud already WWE. 

  • Backstage segment with Heyman and Lesnar and Heyman finally tells Brock about Angle’s ultimatum. Brock squares up with Heyman. 

Brock Lesnar Segment

  • Kurt Angle comes down with Baron Corbin and asks for Lesnar or Heyman is fired. 
  • Paul Heyman comes down in a somber tone. The crowd sings “Goodbye”.  Paul Heyman says Lesnar is not coming down here tonight. 
  • Kurt Angle gets fired up and talks down on Lesnar calling him “The Worst Universal Champion of All Time!” Paul Heyman agrees and says he’s tried to mold Brock in Angle’s image. Heyman says to take Angle’s punishment out on Lesnar. 
  • Kurt Angle fires Paul Heyman and Heyman clings onto Angle. 
  • Brock Lesnar comes down and Paul Heyman’s face immediately turns into a sadistic smile. Heyman is the best. 
  • Brock immediately squares up with Angle and Corbin, Lesnar delivers an F5 to Kurt Angle but Baron Corbin ducks out. 
  • Brock Lesnar chokes Heyman down. 
  • Crowd chants “We Want Strowman”. They don’t get that and Lesnar leaves. 

A great closing segment with great performances by Paul Heyman and Kurt Angle. Brock Lesnar is still an actual dick though, in character and in real life. Horrible, horrible champion. 

Show Grade: D+

Last Word: Man, what a disappointment this show was. RAW continues to march towards SummerSlam looking like crap. Brock Lesnar did nothing here other than continue to be an actual heel and make people like Roman in comparison to Brock. Paul Heyman carried all of the segments with Lesnar. There were two solid matches in Corbin vs. Finn and Drew vs. Seth but the rest of the show lacked severely and was just filter.

SD Live Review 7/24/2018

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  • The show opens with a Limo Shot and Miz, Maryse and Monroe Sky come out of the limo. Miz and Mrs. premiere party later tonight. 

Randy Orton Promo

  • Orton says he busted his ass for 16 years and the only constant in WWE. (Which is true) But he also says he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. 
  • Randy Orton says he’s not some “Indy Darling” and doesn’t perform in bingo halls or do stupid hand gestures. Stop hating the indies because they’re doing better than you Randy. 
  • Randy says the crowd is the “Legend Killer” now because they are no longer respecting him. He also says he will end Hardy’s career.

As much as I hate Randy, he’s actually doing something interesting with his character now. None of what he said in this promo wasn’t true, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves compared to the likes of Cena, Batista, and HHH who were in his same era. He is acting sadistic and vicious like he always should be. WWE turned him around for the better after his return from injury. 

Andrade Almas vs. Rusev

  • No Aiden English ringside due to the interference he has at Extreme Rules costing Rusev the match. 
  • Rusev throws Almas into the ropes and Almas and Vega hit the Tranquilo pose. 
  • Almas dodges Rusev sending him into the post and locks in a cross arm breaker over the top rope. 
  • Inverted Tornado DDT by Almas into the first near fall.
  • Hard series of Buzzsaw kicks by Rusev fires him up into hitting a huge spin kick to get the advantage again. 
  • Brutal Thrust Kick by Rusev for a near fall.
  • Hard chop by Almas but Rusev isn’t phased, Rusev hits some elbows in return, Spinning Back Elbow by Almas finally rocks Rusev.
  • Double Knees by Almas caught into the Machka Kick by Rusev. 
  • Lana and Vega argue Zelina Vega slaps Lana and Lana brawls. Aiden English tries to break it up but Zelina pushes English into Lana taking her down. Rusev is distracted and Almas slides in to hit the Hammerlock DDT on Rusev for the win. 

Winner: Andrade Almas

Rating: ***, A great back and forth match. The ending took a bit away from it with the Vega/Lana and English mix-up. However, Almas continues to shine and gets a huge win here. Some great strikes made this match so entertaining. A longer match between the two should tear the house down later down the line. 

  • Lana and Aiden English bicker backstage but Rusev says “Maybe None of you are good enough for Rusev Day.” This is a pretty great story so far.

Samoa Joe vs. R-Truth

  • Truth’s first match since Wrestlemania 34’s Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
  • Truth comes hot out of the gates. 
  • Coquina Clutch closes the match.

Winner: Samoa Joe

Rating: N/A, While it was decent to see Truth back in the ring, he got squashed quickly. 

  • Asuka gets interviewed about the Evolution PPV and says “Billie Kay isn’t ready for Asuka” transitioning into the next match.

Asuka vs. Billie Kay

  • Annoying Selfie Promo from the IIConics before the match.
  • Sliding Knee by Asuke for the match’s first near fall. 
  • Asuka tries to go for an ankle lock but Kay holds onto Peyton Royce ringside. 
  • A great series of kicks by Asuka closes the match. 

Winner: Asuka

Rating: N/A, Another squash match but this time Asuka looks better than Joe did in the previous segment. Asuka hit a great series of kicks to close the match while the IIConics continue to be annoying as hell. 

Paige announces AJ Style’s SummerSlam Opponent:

  • Paige congratulates the women of WWE then, now and forever on WWE “Evolution”
  • AJ Styles also talks about “Evolution” and how it relates to him being proud of his company and how his daughter can do whatever she wants when she grows up. 
  • Paige announces Styles’ opponent almost but James Ellsworth’s music hits and he comes down. James claims his case for the WWE title but Paige calls him a joke and Ellsworth unfunnily roasts Paige. Get him off my TV, please. 
  • Paige decides to fire James Ellsworth and security carries him off. 
  • Cutting back into the ring, Samoa Joe attacks AJ Styles. Joe signs the contract for his match at SummerSlam versus Styles. 

This segment was great but a little bit sloppily booked. Paige decided to fire Ellsworth after he annoyingly got in the way of the SummerSlam announcement. After the firing, the awesome part started. The introduction of Joe as Styles’ challenger was done well. He came up from behind to attack Styles which is rare to see in these challenger pickings. 

  • Backstage segment with Paige and Joe confirms that Joe was Paige’s choice. Carmella argues with Paige about firing Ellsworth.

Carmella vs. Becky Lynch, if Becky wins she gets to face Carmella at SummerSlam for the Title

  • Diving Punch by Lynch off the apron wipes Carmella out ringside.
  • Carmella whips Becky into the barricade and Lynch takes a hard fall.
  • Huricanrana by Carmella sends Becky into the corner, Becky fights back but Carmella brings Becky hard to the ground.
  • Carmella talks trash but is hit with a Dropkick by Becky Lynch.
  • Becky fires up and goes for the Bexplex but fails, Flatliner by Carmella for the first near fall. 
  • Tornado DDT by Carmella stopped into a Bexploder by Lynch. 
  • Spider Supercanrana by Carmella for a near fall. 
  • Roll up using the ropes by Carmella for a very near fall. 
  • Rebound Enzugiri by Lynch allows Becky to get some space. 
  • Diving Leg Drop by Lynch dodges, superkick by Carmella for a near fall.
  • Dis-arm-her by Lynch taps out Carmella. 

Winner: Becky Lynch

Rating: ***1/4, Lynch just helped Carmella put on one of her best one-on-one WWE matches in recent memory. Becky Lynch finally gets her shot again and Carmella delivered a great match. There was some great near fall especially Carmella’s rope-full roll up. Carmella did a great job here delivering one of her best performances ever even though that is saying too much. 

The New Day vs. sAnitY in a Tag Team Tournament Match to face Bludgeon Brother at SummerSlam for the Titles

  • Woods and Big E from New Day and Wolfe and Dain from Sanity are the chosen competitors. 
  • The Usos on commentary. 
  • Xavier Woods and Alexander Wolfe start the match.
  • Poor Dain, Vince is making him wear a shirt on the main roster even though he was shirtless his entire career in NXT. I don’t mind it too much though, that boi hairy.
  • Huge Senton by Dain onto Woods. 
  • Great Missile Dropkick by Woods wipes out Dain and opens up tags, hot tag to Big E.
  • Eric Young hops up to distract Big E, A Cannonball dive by Woods takes out Killian Dain, Eric Young gets up on the top rope but Kofi takes him out, Midnight Hour closes the match on Wolfe. 
  • The Bar return to provoke the Usos and build to their match next week. 

Winner: The New Day Advance

Rating: **1/2, While this match is crazy short it was a great dash. It played out like you think it would with Eric Young getting involved and Xavier doing a big dive and getting the win. It was fun but not anything special. 

Miz and Mrs. premier party:

  • Maryse congratulates “Evolution” but says she started the evolution first. 
  • Miz says Monroe Sky has accompanied more in her short life than Daniel Bryan ever has. 
  • Miz says the mention of Daniel Bryan has put Monroe Sky to sleep.
  • Miz plays the highlight show of Miz and Mrs but it plays out like a blooper reel of Miz’s career. 
  • Daniel Bryan pops up on the big screen and says he will come to apologize to Miz in person for having the blooper reel played. 
  • Security stops Daniel from entering the ring but Bryan wipes them out. 
  • Miz throws his baby which turns out to be a doll and attacks Daniel Bryan. 
  • Miz says Monroe was never here and brought an actor to the show because he would never bring his daughter to *Insert Town Name Here*

This was a pretty fun segment but a weird close to the show. A good promotion for Miz’s new show that I probably won’t ever watch but the Miz leaves looking like a dastardly heel and the feud on Miz vs. Bryan continues. 

Show Grade: B

Last Word: While nothing on the show was as good as MacIntyre and Ziggler vs. Rollins and Balor or Lashley vs. Reigns from RAW last night, this was a much better build up show to Summerslam. The show was overall more entertaining too as there weren’t any negatives to this show. Almas vs. Rusev, Miz and Mrs. premiere party and Carmella vs. Lynch were all big highlights. RAW was a tad bit better but not by much and, in the long run, this show did so much more good for building up the “Biggest Party of the Summer” 

Raw vs. Smackdown this week: RAW