Professional Wrestling


#261

The “you deserve it” chant after that concrete spot is one of the most brutally hilarious moments in my time watching wrestling. I went from full on wincing to laughing out loud in the span of a few seconds.

I suspect the Bald Fucker will get called up and then once Gargano has had his NXT title reign he will follow suit and go for round 2.


#262

#263

#264

This week was “Golden Week” in Japan which means Wrestling Dontaku for NJPW, which this year was held over two days rather than one. However, since they have quite a lot of feuds brewing, primarily around LIJ fighting Suzuki-gun, CHAOS fighting the unaffiliated, and Bullet Club fighting itself, they also had a number of championship matches leading up to Dontaku rather than on the main shows themselves.

However, since both Dontaku shows were in the middle of the week and I was at work, I had to catch up. At this point I have to give some slops to NJPWWorld as a service. For one the on-demand english language versions of both Wrestling Hi no Kuni and the first day of Dontaku were slightly out of sync between audio and video, forcing me to watch with japanese commentary instead. While of course the purists prefer the japanese audio, I like the english as I think Kevin Kelly and Don Callis are doing an excellent job, and my limited japanese doesn’t allow me to really appreciate the japanese commentary beyond the visceral emotional level. The other issue with NJPWWorld for me this time was that the second day of Dontaku was very late in being uploaded so I had to basically wait another day to watch it at which point I had already inadvertently gotten spoiled (though that was also a mistake on my side going on twitter).


First on a Road to Dontaku show at Korakuen Hall Jay White defended the U.S. title against David Finlay, and it seems to me they are somewhat burying the title. Despite the great match to get the belt, I still can’t really get behind White, and it doesn’t exactly help that his challengers are guys like Finlay who are deeply entrenched in the undercard, and who has basically no claim to challenge for the title particularly since he is 1-for-10 lifetime against White since their days as Young Lions. It was still a decent match, but nothing to write home about too much.


The Sunday prior to golden week had Wrestling Hi no Kuni in Kumamoto which saw basically the high point of the LIJ vs. Suzuki-gun feud. First there were singles matches between the juniors in the teams with BUSHI vs. El Desperado, which ended in a DQ when Kanemaru came out and attacked Bushi. Hiromu soon followed to make the save as he and Kanemaru were supposed to fight next anyway. Hiromu won that one and I believe he is being prepped to go quite deep in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament.

Then there was the Wrestle Kingdom rematch of SANADA and EVIL vs. Killer Elite Squad. It was kind of doubtful that KES was going to take it, with Davey Boy Smith Jr. being at odds with the law at the moment, though EVIL’s recent orbital bone surgery also added some questions. This was far more even than their match at WK, though KES still seemed to be the stronger team. The LIJ duo proved resourceful though and retained the championship.

And finally Tetsuya Naito challenging Minoru Suzuki for the IWGP Intercontinental championship. And this match was odd. Good but odd. For one I don’t really get the impetus for this match. Naito rather dislikes the IC title and while he did an excellent job in goading Suzuki to give him a match, i don’t understand why he would want it. And then there was the finish. The two had been going at it for a while, though Suzuki going after Naito’s famously damaged knees seemed like he would come out on top. However, then seemingly out of nowhere Naito hit’s a Destino and wins the match. There was basically no buildup toward this or finishing sequence. Not even a Gloria running up to it unless I missed it. And while Destino should be a protected finisher, you would imagine that Suzuki would be able to muster a kick-out.

Anyway, just to finish this here, on the second Day of Dontaku itself, the whole LIJ group fight a 10-man match vs. Suzuki gun, which they also won, seemingly putting an end to the feud (though I still think Hiromu and BUSHI need to take the Jr. tag belts off of Kanemaru and Desperado). After the match a guy in a BUSHI mask jumped the barricade and attacked Naito (the rest of LIJ had already exited the hall), dragging him back into the ring where he unmasked himself. It’s Christ Jericho! He proceeds to beat Naito up, including clocking him with the bell which left Naito a bloody mess. Seems like those two are set to go at each other either at Dominion or the G1 Special in San Jose.


Day 1 of Wrestling Dontaku was highlighted by the Bullet Club Civil War. First in a rather odd matchup the Bullet Club OGs (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Bad Luck Fale) defended their Six-Man Tag championship against The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll. While it started with a bit of “friendly faffing about”, this match escalated a bit later.

The night ended with two Singles matches. In another Wrestle Kingdom rematch, Cody fought Kota Ibushi. This match was punctuated with some nasty stuff, particularly Kota requiring two tries to stomp Cody through a table (those tables they have are quite a bit sturdier than the sheets of plywood in the WWE). In the end Cody managed to pull it out though with the use of a new finisher, a Vertaebreaker variant he calls “Din’s fire” and it looks nasty.

The main event was Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page, which I kind of understand why they have that match though I still don’t believe Page to be even remotely on the level. Early in this match Omega was busted open on top of his head, giving him rather a bit of a crated look as the blood colored his freshly blonde-dyed hair a number of shades of red throughout the match. However Page got it probably worse when shortly before the end of the match ate a really nasty V-Trigger knee, before being put down by a One-Winged Angel.

On the second day of Dontaku there was a ten-man tag match between Cody’s side of the BC (him, Page, the Bucks and Scurll) and the Golden Lovers assisted by the Bullet Club OGs. The match was rather unremarkable by itself, though what is interesting is that after the match and Kenny chasing Cody out of the arena, the Tongan faction of BC joined by Yujiro and honorary Tongan Chase Owens shared a Too-Sweet in the ring, asking the rest to join in, which they reluctantly did while Kota just looked slightly bewildered at it from ringside and left. So Bullet Club might be fine? Dunno. All In is coming up anyhow.


The end of Dontaku was highlighted by two extraordinary singles matches.

The first is KUSHIDA challenging Will Opsreay for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title. Ospreay was selling a compromised neck the entire way through the match, screaming in pain at basically everything, though unfortunately that was a bit annoying. The match was still very good, though not quite equal to the BOSJ final last year. That DDT off the apron and that springboard Hurricanrana were something else, though Ospreays new finisher called Stormbreaker is also quite amazing to look at which also gave him the win.

After the match we finally got the resolution to some vignettes which had been running for a while advertising the return of Bone Soldier, which everybody kind of laughed at because Bone Soldier is a famously awful wrestler who previously also worked the Captain New Japan gimmick. The guy under those masks was fired in 2017 though. Instead Tama Tonga came out, mocked Ospreay and just distracted him until a rather chiseled guy in a skull mask entered the ring and attacked Opsreay. After that the mask was removed, revealing Taiji Ishimori. Ishimori recently left Pro Wrestling NOAH where he had worked for 12 years and where he held their Junior Heavyweight title for a record reign of 405 days and a total of more than 560 days in three reigns. Speculation was that Ishimori was bound for WWE. However, introducing him by warming over the Bone Soldier gimmick is a bit of a disservice to him.

Not sure what to make of this personally. Kind of excited to have a guy like Ishimori mixing up the Junior division, but I was really hoping that Hiromu was winning the BOSJ. Or perhaps this attack may allow Ishimori to challenge without requiring a win in the BOSJ, though that makes me wonder who gets to challenge at Dominion.


The last match of course was Hiroshi Tanahashi challenging Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in order to protect his consecutive-defense streak which Okada would break if he won. Okada had been running out of worthwhile challengers as of late after dispatching both “Lancers” of LIJ (SANADA) and Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr.) in his last two defenses so Tanahashi was basically the only guy left who Okada hadn’t beaten in his streak. The streak being at stake here also ratcheted up the tension for this match.

Leading up to the match Tanahashi actually looked kind of weak, which is actually expected with the story of the match. While the Tanahashi-Okada feud kickstarted this new golden age for NJPW, that began six years ago and Tanahashi is over 40 now, very slowly but surely making his way down the card while Okada is literally the best wrestler in the world. Of course Tanahashi is still to be reckoned with, but Okada is clearly the favorite. While from a wrestling standpoint the match itself didn’t show much new, particularly since the guys had fought each other so often already. However this wrinkle of “Is Tanahashi even capable of doing it” added the necessary new dimension this match needed with multiple moments of resilience from Tana. However, in the end it was a single Rainmaker putting an end to it, when we have seen other challengers kick out of them in the recent past.

So yeah, an excellent match and Okada wins, breaks one of the last records Tanahashi still held, and cements himself on top of the world. But ever since Okada beat Naito and WK I also expected him to break the streak for consecutive defenses, but that also means that Okada is now more “vulnerable” form the standpoint of the meta-analysis of Wrestling than he has been in months.

So who is going to beat Okada? I guess Okada gave us the answer himself when in a moment of hubris, because he is unhappy with the only blemish in his reign (the 60-minute time limit draw from last year’s Dominion event) he calls out Kenny Omega and offers him a rematch with no time limit. Omega asks for an additional stipulation, making the match 2-out-of-3-falls and the two agree. HOLY FUCKING SHIT!


#265

Meltzer’s face during that last Okada segment:


#266

I hear that Backlash was pretty bad, though I need to catch up with stuff. To be frank, I completely forgot that Backlash even was this weekend.

In the meantime, NJPW has released the lineup for the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Besides the junior mainstays in NJPW (Sho & Yoh, Tiger Mask, Hiromu, Bushi, Kushida, Ospreay, Kanemaru, Desperado, Taguchi, Scurrl), this year the line-up features a returning ACH, Chris Sabin, Flip Gordon, Dragon Lee, and of course the new arrival Taiji Ishimori. Dragon Lee and Hiromu are in the same block, which should be quite the nutso match.

My expectation for the final is Ishimori vs. Hiromu.


#267

Backlash was a waste of time. Watch Miz VS. Rollins if you must, which was far and beyond the best match. Nakamura and styles was also good but the ending made me so mad I just closed the tab and didn’t bother with the rest of the show.

Oh and the entire Elias segment was A+, but I’m sure that’s already all over YouTube.

spolers

Carmella pinning Charlotte clean with no clear match finish before it was hilarious. Bliss got hurt in the match against Nia, where Nia inexplicably worked as a heel despite being the clear face. I was too worked into a shoot (brother brother) to watch the rest, but seeing the match endings made me happy I didn’t.

My hot take is that they used most of the stories matches they had planned for the GRR and scrambled the fuck out for this one, it just felt like a bad episode of RAW.


#268

NJPW put out the BOSJ final from last year between KUSHIDA and Will Ospreay up as their Free Match of the week. I think this match doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. It’s freaking awesome and anyboudy should check it out if you have never seen it.


#269

I know he’s not what he once was as knee injuries have slowed him down, but I am so excited to see Chris Sabin in the Best Of the Super Juniors. He’s been a favorite of mine going back to early TNA.


#270

Well, I suppose it’s okay that WWE has fallen into a moral and creative gutter lately.

Because LUCHA UNDERGROUND IS COMING BACK, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!


#271

Sweet! I hope it is coming to Netflix as reported a year or so ago. I think I read that it was the Netflix deal that gave them the funding to finish the post production on season three. Maybe it’ll be like Star Trek where it is broadcast in the US but then available on Netflix the next day world wide.


#272

Is season 3 available on Netflix outside the US? So far I have friends who still haven’t seen season 3 because only 1 and 2 are on US Netflix right now.


#273

For whatever reason season 3 didn’t get me as the past seasons, hoping 4 will improve that.


#274

Watching Backlash because I need to see just how bad it is. I need to stare into the abyss.

The show starts with actually a pretty good match between Rollins and The Miz. Maybe the best main-roster match in WWE outside the Royal Rumble PPV I’ve seen this year. They weren’t holding back and kept suspense alive.

After that match I started skipping though because for one I was mostly spoiled on the results already, I didn’t really care to see the matches, and wanted to get this done. What I really don’t understand is giving Carmella a clean win over Charlotte. Makes absolutely no sense to me.

I also heard good things about the segment for Elias where one after another The New Day, Rusev & English, No Way Jose (with Titus Worldwide and Breezango in tow) and Bobby Roode interrupt him. However, while very funny due to the sheer absurdity, that segment has no place on a PPV. That is for a network special or maybe some “special for the troops” kind of show. PPVs should be for big matches, not extended promo segments with no story development. Even more annoying when you realize that none of the tag teams were even on the card or had any appearance, and neither did Finn Balor

We then get Nakamura vs. Styles. That match started off pretty slow, but then picked up in the middle when the guys finally started to wrestle in the ring instead of throwing each other into the barricade outside. It was actually pretty interesting, until Vince just decided that this match needed to end in a double count-out when the two kicked each other in the nuts simultaneously. That was wholly unnecessary, particularly after you already gave the audience a “double-count-out-scare” a minute before after low-blows on each other. This match had shades of what those two are really capable of, but instead of giving the audience that, WWE says “to hell with wrestling, let’s give 'em bullshit”.

You can pull this kind of finish on network TV maybe, but not on a fucking PPV. These are good wrestlers. Just let them wrestle!

Owens and Zayn continue to get treated like hot garbage, which they seriously don’t deserve. I mean, Strowman and Lashley are fun to watch, but it would be more fun to have those two dump truck crash into each other, and I really don’t get why they are heaping L’s on O&Z to make those two look better, which is absolutely not necessary at this point. At least there was some storytelling there as they might be breaking O&Z up, which at this point seems like wasted, but maybe it’s better to break it off now.

And then there the duel of the Samoans named Joe. Considering Samoa Joe was already slated to be on Smackdown going forward, the result was pre-programmed to begin with, but it’s one thing to be predictable but it’s a sin to be predictable and boring. To be fair “the match” didn’t start boring with Joe throwing Reigns through an announce table before the match starts, but after that it was pretty much “RestholdMania”. Possibly the most boring PPV main event of all-time. No wonder people were already leaving during it, and immediately headed for the exits when the bell rang to end the match.

So this PPV started with the crowd chanting “this is awesome” during Miz vs. Rollins and ended with them chanting “this is boring” during Reigns vs. Joe, and I can’t begrudge them that. It seems rather that since the Rumble things have been going downhill pretty fast. I can only hope that Money in the Bank will be better.


#275

A lot of people left in the Roman match, when was the last time the crowd started leaving during the main event? I can’t even remember if it’s happened at all recently.


#276

I’m sure it was rampant during the dark days of the mid 2000s but nothing as bad as that was in recent memory.


#277

Does this goatee mean we’re finally getting Negaverse Heel Cena???


#278

There is a rumor going around that Johnny Mundo/Morrisson/Nitro/Impact is in talks with NJPW. Could be an interesting addition to either the junior or heavyweight division.


#279

Free match


#280

At 13:34