Professional Wrestling


#301

Watched the G1 Special in USA live, and it was a good show, even though i was dead tired at the end because I got up at 2AM to watch it.

However, there is unfortunate news. During the match between Hiromu Takahashi and Dragon Lee, Hiromu landed on his head during a botched Phoenixplex where Dragon Lee lost his grip on Hiromu’s head/neck. Hiromu continued and finished the match, but reportedly collapsed backstage and was taken to a hospital. NJPW officials believe he suffered a broken neck.

I hope he has a quick recovery. He doesn’t even have to wrestle again, I just want him to be well. It really sucks. It is particularly weird that he had to take this injury during a spot where he had absolutely no control over the situation, and right at the beginning of what promised to be a fantastic title reign.


#302

I’ve been so mad over the Takahashi injury, the worst time for something like that to happen to him. Sigh, at the end of the day I just hope that he’s okay, even if he does not continue wrestling.


#303

Hiromu appears to be doing fine for now. Has returned to Japan. Thank goodness it doesn’t seem too serious but I hope he takes it slow on the recovery.

In other news, NJPW and ROH will be putting on a show at Madison Square Garden during Mania weekend next year. Them getting MSG is a pretty big fucking deal all things considered. Not even WCW could book the Garden.

Meanwhile this weekend is Extreme Rules. I actually haven’t watched any WWE television since MITB, and the card looks kind of meh. Only match that looks interesting is Ziggler vs. Rollins in a 30 minute Iron Man match. In any case, taking the IC belt off of Rollins was a stupid idea to begin with.


#304

After trying to catch up on RAW and Smackdown today, then deciding it was really not worth it, I started to flip through Extreme Rules. After reconcidering the card didn’t seem all too bad, and it started good with the B-Team picking up the RAW Tag titles. These guys are kind of fun, though not much more than a distraction.

However, quickly followed a couple of huge disappointments. First of all, they continue to absolutely destroy Asuka’s reputation that they built for two freaking years by having her lose again to Carmella. Of course it wasn’t clean, but the “cheat” was also not really sufficiently believable considering what she overcame in NXT.

Then Nakamura cleverly gained the U.S. title by low-blowing Jeff Hardy while the ref handed the belt off to the ring attendant. Then when the bell rang he immediately hit a Kinshasa. I mean, that was kind of clever, but why the fuck you needed this on a PPV I have no idea. Afterward Randy Orton came out, stared down Nakamura, then stomps Hardy in the nuts and just leaves. Again: Why?

Roman Reigns lost. Good. The Smackdown Tag title match was kind of worthless. Corbin vs. Balor I skipped entirely. Why Alexa Bliss is still RAW women’s champion I have no idea.

I decided to watch the whole cage match between Owens and Strowman, and it was rather fun. Strowman runs through people and Owens is more than willing to take the punishment. It finished with Owens “winning” by getting chokeslammed off the top of the cage through the announce table.

Rusev vs. Styles was pretty decent. It was kind of weird that Styles worked kind of heel in this, isolating a limb and continuously attacking it, while Rusev struggled through that damage. Rusev had the help of Aiden English, but that rather backfired as well.

Finally there was the only match I was really counting on with Rollins vs. Ziggler. Why they decided they needed to take the title off Rollins is beyond me. One of the last matches I watched on RAW was a very excellent match between the two after that, only for WWE deciding that it didn’t deserve a proper ending and have Drew McIntyre get involved.

This match was kind of weird. First they started with a “catch you by surprise” sequence which made no sense after the first two or so pin attempts. Then Seth goes up by two falls by really standard sequences, which made look Dolph really bad. Then McIntyre gets involved, gets Seth another fall by DQ before continuing his attack. Instead of giving another DQ, the ref kicks McIntyre out, which he follows for some reason. Ziggler then picks up three quick falls mostly off of McIntyre’s assault, and somehow another one in the middle.

In the end Rollins picks up another fall from pretty much nothing. Rollins then finally manages to hit Ziggler with a stomp, only to crawl into a pin too late and time expires. It is announced that the match ends in a 4-4 draw and Ziggler retains, leaving me to scream “WHY!” at my monitor. What a waste of time.

And during the entire match pretty much, the crowd chanted “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” whenever the clock reached those ahead of every minute mark. This was fun during the Rumble, but here it was just purely annoying self-gratification. I mean, there is an issue with the product when the crowd does stuff like that, but still it was also really shitty for a pretty decent match.


Meanwhile the G1 has started and the first three nights where really good, even though Gedo decided to nuke my picks in night 3 entirely, the madman.

I mean, it’s kind of bad with all those “Oh, you’re just a snob” sentiment whenever someone dares to profess that NJPW has a superior product, but just given the quality of matches it is absolutely no contest whatsoever. Basically the last three PPVs have all been stinkers and I am very much considering just abandoning WWE altogether.


#305

Matt Hardy was kinda hinting that Extreme Rules results was them taking a bow on WWE, and with the rumors circling about the extend of Jeff’s nerve damage and injuries, I’m not surprised. A body can only take so much punishment.

I enjoyed the Lashley Reigns match more than I thought I would. However the crowd completely killed the Ironman match later on.

Overall I’m on a “I’ll watch the big PPVs and any match that people are talking about being good on social media” stance in regards to the main roster WWE product. NXT and 205 have ace though.


#306

After writing the post above I had to go pick up my parents from somewhere. On the drive there I thought things through again and with today’s news of WWE reinstating Hulk “I am racist” Hogan to their Hall of Fame I took the plunge, worked my way through the three layers of “customer retention” and cancelled my WWE network subscription. In the words of Bad Luck Fale: “Fuck 'em!”.

Edit: Apparently something I didn’t realize because I turned off the video is that after the draw finish, Kurt Angle came out and announced “sudden-death overtime”. However, somehow they managed to give it an even worse finish as McIntyre showed up again, Seth has to deal with him, gets hit by a Zig-Zag and Ziggler retains anyway, with Angle doing nothing about that match and McIntyre’s interference.

So yeah, my decision stands.


#307

There are so many good wrestling streaming services that cancelling the WWE Network feels really good. Has anyone tried the Powerslam Wrestling Network yet?


#308

New Japan seems to be the number 2 but I have not used it.


#309

NJPW World is rough if you can’t read Japanese, it’s Google auto translated into English, but the content is top notch and Kevin Kelly and Don Callis are very good


#310

Shakespeare himself couldn’t have written a more fitting end to this week’s NXT title match.


#311

Holy shit All In, guys.


#312

All In was indeed very good, even with a couple of production issues which aren’t exactly surprising with a first time organizers setting up such a big show. My only gripe is that the pre-show wasn’t on the NJPW version where I watched the show. The wrestling itself however was excellent and had something for everybody.


While I’ve sworn off of watching WWE (I pirated SummerSlam, which was also not a good show, just like the four previous PPVs), they are doing a couple of things right. For one an all women’s PPV is coming up, though I frear this might lead to more segregation. More importantly though they announced that Rene Young will be joining the RAW commentary team full-time, which is good because in her few outings that I have seen she did a great job, and there are very few options which could be worse than Coachman.


Meanwhile next week will start a three show series of “Destruction” shows by NJPW. The first of which is headlined with Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega for the IWGP title, while the last will be headlined by Okada challenging Tanahashi for the title match briefcase. Also in an extraordinarily weird move the show in the middle, held on Japan’s “Respect for the Aged Day”, will have Naito vs. Suzuki in a delicious subversion of the purpose of that holiday as Naito doesn’t show respect to anybody, least of all to the “aged” Suzuki.


#313

NXT has been pretty ace though, they turned Black’s legit injury into a vehicle to carry multiple stories, it’s pretty great.


#314

New Japan’s King of Pro Wrestling event happened on Monday and they’re really mixing things up:

  1. Early in the show a six man tag-match between members of CHAOS and Suzuki-Gun happened, and Will Ospreay pinned current NEVER Openweight champion Taichi, which basically signals a prelude of Ospreay moving up into the heavyweight division. Ospreay also previously teased a match against Kota Ibushi, and if that is where we’re headed for the Tokyo Dome count me in.

  2. The previous week a video was released in which a very stylish LIJ group announced that a new member would be joining and making his debut at the show. Immediately a lot of rumors were flying around including Neville/Pac, Jericho (for some forsaken reason) and various people from around the company. In the end it turned out to be one of the most obvious choices in Shingo Takagi who recently left Dragon Gate. Takagi is Dragon Gate’s most decorated wrestler of all time and also had success in other companies, i.e. he was a finalist in this year’s Battle of Los Angeles. His personal connection to LIJ is that he was trained and sparred with Tetsuya Naito when they both were trained by Animal Hamaguchi, who also trained EVIL and BUSHI. Takagi also demonstrated his finisher in the match which looks rather nasty as a fire-man’s carry falcon arrow that is very close to a piledriver. Takagi will for now be a junior heavyweight, though with his physique he will very quickly move up when Hiromu returns.

  3. In the match directly after EVIL was meant to face Zach Sabre Jr. in a “special singles match” (NJPW code for "#1 contender match), and EVIL entered to large fanfare with a whole entourage not seen since his title challenge against Okada at the same show last year. However, one of the masked figures attacked EVIL and put the beat down on him. Of course it’s Chris Jericho with full clown make-up and all. The match was ruled a no-contest after the beatdown, tough ZSJ took his time and put EVIL through some submissions anway for shits and giggles, though Naito came in to make the save and rive ZSJ off. Possibly another Dome match.

  4. KUSHIDA vs. Marty Scurrl was an excellent match for the vacated IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title. KUSHIDA took the belt which was kind of expected, but good for him. he is now second only to Jushin Thunder Liger in number of title reigns with 6, but he will hardly catch Liger’s 11.

  5. Tanahashi vs. Jay White for the Tokyo Dome Briefcase was an excellent match and with far better gravitas than their encounter at January 4th last year. Gedo encompanied White to the ring after stabbing Okada in the back at Destruction last month and completely aligning himself with White, and they worked in his interference pretty well and naturally. Tanahashi still prevailed with two High Fly Flows, but was about to be victimized in an after-match beatdown. Who would run to the ring to make the save? Okada! Then Jado comes out and attempts to play pleacekeeper as well as the Bullet Club OGs for some reason who quickly make their alliance with white known. Jado then also attacks Okada for good measure. Tana escapes most of it, but talks to a beaten down Okada in the ring afterward.

  6. The Three-way Match for the IWGP Heavyweight Title between Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi and Cody Rhodes was also very good, though the build up to the match wasn’t that promising. The in-ring storytelling was well done though, with the title and Cody both putting a strain on the Golden Lover’s relationship. They are still owing the fans a big Omega vs. Ibushi match though, which I could see coming at the MSG show on Mania weekend. Kenny thankfully prevails (very much to my surprise pinning Kota), and after the match Tana comes back out and the Tokyo Dome main event is finalized and that match promises to be awesome.


#315

#316

I know wrestling is a scummy business, and WWE has done a lot of awful things, but continuing to make plans to go to Saudi Arabia and paying no consequences for it really bothers me. Unfortunately, I know they won’t actually pay for it. No sponser has dropped them. No wrestler refuses to go on the tour. Kane(who is the mayor of Knox County in TN) has already released a statement saying that he plans to go.


Their stock price won’t go down, Fox won’t cancel the new TV deal for Smackdown, and wrestlers will continue to go there in hopes of one day being on WrestleMania. Pardon me for ranting, but I’m sick of evil winning in this world.
EDIT: I know in the grand scheme of things, this means nothing. WWE running a show or not running a show doesn’t fix any of the world’s ills. It’s just one example of many of why I am so frustrated and tired of the way things are going. I will leave it there to avoid ranting further.


#317

This is one of those tricky situations where the organisation and people involved were probably sold the project with one “message” but now the real story seems to be coming out.

It’s the same with Formula E. The opening race of the 2018/2019 season is in Saudi Arabia in two months time. The organisers obviously agreed to do it for money reasons, but also because they think it is also to support the liberalisation of Saudi Arabia. For example, Formula E is holding a track session just for women drivers. Considering women have only been legally allowed to drive a few months, that sound like a pretty cool move, on the face of it.

Of course, these organisations are being used as a front to whitewash the image of an authoritarian regime. Muhammed bin Salman’s stated goal is the diversification of the economy, and pointedly nothing to do with increasing the power of democratic institutions. The reason why women can now drive is because he is stripping the religious authorities in the country of their power so they can’t stop his other projects, not because he has high minded ideals about sexual equality.

But in the end it depends on what happens over the next five to ten years, and then we’ll know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Will the Formula E race be compared to the 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix, which was the first behind the Iron Curtain, and was a sign of the liberalisation of the country, and along came a new democracy three years later.

Will Wrestlemania be compared to Bruce Sprinsteen performing in East Berlin in 1988? That was a government organised event to appease the population, but nobody is thinking any less of Bruce these days for working with an authoritarian regime. Why not? Because the wall came down the next year.

Or will the events heading to Saudi Arabia be likened to the artists that performed in Nazi Germany prior to WWII? Will Wrestlemania be Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games?


#318

I apologise for not being clearer. They’re not holding WrestleMania there (although they’re getting paid enough that they might just in the future. They already held an event there called the Greatest Royal Rumble). They signed a 10 year contract to hold events there.


Right after their first ever female wrestler only show, they’re going to SA to hold a show called Crown Jewel where no women are allowed to perform, and it was a scandal that WWE showed a video featuring female wrestlers during the Greatest Royal Rumble.


#319

No, I get it. Formula E also signed a 10 year contract for the opening race of the next 10 seasons. I was talking about the ongoing issue, not a specific event.

Edit: I mean I was saying “Wrestlemania” when I meant “WWE in general”.


#320

I wonder if Formula E also will have to run a propaganda video.