Professional Wrestling


#341

I just finished watching Ultima Lucha Cuatro. I will not share details of what happened in this post.

All I can say is that Scott’s stance on spoilers can die in a fire. I cannot imagine going into this show knowing what was going to go down and having the same visceral gut reactions that I did. Because Holy Shit.


#342

WWE puts out a single good product anymore these days it seems, and that is NXT, but boy howdy do they ever knock it out of the park with that. Yesterday was the second edition of NXT Takeover: War Games and it was a great show, even though it had a bit of a bad start with an unannouced squash match between Kassius Ohno and former MMA fighter Matt Riddle. Now Ohno has without a doubt the worst ring-gear I’ve ever seen, but he didn’t deserve that. Plus Riddle’s gimmick is really derivative and lame.

Next we had a two-out-of-three-falls match for the NXT Championship between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler. It was a good match, but I hoped for more and the booking in the end was odd. Next were two excellent mens singles matches featuring in total four of the five best wrestlers currently in NXT. Gargano vs. Aleister Black and the NXT title match between Ciampa and Velveteen Dream were both fantastic.

Finally the titular War Games match. While the gimmick of the match is a bit contrived (as we discussed a year ago) it is still some fantastic organized chaos and idiocy. They streamlined the process this year with only two teams including a repeat participation by The Undisputed Era who have since picked up Roderick Strong, one of their opponents in last year’s War Games match. This year they were facing War Machine, now rechristened to “War Raider” as well as Pete Dunne and Ricochet (who fills out the quintet I mentioned above). This match was great, though the refs holding the idiot ball in one moment just slighty detracts.

Overall great show. Now if WWE would just make all their product like this…


#343

Matt Riddle and Chris Hero have a well established past on the indies. I was disappointed, though not surprised, when I read that result. Hero was a logical first opponent for Riddle in NXT to give him an impressive debut match, but they refuse to do much anything with Hero for reasons I do not understand.


#344

Isn’t that because Ohno is supposed to be a jobber since he’s a coach there? Maybe I’m getting my people mixed up.


#345

I don’t believe he’s a coach currently, but they’d be fools to not have him working with the guys who are actually trainees, especially after the Nia/Becky incident


#346

In one hand that incident completely legitimized Nia as an unsafe worker, on the other hand it made a complete badass of Becky and can be used to make Nia into a monster heel. Still Nia needs to get her shit together, being an anoa’i can only take her so far.


#347

Care for 10 pounds of Gold?


#348

Make sure you have sound enabled.


#349

I just caught up the last five episodes of Lucha Underground season 4 and Ultima Lucha Cuatro. It was a much stronger end to the season that the start, which was a bit weak as they got used to the new venue and characters and setup.

I don’t think much was that surprising in Ultima Lucha Cuatro though. My favourite macthups featured Killshot and The Mack, who both seem to always have super strong showings at the Ultima Lucha episodes, despite never featuring as main event matches.

Every season there seems to be a wrestler who turns up who is given a big role, but who I find is a complete charisma black hole and sucks my enjoyment for the show every time they appear on screen or get involved in someone else’s storyline. This season it was Jake Strong. I get he’s a big signing and they want their money’s worth, but really, what the fuck. He doesn’t fit with Lucha Underground’s vibe at all.


#350

Jake Strong was definitely a weak part of the season, failed to get over for me too. I feel he is my least favorite of the unbeatable super heels so far.


#351

Right. Mil Muertes is masked and mostly silent, and I loved his unbroken streak of wins as champion. Matanza is also masked and doesn’t say much, and controlled by another Cueto. Both were used by another person as a way to control and run the temple. Being monstrous and mysterious was their main job.

But Jake Strong tries to get the crowd on side by bashing his chest. And he is BAD at it. His timing isn’t good. He can’t work with the crowd to build up any energy when he’s doing a big entrance or anything. That should be an obvious important skill someone should show before they get a chance to become a main character. All the other heels manage it, even weird choices for main characters like Marty the Moth.

Also, I don’t want to ableist, but someone with such a prominent lisp is hard to take seriously as menacing. But isn’t that the point of wrestling shows like this? Put a mask on and don’t speak and it doesn’t matter if you have a lisp or not. Or be like Angelicko, who had a lisp but played an impish nice guy. There were lots of ways they could have taken Jake Strong’s character, but none of the choices they made worked for me.


#352

There’s a reason that “Jack Swagger” isn’t performing for WWE anymore. I’m sure there’s more to it that he’s “just unlikable”, but it carries over to Lucha Underground.


#353

Actually he left on his own, story about it here.


#354

TIL. I always thought he was a good physical competitor, but found his character boring. It was really interesting to see NWA putting together this kind of promotion for a a championship match, though. Is this something they do regularly?


#355

Yes the 10 pounds of gold series follows the championship and challengers, it’s really good story telling and free matches from time to time. Definitely recommend.


#356

Weird. Even in that promotional video showing his best moments, there are two clips of him standing next to his wife, about to beat his chest, but isn’t entirely sure when or how to do it. He kinda glances sideways at her to see what he should be doing. It’s quite charming how completely clueless he is about performing.


#357

SPOILERS for yesterday’s World Tag League Final ahead.

The Full card for Wrestle Kingdom 13 was announced and it is stacked to the fucking roof.

NEVER Openweight number one contender gauntlet is the pre show match.

  1. NEVER Openweight Championship match: Will Ospreay v Kota Ibushi
  2. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, Junior three way Tag: Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado vs Bushi and Shingo Takashi vs Roppongi 3K
  3. Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship match: Zack Sabre, Jr. vs Tomohiro Ishii
  4. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match, three way: Guerrillas of Destiny vs The Young Bucks vs EVIL and Sanada
  5. IWGP U. S. Championship Match: Cody v Juice Robinson
  6. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match: KUSHIDA v Taiji Ishimori
  7. Special singles match: Kazuchika Okada v Jay White
  8. IWGP Intercontinental Championship match: Chris Jericho v Tetsuya Naito
  9. IWGP Heavyweight Championship match: Kenny Omega v Hiroshi Tanahashi

Notable omissions from the main card: Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano. Also no NEVER Openweight six-man tag championship match and no Ring of Honor Championship match (there was also none last year, but that was because Cody lost the title like a week before the event).


#358

The problem is that the Guerillas Of Destiny are both the tag champs and the 6 man champions with Taiji Ishimori, and all 3 are in featured matches. It’s a shame there isn’t a big match for Suzuki, but this card is about as good as it gets


#359

Despite not having watched WWE TV in months and hearing that the product is mostly crap, last week I took a look at the card for WWE’s TLC PPV (acronym city) and actually found a bunch of compelling stuff. I guess the whole conceit of the PPV also has something to do with it, considering Ladder and TLC matches are my jam. Thankfully most of it also kept what it promised, though I skipped through a bunch of matches I didn’t care for.

The tag team triple threat match was good, though little else should be expected considering those are some excellent wrestlers with great tag team fundamentals. Unfortunately the finish was a bit lackluster. Balor vs. McIntyre was also very entertaining for the same reasons and had at least some reason for the involvement of Dolph Ziggler with some actual plot development instead of plot hindrance, at least as far as I can tell.

Bryan vs. AJ Styles was great, but could have been batter. Again a bit of a lackluster finish, though you can see it escalating. They did give this match plenty of room to breathe. I just hope they don’t tank it like they did the Styles-Nakamura feud.

Rollins vs. Ambrose was also very good, though the crowd really didn’t seem to care for it. The match did drag a little and probably could have benefited from a stipulation. I am also kind of surprised by Ambrose’s new look. He reminds me a bit of a cross between Nico from GTA IV and Brad Pitt’s character from Snatch. His entire getup just screams “deadbeat asshole”, which isn’t a bad thing for a heel.

And finally the three-way TLC match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship between Asuka, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. I only peripherally observed the Lynch-Flair feud, but I found the Becky’s appropriate of the moniker “The Man” quite interesting, and her having unfinished business with Nia Jax is also interesting after Nia accidentally-on-purpose broke her nose in the run-up to Survivor Series.

In any case, it was a very good decision to put this match on last and it was quite excellent weapons-based match between three of the best women’s wrestlers in the world. There was a bit of underselling in my opinion with some of the high impact spots, but this also kept the match running quite a bit and actually sold the danger of a triple-threat a lot more. There was also a nasty semi-botch when Becky jumped off a ladder onto Charlotte who was laying on the announce table, ass first into Charlotte’s midsection. The table didn’t give and it seemed like Charlotte took the full impact :X

Unfortunately this match too suffered from a lackluster finish. My girl Asuka finally got herself a title on the main roster (which really should have happened at WrestleMania). Unfortunately her victory is overshadowed by the means it came about as Ronda Rousey stomped down the ramp at the end of the match and tipped a ladder with both Charlotte and Becky on it, wiping them both out leaving Asuka as the only one left standing and able to climb the ladder. Would have been far better for Asuka to overcome the odds on her own or at least by her own cleverness. At least it sets the table for future developments, and I foresee one if not both of the losers of this match going over to RAW in the near future.

Overall this was a pretty good PPV, but WWE seriously needs to work on its match finishes.


On a different note, if you have time, look up the main event from Saturdays Road to WrestleKingdom show that NJPW put on. It’s a tag match pitting the Golden Lovers against a team consisting of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Will Ospreay, and I think those guys need to take a look at their calendars. WrestleKingdom is only in three weeks and they already burnt down the fireworks.


#360

Finally managed to watch Final Battle 2018, which is Ring of Honor’s biggest show of the year, this time from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. This was a very good show, even though through outside circumstances a lot of the results were kind of predictable.

The show was overall very good with some intersting matches between Jeff Cobb and Hangman Page, Marty Scurll and Christopher Daniels, and Jay Lethal vs. Cody Rhodes. I also had a nice surprise with Jonathan Gresham, a wrestler I am not familiar with. He wrestles a traditional catcher’s catch style which only one other guy is known for at the moment and who he would fight here, Zack Sabre Jr. It was fun though it was obvious in the finish that they were also keeping a bit back.

Unfortunately the show also had some lowpoints. The women’s four corner elimination match was rather subpar, unfortunately, and ROH’s women’s division is a far cry from WWEs. I also found the overall storyline of the “I Quit match” between Bully Ray and Flip Gordon rather underwhelming. Bully is a fantastic heel (particularly how he “introduced” himself to the audience in this event, which I won’t spoil here), but it kind of also undermines Flip’s side here when Flip had by my count five freaking people help him out at one point or another. It was still overall an entertaining hardcore match at the end.

However, all of this would easily be overshadowed by the main event, Ladder War IX for the tag team championship between SoCal Uncensored represented by Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky, the Briscoes, and The Young Bucks. Holy hell what absolute carnage that match was. If you like ladder matches and hardcore wrestling, it is hard to find anything better.