TONIGHT: Dean Ambrose & The Usos vs. Sheamus, Rusev, & Barrett plus John Cena returns to face Alberto Del Rio!
Mr. McMahon is out first, as advertised. He calls out Roman Reigns about the fact that he turned his back on Stephanie last week. McMahon says he owns Reigns as well as the WWE Championship. Reigns ends up shoving Vince down. He sells a neck injury and tries to get Reigns arrested. They do a weird arrest angle, not with Reigns, but with Vince. I have no clue what this accomplished so I have nothing further to say. Reigns poses as Vince is carried out in handcuffs.
1) Kevin Owens vs. Neville
Last week, Neville won Breakout Star of the Year and as you know, Big Kev took issue with that since he was in the category as well. That leads us here and it's over in like a minute as Owens goes for the pop up powerbomb only for Neville to reverse into a pinning combination for a quick three count. This spawns a brutal assault on the Man That Gravity Forgot and it's absolutely amazing. Owens is getting booked so perfect right now. We got to commercial and come back to Neville being helped out, BUT KEVIN OWENS RUNS BACK DOWN AND TURNS NEVILLE INSIDE OUT WITH A CLOTHESLINE! HOLY SHIT! BIG KEV AIN'T DONE! He throws Neville into the stairs and threatens to powerbomb him on the ring apron. Before he can, Dean Ambrose's music hits. Owens throws Neville down and runs to meet Ambrose in the middle of the ramp! Oh my gOd! EPIC BRAWL! After a some scuffling, Owens runs out through the crowd. I said it before and I'll say it again, these two are boosting the prestige/importance of the IC Title and really proving themselves with this feud.
Becky Lynch is interviewed backstage and it's great. It's not some promo worth going out of your way to see, but it's definitely her best one since being on the main roster.
2) Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Sasha & Becky have chemistry and this got time so it was a good watch. The crowd for some reason decided to chant "boring" at one point, but I beg to differ. You chant for Sasha, you get her, and then you do that. THIS IS WHY WE CANT HAVE NICE THINGS. They did some nice spots such as Becky hitting a crossbody off the top rope onto all the members of Team BAD, Sasha hitting her signature knee drop on the back of Becky on the top rope, and Sasha accidentally diving onto her stablemates. There was also some good technical wrestling and submissions as well. After about 10-12 minutes, things are really picking up and Sasha gets a victory in the heat of the moment with a roll up using the tights.
Match rating - **3/4
3) Kofi Kingston (w/ Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. Kalisto (w/ Sin Cara)
Quick match in every sense of the word. The exchanges were fast paced and the match only went about four minutes. It was the most enjoyable four minutes of the night, though. Kalisto whips Kofi over with a hurricanrana after kicking Xavier Woods off the apron and gets the victory.
Match rating - **3/4
4) Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Sin Cara (w/ Kalisto)
This match gets set up after Sin Cara dove onto Big E & Xavier during the last match and New Day called him out. It was quite solid while it lasted, but it was sort of disjointed. Sin Cara seemed to get a stinger which made for an awkward pause in the action. They worked through it well, though, I must say. The finish was pretty cool as Sin Cara hit a rolling senton/body slam thing off the second rope on Big E. New Day caused a distraction, however, and Big E is able to pick up the victory.
Match rating - **1/2
Miz, R-Truth, & Zack Ryder in the same ring, is this 2011?!?! Miz is having a Year in Review edition of Miz TV and turns into shambles almost immediately. Tons of random people start coming out. The names mentioned above plus Ryback, Goldust, & Heath Slater. Big Show rounds out the pack and knocks everyone out before making a Royal Rumble announcement while also confronting the "Please retire" chants.
5) Ryback vs. The Big Show
This spawns from Show's attack during the Miz TV segment. They do stuff for a few minutes then Big Show cowards away from the big guy. Whatevs. I still love Ryback, though. After all, he burped into the mic on his way to the ring in the last segment.
Match rating - *
6) Dean Ambrose & The Usos vs. Sheamus, Rusev, & Wade Barrett
I have to say, this has to be the most weird Brooklyn crowd I've seen. They once again decided to chant "boring" during a match when it was far from it. Even further from it than in the Sasha/Becky match. I'll say this wasn't the blowaway 6 man you'd expect, although it was still good. Nice exchange at the end where Jey Uso ducks a Brogue Kick and nails Sheamus with a superkick in return. He gets in position on the top rope only to eat a pair of knees and ultimately a Brogue Kick. League of Nations wins.
Match rating - **3/4
Kevin Owens makes another appearance after the match and proceeds to nearly kill Dean Ambrose. It's another assault and this time, Dean gets powerbombed through the announce table. Owens looks at the top of his class and Ambrose sells it beautifully. Phenomenal stuff, Owens is the MVP of tonight. That is unless, John Cena pulls out a killer match to end the year which is very possible.
7) Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. John Cena - United States Championship Match
Originally, this was a non title match however in a verbal exchange prior to the match, John convinced Del Rio to put the title on the line with one of his famous speeches. The crowd is fired up because of this so yeah, it has to deliver. And well, it kind of did. There were a few nice counters such as the AA into the cross arm bar and Cena countering out of it with a deadlift powerbomb. The audience was into mostly everything. Despite all that, it was obvious about half-way through that this was going down a stereotypical route. They did some false finishes before the overbooking began. League of Nations gets involved. Cena fights them off and gives me hope for a clean finish. Then it's AA OUT OF NOWHERE and Sheamus & Rusev break up the pin which calls for the DQ. Dammit.
Match rating - **3/4
John Cena gets formally introduced to the League of Nations stable after the match in the form of a beat down. Next thing you know, Roman Reigns is running down to make the save as he spers the hell out of Rusev in the entrance way. This leads to Vince coming back out and telling Reigns that he will defend the WWE Title against Sheamus next week. The catch is that there's a guest ref and it's Mr McMahon himself.
Overall thoughts: Decent Raw tonight although it didn't live up to the potential it has when you look at the matches and segments on paper. Kevin Owens was the best part of the night and really the only thing that is must see from the show. They did a good job of making me look forward to future meetings between Cena/Del Rio and Reigns/Sheamus though so this wasn't a bad way to end the year by any means. And so ends the Monday Night Raw reviews of 2016. See you guys next year!
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Thursday, December 24, 2015
It's here. Follow along as I truck through the entire calendar year of New Japan Pro Wrestling. I don't review every single match on every single show. That'd be almost impossible for one person and a ton of work. However, I tried my best to review every match that I could get my hands on as well as all the biggest/best matches of the year. I've started doing these mass review posts so everything can be found in one place for future reference. Instead of having to read through a bunch of different show review posts, you can find all the matches I reviewed for a particular promotion in a particular year all in one place. I think it's a cool concept and something different so here goes.
The year obviously kicked off with WK9 and I reviewed it as it happened so I won't make you read through that again, I'll just post the match ratings below.
ReDragon (c) vs. The Young Bucks vs. Forever Hooligans vs. Timesplitters - IWGP Junior Tag Team Title Match - ***1/2
Jeff Jarrett, Bad Luck Fale, & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima - **
Shelton Benjamin, Takashi Iizuki, Davey Boy Smith Jr, & Lance Archer vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Toru Yano, Shane Haste, & Mikey Nicholls - **1/2
Minoru Suzuki vs. Kazushi Sakuraba - ***1/4
Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Togi Makabe - NEVER Open Weight Championship Match - ***3/4
Ryusuke Taguchi (c) vs. Kenny Omega - IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match - ***
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto - IWGP Heavyweight Tag Title Match - ***1/2
AJ Styles vs. Testsuya Naito - ***3/4
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Kota Ibushi - IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match - *****
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada - IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match - ****3/4
- POST WK9 -
NOW, onto everything after Wrestle Kingdom 9, starting with the New Beginning In Osaka! I was unable to catch any of the NJ/CMLL matches which bums me out, but Ibushi & Honma are up first in my reviews so it's okay!
Kota Ibushi vs. Tomoaki Honma - The New Beginning In Osaka - 2/11/15
Honma is beloved and Ibushi is coming off the Nakamura classic so this is most likely going to be a joy. The story early on becomes Honma hitting the stalling head butt. He misses it in the first sequence, just as Ibushi misses the penalty kick he tried to follow up the counter with. Nice stalemate early. Honma finally hits it a few minutes in and the crowd pops. Ibushi bumped extremely well this entire match including taking one of the best brainbusters I've ever seen. The crowd was really into this as both men are fan favorites so this was entertaining the whole way through. They did several near falls off big moves including Honma's piledriver and back drop suplex off the rope. Ibushi hit a sit out powerbomb for two. When all was said and done, the trusty Phoenix Splash brings Ibushi the victory after a very fun match.
Match rating - ***1/2
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. AJ Styles - IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match - The New Beginning In Osaka - 2/11/15
Every rivalry typically has that one match that isn't quite on the level on the others and between Styles & Tanahashi, I'd definitely see this was that match. It wasn't bad by ANY means however it wasn't that blow away NJPW main event that these two men would typically deliver. It started off slow. Tana misses a running flip off the apron. BC interferes on the outside. Styles controls for a bit. Tana starts firing back and high fly flows onto Bullet Club. This ends up costing him as he butts heads with Matt Jackson and develops a nasty cut on his head. Typically this would put a match over the top, but with it being so impromptu they weren't really able to capitalize on it. It didn't really get me into the match for the first time, though. None the less, AJ ends up winning with a flurry of big offense. Piledriver, bloody sunday, Styles Clash - talk about a lethal combination. Styles wins his second IWGP Heavyweight Title.
Match rating - ***1/4
Kota Ibushi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Toru Yano - The New Beginning in Sendai - 2/14/15
Saturday, December 19, 2015
I made the last minute decision to order ROH's Final Battle PPV event tonight. I guess you could call it an early Christmas gift to myself. Or at least that's what I hoped. The card is loaded and I have a free Friday night like usual so I couldn't resist. So, without further a due, it's time to dive into ROH's grand finale of the year 2015.
1) The Young Bucks vs. The Briscoes vs. All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) - #1 Contender's Match for the ROH World Tag Team Titles
What a choice for the opener! The Bucks coming out first is a quality decision. Not to mention the Briscoes. There's no better way to get a crowd hot, but then again, this crowd was hyped to begin with so when these three teams started doing their thing, the fireworks started to explode. Absolutely crazy opener. It's been so long since I've been able to relax in my living room and watch a match like this so I loved it. The Young Bucks never fail to put me in a good mood. SUPAHKICKS galore. It was nuts. The finish came off weirdly because your two most popular teams got beat to start the show. Sigh. Still a barnburner of an opener though. ANX wins and gets booed out of the building.
Match ratin - ***1/4
2) Silas Young vs. Dalton Castle
Monday, December 14, 2015
Stephanie McMahon starts the show to address what happened last night with Roman Reigns and Triple H. She foreshadows firing Reigns which brings out the man himself. Reigns showed the same fire he did last night and the crowd responds in kind. I like this attitude that he's dawned, it doesn't sound AS scripted. It still sounds sort of phony because you know he's not that Stone Cold/CM Punk esque rebel, but it DOES sound more genuine which is much needed. He talks about "kicking her husband's ass" and insults her family. Stephanie slaps Reigns. Once, twice, three times, fuck sake, she lays it into Roman multiple times without holding back. All this before she announces that Vince McMahon will be coming to the arena to handle him tonight!
1) Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
The newly crowned IC Champion battles the Show Off in the first match of the evening. The crowd is hype off that hot opening segment so this ruled. Both of these guys almost always deliver and this was no different. By the time we got back from commercial, they were in the midst of a run of false finishes. Ambrose even busted out a new face buster variation thing. It was going awesome then all of a sudden the crowd roars out of nowhere. The camera pans to the entrance and IT'S KEVIN OWENS! I DIDN'T WANT A NON FINISH BUT THIS FEELS SO HUGE AND IS THE PERFECT VISUAL!
Match rating - ***1/4
It's the final show before Ring of Honor returns to Pay-Per-View with arguably their biggest show of the year, Final Battle. Jerry Lynn will appear, War Machine is in action, plus ACH & Matt Sydal face off with Roppongi Vice! That's a lot to cover so let's get right to it!
1) Adam Cole vs. Corey Hollis
HOLLIS! Glad to see him still getting a shot in ROH. For those that don't know, he's been in NXT recently too so although he may be unknown to some, his stock is fairly high at the moment. It's nothing compared to someone like Adam Cole right now, though. This was pretty much a prolonged squash, but a good one. Hollis had his moments including countering out of Cole's neck breaker on the knee with an ace crusher. The crowd gave him a nice pop for that one. Cole puts him away with a superkick and the aforementioned neck breaker after a good fight. Post match, Adam Cole gets on the mic and vows not only to win on Friday night, but also to end Kyle O'Reilly in Ring of Honor.
2) War Machine vs. Two Guys
Sunday, December 13, 2015
The day after their Greatest Rivals Round Robin Tournament, Beyond Wrestling makes their debut in a new venue in Somerville, MA. The headlining match sees a battle of high flyers as Ricochet battles Shynron in a first time ever dream match.
1) Donovan Dijak vs. Andrew Everett
Donovan Dijak is officially my pick for Beyond Wrestler of the Year and definitely one of my favorites overall this year. He kills it every single time out and this was another example. It doesn't matter the scenario, Dijak delivers. This was the best possible opener you could ask for from these two and it was honestly better than even I expected. The vast size difference combined with the obvious stylistic difference made me wonder if this would mesh well, but man, it was perfect. The crowd was on fire for their hometown guy in Dijak despite all the vile things he's done in Beyond this year so all the spots got the proper pop. Speaking of spots and moments to remember, there were plenty of them including Dijak hitting a moonsault off the apron only to land on his feet, Everett countering out of Feast Your Eyes after kicking out of the first variation of the move, and the finish..oh..the finish. Dijak is a beast, that's all I will say. You have to see how he hoisted Everett into position for the second Feast Your Eyes. This ruled.
Match rating - ***3/4
2) Trevor Lee vs. Brian Fury
Everett & Dijak got into a scuffle after the match which led to Trevor Lee making the save. This leads to the Lee/Fury match that was scheduled for later on. Fury is Dijak's trainer and Lee is Everett's partner so this was a good sequel for the opening match. Lee & Fury put together a solid match although it couldn't match the fiery opener. In the end, Fury would put away the Carolina Caveman and walk away with the victory. Fun little match here.
Match rating - **3/4
3) Tessa Blanchard vs. Alexxis Nevaeh
Monday, December 7, 2015
Over the years, Beyond Wresting has became a platform for the next big stars on the Independent scene. Guys like Biff Busick & Drew Gulak really got their name out there with the matches they had for the promotion. It was a win-win situation. The men themselves got noticed and in return, the company got spotlighted as well. After Busick & Gulak became the first true staples of Beyond in 2012-2013 thanks to their matches with each other and Busick's series with Eddie Edwards, Timothy Thatcher threw himself into the mix. In 2014, Thatcher had an INCREDIBLE match with Biff Busick on one of Beyond Wrestling's secret shows that people still talk about today. It holds a special place in my heart as it was my first exposure to Beyond, Busick, & Thatcher.
That leads us to this event. On September 26th, the four men mentioned above competed in a Round Robin Tournament with a "Greatest Rivals" theme. The excitement this event generated was tremendous due to the past history they all have with each other. It's all culminating under one roof on a night where Biff Busick says goodbye to the promotion he helped build. Are you ready? I hope so because we're jumping right into this graps fest.
1) Biff Busick vs. Drew Gulak
At this point in time, this match could main event just about anywhere across the country, but it's only the opening contest for this tournament. Man, I'm in for a treat. Busick gets a huge reception as the crowd sings his theme song. I'm already getting the pro wres goosebumps. The two friends & rivals shake hands as Busick mouths the words "one more time." Despite the two being friends, they were as serious as ever from the get go, here. The feeling out process is filled with pure wrestling that leads to a number of counters and stalemates. Both men try to go for the half & half suplex early, but can't get it (foreshadowing). They end up on the apron about mid-way through, Busick locks Gulak in for the half & half only to resort to a neck breaker instead. As you can tell, the sportsmanship wore off slightly as time went on with both men getting frustated by not being able to budge their opponent. Before you know it, Busick is fired up and in Gulak's face. As you can guess, the strikes begin! Awesome exchange with both men trading slaps and strikes. The crowd is hyped up. Hell, they were chanting "This is awesome" before this big exchange even happened. Busick is finally able to nail the half & half suplex and a few moments later locks in the rear naked choke for the victory. Fine contest here.
Match rating - ***1/2
2) Timothy Thatcher vs. Eddie Edwards