Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dragon Gate: Truth Gate 2016 Review - February 4th, 2016

Last year, I reviewed Dragon Gate in a bulk post which can be found here. We left 2015 with the VerserK stable/unit on top of DG with leader Shingo Takagi as the Open the Dream Gate Champion and Naruk Doi & YAMATO holding the Twin Gate titles. Here, in my first show review of 2016, it's picking up right where we left off as the show begins with an in-ring promo from the top group in the promotion.

Everything is in Japanese, so, I obviously can't understand exactly what they're saying, but body language, commentary, and reaction helps me get the jist of it. Akira Tozawa interrupts them and charges down to the ring with Monster Express for the babyface pop. Next thing you know, Dia.Hearts emerges from the back and BAH GAWD BxB Hulk comes down and this thing breaks down into a hype ass verbal exchange. The talent of these guys really shows here because even though it's another language the expressions and attitudes portrayed came across in strides and got me hyped up for what was to come. Tonight, we have a Losing Unit Disbands match between Monster Express & Dia.Hearts and by the sounds of this promo, they've talked VerSerk into putting themselves on the line as well so the stakes are SUPER high.

1) CIMA, Eita, & Takehiro Yamamura (Over Generation) vs. Jimmy Kanda, Jimmy Kness, & U-T (Jimmyz)
Good opening trios match. CIMA and his team in particular popped me multiple times with some sick and extremely fluent double/triple team moves. The triple dive seen in the gif above sent this match into overdrive. A hot final few moments with CIMA, Eita, & Yamamura running roughshod on the Jimmy's. This ends with EITA tapping out Kness for the win.

Match rating - **3/4

2) El Lindaman vs. Kenichiro Arai
Lindaman is quite young, but uber talented as seen here in this veteran/newcomer dynamic of a match up. Arai threw all kinds of shit at Lindaman including some strong style signature headbutts however he couldn't keep up with the youngin and he got put down with a pair of bridging germans. Good fucking night!

Match rating - **1/2

3) Gamma & Punch Tominaga (Over Generation) vs. Mondai Ryu & Naoki Tanizaki (VerserK)
Ryu & Tanizaki jump Gamma & Punch before the bell because they're VerserK and they're dickheads. It didn't do them much good, though because old man Gamma don't take no shit and he blasted Ryu in a chop/strike battle in the opening moments of the contest. This was interesting in that there was a lot of extra stuff involved as far as foreign objects go. VerserK pulled out all the stops to try to sneak a win, even using a kendo stick, but Gamma & Punch came out with the win when all was said and done. Some nice false finishes in the final minute or two, though. Fun match.

Match rating - **3/4

4) Don Fuji & Yosuke Santa Maria vs. Cyber Kong & Kotoka (VerserK)
This was a lot of fun because, I mean, it's Don Fuji. It's Yosuke Santa Maria. It pretty much can't not be. The finishing sequence was pretty fiery between Santa Maria & Kotoka and ended with the latter tapping out the former. VerserK is having a rough night.

Match rating - ***

5) Shingo Takagi, Naruki Doi, & YAMATO (VerserK) vs. Jimmy Susumu, Ryo Jimmy Saito, & Genki Horiguchi (Jimmy's)
The trio of champions representing VerserK against the incomparable Jimmys. This was great on a couple of different levels. On paper it's a wonderful pairing when it comes to both ability and storyline appropriation. But the way they delivered it was even better with the sequences between Susumu & Shingo in particular being awesome which foreshadowed the finish that set up a future match between the two as Susumu picked up a huge win over the Dream Gate champion and VerserK leader. Good six man tag that was just a prelude to the killer match that was to follow it.

Match rating - ***1/2

6) (MONSTER EXPRESS) Masato Yoshino, Akira Tozawa, T-Hawk, Shachihoko BOY vs. (Dia.HEARTS) Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid, Kzy, Big R Shimizu vs. Shingo Takagi, YAMATO, Naruki Doi, Kotoka (VerserK) - Losing Unit Disbands 12 Man Three Way Elimination Tag Team Match
These multi-man matches with high stakes never disappoint. The focal point of Dragon Gate is it's units/stables so the amount of storytelling that takes place in matches like this is astounding and this was no different. Every person played their role to a tee from the first elimination to the final one. Yoshino was the sole survivor for Monster Express whilst the top tag team in DG and possibly, the world, Naruki Doi & YAMATO put away Kzy to effectively put Dia.Hearts to an end. The disappointment and sadness on the face of the other Dia.Hearts members as Kzy's shoulders were pinned to the mat for three told the whole story. The entire final run was thrilling and had the crowd going nuts. This is the kind of match that showcases DG at it's finest. VerserK recovers from an otherwise disappointing night with a huge victory here.

Match rating - ****1/4

Thursday, October 13, 2016

ROH TV Review - October 1st, 2016

The next few weeks of ROH TV will be showcasing inter promotional action from the Field of Honor events. The whole Field of Honor concept with the show being held in a baseball field is still weird to me, but somehow it works. So, here we go.

1) Bobby Fish (c) vs. EVIL - ROH Television Championship Match

Fish defeated Ishii for the TV title a few months back at Global Wars and is still going strong as champion. EVIL is still looking for his first taste of gold so I was pretty excited for this however it ended up just being a super basic match. EVIL controls the entire first half. He slams Fish into the ring post with a chair around his neck and somehow doesn't get disqualified. The dominance continues until Fish reverses out of a power bomb, I believe it was, and hits a move or two before locking EVIL into the fish hook thus forcing him to tap. This was pretty lack luster, to be honest.

Match rating - **

2) Michael Elgin (c) vs. Donovan Dijak - IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match

The second title match of the evening is much better than the first. It's also special because it's the first time the IWGP IC Title has been defended in America, according to Kevin Kelly, so that's cool. I was super pumped for this because Dijak has been one of my favorites since his match with Busick last year for Beyond. This wasn't everything these guys could do, but it definitely gave me some of what I expected and teased what could be if they got the opportunity to do something on a higher level. It was mainly just a power struggle between the two hosses early on then things turned up a notch in the final few minutes and it ruled. Elgin retains after a fun battle.

Match rating - **3/4

3) The Young Bucks, Adam Page, & Yujiro Takashi vs. Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Lio Rush, & ACH

You already know this was off the charts. The Bullet Club is still running strong after three plus years, the hype hasn't died one bit and that's crazy to me. It's just a testament to how talented those guys are. Anyways, this was exactly what you'd expect. Slow start with exciting moments here or there. Then it broke loose for the final five minutes. ACH looked amazing here as well as Lio Rush. They were definitely the MVP's of the match although The Young Bucks looked just as killer as always. They're so consistent. Adam Page got the pin here after a superkick from The Bucks into a Rite of Passage on Lio Rush.

Match rating - ***1/2

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ROH TV Review - September 24th, 2016


TONIGHT: Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Adam Cole & Adam Page

1) Silas Young vs. Toru Yano
This was the odd match you'd expect considering these two are polar opposites. Yano brought the comedy and Silas was the grump. Yano took the pad off one of the turnbuckles and kept trying to use it against Silas. They actually put together a nice string of close falls in the final few seconds. In the end, Silas makes Yano eat all of his own tactics by kicking him in the crotch and shoving him into the exposed turnbuckle which allows him to pick up the win.

Match rating - **1/4

AMAZING Christopher Daniels pre-taped promo video to hype up Ladder War 6 airs. It's seriously some of his best work ever, it's unreal to see a guy who's been around as long as he has still adding to his legacy. Although I've already seen Ladder War 6, this definitely adds to it the match and gives it a lot more meaning so I probably go watch and end up changing my rating because knowing the story behind it, they pulled off that match PERFECTLY. So, watch this promo then watch that match and thank me later. Good stuff.

2) Damien Martinez (w/ Kevin Sullivan & BJ Whitmer) vs. Cheeseburger
So, in my time away from ROH, BJ Whitmer has dawned a whole new persona as a member of a cult-like stable led by Kevin Sullivan with Damien Martinez from the Top Prospect Tournament being put at the forefront of it. They've also apparently tracked back history between Sullivan and Steve Corino which led to them driving spike into his head back in the Summer which was discussed thoroughly on commentary as they argued back & forth while Martinez destroyed Cheeseburger. Interesting, to say the least.

Match rating - **

3) Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Adam Cole & Adam Page
This is a prelude to All Star Extravaganza where Cole defends the ROH Title against former champ Michael Elgin. Kyle O'Reilly is on commentary because of his ongoing issues with Adam Cole. Those two are forever intertwined, I swear. But anyways, BC isolates Tanahashi for a bit which leads to an Elgin hot tag before things break down. We get a fun, vintage Cole/Elgin 2012 ROH style exchange if ya feel me. Superkicks and no selling. Elgin comes out on top following a vicious lariat, BUT PAGE POPS IN WITH A LARIAT OF HIS OWN. I mark for that spot every time. It's a short lived hype moment though because Elgin destroys Page with a bunch of combos moments after to get the three count for himself & Tanahashi. Staredown between Cole & Elgin to close the show.

Match rating - **3/4

Sunday, September 18, 2016

WWE: Cruserweight Classic Finale Review - September 14th, 2016

What began as thirty-two has now come down to four.

Four men from four different countries, representing four different styles, fighting for ONE trophy.

Zack Sabre Jr. TJ Perkins. Kota Ibushi. Gran Metalik.

1) Zack Sabre Jr vs. Gran Metalik
It's lucha vs technician in this major clash of styles to determine who heads to the finals as arguably the two best in their respective classes square off. The crowd is pretty split between both men so this was a pretty fun back and forth exhibition. There a few noticeable slip ups but nothing that threw the match off completely. Sabre caught Metalik in mid air with a triangle choke at one point for a false finish. There were several gasp worthy moments like that during this match. Good opener with Metalik clinching the victory.

Match rating - ***1/2

2) Kota Ibushi vs. TJ Perkins
LAWD HAVE MERCY. This was absolutely killer and better than it had any right to be. Sure, you'd expect it to be fun, but this turned into a match that will be high on many people's MOTY lists come December. The crowd was on Ibushi's side and with him being the favorite to win, every time TJP kicked out of a big move, it meant something. This made the finishing sequence more than just a bunch of false finishes and something built on raw emotion. TJP fought through homelessness, numerous cases of being misused, and so much more to get this close to the biggest win of his career and he wasn't about to go down for the count. I get chills just thinking about it again. This one had it all from the action to the emotion to the drama. Just awesome stuff, everything you love about wrestling. TJP targeted the leg of Ibushi the entire match and was finally able to lock the knee bar in for a second time in the center of the ring and wrench back on it forcing Ibushi to tap to a mixed reaction. Crazy good stuff here.

Match rating - ****1/2

3) Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Cedric Alexander & Noam Dar
Before the finals ensue, we get this random tag team showcase. The boys get a "all these guys" chant before the bell even rings. Thank fuck they all got signed. This was one of this PWG mid card tags with nothing left on the table. Balls to the wall action the whole way through. It kinda fell off near the end with a weird count from the ref and the action kinda almost overdoing it, but it was still a lot of fun. Gargano & Ciampa win on their route to trying to win the NXT Tag Team Titles from the Revival.

Match rating - ***1/4

4) TJ Perkins vs. Gran Metalik
This is honestly probably the most suprising final of any tournament I've seen in recent memory which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I just never expected WWE to pass on Rich Swann, Zack Sabre Jr, Kota Ibushi, Brian Kendrick or even Akira Tozawa for these two although they are most definitely worthy. TJP showed more confidence and determination than he has all tournament here. Metalik was clearly focused as well. The stakes were raised even higher just moments before the match began as Triple H came down and hyped it some more along with revealing the cruserweight championship. He then allowed these two to go at it and it was a really good contest and a fitting end to this whole thing. They didn't go out and top every other match in the tournament, but they did their thing and gave us a perfect finale. Plenty of high drama moments where you couldn't tell who was going to win since this one was pretty unpredictable from the start. Metalik popped everyone super hard including myself with a diving hurricanrana over the top rope flinging TJP to the floor. That shit was DANGEROUS. I LOVE IT. As you've probably already heard, TJP ends up picking up the victory here and is the first WWE Cruserweight Champion of the new era and the winner of the first ever CWC Tournament. Congratulations to him. As someone who has watched nearly every part of his career, it's truly heart warming to see him on this stage.

Match rating - ****

Before I close out this review, I just want to say how fucking cool of a time period we are in. I never thought I would see Daniel Bryan commentating Kota Ibushi, TJ Perkins, Mascara Dorado, & Zack Sabre Jr matches under the WWE banner in a major tournament on the WWE Network, much less a tournament that spanned several weeks and featured a major story in the form of Brian Kendrick going for glory one more time, as well as other top indy names like Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, & Rich Swann getting a once in a life time opportunity with the one & only Akira Tozawa among many other deserving athletes from around the world. This is proof that underdogs can succeed and that the landscape has changed. Long live pro wrestling and congrats to TJP for staking his name in the history books.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

WWE: Cruserweight Classic Episode 9 Review - September 7th, 2016

The quarterfinals continue as we determine who will be the last two wrestlers in the final four of the Cruserweight Classic Tournament. Daniel Bryan & Mauro Ranallo lead us in with an inside look at Zack Sabre Jr and Noam Doar.

1) Zack Sabre Jr vs. Noam Dar
These two men represent two different parts of the UK as well as different variations of the British style. Dar appears to be the underdog since Sabre has basically owned the wrestling world in the past two years. Despite that, he had the perfect gameplan here as he immediately targeted the leg of Sabre and did it in the most proficient manner. This was all in route to set up for his finishing hold, the knee bar. It also forced Sabre to alter his base and was even furthered when they rolled to the floor and ZSJ tweaked his elbow. This entire match was laid out really well from a logical standpoint and they followed it up with great action and submissions that will make you wince. In the end, Sabre catches Dar on the mat and puts him in a predicament that I can't even explain which forces him to have to tap.

Match rating - ****

2) TJ Perkins vs. Rich Swann
Both guys here have one hell of a story to tell. Both men were homeless at one point and had rough lives on their road to becoming successful professional wrestlers. On top of that, they are close friends as they came up on the independent scene together and crossed paths on multiple occassions. This makes this one heartfelt from the get go. Another thing TJP and Swann have in common is how smooth they are. That honestly was the story of this match to me, who could outdo the other. But then again, TJP took a gameplan similar to that of Noam Dar in that he targeted Swann's leg to prep for the ankle lock variation that he's known to synch in. Unlike Dar, TJP was able to find a way to victory with it as even when Swann was flurrying, he couldn't get past the work TJP did on the leg which forced him to collapse and allowed Perkins to capitalize. As soon as Swann tapped, TJP showed immediate remorse by lunging to check on him. Emotional moment after a solid contest between two men who truly deserved this showcase.

Match rating - ***1/4

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WWE: Cruserweight Classic Episode 8 Review - August 31st, 2016

So I'm finally getting around to watching some CWC action. I'm going to eventually back track and watch/review every episode, but I was able to catch this one live last week so I'm gonna go ahead and cover it. The tournament is currently down to eight men and the main story on tonight's episode is whether or not Brian Kendrick can continue his run back towards finally achieving something that he's always wanted. Let the quarter begin!

1) Akira Tozawa vs. Gran Metalik
Tozawa is life. Seeing him on the WWE Network is so surreal to me. He deserved this opportunity tenfold. The crowd is really in love with both these guys so they were fired up from the start and it only built as these two picked up the action down the stretch. The real momentum in the match started with Tozawa hitting his multiple dive spot. Metallk moves and hits a sick plancha of his own. From here, they went into their finishing sequence of awesome back & forth moves and false finishes. It was great stuff. Tozawa nails the signature dead lift stalling german for a 1..2..KICK OUT! Closest finish of the match right there. Metalik comes back from that and earns himself the victory with a michinoku driver.

Match rating - ***3/4

2) Brian Kendrick vs. Kota Ibushi
This was so much better than it had any right to be on paper. Like, I figured it would be good, but dear lord. Brian Kendrick is just as good as he ever was. ALL HAIL SPANKY. That son of a bitch portrayed desperation like no other in this match as he went as far as to drop Ibushi on his head with a BURNING HAMMER. And when I say on his head, I mean, ON HIS FUCKING HEAD. Somehow that still wasn't enough and my mind was blown. The crowd really ate up the story of Kendrick vying for one last shot at glory, but they also loved Ibushi because, well, Ibushi is awesome. Kendrick kept coming back for more after not being able to put Ibushi away however eventually the veteran would be put down for the count following a beastly sitout powerbomb. This told a great story and had incredible action & commentary to boot. Daniel Bryan & Mauro Ranallo are A+ together. Emotional moment between Bryan & Kendrick was the icing on the cake. Loved this match.

Match rating - ****

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

WWE Smackdown Review - August 23rd, 2016

The show opens with AJ Styles backstage. He's in the locker room bragging to Apollo Crews, Erick Rowan, & Rhyno about his victory over John Cena at SummerSlam. He wraps Cena's "Never Give Up" band around his head and starts mocking Dolph Ziggler who's sitting in a chair with his head in his hands. ZIGGLER HEADBUTTS STYLES! PULL APART BRAWL! Good stuff.

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon are in the ring with the rest of the roster to present the Smackdown Divas and Tag Team Titles. The first Smackdown exclusive PPV takes place in a few weeks and it's Backlash! YESSSS. The nostalgia that brings. Even though it used to be a RAW PPV back in my day, it's still hype to see it back. They announce a 6 pack women's title match for the event and that a tag tournament will culminate there, so that will start tonight. In the middle of this, Heath Slater marches down and talks his way into the tag tournament, but the catch is that if he's able to find a partner he's in, but if they don't win, he doesn't get a Smackdown contract so that's gonna be interesting. AJ Styles comes down and crashes the whole shindig. He's attacked by Dolph Ziggler from behind. That whole thing ruled. AJ's role as the top heel of Smackdown is perfect. He's killing it right now. The roster separates AJ & Zigs as we go to break.

1) Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss
This is pretty short and to the point. Becky is super over and Alexa holds her own. Becky gets the win by making Bliss submit. BECKY 4 SMACKDOWN WOMENS CHAMP 2016.

Match rating - **

2) The Usos vs. The Ascension
The tag title tournament begins here and it's a match we got multiple times when The Ascension first debuted, but it's a match none the less. They keep it short & sweet. Ascension flurry early with the doomsday device. Usos fight back and are able to pick up the win to advance in the tourney.

Match rating - **1/4

AJ Styles comes out randomly out of nowhere and gets just as stellar of a reaction as he did during his first two appearances of the night. This man is the face of Smackdown and a bonafide star, ladies and gents. Mauro reacts perfectly on commentary when his music hits, just watch his face. But anyway, he cuts a promo on being the #1 Contender to the WWE Title when Dolph Ziggler runs back out with security behind him trying to stop him. Daniel Bryan comes out yelling for them to stop because he isn't letting them ruin the show. He says they'll face off one on one later tonight with the winner facing Ambrose at Backlash.

3) Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
This was Nikki's first Smackdown appearance since returning at SummerSlam, she gets a nice pop and a pre-match interview only to get jumped by Carmella before the bell. Carmella leaves Nikki laying in the center of the ring.

Randy Orton is here to address what happened with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. He talks about that for a bit before Bray Wyatt interrupts. Oh, boy. Is it bad that I just want Bray to go away at this point? I literally left the room for this. I guess we're getting an Orton/Wyatt feud now. Zzzzzzz.

4) American Alpha vs. Tyler Breeze & Fandango
Wtf!? This was so fucking good. I didn't know Breeze & Fandango had this entertaining of a match left in them at this stage in their careers. The Alpha delivered their signature top notch performance and Breeze & Dango matched it. Sick reversals like Breeze hitting a hurricanrana to counter out of a double team attempt when Gable had him on his shoulders. Breeze angles Gable's head down in the turnbuckle and SUPERKICK. That was tight. American Alpha hit a flurry of awesome double teams which leads them to victory. Alpha/Usos inthe finals at Backlash, pls?

Match rating - ***1/4

5) AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler
These two have faced off before however the stakes were never this high. In one night they built this to be a match with legit tension so I was pretty stoked considering there was actually backstory and not just a bunch of action with no meaning. Mauro and everyone else on commentary added to this so much and made it feel like a legitimate emotional rollercoaster for Ziggler fighting for his last chance at the WWE Title. The crowd bit on each nearfall Ziggler had including one hell of a zig zag that bent Styles inside out. In the end, AJ would take a cheapshot and hit the Styles Clash to pick up the victory and crush Ziggler's dreams. Hell of a main event here. Styles' killer run continues as he strolls outside the ring to have a great staredown with the champion himself, Dean Ambrose to close the show.

Match rating - ***3/4

Smackdown trumped Raw this week. TEAM BLUE BABY.

Monday, August 22, 2016

WWE: SummerSlam 2016 Review

For the first time since SummerSlam 2013, I was willing and able to watch a WWE PPV live. I admittedly was just as excited for this show as I was for that one. All I needed to see was the first week of build for this event to be sold on it. This is also my first WWE Network experience considering I'm behind the times so let's party.

1) Enzo & Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens
Enzo Amore & Cass open the show and get everybody fired up. They are so hot right now and I can't think of a better entertainment act on the roster right now. After their usual schtick, the crowd is riled up and they call out Jericho & Owens for their match. Jericho looks even more sassy than normal. I don't even know what to say. He & Owens isolate Enzo which builds to the Cass hot tag. It breaks down and Owens cannon balls Cass on the floor. Good back & forth action in the final few minutes that ends with a pop up power bomb into a code breaker.

Match rating - **3/4

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon are backstage and they run into Mick Foley. Cheap plug for his show that debuts after the ppv tonight. Jon Stewart walks up with his son and they do a Booty O's bit with the New Day. 

2) Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte - Divas Championship Match
What do ya know? These women have another killer match here that came close to matching the level of their Raw match from a few weeks back. A nasty head drop in the corner from Charlotte to Sasha was the first of many breathtaking moments that this match would provide us. I legitimately lost it on several occasions. From the razor's edge into hurricanrana off the top turnbuckle spot to the meteora off the top rope to the floor, this was the definition of top notch women's professional wrestling in 2016. After multiple exchanges of momentum, Charlotte sneaks a win with a roll up out of the bank statement to regain the Divas Title. There were mixed reactions on this decision, but I was too blown away by the match to even be mad.

Match rating - ****

3) The Miz (c) vs. Apollo Crews - Intercontinental Championship Match
This was meh. Miz is great and Apollo is fun to watch however it just didn't click and the crowd was exhausted after the divas match which was on a completely different level. Thankfully they kept it pretty short which I was completely fine with under the circumstances, even though I was hoping for more. Miz retains.

Match rating - **

4) John Cena vs. AJ Styles
The hits keep on coming and dear lord, they knocked this one out of the fucking park. It started out really good with basic back & forth action. Then it took a turn with the two trading finishers only 10 or so minutes in. This made me lose interest for a second because I was worried this would become just a finisher fest and end however the emotion got turned up a notch to match the action the two delivered and this became another Cena classic. Cena busted out everything he had and Styles matched it. Tit for fucking tat. Then came the monumental moment of Cena nailing Styles with a flying AA off the top turnbuckle and it's 1..2..STYLES KICKS OUT! From this moment forward, this match sky rocketed to an entirely different platform. No one could believe what just happened. Styles kicking out of one AA and escaping the STF a few times is one thing, but kicking out of an avalanche attitude adjustment is just bonkers. Cena backed into the corner with a face of utter shock and awe. Styles fought to his feet with a bloody mouth ready for more. Cena scoops him up for another AA, Styles fights out, STYLES CLASH. AJ pins Cena clean in the center of the ring at one of the biggest PPV's of the year. Post match, Cena slides off his "Never Give Up" arm band and leaves it in the ring. THE STORYTELLING BAH GAWD. This ruled on every level and looking back, it was honestly even better than I expected it to be.

Match rating - ****1/2

5) Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (c) vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows - WWE Tag Team Championship Match
This was in a cool down spot on the card so it wasn't much. It's worth seeing for Big E's return though. He makes a run in to make the save during some of the Club's shenanigans. Good moment and pop for the big man in New Day. Their title reign continues here, but I feel like it's going to come to an end very soon. Possibly even tonight on Raw.

Match rating - **1/4

6) Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler - WWE Championship Match
I had high hopes for this one based off their past encounters, but it honestly fell short. They had a fun match however it never felt like a full fledged WWE Title match on a PPV. It was an easy watch, though, it just never made me mark out or anything. Plus, it never truly felt like Ziggler would win despite him having a few flurries. Still a solid little match, though. Ambrose retains with Dirty Deeds in somewhat abrupt fashion.

Match rating - ***

7) Nikki Bella, Natalya, & Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch, Naomi, & Carmella
The show starts to really drag at this point, to be completely honest. BUT this did have a highlight in the form of Nikki Bella's surprise return. So that was dope! This only lasted 11 minutes however it felt like twice that. I'm glad to see Nikki back, though, she rules.

Match rating - **1/4

8) Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor - WWE Universal Championship Match
Time to crown the first ever WWE Universal Champion and determine who will be the face of the Monday Night Raw brand. Rollins seems to be the favorite, but Balor has the momentum. He's got all the paint on tonight and looks like a full fledged star. The Demon jumps Rollins from the bell with a flying kick and this thing gets going. Rollins & Balor trade moves in this battle to have their name in the history books. It heats up, but never really reached that fever pitch that I was waiting for. This felt like a TV main event more so than a PPV caliber match. Still a huge moment for Balor regardless and an enjoyable watch. Balor wins and becomes the first ever WWE Universal Champion.

Match rating - ***1/2

9) Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns - United States Championship Match
This never even gets going. The bell doesn't ring and Rusev jumps Reigns before it can. They brawl around outside and it's pretty good. It goes on kinda long, though. Reigns looks awesome as he comes out on top and then runs back down to hit an epic spear on Rusev at the bottom of the ramp.

10) Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
I always seem to enjoy Brock Lesnar matches more than I anticipate. That was the case here as well so yeah, this was pretty awesome. It got mixed responses, but the truth is that I guarantee everyone was glued to their screen the entire duration of this match. I felt like a true fight and it went to the outside after only a few minutes with Brock slinging Orton through a table and Orton retaliating with an RKO on a table that WOULD NOT BREAK. Randy has the worst luck with those. Things go back in the ring and the controversy begins. Brock hard way busts open Orton with one of his signature elbows to the crown and temple of the head. Orton is cut open and pouring blood. The ref calls for the bell only for Brock to assault Orton even more. Shane McMahon runs out and gets F5'd. Lesnar leaves everyone laying as Orton is curled up in the corner bleeding out. Brock's a monster and this reiterated that however it was a questionable ending to the second biggest event of the entire year.

Match rating - ***1/2

Monday, July 25, 2016

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - July 25th, 2016

A new era has begun. This is the first Monday Night Raw since the brand split took place. The draft was last week, Battleground was last night, and now we write the first chapter in this era of Raw. There's a new arena set up with the commentary booth being placed back at the entrance area like the old days of the Ruthless Aggression era. Corey Graves joins Michael Cole and Byron Saxton on commentary going forward. Let's party.

Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon are in the ring to start the show. They announce the creation of Raw's new World Championship since Dean Ambrose retained last night and is on Smackdown. It will be called the WWE Universal Championship. Eh on the name, but it will become a household term soon enough because after all, it's WWE and they market better than anyone. None the less, they introduce the roster and announce how they are going to determine a new champion. Tonight we will have two fatal fourway matches and the winners of those will face off in the main event. The winner of that match faces Seth Rollins at SummerSlam to crown the first ever WWE Universal Champion. The competitors for the four way matches are introduced and Finn Balor gets the biggest pop of them all. Chills.

1) Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Rusev vs. Finn Balor
This ruled. It felt like everyone had a legit chance to win this aside from Rusev. Owens & Cesaro both had believable flurries. There were a number of awesome exchanges as you'd expect from these four. Rusev & Owens worked together to target Cesaro & Balor before shit broke down. Balor got a huge dive in on all three of the other competitors. Cesaro & Owens both have flurries where it looks like they could pick up the win. Balor even hit one of his finisher's early in the second half only for a two count which led to suspicion around whether or not he would win this thing. This made for an awesome burst of energy when Balor ran in out of nowhere following a Cesaro uppercut extravaganza and started cleaning house with a flying dropkick that sent Owens back into Rusev in the corner. It's all about The Demon from here on out. Balor is headed to the main event to fight for a world title shot. Unreal. Awesome match.

Match rating - ****

2) Roman Reigns vs. Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho
Broooo this was too good. Every bit as high quality as the first four way of the night. Great, I mean, GREAT stuff between Reigns & Zayn here. Reigns lifted up that young man into Razor's Edge position and planted his ass into the mat with a powerbomb outta hell. BAH GAWD. I need a Reigns/Zayn feud after this. The crowd popped so hard for Zayn hitting the blue thunder on Reigns. I get riled up just thinking about it. That shit was electric. The only negative thing about this was the predictability. Virtually no one in this match would be a better match up for Balor than Reigns and I didn't see WWE choosing anyone else so I was always expecting Reigns to put this away at any moment. It was still quality stuff, though. Reigns faces Balor tonight.

Match rating - ***3/4

So, New Day have been tag team champions for over a year now. Tonight, they celebrate. They bring a fan into the ring for the special occassion and air a hilarious highlight video. This is easily the best thing all three men have done. It's all fun & games until Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson run in to crash the party and even confront the fan at ringside. Stoked for Guns n Gallows/New Day!

3) Curtis Axel vs. Neville
Neville is back and DAT BOI still got it. He also has a beard. But yeah, Axel has on some weird shorts and is made that he got picked last in the draft, but he's staying positive. Too bad he loses this prolonged squash. Neville is the man.

Match rating - **

4) Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks - Women's Championship Match
This completely blew my mind. It's been built as a big clash however the Divas division on the main roster, even since the "revolution" has been hit or miss so I've been kinda hesistant to get invested. Well, needless to say, Charlotte & Sasha brought me fully into this tonight. They completely went balls to the wall in every department and delivered a stellar match. I really can't say much more. There was emotion, there was storytelling, and there was jaw dropping action. Sasha ate shit on a dive reminiscent of Lita's back in 2004. Charlotte showed her desperation by hitting a moonsault off the top turnbuckle TO THE FLOOR. It was bonkers. Speaking of Charlotte, she really won me over here. Not just because of that spot, but also with the way she carried herself and all the emotion shown. Her yelling "YOU WILL NEVER BEAT ME!" after she escaped the bank statement for a near finish only to be wrapped right back into it again was brilliance. Sasha taps Charlotte out to finally become the Women's Champion. Huge pop, huge moment, amazing match. Long time coming for Sasha and her post match interview just adds to it. I now have hope for the main roster women's division. God help Reigns & Balor if they try to top this. One of my favorite matches this year.

Match rating - ****1/4

5) Braun Strowman vs. A RANDOM JOBBER
They interview the jobber and it's hilarious. Strowman come downs and kills him. The end.

6) Enzo & Big Cass vs. Primo & Epico
I know, I know. Primo & Epico don't go by those names anymore, I don't think. I'm too lazy to remember or look to see, I do know they had a gimmick change or something. Anyways, Enzo & Big Cass is what it's about here. They do their thing and it's awesome. R-Truth wanders into the ring trying to find Pokemon on his phone. Goldust chases after him and it's hilarious because the Golden Truth is golden. This ends up costing Enzo & Cass the match though so boo :/

7) Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor
This one's for all the marbles. With everything we've seen tonight, it'd almost be silly for these dudes to try and one up it all so they just went out and had a perfectly solid ass main event. It's got all the action you could ask for from these guys. Balor hits a double stomp on the apron at one point and even counters the spear with a slingblade in mid-air. Great exchanges & counters that make Balor look really good. Reigns still looks ace as well, though, with how threw Balor around at the start of the match. And I mean LITERALLY, he threw him around. It was a sick visual. In the end, after several exchanges of momentum, Balor plants Reigns with the Coupe De Grace for the victory. It's BALOR VS ROLLINS AT SUMMERSLAM. I don't think my heart can take it, lads!

Match rating - ***1/2

Sunday, July 24, 2016

ROH TV Review - July 24th, 2016: A Must See Show

So, this review is gonna be way different than my usual way of doing things. For one, because I didn't catch the whole show, and two, because I have A LOT to say about the second half of the show which I did catch. As many of you know, I've been pretty out of the loop with wrestling in the past few months. I went from writing multiple blog posts a week on pro wres to barely even doing one a month. This is partially due to so much happening in my personal life that has been keeping me busy such as music, but it's also because I simply fell into a wrestling slump. I wanted to watch and keep up with everything like I used to however I couldn't push myself to do it. I wanted to be conversing on Twitter with all my homies like the good old days, but I just wasn't feeling it.

I say all this to say that today, I think that has changed and Kyle O'Reilly, Jay Lethal, and everyone involved in the final half of this week's ROH TV are to thank for that, if so.

I walked into the house a few hours ago and ROH TV was in the middle of it's airing for the week. In recent months, I would sit down and try to watch it only to get up to do something else or play with my phone the whole time. At first, I did the same. I pulled out my computer and was browsing then I heard Kevin Kelly explaining the story at hand. Kyle O'Reilly had a shoulder/arm injury that was given to him at the hands of the Bullet Club. He was supposed to face Jay Lethal in the main event tonight for the ROH World Title, but he's clearly too hurt to do so. Nigel McGuinness went to check on him and despite the injury, O'Reilly still vows to fight. This immediately peaked my interest. ROH has been known for a lot of dumb overbooking lately, though, so my hopes didn't get completely up however with O'Reilly & Lethal being two of my favorite wrestlers in recent years, I planned to stick around to see what happened because it was honestly pretty unpredictable although I had my doubts on whether the outcome would be logical or not.

The bell rings and the match gets going. I'm giving it 50/50 attention. A few minutes into it, a few seconds away, and so on. Soon, however, I was reeled in completely unbeknownst to me. The first thing that drew me in was the storytelling. With the amount of wrestling I've binged on in the past few years, I've grew tired of move fests and only certain wrestlers have the drawing power to keep me invested for an entire match. It probably helps that I love the style of O'Reilly and the characterization of Lethal, but both men stepped it up a notch here and truly displayed themselves as world class professional wrestlers.

For the first time in years, Jay Lethal began showing signs of remorse, almost baby face like as he tried to convince Kyle, Nigel, & Todd Sinclair to cancel the match because he didn't want to risk injuring Kyle further. At first, I was like, NO! Lethal is a phenomenal heel champion similar to an old school character like Ric Flair, but by the end of this match, I was entirely sold on the brilliance of what I just witnessed. Lethal's facial expressions and ring presence made this so fucking good. Seeing someone who's been built as the cocky champion who will take the easy way out actually show some emotion and regret was unreal.

O'Reilly delivered in this same department as well, though. Just on an entirely different level. Lethal displayed the character shift which will be looked upon as a huge moment in his career, whereas O'Reilly played the victim. He was hurt, but resilient. He garnered sympathy and got a crowd who was already largely into him, even more fired up than they normally are. Lethal threw shot after shot at O'Reilly, but the challenger fought like hell from underneath playing the perfect underdog. He came back from everything and would not quit. The final few minutes were the nail in the coffin to this being a fantastic match. Lethal has O'Reilly set up for the Lethal Injection yet again however Kyle can hardly stand. Lethal looks back and shows so much regret and disgust with himself for being a part of this. This gives O'Reilly time to stand up as Lethal is trying to convince the ref to stop the match. O'Reilly tells the ref not to and ags Lethal on. SLUGFEST ENSUES and it is fucking electric in that place. O'Reilly's final shot at glory and he's firing away only to catch the short end of the stick and LETHAL INJECTION puts him down for the three count after an epic battle. Lethal scats out of the ring still displaying signs of shame for fighting an injured man.

Now, on it's own, this match was perfect. The in-ring work was flawless, from the action to the storytelling, and there was no outside interference which is rare for ROH and both men involved recently so it felt even more special. So, yeah, I left this saying, damn, Ring of Honor may be back on track, that ruled, and will probably go down as one of my favorite matches this year. THEN, post match stuff happened and it combined with that match totally made me fall back for pro wrestling once again.

The Young Bucks & Adam Cole hit the ring and begin assaulting O'Reilly. On it's own, this would be looked at as a good assault by a heel supergroup. But with Kevin Kelly shouting like crazy on commentary, this became a monumental moment. Now, that probably sounds weird coming from me considering I've never been a fan of Kevin Kelly, but I'll be damned if he can't deliver when he needs to and when he does it's absolutely awesome. He made this feel so huge. His call with the crowd's reaction and the delivery of the Meltzer Driver on O'Reilly on a steel chair gave me chills. Jay Lethal hit the ring followed by O'Reilly's partner Bobby Fish to make the save. Nigel McGuiness is pissed and raising hell and declares that Cole will never get a World Title shot again because of Bullet Club's actions tonight. Everyone is showing so much emotion. This is pro wrestling.

If you missed this show, please watch it, because it very well may have made me fall back in love with wrasslin all over again. It was brilliant and easily one of my favorite moments & matches in wrestling this year.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

NJPW: Best of the Super Juniors Day 1 Review


Night One - May 21st, 2016

1) Tomohiro Ishii, Will Ospreay, & Beretta vs. Satoshi Kojima, Bobby Fish, & Volador Jr
This was a lot of fun which is what an opener should be so yee. Ospreay & Volador ruled in their exchanges. Ishii & Kojima were at each other's throats the whole time and that's kind of what the match was built around. Volador got fired up for a few moments and even took his own mask off at one point. I'm not sure if that's a regular occurence for him during matches, but if it's not then what the fuck, haha. Volador snags the pin on Beretta following a hurricanrana off the top turnbuckle.

Match rating - **3/4

2) Yuji Nagata, Jushin Liger, & Tiger Mask vs. Katsuyori Shibata, Jay White, & Juice Robinson
Shibata and Nagata have a great staredown early on before the bell rings. They have the main issue here thus they have the best exchanges of the match. Jay White gets a nice flurry and battles with Nagata in the closing moments before he gets put away with a saito suplex that dropped right on his dome. Fine enough sprint.

Match rating - **1/2

3) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ricochet, Yoshitatsu, & Captain New Japan vs. Kenny Omega, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, & Bad Luck Fale
Another decent multi-man with no real complains other than I'm ready for the tourney matches to begin. BC takes the cheap route every chance they get per usual. Ricochet got a nice hot run. Bad Luck Fale shuts the babyfaces comeback down and plants Captain New Japan with a chokeslam to end it. Post match, Kenny Omega snaps and the BC assaults CNJ some more. Omega then targets Tanahashi with a ladder and lays a beating on him. They carry off Tanahashi on a stretcher following the beatdown.

Match rating - **1/4

4) Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, & YOSHI HASHI vs. Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, & EVIL

Sunday, May 15, 2016

EVOLVE 58 Review

Evolve 58 - April 1st, 2016
Larry Dallas and Rob Naylor start the show with the announcement that this is the highest attended Evolve show ever. They introduce the Evolve Tag Team Champions Johnny Gargano & Drew Galloway who bring out Kota Ibushi who will be in their corner tonight.

1) Johnny Gargano & Drew Galloway (w/ Kota Ibushi) vs. Anthony Nese & Caleb Konley (w/ So Cal Val) - EVOLVE Tag Team Championship Match
HOT match to start the show off. With it being a title match, the stakes felt high so this was really good. Lots of crazy sequences with superkicks, counters & such. Most I've enjoyed a Johnny Gargano match in ages, to be honest. It was good seeing Tony Nese again as well, not being a regular viewer of EVOLVE, I haven't seen him since his PWG stint in 2013-2014, but he hasn't lost a step. This match was on it's way to being a high end three star affair until the botched finish thanks to the bellboy not ringing the bell when the ref called for it. This was a still damn fine opener though, just disregard the finish which was screwed up, but not due to the fault of anyone in the ring.

Match rating - ***1/2

2) Timothy Thatcher (c) vs. Matt Riddle - EVOLVE Championship Match
Another title match to keep the show going which really surprised me. Matt Riddle doesn't even allow introductions to be made before he storms out saying that he's right here if Tim Thatcher wants him. Thatcher charges to the ring and these two proceed to have a really unique, enjoyable match. It felt almost like a UFC fight or something of the like, at some points. I wasn't sure how this would go since I either really love Thatcher matches or they fall flat, depending on how it's done, this was the latter and a success. Riddle impressed me in my first time seeing him, a scrawny, but fiery competitor. I also liked the no contest finish with Thatcher selling a major elbow injury as a result of a cringeworthy submission from Riddle.

Match rating - ***1/4

3) Marty Scurll vs. Fred Yehi
It's Scurll's debut in EVOLVE here. I'm way more familiar with he than Yehi, though, as this is my first time seeing the young athlete from Georgia. He put forth an extremely solid effort here and Scurll reciprocated with a great performance per usual so this was good stuff. There was a lot of work on the arms/hands which made for a number of cringeworthy moments. Scurll trapped Yehi's finger in between his boots at one point and popped it in a way that will make you turn away from the screen. JOINT MANIPULATION ran rampant in this match. Scurll wins with a chicken wing out of nowhere.

Match rating - ***

4) Sami Callihan vs. Ethan Page
Solid little sprint although it may have went slightly too long, but it's nothing to complain about. I'm a big Ethan Page guy so I'm stoked has been working EVOLVE steady for a year now whereas PWG quit using once Monster Mafia disbanded. None the less, he & Callihan go through stuff here for a few minutes and the crowd is pretty receptive to it. Callihan wins with a running elbow despite Page hitting a Spinning Dwayne earlier in the match, among other things.

Match rating - **1/2

5) Ricochet vs. TJ Perkins
Ricochet is back in EVOLVE for the first time in a while. I figure this will be his last weekend here and he starts it off against a fellow veteran in TJP. The Future of Flight shows off a lot in the first few minutes before TJP targets the leg/knee and starts gaining some ground. Ricochet starts mounting a comeback from Perkins' ground & pound and goes for the 630. TJP moves so Ricochet lands on his feet only for his leg to buckle underneath him. This allows TJP to lock Ricochet in a submission and force him to tap out in the center of the ring. Big win for Perkins and the crowd is shocked.

Match rating - ***1/2

Stokely Hathaway walks down to the ring after the match with a contract. TJP signs it and Hathaway announces their partnership as "The Dream Team" then he proceeds to call out Triple H and says that TJP is the best candidate in EVOLVE to be in WWE's upcoming Cruserweight tourney.

6) Zack Sabre Jr vs. Will Ospreay
This is my first time seeing these two meet and being big fans of both, the hype was unreal. I can say right off the bat that lived up to all the expectations I had. Ospreay and Sabre are such one of a kind, next level athletes that there's no way this could be anything short of awesome. The crowd created a special atmosphere and Ospreay & Sabre did the rest. Sabre targeted the neck after catching Ospreay in a full nelson position in mid air and throwing him back with a dragon suplex. The vast submission arsenal of Sabre then opened up and he tortured Ospreay in a number of ways. Ospreay found his first escape by rolling out of a submission into a back hand spring into the ropes into a kick to the face of ZSJ. The back & forth battle in the closing sequence saw both men bust out all the marbles. Ospreay hit his standing spanish fly in the center of the ring for a nearfall. Sabre nailed Ospreay with a swinging DDT out of the corner only for Ospreay to spring up and go for a standing shoot star press, BUT SABRE CATCHES HIM IN A TRIANGLE CHOKE! In the end, it was Sabre going back to the neck he had worked on before and trapping Ospreay in an agonizing looking submission hold that I can't even describe. Great stuff here all around. Match of the night.

Match rating - ****1/4

After the match, Chris Hero & Tommy End come out and Hero tells Sabre that he may have beaten Ospreay and everyone else in the Best in the World series, but he's never beaten him. Sabre slaps him on the face and says that changes tomorrow. A lot of good hype was built for their match tomorrow off that little exchange. Tommy End also gets on the mic and says he's gonna knock out Kota Ibushi tomorrow night.

7) Chris Hero & Tommy End vs. Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams (w/ TJ Perkins)
I forgot this match was even on the card so when it came up, I got kind of excited. Unfortunately, it ended up being one of those contests that went too long for it's own good and went into overkill. It had several good parts, but as a whole it was meh. You had a great Hero/Williams fire up spot that ended with Williams dropping Hero on his head with a saito suplex. You had some superb striking from both Hero & End. But it all meant nothing when this thing went 25+ minutes and the crowd slowly lost interest as time went on, as did I. After a bunch of virtually meaningless near falls, Gulak taps out End to get the win for Catch Point.

Match rating - **1/2

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

EthanPWT Watches NJPW 2016

Just like last year, I'm putting all my New Japan Pro Wrestling match reviews in one place for your reading pleasure. I can't muster to watch every single show however I try my damnest to cover the biggest & best matches plus ones that just stick out to me as worthy of viewing. Each of them will be covered here as the year goes on. I DID begin the year reviewing every show though, but that only lasted two days. Below you can relive that streak with the links to my full reviews of WK10 and New Year Dash. But from there we move forward into sporatic, but detailed coverage of the top wrestling promotion in Japan. Let's do this!

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10 Review (1/4/16)
NJPW New Year Dash Review (1/5/16)

Dragon Lee (c) vs. Kamaitachi - CMLL Championship Match - NJPW/CMLL Fantasticmania - 1/24/16
I've heard a lot about the series of matches these two had in 2015, but never got the chance to check any of them out. So, when I heard they had another match to start off this year and that it lived up to their previous encounters, I made it a priority to watch this. Needless to say, it was well worth it. From the time Dragon Lee jumped over the top rope to catch Kamaitachi with a hurricanrana off the apron to the floor, I knew I was in for a ride. You could tell that these two had faced off before due to how flawlessly executed everything was. The majority of the match was fast paced with an array of high flying and lucha esque moves however they did turn to submissions during the final half which created some nice false finishes. They did a good fighting spirit exchange with each man nailing suplexes only to pop right back. A lariat from Lee would finish this battle that left us with another stalemate. The final few minutes were the hottest of all with Lee popping Kamaitachi up for a powerbomb only to receive a flipping piledriver for his troubles. Un-be-lievable. Kamaitachi is your new CMLL Champion.

Match rating - ****

The New Beginning In Osaka Review - February 11th, 2016

Jay White vs. David Finlay - New Beginning In Osaka - 2/11/16
Opening match of the evening between two young lions. It's only a 6-7 minute affair, but it's pretty solid. White fights from underneath for most of the match and has a few good comebacks. Finlay dives into the corner with a flipping senton only to get caught and put to the mat as White locks him in a boston crab. Finlay dives towards the ropes only for White to pull him back and wrench back on the hold with his knee across the neck which forces Finlay to tap out.

Match rating - **

Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NEVER Openweight Title Match - New Beginning in Osaka - 2/11/16
Ishii & Shibata are at it again. As mentioned in previous reviews, their match at the G1 Climax in 2013 is what got me hooked on NJPW so I'm hooked on their meetings right off the bat. However, I wasn't that blown away by their WK10 match despite it being another EXTREMELY solid effort of strong style and fighting spirit from two guys who do it better than anyone. For that reason, I wasn't overly excited for this, but by the time it got going, Ishii & Shibata completely pulled me into it by doing what they do best. Tearing the house down. Ishii bleeding from the mouth was a great visual that accentuated the fight we were seeing unfold in front of us. One thing I also liked was the more extensive use of submissions here. As opposed to these two just slugging it out, they added some submission offense which was a nice change of pace as seeing Ishii convulse whilst locked in the triangle choke was amazing. It was a "take your breath away" moment that led to a gasp when he finally got to the ropes. But trust me, the strikes were here as well and it got EPIC in the final few minutes. Awesome match here, I enjoyed it much more than their WK10 encounter.

Match rating - ****1/4

The Young Bucks (c) vs. ReDragon vs. Ricochet & Matt Sydal - IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match - New Beginning In Osaka - 2/11/16
These six guys are all amongst my favorite things in wrestling today so I knew this would rule. The Bucks are the champs, but only a month into their reign as they won the titles at WK10 in a four-way match involving ReDragon, Ricochet & Sydal, & RPG Vice. I enjoyed this match even more than that one. These junior tags in NJPW can get repetitive especially when they're multi team so having this trimmed down to three helped it. Everybody got their signature spots in and as always, they delivered some stuff you haven't seen before. There was an awesome sequence where ReDragon tried to hit a double frog splash off the top rope on Ricochet & Sydal which is really similar to their finisher (the double shooting stars), but they moved. So, The Bucks tried for the same and ReDragon moved which gave Ricochet & Sydal the chance to hit the dueling SSP's, but The Bucks moved for them and all three teams are down. Fish gets superkicked on the apron and Nick hits a senton on him to the floor. Cody Hall takes Kyle O'Reilly to the back which effectively eliminates ReDragon from the match since Fish is left on his own. The Bucks and Ricochet & Sydal have the final minute or two to themselves and the dueling Shooting Star Presses are finally nailed. We have new IWGP Junior Tag Champs.

Match rating - ***3/4

New Beginning in Niigata Review - February 14th, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - April 25th, 2016

Shane McMahon starts the show and it's bittersweet. Stephanie interrupts and informs everyone that Vince McMahon will be at Payback to determine who will be in charge of WWE going forward. Shane has Steph removed from the arena since he's technically still in charge. It ends up being pretty funny. Steph kicks one of the security guards outside the ring before finally cooperating.

1) AJ Styles vs. Sheamus
The dream match series continues for Styles. It's not a real thing, but then again it is. This is another match made in heaven for me. Sheamus is stiff as hell and AJ is versatile so he can be, he will be, and he was. Styles was super flashy here with a moonsault off the apron where he landed on his feet plus his signature dropkick and springboard punch being on target. There was an awesome exchange with Styles clobbering Sheamus with repeated forearms, it felt like I was watching NJPW for a moment. Sheamus had his moments to shine of his own in the form of various kicks that more than made their mark. They didn't go into overkill territory with nearfalls and stuff however they delivered a super good match for all the aformentioned reasons. AJ wins with the springboard superman punch.

Match rating - ***1/4

Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows come out after the match in their new attire which looks pretty dope. They kinda just stare at AJ and do the thing they've been doing for the past few weeks.

New Day comes out to talk about the tag team tournament. The Vaudevillains and Enzo & Big Cass end up in the ring. Huge pop for Enzo & Cass. This turns out to be a pretty cool segment despite the fact that I wasn't into it to begin with aside from New Day being present. Nice showcase for the two newest tag teams on the roster from NXT.

2) The Usos vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

Lucha Underground Review - April 20th, 2016

1) Aerostar vs. Drago - Aztec Medallion Match
After their best of five series last year, everyone knew what to expect here. Aerostar & Drago are smooth workers as it is, but they work particularly well with each other so this ruled pretty hard. Just a fun, straight to the point opener. Great sprint.

Match rating - ***

NEXT WEEK: Mundo vs. Cage in a Steel Cage Match

2) Jack Evans, PJ Black, & Fenix vs. The Disciples of Death - Trios Tournament Match
So, the trios tournament is back! That's one thing I've missed in my month away from LU. It was one of the best parts about Lucha Underground last year so I'm pretty excited and this match proved to continue that excitement. Jack, Black, & Fenix are a dream team that I didn't know I wanted until they got put together. They looked great here with their respective high flying styles being showcased as well as some teamwork. They also did a swell job portraying the tension between them in the form of one guy trying to one up the other. This came into play namely in the final few moments. Lots of good action here and a few sick nearfalls. Evans, Black, & Fenix pick up the win. Fenix looked fantastic here as did Jack in his role of the sneaky, cheap bastard he's become known as.

Match rating - ***1/4

3) Matanza (c) vs. Mil Muertes - Lucha Underground Championship Match
Two monsters colliding. One with a venegance and one who's just naturally pissed off and wants to keep his throne. Therefore, this was a nice big man brawl. It was action packed from start to finish and got pretty wild. The battle rages onto the outside and they fight around the arena. The two end up atop Dario Cueto's office and MUERTES HITS A FLAT LINER ON MATANZA THROUGH THE FUCKING ROOF! Huge OMG moment. The match gets called off at this point, but boy, this was an awesome fight. They are gonna have a lot to live up to with the rematch to top what they teased here.

Match rating - ***1/2

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - April 4th, 2016

Last night was WrestleMania and it got quite the mixed reaction. Something that has become pretty common for modern day WWE post 2014. Roman Reigns pinned Triple H to become the WWE Champion as expected to a chorus of boos, Brock Lesnar beat Dean Ambrose, Chris Jericho beat AJ Styles, and The Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon. Where do we go from here?

The show begins with the commentators basically making excuses for the crowd being so anti-Reigns by saying "they boo who they normally cheer" because of how passionate they are, which kind of makes sense, but kind of doesn't so, hey.

Mr. McMahon is out first to address the outcome of Taker/Shane last night. The crowd chants "Better Than Reigns" directed towards Shane which Vince once again plays off as them being "crazy people". Before Vince can leave, Shane O Mac himself comes out to a huge pop. He gets teary eyed and thanks all the fans for him giving him a moment he'll never forget. Shane bids farewell and goes to leave, but that's not good enough for Vince because that's Shane getting the last word. So, Vince says he's gonna let Shane run Raw for the night and see what he's really got.

1) The New Day (c) vs. Sheamus & Wade Barrett - WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Thursday, March 31, 2016

ROH TV Review - March 27th, 2016

TONIGHT: Jay Lethal defends the ROH World Title against Hirooki Goto

1) Roderick Strong vs. Matt Sydal vs. Moose vs. Adam Page - Four Corner Survival Match
What a way to kick off the show with this star studded match. Roddy & Sydal start things off before Page comes in to slug it out with Roddy. Both Sydal & Page get taken out which leads to Roddy having a show down with Moose which I'm hoping foreshadows a singles match happening between them soon. An array of crazy moves including Moose powerbombing Sydal into the railing, Roddy dropkicking Moose to the floor, and Page nailing his signature shooting star press off the apron onto Roddy sends us to commercial. The final few minutes sees Adam Page close in on a huge win only for BJ Whitmer to distract him. Sydal hits an SSP on Page, but Roddy steals the victory by hitting both men with jumping knees and an end of heartache.

Match rating - ***

Adam Cole comes out to the ring to discuss the "slump" he's been in. He discusses being unable to regain the ROH World title and assures everyone that Kyle O'Reilly will never be the Ring of Honor World Champion. He's soon interrupted by his own music hitting and Matt Taven walks out. This is the first time Taven has been seen since getting injured at Final Battle in December of last year. Taven & Cole embrace however that would be the last display of affection as Taven changes tune extremely quickly. Taven basically says Adam Cole is out of the Kingdom because he failed in winning gold last year unlike he & Bennett. Since Bennett is gone to TNA and Cole is out, Taven is going to rebuild the Kingdom around himself.

2) Cheeseburger vs. Foxx Vinyer

Lucha Underground Review - Aztec Warfare 2 - March 23rd, 2016


It's Aztec Warfare week. A 20 Man Royal Rumble style match except you have to actually be pinned to be eliminated. Every minute or two, a new entrant enters the match. Last year, the winner became #1 Contender to the Lucha Underground Title, but this year it's for ALL the marbles per Catrina. The winner of this will walk out the Lucha Underground Champion. This announcement was made last week when Fenix shockingly defeated Mil Muertes to become the LU Champion. To stack the odds against the young man even more, Fenix enters first and Muertes enters last. I think that's all that needs to be covered to preface this thing so let's dive right into it.

#1 Fenix

#2 Rey Mysterio

Wow. We start off this year's Aztec Warfare with a Dream Match in the form of Fenix against Rey Mysterio. They get a few minutes to do their thing and it rules. There's a cool 619 attempt countered into an arm drag by Fenix.

#3 King Cuerno

Cuerno is the third entrant and he cleans house on both Fenix & Mysterio before hitting a huge dive to the floor on Fenix. This allows Mysterio time to recover and he comes out of nowhere the sliding frog splash off the apron to the floor as the bell rings for the fourth entrant to come out.

#4 Argenis

Argenis is in and gets a nice exchange with Fenix. Fenix goes for a springboard and gets caught with a kick for his troubles. Mysterio jumps back in the fray and it spells the end for Argenis. 619, frog splash, game over.

#5 Mundo

YAS! Mundo, Mysterio, & Fenix do their thing here as Mundo enters the temple to try and win Aztec Warfare. Lots of good stuff goes on here between these three.

#6 Joey Ryan

The Sleaze Master himself comes down and doesn't even attempt to get involved in the action, instead, he handcuffs himself to the railing to avoid the risk of getting eliminated.

#7 Prince Puma

PUMAAAAA. Shit goes bonkers here. Shooting star press to the floor on three men. Just unreal stuff like Cuerno countering Puma's blue thunder bomb into a hurricanrana. It's a momentary flurry for Cuerno as he stalls Puma's momentum, but gets caught by Mysterio and Rey Rey forces him to tap.

#8 Jack Evans

ROH TV Review - March 20th, 2016

TONIGHT: The Young Bucks vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin

BJ Whitmer heads to the ring for his ROH TV Title match to start the show. The champion, Tomohiro Ishii comes out and the match is about to get underway when Cedric Alexander and Veda Scott come out. Veda offers Whitmer a high sum of money to let Cedric Alexander get his TV Title shot. Whitmer proudly accepts and we have a change of plans!

1) Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Cedric Alexander - ROH TV Title Match
I'm glad we got this instead of Ishii/Whitmer although that would be an interesting match up to see as well. Cedric has kind of been at a stagnant point creatively for about a year now however he still always delivers exciting matches and this was no different. Despite being mainly known as a high flying junior heavyweight, Alexander is pretty stocky and hits hard so he & Ishii clashed well. This was a good mix of what each man does best with Alexander's speed & striking being highlighted along with Ishii's hard hits and fighting spirit spots. Very hot final stretch. Sick headbutt from Ishii, he hits the ropes for the sliding lariat, ALEXANDER COUNTERS INTO A BACKSLIDE! 1..2..Ishii kicks out! Alexander with an elbow to the side of the head, he hits the ropes, ISHII TURNS HIM INSIDE OUT WITH A LARIAT! This leads the champion to victory as he nails Alexander with a brainbuster. Very fun match.

Match rating - ***1/4

NEXT WEEK: Jay Lethal defends the ROH World Championship against Hirooki Goto

Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian come out to discuss the reformation of the Motor City Machine Guns at the 14th Anniversary PPV. This brings out Sabin & Shelley themselves who challenge them to a match. The Guns charge the ring, but The Addiction runs away.

2) The Briscoes vs. RENO SCUM
Prolonged squash match here, but a very good one. RENO gets a few moments to shine with some awesome offense near the end and even a close fall. The Briscoes end up putting them away after a few minutes with Mark hitting his death valley driver into flying elbow combo.

Match rating - **1/2

Dalton Castle is backstage hyping his Fight Without Honor with Silas Young. He says the boys won't be there because their young eyes can't bare to see what he's gonna do to Silas. That match takes place three weeks from now!

3) The Young Bucks vs. Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi
OOOOOH DADDY! A Young Bucks match always makes me happy and BIG MIKE is involved along with the ace of NJPW himself?! This ruled. The Bucks flurried early with an awesome sequence before Elgin & Tanahashi turned the tables by mocking The Bucks and using their own signature taunts like the suck it as well as the back rake in the corner. This builds to the hot tag for Nick who cleans house. Tanahashi gets isolated momentarily before Elgin is brought back in. The finishing sequence continues the high impact trend of this match and tops it off perfectly. Elgin catches Nick in mid-air going for the Meltzer Driver and power bombs him to the mat in brutal fashion. Meanwhile, Tanahashi hits the slingblade followed by High Fly Flow for the win.

Match rating - ***3/4

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lucha Underground Review - March 16th, 2016

Fenix is backstage and is approached by Catrina who sweet talks him. She says maybe she made the wrong decision by siding with Mil and possibly, she should have stayed with him. They share "one final kiss" then Catrina dissappears after saying that tonight the Fenix will be destroyed once and for all.

1) The Disciples of Death vs. Son of Havoc, Ivelisse, & Angelico - Trios Championship Match
It's announced prior to the match that if Havoc, Ivelisse, & Angelico lose, they will leave the temple forever. So, this is basically their last chance to regain the trios titles. Everyone brawls to start before Ivelisse gets isolated. The Disciples of Death work her over for a minute or two before she's able to make the hot tag to Angelico. Damn if he doesn't blow my mind every time I see him compete, just crazy flexibility and athleticism with the way he uses his limbs. This begins the babyfaces comeback as they hit a triple drive. And before you know it, they are in complete control and pick up the victory. The trios titles are back in the hands of three fan favorites. Short, but sweet match. I felt like it should have been more given the stipulation, though.

Match rating - **3/4

2) Chavo Guerrero vs. Texano Jr - Bull Rope Match
This feud has been going on for the past few weeks. It never really grasped my attention and neither did this match. It's only six minutes long which is relatively short for a bull rope match that's supposed to be the final chapter in a rivalry. Texano wins in rather definitive fashion, thankfully.

Match rating - **

3) Mil Muertes (c) vs. Fenix - Lucha Underground Championship Match
Thus far this season, LU hasn't delivered a match that truly provided that spark that last year did on several occassions. That is, until now. Muertes & Fenix clearly still have the same chemistry that made their Grave Consequences match last year so awesome because this was another classic between the two. After Fenix tried to knock Mil off his feet and failed to keep him down thus aggravating the monster, this one turned brutal. Fenix goes for a dive and gets nailed with a chair shot to the head which leads to Mil ripping open his mask and hitting him again with the chair. Fenix begins bleeding from the head and the fight goes into the crowd as this match gets taken to a whole new level. Mil literally tosses Fenix into the fans at one point, Fenix hits a dive off the second level railing and busts Mil open after also ripping his mask apart, it got really intense really quick. This one had all the drama and emotion you'd expect, if not more. The crowd was fully behind Fenix aside from a small section which made for some awesome near falls. Fenix hits a step up springboard 450 for a two count. Mil spears the hell out of Fenix and begins plotting his next move, but he takes too long. When lifts up Fenix from the mat, he springs forward putting him in a pinning predicament! Fenix bridges back - 1..2..3.. WE'VE GOT A NEW LUCHA UNDERGROUND CHAMPION! Pretty fantastic match if I may say so myself.

Match rating - ****1/4

The place erupts with Fenix's victory and he jumps into the crowd to celebrate. His celebration is cut short as Catrina announces that next week when Aztec Warfare returns, it won't be a #1 Contender's match, it will be for the Lucha Underground title! To top off the odds being stacked against Fenix, he'll be entering at #1 and Mil Muertes will be entering at #20! UNREAL!

Lucha Underground Review - March 9th, 2016

Sexy Star is in the locker room having flashbacks of her time being held captive by Marty the Moth when Willie Mack approaches. He says that he has a match with Marty tonight and needs her in a corner to help "squash the bug."

TONIGHT: Cage vs. Mundo in a No DQ Match

1) The Mack (w/ Sexy Star) vs. Marty the Moth
Mack jumps Marty at the bell and beats the hell out of him for a little bit. After a few minutes, the lights go out and a weird looking female creature (that's the best way I can describe it), emerges from the back. Apparently it's Marty's sister whom he spoke of earlier this season. Sexy Star trembles as she gets closer. This distraction allows Marty to get the pin on Mack and he & his sister taunt Sexy before they leave. LU does awesome with these characters and their placement, this was no different, great stuff.

Match rating - **1/4

2) Cage vs. Taya
Johnny Mundo doesn't compete like previously scheduled as Taya comes out saying she is wrestling in his place. Mundo ends up getting involved anyway since it's No DQ and things get pretty crazy. Cement blocks and several beer bottles come into play. Mundo nails Cage with both bottles in the head, but the machine isn't phased. Mundo hides behind Taya at this point and Cage hits Weapon X on her for the win as Mundo scrambles and looks on in awe.

Match rating - **1/2

3) Mil Muertes (c) vs. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Jr - Lucha Underground Title Match
This is a match that's been building since the first episode of this season in late January so it's got hype behind it. Puma & Pentagon double team Muertes early before tearing into each other. This is everything you could ask for from a triple threat match involving these three as they battle inside and outside of the ring where the action never slows down. Puma hits a Shooting Star Press off the railing at one point onto both men followed by a 630 off the top turnbuckle in the center of the ring. It only gets him two, though, as Muertes breaks up the fall. There's a number of awesome close falls here near the end. They also do a great tease of Pentagon breaking Puma's arm before Muertes spears him to break it up. This ends up leading the champion to victory as he spears both men then hits a double flat liner on them for the win. Really good match.

Match rating - ***3/4

Fenix approaches after the match and reveals that he's cashing in his Gift of the Gods Title for a championship match with Mil Muertes NEXT WEEK! Stack on top of the already scheduled trios title match and we've got a packed show ahead of us!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

WWE NXT Review - February 10th, 2016

TONIGHT: Bayley vs. Carmella for the NXT Women's Championship

1) Baron Corbin vs. Johnny Gargano
JOHNNY WRESTLING! Nice little opener here with Corbin being pissed and dominating Gargano. Johnny got a few hope spots which the crowd got behind, though. It ultimately just leads to the Corbin win out of nowhere amidst one of Johnny's comebacks as Corbin catches him in the middle of his flying spear attempt. The crowd is hot tonight!

Match rating - **1/2

2) The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) vs. Corey Hollis & John Skyler
PWX REPRESENT here with Hollis & Skyler taking on the team of Ryder & Rawley who suffered their first lost since forming together as The Hype Bros, last week. This is mainly just a showcase for the Hype Bros getting their hype back, no pun intended, after losing last week. It was still nice seeing Hollis & Skyler, they did solid work here by taking a good beating and displaying their team work for a few minutes when they isolated Ryder. A segment that led to the hot tag for Rawley which leads to the victory for he & Ryder.

Match rating - **

3) Alexa Bliss vs. Cameron
So, I was so annoyed to see Cameron when she made her entrance and even during the opening minutes of the match, I was zoning out, but then I realized how solid this actually was. Cameron got heat just for being there which led to the perfect comeback when Bliss started firing away with some offense that surprised me (this was my first time seeing her compete). Bliss wins with her finisher which I loved, the sparkle splash.

Match rating - **1/4

4) Elias Samson vs. Jesse Sorenson
"The Drifter" Elias Samson beats up Sorenson for three or four minutes. That's all this was. His winning streak continues. Decent squash, I guess.

Match rating - *3/4

5) Bayley (c) vs. Carmella - NXT Women's Championship Match
I enjoyed the hell out of this. Bayley & Carmella are friends so there's no bad blood which made me wonder how this would go, but it ends up being really good. They held my attention the entire time, there was never a dull moment and everything was executed smoothly. The emotion shown by both women and particulary Carmella, who was in her first title match ever, made this one what it was. I was really impressed by Carmella here with her facial expressions throughout. Bayley took control being the more experienced champion, Carmella begins mounting a comeback and contemplates a dive, a mental decision that the crowd picks up on thanks to her facial expressions. She nails it to a big pop and then dares to go for a second and hits it as well before throwing Bayley back in the ring for a quick cover. The two go into a series of roll ups and pinning combinations for a series of near falls. Finally, Bayley is able to keep Carmella down for three on a backslide to retain the championship.

Match rating - ***1/2

The post match is the icing on the cake for what was a great TV match. Bayley & Carmella hug and as Carmella is leaving, Eva Marie & Nia Jax attack her in the aisle way. Bayley makes the save only to get beaten down. Eva & Jax isolate Carmella in the ring and as they are toying with her, ASUKA APPROACHES ON THE RING APRON! Shit just got real! Asuka stares down Jax who has Eva hiding behind her. Asuka slowly gets in the ring and Jax & Eva leave. Bayley gets back in the ring to check on Carmella and we get an awesome staredown/moment with Asuka eyeing down the champion and her title.

Samoa Joe closes the show with a short backstage promo hyping his match with Sami Zayn next week to determine a #1 Contender for Finn Balor's NXT title. Joe says he is the next NXT Champion.