Saturday, October 31, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - November 21st, 2002

WWE Smackdown 
November 21st, 2002
Hartford, Connecticut 

Brock Lesnar is pacing in the garage waiting on Big Show & Paul Heyman to arrive following the screw job they pulled on him at Survivor Series.

1) Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble

For some reason, Rey, a wrestler who has never competed on Raw, is on the cover of Raw magazine this month.. and Taz has a copy of it on Smackdown promoting it. The logic doesn’t exist. But yeah this might be the best sprint/squash ever??? Like Rey was amazing at these in 02 but this one was for real flawless. 

Match rating - **3/4 

Brock is still pacing backstage. He goes into the men’s locker room and I don’t even know what’s funnier. John Cena’s reaction or Brock throwing Matt Hardy through a fucking wall when he tries to give him advice on what he could have done better at Survivor Series. 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - November 18th, 2002

WWE Raw Review 
November 18th, 2002 
Bridgeport, Connecticut 

Eric Bischoff is waiting in the parking lot for someone. A limo pulls up and he gets super excited but turns out it’s Ric Flair and he’s disappointed. Bischoff says there’s a #1 contenders match that Triple H is in. Flair guilts him bc he knows he’s been in the hospital since last night and can’t compete. He says all Bischoff cares about is Raw and not himself or Triple H. Bischoff puts Flair in a match with Kane. Flair says he doesn’t sweat Kane and hopes Eric gets what he wants out of an episode of Raw without Triple H. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

AEW: Dynamite Review - October 21st, 2020

AEW: Dynamite Review

October 21st, 2020

The show opens with Wardlow on his way to the ring...

1) Wardlow vs. Jungle Boy - AEW Title #1 Contender’s Tournament 

WARDLOW. Aside from the expected Omega/Page final, Wardlow being involved might be what I’m most excited about as I feel he could be the real sleeper of this thing. I don’t think he’s wrestled on dynamite since the cage match with Cody? So seeing him here and only on special occasions I think helps build the appeal. And this was another good match from the big man as Jungle Boy flew and bumped around for him and they delivered a solid big man/little man back & forth contest. In the end, Wardlow is too much for Jungle Boy to combat and he eats the pin. 

Match rating - ***

2) Kenny Omega vs. Sonny Kiss - AEW Title #1 Contender's Tournament Match

EPIC KENNY OMEGA CLEANER ENTRANCE. They did everything in their power to make this feel big and it worked. Poor Sonny Kiss eats a V Trigger and the One Winged Angel and this one is over before it even gets started. Omega advances with a dominant showing in his huge return to singles competition. This makes sense on every level especially considering Omega's original opponent Joey Janela was pulled from the tournament due to having came in contact with someone who had COVID over the weekend. I just wonder if this was the plan in that case too? Guess we will never know!

3) Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix - AEW Title #1 Contender’s Tournament Match

Hell fuckin yes. One of the best AEW TV matches to date. Penta & Fenix are brothers and a team, but have faced off numerous times and with the stakes this high it makes total sense. Eddie Kingston is on commentary and does a great job helping explain that as well. If you’ve ever seen these two go at it, you know what we got here. Just an absolute bonkers showcase. So much inane shit packed into 15 or so minutes. Fenix wins and will face Kenny Omega next week. 

Match rating - ****

4) Hangman Adam Page vs. Colt Cabana - AEW Title #1 Contenders Tournament Match 

Colt once again delivers some TV goodness and Hangman looks amazing, also per usual. They do some pretty good spots and gave Colt a little more than you might expect. Uno was at the entrance ramp watching on. Hangman wins with the buckshot lariat. 

Match rating - ***1/4

Back from commercial, Taz comes out with Brian Cage and Ricky Starks and cuts a badass promo on how unfair it is that Darby Allin is getting handed a title shot against Cody for the TNT Title at Full Gear. Ricky Starks then gets the mic and shows why he is honestly the bigger star compared to Cage. Awesome stuff from Starks as he vows to put Darby in the grave the next time they meet.

The Chris Jericho/MJF musical that I'm sure you've heard about by now airs and it is fucking hilarious and part of what makes AEW unique. They actually know how to pull of light hearted/comedy stuff without making you feel stupid for watching even though this entire thing is goofy as can be. Who knew Jericho and MJF would be the perfect pairing.

5) Britt Baker vs. KyLinn King

Extended squash for Britt here. But as I have said in previous reviews, she's improved so much that almost everything she's involved in is at the least somewhat enjoyable. Despite this being a squash, King didn't look bad and played her part excellently. Baker wins after a few minutes. 

Match rating - **1/4


  • Hangman Page vs. Wardlow
  •  Cody vs. Orange Cassidy - Lumberjack Match for the TNT Title 

6) The Young Bucks vs. The Butcher & The Blade (w/ The Bunny) vs. Private Party vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds - AEW Tag Team Title #1 Contender’s Match

This was a lot of fun as you’d expect. Silver & Reynolds and Private Party were honestly the highlights and if I’m being honest, I think I’d enjoy seeing them feud over the tag belts more right now than Bucks/FTR. That dream match feud has just lost its luster and I don’t even understand the build they’ve been going for anymore. But, yeah. Bucks win this. Oh, also, poor Alex Reynolds got knocked out cold and it was very scary. Cody even came out to check on him after the show went off the air. 

Match rating - ***1/2

Post match, FTR tries to share a beer with The Bucks which they obviously decline and slap out of their hands. It’s so hard to tell who’s supposed to face and heel here considering the past few weeks, especially on the Bucks’ end. 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - November 17th, 2002

Survivor Series
November 17th, 2002
Madison Square Garden - New York City

ALWAYS BY SALIVA IS THE THEME SONG FOR THIS JAWN and man that’s nostalgia overload.

Above the ring, we see the Elimination Chamber for the first time ever. 

1) Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray, & Spike Dudley vs. Jamal, Rosey, & Rico - Tables Match

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - November 14th, 2002

WWE Smackdown Review
November 14th, 2002
Columbus, Ohio 

Marc Lloyd catches Paul Heyman backstage to ask for an update on Brock’s condition after being thrown off the stage by Big Show last week. Heyman say he has a broken rib and has been coughing up blood but unlike Undertaker he will be at Survivor Series to defend the title, he just won’t be here tonight per doctors orders and his orders. Show walks up and says if Brock does show up tonight, he’s gonna call him out. 


Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - November 11th, 2002

WWE Raw Review 
November 11th, 2002
Cincinnati, Ohio 

TONIGHT: Triple H vs. Booker T 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - November 7th, 2002

WWE Smackdown Review
November 7th, 2002 

TONIGHT: Edge & Rey Mysterio challenge Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit for the tag team titles in a 2/3 Falls Match

1) Billy Kidman & Torrie Wilson vs. Jamie Noble & Nidia 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - November 4th, 2002

WWE Monday Night Raw
November 4th, 2002
Boston, MA

The hidden camera thing is live to start the show. Bischoff is watching a VHS tape replay of his appearance on Smackdown where he was disguised as Vince and ended up de-masking & kissing Stephanie. He looks himself in the mirror and looks... confused I guess?? I don’t fuckin know 



1) Jamal & Rosey (w/ Rico) vs. Jeff Hardy & Bubba Ray Dudley 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - October 31st, 2002

WWE Smackdown Review

October 31st, 2002

HALLLOWEEN PARTY POPPIN OFF. Steph announces Brock/Rey Mysterio for later on! 

1) Chris Benoit vs. Edge 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - October 28th, 2002

WWE Monday Night Raw

October 28th, 2002

Okay so first 18 minutes of this show is classic 2002 in the worst way. 10 minutes of more Katie Vick garbage aka Triple H having a mannequin in a casket pretending its a dead girl. Hurricane comes out and has H’s face photoshopped on a dude getting stuff pulled out of his ass in the hospital. Idk I enjoy dumb stuff that is fun in wrestling but this isn’t fun or funny, it sucks. And is embarrassing. 

Then we get a hidden camera in Trish Stratus’s locker room and Jerry is being all horny and annoying.

1) Rob Van Dam & Tommy Dreamer vs. William Regal & Lance Storm 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - October 24th, 2002

WWE Smackdown

October 24th, 2002

Memphis, Tennessee 

Off the heels of No Mercy, it’s time for Smackdownnnn


1) Matt Hardy vs. Rikishi 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - October 21st, 2002

WWE Raw Review

October 21st, 2002

So, the WWE Network's description for this show had me confused as fuck because it said it was the final Raw before No Mercy, but it's actually the Raw after No Mercy. So after that mind fuck that took me five minutes to figure out, I finally got started on this.

Triple H has a message for 'the boys in the back' to start the show. He says he's untouchable and proceeds to say he has a tape to expose whether or not Kane slept with Katie Vick before or after death. This shit really is gonna keep going huh? Hurricane runs down to attack and try to take the tape. Flair stops him and H says he is gonna show the tape later whether Kane shows up or not. Lots of EDGY references to Katie Vick being dead. Well then. 

1) Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Nowinski

This wasn’t as terrible as you’d think. Jeff flew and bumped around. AL SNOW shows up with a chair, Nowinski grabs it, Hardy dropkicks it into his face and hits a swanton. 1..2.. Snow pulls Nowinski out and this leads to him getting the win. Ok?

Match rating - **

Eric Bischoff backstage, Stacy Keibler walks up and asks for something and Bischoff grants it, I can’t remember what it was. Big Show shows up and Bischoff says he’s facing Rico, Jamal & Rosey and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it.. 

Tommy Dreamer confronts Al Snow about his actions. Snow makes it known that it’s all about Nowinski being one of his Tough Enough “kids”. Dreamer says tonight they’re facing in a Singapore cane match. Nowinski comes through the curtain and says he doesn’t need Al’s help. Damn. Snow done worked himself into a shoot.

2) Lance Storm & William Regal vs. Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley - #1 Contender’s Match for the Tag Team Titles 

Spike starts with Lance and a backslide pinning combo for a near fall. Bubba gets in and we get a small hot tag from Spike a minute or two later. Meanwhile backstage, Kane has arrived. Hot run from Spike with a hurricanrana. It’s back and forth but Spike & Bubba get the win. 

Match rating - **1/4 

Jericho & Christian tell Trish to tell Booker & Goldust they aren’t suckas and basically insinuate that she slept her way to the top like Victoria has been saying. 

Bischoff announces the Elimination Chamber for Survivor Series but with no details on what the match will entail. 


3) Test vs. D-Lo Brown - Special Guest Ref: Stacy Keibler 

New look for Test and it appears he’s distancing himself from the Unamerican stable? Stacy slaps D-Lo at the bell and this turns into her favoring Test and counting slow/acting distracted when D-Lo has a chance for a pin. This costs him the match as Test boots his ass down and gets the fast three count. Test leaves and Stacy latches onto him so I guess this is gonna be a thing now. 

Match rating - *1/2

Lil interview with Victoria backstage. Book & Goldust come up to hype the inter gender tag match coming up. Goldust slaps Victoria on the ass as they leave. 

4) Booker T, Goldust & Trish Stratus vs. Chris Jericho, Christian, & Victoria 

This was loads of fun. Trish & Vic brawl to start. Everything Book & Goldust are involved in has a hot crowd so that always helps. Trish’s hurricanrana to Jericho (I think) off the top rope near the finish ruled, but it’s not enough to get her team the win as the Walls of Jericho finishes things.  

Match rating - **3/4

Probably one of the worst segments in Raw history airs here as Triple H shows the footage he has to “expose Kane” and it’s just him dressed up as Kane in a funeral home and I.. can’t even go further into detail or “review” of this terrible Katie Vick bullshit. Upset I even took the time to watch this. 

5) Al Snow vs. Tommy Dreamer - Singapore Cane Match 

Ahh. This kinda sucked. Nowinski comes down and tries to hit Dreamer with a chair sorta but fucks up and hits Snow, but doesn’t seem to care. Alright. Dreamer wins off that chair shot. 

Match rating - *1/2

6) The Big Show vs. Rico, Jamal & Rosey - Handicap Match 

Pointless Bischoff bullshit. Seeing Show throw these guys around was kinda fun though. He wins and goes backstage and Bischoff announces he’s traded to Smackdown and never wants to see him again. Show doesn’t care and tells Coach not to feel bad for him because “you’re the one who still has to work for that asshole.”

THA HEARTBREAK KID SHAWN MICHAELS IS LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY. He rolls up in a wheel chair in front of a huge hot crowd and cuts a really good ass promo about how he’s gonna he better and hunt down Triple H. He acts like he has trouble standing then JUMPS UP FOR A HUGE POP. HBK IS COMIN FOR THE GAME BABY. 

7) Triple H & Ric Flair vs. Kane & Rob Van Dam 

As boring and honestly bad as H was during this era, him and Flair together is always awesome. In this instance, they were such good old school tag heels. After an opening brawl, they isolate Van Dam for a while which leads to the Kane hot tag. H & Kane battle to the back and Van Dam & Flair go at it in the ring where Van Dam pins Flair with a frog splash. 

Match rating - **1/2 

Meanwhile, Kane and H are still fighting backstage through tables and into the parking lot. Kane chokeslams H onto the hood of a car with a Tennessee license plate and stuffs him in the trunk. Kane says “Now I’m gonna screw you, the question is will you be alive or will I wait til you’re dead...” Kane drives off to close the show. End scene. 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE No Mercy 2002 Review

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review

October 20th, 2002

1) Chris Jericho & Christian (c) vs. Booker T & Goldust - World Tag Team Championship Match

Fun little opener, but not quite the banger these two teams had on Raw a few weeks ago, if my memory serves me right. Lots goes on here though and the crowd is hot for all of it. Also, wild moment where Jericho goes for a springboard and the second rope breaks completely. In the end, Jericho & Christian sneak the victory and retain the titles.

Match rating - **1/4

Funaki interviews Torrie Wilson's dad who says "I DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH THAT WOMAN" in reference to Dawn Marie. 

2) Torrie Wilson def. Dawn Marie in 4:40

Match rating - N/R

3) Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair

These two couldn’t even wait for the bell to start going at it. Van Dam comes in hot but Flair uses cheap tactics to gain the advantage and did his vintage working over the baby face routine. The dirtiest player in the game was in full effect. None the less, after a few mins Van Dam fires back, gets his shit in and gets the victory. Not bad, but very short and textbook.

Match rating - **1/4 

4) Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia) (c) vs. Tajiri - WWE Cruserweight Title Match 

For all the idiocy of Noble & Nidia on Smackdown in the last week or two, this was pretty enjoyable. Very competitive and high energy match because at the end of the day Tajiri & Noble are both good workers despite the sports entertainment centric program they are given. Not to sound like a party pooper because it’s funny sometimes but watching this week in and week out has gotten a little old. None the less, yeah, good in ring stuff here. Both guys are so good. Nidia distracts big Brian Hebner when Tajiri clearly had the pin which leads to Noble being able to catch Tajiri in a pinning predicament for the win with some extra help from Nidia. 

Match rating - **1/2 

Chris Benoit says Chavo needs Eddie’s help. Eddie freaks out until he realizes that he thinks Chris is just trying to get him back for the other week. Except it actually is Chavo. Angle throws him out of the door and Eddie tries to attack him but officials restrain. 

Back to the Raw side of things and Lawler & JR at ringside and it’s CHAMP VS CHAMP TIME. They’re still hyping up Kane as a murderer. Wow. 

5) Triple H vs. Kane - World Heavyweight Title Match 

Yeah, this was whatever. A match between these two can only be so good especially in the midst of such a dumb story. So uh pretty much a dud. Flair helps H win and the sledgehammer is involved.

Match rating - **

6) Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit - WWE Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals 

Now here we mf go. This is it! The culmination of the tag team title tournament that Stephanie created for Smackdown. It’s been packed with some fun and great matches, but this one topped them all. From the opening moments of Angle throwing Mysterio around, all four men feeling each other out to the finishing run of big moves and near falls. It had that classic tag formula and feel plus there’s so much backstory with everyone from the obvious Angle/Benoit tension that was a centerpiece of the story of this match and the various singles matches all four men have had with each other recently - there was no way this couldn’t rule. They wore down Edge and gave Mysterio a hot tag about mid way through. It got bonkers for a second then Angle & Benoit shut shit down and isolated Rey Rey. The way they controlled this match and cut off the ring was fucking awesome and made for great hot tags for both of the baby faces. The second bonkers run that was actually the finishing run rules and I had no clue who won so I bit on a lot of the nearfalls. I also have to mention Benoit having Edge in the cross face and Mysterio nailing a 619 on him to break it up. Just sick stuff throughout this joint. Benoit & Angle getting the win definitely caught me off guard but it’s definitely well deserved. 

Match rating - ****1/2

7) Trish Stratus (c) vs. Victoria - Women's Title Match

This actually isn't terrible despite being in the worst spot on the show. The cool down spot in between two huge matches. Trish retains and everyone is happy. Onward we go.

Match rating - **

8) Brock Lesnar (c) vs. The Undertaker - Hell In A Cell Match for the WWE Championship 

This is another one of those classic matches that I saw not long after it happened. I still remember being a kid and seeing the black/white photos of Taker and Brock bleeding in an old WWE magazine. This was an absolute war. Both men are bleeding every fucking where. Heyman is bleeding too. They look like they've literally been in a war and the mat is soaked in blood by the end of it. The crowd pops super hard for Taker's false finishes near the end. But when all is said and done, Brock retains with an F5 after a fuckin fight. Classic match. 

Match rating - ****1/2

Final thoughts: Smackdown really stole this show. Two MOTY contenders/all time great matches that everyone looks back on. Raw.. well.. they had a fun tag title match.

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - October 17th, 2002

WWE Smackdown

October 17th, 2002

1) Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. D-Von Dudley & Ron Simmons - Tag Team Title Tournament Semi Final Match 

Kicking off the show with tag team tournament action. Edge & Mysterio coming off a hot win last week over Tajiri & Brock Lesnar and keep that momentum going here. Rey gets isolated, Edge gets the hot tag and it breaks down for a minute. Edge hits the edgecution on D-Von for the win. 

Match rating - **1/2

2) Jamie Noble vs. Nidia - Special Referee: Tajiri

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - October 14th, 2002

WWE Monday Night Raw 

October 14th, 2002

Montreal, Canada

Replay of H announcing the Katie Vick accusations toward Kane last week. This is followed by the double champ himself being asked about the accusations by Coach. Kane yells “THATS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS” and he & Hurricane head to the ring.


1) Kane & The Hurricane (c) vs. Christian & Chris Jericho - World Tag Team Title Match

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - October 10th, 2002

WWE Smackdown 

October 10th, 2002

Phoenix, AZ

The Undertaker is in the parking garage waiting for Brock Lesnar to show up. They show replays of last week where Brock broke Taker’s hand and Steph announcing that and that the match at No Mercy was still happening and it’s HELL IN A CELL. 

Matt Hardy is out. Cole calls him a jackass. Hardy brags about his defeats of The Undertaker and goes as far as to say the reason Taker is in the parking lot and not out here is because he’s afraid of him etc. Taker comes down and they brawl. This shows Taker can go with the broken hand and even uses the cast as a weapon. Hardy gets split open and is bleeding. Wild seeing this just weeks after watching him in real time getting busted open by Sammy Guevara on AEW, a whole 18 years after this. So nuts. Hardy fights back and this brawl goes on longer than you’d think. Hardy gets a chair but Taker still overcomes. Finally some officials come down to separate but don’t really do the job. Taker miss Hardy and punches the ring post with his fucked up hand. OOOOF. Hardy escapes. 

Rikishi is out after the break. During his entrance we cut to Taker getting his hand checked out. The trainer says they need to do another X-Ray. 

Back to the ring it’s LAAAAATINOOO HEAT. 

1) Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chavo Guerrero) vs. Rikishi 

This stems off the first round tag title tourney match last week where the Guerrero’s beat Rikishi and Mark Henry. Lots of fuckery here as always with Eddie & Chavo around this time but it’s so much fun. Eventually Eddie taps out Rikishi. 

Match rating - **1/4 

Torrie is backstage looking through her lingerie. Her dad walks up and this is awkward. 

ANGLE AND BENOIT STAREDOWN IN THE LOCKER ROOM BACK FROM COMMERCIAL HOLY EPIC. Steph is talking them down and asking them to take the tag match tonight and the tournament seriously and to help establish the division. Then gets threatening with the whole suspension w/o pay thing. Benoit tells Angle to follow his lead tonight. They argue about who leaves the room first and Steph throws her hands up. 

Smackdown #1 announcer Funaki is with Rey Mysterio to hype up the main event with Edge & Rey facing Tajiri & Noble in the rah tournament. Nidia shows up and they start speaking to each other in Spanish. She leaves pissed and gets into an argument with Jamie Noble. Security kicks them both out? Okie 

Eddie & Chavo are riled up backstage about what they did to Rikishi. They say they will become tag champs at No Mercy. Benoit walks out of Steph’s office and it’s awkward. 

2) Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit vs. John Cena & Billy Kidman - Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match

Okay this was good as fuck. Angle & Benoit play off the tension arguing from the jump. Cena & Kidman use this to get an advantage. This leads to several believable near falls including off a Kidman shooting star press. This forces Angle into helping Benoit and breaking up the pin. Eventually they overcome and win, but it got real competitive for a second. 

Match rating - ***

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman come to the ring with a woman named “Tracy” who apparently is going to enlighten us on who Undertaker truly is. Tracy claims Taker has been cheating on his pregnant wife Sara with her and lying about it the whole time. She says she has no idea he was married, much less with a pregnant wife. Taker says he doesn’t know who the hell Tracy is and gets slapped in return. Tracy walks off with tears in her eyes. 

Backstage- Brock, Paul and Tracy are leaving when Steph stops them and announces Brock will be Tajiri’s partner tonight against Edge & Rey Mysterio bc Jamie Noble hasn’t returned to the arena after being booted.

3) Devon Dudley vs. Billy Gunn

Ron Simmons is accompanying Devon and Chuck is with Billy. This is whatever. Simmons pulls the legs of Billy and Chuck super kicks his ass. This allows Billy to hit the famousser for the win. 

Match rating - *1/4

Undertaker is backstage on the phone with Sara swearing he doesn’t know who Tracy is. She hangs up on him and he’s pissed and in distress. Poor deadman. 

Chavo Guerrero is running down the hall yelling for Benoit. He says Kurt Angle attacked him and he is still attacking Eddie. Benoit runs down the hall only for Chavo to lock him in a room. After a bunch of noise, Chavo opens it up and Eddie walks out with a chair. What the fuck even lmao.

There's a lingerie contest that I skipped bc idk how to review that. Bye. 

Brock & Paul are headed to the ring. Brock asks for Paul’s phone and he gives Taker’s wife Sara a call saying he’s sorry that everything earlier had to be aired out publicly and says he’s here for her. When Paul realizes he called Sara, his reaction is hilarious.

4) Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Brock Lesnar & Tajiri - Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match 

The winners of this match will face Devon & Ron Simmons next week. This is the first interaction between Brock & Rey and Brock & Edge and it rules. The dynamic of Brock & Tajiri as a team is funny also. This doesn’t last long but is good fun while it does. Edge & Rey double drop kick Brock to the floor and hit a 619 followed by a spear for the win. 

Match rating - **1/2 

Brock attacks Rey Mysterio post match. Undertaker runs down and lays in some shots before Brock gets away. “In 10 days at No Mercy, there will be no way to escape inside Hell in A Cell....” 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

AEW: Dynamite Review - October 7th, 2020

AEW: Dynamite
Chris Jericho 30th Anniversary Appreciation Night 
October 7th, 2020 

Show opens with various stars talking about Chris Jericho and his influence on them/their favorite moments of his. Darby Allin, Santana & Ortiz, Scorpio Sky, & Britt Baker are among those featured. 

We are thrown to the commentary booth that is even more packed than usual with Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks residing. They run down a couple things for the night and we are kicking off with Brian Cage defending the FTW Title against Will Hobbs !! 

1) Brian Cage (c) vs. Will Hobbs - FTW Title Match 

It’s finally here - Will Hobbs’ first big singles match and I’d say he definitely delivered. Just your basic Brian Cage style match with a little more emotion than normal bc it’s Hobbs’ big opportunity. Cool moment I enjoyed near the end was Hobbs hitting Cage with his spine buster finisher and Cage kicks out which leaves Tony Schiavone with the line “now let’s see what he’s made of” as Hobbs stands trying to figure out what move he can even do next. He goes for a big frog splash only to miss and get drilled and lose. I look forward to a rematch between these two. 

Match rating - ***1/2

As fun as the match was, the post match was even fucking better. Ricky Starks steps from the commentary table and hits the ring looking like a STAR. I love that dude, I swear. He just has the look and he & Cage are perfect together with Taz. Taz gets on the mic and is as on point as ever as he offers Hobbs the chance to join Team Taz or get the hell beat out of him. Darby Allin’s music hits as they corner Hobbs and I GOT CHILLS. Starks & Cage slowly back away as Darby taunts them with the skateboard. Taz calls Darby a rotten punk and that he will learn not to get in Team Taz’s business one day soon. This angle is so hot right now. 

Slash, Hiroshi Tanahashi and several others are the next group of Jericho shout outs. Never thought I’d put Slash and Hiroshi Tanahashi in the same sentence but hell yeah. 

2) FTR (c) vs. TH2 (Jack Evans & Angelico) - AEW World Tag Team Title Match 

Jack flips his way to the damn ring, literally. What an insane human being. The Young Bucks are shown watching FTR’s entrance with a shitty look on their face. Jack Evans hits some crazy, sloppy fast offense to stun FTR early. This turns into a pretty competitive match. You could tell Jack had some ring rust, but other than that this was fun. FTR retains. 

Match rating - ***

Best Friends come out to a huge reaction and feel. I swear they are possibly the biggest stars in this company right now - definitely in the tag division. They have shirts on bridging off them calling FTR weenies last week. Next week Best Friends challenge FTR for the Tag Team titles and I am READY. This little feud rules. 

3) Brodie Lee (w/ John Silver) (c) vs. Cody (w/ Arn Anderson) - Dog Collar Match for the TNT Title 

It’s Cody in a gimmick match fueled by emotion so you know it rocks. They milk the stipulation, beat the hell out of each other and bleed buckets. Cody winning the title right back seemed a little abrupt and brought some flack from some. But it’s what we got and the match was good and having to see Brodie covered in blood and beaten to that pulp is the only way I think we should see him getting beaten right now so hell yeah on that note. 

Match rating - ****

Post match, Cody is riled up and says he will always be for the people and will defend the title again next week. Out walks FRESHLY SQUEEZED ORANGE CASSIDY and here we fuckin go. Cody/OC next week as they give each other the thumbs up as we go to break. 

COLT CABANA, WARDLOW, & HANGMAN PAGE are announced for the AEW Title tournament that also features Kenny Omega, Jungle Boy & Rey Fenix. Fuckin WARDLOW huh? Stoked on that. 

Big thing from that announcement was Page being announced. Also excited about that although I think we all saw it coming from a mile away. Kenny gets interviewed backstage and says he will win the tournament because he’s won tournaments around the world and it doesn’t matter if a “tag team wrestler like Page” is in it or not. Inject Page/Omega final into my veins. 

4) Big Swole vs. Serena Deeb

Yo this was solid. Both women busted their ass and delivered a great match despite being in the cool down portion of the show after the hot TNT title match. The final few moments were nuts and Serena Deeb was defnitely an amazing addition to the AEW team. Swole takes the victory when all is said and done.

Match rating - ***1/4

5) Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & Jake Hager) vs. Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico) 

After a night of videos congratulating him, Jericho finally appears for our main event and it’s a fitting one for this show. They work a basic tv main event tag and it’s more than suffice considering we already had a blow away melodrama match like Brodie/Cody. This really felt special for Jericho and another awesome moment to cap off a special night for Y2J. And of course he & Hager win to boot. 

Match rating - **3/4 

Jericho goes to give a speech post match with The Inner Circle beside him. MJF interrupts with gifts and they do a bit to close before celebrating together. Yeah yeah. 


NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Eleven Review - October 7th, 2020



1) Tomohiro Ishii (2-3) (4 pts) vs. Yujiro Takahashi (0-5) (0 pts) - Block A Match 

Ok what da fuck. Yujiro has an opener that doesn’t put me to sleep. Ishii can make a match with just about anyone good even if it’s against an 0-5 Yujiro Takahashi in a Grade One Climax opener. Lots of sick action down the stretch. Ishii wins and gets a much needed two points! Poor Yujiro is 0-6. 

Match rating - ***1/4 

2) Kazuchika Okada (3-2) (6 pts) vs. Jeff Cobb (2-3) (4 pts) - Block A Match 

First time ever match here. And I swear man, even if Okada has been kinda off this year he’s still that dude. The vibe is just always off the charts. None the less, yeah, this was what it was. Starts slow then has a hot final few minutes and Okada wins with the same cradle/pinning combo thing he caught Suzuki in on Night 9. Cobb was real cocky here even throwing up the rainmaker pose at one point. 

Match rating - ***

3) Minoru Suzuki (3-2) (6 pts) vs. Will Ospreay (3-2) (6 pts) - Block A Match 

IM SO READY FOR THIS. I want to see our lord and savior Suzuki pummel this man. They start with a strike battle right at the bell. Kevin Kelly says when you face Suzuki “you know you’re gonna get beat half to death” lmao. Hot start, middle portion slows down for a minute or two then they go into insanity. Suzuki threw stiff shots and Ospreay returned in kind which was wild to see in both regards. This felt like it was just heating up as it ended. Ospreay wins with storm breaker. 

Match rating - ***1/2

4) Jay White (3-2) (6 pts) vs. Taichi (3-2) (6 pts) - Block A Match 

Never on paper would I expect these two to have such a banger but then again, maybe I would considering that hot run Taichi has been on. Jay taunted Taichi by sitting in a chair in the corner of the ring as Taichi made his entrance which really set the tone for this match of two men with some similar personality traits as far as doing whatever it takes to win. Things really heat up down the stretch after Jay kinda controlled things early. Taichi targets the leg and Jay tries to thwart him from it asking for a forearm which Taichi obliges later and it’s a STIFF ONE. So yeah Taichi mounts his comeback, they do some ref bump/overbooking shit but it is actually fun here. Anyways, they both go for finishers but Jay nails the blade runner for the win. 

Match rating - ***1/2

5) Kota Ibushi (4-1) (8 pts) vs. Shingo Takagi (3-2) (6 pts) - Block A Match 

This is the match I was most excited about when the blocks and cards were announced. My two favorite Japanese wrestlers. Two men I've followed for a decade clashing on a grand stage for the first time ever. Kota is fighting for a second G1 Climax tournament victory and Shingo is battling for his first in a tournament of ups and downs thus far. This match was exactly what you’d expect from the two - bombs. They didn’t go into epic territory but they definitely threw the fuck down and made me gasp on a couple occasions. Plus, seeing them in this setting was special on its own. It’s felt like some matches in this year’s G1 have been missing something or not on the level of normal and I can’t help but wonder if some of our expectations are just too high. I wanted a five star match here and I didn’t get that, but I got a great fucking fight and to see two of my favorites clash so I’m not gonna complain one bit. 

Match rating - ****1/4

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Ten Review - October 6th, 2020




1) Hirooki Goto (1-4) (2 pts) vs. Toru Yano (4-1) (8 pts) - Block B Match 

I am nervous for poor Goto here. But it turns out that there is no reason to be because this is the quickest match in G1 history as Goto defeats Yano with a roll up in 18 seconds. Lord jesus. 

Match rating - **

2) Zack Sabre Jr (2-2) (4 pts) vs. SANADA (1-3) (2 pts) - Block B Match

Zack defeated Sanada at Wrestle Kingdom this year to retain the RPW British Heavyweight Title. Circumstances are a little different here as SANADA is coming off a massive victory over Naito that could turn his tournament around. ZSJ is hot off a flashy victory over Goto and they open this thing trading roll ups and pinning combinations. Fucking great, hot start honestly and it stayed that way for pretty much the entire stretch and I really kinda fucking loved this. Hold for hold, near fall for near fall. It felt like it could end at anytime and was different than any match either man had in the tournament prior. Let’s go! SANADA wins with a moonsault. 

Match rating - ***1/2

3) EVIL (w/ Dick Togo) (2-2) (4 pts) vs. Juice Robinson (3-1) (6 pts) - Block B Match 

Idk I just could not get into this. Juice rules and is the ultimate baby face but EVIL is such a drag. My favorite part of this aside from the action in the last minute or two was Togo and Juice going at it on the floor. EVIL wins and no one is very surprised. Pretty forgettable average match despite not being outright bad (like a lot of these lowercard G1 matches this year sadly :/)

Match rating - **3/4

4) Tetsuya Naito (3-1) (6 pts) vs. YOSHI HASHI (1-3) (2 pts) - Block B Match

Yoshi continues his trend of giving hell to all his big name opponents in the tournament and Naito continues his trend of never delivering a bad match. This did seem to go a little long considering it’s almost 25 minutes, but the entire final 10 minute stretch fucking rules. If you take out some of the filler in the first 15, this could’ve probably been a four star match, but as it sits, it’s a solid 3.5. Naito wins, but Yoshi looked fucking great. Match of the night. 

Match rating - ***1/2

5) Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-2) (4 pts) vs. KENTA (2-2) (4 pts) - Block B Match

Vintage face vs heel pro wrestling here. Last year, KENTA defeated the Ace in their first and only singles match in the G1. A big moment as it was essentially NOAH vs NJPW. Fast forward a year later and KENTA has become a despised character and wants to one up the Ace and embarrass him again. KENTA works the leg early. Tana fights but gets caught with stuff like a dragon screw off the apron to the floor. This also plagued Tana when he went for the clover leaf and couldn’t quite hang on or lock it in like he wanted. Things break down and KENTA nails Tana with his briefcase following a ref bump. But Tana still kicks out! Baby face fire ~~~~ this leads to the comeback and he taps Tana forces him to tap. Good main event. 

Match rating - ***1/4 

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Nine Review - October 5th, 2020

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Nine 
October 5th, 2020 

1) Shingo Takagi (1-3) (2 pts) vs. Yujiro Takahashi (0-4) (0 points) - Block A Match 

How is Shingo 1-3??? Anyway he just had an insane main event against Ishii so he struggles a little to put this away as quick as you’d think, but it’s quite the enjoyable little opener even if it felt like it went a slight bit too long. Shingo wins with last of the dragon. 

Match rating - **3/4 

2) Jay White (3-1) (6 pts) vs. Jeff Cobb (1-3) (2 pts) - Block A Match

This felt like a rushed upset. For such a huge win for Cobb, it felt flat with White seeming to never have Cobb’s number despite having the most dominant run of anyone in this block so far. Idk, just didn’t make sense to me, but I’m also probably still bitter ab Cobb beating Shingo lol. None the less, White struggles to combat Cobb’s power and falls to it and the tour of the islands after around 12 minutes despite Gedo’s interference attempts. If this has played out and gotten 10 more minutes it could’ve been awesome because the story was good it just seemed disjointed in delivery. 

Match rating - **1/2 

3) Kazuchika Okada (2-2) (4 pts) vs. Minoru Suzuki (3-1) (6 pts) - Block A Match

I've seen some flack on this, but I really enjoyed it. Okada/Suzuki had a match a few years back that was high on my MOTY list so I was excited for a rematch even though this is under entirely different circumstances. Suzuki really works over Okada early on and Okada has to fight from under and fire back and in the midst of that sneaks a victory with a pinning combo and manages to escape a match with Suzuki unscathed and with 6 points! Fun little match.

Match rating - ***

4) Tomohiro Ishii (2-2) (4 pts) vs. Taichi (3-1) (6 pts) - Block A Match

These two always have bangers and this was no different as it was probably the match of the night. Taichi having such a great run in the tourney this year so far definitely added to the heat and intensity that these two already have against each other naturally. After a hell of a slugfest, Ishii secures a much needed victory. 

Match rating - ***3/4 

5) Kota Ibushi (3-1) (6 pts) vs. Will Ospreay (3-1) (6 pts) - Block A Match 

Ahhhhh this was so good in the final few minutes. Sorry to jump ahead but I got real riled up at the finish. This is a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom where Ospreay seemingly solidified himself in the jump from junior to heavyweight with a victory against a man who did the same. Here, Ibushi gets his victory back in a match that starts off pretty ordinary but turns into a heater in the last few moments but ends just as it starts getting good. Fair enough, though, it was about time for a shorter main event. IBUSHI WINS AND MY HEART IS HAPPY :) 

Match rating - ***1/2 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Eight Review - October 1st, 2020

 NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Eight Review - October 1st, 2020

Okay so I am literally FIVE nights behind so we are skipping young lions matches totally going forward. I am so sorry but I gotta keep it moving. They did have a draw in the opener on this night though so there’s your update <3 moving onnnnn 

1) Juice Robinson (2-1) (4 pts) vs. Toru Yano (3-0) (6 pts) - Block B Match

“No bullshit, now, okay?” -Juice Robinson 

Lots of more typical Yano fun here and Juice is hilarious in this stuff too so it was good. But we got some solid action as it went on before the inevitable fairly quick finish with Juice ending Yano’s crazy win streak via a roll up. Yano & Juice are both now tied at 6 points. So FUNNN. 

Match rating - **1/2

2) Zack Sabre Jr. (1-2) (2 pts) vs. Hirooki Goto (1-2) (2 pts) - Block B Match

Wow this ended so quickly. Goto has a hurt shoulder and is coming off a grueling Naito match. Sabre toys with him a little. They throw a bomb or two then Sabre catches him in his signature bridging pinning combo thing for the win. 

Match rating - **

3) Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-2) (2 pts) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (1-2) (2 pts) - Block B Match

Yoshi has really shown up to this G1 and he locks up with Tana here to start things off in what turns out to be a pretty evenly contested match. Yoshi gives Tana a real struggle and although it never made me doubt a Tana victory, it felt like there could be an upset on a few occasions. Tana wins with the high fly flow. 

Match rating - ***1/4 

4) KENTA (2-1) (4 pts) vs. EVIL (1-2) (2 pts) (w/ Dick Togo) - Block B Match

Ahhhh ok. So modern Bullet Club is hit or miss but I am still a mark for the group bc of the history and the glory days. Therefore, this is super intriguing to me. I love KENTA and Togo, could care less about EVIL as I’ve said before but the fact remains that EVIL emerged as a new member of BC, along with Togo, while KENTA was away in the US due to Covid so seeing these two clash is super interesting. EVIL refuses to too sweet KENTA despite teasing it. KENTA tries to play mind games early by attempting to whisper stuff in Togo’s ear at ringside and coaxing him to hit EVIL. Togo disparages this apparent doubt by grabbing KENTA’s legs and tripping him up moments later. This allowed EVIL to take control and work the shoulder and arm of KENTA. EVIL was clearly more of the rudo here which was a little weird since KENTA has been super heel for so long. KENTA hits Togo with the briefcase at one point and that sets up for Togo to get involved down the stretch. KENTA lifts him for a GTS but this leads to a low blow from EVIL off the distraction and the finish. 

Match rating - ***

5) Tetsuya Naito (3-0) (6 pts) vs. SANADA (0-3) (6 pts) - Block B Match

Honestly dreading this. Love me some Naito, but SANADA in a main event has never done much for me.  The only interesting part is they are stable mates and this is in SANADA’s home town per say. I have to say though, this turned out pretty great. Especially considering the low expectations I had. Naito is truly the ace of this block and knocks his main events out of the park every single time. The final few minutes featured some awesome drama and back & forth and the finish came as a huge surprise to me and I wasn’t even mad about despite my disinterest in SANADA. It was an awesome moment for him and his post match promo/moment with the crowd and the lights dimmed down felt special. Also noting that Naito was 3-0 and SANADA was 0-3 heading into this adds even more to the story, I may actually have to re-watch this bc I didn't realize that in my initial viewing. 

Match rating - ***3/4

AEW: Dynamite Review - September 30th, 2020

AEW Dynamite - September 30th, 2020 Review

I haven't reviewed Dynamite in a while due to my work schedule, but I'm back here for completions sake so lets get into it!! Also shout out Kingston/Moxley from last week - a great match that made into my match rating archive tracker for 2020 that you can check out by clicking here!

1) Darby Allin vs. Ricky Starks

WHOOO. This is a feud that has been boiling for a little bit with Starks dressing up as Darby and mocking him after Darby threw him out of the battle royal at All Out. Not to mention, Starks & Cage putting Darby in a bodybag of thumbtacks and powerbombing him on the stage afterwards. So, yeaaaah. There's some heat here and it rules. Starks is honestly better than Cage in my opinion and he & Darby tear the house down here. Brian Cage actually tries to interfere, but WILL FUCKIN HOBBS stops him. Now that's a match I want to see. None the less, that gets disperesd and Allin & Starks finish their match unbothered and with a bang. Darby wins with the coffin drop. 

Match rating - ***1/4

Cody Rhodes is in the ring to answer Brodie Lee's challenge for a Dog Collar Match for the TNT Title next week. He teases not accepting only to HIT THAT FIERY BABYFACE PROMO COMEBACK AND I AM RILED UP. CODY ACCEPTS. BRODIE RUNS DOWN AND ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. The roster and security is out to separate. Brandi Rhodes comes down and hits a damn dive on the rest of the Dark Order. Next week is gonna fuckin rule. I'm calling another Cody classic tbh. Such an awesome pull apart chaotic brawl segment here. 

Tony Schiavone is backstage with FTR & Tully Blanchard. They talk about their match with SCU tonight and explain why the Bucks don't deserve a title shot. In the middle of it, Matt Jackson superkicks Tony Schiavone. 

On commentary, JR asks Excalibur what the hell is wrong with the Bucks to which he yells "THIS IS REPREHENSIBLE" 

SCU interview, Frankie and Scorpio representing tonight and vow to become tag team champions for the second time.

2) FTR (w/ Tully Blanchard) (c) vs. SCU (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) (w/ Christopher Daniels) - AEW World Tag Team Title Match

Hangman Page was on commentary for this. Daniels gets thrown out by the ref early thanks to mindgames by FTR. Kaz returns the favor by tricking FTR into position for a dive from Scorpio Sky that takes them both out. That sends us to commercial. After the break, shit pretty much breaks down. Some sick offense from SCU with double slingshots ace crushers. A bunch of near-falls before Tully grabs Scorpio's legs and costs SCU the match as the ref counts three. Hell of a match while it lasted and good way to make FTR more despised as they win using tactics that they falsely got Daniels ejected for earlier in the match. 

Match rating - ***1/2

On commentary, Excalibur announces the 8 man tournament that will end at Full Gear with the winner facing the AEW World Champion. Rey Fenix, Jungle Boy, and Kenny Omega are the first three competitors. Hangman spits out his whiskey when they say Kenny is involved. 

3) Chris Jericho vs. Isaiah Kassidy

Wow. Jericho continues to give so many young talents the opportunity to show out and it’s the same case here. The Inner Circle is at ringside to support him and Matt Hardy joins Kassidy’s Private Party partner at ringside which adds to this also. Kassidy throws out everything at Jericho including a code breaker and lionsault but Jericho kicks out and is able to finish off Kassidy with the Judas Effect. 

Match rating - ***1/2

Post match, Jericho and Hager attack Serpentico & Luther to build towards their match at the 30th Anniversary of Jericho next week! 

MIRO AND KIP SABIAN are planning a bachelor party. 

Best Friends and OC are backstage. Before they can answer their interview questions, FTR interrupt and run them down as below them and that they are nothing more than comedic relief. Best Friends act like they are gonna hit them, FTR flinches and Orange calls them weenies. Best Friends accompany OC to the ring for his match which is up next. God the FTR/Best Friends story dynamic is so perfect and fun. 

4) Orange Cassidy (w/ Best Friends) vs. 10 (w/ Colt Cabana, Allan Angels & John Silver) 

This was such a fun squash. AEW is really developing such a well rounded roster where nothing feels pointless. Even these 3-4 min matches rule. OC wins with the BEACH BREAK. 

Match rating - *** 

MJF & Wardlow walk into the Inner Circle’s dressing room with gifts for everyone but he forgets Sammy Guevara’s. Jericho tells MJF he wants to know why he’s doing all this. Jericho and MJF argue over if MJF wants to join the Inner Circle or if Jericho wants MJF to join the Inner Circle. Hager and Wardlow tease getting into it. MJF leaves on good terms and they continue to tease the weird ironic dynamic of Jericho/MJF. 

5) Britt Baker vs. Red Velvet 

Britt has improved so much wow. I just remember her early dynamite matches being so shaky but this rocked even though it’s a prolonged squash. Velvet held her own and put in a solid showing. Baker looked amazing though and she gets the win after a few minutes. Good stuff. 

Match rating - **1/2 

Eddie Kingston heads to the ring with his arm around Bryce Remsburg and god the CHIKARA GLORY DAY FEEEELSSSS. Penta and Fenix are with him as well. It’s time for King to announce Mox’s opponent for the night. BUT not before he chastises Bryce for calling for the bell despite him not submitting last week. Bryce has an explanation but King doesn’t like it and they set up to attack him. JON MOXLEY HITS THE RING WITH A BARBWIRE BAT. King and Lucha Bro’s clear out and The Butcher slides in from behind and he’s Mox’s opponent for the night. 

6) Jon Moxley (c) vs. The Butcher - AEW World Title Match 

This was what it was. It wasn’t that insane blow away first title shot for someone like The Butcher but it was a solid effort that felt like a main event despite it being a tag team wrestlers’ only singles match in the promotion??? Don’t fact check me on that. But yeah. Butcher hung right in there despite it not being a blow away performance it was a good tv main event and I’d say considering his prior experience in this type of spot (none) that this was def a success. It just never felt like he had any real chance of winning so it was hard to get invested. Good match none the less. Mox retains via submission. 

Match rating - **3/4


NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Seven Review - September 30th, 2020

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Seven

September 30th, 2020

Let’s gooo. Back to Block A we go. Also I’m super behind so I’m skipping the young lions match on this show DONT HATE ME. 

1) Minoru Suzuki (2-1) (4 pts) vs. Yujiro Takahashi (0-3) (0 pts) - Block A Match 

Godddd I love Suzuki’s theme. I feel bad for Yujiro here. But just as I type that he charges Suzuki with a boot and we get a pretty sick brawl to start. They’re on the outside for a while before it heads back in the ring and despite a few flurry attempts, Suzuki puts down Yujiro with the gotch style piledriver. 

Match rating - **3/4

2) Jeff Cobb (1-2) (2 pts) vs. Kota Ibushi (1-2) (2 pts) - Block A Match 

First time meeting here and it bangs! Not a blow away match, but you get what you’d want out of it. Crazy power and speed stuff from both dudes. Cobb hits a fuckin F-5,000 that spins Ibushi in the air and flattens him to the mat for a near fall. Ibushi won’t give up as usual and is able to hit a Kamigoye for the win. I want this rematch again down the line. Ibushi shows respect to a fallen Cobb post match and god damn I love him so much ugh. 

Match rating - ***1/2

3) Kazuchika Okada (1-2) (2 pts) vs. Taichi (3-0) (6 pts) - Block A Match 

Okada/Taichi is always a good match. With the circumstances this year it's no surpise it was indeed just that. Taichi is on arguably the run of his career as far as the G1 goes. He's 3-0 and Okada has been hit or miss. Can Taichi get this huge upset and 8 points to put himself in the lead of the block? Well, the answer is no, but he put in a hell of a fight, dominating the rainmaker from the outset and targeting his back. Some awesome exchanges down the stretch, it never felt like an epic or even the best match they've had together, but it was good. Taichi submits to the money clip. 

Match rating - ***1/4

4) Will Ospreay (2-1) (4 pts) vs. Jay White (3-0) (6 pts) - Block A Match

I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected. Jay White is looking to continue billing this entire tournament as his - the J1 as he is undefeated with victories over Shingo, Okada, & Ibushi. Ospreay is trying to bounce back after his loss to Shingo. This match was honestly great from start to finish. It was basic Jay formula which helped keep Ospreay from getting out of hand and going off the deep end. It honestly hurt to see White take the pin here as I'm still very sour on Ospreay continuing to be pushed. But yeah, this match ruled.

Match rating - ****

5) Shingo Takagi (2-1) (4 pts) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (0-3) (0 pts) - Block A Match

These two tore the damn house down last year in a match where Shingo was victorious. This year, we have Ishii without a single victory yet in three nights of competition so you know he's gonna be pissed as fuck and add even more to this hoss fight. Ishii did just that and came out swinging, but Shingo was able to combat it and take control after a few minutes. This was pretty back & forth for the majority of it and ended up going almost 30 minutes which was a little too long, even for my taste. They weren't able to top or match their bout from last year which I felt is what they were going for, but they still delivered us one hell of an exhausting slugfest with a logical ending as Ishii finally hit the brainbuster he's been unable to hit all tournament and subsequently gets the victory.

Match rating - ****

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Six Review - September 29th, 2020

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 - Night Six 
September 29th, 2020

1) Gabriel Kidd vs. Yuya Uemura - Young Lions Match

Kidd runs his ass to the ring and this thing gets underway. Honestly didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to this until Uemura started working over the back which led to the finish with another deep single legged Boston crab which forced Kidd to tap. 

Match rating - **1/4

2) SANADA (0-2) (0 pts) vs. Yoshi Hashi (0-2) (0 pts) Block B Match 

Yoshi had a solid showing against EVIL on Night Four - will that happen here? I certainly hope so bc it takes a lot for me to get into a SANADA match. They fight to the floor and Sanada hits a hanging twisting suplex off the railing that allows him to start taking control and ground YOSHI back in the ring. YOSHI ends up coming back but it’s back and forth and pretty basic. But THEN the final 2-3 minutes kick in and those fucking rule. Mainly thanks to YOSHI and subsequently he gets the victory. Zero points no more.

Match rating - **3/4

3) KENTA (1-1) (2 pts) vs. Zack Sabre Jr (1-1) (2 pts) - Block B Match 

WHEW. This was something serious. KENTA is pissed following his loss to Juice and used that as motivation to avenge his loss to Sabre in last year’s G1. The action here was simple. KENTA focused on strikes and Sabre focused on grappling. In the end, KENTA and his strikes were just too much and ZSJ falls to the GTS after a real good match. 

Match rating - ***1/2

4) Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-2) (0 pts) vs. Juice Robinson (2-0) (4 pts) - Block B Match 

Huge match for Juice here against the ace. But also a huge match for the ace as he hasn’t been able to secure a victory in the tournament thus far. With that in mind, Tana fights hard here and Juice always has his heart on his sleeve so this was fun. Tana gets the win with a cradle when all is said and done to break his losing streak. 

Match rating - ***1/4

5) EVIL (1-1) (2 pts) vs. Toru Yano (2-0) (4 pts) - Block B Match 

I have a feeling I’m gonna get a hoot out of this... and yes I fucking did. Yano beats EVIL and I am fucking rolling. In less than FIVE MINUTES. Was slightly confused/bummed at him beating Tana & Okada bc <3 but I couldn’t care less about EVIL so LETS GO. 

Match rating - **

6) Tetsuya Naito (2-0) (4 pts) vs. Hirooki Goto (1-1) (2 pts) - Block B Match 

I’m super high on Naito rn and I have a soft spot for Goto however this match proved to be a very good display of why Goto has never moved up higher than where he’s at. His best matches are the short bangers with dudes like Ishii because although he is super solid in these long main events, there’s no fire or real intrigue. So, yes, this didn’t bother me, but it also didn’t grab me. It was just a good match that happened. Naito wins with two destinos around the 20 minute mark. 

Match rating - ***

Final thoughts: Nothing must see on this show. KENTA/ZSJ is worth a look but everything else is passable. Except maybe the Yano match bc it’s so such short and harmless fun. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

WWE: NXT Takeover 31 Review - October 4th, 2020

WWE: NXT Takeover 31 

October 4th, 2020

The 31st NXT Takeover event and the start of a new era as the performance center has been redesigned as the Capitol Wrestling Center. 

1) Damian Priest (c) vs. Johnny Gargano - North American Title Match 

As I said when watching this, this is where Johnny belongs, in hot openers, not hot opener style matches billed as main events. Not to hate too bad bc I like Johnny, I’m just so glad he’s out of the main event picture. Damian Priest is the perfect opponent for him and they proceed to knock this out of the park. Lots of back and forth and big moves. They tease the same stair spot that fucked Priest up at the last Takeover before going into the finish. Priest retains in a great match with a huge victory. 

Match rating - ***3/4

2) KUSHIDA vs. Velveteen Dream 

KUSHIDA is PISSED and I love it. He absolutely tears Velveteen apart here with nothing stopping him. Dream fights back but KUSHIDA is focused and keeps his attack focused on the arm in the most vicious ways. I hope they keep this momentum going for KUSHIDA and don’t let him flop. Flipping hoverboard lock off the top rope. Dream rolls through and Death Valley driver’s  KUSHIDA but KUSHIDA KEEPS IT FUCKING LOCKED IN AND DREAM TAPS. 

Match rating - ***3/4

3) Santos Escobar (c) vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott - NXT Cruserweight Title Match 

Wooooooowwww. How in the actual fuck was this so good? I had no backstory to this, but it had me on the edge of my seat for the entire final half of the match. Swerve looked like an absolute STAR, throwing out a ton of high flying moves early and stunning the champion. When it goes into back and forth, we get a run down from Mendoza & Wilde and Swerve hits a damn step up flying rana throwing Escobar onto them. Ashante Adonis runs down for the save and this feels like actual chaos. A couple kick outs later and we are in the midst of one of the best cruserweight title matches of all time. The finish came off a little weak with the camera angle, but this was still so insanely good and better than it had any right to be. This is the best cruserweight title match alongside Rush/Garza from earlier this year and makes me want to tune in to 205 Live if these guys are even still on that?? I hope so because they could really develop some goooood shit off this match, but I won't get my hopes too high.

Match rating - ****1/4 

4) Io Shirai (c) vs. Candice LeRae - NXT Women’s Title Match 

This pretty much ruled. The only thing I disliked was the Johnny Gargano interference. He adds so much unnecessary melodrama to a match that was good on its own without the overbooking, but atleast it’s happening here and not in the main event (hopefully). None the less, this was another great match on an awesome show. Candice hits the god damn curb stomp ala Super Dragon. Shirai hits a insane Spanish fly off the top rope followed by a deep ass moonsault for the pin to retain. 

Match rating - ***3/4 

Post match, Toni Storm is on the screen and says she’s coming back to NXT. THEN Ember Moon returns. The women’s division just got hella re-spiced up. 

5) Finn Balor (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly - NXT Championship Match 

I was insanely stoked for this. I have been a massive fan of Kyle O’Reilly since his first real rise as a singles competitor in the 2013 Battle of Los Angeles so to see him here getting such a huge main event and opportunity warmed my heart. Everyone surrounding this story from Adam Cole to the commentators hyped this up just as highly as it should have been. Kyle felt like the true underdog finally about to get his moment. I was also excited about this as Finn's first defense because Finn has been better in his NXT return than he was on the main roster, but still not peak Finn level and I felt Kyle could guide him to one of his best matches yet. None the less, this gets going and the vibe is epic to begin with Strong, Fish, & Cole sending O'Reilly out to the ring on his own. Finn comes out and Kyle stares him down from the ring. They work on the mat for a while. Balor throws the first big strike and ends up targeting the mid section about 5-6 minutes in with a super stiff kick to the gut which Kyle sells SO FUCKING WELL. This becomes the story of things. Balor targets the abdomen/liver, Kyle targets the legs of Balor. They scrap and fight and are very stiff from start to finish. Kyle has a bloody mouth and is worked over with abdominal stretches and various strikes to the stomach. So much awesome selling from Kyle. And on the flip, when Kyle would fire back and work the leg, it was even more vicious with the different directions he would have Balor's leg/foot twisted. O'Reilly hits a knee to the jaw in the corner near the end that apparently broke Balor's jaw as we saw blood pouring from the mouth of the champion as he fired back and hit a coupe de grace on the mat and then off the top rope, traditionally, thus ending this war. This wasn't an all timer, but it was a fucking fight and it showed that Finn is tough as nails and deserves this title reign and that Kyle can undoubtedly hang. It was also the best NXT Title main event this year and I'm thankful to be out of the melodramatic shit and back to just pure wrestling. 

Match rating - ****1/4

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Five Review - September 27th, 2020

NJPW: G1 Climax 30
Night Five
September 27th, 2020 

The almighty A Block sports one of its most loaded cards of the whole tournament with Shingo/Ospreay in a BOSJ rematch, Ibushi/Ishii in a rematch from prior G1’s, and Okada/White. 

1) Gabriel Kidd vs. Yota Tsuji - Young Lions Match 

It really feels like these guys are getting more intense as the tournament goes on. They work on the mat then go into throwing some BOMBS. Kidd puts away Tsuji with the under hook suplex. It looked great once again. Decent little jawn. 

Match rating - **1/2

2) Taichi (2-0) (4 pts) vs. Yujiro Takahashi (0-2) (0 pts) - Block A Match

On the most loaded card, we also have possibly the most uninteresting match in the block on paper as the opener. Taichi is on a hot streak with two wins over Cobb and Suzuki whereas Takahashi is still searching for his first tournament victory. Taichi is cocky early and dominates, but Takahashi fires up and fires back and they throw big moves at one another for a minute or two before Taichi picks up the win. Not nearly as painful as expected on paper. Taichi goes 3-0 and Takahashi goes 0-3. 

Match rating - **3/4

3) Minoru Suzuki (1-1) (2 pts) vs. Jeff Cobb (1-1) (2 pts) - Block A Match 

This was probably one of the more underwhelming matches of the G1 so far. Not that it was bad, but it’s not the dream match you’d expect at all. Suzuki wears down Cobb for 2-3 minutes early then they slug it out for a few minutes and Suzuki pins Cobb with a gotch style piledriver. It’s good for what it is and has a simple story with some decent action, I just had way higher expectations so I guess I let myself down for than anything. None the less, big win for Suzuki after his loss to Taichi. 

Match rating - **3/4 

4) Kota Ibushi (1-1) (2 pts) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (0-2) (0 points) - Block A Match 

Damn these two can do no wrong I stg. Ishii has yet to gain any points and Ibushi is coming off a loss to Jay White.  This was your vintage Ibushi/Ishii and it doesn’t top their epics from G1 27 & G1 28, but it’s another awesome edition to their list of matches. Just a banger of a match where they get stiff as fuck and throw each other around with tons of fighting spirit. Ibushi wins with a Kamigoye. Ishii gets knocked loopy and tries to tussle after the bell which just added to how great this was. Not much more can be said, loved it. 

Match rating - ****

5) Will Ospreay (2-0) (4 pts) vs. Shingo Takagi (1-1) (2 pts) - Block A Match 

So here it is, the big rematch from their classic BOSJ final last year. I went five stars on it and have been hyped about this rematch since it was announced. Ospreay is undefeated in the G1 and Shingo is 1-1. It appears to be a slight Shingo advantage bc we are in Kobe hall - an arena he had many many great matches in with Dragon Gate. But at the same time, Ospreay’s record heading into this is much stronger, not to mention he beat Shingo in a huge match last time in their first meeting. Early, Ospreay shows this confidence and does a good job of a looking like a cocky dick which isn’t hard considering he’s already a dick in real life. They have an insane fast paced exchange early and Shingo shows he isn’t phased by Ospreay. This turns out to be a pretty awesome match that had me reeled in the entire time. It was hard to come close to their BOSJ match though. It just was lacking something in comparison to that. HOWEVER, on its own, it fuckin rules and is my second favorite match of the tournament so far only behind Tana/Naito. Very verg good stuff with a lot of near falls down the stretch and my man SHINGO getting his victory back in his home arena. Hell yes! 

Match rating - ****1/4

6) Kazuchika Okada (1-1) (2 pts) vs. Jay White (2-0) (4 pts) - Block A Match

The story behind this is cool and all, but I haven't been the biggest fan of Okada/White matches and this turns out to be no different. Okada's 2020 hasn't been great and this didn't do it many favors. White nails his gimmick and the focus on his heel persona is awesome. However, it was very hard to stay invested in this one for the entire duration. Despite that, it's not TERRIBLE, especially since it barely hit the 20 minute mark and didn't overstay it's welcome. A few good moments and a decent story, just didn't feel like a main event or touch anywhere near Ibushi/Ishii or Shingo/Ospreay. Jay White wins and is 3-0 and leading the A Block. 

Match rating - **3/4

Sunday, October 4, 2020

NJPW: G1 Climax 30 Night Four Review - September 24th, 2020

 NJPW: G1 Climax 30 - Night Four

September 24th, 2020

1) Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura - Young Lions Match 

Another good effort from these two here. Tsuji looked like a monster with an insane running power slam and a nice spear. This power advantage leads him to victory as he’s able to control Uemura and force him to tap to the same move he made Tsuji tap to on Night One. 

Match rating - **1/2

2) Hirooki Goto (0-1) (0 pts) vs. SANADA (0-1) (0 pts) - Block B Match

I have to say - this was a lot better than I anticipated. I love Goto and SANADA can pull out a good match, but this was balls to the wall from the start and kept my attention from bell to bell. Goto got his arm worked and SANADA flew around a little bit. Goto fought from underneath and it looked like the start to a disappointing G1 for our main man Goto but he fights back and gets the win. 

Match rating - ***1/2

3) Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-0) (2 pts) vs. Toru Yano (1-0) (2 pts) - Block B Match

Largely a comedy match as you’d expect but it’s fun. I enjoyed it a lot more than the Sanada match. Probably because Tana has a lot more personality than Sanada to match what Yano brings to the table. The finish with Yano almost getting counted out with a towel wrapped around his head only for him to cradle Tana for the surprise win was wild. 

Match rating - ***

4) KENTA (1-0) (2 pts) vs. Juice Robinson (1-0) (2pts) - Block B Match 

KENTA is in major don’t give a fuck mode here and you can tell he takes Juice very lightly. It’s honestly exactly what I hoped for in this match. Typical KENTA weaseling his way out of locking up and stuff but to me with an extra sense of caring even less bc of how he small of a threat he considers Juice, if at all. Juice is the perfect full of heart and hope babyface to go against that. Anyway this is all pre match/opening moments talk. KENTA tries to ground Juice early and wear him down. Juice fires back but gets cut off on the top rope with headbutts and KENTA starts running through with him with all his signature stuff. They end up in the middle of the ring and Juice throws some hellacious forearms but KENTA hits an amazing spinning back fast exchange only for Juice to floor him with a lariat. This started a little slow but the final moments ruled. Juice picks up a huge victory with pulp friction and he’s so sensational as he stares down KENTA post match and points at his NJCup USA briefcase that I almost wanna cry. 

Match rating - ***1/4

5) EVIL (0-1) (0 pts) (w/ Dick Togo) vs. YOSHI HASHI (0-1) (0 pts) - Block B Match

Well this had way more life to it than I expected. EVIL's title reign and stuff was cool on story level, but the matches were so dull and empty for me that it takes a lot to get me into anything he does. He and Zack had a good match on Night Two of the G1, but they always work well together. Hashi is hit or miss and admittedly he's on here and they have a real solid match. I didn't enjoy it as much as some others because of reasons previously stated, but it was better than I anticipated it would be. Hashi looked strong, but EVIL pins him when all is said and done despite the match being very competitive.

Match rating - ***

6) Tetsuya Naito (1-0) (2 points) vs. Zack Sabre Jr (1-0) (2 points) - Block A Match

Hot damn this built up into one hell of a match. It starts a little slow, outside of a few early pinning combos from Zack that ruled and felt like legit nearfalls. It felt like it lost it's focus a few moments in the early/middle, but the work was still great. Sabre and Naito work awesome together and have had several outstanding matches in the past. No MOTYC shit, but still really good stuff. This was no different. Like I said, early with a lot of mat work and stuff that took a minute to build up, but once they found their grip, it turned into a barnburner. Listening to this with Japanese commentary instead of English also helped because their enthusiasm is off the charts. Last few minutes had me gasping a couple of times. Naito wins after a couple destinos.

Match rating - ****