Top 5 Pro-Wrestling Matches – January 2019

5. FINN BALOR vs JORDAN DEVLIN – NXT UK TAKEOVER BLACKPOOL (JANUARY, 12)

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The story: Devlin claimed he was the Irish Ace. Out of nowhere, Balor showed up. After that, we had a creator/creature match, where we had to find out who was the best at the end. It was nice that Devlin dominated the match for the most part, and, for a moment, we thought the monster was about to defeat the doctor. In the end, Finn went over, though, proving he is still a little above Devlin.

The style: They didn’t do much, that’s true. You could call it a TV match, but you also have to understand that they were focused on telling a story over doing a lot of insane spots.

The stakes: There wasn’t much to it, and you can say that, in the end, Finn buried Devlin. I don’t see things that way, though. If they do things the right way, this can be Tsuruta/Kobashi, where the new guy didn’t win against the veteran because he’s not ready yet although he’s destined to great things.


4. JAY WHITE vs KAZUCHIKA OKADA – NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM (JANUARY, 4)

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The story: Jay White turned on Okada in one of last year’s hottest angles. After that, alongside Gedo and Jado, he took over Bullet Club and started a new era. Meanwhile, broken was trying to find a way to recover from his loss against Kenny Omega, and what a better place than at the Kingdom.

The style: This match wasn’t the fantastic spectacles we are used to when it comes to Okada. It was more like a story-based battle, slow-paced focused on showing exactly what types of characters these men were.

The stakes: Okada was trying to get back to the top. White was trying to establish himself as a main eventer. At the end of the day, the latter succeeded.


3. CHRIS JERICHO vs TETSUYA NAITO – NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM (JANUARY 4)

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The story: The invader Jericho took the belt from Naito last year. Y2J then faced EVIL to retain the belt. However, he and Naito have been trading insults since last year’s Kingdom with both trying to show the other that they were the best wrestler.

The style: I don’t think anyone in their right state of mind would think Chris Jericho would reinvent himself and become the best brawler in the world by 2019. Truth is, these matches he’s involved with are always different. They are brutal, they are old school, and, the most important thing, they are great. And, of course, Naito is awesome, and he will deliver when he cares.

The stakes: The Intercontinental belt served as a symbolic prize to a real honor fight. Naito’s win put him back at the top of the promotion.


2. PETE DUNNE vs JOE COFFEY – NXT UK TAKEOVER BLACKPOOL (JANUARY, 12)

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The story: Two behemoths faced each other to prove who was the better one. Every move here was brutal and told that story nicely.

The style: As I said, brutality was the name of the game in this match. Even the botches worked well here because they showed how much they wanted to win.

The stakes: The WWE UK belt was on the line and no one ever got that close to taking it away from Dunne than Coffey. Several times during the match it looked like Joe was about to win, and it added to the drama. Dunne retained though, and he still is the best British wrestler on the planet.


1. HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs KENNY OMEGA – NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM (JANUARY, 4)

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The story: The old vs the new. The traditionalist vs the man who wanted to change the world. The ace of the last generation vs the new foreigner ace. Few times in your life you will see such a simple story turned into such a masterpiece. It was the case with this match.

The style: This was all-time New Japan. It was all combined into a beautiful epic to never be forgotten.

The stakes: Tanahashi got back to the top of the mountain with his win here. He is the IWGP champion in 2019, and he still got it. It’s not one of those tribute title reigns, he proved he was better. He proved he can still be the ace.

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Top 10 Movies 2018

The 2019 Golden Globes are now history, and although the award seasons present a bunch of great movies from 2018, they are really not released until the beginning of the following year. That being said, what were the best movies of last year overall?


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10. Hotel Artemis

A hotel/hospital for outlaws that is ruled by Jodie Foster with Dave Bautista as her brave security guard/nurse. Set in a dystopic world, Hotel Artemis is filled with action from start to finish. An awesome soundtrack also adds to the intensity of the characters. If you are looking for some nice entertainment, this is the right movie for you.


MV5BMjUyOTE1NjI0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTM4ODQ5NTM@._V1_UX182_CR00182268_AL_9. BlacKkKlansman

This awesome comedy presents the first african-american police officer from Colorado Springs trying to infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan. Nominated for four Golden Globes, BlacKkKlansman deals with current problems with a very modern approach while also paying tribute to the great blacksploitation movies from the 70s.

 


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You want fun for all the family? Then, don’t watch Deadpool 2. Even edgier than its predecessor, this sequel is everything that comic books fans want. Violent, funny, filled with cameos and easter eggs, the movie is another example of the success of the super-hero craze we are living through.

 


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7. Isle of Dogs

This Wes Anderson masterpiece is set in Japan and follow a young boy trying to save his dog in a world that hates man’s best friend. An awesome cast of voice actors, as well as a wonderful production design, make this stop motion animation movie a must see for those who love Japanese culture and those who want to know more about the Land of the Rising Sun.


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What if men had to go through everyone women do? That’s exactly what this French movie shows. Set in a world where the gender-based roles are completely swapped, the absurdity of it shows how much of a sexist society is the one we live in.

 

 


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I don’t know if it’s too early to say, but is Damien Chazelle the greatest director of the 2010’s? After Whiplash and La La Land, the director lands another wonder with First Man. This time, however, he goes in a completely different direction. This drama tells the story of Neil Armstrong in a whole different manner. Don’t watch this if you’re feeling bad because even the happy scenes here are melancholic as hell.


MV5BMjI0MDMzNTQ0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTM5NzM3NDM@._V1_UX182_CR00182268_AL_4. A Quiet Place

Set in a world where you can’t make a sound, A Quiet Place is a thriller to watch from 2018. Claustrophobic and dense, you are going to find yourself holding your breath throughout it’s 90 minutes.

 

 


MV5BMjMxNjY2MDU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzY1MTUwNTM@._V1_UX182_CR00182268_AL_3. Avengers: Infinity War

The end of an era. Infinity War is the best MCU movie so far, and there is a reason for that. It’s called Thanos. Since Heath Ledger’s Joker, we don’t have a villain that feels so real to the point you root for him, but unlike the Joker, Thanos reasons are actually logical. Never in history, changing the original character motivations worked so well.

 


MV5BMjAzOTM2OTAyNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTg5ODg1NTM@._V1_UX182_CR00182268_AL_2. Christopher Robin

You wanna cry a little? Go watch Christopher Robin. No, really, go watch it! Stop whatever you’re doing right now and go watch this movie. If you, just like me, grew up watching the Winnie the Pooh animations, there’s no chance you’re finishing this without shedding a tear. It’s one of those you can’t explain, you know? Just enjoy this lil’ pretty thing.

 

 


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James Franco? Check. Liam Neeson? Check. Tom “freaking” Waits? Check, and that’s not even the best thing about The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. A collection of stories set in the wild west, the movie has everything you want. Complex characters, action, drama, violence, music, violence, inspirational stories, more violence… It’s a beautiful masterpiece that should be on the top of everyone’s list. The Coen brothers did it again!

Top 10 Pro Wrestling Matches 2018

2018 is over. 2019 is on. The Wrestle Kingdom show was a massive success and the year is up for a good start. Will it be better than last year? Well, that’s a tough one. 2018 was one of the best years in professional wrestling history with great matches, great stories, and great angles. What made it so special, though?

We are going to take a look at the ten best matches in last year’s calendar and why they were so good.


10. MINORU SUZUKI vs TOMOHIRO ISHII – NJPW POWER STRUGGLE (NOVEMBER, 3)

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The story: Suzuki and Ishii had been feuding over the British title for a while. They had a series of tag team and singles match on British soil. This was their final dance.

The style: You have the two toughest pro-wrestlers on the planet facing each other in a wild strong style brawl.

The stakes: The RevPro Undisputed belt was just an excuse for these two SOBs to beat the hell out of each other.


9. JOHNNY GARGANO VS TOMMASO CIAMPA – NXT TAKEOVER: BROOKLYN (AUGUST, 18)

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The story: The third bout of an already legendary feud between once best friend and tag team partners and now hatred enemies.

The style: A last man standing match filled with metaphors and callbacks of previous moments involving these two.

The stakes: The NXT title was on the line, but it was about more than that. It was about revenge and justice even though, at the end, it showed that the world is not fair.


8. KENNY OMEGA VS TOMOHIRO ISHII – NJPW G1 CLIMAX – NIGHT 14 (AUGUST, 4)

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The Story: Kenny was on his way to win the G1 as champion. However, the Stone Pitbull was on his way.

The Style: Your modern day New Japan classic with two of the best wrestlers on the planet giving their all to produce a true spectacle.

The Stakes: The loss on this match cost Kenny a ticket to the G1 finals. The win would give Ishii a shot at the belt later on in the year.


7. KENNY OMEGA vs KOTA IBUSHI – NJPW G1 CLIMAX – NIGHT 18 (AUGUST, 11)

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The Story: The recently reformed Golden Lovers had their first match amongst the turmoil of the G1 Climax final round.

The Style: Good friends, better enemies. Neither man held it back in order to not hurt their opponent. The best thing is that it didn’t lead to a bullshit breakup angle. You can beat the hell out of your partner and still be friends.

The Stakes: With this win, Ibushi got to the finals of the G1. He also had a future title match against Kenny and Cody.


6. HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs KOTA IBUSHI – NJPW G1 CLIMAX – FINALS (AUGUST, 12)

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The Story: Both men got to the finals by beating someone whose career is strongly connected with their own (Tanahashi/Okada – Ibushi/Omega). Tanahashi was on his way to redemption. Ibushi was about to face his idol.

The Style: A clash of styles that ended up turning into a masterpiece. At some point, Ibushi turned something on and started to strike Tanahashi like crazy. The Ace answered back with some stiff moves of his own.

The Stakes: The victory led Tanahashi to the Wrestle Kingdom main event which he would win and take the IWGP belt along. A true redemption path with a happy ending for the Ace.


5. KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs KENNY OMEGA – NJPW DOMINION (SEPTEMBER, 6)

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The Story: Two years in the making. Every rating scale broken. This was the fourth installment of the most legendary feud in recent memory.

The Style: The best two out of three falls match in history. Despite being over an hour long, this flew by.

The Stakes: Kenny finally took the IWGP Heavyweight belt home. Okada would break after his epic title reign ended.


4. HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs KAZUCHIKA OKADA – NJPW DESTRUCTION (SEPTEMBER, 23)

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The Story: A broken Okada faced a G1 Climax winner Tanahashi. For the first time in years, they switched roles. This time, the Ace was on top, and the Rainmaker had to fight from underneath.

The Style: Out of every Tanahashi/Okada match, I would say this was the best yet. It was the culmination of a great year when both men had to go through hell to get here.

The Stakes: Tanahashi kept his briefcase and the right to challenge Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight championship which he would win in another classic at the Tokyo Dome.


3. MARTY SCURLL vs WILL OSPREAY – NJPW SAKURA GENESIS (APRIL, 1)

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The Story: After finally winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title, Ospreay went to defend the belt against his toughest rival.

The Style: Although people complain about Ospreay almost killing himself, it’s his carelessness that makes him so special. It was no different in this match. That spanish fly was spot of the year.

The Stakes: Both men would go on to have the best years of their careers. Ospreay retained the belt and had a great title run before moving to heavyweight.


2. GOLDEN LOVERS vs YOUNG BUCKS – NJPW STRONG STYLE EVOLVED (MARCH, 25)

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The Story: The Golden Lovers reunited amidst the Bullet Club civil war. It was only fair that both teams would go on to face each other.

The Style: A heartbreaking tale of friends turned enemies because of envy and jealousy. The match was a spotfest filled with a beautiful story to make even the toughest of the fans shed a tear or two.

The Stakes: It was all about finding out which was the best tag team in the world out of the two. The Golden Lovers victory would lead for an Omega run with the IWGP Heavyweight belt. The Bucks would also move on to the heavyweight division and capture the tag team belts later on.


1. JOHNNY GARGANO vs TOMMASO CIAMPA – NXT TAKEOVER: NEW ORLEANS (APRIL, 7)

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The Story: Pro Wrestling is always better when it gets emotional. The Ciampa/Gargano feud is one to remember forever. From the breakup of DIY to this historical moment, everything was put together perfectly.

The Style: The Unsanctioned match rules fit perfect here since it allowed the wrestlers to use the environment to tell their story, and, oh boy, they did it well. Every move was a callback to their relationship. Love and hate built this beautiful masterpiece.

The Stakes: They would have more matches later on in the year, but this felt like the end of their story at the moment. It evolved into something even deeper, with Ciampa winning the NXT title and Gargano breaking down into madness.

Top 5 Pro-Wrestling Matches – December/2018

5. D. Williams vs Y. Ogawa (NOAH Great Voyage in Yokohama)

hqdefaultTwo veterans working a perfect well put together match that was really entertaining by the end. It was very interesting to see how Williams worked Ogawa’s arms while small Yoshinari worked big Doug’s legs. Maybe there’s something to it. You can say that Ogawa had a strong impact to the business (he’s a former world champion after all) working few places while Williams moved around a lot never really becoming that great of a name. It’s a shame that these guys are not coming out of some dojo today, or they would be a big deal considering the current situation in the world of professional wrestling.


4. F. Kazarian & S. Sky vs J. Briscoe & M. Briscoe vs M. Jackson & N. Jackson (ROH Final Battle)

fb-ladderIt’s fair to say that these are the three best tag teams on the planet right now. Put them together in a match and give them some weapons, and you have the spectacle that this match was. The Bucks leave giving another great performance. SCU is probably out as well so it’s good to have the Briscoes to lead whatever the tag team division will be from now on (just give the Smash Bros. a contract already). This was your classic spotfest with everything you need and want from this kind of match. Enjoy it.


3. J. Gresham vs ZSJ (ROH Final Battle)

DsfLTvIWsAIJQPOTwo of the best technical wrestlers on the planet faced off for an amazing masterpiece here. It was very simple but very beautiful. The submissions were perfectly laid and everything seemed legit. Even the finish was perfect coming out of nowhere. It’s going to be interesting to see how ROH uses both men from now on.


2. PCO vs M. Tanaka (GCW The Dinasty)

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This was a true end of the year surprise. When I heard PCO was facing Masato freaking Tanaka, I told myself I had to watch it. The match was structured in a way that both men looked great. You had your two veterans going all out doing all kinds of crazy stuff in a very ECW-esque match. They used the plunder very well, even doing an Awesome/Tanaka powerbomb tribute there. The action was sick. The story was that both men, although past their prime, can still go and none of them wanted to go down. It was incredible and makes you question if time can’t really be beaten.


1. H. Tanahashi & W. Ospreay vs K. Omega & K. Ibushi

DuCeOIQWwAAhFOyI don’t have much to say here. Just go and watch four of the best wrestlers on the planet tear the house down and have one of the best matches of the year. You have the Omega/Tanahashi story here with new vs old confrontation. You have Ibushi with the love for Omega and the admiration for Tanahashi. You have Will Ospreay being awesome again and stepping up to his opponents and showing that he is a future heavyweight star. In the end, you have everything a match must be to close a year that was just out of this world.

Top 5 Batalhas de Pro-Wrestling – Novembro/2018 (Versão em Português)

5. A. Kobayashi & R. Ito vs J. Numazawa & J. Kasai (BJW)

Quando comecei a assistir deathmatches, esses quatro eram os caras que eu realmente admirava. Todas aquelas coisas malucas que eles estavam fazendo no ringue com tubos de luz e arame farpado eram impossíveis de ignorar. É por isso que isso foi meio emocional. Esses caras têm sido os pilares de uma divisão que foi fortemente negligenciada por anos, mas, agora que a Big Japan parece viver seu melhor momento, eles tiveram a chance de brilhar. Eles não são mais os ases da divisão deathmatch. Ito parece aquele tio que você não vê em anos e está surpreendentemente velho quando o encontra novamente. Kobayashi está ficando cada vez menos móvel com o passar dos anos, embora ele ainda tenha aquele carisma. Numazawa também passou do auge. Kasai é provavelmente o único desse grupo que ainda consegue fazer alguma coisa, mas também está próximo do fim. Essa era a canção do cisne deles. Essas lendas do deathmatch estão indo embora e sentirei falta delas, mas elas estão deixando algo especial para trás e essa é uma batalha que eu me lembrarei por um longo tempo.


4. A. Black vs J. Gargano (NXT)

Cara, se eu não amo a “besteira melodramática de Johnny Gargano”. Parece-me que estamos testemunhando o que pode ser o futuro do wrestling profissional aqui: narrativa complexa dentro do ringue, encenada com uma intensa inspiração Shakesperiana. Ok, talvez isso seja demais. Este foi de longe a melhor batalha de Black que eu vi até agora. Foi rápida, os ataques pareciam duros e a história foi bem contada. Gargano também ficou muito melhor em suas expressões faciais. Batalha memorável.


3. M. Takeda vs M. Takahashi (BJW)

O maior reinado deathmatch / hardcore de todos os tempos chega ao fim com outra batalha fantástica. Takeda foi responsável por trazer um monte de pessoas para assistir BJW e é um sério candidato a wrestler do ano. Ele venceu todos as lendas ao longo de seu reinado no campeonato e só perdeu o título porque não há mais ninguém para ele vencer. Vai ser interessante ver se Takahashi será capaz de manter a divisão no mesmo nível ou se é apenas uma questão de tempo até que Takeda recupere o cinturão.


2. T. Ciampa vs V. Dream (NXT)

Quando eles fazem certo, eles fazem certo. Estou impressionado com a capacidade de HHH como booker. Quando você olha para este TakeOver, cada batalha foi diferente, e elas foram todas acima de 4 estrelas para mim. Essa foi ainda melhor. Dream é uma estrela. O modo como ele encapsula a energia da multidão e a joga de volta é único. A maneira como ele se move no ringue é única. Fazer a rotina Hogan nesta partida foi brilhante e combinou muito bem com um Ciampa arrogante e amargo. Isto foi narrativa em seu melhor, e foi muito simples. O babyface jovem que está fazendo sucesso com o público zomba do heel ciumento que quer ser a estrela, mas perde a batalha por causa da inexperiência. É simples, e é lindo quando feito corretamente.


1. T. Ishii vs M. Suzuki (NJPW)

Assistir dois homens espancando um ao outro é inestimável. É ainda melhor quando esses homens são Suzuki e Ishii. Essa batalha é tudo que eu amo no Strong Style. Os ataques duros, o no-selling, o selling realista e exagerado, os sons guturais, o espírito de luta, os rostos zangados… Deus, isso foi incrível. No final do dia, tivemos dois dos melhores wrestlers do planeta, entregando um verdadeiro candidato a MOTY. Se um dia ficarmos com apenas um estilo de pro-wrestling, espero que seja este.


P.S. Traduzido do artigo que eu próprio escrevi em inglês porque eu sou preguiçoso demais pra escrever tudo de novo.

Top 5 Pro-Wrestling Matches – November/2018

5. A. Kobayashi & R. Ito vs J. Numazawa & J. Kasai (BJW)

When I first got into death matches, these four were the guys that I really looked up to. All of that crazy stuff they were doing in the ring with light tubes and barbed wire was impossible to ignore. That’s why this was sort of emotional. These guys have been the pillars of a division that was strongly overlooked for years, but, now that Big Japan seems to live their best moment, they had a chance to shine. They are not the aces of the deathmatch division anymore. Ito looks like that uncle you don’t see in years and is surprisingly old when you meet him again. Kobayashi is getting less and less mobile as the years go by although he still has that charisma. Numazawa is also past his prime. Kasai is probably the only one of that bunch who can still go, but it’s also a couple of years of slowing down. This was their swan song. These deathmatch legends are going away and I will miss them, but they’re leaving something special behind and this is a match that I will remember for a long time.


4. A. Black vs J. Gargano (NXT)

Man, if I don’t love the “Johnny Gargano melodramatic bullshit”. It seems to me we are witnessing what can be the future of professional wrestling here: complex storytelling within the squared circle played with an intense Shakesperian inspiration. Ok, maybe that’s too much. This was by far the best Black match I’ve seen. It was fast-paced, the strikes looked stiff and the story was well told. Gargano also got a lot better on his face expressions. Memorable match.


3. M. Takeda vs M. Takahashi (BJW)

The greatest deathmatch/hardcore reign of all time comes to an end with another yet fantastic match. Takeda was responsible for bringing a lot of people to watch BJW and is a serious wrestler of the year contender. He beat all sorts of legends throughout his championship reign and only fell short here because there’s probably no one else for him to beat. It’s going to be interesting to see if Takahashi will be able to carry the division in the same level or if it’s just a matter of time before Takeda gets his belt back.


2. T. Ciampa vs V. Dream (NXT)

When they do it right, they do it right. I am impressed with HHH ability as a booker. When you look at this TakeOver, every match was different, and they were all above 4 stars for me. This match was even better. Dream is a star. The way he encapsulates that crowd energy and throws it back is unique. The way he moves in the ring is unique. Doing the Hogan routine in this match was brilliant and played very well to an arrogant and bitter Ciampa. This was storytelling at its best, and it was very simple. The young babyface who’s getting over with the crowd mocks the jealous heel who wants to be the star but loses the match because of inexperience. It’s simple. And it’s beautiful when done right.


1. T. Ishii vs M. Suzuki (NJPW)

Watching two men beating the hell out of each other is priceless. It’s even better when those men are Suzuki and Ishii. This match is everything I love about Strong Style. The stiff strikes, the no-selling, the realistic over-the-top selling, the guttural sounds, the fighting spirit, the angry faces… God, this was awesome. At the end of the day, we had two of the best wrestlers on the planet delivering a true MOTY contender. If one day we are left with only one style of pro-wrestling, I hope this is the one.

Top 5 Pro-Wrestling Matches – October/2018

5. A. Aries vs J. Impact (IMPACT Bound for Glory)

Forget the finish. Forget asshole Austin Aries ruining everything. This match was something else. Out of nowhere, it seemed like Aries and Impact joined 1985 UWF and went all out on one of the most believable matches of the year. They went on to play a more common match later on, but that start with Maeda-style open hand slaps and Billy Robinsonish holds is something to remember. I firmly believe this is the best IMPACT title match in many years.


4. Ricochet vs A. Cole vs P. Dunne (NXT)

This match proved that you can deliver in a TV main event. This was a simple triple threat with a simple story being told: three guys going for a belt. Cole’s charisma, Dunne’s toughness, and Ricochet’s awesomeness mixed together perfectly here. They had the perfect dynamics and created a very memorable bout.


3. K. Omega vs Cody vs K. Ibushi (NJPW King of Pro Wrestling)

A lot of people complained when this match was booked, but it ended up delivering. Wrestling-wise, it wasn’t as good as the NXT match, but it had something different to it. The good friends/better enemies story was perfectly told and fit well the triple threat dynamics. Cody is great at playing a character. Give him a role in a story, and he will always deliver.  Omega always delivers, so you don’t have to worry about him. Ibushi is one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and grumpy Kota is even better. This had some nice exchanges and ended up being very good.


2. WALTER vs W. Ospreay (OTT Fourth Year Anniversary)

This had one of the hottest crowds I’ve ever seen in my life and God that helped this match. Classic face/heel dynamics with Ospreay playing the underdog and Walter the monster. It was the heart of the little guy against the cockiness of the big dude. Both guys worked their asses here. The ring action fit perfectly into the action with Ospreay working a more believable style when attacking Walter, choosing kicks and strikes over high-flying to beat the Austrian champion. The only thing that stopped this from being a true MOTY contender was Will not winning. The crowd was behind him and the structure of the match was perfect for it. When the ring belled the crowd went down instantly, showing that this was the perfect moment to put the belt on Ospreay.


1. K. Okada & T. Ishii vs K. Ibushi & K. Omega (NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed)

You know when you’re watching a match and you feel something special. This was the case here. They started slow and went all out from it. It was four of the best wrestlers on the planet on a true All-Star tag team main event. I particularly loved Ishii and Ibushi in this one with both playing their grumpy characters and being really vicious. It was the best match of this month for me and I believe it’s going to be one of those matches that we are going back at some point in the future and realize how great this era in wrestling actually is.

Pro Wrestling Week (10/6-10/13)

KING OF PRO WRESTLING (NJPW)

E. Desperado & Y. Kanemaru vs J. Liger & T. Mask

This was a disappointment to some people. Since I did not watch their previous match, I wasn’t expecting much of it. Normal opener. ***

B. Luck Fale & T. Ishimori & T. Tonga & T. Loa vs C. Owens & H. Page & M. Jackson & N. Jackson

Another chapter of the ELITE vs OGs feud, this was a nice little match with not much to it. Matt’s selling here wasn’t as impactful as in previous situations. Your traditional multi-men match with not many implications. ***1/4

BUSHI & SANADA & S. Takagi & T. Naito vs K. Okada & SHO & YOH & T. Yano

This match was booked to introduce Shingo in New Japan. The best spot of the evening was SANADA traping people in the Milano Collection AT hold that I can’t name right now. I like that move, though. ***1/4

KUSHIDA vs M. Scurll

I think this was better than I thought, with Scurll playing the evil and serious side of him. Some nice looking holds and stiff strikes later and KUSHIDA is once again junior champion. Maybe the next challenger should be an outsider. ****

K. Omega vs Cody vs K. Ibushi

A lot of people complaining about this, but the dynamics worked pretty well. When the people involved in triple threats are smart, we can have nice matches. This was the case with every guy playing an important part in it. I liked the good friends/better enemies story they played here because it really added to the action. Cody is one of the best storytellers on the planet right now and the Golden Lovers are probably the best wrestlers alongside Okada, Tanahashi and Ishii. It was very rewarding in the end. ****1/4

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

I. Shirai vs Zeuxis

They went all out from the start and Io’s offense already is one of my favorites in the world right now. She looks like she is going to kill her opponent at any point but you can notice how safe she is at the same time. It’s a shame that she will be lost in the shuffle when she gets to the main roster. ***1/4

D. Purazzo vs X. Li

I’m not as much into Purazzo as most people. She’s good, but that pretty much it. Li, on the other hand, has something different. If they capitalize on her style, I think she can provide some unique matches. ***1/4

N. Matthews vs T. Nox

I think this was really ordinary. Don’t remember much of it. ***

Kaitlyn vs M. Yim

They were quick and lost no time here. It was different from everything else in the tournament, what is something really good. They played Goldberg/Lesnar with a nice upset at the end. What’s next for Kaitlyn, though, after she lost here? ***1/4

NXT

Ricochet vs A. Cole vs P. Dunne

What the main roster fails to do with the amazing wrestlers they have right now, NXT succeeds very well. This was a simple match that didn’t burn any major future matchups for big shows and still delivered. It was fast, flashing and beautiful. Cole is a superstar, Dunne is a freaking badass and Ricochet is one of the best things this business has ever produced. ****

Pro Wrestling Week (9/23-9/29)

DESTRUCTION (NJPW)

BUSHI vs KUSHIDA

Although I really wish we had some different scenarios for the Junior Heavyweight title picture, KUSHIDA advancing to the final is not something bad. Actually, is not bad at all. We all know he is great, but the problem here is that it starts to feel like he’s being a little overexposed. That being said, this was a very good match that showcased both men abilities to deliver in a big spot. ****

H. Tanahashi vs K. Okada

Another classic by two of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Well, that’s a pretty safe assumption at this point. I jumped late on the Tanahashi/Okada train since I was not that involved with the product when they had their first run of classic bouts. Recently, though, they’ve had three awesome matches together, and that was enough to put this right up there as one of the greatest rivalries in pro-wrestling history. This time, things were different, though. For the first time in a while, Tanahashi had the edge here, with broken Okada needing the win more than ever. However, it was, once again, the Ace’s night. The perfect chemistry in a perfectly structured match with perfect characters. That’s modern New Japan 101. *****

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

H. Matsumoto vs R. Evers

The final part of the first round started with a very nice match by two strong competitors. Matsumoto is no Satomura, but her Joshi style mixed very well with Evers’, providing a nice match for everyone to watch. ***1/4

J. Elaban vs T. Conti

I confess that I am biased towards Conti since she is from Brazil. The thing is, I love her offense. She is a perfect mix of a spoiled blondie with a shoot-fighter. Character-wise, she is doing very well. Her selling still needs some work, though. Give the girl some Minoru Suzuki tapes and she will be fine. Nice win for Conti here. ***

I. Dawn vs N. Matthews

I don’t remember much from this match, only that it was kind of boring what says a lot. **3/4

I. Shirai vs X. Brookside

This was your perfect example of how to create a star through a loss. Xia is going to be great if you let her be your badass underdog. Give this girl some Tsuyoshi Kikuchi tapes and she will be fine (I have to stop telling WWE to give their “superstars” Strong Style tapes, they’ll never do it). Even though Brookside shone through it, Shirai is your star right now. She’s tough and it looked like she was killing little Xia with every move she delivered. By the end, this was all action and exactly what it had to be. ***1/2

DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR (ROH)

J. Liger vs K. King

They had a storytelling match here with King playing the honorable guy that turns heel by cheating on the legend at the end of the match to get the victory. It was a nice open to the show. ***1/4

C. Daniels & F. Kazarian vs J. Briscoe & M. Briscoe

Daniels is the best veteran in the business right now. Kazarian is a ring general. The Briscoes deserve to be in the best tag team of the year conversation. That being said, this was a very good match, structured the way it should be. ***1/2

S. Sakai vs T. Dashwood

This was the best Sakai match I’ve seen since she became champion. That’s not much, though, since she kind of sucks. I understand that Dashwood was hurt so she could not win anyway. Now, they have to find someone to beat Sumi for the title because she is not championship material. Figure out a deal with Tessa, bring Chelsea Green or try with a different Joshi, but bring someone who can give you good matches, please. **3/4

C. Sabin vs P. Martinez

Martinez is one of the best big guys in the business. Sabin is another ring general who’s actually a former world champion as well (forgot that?). This was a nice little match, good enough for the TV belt. ***1/4

B. Ray & S. Young vs C. Cabana & F. Gordon

I am probably the only person in the universe who enjoys Bully Ray. I also like Young character a lot. Colt is a legend and Gordon is the future of ROH. This was one of the feel cases where a screwed finish actually added to the match. I enjoyed this more than everyone, probably. ***1/2

CHAOS vs BULLET CLUB ELITE

I expected more from this match considering the talent involved. It was still good, but it lacked something. Everyone was good here, but that was it. ***1/2

J. Lethal vs W. Ospreay

Two of the best talents on the planet got in the ring for a very strong performance. The wrestling here was actually surprisingly great. Because Ospreay is such an amazing high-flyer, sometimes we forget how good of a technical wrestler he actually is. Lethal is always great, so let’s skip that part. ***3/4

Pro-Wrestling Week (9/16-9/22)

DEATH VEGAS (BJW)

M. Takeda vs R. Ito

Takeda’s journey continues as he keeps wrestling the deathmatch legends. This time Ito was his opponent and I was impressed by how old he looked. Still, Ito is a great old school brawler and put a hell of a fight against the deathmatch champion. I believe this was something like 100 Light Tubes Deathmatch, so the ring was filled with them. I started to wonder if being hit on the head by a light tube is safer than a chair shot, I think so. Also, BJW refs and young lions are fantastic on removing the shattered glass from the ring. Although safety may sound weird on a deathmatch, these guys do their best. Takeda won this won and kept on his path of becoming the best deathmatch guy of all time. I may be going too far here, but maybe it’s time to insert him into the wrestler of the year conversation. ****1/4

DESTRUCTION (NJPW)

M. Suzuki vs T. Naito

A lot of people hated this. I don’t know if I keep pressuring myself on liking these New Japan main events, but I actually enjoyed this match. I am a huge Suzuki fan and although Naito does not always click on me, he’s one of the best on the planet.  This was worked on the old Suzuki-beats-guy-the-whole-match-gets-beaten-in-the-end. Naito is probably not the best person on that spot because he can be kind of blend sometimes, but this connected enough to entertain me. I enjoy Suzuki brutality to a point that I can ignore a couple o rough spots sometimes. ****1/4

205 (WWE)

C. Alexander vs D. Gulak

205 is the only weekly WWE show that I stop to watch once in a while, and these main events always delivered. They started slow here with a lot of headlocks and I was afraid they would get in WWE land, but things picked up and they ended up having a very good match. I was rooting for Gulak on this one because I believe he can be WWE’s Suzuki if booked right. He’s a great technical wrestler and his offense looks sick (including that awesome lariat he’s got) so I would be totally into a Gulak’s reign here. I think this also improved the match for me. It may sound silly but it always improves a match when you want someone specifically to win. The match wasn’t hurt by the finish, though, since the other guy is also really talented and will keep having good matches as long as Vince keeps his hands away from this division. ***3/4

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

Kaitlyn vs K. Devi

The third day of Mae Young Classic started with two returning faces. I must admit that I was really impressed by Kaitlyn on this one (didn’t she use to suck?). Maybe because I had very low expectations for this match I ended up enjoying it more than most people. ***1/4

Jinny vs T. Storm

Storm is a star and we all know that. This match was not the best start though. It was solid but really average and although it’s just the first round, I would like to see some more coming from Toni. ***

Karen Q vs X. Li

This match had the coolest start I’ve ever seen. Both wrestlers got into a kung fu fighting position and the crowd went nuts. I think nobody realizes how this thing would be popular, right? Well, WWE now have two girls who can be worked into this style and do that in the future, but do you think they will be able to? Anyway, the match kinda went down when the girls did not pay the crowd with what they wanted. I don’t blame them since there would be no way they would predict that reaction. Still, they created a very different feel to the match, bringing something out of the style and ending up having an enjoyable bout. ***1/2

A. Kay vs M. Yim

These two have faced each other a million times I suppose, but this was a first time for me. I confess that I don’t really care that much for any of them, what says a lot considering they entertained me enough for me not to fall asleep. Well, let’s be fair, it was nice. ***1/4