Mid October Round Up

Mid October Round Up

Mid October Round Up

 

I just did a round up column but a load more wrestling dropped and I just don’t have time to watch entire shows because there are SO many. So here’s yet another round up.

 

October 7 2018

 

MaxiMum (Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino, Dragon Kid, Jason Lee & Kaito Ishida) vs. R.E.D. (PAC, Ben-K, Big R Shimizu, Takashi Yoshida & Yasushi Kanda)

(Dragon Gate The Gate of Victory N4)

This is the same show Shingo wrestled his last match on, versus BxB Hulk, but watching a Hulk singles match isn’t even remotely appealing so I’m tuning in for this undercard madness instead. Dragon Gate? Ten Man Tag? With PAC? Yes mates! This is the kind of madness I wanted from 205 Live (and might actually have gotten this week, see later). Just ten dudes doing wrestling very fast for twenty minutes. I’m particularly enamoured with PAC and Doi doing a sequence so fast that ‘Speed Star’ Masato Yoshino, just chilling on the apron, is like “damn, that’s pretty fast”. In other news Dragon Kid is 42, the same age as me, and is doing flips and breakdancing like he’s a teenager. Yesterday I had back pain from sitting down wrong. He’s doing moonsaults to the floor. Dragon Gate is the kind of place where youngsters can catch a break and you just have to look at Ishida here to see that’s true. He gets to look like a goddamn star and he’s the most junior guy in this. One of my favourite sequences is Big R getting the shit kicked out of him by Jason Lee, loving it and getting Lee all blown up doing his own moves before decapitating him with a lariat. I love that Big Dog behaviour. Lee then tries the same abuse on Ben-K, slaps the taste out of his mouth and gets speared into next week for it. PAC finishes with Red Arrow on poor Jason Lee and I had a lovely, lovely time watching this. Wall to wall madness. If it happened in any other promotion people would be raving about it but this is standard for DG.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

September 27 2018

 

Hardcore Three Way Match

Masato Tanaka vs. Sabu vs. Yuko Miyamoto

(Tokyo Championship Wrestling @ Shinjuku FACE)

Sabu got cancelled a while back but he’s still getting invited to Japan. Clearly they didn’t get the memo. He was over in Japan for a DDT match where he tagged with Jun Kasai and Kikutaro! I need to pick that up at some point. Anyway, because he was in the country he found himself booked in this weird fucking three way. Even weirder? Guest referee is Atsushi Onita!

MORSabu

Sabu has taken to being escorted everywhere by a genie with big boobs. I’m not sure I understand what his gimmick has transformed into but I think it’s some sort of Arabian pimp. There’s nothing in wrestling like a balding Terry Brunk, clinging on to a gimmick from the 70s, potatoing Japanese dudes because his eyesight isn’t too sharp anymore. Did I mention Onita is in full face paint and has another referee in the ring so he doesn’t have to do anything strenuous. Like count.

MOROnita2

Tanaka decides he’s going to do Jimmy Snuka spots, for ECW related reasons. Oh no, he didn’t realise Jim Snuka is cancelled to. What a horrible day for Japan.

As a curio this was fascinating. A three-way dance pitting two old ECW guys against a modern day Japanese Indie star in 2018 with the Indie star getting into beef with the referee, who happens to be Atsushi Onita. I loved Onita here. No fucks given. Counting the three is for marks. I merely determine the outcome with who I spit mist at. I’m not sure he cared who won as long as it wasn’t Miyamoto.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

October 13 2018

 

CZW World Championship

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (c) vs. David Starr

(CZW Better Than Our Best)

This was the title shot Starr had where he had it moved to first on the card so he could make the airport and fly to England, not realising his flight was on Primera Air; a company that went out of business two weeks beforehand. So yeah, he missed his trip to the UK.

But he did fly that day!

MORStarr

They settle into a tidy little arm vs. arm battle. In particular Starr selling his hands, which MJF stamps on. MJF is getting really good in the ring, to match his already tremendous character. His pendulum piledriver, a switch up on the Canadian Destroyer, is particularly cool.

The match falls apart towards the end though as the booking takes over and Rickey Shane Page blasts Starr with the belt in a horrible spot and MJF retains. Good until the finish. CZW has almost no eyes on it so I’m surprised that they don’t give a fuck what makes it onto their PPV streams but the sloppy finish was sad to see.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

September 2 2018

 

David Arquette & RJ City vs. James Ellsworth & Frank the Clown

(Warrior Wrestling 2)

I’m watching this because David Arquette is a draw. Vince Russo was right. Also I want Frank the Clown to die.

MORFrank

Frank gets rapped to the ring and thinks he’s some kind of heel. He might be the biggest geek to ever set foot in a wrestling ring.

This makes no sense as Rj City is a heel so the only face is Arquette and he has matching gear with City. I was hoping this would be a laugh at least but it’s a total waste of my time. Arquette is borderline passable, which is because he loves pro wrestling. Frank looks like the kind of nerd who doesn’t even understand what a fight is let alone been in one.

Frank eats a superkick off Chinless Jimmy and Arquette wipes out Ellsworth with the Diamond Cutter! I perversely enjoyed Arquette here but my god Frank the Clown stank.

Final Rating: *1/4

 

WW Championship War of Attrition Match

Rey Fenix, Pentagon, Brian Cage & Sammy Guevara vs. Austin Aries, Jeff Cobb, Rey Mysterio Jr & Rich Swann

I was planning on skipping over the rest of the WW show but the main event is this bizarre concoction. Basically there are two four man teams. Whichever team wins then splits into two tag teams. Whichever team wins faces each other for the vacant title. It’s a three for the price of one deal. And they have some goddamn talent in this match. Aries causes dissention in his camp by declaring himself team captain. The intros here take 12 minutes. I’m sad Chicago don’t launch into duelling chants of “let’s go Rey” when it’s Mysterio vs. Fenix. That’s a no brainer lads. Fenix is incredible here. Doing flips for the fun of it and dancing around everyone.

I love Jeff Cobb. He was throwing Avalanche around in wXw and my jaw was on the floor. I also love Fenix.

MORCobb

The match doesn’t often hit top gear because there are so many characters that guys can get over by doing next to nothing. Penta has the zero miedo thing with Cobb and Swann. It’s easy content. Cobb is so great in tags where he can get his shit in and get out. He’s so impressive with his power but I’m never that into his singles matches. Cage gets massively over, in a field of stars, by doing big old flips. The Rey/Aries feud comes to a head when Rey 619’s his own team mate. This leads directly to Swann getting isolated and pinned by a Guevara SSP. Stage one is over!

 

Sammy Guevara & Pentagon vs. Brian Cage & Rey Fenix

Sammy gets to pick his partner and decides to do something interesting by pitting the Lucha Bros against each other. It’s a dick move that helps to establish him as the heel in the match. Guevara is the weak link here. He’s less experienced, he’s less polished. Fenix and Penta get to do a little interaction and I’m sure they have a bunch of cool ideas for a singles match at some point. Fenix plants his brother with the Canadian Destroyer and that’s the end of this tag.

 

WW Championship

Rey Fenix vs. Brian Cage

The middle part of this match was quite disappointing and very rushed. Fenix has been the star of this match. The overall triple match that this has become that is. This final fall is all about Fenix’s insane spots versus Cage’s power. Steiner Screwdriver puts Fenix down and Cage cool spots his way to the inaugural strap.

MORCage

Final Rating: ***3/4 for the whole thing. The middle fall was way too rushed but had to be because the first fall was so long. First fall has all the best stuff in it so don’t cherry pick the end part of this match.

 

October 14 2018

 

Rishi Ghosh vs. The Great O-Kharn

(Rev Pro Global Wars)

Oka is 16-0 coming into this and they have background story to make it feel like a legitimate contest. Gideon Grey having abandoned his mate Rishi in order to manage a sure thing in Oka.

MORGideon

If you want to see a great ring introduction btw; watch Gideon introduce O-Kharn. It’s AMAZING.

This is perhaps the most fiery, excitable performance Rishi Ghosh has delivered in years. We know Rishi isn’t a top tier guy but he’s so overlooked just because he mainly works comedy. His tope is on point here and he works his little socks off. I love that Ghosh steps it up because of O-Kharn’s reputation and people wanting to beat O-Kharn because he’s unbeaten is creating interesting dynamics in his matches. This is all about Rishi though. He pulls out everything in his repertoire here, showing his true depth as a performer. Gideon bashes his mate in the face with a cane and O-Kharn wins. 17-0! The streak continues.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

There are some other notable matches on this. Chris Brookes vs. Tetsuya Naito I watched most of. It is very much T-Shirt Naito but a decent match. Ridgeway vs. Will Ospreay was the semi-final and a very good match but one where Ospreay landed badly from his overhead kick spot and injured himself. If I was Ospreay I’d be taking it easier on the head drops. Ridgeway not to blame in any way. Match ended very suddenly after the Pele Kick.

 

Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship

Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii

(Rev Pro Global Wars)

Ishii is trying to win his belt back here after doing away with the nuisance of WALTER. There is a slight issue here of Rev Pro booking their main events as two New Japan guys versus each other but it feels like Ishii is almost an adopted Rev Pro guy as he gets bigger pushes here than in NJPW. These two lads take the weight of the main event as a great responsibility.

MORSuzuki

Suzuki plays the role of despicable shithead, including his interaction with Chris Roberts, which is always chucklesome. When you even have great chemistry with the refs you know you’re onto a winner. This is paced differently to their first Rev Pro match, which is excellent by the way, with Suzuki looking to dismantle Ishii in every conceivable way. It’s like the Ishii/Sabre matches only with that Suzuki viciousness that comes with years of building the most sadistic offence possible. Ishii’s version of ‘manning up’ here is him encouraging Suzuki to break his fucking leg. When they stop that and start hacking each other apart with chops the match takes on a whole different appearance.

The chop strikes get more and more intense after this. Suzuki just doesn’t give a fuck. I love him so much. Ishii decides to be a dick in return and they go back to smacking each other in the face. When they trade and then naturally collapse together is just wonderful. Suzuki costs himself here, having got the match won and pissing around before hitting the Gotch Style Piledriver. This is the kind of arrogance you get from MiSu. It’s quite wonderful but its his undoing here. Brainbuster gives Ishii his belt back. This was a barnburner between two hard bastards. Ishii gets a bit freaked out as people start to surround the ring and bang on the apron and legs it to the back. I wish he’d celebrate a win. Just once.

Final Rating: ****1/2

 

October 17 2018

 

Before getting into the main here I stopped off to watch Drew Gulak vs. Akira Tozawa. The latter looks to have aged rapidly in the last year.

 

Cedric Alexander vs. Lio Rush vs. TJP vs. Tony Nese vs. Gran Metalik

(WWE 205 Live)

After an epic main event with two lads kicking shit out of each other I thought a change of pace would be nice. Here’s some flippy boys doing flips. And TJ Perkins I guess. You can’t have it all.

MORMurphy

This match is so much fun. 205 Live has been consistently WWE’s best product in 2018. Basically ever since Vince lost interest in the show it’s been great. You can drop in and get good matches on a weekly basis and watch a bunch of guys grow in confidence and stature. Look at Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy. All turned into legitimate stars by this show. Buddy especially. Where was he at before 205? Look at Tony Nese. Before 205 he was a middling guy in EVOLVE with a good body and now he’s working clever spots into his matches. Recognisable stuff for people to get into. He’s turned it around big time without doing a lot. This is the benefit of the WWE machine when it’s used with purpose. Cedric and Lio both hit moves off the top here that pop me. The impacts are insane. I also love Nese attempting murder on Rush with a one-armed powerbomb over the top rope. Metalik’s dodge right into a moonsault to the floor in incredible too. It’s such a well constructed match. It’s this kind of match that should have put 205 Live on the map from day one. Nese fluke pins Cedric with a roll up after Alexander killed Lio with the Lumbar Check. I love this show. Watch this!

Final Rating: ****1/2

 

October 16 2018

 

Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs. Roppongi 3K

(NJPW Junior Tag Team League N1)

The Junior tag league is kicking off here and this is the main event of the first show. It’s only Shingo’s second match in New Japan. A lot has been made of Shingo joining New Japan as a junior but he’s not *that* big. People forgot how tiny everyone is in Dragon Gate so a normal sized dude like Shingo looks big there. This is very much a match to establish Shingo as a player in New Japan. Especially at this weight class. Shingo vs. SHO is fucking great here. They leather each other. Shingo tries to speed it up and SHO is his equal! Shingo definitely adds a Dragon Gate vibe to this match and it breaks down into a barnburner that gets the crowd invested. It’s interesting to note that the crowd is immediately invested in Shingo. The reactions are huge. Also from comms where “he’s so fast” is muttered in hushed tones.

MORShingo

The match has some tremendous near falls. Even popping Kevin Kelly, thinking the match is over. Hell, even I think its over after the Pumping Bomber. Last Falconry finishes and Shingo & BUSHI rack up four points.

Final Rating: ****

 

September 8 2018

 

Kuishinbo Kamen vs. Kikutaro

(Kuishinbo Kamen Produce!)

This is Kamen’s anniversary show so he’s battling his old nemesis, the former Ebessan, Kikutaro. Since Kikutaro moved to Las Vegas he’s been a noticeable absentee on comedy cards and random undercard matches.

MORKamen

Kamen is laden with gifts by the time he hits the ring. The hardcam isn’t focused properly. That should give you an idea of how slack production is. However we’re just here to have a laugh. I’m not going to classically review the match but if you’ve not seen one of theirs before it’s worth a look. I saw a match of theirs for the first time around 15 years ago so it’s surreal to see them still going. The start of the match is identical to the one I watched on YouTube years ago. Their latest prank is an invisible barrier in the ring that they have to hop over. It creates some fascinating sequences.

MORKikutaro

There was a time when these were my two favourite comedy guys anywhere. It’s pretty joyful to see them break out the old shtick. There’s a lot of posing, dancing and ball shots. Kikutaro’s brainbuster set up has gotten even longer and still doesn’t work! I’m a little sad they don’t do the slow-motion/speed-up sequence but maybe Kikutaro is a bit long in the tooth to nail it down. Kamen wins with the Sky Twister Press. No rating on this but I emplore you to watch at least one of their matches even if it isn’t this one.

 

October 10

 

NXT North American Championship

Ricochet (c) vs. Pete Dunne vs. Adam Cole

(NXT TV)

I’m invading Amanda Why’s territory a little here so I’ll keep this brief. Ric and Dunne had one of the best matches anywhere last month on NXT TV. It might have gotten more love if Okada/Tanahashi hadn’t blown everything else out of the water. Will the addition of Adam Cole make the match better or worse? Only time will tell.

MORDunne

Look at how much better WWE production is compared to the Indie crap I’ve been watching? Holy shit. While I don’t rate this on the level of Dunne/Ricochet this is an excellent showcase for Ricochet. Proof that his Indierific offence translates to WWE and is still capable of catching people by surprise. They also do some nifty as fuck triple team moves. The match gets better and better as they hit the near falls and it finishes at the right time with Ricochet breaking up a Dunne pin with a springboard 450 at a wacky angle for the win.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

Summary:

The wrestling continues to be released at a rate that overwhelms me and reduces me to slapping together ‘round up’ columns. Does anyone have any time to watch a bunch of full shows anymore? Anyway, lots of good stuff to watch here. Knock yourselves out!

 

 

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