November Catch Up #1

November Catch Up #1

November Catch Up #1


Heeey, I’ve literally seen no wrestling in at least a week and with it being a big WWE weekender I am about to be screwed. So I have one day to catch up. During which I also need to sneak in a podcast and go to a show. If there were any Becky Lynch matches I’d go to those first, as she’s currently the biggest star in wrestling, but instead I briefly relived the violence of her invading RAW.






Anyway, seeing as The Man didn’t get to wrestle this week here’s an alternative;


November 13 2018


WWE Championship

AJ Styles (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

AJ is enjoying the longest WWE title reign since CM Punk’s 2011-2013 run. It’s entirely deserved. He’s been the most consistent in-ring performer in WWE. Bryan has finally started to feel relevant after a mediocre run since his return seven months ago. He’s held the WWE title three times but due to the nature of his story and his untimely injury as champ in his ‘big’ run he’s barely held it for two months in total. AJ has that reliability and Indie cool that Bryan is now missing.


These two could have a good match in their sleep. They have history and even if they didn’t they are both so accomplished it wouldn’t matter. AJ has been the standard bearer for so long on SmackDown. It’s almost expected that he has great matches. It’s a terrific match too. The high spots are scary. Like the high angle back superplex or AJ doing the Springboard 450 Splash right into knees. The big moment is when Dan Bryan punts AJ square in the knackers with the ref distracted. Busaiku Knee finishes and Bryan turns to the dark side to claim the strap. I feel bad for AJ’s bollocks but that’ll teach him for his views on homosexuals.



Final Rating: ***3/4


Post Match: Bryan beats up the fallen AJ and has this maniacal grin across his face. I don’t really understand why Daniel would turn heel but at the same time it seemed to be the right thing to do. I’m hoping he has an explanation that makes sense.


November 9 2018


Rey Fenix vs. Kenny Omega

This match had a lot of hype attached to it. It’s the main event from NEW Redemption. The worry about bringing Omega in, during his big New Japan run, is that he won’t bring everything because he doesn’t want to get hurt and mess up his big NJPW run. However Rey Fenix is arguably the best wrestler in the world so here we go. Komedy Kenny amuses me but there’s a time and place for him and this needs to be more serious as Fenix is so damn good. So they fly at each other at speed and it’s beautiful. They do the duelling dropkicks spot and Fenix is up so fast from it he actually gets in a dropkick. They throw out a bunch of crazy shit. Fenix’s dive is fucking badass. The walking the rail is awesome. The powerbomb on the ramp is sick. Fenix is so good here. He matches all Kenny’s top tier offence and my only issue with him comes from visible thigh slaps. The rest of his work is velvet.


Fenix does some even crazier shit as the match ups the ante. Missile dropkick on the apron?! Who even thinks about doing that? The moonsault into a German suplex? Whhhaaat? In all honesty the match is on the spotty side but the spots are fucking great. At one point when Fenix escapes One Winged Angel with a poison rana the crowd come unglued. And that’s before a random suplex through a table! The match rumbles on a little too long, having peaked and reduced to Omega hitting a million V-Triggers. I get that it looks cool but it would look a lot cooler if it was considered a killshot. Get hit with the V-Trigger and you’re dead. Instead he uses it as a set up, even here where he catches Fenix coming off the ropes and actually finishes with One Winged Angel.

Final Rating: ****1/2


November 4 2018


Chris Ridgeway vs. Mike Bailey

This is from Rev Pro’s Cockpit 34 show. It sums up how Rev Pro are going right now with hard-hitting action. The whole of the Uprising show that followed this was stiff as fuck. Naturally they kick the shit out of each other. They’re both such lovely softly spoken lads but they get in the ring and kick to kill.

Andy Q tries to claim this match could have gone many ways as they continue to kick each other. To be fair Bailey gets in a tonne of cool stuff around the kick duels including the GIF above and a missed moonsault knees on the apron. Mike fucking hates his own knees. He must do. The series of missed roundhouses is a fun sequence. Bailey takes a bunch of sickening bumps afterwards. Mostly on the top of his head. Riddy going into an assortment of submission attempts at the end is a bit odd and he finishes with a choke. I would rather have seen one of them get caught with a fluke knock out given the number of kicks they were throwing but I can see why they switched gears to show that Riddy isn’t just about kicks. He’s a strong technician too. Great match!

Final Rating: ****1/4


November 11 2018


BJW Strong Championship

Hideki Suzuki (c) vs. Daisuke Sekimoto

This belt has been so badly booked since Sekimoto dropped it they must figure they can put it back on him and just reset! Let’s just forget about that D-Hash experiment and all those dull Hideki title defences. The match itself benefits from brevity. It’s a 15 minute match that’s tight, disciplined and has a lot of impressive power moves. Sekimoto downs Hideki with a German suplex and all is right with the world again!


Final Rating: ***1/2


BJW Deathmatch Championship

Masashi Takeda (c) vs. Masaya Takahashi

Takeda actually beat Takahashi to win the belt back in August 2017. He’s gone on to have an all-time great run. Fourth longest in the history of the title but more importantly a series of matches that have made the world take notice of how outstanding he is at revolutionising the death match style.


A board of forks, you sick fucks.

Takeda prevents serious damage by landing feet first here instead of flat-out killing himself. The match has a lot of spots like that where they hold back a little and I don’t blame Takeda at all as he’s been killing himself for 18 months for my amusement. Takahashi tends to take the nastier bumps including the Spider German onto plunder, which results in significant blood loss from the upper back.


It seems relatively calm for a Takeda match and then there’s a powerbomb through a barbwire frame and then he’s stabbing himself in the face and there’s blood everywhere. Takeda is a fucking lunatic.


It goes from quite violent to ARGH FUCKING CHRIST, JESUS ON A POLE, FUCK, ARRRGH in about a minute. Takeda finds himself stabbed, covered in salt and then pinned. I hurt just looking at the poor bastard.


Final Rating: ****1/4


November 3 2018


Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship

Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki

I’ve been so busy I haven’t even seen Power Struggle. That should give you an idea of how little Me Time I’ve had lately. They go hell for leather from the opening bell and we’re in for another war between these two guys. When Suzuki comes in a bit on the mean side Ishii repeatedly chops in the larynx to try and take the edge off him a bit. And by “take the edge off” I mean legitimately murder in front of a full house in Osaka. All for the honour of being called British champion! I love the fact that they hit forearms with such velocity that the crowd go all quite and pop them. There are no thighs being slapped here. It’s fucking badass!


This is my kind of match. Just two dudes who are tougher than old shoe leather wailing on each other with strikes. The slaps are so great. Ishii finishes with a brainbuster and Suzuki is bleeding from the mouth. Another great match in a series for these two. Ishii’s quest for realistic hard-hitting action continues to make him the most fascinating wrestler in the world for me.

Final Rating: ****1/2


Zack Sabre Jr vs. Tetsuya Naito


You know what you’re getting into with a Sabre match. It’s a tactical battle with him outwitting opponents with a tremendous array of mat skills. Increasingly I’m taking exception to how bad Zack’s bumps are, considering he’s so technically good at everything else. If someone disliked Sabre because of his bumps I would totally understand that. Anyway, the match is your standard Sabre fare and Naito doesn’t exactly kill himself to change that. It’s a fine match but that’s about it. It is nicely fluid but it lacks the passion and rage of the previous match. I know Naito is tranquilo so you’re not likely to get that kind of reaction from him but as a purely athletic contest it isn’t strong enough to be great by itself. There are moments where Zack does something great like countering an Enzuigiri by grabbing the foot and going right into an anklelock. Naito keeps escaping the rash of holds and finishes with Destino. This was good but it’s not in the running for best match on the show let alone MOTM or anything like that. The only major deal here is Naito getting a win back over Zack after dropping two falls to him this year.

Final Rating: ***3/4


November 4 2018


Open the Dream Gate Championship

Masato Yoshino (c) vs. Ben-K

I very rarely watch Dragon Gate but I’m trying to incorporate a few matches into my catch up columns so I can at least keep up to date with who is in what faction.


Yoshino is the babyface here, taking a kicking off the Ben-K faction (R.E.D.) They used to be teammates in MaxiMuM but Ben has turned to the darker, redder, side. The match is on the dull side but benefits from Ben-K making a point of establishing himself as a main eventer. Since he debuted he’s had that ‘future star’ tag and I guess its time for him to live up to it. The crowd do become very animated when he has a shot at winning. There’s certainly a feeling that if he won the reaction would be super loud. The Spiralbomb/counters stuff is nice. I’m a big fan of the Spiralbomb and Ben-K makes these power moves look so effortless. He has incredible core strength. He’s a skinny cruiserweight, like half of the promotion, but he has power that comes from nowhere. Much like Yoshino has incredible speed. He’s sudden. His comeback spots come out of nowhere because of this speed. Plus he’s a capable technician and has all these awesome lucha submissions, like Sol Naciente, which he finishes with. SPEED STAAAAAR! With Lightning and the Thunder! I found this to be a bit of a chore until it got going seriously. Ben-K’s power and inexperience against Yoshino’s unreal skills. It was fun in the end.

Final Rating: ***3/4


November 6 2018


R.E.D. (PAC, Ben-K & Big R Shimizu) vs. MaxiMuM (Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi & Jason Lee) vs. Tribe Vanguard (YAMATO, BxB Hulk & Flamita) vs. Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Kzy & Susumu Yokosuka)

Now this is more like it for Dragon Gate. A bunch of fucking crazies in the same place. Chaos everywhere. Twelve guys to play with. The best spot in the early going is everyone doing flips into the ring and PAC just calmly walking in because he doesn’t want to do anything flamboyant. I’m not convinced PAC has taken the right approach to going back into the Indies (super heel) as everyone was so excited to see him and now he’s being a jerk about it but we’ll see how the long game plays out. PAC is involved in the first big participation spot with everyone else in the match working over his arm. This is a common thread of the match as all the other teams are faces and R.E.D. are heels. I like YAMATO’s mini-story of having a bad back but wanting to do dives anyway because wrestling is fun. When they go to the ‘dives sequence’ PAC, bastard that he is, stops Flamita from diving and then refuses to dive to the floor himself, which leads to Flamita hitting the Spanish Fly on him to the floor.


Kzy battling Doi in a straight up one on one strike duel is one of the most satisfying bits of the match, which goes to prove not everything needs to be 100mph 12 men flying everywhere in these matches.

PAC has incredible control over his body. The way he moves around the ring in this is smooth as fuck. Whatever ring rust was present in his first few matches has certainly gone at this point. As the match continues it gets nuttier and nuttier with a bunch of mad spots until the inevitable backslide arrives and doesn’t get the job done. Flamita pins Horiguchi with Flam Fly. The first elimination coming after 30 minutes of wrestling. As they carry on with a bunch of complicated spots it makes me wonder how they remember all this shit? A 10-12 minute match is bad enough for something pushing 40 having a bunch of intricate break-ups and sequences. It must be tough to remember. Ben-K’s timing on spearing BxB Hulk out of the air is incredible. Shimizu gets the pin. R.E.D. vs. MaxiMuM then! It’s at this point that it becomes apparent this is about Yoshino’s next title defence. He just beat Ben-K so they resume hostilities.

Big R steps up next but gets shrugged off. No, it’s all about PAC. Red Arrow finishes, although notably not on Yoshino. It’s Jason Lee who takes the pin. This was a wild ride. A 38 minute main event with 12 guys busting out a series of logical madness. Fantastic fun.

Final Rating: ****1/4


The following is from Rev Pro TV. I actually watched the entire episode but most of it was while I was eating a salad so I only have commentary on the main.


El Phantasmo vs. Jonathan Gresham

Jon Gresham is one of wrestling’s best kept secrets. He’s never wrestled for a major company, aside from ROH, but everywhere he goes he has outstanding matches. ELP has benefited considerably from coming to the UK on excursion and the man who introduced himself as “Kyle O’Reilly’s best friend” is now a legitimate star in BritWres. Given the participants the match is smooth as silk. Gresh is a hard heel on Rev Pro TV though so Chris Brookes is out here to interfere and Gresham gets disqualified for a nut shot. I’m sad this got truncated.

Final Rating: ***


November 8 2018


Kenoh vs. Naomichi Marufuji

From NOAH’s Global League here’s another potentially ace match up.


Kenoh isn’t faced with his usual size issues here as Marufuji is relatively small. It allows Kenoh to throw kicks and boss his more experienced opponent. As with the other Global League matches I’ve seen it’s stiff as fuck. Kenoh begins this but Marufuji is not taking any shit and does all manner of nasty stuff in response. Including, but not limited to, a brainbuster onto the apron, slamming the door into Kenoh’s side and chopping the bejesus out of him. Marufuji looks like he’s having a wonderful time. When Kenoh tries to establish distance to kick Marufuji he finds his leg kicked out from under him. With Marufuji’s chops and Kenoh’s kicks the match is an absolute war. It is beautifully violent and no one is holding back.

Marufuji fucking crumples Kenoh with his strikes, leaves him struggling to lift his legs and that takes away his kicks.

But Kenoh will not stay down and he keeps coming back. I can almost hear him screaming “come on you bastards, follow me”. He heads up top and hits a 450 Double Stomp!!

Final Rating: ****1/4


Kazusada Higuchi vs. Go Shiozaki

This was earlier on the same show. It doesn’t have the intensity of the main but I’m interested to see how Higuchi does as an outsider in NOAH. He’s been getting extremely good in DDT but he feels like he belongs elsewhere. He’s so big and tough and his sumo background gives him a legitimacy. The fact he bullies and dominates Shiozaki, one of NOAH’s biggest names, says a lot. He does so without even breaking out big strikes too. He’s relatively relaxed and allows Go to fire off his chops and just takes over with his size.


Chests are reddened here. Higuchi takes a severe beating from Go’s brutal chops. This is DAY FUCKING TWO lads, settle down a bit. They don’t. They chop the hell of each other for the entire rest of the match. Higuchi chops harder and harder and Shiozaki doesn’t slow down. It’s amazing. Go batters Higuchi with a big lariat and two warriors take a moment to rest. This was fucking brutal. Fuck me. I’m almost conditioned to accept violent chops with WALTER roaming around Europe but these two murdered each other with the chops.

Final Rating: ****1/4








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