June 2019 Catch Up

June 2019 Catch Up

June 2019 Catch Up

 

Oh hey, shit, another month has gone huh? I really haven’t been ‘with it’ recently although I enjoyed Dominion and AEW at the start of the month. Everyone needs a little time out. Next weekend I am totally at the Graps. Four shows in three days baby. Fight Club Pro, EVE, Southside and EVE at York Hall. In spite of my absence wrestling has been carrying on and here’s some highly recommended grappling I’ve missed during the month of June.

 

Seigo Tachibana vs. Shotaro Ashino

(Wrestle-1 2.6.19)

As someone who mainly watches the top end of Wrestle-1 the name “Seigo Tachibana” means next to nothing to me. Obviously Ashino has been Wrestle-1’s ace and rose to that position with remarkable speed and efficiency. This is the opening round of Wrestle-1’s Grand Prix tournament and it isn’t even the main event. For Tachibana he takes the match like there’s nothing to lose. He’s a motherfucker. One of the first moves he does is a spear. He then spends the rest of the match trying to break Ashino’s arm. Ashino is being out-dickheaded! Ashino is also fantastic at selling and being unable to use his injured arm for simple moves like waistlocks and Irish whips. Oh my word, I’m in selling heaven. The way he cleverly switches to strikes, using his strong arm, is great too. When he does attempt lifts he has his strong right arm holding the left one in place. The left one isn’t doing the lifting.

June1Ashino

Ashino gets busted open hardway and does a magnificent job of incorporating that into his reactions. They also do a killer job of teasing Tachibana getting the submission only for Ashino to hook the anklelock in the middle of the ring and drop down into a heel hook for the tap out. This was a really well structured match that gave Tachibana a huge boost without having him actually win. He pushed Ashino to his limits.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

PAC vs. Michael Oku

(Rev Pro Live at the Cockpit 42 2.6.19)

PAC hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since returning to the Indies but a lot of that has been down to a) character work and b) uninspired booking. Now this is something I can get behind. PAC isn’t losing matches so stick him in with guys he should beat and deserve to be elevated. OJMO is the perfect example of this.

June1Oku

June1PACu

PAC is a bastard. People have been inclined to cheer for him since he came back but here his character makes perfect sense as he bullies Oku. The attempted count out and PAC sitting on the buckles sarcastically applauding Oku as he beats the count is perfect. I’ve been championing OJMO to anyone that will listen since last May. I’m pleased to see him in these big matches. Brit Wres has had to make new stars and Oku has the personality and skill to slot into a top spot. Yeah, he’s skinny but that’ll come in time. PAC is small enough to make this a realistic contest and they tell a good story of Oku getting closer and closer to a pin as an underdog.

JUne1PacOku

The cheeky roll up pins near the finish are incredible. PAC is so good at selling shock. The idea that he’s burned himself out is very real. PAC’s reversal into the German suplex signals the end. He’s done playing. Oku has earned a Tombstone and a Red Arrow. Oku survived for nearly 30 minutes here and kept coming close to the upset. Everyone in the underground Brit Wres scene has known about Oku for a while but this is a demonstration of how close he is to being a break-out star.

Final Rating: ****

 

Chris Dickinson vs. Josh Alexander

(Beyond Uncharted Territory Episode 10 5.6.19)

Bit of a switch from the last match. These two are both technically accomplished and built. I’m confused as to why Josh isn’t a bigger star than he is.

June1JoshA

They start with technical proficiency and then after a couple of minutes they just beat the shit out of each other. It’s my kind of fight! It’s a mesh of strikes and big bombs. Josh occasionally looking for an anklelock. They work so hard and if you didn’t know either of them coming in you’d leave as a fan. Dickinson picks up the win with a lariat but both guys win in my eyes. Tremendous hard-hitting match. I loved it.

JUne1Dickinson

Final Rating: ****

 

El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Laredo Kid

(AAA Conquista Total Gira 9.6.19)

I fucking love AAA. If the booking made sense and they actually pushed the young guys with all the athleticism I’d watch it on the regular. This match is nicely put together but lacks the anger and realism to take it to the next level.

But occasionally El Hijo del Vikingo does something that completely blows my mind.

El Hijo del Vikingo eventually buggers his leg up, which results in a change of pace and a distinctly lucharesu approach.

Then it goes back to craziness.

June1Vikingo

“Esto loco, esto loco”. This match is proper nutty. They do a spot where Vikingo hits an Imploding 450 and Laredo Kid can’t kick out…so he grabs the rope. Then after that the Laredo Fly hits (the Thesz Press version of the Spanish Fly) and Vikingo is there reaching for the ropes, with that spot fresh in his mind, only he’s fucking miles away so it doesn’t work but it looks *GREAT*. I loved this so much.

June1Vikingo2

Final Rating: ****1/2

 

 

Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs. Takashi Sugiura

(NOAH Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial Show 9.6.19)

I’m breaking my NOAH boycott because they went back to a green ring for the Misawa anniversary. Quite why they feel the need to disrespect his legacy by using a white canvas the rest of the time is a mystery to me. It’s a shame I’ve been forced to abandon NOAH at this time with Kiyomiya grabbing the mantle of the companies new ace. Taking it from Sugiura, kicking and screaming. Unfortunately this is one of those NOAH main events that’s super long and meandering. Without my regular investment in the promotion I feel extremely distant from the action. Like it’s taking place in a different world.

JUne1Misawa

This is amplified by the banner of Misawa hanging over the ring. His ghost admiring the action. As the match progresses I find myself more and more withdrawn. It’s a reminder of how distant wrestling felt to me after Misawa’s death ten years ago. One of many reasons why I fell out of love with wrestling for a while back then. Sugiura’s attempts to murder Kiyomiya would normally tickle my fancy but here I’m not interested. In any other setting I would have eaten this up. Sugiura is great here but I’m not feeling it and if there’s one thing I’ve learned its that if you’re not feeling it then just give it a pass. Why waste your time on something that’s not your bag. I miss Misawa. Kiyomiya retains. Aside from the odd strike exchange I was bored out of my mind here.

Final Rating: ***

 

Chad Gable vs. Jack Gallagher

(WWE 205 Live 133 11.6.19)

Remember NXT Chad Gable? Ready, willing and Gable? He was a ‘can’t miss’ talent. One of the best technicians WWE have on their books and then they split him and Jason Jordan up on the main roster and he’s been drifting ever since. On the main roster he has certainly gained muscle definition. I don’t think I’ve seen him work in a year and it looks like he’s piled on muscle. But like toned muscle, not weight. The match has some lovely mat stuff going on but it doesn’t really get up into the Buddy Murphy/Cedric Alexander/Mustafa Ali levels of cool when they go into the high spots.

June1Gallagher

Both guys take nasty shots. Gable bleeds from the mouth. Jack has welts on his leg and back. Jack gets counted out in a weird finish where it looked like he tried to beat the count. This peaked with Chad’s rolling suplexes. The transitions were beautiful. Hopefully Gable can get his career back on track here.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Akira Towaza vs. Oney Lorcan vs. Humberto Carillo vs. Drew Gulak

(WWE 205 Live 133 11.6.19)

Put the belt on Oney, please. There is a great mix of talent here with the hard hitting Lorcan, the speedy Towaza, technician Gulak and lucha star Carillo mixing it up. It’s the kind of ‘outside the box’ approach that the Indies have been trying to do so to see it in WWE is nice. 205 Live is easily WWE’s best show. Quite why it took them so long to get to this point is a mystery (it’s not, that’s on Vince McMahon). By the time this match hits the wacky dives bit it’s full on Fun.

June1Oney.gif

Daivari takes out Lorcan. The barricade takes out Carillo. The finish is a weird double pin where Gulak hits a superplex but Towaza cradles him. They both win. Yay. Dumb finish but a very entertaining match.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Joey Janela vs. Kris Stadtlander

(Beyond Uncharted Territory 11 12.6.19)

Stadtlander is a big prospect. She’s improved significantly since I first saw her around two years ago (just after she started). Working IG has helped a great deal as she’s quite large for a women’s wrestler. Janela shows her another level here. The cradle suplex onto the apron off the top is fucking insane. Janela is quite protective while doing these daft spots but credit to Kris for taking a tasty bump. The story of the match is Kris refusing to stay down after taking a series of high spots. It’s all in the kick-outs. She almost beats Janela by not staying down for a three. It’s a good story. Janela sells it well.

It gets a bit dumb as they trade superkicks but the crowd are very into it. Janela tends to be an ideas machine. So you get a very scattershot approach. Some of it is wild. His work with doors in this match is quite disturbing. Kris kicking out of the top rope driver through a table is AMAZING. That’s a surefire finish right there.

June1Janela

Kris returns this and gets belted with a superkick. Match over. Great stuff. Some of this was overkill but that’s how they got such a big pops for the kick-outs. Stadtlander looked great here and she’s only two years in. Most wrestlers get good about three-four years in.

Final Rating: ****

 

Summary:

June hasn’t been a big month for pro-wrestling (NJPW aside) but there’s some good shit here. Smaller shows delivering and lesser known wrestlers smashing it.

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