What a week it’s been. So much to talk about, and so many things we can’t talk about.
Of course, though, I can say that this was the week I dropped Impact (fka TNA). It took 19 minutes for that show to focus its whole efforts on the Josh Matthews vs JB storyline and for me to tune out.
Also, this was the week where I learned what it’s like to watch NJPW’s non-English content. Shows with only Japanese commentary are the most engaging, while matches without any commentary and a fixed angle, they can be difficult. For more on NJPW, read my explainer here.
Last little note, who the hell schedules ROH’s content? The ROH Wrestling show that landed on 3/13 was completely incongruous with the promotion’s 3/10 ppv. Not only did it ignore 15th Anniversary, but it had the Young Bucks holding the tag titles. Which they haven’t since March 4th, when they lost them at Manhattan Mayhem.
Below, as usual now, you’ll see what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.
What I Watched:
- ROH 15th Anniversary aka Winner Takes All, 3/10
- New Japan Cup (Night 1) 3/11
- New Japan Cup (Night 2) 3/12
- New Japan Cup (Night 3) 3/13
- ROH Wrestling, 3/13
- WWE Monday Night Raw, 3/13
- New Japan Cup (Night 4) 3/14
- WWE SmackDown Live, 3/14
- WWE 205 Live, 3/14
- WWE Talking Smack Live, 3/14
- New Japan Cup (Night 5) 3/15
- WWE NXT, 3/15
- Impact Wrestling, 3/16 (well, the first 19 minutes)
My Upcoming Watch list:
- Southpaw Regional Wrestling, 3/17
- New Japan Cup 3/17
- wXw 16 Carat Gold (Night 1), 3/17
- WCPW: Matt Riddle vs Cody, 3/18
- New Japan Cup 3/19
- New Japan Cup 3/20
- ROH Wrestling, 3/20
- WWE Monday Night Raw, 3/20
- New Japan Cup 3/20
- WWE SmackDown Live, 3/21
- WWE 205 Live, 3/21
- WWE Talking Smack Live, 3/21
- WWE NXT, 3/22
Segment of the Week (Non-WWE):
Christopher Daniels Promo
ROH 15th Anniversary aka Winner Takes All, 3/10
I went into this late, having known everything that would happen, but damn did Daniels’ promo still pump me up. In part, it works so well because it plays upon his history with the company and his lack of reward, blurring that line and creating that raw emotional tension.
- EVIL’s post-match mini-promo from New Japan Cup (Night 1), 3/11.
Match of the Week (Non-WWE, Overall):
Kenny Omega vs Tomohoro Ishii
New Japan Cup (Night 2), 3/12
I don’t know what would make a man so foolish as to get into a knife-edge chop fight with Ben Grimm. Maybe Kenny Omega doesn’t see Tomohoro Ishii the way I do, which is as New Japan’s version of The Thing from The Fantastic Four.
Either way, this match was fantastic, so much so that I’m using it to start noting the overall best match of the week.
From the Terminator claps from the audience to the back and forth spitting on one another, this match made the New Japan Cup feel important.
My notes include the phrase “such lariat” and I’ll stand behind that. It’s the first no-English commentary match I ever loved and it validated my decision to go deeper down the rabbit hole into the NJPW content.
Available via NJPWworld.com
- Katsuyori Shibata vs Minoru Suzuki from New Japan Cup (Night 2), 3/12
- Christopher Daniels vs Adam Cole © for the ROH World Championship from ROH 15th Anniversary aka Winner Takes All, 3/10
Segment of the Week (WWE):
Who will Mick Foley Fire?
WWE Monday Night Raw, 3/13
I’m not giving a YouTube video for this segment, as I sometimes do. Find it in full, WWE edite too much out of it.
Both the Mick Foley’s Impending Firing storyline and Rollins vs. Triple H have been drawn on for so long that it felt like this night would never come. Therefore, seems fitting that WWE rolled the climaxes for the two into one night.
Mick Foley may often get praise for his Angry Old Veteran promos on Raw, but this segment truly allowed the McMahon/Levesque (pronounced “le•vek”) duo to shine. This segment told us what we already knew (the Authority branding is dead but Steph and Paul still run this town), and made us feel those feelings.
From the look that Steph gives as Triple H’s music hits to Hunter bringing up Foley disappointing his kids and potentially ruining Noelle’s budding career as a WWE Superstar, there’s a lot of beautiful malice happening here.
So to top it off with two returns, a low blow and a beating, help give the coming weeks some stakes. Good job, Raw.
- Bathing Bray, Bryan’s Ultimate Face-Punching Extravaganza and AJ confronts Shanefrom WWE SmackDown Live, 3/14
- Noam Dar tells Daivari that he needs a win, Drew Gulak is Angry, from WWE 205 Live, 3/14
Match of the Week (WWE):
Kassius Ohno vs Bobby Roode © for the NXT Championship
WWE NXT, 3/15
Sure, I’m awarding this match as a compliment, but I should like this match a whole lot more. Hell the audience in Tampa should have enjoyed this match more. I loved the reversals, and that Ohno elbowed Roode out of the ring, but I need to digress a little about what held this back.
The big problem, of course, is that they didn’t get enough time to cook. 14 minutes may sound long for a WWE match on paper, but it’s still the first match Hero wrestled as Ohno in this return to NXT. Therefore, parts of the audience had no idea who he was or why they should care. Also, WWE kinda botched Ohno’s return, with a bunch of telling and not showing. By leaving the stories of his old feuds on the table, by trying to brush the topic of his weight under an unfortunately tucked-in customized Dream Team jersey, they gave a match so meta that audiences would need to be super aware in order to connect.
Also, I don’t buy Ohno or Hero getting fooled into getting his neck hurt by the top rope. Dude’s a veteran. Yes, I spent the majority of this bitching, but it wasn’t the best week for matches in WWE.
- Number One Contender’s Match for the Cruiserweight Championship from WWE 205 Live, 3/14