Watch This Wrestling 24 (6/18–24)

I don’t have much to say about the Women’s Money In The Bank Match, except for some short bullets:

  1. Hope the rematch on Tuesday is featured as the WWE Match of the Week here in next week’s edition.
  2. You can’t say that either of the primary reactions (the first of feeling betrayed and the second of seeing it as decent booking) is wrong. Both are valid.

As always, if I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched

  • Chikara: Johnny Kidd Invitational, 6/18
  • Money In The Bank, 6/18
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/19
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/19
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/20
  • 205 Live, 6/20
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/20
  • NXT, 6/21
  • Lucha Underground, 6/21
  • GLOW, 6/23
  • Ring of Honor: Best In The World, 6/23
  • Beyond Wrestling: Go With The Flo, 6/24
  • Evolve 86, 6/24

Upcoming Watch List

  • Evolve 87, 6/25
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/26
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/26
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/27
  • 205 Live, 6/27
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/27
  • NXT, 6/28
  • Lucha Underground, 6/28

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

GLOW

Netflix, 6/23

Yep, that’s how little the non-WWE world cared about outside-the-ring segments this week. I’m giving an award not to a wrestling promotion, but a TV show about one. Because when I looked at that last sentence, I realized that GLOW and Lucha Underground have a lot in common.

Both wrestling-related TV shows feature emotional narratives, both require a suspension of disbelief (Marc Maron even being given responsibility as a director of a promotion) and both quite frankly make me feel things. I won’t spoil anything more about the show, other than to say keep your eyes open for wrestlers you might be familiar with.

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Shayna Baszler vs Penelope Ford

Beyond Wrestling: Go With The Flow, 6/24

This was long overdue for me. Possibly due to how I don’t watch Shimmer (yet) and mostly see east coast wrestling promotions, I’d never seen a match featuring Shayna Baszler until this past weekend.

Baszler, whose name gets mentioned with reverence amongst those who have seen her, comes from (and still trains in) the world of MMA, where she produced a record of 15 wins in 26 matches, with 13 of those W’s coming from submissions. If you were as ignorant as I was, her decimation of Penelope Ford is an easy way to be in awe. If I had to compare her to other talents, I’d pick Zack Sabre Jr. and Matt Riddle. That’s how much of an anomaly she is for the American women’s wrestling scene.

Yes, it doesn’t have the wizardry or intensity of the ZSJ or Riddle matches listed below, but it had a greater impact on me, showing me a new kind of female wrestler. While the WWE audiences see Asuka as the paragon of the industry, Baszler’s the kind of talent that likely can’t appear in the Mae Young Classic, as she’d just run through the field too easily. Likely-signed talents such as Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai should dispatch the field of the MYC with similar ease if they do in fact appear.

Beyond Wrestling: Go With The Flow is available on FloSlam.

To hear more about Shayna, who is partially trained by Josh Barnett (who trained Shinsuke Nakamura) watch this excellent interview she did with Aubrey Sitterson, where they review a recent PWG show.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Zack Quack 2, Chikara: Johnny Kidd Invitational, 6/18
  • Matt Riddle vs Hallowicked, Chikara: Johnny Kidd Invitational, 6/18
  • Mariposa vs Fenix, Lucha Underground, 6/21
  • Frankie Kazarian vs Hangman Adam Page, Ring of Honor: Best In The World, 6/23
  • Jaka vs Fred Yehi, Evolve 68, 6/24
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Matt Riddle, Evolve 68, 6/24

WWE Match of The Week:

The Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Money In The Bank, 6/18

Many wanted this to be Shinsuke Nakamura’s match, and, despite his loss, it was. While Sami shined with that insane powerbomb, Owens took insane bumps, and Corbin actually won this thing, it was all about putting a spotlight on Nakamura.

By having Corbin wreck the show by taking the King of Strong Style out mid-entrance, it made the audience pop for Nakamura’s return later on all the greater, as well as their enthusiasm for each and every move he hit. Also, it’s impossible to ignore the intent-filled framing that the camera team gave the AJ/Shinsuke face-off.

Oh, and the match elevated Corbin to the main event. What more do you need?

Honorable Mentions:

  • Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns, Monday Night Raw, 6/19
  • Dolph Ziggler vs Shinsuke Nakamura, SmackDown Live, 6/20
  • Kassius Ohno vs Aleister Black, NXT, 6/21

WWE Segment of the Week:

Corey Graves Solves The Mystery of Who Attacked Cass?

Monday Night Raw, 6/19

I don’t know about you all, but I love True Detective Season 3 with Corey Graves and Kurt Angle.

But that’s not the real story here. The truth of the matter is that Big Cass and Enzo proved the haters (myself included) wrong by showing some depth.

Bravo.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Roman’s Big Announcement, Monday Night Raw, 6/19
  • Carmella and James Ellsworth opening promo, SmackDown Live, 6/20
  • Kassius Ohno and Hideo Itami mend fences, NXT, 6/21

When the locksmith finally arrives when you were five minutes into #GLOW so you gotta wait even longer. (at SoHo)

Watch This Wrestling 23 (6/11–17)

A salad-days week for WWE was only emphasized by a banner show from NJPW. Nothing more needed to be said, really. Apologies for the lateness here, this was delayed by my attending the Johnny Kidd Invitational (more on that later) and the insanity that was Money In The Bank 2017.

As always, if I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched

  • NJPW: Dominion, 6/11
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/12
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/12
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/13
  • 205 Live, 6/13
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/13
  • NXT, 6/14
  • Lucha Underground, 6/14

Upcoming Watch List

  • Chikara: Johnny Kidd Invitational, 6/18
  • Money In The Bank, 6/18
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/19
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/19
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/20
  • 205 Live, 6/20
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/20
  • NXT, 6/21
  • Lucha Underground, 6/21

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

KUSHIDA vs Hiromu Takahashi AND Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada

NJPW: Dominion, 6/11

Here’s a first, we’ve got a draw. Yep, I can’t choose between IWGP Jr. Heavyweight and Heavyweight championship title matches, one of which … well …

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SPOILER ALERT!
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Yes, Omega/Okada 2 ending in a time-limit draw gave me the confidence to let this end in a draw. Both of these matches did one thing unquestionably better than the other, and that’s why I can’t pick. And I feel like I’ve earned a draw, having waited 23 weeks to do so.

Omega vs Okada 2 has the dramatic storytelling that made me scream. That included Omega finally hitting the One Winged Angel too near the rope, Cody being high-key in it for himself, Okada needing the terrible table and most importantly, Omega fainting as Okada tried to hit the Rainmaker lariat.

Unfortunately, it didn’t have the animus and the brevity of KUSHIDA vs Takahashi. That match felt like NJPW’s answer to the Owens vs Zayn feud, with brutal punches from the first bell. While I love Takahashi’s delirious, almost-drugged expressions, I still can’t care about KUSHIDA, because I can’t see much of his emotion.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Roppongi Vice vs Young Bucks, NJPW: Dominion, 6/11
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Naito, NJPW: Dominion, 6/11
  • Roppongi Vice and ? vs The Young Bucks and Adam Page, ROH, 6/12
  • The Mack vs Mala Suerte, Lucha Underground, 6/14
  • Pentagon Dark vs Argenis, Lucha Underground, 6/14

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Cody Interrupts Okada

NJPW: Dominion, 6/11

I have not been a fan of Indie Cody, but here we got a solid character out of him. Not some asshat waffling between heel and face, but a cocky dick’ead.

By crashing the post-match press conference, insulting the face champ Okada, and stealing dude’s beer, this is a firm persona. Further, he even insulted his own stablemate Kenny Omega, when he said Okada’s afraid of facing a true superstar.

WWE Match of The Week:

Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riot vs Asuka

NXT, 6/14

I’ve been doing some back-reads on this blog and I’ve been disappointed with how it doesn’t get to give kudos to women’s wrestling matches. And while Raw and SmackDown Live don’t seem to be scratching that itch at the moment, NXT sure as hell did.

This title match match main-evented NXT, and even though some feel slighted by the quirks of its finish, I’m good with it. Yes, it didn’t make sense for the match to get thrown out when it’s a triple threat, before you realize it’s an elimination match, and by that point it was down to two. The non-finish to this match is good, as it leads to a one-on-one bout that will further showcase Nikki Cross.

WWE Segment of the Week:

Samoa Joe Interview

Monday Night Raw, 6/12

Yes, another week, another round of applause from yours truly for Joseph of Samoa. This guy is fire on the mic, and this promo is nearly-equal in importance to the pull-apart brawl that had him looking strong earlier in the show.

# Watch This Wrestling 22 (6/4—10)

Thankfully, I say wearily, this was a week with a manageable amount of wrestling. Of course, that still included an NJPW event and a Progress event, on top of the weekly regulars.

What’s there to say about this week other than … well, someone better cash in that white briefcase immediately if Lana wins the world title. If her Talking Smack appearance was anything to go on, WWE is possibly going to take the ravishing Russian’s solo career seriously, rather than as a joke, as it did Eva Marie’s never-started one.

Also, make sure to check out the Honorable Mention for best non-WWE segment of the week. It’s a joy.

As always, if I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched

  • Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • WWE Extreme Rules, 6/4
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/5
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/5
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/6
  • 205 Live, 6/6
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/6
  • NXT, 6/7
  • Lucha Underground, 6/7
  • NJPW: Road To Dominion, 6/9

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW: Dominion, 6/11
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/12
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/12
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/13
  • 205 Live, 6/13
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/13
  • NXT, 6/14
  • Lucha Underground, 6/14

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Backstage Bad News for Johnny Mundo

Lucha Underground, 6/7

No video here, but we’ve got a photo still that should be enough to make those of you with El Rey willing to give this show a chance if you haven’t already.

John Hennigan is doing wonders with the himbo role of Mundo, and as-always, he’s getting by with a little help from his friends in the Worldwide Underground.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Tyler Bate vs Travis Banks

Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)

I’ve heard a lot about Travis Banks, from those who love him and believe what he’s selling. As someone who had originally seen him as great, but still the least engaging member of the South Pacific Power Trip, I was waiting for a match like this.

Not watching Progress? The three-day Super Strong Style 16 tournament is a great way to jump in. As you’ll see below, even it’s final day was filled with wonder.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Travis Banks, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Matt Riddle vs Tyler Bate, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Kaylee Ray vs Katey Harvey, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Pete Dunne vs Jeff Cobb, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Mil Muertes vs Prince Puma, Lucha Underground, 6/7
  • Gedo and Tomohiro Ishii vs Yujiro Takahashi and Hangman Page, NJPW: Road To Dominion, 6/9
  • Roppongi Vice (Beretta, Rocky Romero) and Kazuchika Okada vs The Elite (Nick and Matt Jackson and Kenny Omega), NJPW: Road To Dominion, 6/9

WWE Match of The Week:

Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns vs Finn Bálor vs Seth vs Bray Wyatt

WWE Extreme Rules, 6/4

First of all, I’d like to get some credit for calling the finish to this weeks before it happened, during The Ring Post 19.

Second of all, damn, what a fantastic showcase for the top talent of the WWE’s flagship brand. Many are despondent over the absence of Braun Strowman, but this match reminded us that the five top regularly-working male superstars can still go.

Lastly, isn’t the sight of Bray and Joe carrying those steps just the best?

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Samoa Joe and Paul Heyman Get Intimate

Monday Night Raw, 6/5

This segment is the official kickoff of Samoan Joseph’s Big Chance Push. Those of us who’d seen him prior to his showing up in NXT to save Finn Bálor knew there was something fantastic in the guy, and this moment let the entire WWE audience find out.

Nobody can be as afraid as Paul Heyman, who did a masterful job here with Joe.

Honorable Mentions:

It turns out Warner Bros. made a major error while making “Wonder Woman,” and the studio will likely pay for it.

Though WB is overjoyed by the box-office success of its latest DC Comics Extended Universe release, according to reports, it didn’t sign on the movie’s director, Patty Jenkins, for a sequel. Now the studio is under fire from fans who want to see Jenkins return to continue telling the adventures of Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot), after the movie opened to acclaim and exceeded projections at the box office.