Good graps this week. But a note about spoilers: they suck. That is all.
As always, if I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.
What I Watched
- Monday Night Raw, 9/11
- SmackDown LIVE, 9/12
- WWE Mae Young Classic Finale, 9/12
- 205 Live, 9/5
- NXT, 9/13
- Lucha Underground, 9/14
- Progress Ch. 55: Chase The Sun, 9/10, then 9/16 VOD
- NJPW: Destruction In Hiroshima, 9/16
Upcoming Watch List
- Monday Night Raw, 9/18
- SmackDown LIVE, 9/19
- 205 Live, 9/19
- NXT, 9/20
- Lucha Underground, 9/20
- NJPW Destruction in Kobe, 9/22
Non-WWE Match of The Week:
Jimmy Havoc vs Mark Haskins in a Deathmatch
Progress Ch. 55: Chase The Sun, 9/10
Progress’s stacked Chapter 55 card produced multiple match of the week candidates, but I’ll give this one to the deathmatch because it kept me guessing, from the edge of my seat. Gotta give it up to Jimmy Havoc for his continued brilliance in this format.
One excellent and interesting detail here was the use of Vicky Haskins in the match, for how the character development progressed.
But if you don’t like deathmatches — and this one has some brutal fucking craziness — you might be better off with any of the title matches, which I list below.
- CCK vs British Strong Style for the Progress Tag Team championship in a ladder match, Progress Ch. 55: Chase The Sun, 9/10
- Toni Storm vs Dhalia Black for the Progress Women’s championship, Progress Ch. 55: Chase The Sun, 9/10
- WALTER vs Timothy Thatcher vs Matt Riddle © for the Atlas championship, Progress Ch. 55: Chase The Sun, 9/10
- Travis Banks vs Pete Dunne for the Progress World championship, Progress Ch. 55: Chase The Sun, 9/10
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, NJPW: Destruction In Hiroshima, 9/16
- Jordynne Grace vs Priscilla Kelly, Shine 45, 9/16
Non-WWE Segment of The Week
That Gauntlet Brawl
Lucha Underground, 9/14
When Lucha Underground wants to go wild, it doesn’t just pull out all the stops, but it just lets everyone into a room at the same time. An excellent game of hot potato.
WWE Match of The Week:
Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane
WWE Mae Young Classic Finale, 9/12
I hope that Vince McMahon’s appearance at the tail end of SmackDown Live helped bump the ratings over on the WWE Network for this match, the finale of the Mae Young Classic. Because Baszler and Sane put on one fucking great match.
While I wasn’t completely engaged during the first watch (still reeling from Vince, to be honest) this match only grew on me when I got a chance to watch it closely. I didn’t fully notice the moment where Shayna begins to sell the injured ribs.
I’m also going to give some blame to the commentary team, as Lita and JR weren’t as terrible as I worried, but still didn’t add anything. I hope this is the last we see of them outside of JR returning for main roster marquee matches.
WWE Segment of the Week:
SmackDown LIVE, 9/5
For the second week in a row, Kevin Owens was at the center of the best non-match moment in WWE TV, and this time he had Vince McMahon on the other side of the ring.
Last week I said KO regained his importance, and this week, I’ll say that his mic work made him a Top Guy. Of course, that will rely on WWE making good on this going forward.
The one thing I want to posit, though, is what if Owens didn’t know the heat butt would happen? Something about him tells me he wouldn’t have been so ready to do this, given everything we know about concussions and CTE. What if Vince popped the ask on him in-ring, off-mic?