Watch This Wrestling 40 (10/8—14)

Hello friends! This didn’t just go up late because there was a lot to watch, but because I did another one for Cageside Seats: Evolve 94 Live Report: A View From The Front Row.

Also, have you watched my video about BOLA yet?

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

What I Watched

  • WWE Hell In A Cell, 10/8
  • MLW One Shot, 10/8
  • PROGRESS: Revelations Of Divine Love, 10/8
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/9
  • NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling, 10/9
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/10
  • 205 Live, 10/10
  • NXT, 10/11
  • Lucha Underground, 10/12
  • Evolve 94, 10/14

Upcoming Watch List

  • Evolve 95, 10/15
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/16
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/17
  • 205 Live, 10/17
  • NXT, 10/18
  • Lucha Underground, 10/18

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Keith Lee vs Matt Riddle: WWN Championship Last Man Standing Match

Evolve 94, 10/14

In a week filled with 4-star matches, it’s hard to pick which one is the best. I’ve been nit-picking the finish of Lee vs Riddle for days, debating how much the Last Man Standing stipulation hurt the match.

Yes, a three-count could have made for a more raucous moment, but this match was still the biggest barn-burner of them all, even when you consider the ending relied on one man not standing up. And since I’ve heard some compelling arguments saying that an I Knocked You Out stip means more than a pinfall, yep this is the winner.

First of all, I loved the rolled-through suplexes to start the match off, placed them on a more-even playing field. The next thing I noticed (from the front row) that made me smile was how Keith Lee worked the match in a very natural way, turning his head to see if Riddle was rising up, and then immediately making an effort to do so at those moments.

I spent much of the hours before the show predicting that Lee would win, to the point where I felt confident. Maybe that’s why I felt the ending looked a little telegraphed, though Riddle spent a lot of time dominating the match, which always signals the comebacks.

On top of the solid build of Lee doing his signature moves, and then having to do them again from the top rope, the post-match moments really tied it all together. Look at how Keith Lee looks at the WWN Championship. We saw more raw emotion here than we ever got from Riddle over this belt, and more than we got from any of the below honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Ricochet vs Shane Strickland, MLW One Shot, 10/8
  • Jinny vs Milly McKenzie, PROGRESS: Revelations Of Divine Love, 10/8
  • Will Ospreay vs Kushida, NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling, 10/9
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito, NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling, 10/9
  • Roppongi 3K vs Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi © for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles, NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling, 10/9
  • Pentagon Dark vs Son of Havoc, Lucha Underground, 10/12
  • Darby Allin vs Jarek 1:20, Evolve 94, 10/14
  • Fred Yehi vs Hot Sauce Tracy Williams, Evolve 94, 10/14
  • Jaka vs Zack Sabre Jr., Evolve 94, 10/14

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Ethan Page: This Generation Sucks, And So Does Shane Strickland

Ethan Page’s YouTube, 10/11

Surprise! I love an Ethan Page YouTube promo! Now that All Ego has left Evolve, his channel is my primary means of seeing the Body Guy talk his shit.

Here, he provides a solid takedown of Shane Strickland for making himself the leader of some loosely affiliated group of CZW talent. And Page makes some damn good points about how there are a lot of people just imitating others.

Now, I don’t see Strickland as a clone, he’s been proving his merit in a lot of places, from the Lucha Underground temple to the MLW One Shot event. But if you look around Strickland, in that video, yeah … Page has a point.

Page is also so far above most of the CZW roster — in terms of mic skills — that he can record this video in his kitchen and make it look easy.

Want another indicator of how this promo is great? It’s sold me on paying for the CZW The Wolf of Wrestling event when it eventually hits an online platform.

Why is that a big deal? Because I didn’t set up an array of mute filters, I have a pretty solid guess as to how the match finishes, as I didn’t see people on Twitter raving about a new champion being crowned. But I still want to see how this goes.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

The Usos vs The New Day for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in a Hell In The Cell Match

Hell In A Cell, 10/8

Up to that moment it was the Best Hell In A Cell match that didn’t feature Mick Foley or The Undertaker. Which is saying something. Super insane spots, lots of inventive mayhem, and oh the trombones. Francesca lost a lot of family that night.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Kevin and Sami Explain Themselves

SmackDown LIVE, 10/10

You know what’s amazing about this? Completely defied the established and hard-to-argue conventional wisdom that Sami Zayn should always be a babyface.

Sure, I’d like that heels be less right about their motivation, but I’m also impressed that this all ties together so well. Most WWE heel turns don’t make this much sense.

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 39 (10/1—7)

Hello friends! Yes, this is the third of three posts that went up late, and back to back to back. Why? Because I was giving every spare piece of energy to this:

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, 10/2
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/3
  • 205 Live, 10/3
  • NXT, 10/4
  • Lucha Underground, 10/4

Upcoming Watch List

  • WWE Hell In A Cell, 10/8
  • MLW One Shot, 10/8
  • PROGRESS: Revelations Of Divine Love, 10/8
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/9
  • NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling, 10/9
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/10
  • 205 Live, 10/10
  • NXT, 10/11
  • Lucha Underground, 10/12

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Hair vs. Mask: Fenix vs. Marty “The Moth” Martinez

Lucha Underground, 10/4

Solid blowoff here, though the victory was clearly foreshadowed to anyone who pays attention to indie wrestling in the US. Fortunately, the match provided serious intensity from both men, as well as enough blood to make you question your will to watch (for a second week in a row).

While the heel turn from The Mariposa didn’t feel foreshadowed, the involvement from both her and Melissa Santos felt necessary and warranted here. I just don’t know where Marty goes from here.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Ivelisse vs Katrina, Lucha Underground, 10/4

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Ethan Page Discusses Future After Evolve Wrestling Departure

Evolve’s loss is the wrestling world’s gain, or so that’s the message that All Ego Ethan Page is projecting. Yet again proving he’s willing to do something different, Page takes the “hottest free agent” trope, and spins it on its head.

Here’s my own letter: 

Dear New York-based indie wrestling promotions,

BOOK ETHAN PAGE.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Ivelisse and Jeremiah Crane argue, Lucha Underground, 10/4

WWE Match of The Week:

Roderick Strong vs Drew McIntyre © for the NXT Championship

NXT, 10/4

A great, brutal, and strong match, but I love it for the kicker at the end of the segment.

In my text editor, I have a passage that reads “As I watch the end of NXT TV 10/4, I cackle. The Roddy Heel Turn Is Apparently On Its Way.”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Roman Reigns vs The Miz © for the Intercontinental Championship, Monday Night Raw, 10/2

WWE Segment of the Week:

Silent fist action

Monday Night Raw, 10/2

The first Raw of the month narrowly averted disaster. While it almost appeared to end with the biggest let-down in ages — Kalisto joining the Cruiserweight division — it didn’t.

Watch This Wrestling 38 (9/24—30)

Hello friends!

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW Destruction in Kobe, 9/24
  • Beyond: Far Beyond Wrestling, 9/24
  • WWE No Mercy, 9/24
  • Monday Night Raw, 9/25
  • SmackDown LIVE, 9/26
  • 205 Live, 9/26
  • NXT, 9/27
  • Lucha Underground, 9/27
  • Fight Club Pro Project Mayhem VI, 9/22+23, released on VOD 9/29+30

Upcoming Watch List

  • Monday Night Raw, 10/2
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/3
  • 205 Live, 10/3
  • NXT, 10/4
  • Lucha Underground, 10/4

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Killshot vs Dante Fox in a Hell of War (Three Stages of Hell) Match

Lucha Underground, 9/25

When wrestling reaches to the furthest depths of its dark heart, it winds up in matches that make you question your own morals. Killshot and Dante (aka AR) Fox created such hideous glory in the best death match of the week, which is a high compliment when Jimmy Havoc’s in a Hashtag-DeathHouse tag team match.

After this match, I need to see Dante Fox and Killshot elevated into the main event picture, as I care about few who will be there next season (aka bye bye Ricochet, have fun in the WWE) as much as them. Specifically, Fox’s facial expressions were as evocative and emotionally gripping as any you see inside the squared circle.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Juice Robinson vs Kenny Omega © for the NJPW US Championship, NJPW Destruction in Kobe, 9/24
  • Death House: Callous Hearts (Clint Margera & Jimmy Havoc) vs Drew Parker & Rickey Shane Page in a Deathmatch, Fight Club Pro Project Mayhem VI Night 1
  • Shane Strickland vs Omari, Fight Club Pro Project Mayhem VI Night 2
  • Joey Janela vs AR Fox, Beyond: Far Beyond Wrestling, 9/24

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Kenny Omega Dunks On YOSHI-HASHI

NJPW Destruction in Kobe, 9/24

NJPW is (on occasion) doing more with its post-show press conferences. This week’s was a delight, because we got to see Kenny Omega give the proper reaction to YOSHI-FRICKIN-HASHI of all people asking for a title shot. That response? Mockery. Stating he’ll give the dude his best match of the year.

WWE Match of The Week:

The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) vs Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins ©

WWE No Mercy, 9/24

It’s very good that I waited 4 extra days to write about this match, because it gave us this fucking shirt:

image

What I love about this match is that it helps everyone. Not only do Rollins and Ambrose look 10 times better than they had during their recent singles pushes, but it elevates Cesaro and Sheamus by making them credible threats to two former world champs.

And yes, this match wasn’t great because of Cesaro’s grizzly dental injury, but that sure did add to it.

Honorable Mentions:
– Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax vs Emma vs Alexa Bliss in a RAW Women’s Championship Fatal 5 Way Match, WWE No Mercy, 9/24
– Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn, SmackDown LIVE, 9/25

WWE Segment of the Week:

As The Enzo Turns

Monday Night Raw, 9/25 and 205 Live, 9/26

This is a story told in three parts. First of all, Neville throwing out the fucks he has about the Cruiserweight title.

Then Braun Strowman wrecking shop, followed by the whole 205 Live gang running … well, destroying Enzo.

Lastly, Enzo’s full, unchallenged promo. Some don’t like a promo that doesn’t get met with opposition. Me, I think it helps confirm that Enzo is now the bad guy, by wearing out his welcome better with audiences. The issue with Enzo is that the crowd always starts to chuckle if he can jaw jack at a target in front of him.

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 37 (9/17—23)

Hello friends! This is a re-post because things have gotten so busy around these parts that I botched the initial version.

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, 9/18
  • SmackDown LIVE, 9/19
  • 205 Live, 9/19
  • NXT, 9/20
  • Lucha Underground, 9/20
  • ROH Death Before Dishonor PPV, 9/22
  • Evolve 92, 9/22
  • Evolve 93, 9/23

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW Destruction in Kobe, 9/24
  • WWE No Mercy, 9/24
  • Monday Night Raw, 9/25
  • SmackDown LIVE, 9/25
  • 205 Live, 9/25
  • NXT, 9/25
  • Lucha Underground, 9/25

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Troll Boyz (ACH & “All Ego” Ethan Page) vs The WorkHorsemen (Anthony Henry & James Drake) © for the Evolve Tag Team Championship

Evolve 92, 9/22

In spite of the incompetence of its own booker, the most successful incompetent carny (who doesn’t even deserve to be named), Evolve puts on damn good wrestling.

This match in particular serves as an excellent example of the above. Ethan Page’s second to last match in Evolve, which allowed him to win gold on his way out, demonstrated that he has range in spite of a promotion that clearly didn’t have enough to keep him signed.

Page and his Troll Boyz partner ACH pulled a great match out of the slightly sloppy WorkHorsemen, who got handed the belt for reasons we still can’t understand. While Page and ACH started as a comedy team, they made the audience love their quest for the win by the end. How? Emotiveness, sheer inventiveness, and sheer h-u-s-t-l-e.

How good is the talent in Evolve? Good enough to make us support that promotion in spite of the fuckheads (yes, plural) at the helm. It truly is a mini-WWE.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Paul London vs Saltador vs Mala Suerte vs Drago vs Cortez Castro vs Pentagon vs Son of Havoc in a Gift of The Gods Title Match, Lucha Underground, 9/20
  • Jason Kincaid vs Zack Sabre, Jr., Evolve 92, 9/22
  • Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs Keith Lee & Matt Riddle, Evolve 92, 9/22
  • Jay White vs Punishment Martinez in a Las Vegas Street Fight, ROH Death Before Dishonor PPV, 9/22
  • Kenny King vs Kushida © for the ROH TV Championship, ROH Death Before Dishonor PPV, 9/22
  • Keith Lee vs Zack Sabre, Jr. © for the Evolve World Championship, Evolve 93, 9/23
  • “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams vs Matt Riddle © for the WWN Championship in an Anything Goes Match, Evolve 93, 9/23

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Matt Riddle Plays The Role of Locker-room Leader

Evolve 93, 9/23

In a moment that feels custom-made for me, Keith Lee stood up to Matt Riddle’s lovable nonsense with some truth. Riddle’s been a child, and hopefully Lee is the last man standing in La Boom.

WWE Match of The Week:

Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly vs Trent Seven and Tyler Bate

NXT, 9/20

How on earth did this become a throwaway match on an NXT TV episode? Fun little match, and an excellent kicker segment with more of NXT’s excellent roster.

WWE Segment of the Week:

Enzo vs Neville On The Mic

205 Live, 9/19

Probably the most important thing of the week was Enzo and Neville continuing to build this promo. With the double turn we saw in the following episodes, I look forward to going back and rewatching this segment.

Honorable Mentions: