Watch This Wrestling 36 (9/10—9/16)

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.

Honorable Mentions:

  • 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.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

“A McMahon”

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?

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 35 (9/3—9/9)

Hello friends! So, thanks to this rundown’s Sunday through Saturday format, this ranking is still hung up on BOLA. Why did I skip NJPW’s shows? Personal time limits met cards whose only matches I saw involved the ongoing thing between Ospreay and Takahashi.

And before you start this, realize minor BOLA spoilers follow. If you want a spoiler-free read, check out this piece I wrote for Cageside Seats about the experience.

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

What I Watched

  • Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Final Stage, 9/3
  • Progress Ch. 54: Go To Your God Like A Soldier:, 9/3 [VOD date]
  • Monday Night Raw, 9/4
  • WWE Mae Young Classic Ep 5-8, 9/4
  • SmackDown LIVE, 9/5
  • 205 Live, 9/5
  • NXT, 9/6
  • Lucha Underground, 9/6

Upcoming Watch List

  • 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, 9/15 [estimated VOD date]

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Keith Lee vs Donovan Dijak

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Final Stage, 9/3

This match is why, if you can only afford to buy or rent one of the BOLA events, you should pick the third, aka Final Stage, without a moment’s pause.

Yes, I’m far from the first to praise this match, with Dave Meltzer giving it a 5-stars rating (is that out of 5 or now out of 6.25?), but wow. It’s the best damn thing. And most of us, I’m guessing, didn’t see see coming. This is one of the great things about BOLA, as the brackets aren’t made public, and you don’t know third day matches until they happen.

The two had just as recently as Night 1 tagged as the Space Jam-inspired Monstars, but even their dynamic chemistry there didn’t make it obvious that Lee and Dijak would steal the show. Instead, it took mere moments into this bout, the third on the card (WHICH IS NOT WHERE YOU TYPICALLY PUT A BARN BURNER), for us in the audience to realize there was something special taking place in front of us. That we truly were going to bask in the glory of a maybe-once-in-a-lifetime feat to feast our eyes upon.

I won’t say any more, other than to say that if this doesn’t put Keith Lee on WWE’s shopping list – as they just picked up Dijak – I don’t know what Regal, The Brian Kendrick and X-Pac were looking at when they were at BOLA. These two redefined what big men can – and should – do, and I’d love to see it all take place again and again, on even grander stages. If you think Braun Strowman’s making 2017 the year of the hoss, just get ready for 2018: When Hosses Learn How To Fly.

Honorable Mentions:

  • All of BOLA Day 3. I thought about going into detail here, but seriously, that could spoil any of what went down. Most know about Lee vs Dijak by now, but let the rest of this night, drink it in maaaan, 9/3
  • Tyler Bate vs Kid Lykos, Progress Ch. 54: Go To Your God Like A Soldier:, 9/3
  • Jinny vs Dahlia Black, Progress Ch. 54: Go To Your God Like A Soldier:, 9/3
  • In a 5-0 Street Fight for an Aztec Medallion, Cortez Castro vs. Joey Ryan, Lucha Underground, 9/6

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Post-BOLA

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Final Stage, 9/3

The rug that tied it all together, the segment that finished BOLA, happening after the Finals victory, explained it all. Again, not going to spoil anything, but just applaud the mic work of those involved. With its wrestling being as good as it is, PWG doesn’t need to oversaturate with storyline, and this felt great.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Flash Morgan Webster’s “Wrestling Friends,” with special guests Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins, Progress Ch. 54: Go To Your God Like A Soldier:, 9/3

WWE Match of The Week:

Toni Storm vs. Kairi Sane

WWE Mae Young Classic Episode 8, 8/28

It’s not a surprise to me that my two favorites in this tournament put on the best WWE match of the last week. While it was competitive, I like that it didn’t feel like Kairi only barely came away with the win, because that would have felt like she definitely had no chance next week. And I desperately want her to win.

But that’s not to say that Toni Storm didn’t make the most of this appearance. She’s one of a few wrestlers who I’d be surprised that WWE doesn’t make a major offer to sign at the end of this thing.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

“You should have died in that crash.”

SmackDown LIVE, 9/5

First of all, thank you SmackDown Live, for doing the little thing, of crossing the wires. For Kevin Owens to interrupt Carmella, is a nice little moment that reminds us that wrestlers aren’t separated by division or locker room. Yes, I’m assuming Ellsworth changes before he gets to the venue and waits for Carmella to.

But, of course, this award goes to Kevin Owens for regaining his importance for the first time in a very long time. Sure, his stuff with Jericho was fun, but this is stronger, meaner and more manipulative.

Watch This Wrestling 34 (8/27—9/2)

This isn’t my tardiest post, but as I had said to expect, it wasn’t going to be one of the timely Sunday posts. BOLA was amazing, but also draining.

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, 8/28
  • WWE Mae Young Classic Ep 1-4, 8/28
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/29
  • 205 Live, 8/29
  • NXT, 8/30
  • Lucha Underground, 8/30
  • Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Stage One, 9/1
  • Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Stage Two, 9/2

Upcoming Watch List

  • Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Final Stage, 9/3
  • Monday Night Raw, 9/4
  • WWE Mae Young Classic Ep 5-8, 9/4
  • SmackDown LIVE, 9/5
  • 205 Live, 9/5
  • NXT, 9/6
  • Lucha Underground, 9/6

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

An Unmasked Castro Meets With Dario Cueto

Lucha Underground, 8/30

A best in-name-only, as there wasn’t much to draw from this week. Being The Elite is getting stale and WWN seems to be in an off-week for YouTube content.

I liked this interaction, between Cueto and the fomerly-undercover cop who was in hiding in his underground wrestling club. Not only was it a surprise, because you don’t expect Castro to walk right into Dario’s office, but it pushed the ball forward in the feud with Joey Ryan.

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Flash Morgan Webster vs Marty Scurll

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Stage One, 9/1

As you’ll see in the honorable mentions, the first two nights of BOLA were (predictably) top-shelf. I could have gone with either of the Keith Lee matches from nights 1 or 2, or the insane The Elite vs The Lucha Trio (Penta El 0M, Fenix, Flamita). But I did not.

That’s because this match feels more … special. I’d never been a card carrying member of the FMW hive before, and now I own two of his shirts.

Why? He didn’t win the crowd over with perfect high spots or anything (one famous wrestling writer noted to me that’s where he needs work), but he showed everything else about how he is very damn good at this wrestling thing.

Wrestling as a babyface to Marty Scurll’s lovable villain is tough, but Flash sold everything beautifully and his buildups for comebacks were a delight. Scurll, for his part, did take to the mic to chastise the audience and get some heat to get the match starting right. And once Scurll had given Webster that starting point, the mod from a town called Malice brought thunder to begin the match.

All in all, it felt like the biggest match of Flash’s career so far.

Curious? Order BOLA via Blu-Ray or DVD from ProWrestlingGuerilla.com or at a date TBD on HighSpotsNetwork.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Brian Cage vs. Dezmond Xavier, BOLA – Stage One, 9/1
  • PENTA EL 0M vs. “Reborn” Matt Sydal, BOLA – Stage One, 9/1
  • The Chosen Bros (Jeff Cobb & Matthew Riddle) vs. The Monstars (Donovan Dijak & Keith Lee), BOLA – Stage One, 9/1
  • Jonah Rock vs. Zack Sabre, Jr., BOLA – Stage One, 9/1
  • Flamita vs. Ricochet, BOLA – Stage One, 9/1
  • Sammy Guevara vs. Joey Janela, BOLA – Stage Two, 9/2
  • Donovan Dijak vs. Trevor Lee, BOLA – Stage Two, 9/2
  • Michael Elgin vs. Matthew Riddle, BOLA – Stage Two, 9/2
  • Travis Banks vs. Mark Haskins, BOLA – Stage Two, 9/2
  • Keith Lee vs. WALTER, BOLA – Stage Two, 9/2
  • REY FENIX, Flamita, & PENTA EL 0M vs. The Elite (Matt & Nick Jackson, Kenny Omega), BOLA – Stage Two, 9/2

WWE Match of The Week:

Abbey Laith vs. Jazzy Gabert

WWE Mae Young Classic Ep 1, 8/28

Much like the Cruiserweight Classic, the Mae Young Classic’s early rounds aren’t all gems. Fortunately, it’s easy to find the best matches of this four episode (each is around 45 minutes) stretch, as they’re the main events. And of those four, this felt the most competitive.

Not only are their animated reactions at the start of the match a solid way to give this brawl some importance, but Laith’s underdog work from beneath during the match properly established Gabert as a force to be reckoned with. Look forward to seeing her future matches.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Cena Pipebombs Reigns

Monday Night Raw, 8/28

As my friend Luis put it in a gchat, you either die a Super Cena, or live long enough to become CM Punk. As David Shoemaker said, this felt like more than a promo, but an intervention.

Nothing I can really add, but just need to give this segment praise, and hope that they can make this feud last all the way through the next half-year or further.

Watch This Wrestling 33 (8/20—26)

This one’s on time! Next week, I’m not so sure. Why? See that last entry in my upcoming watch list? Yes, I’m going on a mini-cation.

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

What I Watched

  • SummerSlam, 8/20
  • Monday Night Raw, 8/21
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/22
  • 205 Live, 8/22
  • Ethan Page: Another Way To Get Paid with ACH, 8/22
  • NXT, 8/23
  • Lucha Underground, 8/23
  • WCPW World Cup – Round of 16, 8/23
  • WCPW World Cup – Quarter Finals, 8/24
  • EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Darby Allin vs. Timothy Thatcher, 8/25
  • WCPW World Cup – Finals, 8/26

Upcoming Watch List

  • Monday Night Raw, 8/28
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/29
  • 205 Live, 8/29
  • NXT, 8/30
  • Lucha Underground, 8/30
  • Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Stage One, 9/1
  • Pro Wrestling Guerrilla 2017 Battle of Los Angeles – Stage Two, 9/2

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Ep. 1: ACH

Ethan Page: Another Way To Get Paid with ACH, 8/22

This was a close one with me, barely going over Tim Thatcher’s farewell to Evolve in another solid mini-doc, but Ethan Page and ACH’s feature-length interview won the week. There’s too much good in here to mention, but Page ripping on Meltzer breaking his own rating system is great on its own.

Ethan Page: Another Way To Get Paid is available on FloSlam.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Mike Bailey vs Will Ospreay

WCPW World Cup – Quarter Finals, 8/24

There’s this great moment at the start of this match where Bailey surprises Ospreay. We know because Will shows so much shock, as he’s long been performing for the cheap seats.

And then, the pace gets wild. The crowd – unlike at most other WCPW World Cup matches – stays in the picture. It’s a grand old time.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Prince Puma vs Pentagon Dark, Lucha Underground, 8/23

WWE Match of The Week:

Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe vs Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar

SummerSlam, 8/20

Yes, this match feels somewhat anticlimactic, because keeping the Swede Fish Championship on Brock Lesnar is just advancing the status quo. Still, it’s a winner.

Why? Because Braun Strowman’s legend grew, as he put Lesnar through two tables and then dumped the third on The Beast. Also? Joe looked great.

Let’s hope Braun can keep some of his shine after his one on one with Brock at No Merci. One last thing: note that Roman ate that pin from Lesnar. He’ll be getting it back to close WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.

WWE Segment of the Week:

The Miz Talks Moments

Monday Night Raw, 8/21

Over the past 2 years, The Miz has been arguably the best heel in the WWE, but until the post-SummerSlam Raw, he’d been stuck in the mid-card. That’s all you need to know before going into this promo.

If they’re not careful, the crowds might turn in Miz’s favor.

Watch This Wrestling 32 (8/13—19)

This one’s later than ever, but with good reasons (excuses).

First of all, I spent my post-SummerSlam energy writing this: The Five Wrestling Fans You Meet in Hell for Cageside Seats, which – judging by the amount of comments – was a good bit of business for them. In it, I unload a lot of long-standing gripes I’ve had with fans, and even chide myself.

And then, before I knew it, I needed to spend my weekend conserving my energy. BOLA is only 5 days away now, and I need to be as close to 💯 for it as possible. So, expect Vol. 33 to drop shortly after this one.

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Finals, 8/13
  • Monday Night Raw, 8/14
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/15
  • 205 Live, 8/15
  • NXT, 8/16
  • Lucha Underground, 8/16
  • House of Glory: High Intensity 6, 8/18
  • NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn III, 8/19

Upcoming Watch List

  • SummerSlam, 8/20
  • Monday Night Raw, 8/21
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/22
  • 205 Live, 8/22
  • Ethan Page: Another Way To Get Paid with ACH, 8/22
  • NXT, 8/23
  • Lucha Underground, 8/23
  • WCPW World Cup – Round of 16, 8/23
  • WCPW World Cup – Quarter Finals, 8/24
  • EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Darby Allin vs. Timothy Thatcher, 8/25
  • WCPW World Cup – Finals, 8/26

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

“I am alive. That is all.”

NJPW: G1 Climax Finals, 8/13

With those words, fans started to breathe again. In a world where undead-men retire and retire and retire afain, these words can mean all the literal word when you worry the exact opposite was going to happen.

That’s because we heard these word uttered by Katsuyori Shibata in his first appearance since his likely-career-ending match with Okada.

I mention this here because I find it necessary to harp on New Japan’s safety issues. This moment’s calming nature is an unfortunate best-case scenario – that these performers haven’t died for their art – for moments that don’t seem to be disappearing from the promotion any time soon.

I’d hope that the terrible tables go away, and shoot-headbutts are banned, but these seem like features and not bugs.

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito

NJPW: G1 Climax Finals, 8/13

This match was amazing because of – and in spite of its – accidental dangerous moments. Specifically everything involving or near the railing or the tables.

Both Naito and Omega managed to make those last second adjustments, ala AJ Styles and Ellsworth, so they didn’t kill each other.

WWE Match of The Week:

Ember Moon vs Asuka ©

NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn III, 8/19

Shades of what NJPW matches did well in the G1. A methodical build, focusing on a limb, false finishes, and a heel deservedly going over. Reminds me a lot of Juice lately, winning by losing.

As a final match for Asuka in NXT, which it appears to be, it’s solid. Unfortunately, I don’t see much of a defined persona for Ember yet. Think she needs at least one more feud down there before she can have a chance to not drown in the cacophony of noise on the main roster.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Akira Tozawa vs Neville, Monday Night Raw, 8/14
  • Johnny Gargano vs Andrade “Cien” Almas", NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn III, 8/19
  • Authors of Pain vs Sanity, NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn III, 8/19

WWE Segment of the Week:

ADAM COLE BAYBAY

NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn III, 8/19

When this was over, I believe, Myke asked me if I was happy with it. Yes, I’m sure I said, because this moment was what NXT needed. It’s the biggest story point – tying together multiple divisions and possibly bringing in the world of pro wrestling – that the NXT brand has ever seen.

And sure, invasion angles don’t have the best history, but it’s NXT’s first and we’ve got high hopes for the long-term execution, as the groundwork has certainly been laid.

First off, Nigel popping hard and yelling ADAM COLE BAYBAY before Cole or the Brooklyn audience could, helps establish that as canon. It also sets up a “what did McGuinness know, and when did he know it?” angle.

Watch This Wrestling 31 (8/6—12)

As promised, this is late af. What I didn’t expect when I said that last week, though, was that some germ that coated the decrepit Elmcor venue would knock me and many others down with a virus after the event.

Not that I should complain, though, as Progress: NYC saw TK Cooper dislocate his ankle after a bad landing from a corkscrew moonsault from the top turnbuckle to many wrestlers outside the ring. 

It happened right in front of me, and kind of broke me in a way. It’s not what made me sick, but watching one of your favorite artists injure themselves is a mindfuck I hope none of you ever get to see.

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 15, 8/6
  • Monday Night Raw, 8/7
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/8
  • 205 Live, 8/8
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 16, 8/8
  • NXT, 8/9
  • Lucha Underground, 8/9
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 17, 8/11
  • Evolve 90, 8/11
  • Battle Club Pro: The Bounty In Kings County, 8/11
  • Evolve 91, 8/12
  • Progress: NYC, 8/12
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 18, 8/12

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Finals, 8/13
  • Monday Night Raw, 8/14
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/15
  • 205 Live, 8/15
  • NXT, 8/16
  • Lucha Underground, 8/16
  • House of Glory: High Intensity 6, 8/18
  • NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn III, 8/19

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Mark Haskins vs Austin Theory vs Mark Andrews vs Keith Lee

Progress: NYC, 8/12

It was a fantastic weekend for wrestling outside of the McMahon shadow (as long as you forget the “working relationships” that Evolve and Progress have with WWE).

And in a week with more excellent 4+ star matches, this unplanned match stands the fuck out. While it was originally slated to be Andrews vs Haskins vs Gibson (Zack Gibson had to bow out to be in a raucous show-opener against Jack Gallagher) those changes led to one of the most gob-smacking moments I’ve born live witness to.

I don’t know if it’s a triple suplex or a powerbomb-suplex, or a tower of suplex, or whatever, but watch this match – if for nothing else – than to see the witchcraft they conduct off of one of those turnbuckles. Haskins and Andrews both looked phenomenal, but the true story is the rising stocks of Keith Lee and newcomer Austin Theory.

Progress: NYC was a madhouse and will likely be made available on Demand Progress once the lads get the time to edit it together.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki, NJPW: G1, 8/8
  • Zack Sabre Jr vs Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW: G1, 8/11
  • Trent Seven and Tyler Bate (British Strong Style) vs Nick Iggy and Kerry Awful (The Carnies), Battle Club Pro: The Bounty in Kings County, 8/11
  • Pete Dunne vs Darius Carter, Battle Club Pro: The Bounty in Kings County, 8/11
  • Juice Robinson vs Michael Elgin, NJPW: G1, 8/12
  • Toru Yano vs Minoru Suzuki, NJPW: G1, 8/12
  • Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada 3, NJPW: G1, 8/12
  • ACH vs Ethan Page, Evolve 91, 8/12
  • Darby Allin vs Timothy Thatcher, Evolve 91, 8/12
  • Chris Dickinson & Jaka vs Travis Banks & TK Cooper, Evolve 91, 8/12
  • Matt Riddle vs Keith Lee vs Tracy Williams vs WALTER for the WWN Championship, Evolve 91, 8/12
  • Joey Janella vs Jimmy Havoc in a No Disqualifications match, Progress: NYC, 8/12
  • Jack Gallagher vs Zack Gibson, Progress: NYC, 8/12
  • Matt Riddle vs WALTER for the Progress Atlas Championship, Progress: NYC, 8/12

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Troll Boys by ACH & Ethan Page

Ethan Page’s YouTube, 8/12

This is the theme music for the newly minted troll comedy tag team of ACH and Ethan Page. Yes, the guys who faced each other in the funniest match of the year came back for another one.

As the video description reads:

We literally recorded this 20 minutes before the show. 

Enjoy.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Last Man Standing Match: Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns

Monday Night Raw, 8/7

Since Brock Lesnar is likely walking out of SummerSlam holding the Swedish Fish Championship (something I’ve been saying for weeks, check the podcast) it’s been great to watch the build to the PPV center around his opponents greatness.

Not only does this match have the chair spot of the year, but it has Solid Snake Samoa Joe, jumping up from out of nowhere to put Roman in a close-quarters-combat chokehold.

Honorable Mentions:

  • TJP vs Rich Swann, 205 Live, 8/8

WWE Segment of the Week:

Kevin Owens Uses his WWE Network subscription

SmackDown LIVE, 8/8

WWE often leans upon fans’ short term memory to tuck away the moments that don’t fit with current storylines. Since Kevin Owens loves this wonderfully weird thing called Pro Wrestling, I’d wager he had some involvement with this lovely segment.

I just wish the YouTube segment didn’t have the network bits edited out. A, it kills the tempo, and B) it’s easy marketing for the network!

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 30 (7/30–8/5)

So, a heads-up. WTW 31 is most-likely hitting the pages late. My excuse? Look down at my schedule for August 11 and 12, and realize I’m attending 3 of those 6 events, and needing to watch the other three after they occur. And then Sunday August 13 will feature the G1 Climax finals?

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 10, 7/30
  • Monday Night Raw, 7/31
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/1
  • 205 Live, 8/1
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 11, 8/1
  • NXT, 8/2
  • Lucha Underground, 8/2
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 12, 8/2
  • Progress Chapter 53: Fate Loves The Fearless, 8/3
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 13, 8/4
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 14, 8/5

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 15, 8/6
  • Monday Night Raw, 8/7
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/8
  • 205 Live, 8/8
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 16, 8/8
  • NXT, 8/9
  • Lucha Underground, 8/9
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 17, 8/11
  • Evolve 90, 8/11
  • Battle Club Pro: The Bounty In Kings County, 8/11
  • Evolve 91, 8/12
  • Progress: NYC, 8/12
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 1, 8/12

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

30 for 30: Stokely Hathaway!?

WWNLive via YouTube, 8/1

Stokely Hathaway is the crown-jewel of Evolve, and this video is further proof that the promotion is aware of it.

My favorite stuff in here is how some wrestlers just talk their talk about Stokely (Keith Lee in particular), while Dream Team affiliate Tim Thatcher simply avoids conversation.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada

NJPW: G1 Climax Day 14, 8/5

The second batch of G1 days didn’t offer the same brilliance as the first set, but god damn this match. In one match, they took Evil, who is the laser-light-loving love-child of Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker, and turned him into a star. If you want to know why Okada is so good, it’s due in part to him making his opponents look like a million bucks.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Dante Fox vs. Prince Puma, Lucha Underground, 8/2
  • Kenny Omega vs Juice Robinson, NJPW: G1 Climax Day 14, 8/5
  • Pete Dunne vs Jack Sexsmith, Progress Chapter 53: Fate Loves The Fearless, 8/3

WWE Match of The Week:

Aleister Black vs Kyle O’Reilly

NXT, 8/2

Leaving Ring of Honor might be the best thing to happen to Kyle O’Reilly’s career. First, he and Keith Lee kill it at Evolve 82 in April, and now this.

Sure, the ending isn’t what you might have wanted, but this match is a barn-burner.

  • John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, SmackDown LIVE, 8/1
  • AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens, SmackDown LIVE, 8/1

WWE Segment of the Week:

Fashion Peaks

SmackDown LIVE, 8/1

You don’t have to be a Twin Peaks fan to find Fashion Peaks hilarious. How do I know? I’ve tried and failed with the classic David Lynch TV show, but this segment still had me rolling in my chair.

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 29 (7/23–29)

Yep, this is late. Blame Atomic Blonde. Had I not gone to see that, I’d have kept to schedule and had time, and probably not fell asleep before I could do this on Sunday and then on Monday.

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 5, 7/23
  • WWE Battleground, 7/23
  • Monday Night Raw, 7/24
  • SmackDown LIVE, 7/25
  • 205 Live, 7/25
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 6, 7/25
  • NXT, 7/26
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 7, 7/26
  • Lucha Underground, 7/26
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 8, 7/27
  • Progress Chapter 52: Vote Pies, 7/28 VOD
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 9, 7/29

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 10, 7/30
  • Monday Night Raw, 7/31
  • SmackDown LIVE, 8/1
  • 205 Live, 8/1
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 11, 8/1
  • NXT, 8/2
  • Lucha Underground, 8/2
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 12, 8/2
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 13, 8/4
  • Progress Chapter 53: Fate Loves The Fearless, TBD VOD
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 14, 8/5

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

ACH: The Main Event Player

An Evolve Mini-Doc, 7/23

The story of ACH breaking bad in Evolve is a solid way to make use of him after his title opportunities didn’t go his way and he was out of the title picture. And to make matters better, this mini-doc hits the perfect tone with its handling of his comical match with Ethan Page.

While I think this video and push could bring the Super one back to the top of the mountain as a heel, but on August 12, in Queens, NY, he’ll be facing Ethan Page again, in an opening match. I look forward to seeing how Evolve makes them actually work.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Catrina confronts Penta, Lucha Underground, 7/26
  • Son of Havoc orders a drink, Lucha Underground, 7/26

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Michael Elgin vs Kenny Omega

NJPW: G1 Climax, 7/27

Possibly the most shocking match so far, Omega’s loss to Elgin is memorable because of how it hooked me. I believed Kenny wouldn’t lose in the tournament, possibly until Okada, but the G1 loves to surprise.

I was so glued to the screen once Omega couldn’t close, I don’t have any notes about this match other than a tweet that reads “holy hell Large Michael.”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW: G1 Climax, 7/23
  • Laura Di Matteo vs. Toni Storm © (Progress Women’s Championship), Progress Chapter 52: Vote Pies, 7/28
  • Matt Riddle vs. Travis Banks, Progress Chapter 52: Vote Pies, 7/28
  • Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA, NJPW: G1 Climax, 7/25
  • Michael Elgin vs Kenny Omega, NJPW: G1 Climax, 7/27
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito, NJPW: G1 Climax, 7/29

WWE Match of The Week:

New Day vs The Usos

WWE Battleground, 7/23

Easily the match of the night, and proof that the best match that doesn’t feature The Great Khali should start the show off. With the Uces over, this match only needed to accomplish one thing (which it did) let Xavier Woods shine.

By having Big E sit out, Xavier got to be the hot tag for Kofi, who’s always done a good job of being the babyface in peril. The finish, though, emphatically shouts GAME OVER at Woods’ critics, if they exist.

WWE Segment of the Week:

The Fashion X-Files

WWE Battleground, 7/23

In a segment that is mysteriously not available on WWE’s YouTube channel – find it on the network – we laughed and we cried out in shock. Could not believe they pulled the stuffed horse head out, but I was pleasantly surprised that they used Mulder and Scully’s tension as a way to toy with those writing slash-fic for Breeze and Dango.

Maybe the kidnapping of Dept. Dango will go somewhere. We can only hope that The Truth Is H.