Watch This Wrestling 46 (11/19–25)

Hello friends! If you look at the below, you’ll see a couple of changes. This upcoming week marks both me watching Impact again (yes, this is all Ethan Page’s responsibility) and my renewed interest in Chikara.

For Chikara, I plan to watch the VOD of the penultimate episode Kill the Moon and possibly attend its season finale Closing Time, a decision which will depend on whether or nor Mike Quackenbush vs David Starr is announced for that show in Philly.

And at some point, I’m going to begin the grand project of watching the show from its 4th season, a long-overdue project. The decision to start there was helped by the excellent Courtney Rose (@ChicagosCRose on twitter).

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

What I Watched

  • Survivor Series 2017, 11/19
  • Progress Chapter 57: Enter Smiling, 11/19
  • Monday Night Raw, 11/20
  • SmackDown LIVE, 11/21
  • 205 Live, 11/21
  • NXT, 11/22
  • Powerbomb.tv: Wazzup, 11/25
  • Powerbomb.tv: This Very Second with Bryce Remsburg, 11/25

Upcoming Watch List

  • Beyond Wrestling/Women’s Wrestling Revolution, 11/27
  • Monday Night Raw, 11/27
  • SmackDown LIVE, 11/28
  • 205 Live, 11/28
  • NXT, 11/29
  • Impact Wrestling, 11/30
  • Chikara: Kill the Moon, ?? VOD
  • Chikara: Closing Time, 12/2 — possibly attending live

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Keith Lee vs. Flash Morgan Webster

Progress Chapter 57: Enter Smiling, 11/19

Nobody’s surprised to see me hand out a best to my two favorites from BOLA 2017, who wrestled a fantastic, epic match, that just happened to be booked the wrong way.

Anyone watching Progress during the last months has to be wondering what they’re doing with Flash. If all of these almost-wins will build to a major character point and a championship, then maybe they’ll be able to say it was worth it.

But Keith Lee loses nothing if Flash manages to eek a suprirse underdog victory out of the WWN Champion, not the least because the title wasn’t on the line. The crowd adored Keith Lee, though, to the point where nobody would even hazard the opinion that he needed to beat The King of the Mods.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Logan Easton LaRoux vs AJ Gray vs Anthony Greene vs Razerhawk, Powerbomb.tv: Wazzup, 11/25
  • Thick Boys (Jay Freddie & John Silver) vs Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy), Powerbomb.tv: Wazzup, 11/25
  • Ringkampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) vs CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) © vs for the PROGRESS Tag Team Championships, Progress Chapter 57: Enter Smiling, 11/19

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

“Revenge can only be found on the road to self-destruction”

Dahlia Black promo via YouTube

While I thought the four-way match that included Dahlia and Jinny was rushed and didn’t gel together as one whole match (instead reeking of two, smashed together), Ms. Black’s pre-match promo was excellent.

Until this moment, this feud existed in short moments where announcers rushed out words to one of the two, who typically had joined them on commentary. While it could have used one more story beat (at the start, showing their friendship pre-injury), it still was the most well-acted (bravo, Dahlia) and necessary story beat of the week.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The shit talking Trent Seven gave Zack Gibson, Progress Chapter 57: Enter Smiling, 11/19
  • All of the weirdness that was Powerbomb.tv: This Very Second with Bryce Remsburg, 11/25

WWE Match of The Week:

AJ Styles vs Brock Lesnar

Survivor Series 2017, 11/19

How could it be anything but this? AJ Styles elevated himself even higher in the lore of WWE by pulling an amazing 1 on 1 match out of the notoriously unreliable Brock Lesnar.

Honorable Mentions: 

WWE Segment of the Week:

Paige Returns, With Friends

Monday Night Raw, 11/20

Obviously, this segment will age well or poorly based on how WWE books Paige and the friends she picked up on her way back to the main roster, but for now, it’s a win.

Not only was it fun and shocking for a return to turn into an invading faction, but it’s quite clever. Rose and Deville provide solid cover and distraction from the controversy that took place during the time where while Paige’s injury (among ohter thing) kept her off camera.

Honorable Mentions:

My Guide To Indie Wrestling Shows

Over the last year or so, I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into the independent wrestling scene, both in New York City and elsewhere. Over those many months, I’ve learned a few things that I wish I’d known before getting into this. Things that I’m going to compile here in brief, digestible portions.

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And if you find yourself looking to attend a show with me, I’m going to have a running list of the shows I plan to attend here. Right now, it’s a little … sparse. More on that in a moment.

Get Familiar With The Product Beforehand (If You Can)

Twitter and YouTube are the two strongest tools you can have in getting a preview of what you’re going to see. Not only will it help with understanding the vibe you’re about to engage with as a fan, but it helps to know what you’ve missed.

Is the promotion family-friendly or is it ultra-violent? Are the wrestlers working a polished style, or is it more of a training school? While the first can be easier to distinguish, the latter can be made confusing.

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Take House of Glory for example. While the promotion looks to garner attention with videos promoting matches feating industry veteran and co-owner Amazing Red taking on the likes of Ricochet and Michael Elgin, that’s the stuff at the main event. Down on the other side of the card, you will find people who are training with the promotion, who have earned a spot on this live show, but still have things to learn.

Learning in advance is also valid for promotions such as Beyond in the North-East US and WXW in Germany, where fans are encouraged to stand against the ring. Yes, you read that right, fans stand up close at some shows.

You don’t need to stand there when you see a show, but for Beyond, knowing how its seating typically looks (and there has been little in the way of actual seats from what I’ve seen), you’ll know more about if a promotion offers an experience you want or not.

This is particularly helpful to you, the fan, because some promotions (HOG in New York, among others) do a particularly poor job of explaining things. Sure, audiences who pay attention will know who to boo and who to cheer, but you’ll have more fun with more knowledge in your pocket.

Specifically, learn the names and gimmicks of the wrestlers performing. The thing about the indie promotions is that their investment priorities are (in descending order) booking some well known performers, reserving a venue and paying talent. That means that you often see corners cut on investing in a working mic, a functional PA system and anything else where they can scrimp.

So, do yourself a favor and make it so you don’t need the people running the show to help you, just that the performers need to put on an entertaining show.

Don’t sit on your hands

While not every match is going to earn a “This is awesome!” chant (it will water down the meaning if they all do), you gotta encourage the talent. You might ask, but shouldn’t paying my hard earned money be enough? To which, I say: “not really.”

Anyone performing for an audience, be it online or in a brick and mortar venue, can do their work at any number of levels. While the best always give it their all, people will work harder with more positive reinforcement. Just think about how you work at your day job, and your relationship with everyone you interact with. It’s not quite different.

So, cheer the good guys, boo the baddies, and for fuck’s sake:

Be nice to those around you

Don’t be a dick and make the environment hard for anyone, especially those who aren’t a part of the majority (which I’d bet is straight white males).

To go back to my first point, learning about the promotion beforehand will help you know how to best act as a member of the audience.

This should be obvious, but it unfortunately requires being said: If you’re a dude, don’t vocally objectify women in any way. Don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable about being around you. Let people enjoy the damn show.

Seating: Front Row vs Other Seats vs Standing

Oh, and about seating. If you’ve paid money for a front row seat, you should know that you’re also paying for the possibility of a wrestler falling into your lap. It’s happened multiple times to myself, and it’s become a reason why I’m more than happy to get GA seating, where you’re free to roam around the area.

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Want an up-close view with less risk? Reserved seating in the second and third rows might be best for you.

Merchandise: Buy Some, OK

Maybe your budget doesn’t have an extra $20 or so in there, but if you do, I cannot more highly recommend you buy a damn shirt. First of all, it’s a nice souvenir of your experience, to take home an item representing your favorite wrestler of the day. Secondly, most of the time you get to buy the shirt from that wrestler, so you can meet them. After you’ve bought that shirt, you can even ask that wrestler for a selfie with them.

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The other major reason of why this is so important, is that shirt and merch sales at shows are financially important to the talent. The best metaphor for how this works is how tips work for workers in the service industry. Sure, the $20 shirt is more expensive than a $5 tip, but that’s due to the costs of producing the shirt, including paying the designer who drafted the logo on the shirt.

Risky Business: Expect It

Once you step outside of the comfy, PG confines of the WWE, you might notice that wrestlers are doing insane things out there. Sure, the more dangerous style of wrestling has seeped into WWE — look at the War Games match and the New Day vs Usos Hell In A Cell — but the indies are the wild west.

First of all, ring quality is often not what it should be. I saw a show in deep Brooklyn in November 2017 where the ring was so shit, it moves a little every time someone did a move into the corner. As I documented in my BOLA video these things can break, and that’s mostly because of promoters being cheap and trying to save money so they can pay the wrestlers more than the pittance they sometimes do.

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And speaking of promoters cheaping out on safety, remember when I brought up rings breaking? And wrestlers falling into your lap? My biggest personal grievance with indie wrestling derives from both, as the metal railings that seperate the front row from the wrestlers can break apart, and then fall in your lap, or against your legs. WHICH CAN REALLY HURT. And cause stupid careless promoters to run out and ask if everyone is OK and run away when nobody is screaming for a lawyer.

My advice? If you’re sitting front row, and think a wrestler is coming your way, brace the railing with your own strength so things don’t fall on you. And if that sounds like a nightmare? Don’t sit front row.

Video Recording: Don’t Tag In

And a weird new thing in indie wrestling. If you want to post a video clip to social media, don’t tag the promotion with their account or hashtag. You will possibly get a DMCA takedown sent to you from that promotion, which takes down your post.

Lastly, a little thing I plan to keep updated:

My schedule for upcoming live wrestling shows:

Evolve 96 on December 9, 2017 in Corona (Queens), NY
The next local show I attend is Evolve 96 at the Elmcor. Yes, the Elmcor, the death venue of NYC which got people sick at Progress NYC.

Sadly, I’ll be riding solo for that since everybody I know is going to a holiday party (if I hadn’t purchased this ticket before those parties were announced, I may not have bought it).

All of the graps in New Orleans from in April 2018, from the 5th through the 8th
Wrestlemania weekend isn’t about Wrestlemania: it’s about all of the indie shows that will follow the WWE to New Orleans. These shows include Progress, RevPro, Joey Janela’s Spring Break 2, Evovle, and others.

Progress: Hello, Wembley in September 2018 in the UK

WTW 45

Watch This Wrestling 45 (11/12—18)

Okay, I’m almost caught up on this project. 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, 11/13
  • SmackDown LIVE, 11/14
  • 205 Live, 11/14
  • NXT, 11/15
  • RevPro Global Wars Nights 1 & 2, VOD 11/17
  • NJPW World Tag League Press Conference, 11/17
  • NXT: TakeOver WarGames, 11/18
  • NJPW World Tag League Night 1: 11/18

Upcoming Watch List

  • Various other NJPW World Tag League events
  • Survivor Series 2017, 11/19
  • Progress Chapter 57: Enter Smiling, 11/19
  • Monday Night Raw, 11/20
  • SmackDown LIVE, 11/21
  • 205 Live, 11/21
  • NXT, 11/22
  • Powerbomb.tv: Wazzup, 11/25
  • Powerbomb.tv: This Very Second with Bryce Remsburg, 11/25

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Keith Lee vs Tomohiro Ishii

RevPro Global Wars Night 1

I’m thankful that the two-night RevPro & NJPW collaboration was made available on NJPW World, because it features this excellent faceoff of two of my favorite big men. Sure, Lee‘s size almost dwarfs Ishii’s, but find me a man who says that Ishii isn’t thicc, and I’ll tell him to get new glasses.

This match has tons of fun moments inlcuding that spine-buster that looked like a choke-slam, and some mind-blowing German suplexes, but there’s one fantastic sequence: Powerbomb -> Guillotine -> Suplex -> DDT that left me scrambling to rewind.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Lord Gideon Grey and Damian “No Fun” Dunne vs Toru Yano and Gedo, RevPro Global Wars Night 1
  • Tetsuya Naito vs Marty Scurll, RevPro Global Wars Night 1
  • CCK (Chris Brookes and Travis Banks) vs Rocky Romero and Yoshi-Hashi, RevPro Global Wars Night 1
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Will Ospreay, RevPro Global Wars Night 2
  • Michael Elgin, Jeff Cobb, David Finlay & Katsuya Kitamura vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Trent & Chuckie T, NJPW World Tag League Night 1, 11/18

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Zack Gibson’s Promos

RevPro Global Wars

If you’ve never seen Zack Gibson — the self-anointed future Number 1 of Liverpool — own a microphone while giving a promo, you need to fix that, and do so soon.

I won’t spoil any of the punchlines in this, but it’s safe to let you know that rather than verbally attack his opponent, The King of Scouse Style harangues the fans in the audience, and questions their actual fandom. And it’s excellent.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream

NXT: TakeOver WarGames, 11/18

The hottest take of the week seems to be the opinion that this wasn’t the match of the week. And while the WarGames match had a lot much to love, I’ll take this concise storytelling over that excess any day of the week.

Let’s first start in praise of a good feud based on differences in characters. All too often, bouts are just about championships or betrayal, but this story of Dream wanting Black to pay him attention, and Black refusing to give it to him, is a perfect first chapter in what I hope will be a storied rivalry and possibly tag-team (in the 2018 Dusty Classic, call them Black Velvet).

Then, a bravo to the match for starting off with the excellent simmer of ground-based offense and technical expertise. That out-of-nowhere Octopus Lock from Black looked even slicker than when ZSJ accomplishes his take on it.

And then when the fireworks went off, it was blazing like the fourth of July. Dream’s Superkicks looked epic and almost cartoonish with their contortion, his rolling Death Valley Driver was magnificent and that inside-out modified DDT was more proof that young Patrick Clark is a superstar in the making.

For more contemplation about this match, check out this episode of Jim Smallman’s Tuesday Night Jaw podcast, to hear Progress co-owner Jon Briley unfurl a mountain of thoughts.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Andrade “Cien” Almas w. Zelina Vega vs Drew McIntyre, NXT: TakeOver WarGames, 11/18
  • The Undisputed Era vs SaNitY vs The Authors of Pain in a triple-threat WarGames match, NXT: TakeOver WarGames, 11/18

WWE Segment of the Week:

“Enjoy infamy, Velveteen Dream.”

NXT: TakeOver WarGames, 11/18

I debated including this in the above, but since that blurb got away from me, I have to bring it here.

The most important part of this, aside from delivering the sentiment that both Black and the Houston audience demanded, is its brevity and indirect language. To only say “Enjoy infamy, Velveteen Dream,” is so honest to the Aleister Black character (curt, mysterious and abstract) that even if you saw it coming, you had to applaud it.

Watch the whole match, and see this as its capper. And then, if you hadn’t seen it yet, check out this post-show interview where Velveteen Dream expresses his relief that Aleister Black said his name:

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 44 (11/5—11)

Hello friends!

And here we have the second week WWE having awakened from slumber. Also, just one non-WWE thing. As I’ve said, I’m trying to change that. NJPW Tag League is coming up to help out, and I may be giving TNA another shot now that it’s employing The Hottest Free Agent in Pro Wrestling: Ethan Page.

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW Power Struggle, 11/5
  • Monday Night Raw, 11/6
  • SmackDown LIVE, 11/7
  • 205 Live, 11/7
  • NXT, 11/8

Upcoming Watch List

  • Monday Night Raw, 11/13
  • SmackDown LIVE, 11/14
  • 205 Live, 11/14
  • NXT, 11/15

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay © for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

NJPW Power Struggle, 11/5

This is a fun match, and I think it’s the best either have had during their runs in New Japan. Sure, Ospreay match’s against Ricochet is iconic, but it at times felt too much like a routine and not like a fight.

And even if Scurll and Ospreay have wrestled a ton of times before, this match didn’t smell at all of two guys going through the motions. Scurll actually fought despicably and Ospreay had to deal with him in mostly non-flippy ways. Good times.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kenny Omega vs Trent Beretta, NJPW Power Struggle, 11/5
  • Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi © for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, NJPW Power Struggle, 11/5
  • David Starr vs Anthony Gangone © for the FBW Championship, Five Borough Wrestling, A Savior Among Us, 11/10

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

A New Challenger Appears for Kenny Omega

NJPW Power Struggle, 11/5

Yep: Jericho vs Omega will happen at WrestleKingdom 12 this year. And if the match alone (and the social media dick measuring contest) didn’t seal the deal on your excitement, check out this promo:

Also, gotta love that Jericho uses a countdown clock for this debut moment, just like he did when he came to WWE. Another smart touch? Jericho is silent for the first few moments of the promo, so the crowd and announcers can lose their collective shit.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

AJ Styles vs Jinder Mahal © for the WWE Championship

SmackDown LIVE, 11/7

I haven’t hated Jinder’s run as champ. First: it irked fans enough to make this match matter a lot, and second: this match didn’t illogically tweak the role of the Singh brothers, Mahal’s not at all-secret weapon, so that AJ could win.

Not only did Styles systematically take down the flopping boys, but his subsequent return into the ring used reversals and ring-awareness so he wouldn’t go down like all the rest.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Enzo Introduces the UK Division to the British WWE Fans

205 Live, 11/7

This gets a best for giving Tyler Bate on the mic, and for continuing to validate the Enzo Experiment. Sometimes you need to get guys over by pairing them with others who already matter.

This segment also won be over by putting Mark Andrews and James Drake on screen. It also showed that WWE is smart enough to not give Joseph Conners a microphone.

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 43 (10/29—11/4)

This week was better than the one before it.

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

What I Watched

  • Beyond Wrestling: Apocalypse Dudes, 10/29
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/30
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/31
  • 205 Live, 10/31
  • NXT, 11/1
  • Fight Club Pro: Day of the Dead, 11/2 VOD
  • Progress Chapter 56: La Danse Macabre, 11/2 VOD

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW Power Struggle, 11/5
  • Monday Night Raw, 11/6
  • SmackDown LIVE, 11/7
  • 205 Live, 11/7
  • NXT, 11/8

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Aussie Open vs Moustache Mountain

Fight Club Pro: Day of the Dead, 11/2

This match almost didn’t make it here, but because Hon. Mention 1 has Stokely and Hon. Mention 2 has Goth Martina, but wow this is a showcase of greatness.

If you’re not familiar with Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis, collectively known as Aussie Open, then take this match — you get Tyler Bate and Trent Seven, you can trust them — as your first taste. Fletcher’s god damn one arm … well, I’ll let you see that, and everything else, for yourself.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jonathan Gresham with Stokely Hathaway vs Travis “Flip” Gordon, Beyond Wrestling: Apocalypse Dudes, 10/29
  • Session Goths vs No Fun Police, Fight Club Pro: Day of the Dead, 11/2

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Entropy

Progress Chapter 56: La Danse Macabre, 11/2

Sure, we gotta boo the heels, but holy heck I write this in praise of this segment. Because

  1. excellent payoff to what Progress was building.
  2. Vicky Haskins is a deity, or possibly a demon.

A closed system inevitably descends into disorder 

📷 @POA_wrestler pic.twitter.com/pvGqdQMkVD

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Authors of Pain vs SAnitY featuring William Regal’s Takeover Announcement

NXT, 11/1

Not only was this a fun match in a week filled with fun WWE matches, but it has a little bonus at the end. Something that most got spoiled by in one way or another.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

“Everybody can get it, and everybody will” – Samoa Joe

Monday Night Raw, 10/30

Watch this promo and answer me this question:

How is Joe not the champion of the universe at this point?

Is it because being a little chubb and not being white are both things that Vince doesn’t think work, and combined, he just can’t put the rocket on you? God damn Joe is the best.

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 42 (10/22—28)

Hello friends!

Another thing that got in the way of me doing these in a timely manner was that I’ve spent more time than ever finding and watching new promotions. Sadly, not too much clicked with me…

What I Watched

  • WWE TLC, 10/22
  • Nova Pro Wrestling: Nova Project 3, 10/22
  • Powerbomb TV: Futures, 10/22
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/23
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/24
  • 205 Live, 10/25
  • NXT, 10/26
  • PCW: Fright Night, 10/27
  • Beyond Wrestling: Denim Recruits, 10/28

Upcoming Watch List

  • Beyond Wrestling: Apocalypse Dudes, 10/29
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/30
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/24
  • 205 Live, 10/25
  • NXT, 10/26
  • Fight Club Pro: Day of the Dead, 11/2 VOD date
  • Progress Chapter 56: La Danse Macabre, 11/2 VOD

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Keith Lee vs The Reapers

PCW Fright Night, 10/27

I loved a Keith Lee match, big surprise, right? Well, it was a … weird week for the stuff I watched outside of WWE. This match wins less for its pacing or any particular workrate, and more for The Friendly Fellow’s ad-libs.

Those include:

  • “Oh my god,” sung in a soul music fashion, in pain, after getting hit hard.
  • “I’m the only actual big lad here,” in response to the crowd’s chant of “big lads wrestling.”
  • Also, the reveal moment was solid.

This came from one of four non-WWE shows I saw that week, and it’s a shame I can’t even find one honorable mention to bring up.

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

“We’re obviously not here to talk about me”

Progress Wrestling/YouTube, 10/25

There’s no high degree of difficulty in making the Progress audience dislike Dennis after he turned on Mark Andrews at Ally Pally, but Eddie’s not resting on that moment. This video grounds his fury in reality, how he’s felt overshadowed and babied by his more prolific partner.

Can’t wait to see where they take it from here.

Honorable Mentions:

  • TKTV episode 1, Demand Progress, 10/25

WWE Match of The Week:

Finn Bálor vs AJ Styles

WWE TLC 2017, 10/22

And in a decision that nobody will argue, this meeting of SmackDown Live’s ace and the man who could have been running Raw had it not been for injury gets a W.

The make-shift ppv match (made after Bray Wyatt went down with an undisclosed, though rumored, sickness) turned out to be the highlight of a show that saw WWE back on its Peak Sports Entertainment Bullshit.

Hopefully, this got enough love backstage for Vince to realize that the show can’t just be Brand Loyalty and “wait did they murder a dude?” moments.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Raw is … Under Siege

Monday Night Raw, 10/23

Don’t let the above confuse you, though: I am all in on Peak Dumbshit-mode in the WWE. Rusev standing on the table shouting. New Day leaving the charge. Rollins off the damn platform. Becky in a leadership position. CHAD. FUCKING. GABLE. putting hands on Jason Jordan.

It’s good. It’s damn good.

Honorable Mentions:

Watch This Wrestling 41 (10/15—21)

Hello friends!

Yep, I took a while off from doing this thing. Why? Mostly because it’s been a busy season outside of this little project. And maybe I’m starting to wonder if this should be a Monthly thing and not a weekly thing. Agree? Disagree? As always, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey to let me know what you think.

What I Watched

  • Evolve 95, 10/15
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/16
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/17
  • 205 Live, 10/17
  • NXT, 10/18
  • Lucha Underground, 10/18
  • CZW: The Wolf of Wrestling, VOD 10/18

Upcoming Watch List

  • WWE TLC, 10/22
  • Nova Pro Wrestling: Nova Project 3, 10/22
  • Powerbomb TV: Futures, 10/22
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/23
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/24
  • 205 Live, 10/25
  • NXT, 10/26
  • PCW: Fright Night, 10/27

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams vs Zack Sabre Jr.

Evolve 95, 10/15

I kinda wanted to give this to one of the Lucha Underground Season 3 finale matches, but couldn’t. Even though I’m writing this almost a month after it happened, Williams vs Sabre Jr. still sticks out in my memory.

A technical master-class, I loved this bout because it continued to push forward the slow-burn story of ZSJ’s weakness. Yes, he won, but Hot Sauce looked amazing here, just like Jaka did the previous night in his non-title victory over Sabre.

Available on WWNlive.com because WWN and FloSlam fell apart faster than a birthday cake in a pro wrestling setting.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Matt Riddle vs Fred Yehi, Evolve 95, 10/15
  • Mil Muertes vs Cage vs Jeremiah Crane, Lucha Underground, 10/18
  • Lucha Underground Career vs. Title Match: Prince Puma vs Champion Johnny Mundo, Lucha Underground, 10/18

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Lucha Underground Finale Montage

Lucha Underground, 10/18

In a surprise to no one, the finale scenes of Lucha Underground’s third season brought all of the thunder. Both of the show’s prior season cappers included shocking moments, but this time it bore an even greater responsibility, as this could have been the series finale, and many fans were aware that Puma’s departure was for real, as the wrestler who portrays him (Ricochet) has been teasing a departure for months and months.

And then, it delivered — and it did so in spades. While we can spend posts debating what Dario Cueto said into a phone as he bled out (he better not be dead, damnit) — and Brandon Stroud already put work into that, we can’t just stall out there. From King Cuerno’s epic trophy room to the surprise appearance in the Lizard Temple to the Spider-Man No More-esque goodbye from Puma, this sequence was exquisite.

And fortunately for me, I took so long to write this that we know this won’t be Lucha’s final season:

pic.twitter.com/eczgLhReET

Also, a little note to Evolve. That crazy clusterfuck ending to Evolve 95 wasn’t how you do a brawl to close out. Sure, you had the epic DARBY OFF THE BACKBOARD spot I desperately wanted to see in Corona, NY (at the death house called The Elmcor), but that was a little too early for The End to be met with a significant challenge.

Available via El Rey, iTunes and other services

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Aleister Black vs Raul Mendoza

NXT, 10/18

It’s funny, I didn’t remember this match when I was skimming through the NXT archives, but fast-forwarding to the middle of it, I realized this was the easy pick of the WWE week. Yes, that’s owed in part to it being a weak week for matches in the E, but this had a memorable moment despite Mendoza being utterly forgettable in it.

Yes, this is one of the excellent matches that stoked the fire of the feud between Black and Velveteen Dream. Dream’s finally finding that character, and Black’s utter fury — taken out on Mendoza — is perfect.

WWE Segment of the Week:

Kevin and Sami Explain Themselves, Again

SmackDown LIVE, 10/10

We don’t know what exactly is going on backstage with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn — reportedly kicked off the last leg of a recent European tour — but on camera they are gold.

This segment, where they harass Daniel Bryan, and go in on him for becoming a corporate lackey, is another example of why Kevin Owens is doing better than most of the company when it comes to promos. He has a memory that outlasts the most recent three months. Bringing up how Bryan used to be anti-authority, and now cares about what’s best for business? Ties the room together, man.

Honorable Mentions:

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: