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Watch This Wrestling 49 (12/10—12/16)

Hello friends!

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

What I Watched

  • Beyond Wrestling: Cold Brew, 12/10
  • Evolve 97, 12/10
  • Fight Club Pro: Infinite, 12/10
  • Monday Night Raw, 12/11
  • SmackDown LIVE, 12/12
  • 205 Live, 12/12
  • NXT, 12/13
  • Death Match 7, 12/13
  • MLW: Never Say Never, 12/13
  • Impact Wrestling, 12/14
  • Progress Chapter 59: Whatever People Say We Are, That’s What We’re Not, 12/15
  • House of Glory: Se7en, 12/16

Upcoming Watch List

  • WWE Clash of Champions 2017, 12/17
  • Monday Night Raw, 12/18
  • SmackDown LIVE, 12/19
  • 205 Live, 12/19
  • NXT, 12/20
  • Progress: Live at the Dome (12/13), 12/22

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Mark Davis vs. Jordan Devlin vs. MK McKinnan vs. Omari (Infinity 2017 – Final)

Fight Club: PRO: Infinity 2017

Fight Club Pro — one of my favorite new promotions to watch this year — came to a raucous crescendo with its Infinity 2017 tournament. And so while I wanted to give the point to one of the many other good matches from that week (wow, see below), this elimination based-fourway was so solid. Not only does it offer a chaotic scramble style, but you practically got a whole other great match when it was down to the final two. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Walter vs David Starr, Beyond Wrestling: Cold Brew, 12/10
  • Darby Allin vs. Keith Lee vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, Evolve 97, 12/10
  • Jaka vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. © (Evolve World Championship), Evolve 97, 12/10
  • Matt Riddle vs. WALTER (No Rope Breaks Match), Evolve 97, 12/10
  • Omari vs. Millie McKenzie (Infinity 2017 – First Round), Fight Club: PRO: Infinity 2017, 12/10 VOD
  • Kay Lee Ray vs. Mark Davis (Infinity 2017 – First Round), Fight Club: PRO: Infinity 2017, 12/10 VOD
  • Ospreay/Okada vs Naito/Takahashi, NJPW World Tag League Final, 12/11
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Chuck Taylor in a Falls Count Anywhere No Ring Match, Death Match 7, 12/13
  • MJF vs Joey Ryan, MLW: Never Say Never, 12/13 
  • Shane Strickland & John Hennigan vs Jimmy Havoc & Darby Allin, MLW: Never Say Never, 12/13
  • Grizzled Young Vets (Zack Gibson & James Drake) vs Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis), Progress Chapter 59: Whatever People Say We Are, That’s What We’re Not, 12/15
  • EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik) vs Private Party vs House Of Gangone vs Brian Burgundy & TJ Marconi, House of Glory: Se7en, 12/16
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Amazing Red, House of Glory: Se7en, 12/16

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

A Wild Chris Jericho Appears… And Then

NJPW World Tag League Final, 12/11

What started as a fantastic surprise now has some teeth to it, thanks to these two segments. Just, bravo. 

Also, gotta love the subtle trolling from Jericho, in the lines saying this match will end Omega, he specifically suggests it’s the end of Omega’s run in New Japan. 

    WWE Match of The Week:

    Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro – Intercontinental Championship Match

    Monday Night Raw, 12/11

    Ah Cesaro. Remember what I said about his former fellow King of Wrestling in WTW 48? Same goes here. 

    And this match allowed him to show management that he’s ready as hell for a singles push if and when Sheamus retires.

    Honorable Mentions:

    WWE Segment of the Week:

    “Don’t talk to Drew like that.” – Tony Nese / Tony Nese vs Enzo Amore

    205 Live, 12/12

    It pissed off many that Enzo Amore got the cruiserweight championship, but wow has this situation helped Drew Gulak. While the below segment focuses on the match between Nese and Amore, I’m only bringing it in as contextual info to a clip WWE’s YouTube doesn’t have, a backstage segment where Gulak’s Team PowerPoint buddy Tony Nese — maybe Drew’s one true friend — stuck up for Drew. 

    The sadness of the betrayal, though. Not since Festival of Friendship has WWE hit this note so well.

    Honorable Mentions:

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    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:

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    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:

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    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: