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:

    Watch This Wrestling 48 (12/3—12/9)

    Hello friends!

    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, 12/5
    • SmackDown LIVE, 12/5
    • 205 Live, 12/5
    • NXT, 12/6
    • Impact Wrestling, 12/7
    • Evolve 96, 12/9

    Upcoming Watch List

    • 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
    • Impact Wrestling, 12/14

    Non-WWE Match of The Week:

    Walter vs Keith Lee

    Evolve 96, 12/9

    Nobody is surprised to see me post this match here, but this earned the spot thanks to improvement. Yes, this rematch from BOLA shows improvement from the Viennese powerhouse-slash-GAWD-himself WALTER, who’s even more nimble before. 

    Also, Keith Lee’s somehow gotten even more charismatic and better with his ad libs than when they met in Reseda. Overall, this match benefits from a better pacing, as well.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Non-WWE Segment of The Week

    Park Park and Park: Your New Lawyers

    Impact, 12/7

    For the first time since Matt Hardy’s Broken Universe departed Impact, it felt as if someone got the chance to be creative in that company. Love the editing, and love Page as Chandler Park. But, had it not been for the Knockouts triple threat match I mention above, that episode of Impact would have been a complete waste of time.

    Honorable Mentions:

    WWE Match of The Week:

    Kassius Ohno vs Johnny Gargano

    NXT, 12/6

    I often find myself silently asking “Why can’t Kassius Ohno just be Chris Hero and wreck shop at NXT?” I get it, that’s not the role they want for him down there, and sure, he really helped the Gargano Renewal Project get back up off the mat, but it was a shame that it came at Ohno’s expense. Fantastic match though.

    Honorable Mentions:

    WWE Segment of the Week:

    Woken Matt

    Monday Night Raw, 12/4

    There are two camps when it comes to the WWE’s handling of Woken Matt Hardy. I find myself on the side of those who is completely fine with the overly-repeitive WOKEN graphic with shattered glass. It’s a small way to clue the WWE audience (which in most capacities, didn’t watch the Broken Matt stuff from TNA) into the fact that shit’s about to get weird.

    Also, I really dig this because it looks like Bray’s finally having fun within his character again.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Watch This Wrestling 47 (11/27—12/2)

    Hello friends! Yes, it’s been forever since I’ve put one of these out, more on that in WTW 50 (want it at the top of the posts).

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

    What I Watched

    • Beyond Wrestling Pre-Show & 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
    • Progress Chapter 58: Live Your Best Life, 12/1
    • Chikara: Kill the Moon, 12/2 VOD
    • Chikara: Closing Time, 12/2

    Upcoming Watch List

    • Monday Night Raw, 12/5
    • SmackDown LIVE, 12/5
    • 205 Live, 12/5
    • NXT, 12/6
    • Impact Wrestling, 12/7
    • Evolve 96, 12/9

    Non-WWE Match of The Week:

    Dahlia Black vs. Jinny: PROGRESS Women’s Title #1 Contendership No Disqualification Match

    Progress Chapter 58: Live Your Best Life

    It’s a shame that Progress can only run one women’s storyline at a time (there’s no story in the Women’s championship picture). Fantastic fucking match, though. 

    Honorable Mentions:

    • David Starr vs Nick Gage, Beyond Wrestling Pre-Show, 11/27
    • Dasher Hatfield vs Juan Francisco de Coronado, Chikara: Closing Time, 12/2

    Non-WWE Segment of The Week

    Strangler Davis vs. Timothy Thatcher: PROGRESS Atlas Title #1 Contendership Match

    Progress Chapter 58: Live Your Best Life

    Yes, this is technically a match. But it’s less about the match than the incident inside of it. Excellent drama, only slightly dampened by the weird way it went down. Didn’t hate the technique, though.

    Honorable Mentions:

    WWE Match of The Week:

    Elias w/ The Miztourage vs. Roman Reigns for the Intercontinental championship

    Monday Night Raw, 11/27

    And Roman Reigns’ Intercontential Championship Open Challenge began not with a bang, but with a surprising set of bedfellows. Pairing Elias with Dallas and Axel worked, though, as it helped the audience know to boo the drifter, as crowds have tended to ironically enjoy him.

    But in defeat, Elias won big time. Nobody would have been able to say he could go before this match, but now we can. Maybe Roman Reigns is a good wrestler, WINK.

    Honorable Mentions:

    WWE Segment of the Week:

    Drew Gulak explains Team PowerPoint as DC Superheroes

    205 Live, 11/28

    In another instance of delayed blogging helping, a couple week’s wait allowed this segment to age beautifully.

    First of all, wow: Team PowerPoint. It’s a great name, especially given Gulak’s sincerity. Also, why does Tony Nese blanch at the Aquaman comparison? Who the hell else does he think he is? Superman? Clark isn’t counting abs, and Nese isn’t writing at the Daily Planet. OR IS HE?

    Honorable Mentions:

    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:

    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 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 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 25 (6/25–7/1)

    With this post, I’ve hit the half-year mark of the Watch This Wrestling project! I don’t know if we’re going to hit 52 editions, because of scheduling changes I made, but after this post goes up, I’m considering these first 25 to be the first half of the year, which I’ll use for a roundup.

    The other bit of preamble, anyone else wondering what inspired the WWE to book women’s main events in all three of their major shows this past week? Was it GLOW debuting, or how poorly they did in the previous week? Either way, I hope this emphasis continues, instead of fading away.

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

    What I Watched

    • Evolve 87, 6/25
    • Monday Night Raw, 6/26
    • ROH Wrestling, 6/26
    • SmackDown LIVE, 6/27
    • 205 Live, 6/27
    • Talking Smack Live, 6/27
    • NXT, 6/28
    • Lucha Underground, 6/28
    • New Japan G1 Special Night 1, 7/1

    Upcoming Watch List

    • New Japan G1 Special Night 2, 7/2
    • Monday Night Raw, 7/3
    • ROH Wrestling, 7/3
    • SmackDown LIVE, 7/4
    • 205 Live, 7/4
    • Talking Smack Live, 7/4
    • NXT, 7/5
    • Lucha Underground, 7/5
    • Evolve 88, 7/8

    Non-WWE Match of The Week:

    Zack Sabre Jr. vs Jaka

    Evolve 87, 6/25

    I hope that the solid barn-burner that was Evolve 87 doesn’t get lost in the overshadowing nature of NJPW’s #G1USA event, because holy shit it was more consistent than either night of those Long Beach shows. but I loved this match so much.

    Why? Because this match showed that Jaka can be a singles wrestler, and a very damn good one at that. The story was simple: don’t sleep on Jaka. Zack Sabre Jr. spent the match evolving from that state of slumber to one of being wide-the-fuck-awake at the guy’s ability.

    And to have it end with Jaka, a heel, be sad that he couldn’t get it done, and have it come across as sincere and not ruin his heelishness? Excellent. Love that he was visually stuck inside the moment, which felt natural.

    Honorable Mentions:

    • Keith Lee vs Matt Riddle, Evolve 87, 6/25
    • Fred Yehi vs Chris Dickinson. Evolve 87, 6/25
    • Bobby Fish vs Silas Young, ROH Wrestling, 6/26
    • Jay White vs Punishment Martinez, ROH Wrestling, 6/26
    • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Juice Robinson, New Japan G1 Special Night 1, 7/1
    • Michael Elgin vs Kenny Omega, New Japan G1 Special Night 1, 7/1
    • Kazuchika Okada vs Cody, New Japan G1 Special Night 1, 7/1

    WWE Match of The Week:

    Asuka vs. Nikki Cross: Last Woman Standing

    NXT, 6/28

    First off, the start of this match has a pacing to it that is missing from WWE matches. Sure, they may have just used three headlock tie-ups and a dodged kick, but those moments fit with them analyzing each other so well, that it immediately lent the match some urgency and big fight feel.

    I wondered how the stipulation would fit into how the match played out, but since neither is a technical wrestler, it works as a brawl. That also made the finish, an impact move, make sense, even though it didn’t target the legs.

    Honorable Mentions:

    • The Raw Women’s division in a number one contender’s gauntlet match, Monday Night Raw, 6/26
    • Carmella vs Natalya vs Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Tamina in a Money In The Bank Ladder Match, SmackDown Live, 6/27

    WWE Segment of the Week:

    Enzo and Cass Make-up to Break-up

    Monday Night Raw, 6/26

    This feels weird, but it’s earned. Mostly because of how it succeeded by going completely against the grain. For Enzo to come out there, and humble himself, and own his bullshit, is not what a WWE face does. So often, as a Cageside Seats post pointed out, only the WWE heels make sense, as Cass did last week.

    So for Cass to wreck Enzo after his former lil buddy made so much sense, and after falsely forgiving him? That makes Cass a true villain, and it shows they’re going all-in on this.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Non-WWE Segment of The Week

    Dario Cueto finds competition for Son of Havoc

    Lucha Underground, 6/28

    Not the strongest week for outside the ring content, but this segment had me howling. Why? The show introduced a new character who seems to be from Son of Havoc’s past, one who looks an awful lot like WWE superstar Luke Harper. Not the biggest deal, but it had me screaming.

    Lucha Underground can be seen on El Rey and the iTunes TV Store.

    Watch This Wrestling 24 (6/18–24)

    I don’t have much to say about the Women’s Money In The Bank Match, except for some short bullets:

    1. Hope the rematch on Tuesday is featured as the WWE Match of the Week here in next week’s edition.
    2. You can’t say that either of the primary reactions (the first of feeling betrayed and the second of seeing it as decent booking) is wrong. Both are valid.

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

    What I Watched

    • Chikara: Johnny Kidd Invitational, 6/18
    • Money In The Bank, 6/18
    • Monday Night Raw, 6/19
    • ROH Wrestling, 6/19
    • SmackDown LIVE, 6/20
    • 205 Live, 6/20
    • Talking Smack Live, 6/20
    • NXT, 6/21
    • Lucha Underground, 6/21
    • GLOW, 6/23
    • Ring of Honor: Best In The World, 6/23
    • Beyond Wrestling: Go With The Flo, 6/24
    • Evolve 86, 6/24

    Upcoming Watch List

    • Evolve 87, 6/25
    • Monday Night Raw, 6/26
    • ROH Wrestling, 6/26
    • SmackDown LIVE, 6/27
    • 205 Live, 6/27
    • Talking Smack Live, 6/27
    • NXT, 6/28
    • Lucha Underground, 6/28

    Non-WWE Segment of The Week

    GLOW

    Netflix, 6/23

    Yep, that’s how little the non-WWE world cared about outside-the-ring segments this week. I’m giving an award not to a wrestling promotion, but a TV show about one. Because when I looked at that last sentence, I realized that GLOW and Lucha Underground have a lot in common.

    Both wrestling-related TV shows feature emotional narratives, both require a suspension of disbelief (Marc Maron even being given responsibility as a director of a promotion) and both quite frankly make me feel things. I won’t spoil anything more about the show, other than to say keep your eyes open for wrestlers you might be familiar with.

    Non-WWE Match of The Week:

    Shayna Baszler vs Penelope Ford

    Beyond Wrestling: Go With The Flow, 6/24

    This was long overdue for me. Possibly due to how I don’t watch Shimmer (yet) and mostly see east coast wrestling promotions, I’d never seen a match featuring Shayna Baszler until this past weekend.

    Baszler, whose name gets mentioned with reverence amongst those who have seen her, comes from (and still trains in) the world of MMA, where she produced a record of 15 wins in 26 matches, with 13 of those W’s coming from submissions. If you were as ignorant as I was, her decimation of Penelope Ford is an easy way to be in awe. If I had to compare her to other talents, I’d pick Zack Sabre Jr. and Matt Riddle. That’s how much of an anomaly she is for the American women’s wrestling scene.

    Yes, it doesn’t have the wizardry or intensity of the ZSJ or Riddle matches listed below, but it had a greater impact on me, showing me a new kind of female wrestler. While the WWE audiences see Asuka as the paragon of the industry, Baszler’s the kind of talent that likely can’t appear in the Mae Young Classic, as she’d just run through the field too easily. Likely-signed talents such as Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai should dispatch the field of the MYC with similar ease if they do in fact appear.

    Beyond Wrestling: Go With The Flow is available on FloSlam.

    To hear more about Shayna, who is partially trained by Josh Barnett (who trained Shinsuke Nakamura) watch this excellent interview she did with Aubrey Sitterson, where they review a recent PWG show.

    Honorable Mentions:

    • Zack Quack 2, Chikara: Johnny Kidd Invitational, 6/18
    • Matt Riddle vs Hallowicked, Chikara: Johnny Kidd Invitational, 6/18
    • Mariposa vs Fenix, Lucha Underground, 6/21
    • Frankie Kazarian vs Hangman Adam Page, Ring of Honor: Best In The World, 6/23
    • Jaka vs Fred Yehi, Evolve 68, 6/24
    • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Matt Riddle, Evolve 68, 6/24

    WWE Match of The Week:

    The Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match

    Money In The Bank, 6/18

    Many wanted this to be Shinsuke Nakamura’s match, and, despite his loss, it was. While Sami shined with that insane powerbomb, Owens took insane bumps, and Corbin actually won this thing, it was all about putting a spotlight on Nakamura.

    By having Corbin wreck the show by taking the King of Strong Style out mid-entrance, it made the audience pop for Nakamura’s return later on all the greater, as well as their enthusiasm for each and every move he hit. Also, it’s impossible to ignore the intent-filled framing that the camera team gave the AJ/Shinsuke face-off.

    Oh, and the match elevated Corbin to the main event. What more do you need?

    Honorable Mentions:

    • Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns, Monday Night Raw, 6/19
    • Dolph Ziggler vs Shinsuke Nakamura, SmackDown Live, 6/20
    • Kassius Ohno vs Aleister Black, NXT, 6/21

    WWE Segment of the Week:

    Corey Graves Solves The Mystery of Who Attacked Cass?

    Monday Night Raw, 6/19

    I don’t know about you all, but I love True Detective Season 3 with Corey Graves and Kurt Angle.

    But that’s not the real story here. The truth of the matter is that Big Cass and Enzo proved the haters (myself included) wrong by showing some depth.

    Bravo.

    Honorable Mentions:

    • Roman’s Big Announcement, Monday Night Raw, 6/19
    • Carmella and James Ellsworth opening promo, SmackDown Live, 6/20
    • Kassius Ohno and Hideo Itami mend fences, NXT, 6/21