Categories
Uncategorized

# Watch This Wrestling 22 (6/4—10)

Thankfully, I say wearily, this was a week with a manageable amount of wrestling. Of course, that still included an NJPW event and a Progress event, on top of the weekly regulars.

What’s there to say about this week other than … well, someone better cash in that white briefcase immediately if Lana wins the world title. If her Talking Smack appearance was anything to go on, WWE is possibly going to take the ravishing Russian’s solo career seriously, rather than as a joke, as it did Eva Marie’s never-started one.

Also, make sure to check out the Honorable Mention for best non-WWE segment of the week. It’s a joy.

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

What I Watched

  • Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • WWE Extreme Rules, 6/4
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/5
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/5
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/6
  • 205 Live, 6/6
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/6
  • NXT, 6/7
  • Lucha Underground, 6/7
  • NJPW: Road To Dominion, 6/9

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW: Dominion, 6/11
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/12
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/12
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/13
  • 205 Live, 6/13
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/13
  • NXT, 6/14
  • Lucha Underground, 6/14

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Backstage Bad News for Johnny Mundo

Lucha Underground, 6/7

No video here, but we’ve got a photo still that should be enough to make those of you with El Rey willing to give this show a chance if you haven’t already.

John Hennigan is doing wonders with the himbo role of Mundo, and as-always, he’s getting by with a little help from his friends in the Worldwide Underground.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Tyler Bate vs Travis Banks

Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)

I’ve heard a lot about Travis Banks, from those who love him and believe what he’s selling. As someone who had originally seen him as great, but still the least engaging member of the South Pacific Power Trip, I was waiting for a match like this.

Not watching Progress? The three-day Super Strong Style 16 tournament is a great way to jump in. As you’ll see below, even it’s final day was filled with wonder.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Travis Banks, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Matt Riddle vs Tyler Bate, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Kaylee Ray vs Katey Harvey, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Pete Dunne vs Jeff Cobb, Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • Mil Muertes vs Prince Puma, Lucha Underground, 6/7
  • Gedo and Tomohiro Ishii vs Yujiro Takahashi and Hangman Page, NJPW: Road To Dominion, 6/9
  • Roppongi Vice (Beretta, Rocky Romero) and Kazuchika Okada vs The Elite (Nick and Matt Jackson and Kenny Omega), NJPW: Road To Dominion, 6/9

WWE Match of The Week:

Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns vs Finn Bálor vs Seth vs Bray Wyatt

WWE Extreme Rules, 6/4

First of all, I’d like to get some credit for calling the finish to this weeks before it happened, during The Ring Post 19.

Second of all, damn, what a fantastic showcase for the top talent of the WWE’s flagship brand. Many are despondent over the absence of Braun Strowman, but this match reminded us that the five top regularly-working male superstars can still go.

Lastly, isn’t the sight of Bray and Joe carrying those steps just the best?

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Samoa Joe and Paul Heyman Get Intimate

Monday Night Raw, 6/5

This segment is the official kickoff of Samoan Joseph’s Big Chance Push. Those of us who’d seen him prior to his showing up in NXT to save Finn Bálor knew there was something fantastic in the guy, and this moment let the entire WWE audience find out.

Nobody can be as afraid as Paul Heyman, who did a masterful job here with Joe.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 21 (5/28—6/3)

Spoiler alert, I disagree with the general consensus about a NJPW PPV main event, yet again. From what I saw online, people were agog about the final match of the BOSJ, and if you haven’t caught up, skip down to the Best Matches/Segments sections, because I’ve got to talk about this.

So, yeah, now, seriously:

.
.
.
. SPOILER WARNING!
.
.
.

In this age of smarter fans and those who kiss the pencil Gedo uses to book, I couldn’t fathom how this is your final. First of all, face vs face shouldn’t be a problem, and secondly, yes, you’ve got two talented workers in Will Ospreay (one of my favorite wrestlers today) and KUSHIDA. But it’s so obvious what’s going to happen.

The story of the Timesplitter’s redemption has been obvious ever since he got squashed in April’s Sakura Genesis. I could even see the seeds of it mid-way through the tournament in last week’s story. So, to put him up against a non-company guy, the one who won last year, is essentially giving a spoiler warning to anyone paying attention.

But still, I set my alarm to get up at 4am and watch it live, because I thought it would be fun and hoped for something interesting. So while the match had a bunch of fun spots and solid pacing (had the editing that Okada/Omega needed) it still couldn’t bring me in.

But that’s not a real problem. As you’ll see below, there’s been a shitton of good matches this past week, including that one itself. It just wasn’t the match of the week that many will tell you it was.

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, tournament matches from 5/28, 29, 31, 6/1, 3
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/29
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/29
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/30
  • 205 Live, 5/30
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/30
  • NXT, 5/31
  • Lucha Underground, 5/31
  • Progress Chapter 49, 50: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 2, 6/2, 3 (VOD post-dates)

Upcoming Watch List

  • Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • WWE Extreme Rules, 6/4
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/5
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/5
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/6
  • 205 Live, 6/6
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/6
  • NXT, 6/7
  • Lucha Underground, 6/7

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Hate Speech Tears People Apart… Wrestling Brings People Together

WCPW: Fight Back, 6/3

For a chance of pace, I’m going with a segment that has practically no wrestling-content in it. But still, it’s the most important non-fight segment that happened this past week. On Saturday, What Culture Pro Wrestling had an event that was supposed to be the second series premiere of its Loaded series. But as Adam Blampied (aka Plumpy) explains, that can’t happen anymore, thanks to YouTube’s recent stupid decisions dealing with advertisers who didn’t want their content to appear anywhere near that Pewdie Pie, who I gather is a thinly veiled bigot.

So, watch:

Now that that’s done, here’s a link to the petition Blampied references. If you like me or pro wrestling, or simply think that non-hateful performance art should be allowed to make money, sign up. Thank you.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

The Mack vs Johnny Mundo: All Night Long

Lucha Underground, 5/31

So, I’d forgotten what Lucha Underground’s Season 3.5 premiere would give us, and was slightly unenthused by the prospect of this. But then it happened, and I loved it.

image

Credit: twitter.com/LuchaElRey

The story here is that the super athletic Johnny Mundo (Mr. Hardcore Parkour) picked the All Night Long stipulation (an iron man match) for The Mack’s title shot against him, because it fits his style much more than it does Mack’s.

With about 10 seconds left in the match, I assumed I knew the moment that would swerve the ending. And then that didn’t happen. A mere moment later, show instead pulled another rabbit out of its ass, and then layered more on top of that.

But to pull myself out of this meta-level analysis, credit to all involved, especially Mundo and Mack, for an excellent match. Mundo’s sure solidified himself here as a top-level talent and a heel that can lead a show.

A note about the plethora of solid matches below, they’re ordered chronologically, not by quality or preference.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Justin Thunder Liger vs Dragon Lee, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/28
  • Will Ospreay vs Taichi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/28
  • Ryuske Taguchi vs KUSHIDA, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/29
  • Justin Thunder Liger vs Taichi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/31
  • Will Ospreay vs Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/31
  • Marty Scurll vs Ricochet, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/31
  • Jeff Cobb vs Nathan Cruz, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • Jimmy Havoc vs Mark Haskins, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • David Starr vs Zack Sabre Jr., Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • Trent Seven Promo, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 6/3
  • Jinny vs. Laura Di Matteo vs. Toni Storm (Natural Progression Series IV Final Progress Women’s Championship Match), Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 2, 6/3
  • Jeff Cobb vs Matt Riddle, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 2, 6/3

As always, Progress events can be found on its VOD service Demand Progress, and NJPW events are shown on NJPW World.

WWE Match of The Week:

Finn Bálor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Samoa Joe

Monday Night Raw, 5/29

I find it funny that for a second week in a row, the secondary, mid-show main event is much better than the one that closes the show. These three have incredibly fun chemistry and did a great job of teasing Extreme Rules’ main event.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Why, Ciampa, why?

NXT, 5/31

Heel turns require solid logic to work, and boy did they give Tommaso Ciampa some solid rationale. I even felt complicit.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 20 (5/18—27)

So, yet again, this took me a little more time than usual to produce. What’s different about this week is that I’ve put more days of research (read: me watching as much wrestling as I can, with a notebook at my side) than usual. Here on out, the reports will start on Sundays and end on Saturdays.

As for when reports will come out? I’m hoping Sundays, but could see it happen on Mondays or Tuesdays at the latest. It all depends on how much wrestling there was. As you’ll see below, there’s a shitton of graps going on in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors. On top of that, I’m putting time into starting PROGRESS, which might lead to me putting notes from that into this.

In marvelous news, though, we get Lucha Underground back this week! Yay!

One final note, I skipped the ROH TV show this week, because it was all Honor Rising material I saw in February.

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

What I Watched

  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, Odds and ends of matches from 5/18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27
  • Being The Elite Ep. 53, 54, 5/18, 23
  • EVOLVE 84, 5/20
  • EVOLVE 85, 5/21
  • PROGRESS Ch. 48: Bang The Drum, hit VOD 5/21
  • WWE Backlash, 5/21
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/22
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/23
  • 205 Live, 5/23
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/23
  • NXT, 5/24
  • WCPW World Cup Canadian Qualifier, up on YouTube 5/26

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/28, 5/29, 5/31, 6/1, and 6/3
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/29
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/29
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/30
  • 205 Live, 5/31
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/31
  • Lucha Underground Season 3.5 Premiere, 5/31

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Who Will Keith Lee Challenge?

EVOLVE 85, 5/21

EVOLVE doesn’t do as much theatrical storytelling in the style you see from WWE, so clashes like these mean something. Lee shows up with a decision to make, challenge WWN champ Matt Riddle, or take on EVOLVE champ Zack Sabre Jr. (note to fans: make a ZSJ to Zack Sabre Jr. text shortcut, it’s worth it). What happens next, is delightful.

EVOLVE 85 is available on FloSlam.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Bushi vs Kushida

NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/23

I had originally picked Dijak vs Lee for this, but hot damn did Bushi and more specifically Kushida change my mind. As of this moment, Kushida isn’t in the lead in the Best of the Super Juniors tour, but it’s bringing the fire back to his performances, after getting buried to set up that Ricochet/Takahashi match.

And yes there are a lot of matches in this below list, pick based on your favorites if your time is limited.

New Japan’s Best of The Super Juniors tournament is available on NJPW World.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Donovan Dijak vs Keith Lee, Evolve 84, 5/20
  • Ethan Page vs Zack Sabre Jr. ©, Evolve 84, 5/20
  • Kyle O’Reilly vs Matt Riddle ©, Evolve 84, 5/20
  • Will Ospreay vs Ricochet, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/18
  • Ricochet vs Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/21
  • Matt Riddle vs Tyler Bate PROGRESS Ch. 48: Bang The Drum, 5/21
  • Jinny vs Session Moth Martina, PROGRESS Ch. 48: Bang The Drum, 5/21
  • Marty Scull, Yujiro Takahashi, and The Gorillas of Destiny vs David Finlay Jr., Ricochet, and War Machine NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/22
  • Ryusuke Taguchi vs El Desperado, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/22
  • Will Ospreay vs Jushin Thunder Liger, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/23
  • Taichi vs Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/23
  • El Desperado vs Volador Jr., NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/25
  • Speedball Mike Bailey vs Brent Banks, WCPW World Cup Canadian Qualifier, up on YouTube 5/26
  • Taichi vs Marty Scurll, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/26
  • Taka Michinoku vs Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/26

WWE Match of The Week:

Pete Dunne vs Tyler Bate ©

NXT: TakeOver Chicago, 5/20

The WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament two-day event may have been big, but this one match did more for UK wrestling as a whole. Not only does it give Pete Dunne the shine he so greatly deserves on an NXT TakeOver special, but it stole the damn show away.

After this show, TakeOver Brooklyn III neeeds it some Pete Dunne. Hell, we all do. Sure, Pete was the biggest rising star outside of the WWE, but now it’s Network-official. 

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

TakeOver Chicago Ends

NXT: TakeOver Chicago, 5/20

Even if you saw it live, it’s time to watch this again:

Everything about this is great. It being a post-credits-bug moment, the first since Owens turned on Zayn. The crowd’s shock and boos and horror at it all. The fact that only those who knew about a mistaken and deleted tweet (regarding Gargano getting new solo music) saw it coming. The social media kayfabe thereafter.

This, is how you break up a tag team. Unless you want ironic THANK YOU GOLDDUST chants.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 19 (5/11—17)

This is the longest it’s taken for me to post a WTW and I’m guessing there might bemore delays going further. Not only has work gotten in the way of supposed free time, but I’m hitting moments where I don’t have enough hours to watch it all.

That’s the issue with the BOSJ tournament happening in tandem with spring, which brings social obligations and it becomes hard to find time to watch it all.

What I Watched

  • “Moving Forward” – Being The Elite Ep. 51, 5/11
  • From the Desk of Stokely Hathaway: It’s Personal, 5/11
  • Ring of Honor: War of the Worlds, 5/12
  • “Bullet Club Gets a Villain” – Being The Elite Ep. 52, 5/13
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/15
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/15
  • SmackDown Live, 5/16
  • 205 Live, 5/16
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/16
  • NXT, 5/17
  • EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Kyle O’Reilly Perfecting The Style, 5/17
  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors 2017 Night 1, 5/17

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/18, 20, 21, 22, 23
  • Being The Elite Ep. 53, 54, 5/18, 23
  • EVOLVE 84, 5/20
  • EVOLVE 85, 5/21
  • WWE Backlash, 5/21
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/22
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/22
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/23
  • 205 Live, 5/23
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/23
  • NXT, 5/24

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

“Bullet Club Gets a Villain” – Being The Elite Ep. 52

Ring of Honor: War of the Worlds, 5/12

I’m more than ready to admit some I-Was-There bias for this one, but it is a banger. So, before I chew on it, watch:

While YouTube has recently proven itself unfriendly to pro wrestling, The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega used this series to show the platform’s potential. Vignettes published to YouTube can provide the supplemental storytelling that promotions such as Ring of Honor and New Japan do not.

Despite what some might tell you, this new addition creates a match made in graps heaven. Some of the biggest Scurll fans shy away from the fact that he’s just as much of a Cool Heel as the Young Bucks, but as his first appearance in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament showed, everyone loves this villain.

And the crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which I was a part of, sure loved to see the villain pop open his newest umbrella. Maybe some day the Bullets will add some actual heelishness, but until then, these cool kids belong together.

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Will Ospreay vs. Jay White

ROH: War of The Worlds, 5/12

As much as I want to award either of the below Best of The Super Juniors matches, both of those met their expectations, while this match exceeded. Sure, Ospreay/White looks like a fun match on paper, but not a match of the year competitor.

Going into this I didn’t have much of a thought about Jay White, and by the time he left the ring, I had expectations for the kid’s future. It also felt like a major milestone for Ospreay too, that he can lead as well as this.

ROH even gets points for booking, words I’d never thought I’d say, with its use of after-match theatrics. Those watching live raved and claimed instant-five-star classic, and even Dave Meltzer gave it a 4.5 out of 5.

ROH: War of The Worlds is available via PPV VOD on the FITE app.

  • Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors Night 1, 5/17
  • Dragon Lee vs Hiromu Takahashi, Best of The Super Juniors Night 1, 5/17

WWE Match of The Week:

Finn Bálor vs Roman Reigns

Monday Night Raw, 5/15

Just as with the above match, this won its spot by defying odds.

And no, I haven’t soured on Bálor or Reigns, just on Monday Night Raw. The fact that this got the time it did and they got to cook as much as they did, should have given the red show a blueprint for the future. One they’ll need with Braun Strowman on the injured list.

WWE Segment of the Week:

Day One Is H

SmackDown Live, 5/16

There isn’t much to say about The Fashion Files. This was its third edition, and still laugh-out-loud funny. If you haven’t seen this already, then enjoy. Also, if so, leave a comment, I’m curious as to who you are.

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 18 (5/4–10)

No preamble this week, minus the typical list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched:

  • WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup: Mexico Qualifier, 5/5
  • Fight Club Pro: Dream Tag Team Invitational Night One, originally took place on 4/11, available on VOD on 5/5
  • Battle Club Pro: May The Villain Reign, 5/6
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/8
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/8
  • “FIFTY” – Being the Elite Ep. 50, 5/8
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/9
  • 205 Live, 5/9
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/9
  • NXT, 5/10

Upcoming Watch List

  • “Moving Forward” – Being The Elite Ep. 51, 5/11
  • Ring of Honor: War of the Worlds, 5/12
  • “Bullet Club Gets a Villain” – Being The Elite Ep. 52, 5/13
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/15
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/15
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/16
  • 205 Live, 5/16
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/16
  • NXT, 5/17

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

British Strong Style vs The Elite

Fight Club Pro: Dream Tag Team Invitational Night One, originally took place on 4/11, available on VOD on 5/5

Few teams can go toe to toe with The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson), but British Strong Style might have actually pulled it off. Of course, many might balk at the $20 VOD price of the DTTI Night One event, but this card is a fantastic roundup of the best of independent wrestling talent today.

Available for purchase on Vimeo.

Honorable Mentions:

  • EC3 vs Flip Gordon vs Darius Carter, Battle Club Pro: May The Villain Reign, 5/6
  • Young Bucks vs The Squad, ROH Wrestling, 5/8

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

“FIFTY”

Being the Elite Ep. 50, 5/8

Matt & Nick Jackson’s Being The Elite YouTube series took a big turn with this episode, that I’ll explain further next week, but “FIFTY” offers everything. From storytelling and a cornball saccharine rendition of “Say Something” to on-the-road behind-the-scenes footage, this is proof of why the Young Bucks have been smart to cut their own path on the road.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong – NXT Championship No. 1 Contender’s Match

NXT, 5/10

If you were wondering about how much rust Hideo Itami would bring to the ring, you can watch this match to bury those questions. Also, points to Roddy for finally being over with the Full Sail crowd.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

“12 Days”

SmackDown LIVE, 5/9

This was the second time we’ve seen this style of promo from Jimmy and Jey, The Usos, and I give them all the credit for having waited between renditions. Normally with WWE, once a promo style gets over, it gets run until stale (see: Amore, Enzo & Cass, Big).

Still, the UK crowd, which had been a little quiet overall throughout the week, bought in fully here.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 17 (4/27—5/3)

Here’s the latest edition of my weekly roundup of what’s worth checking out from the week in wrestling. People I talked to loved the Raw main event more than I did, but my issue was that the winner was so clearly obvious.

If somehow you found this and you don’t know I do a podcast about wrestling, I do! It’s called The Ring Post, and we just published our latest episode “Paybacklash” which you can find here.

As always, a list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched:

  • Progress Wrestling, Ch.47: Complicated Simplicity, hit VOD on 4/29
  • NJPW: Wrestling Toyo Province 2017, 4/29
  • WWE Payback, 4/30
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/1
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/1
  • SmackDown Live, 5/2
  • 205 Live, 5/2
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/2
  • NXT, 5/3
  • NJPW: Wrestling Dontaku, 5/3

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Kenny Omega vs Tomohoro Ishii

NJPW: Wrestling Dontaku, 5/3

As much as I loved the matches from Progress 47 (watch it) nothing stands up in comparison to this bit of business from The Cleaner (Omega) and the Stone Pitbull (Ishii).

I wanted there to be a little more heel/face dynamic when I was watching this match, but in the time since I’ve realized why. Omega may possibly be turning heel, and this match may have primed the crowd to handle it, as they’ve already been turning on Okada, his opponent at the upcoming Dominion show.

NJPW: Wrestling Dontaku is available on NJPW World.

Honorable Mentions:

  • South Pacific Power Trip vs. London Riots, Progress Wrestling, Ch.47: Complicated Simplicity, hit VOD on 4/29
  • PROGRESS World Title and Tag Team Titles on the line: British Strong Style vs Ringkampf, Progress Wrestling, Ch.47: Complicated Simplicity, hit VOD on 4/29
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs Ricochet, NJPW: Wrestling Toyo Province 2017, 4/29

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Page vs. Darby – The Final Chapter

WWN Live/YouTube, 5/1

I’ve had a hard time writing about the recent last man standing match between Ethan Page vs Darby Allin. This video, another gem of an Evolve Mini-Doc from Kenny Johnson, tells so much story that it needs to be screened at the start of the next Evolve event.

Excellent mix of match footage and backstage content, with caption overlays as necessary. Gives the suicidal Darby Allin all the credit he deserves. I hope he’s going to be well soon.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Naomi & Charlotte Flair vs Natalya & Carmella

SmackDown Live, 5/2

While the Payback PPV had some good stuff, this is the match I found myself thinking about more. And that’s less about the match itself rather than what it did for its characters. Love everything that happens once Charlotte arrives, as well as Becky’s decisions.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

The Fashion Files

SmackDown Live, 5/2

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best non-wrestling segment of the WWE week. Please, let this be a recurring bit. As I noted on the latest episode of The Ring Post, I want this to be a plot device for summarizing the current state of SmackDown Live.

Purest of gold here:

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 16  (4/20 – 26)

Indie Wrestling Twitter freaked out over Trevor Lee vs. Chip Day from CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide 102 practically the second it hit YouTube, and for good reason. It’s a blast. Unfortunately, it had a big moment that killed the vibe for me.

At some point midway or late in the match, Day gets what seems like too much offense in for Lee to kick out. And yet, he did. But seriously, check out that match, linked below.

As always, a list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched:

  • T1W & Battle Club Pro: “The One Who Knocks”, 4/22
  • EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • Tier 1 Wrestling Presents: “True Will”, 4/23
  • EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/24
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/24
  • SmackDown Live, 4/25
  • 205 Live, 4/25
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/25
  • NXT, 4/26
  • CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide 102, 4/26

Upcoming Watch List

  • Progress Wrestling, Ch.47: Complicated Simplicity, hit VOD on 4/29
  • NJPW: Wrestling Toyo Province 2017, 4/29
  • WWE Payback, 4/30
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/1
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/1
  • SmackDown Live, 5/2
  • 205 Live, 5/2
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/2
  • NXT, 5/3
  • NJPW: Wrestling Dontaku, 5/3

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Keith Lee vs Kyle O’Reilly

EVOLVE 82, 4/22

EVOLVE continued its hot streak at 82 & 83, the two New York shows it put on last week. And how did it rebound from losing Drew Galloway (now McIntyre) to WWE? By adding Kyle O’Reilly. And if you thought you’d seen Kyle’s best during his recent Ring of Honor, run, I suggest you check his re-debut match in EVOLVE (which was against Keith Lee) out.

Not only does Keith Lee just not have bad matches, but the booking here plays nicely with the problem inherent in the match. Sure, the crowd almost turned on the show, but Lee’s charisma and O’Reilly’s intense violence helped bring everything home.

EVOLVE 82 is available via FloSlam.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Matt Riddle vs Timothy Thatcher, EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • [EXTREME VIOLENCE WARNING] Darby Allin vs Ethan Page, EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • Matt Riddle vs Penta OM, Tier 1 Wrestling, True Will, 4/23
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Lio Rush, EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Fred Yehi vs Kyle O’Reilly, EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Trevor Lee vs. Chip Day, CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide 102, 4/26

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

Stokely Hathaway’s Big News

EVOLVE 83, 4/23

And it’s come to this. Stokley Hathaway, the Paul Heyman of EVOLVE now manages … well, you’ll see.

I love this for more than a few reasons, and what it’ll do to Yehi & Williams are paramount among them. It’s one of those solid show-opening promos that sets a ton of plates spinning to make for some excellent business.

WWE Match of The Week:

Drew McIntyre vs Andrade “Cien” Almas

NXT, 4/26

Again, I liked this as much for the work and their in-ring chemistry as I do for what it accomplishes. Further establishing Drew’s beastly force and Almas tranquilo chill made for good story telling beats in the build to NXT TakeOver: Chicago, which will be here before we know it.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Table For 3: Common Bonds: Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and AJ Styles

Table For 3, 4/24

The worst kept secret in WWE is that the shows right before a PPV (known as the Go-Home events, as in: send them home ready to pay more) now suck eggs.

Therefore, my favorite thing on WWE this week was the latest episode of Table For 3 on the WWE Network. Not only did Nash, Michaels and Styles get to shoot the shit, but they get to let HBK tell his side of why he doesn’t want to un-retire to face Styles.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 15 (4/13 – 19)

First of all, an apology for how late this is. My weekend was a blur of indie wrestling and Persona 5, but I’m looking to get next week’s done quickly.

As always, a list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched:

  • PROGRESS Wrestling Presents: Freedom’s Road S01E07, 4/13
  • Make Me Feel Alive…, EVOLVE, WWN Live, 4/14
  • How To Cut A Good Wrestling Promo, Ethan Page, 4/14
  • OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/17
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/17
  • Chikara: Bad Wolf, hit VOD 4/17, originally happened 4/1
  • SmackDown Live, 4/18
  • 205 Live, 4/18
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/18
  • NXT, 4/19

Upcoming Watch List

  • T1W & Battle Club Pro: “The One Who Knocks”, 4/22
  • EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • Tier 1 Wrestling Presents: “True Will”, 4/23
  • EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/24
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/24
  • SmackDown Live, 4/25
  • 205 Live, 4/25
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/25
  • NXT, 4/26

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks (The Elite) vs Lio Rush, Ryan Smile, & Will Ospreay (The Uptown Funkers)

OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15

While the below honorable mentions do some things well, this match checks a lot of boxes, and with style.

While the Funkers do in fact funk, they also bring the high flying brilliance that Rush and Ospreay are known names for. And of course you have The Bucks doing their chicanery and Kenny being the slyest devil in the game.

OTT: Scrappermania III is available via FloSlam.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Marty Scurll vs Jay White, OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15
  • Martina, Nixon Newell, & Alex Windsor vs Bea Priestley, Jinny, & Katey Harvey, OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Mike Quackenbush,Chikara: Bad Wolf, 4/1 (available 4/17)
  • Silas Young, Hangman Page, Jay White, and Jay Lethal vs Colt Cabana, Lio Rush, Hanson from War Machine and Bobby Fish, ROH Wrestling, 4/17

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Crowning A WWN Champion

Directed by Kenny Johnson, via WWNLive/YouTube, 4/17

If you want a brief primer on what’s going on with a few of the biggest names in EVOLVE, this is a great way to catch up with Catch Point. Not only does it tell the Yehi / Riddle story, as well as show off the dickishness of “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, but it doesn’t leave the other half of the 6-man elimination match behind. And that means you get more Stokely Hathaway, and to learn about Jon Davis and Parrow.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Sasha Banks vs. Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax – Fatal 4-Way Match

Monday Night Raw, 4/17

It’s not a perfect match, but it deserves some callout for something that WWE got right with the swaps in the women’s division. With Mickie James and Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and Bayley finally have opponents with similar frames.

It was weird that WWE announcers never harped on the uphill battle that the comparably-tiny Sasha Banks should have been facing with the chiseled and statuesque Charlotte Flair. But now, they won’t need to, and this match showed some proof. While we all love an underdog, Sasha looks more realistic a potential victor now, and if this is her day 1 chemistry with James and Bliss, she will have a solid chance of thriving under this new era.

Also: Charlotte appears to have been the puzzle piece that SmackDown Live’s women’s division needed. Her match with Naomi was the first time in a while that either performer worked with someone who physically matched up. Unfortunately, a series of whiffs near the end made that match harder to watch.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Cesaro & Sheamus welcome The Hardy Boyz to Team Red

Monday Night Raw, 4/17

This segment is the proof that Matt Hardy is now working with the WWE when he’s trolling the masses about a return of his former self. As Dave Tach put it on our latest episode of The Ring Post, Matt can spend 95 percent of a promo in Hardy Boyz mode and then sprinkle on a bit of Broken Brilliance.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 14 (4/6–12)

But first, about that elephant in the arena…

I want to reaffirm some of the reason behind this weekly roundup. Every week, WWE provide more than enough hours of pro wrestling for most, but there’s more. From those wacky Brits in Progress to the insane bastards of New Japan, wrestling isn’t just WWE.

This past week, there was as much reason to reiterate the above as ever before. No, not because of the phenomenal match between Kazuchika Okada and Katsuyori Shibata at Sakura Genesis. But because of the big outside-the-ring story of bullying in the WWE making the rounds in major publications such as Sports Illustrated and the New York Post.

Vince’s love of fucking with people is no secret, but this has popped up because of speculation that SmackDown Live color commentary announcer, noted veteran, and all-around-cancerous-motherfucker JBL is the reason for the absence of SDL play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo. You know, JBL, the guy who thought it’d be OK to goose-step like a Nazi during a show in Germany.

While we haven’t heard any stories about what JBL did to Mauro, who has been public about his bipolar diagnosis, and is off-air for what has been reported as stress, nothing would surprise anyone at this stage. It’s currently expected that Mauro and WWE will settle in private, and that WWE will address this in some way, as the story has been made too-public to ignore.

If it were up to me, and Mauro were not available to the WWE anymore, the SDL announce team would be Corey Graves, Byron Saxton and Renee Young. Of related note this week was the shamelessly transparent “we’re trading the black commentators!” moment where Raw traded Saxton for the useless lump of humanity called David Otunga.

Thankfully, we get a six-week window before Raw Is 3 Hours of Otunga goes into effect, thanks to his commitment to filming a movie where he’s playing a lawyer. In that time, Booker T will be filling in, because (again), “LOL BLACK COMMENTATORS, GOTTA HAVE ONE, AND NO MORE THAN ONE!” Assuming Book does well, I’d like to see a Raw team some day that’s him, Graves, and Tom Phillips.

As always, a list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched:

Upcoming Watch List:

  • PROGRESS Wrestling Presents: Freedom’s Road S01E07, 4/13
  • OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/17
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/17
  • SmackDown Live, 4/18
  • 205 Live, 4/18
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/18
  • NXT, 4/19

Non-WWE Match of the Week:

Kazuchika Okada © vs Katsuyori Shibata for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

NJPW: Genesis, 4/9

Most matches don’t get 38 minutes between bells, but that’s because few have the conditioning and technical prowess of Okada and Shibata. The former is the crown jewel of New Japan and the latter, well, he would have been on the rise after one hell of a match. More on that in a moment.

The story here is that Shibata enters the match guns ablazin and in a far more passionate state than Okada. The crowd is on board with this, vocally entirely behind Shibata. Okada is entering that mixed-reactions phase of his career most people associate with John Cena and Roman Reigns, and this match cemented it. Felt a bit like Punk/Cena MITB in that way. Except Okada starts taking shortcuts, playing to the boos.

Without spoiling any spots, I’ll leave discussion of the good parts of the match at that.

Part of me doesn’t want to give the win to the most-talked-about match of the week, but it was the best match outside of the week, despite its serious flaw. And that flaw is so bad that I won’t go back and rewatch this match, despite loving (the majority of) it.

While I always suggest people go watch these matches, this one comes with a brutal asterisk. Near the end of this match, which was already going to win MOTW, Shibata leveled Okada with what is now believed to be a shoot-headbutt. As in the skull-to-skill headbutt that split Shibata open was legitimate, despite early reports of it being a work.

As reported by many, including Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer, reports are coming out that Shibata is currently hospitalized, dealing with lingering right-side paralysis. Meltzer noted that Shibata has “some memories of the match” as if to infer that memory loss is involved. After all of this, it is expected that Shibata will never be cleared to wrestle again, ending his young career. Thankfully, it appears he will recover, but we shouldn’t have needed to hope for that.

It brings up a question of what kind of stiff work is actively encouraged or at least tacitly endorsed by the New Japan management. Much like WWE with its bullying problem, NJPW needs to take this moment to consider how it does business.

Sakura Genesis is available on NJPW World.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) © vs The Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter) for the PROGRESS Tag Team Titles, Progress Ch. 46: I Like To Chill Out Here And Shoot Some Dinosaurs, 4/7
  • Pete Dunne vs Mark Andrews for the PROGRESS World Title, Progress Ch. 46: I Like To Chill Out Here And Shoot Some Dinosaurs, 4/7
  • Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr., for the NEVER Openweight championship, NJPW: Genesis, 4/9
  • Curt Stallion vs John Skyler in a 2017 Top Prospects Tournament semi-final match, ROH Wrestling, 4/10

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

EVOVLE Mini-Doc: Zack Sabre Jr. Can’t Make a Mistake

EVOLVE, WWN Live, 4/12

Evolve’s mini-docs, which get attributed to Kenny Johnson, are typically great previews or recaps. This one, though, goes further. It tells twin stories of frustration, from the current EVOLVE champ Zack Sabre Jr. and recent signee ACH.

As the title suggests, the focus of the feature is ZSJ hanging onto his title by a hair. What that means for Zack is that he’s getting closer to the “do whatever it takes” mentality that heels use, to cheat to keep his championship.

This, if you’re following Sabre Jr. outside of this promotion, is intriguing. In Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) and New Japan, to name a couple of the other place he pops up, things are different.

Everywhere but EVOLVE, he’s called “Zacky Three Belts” because he’s crossed over to the dark side, turning heel. So whether he’s joining Minoru Suzuki’s nefarious Suzuki-Gun faction or tag-teaming with The Villain Marty Scurll as The Leaders of The New School, he’s always drawing ire. It’s the role that many who see his lanky frame and know-it-all submission style believe he was born to play.

And then we have ACH – who has worked as a friend of Zack’s in EVOLVE – who came here to win gold. ACH who should have been a world champion by now, but was passed over. ACH who couldn’t get the job done in Orlando, against Sabre Jr. at EVOVLE 80.

ACH who says he doesn’t know what comes next. ACH who’s been a face all this time and maybe that’s not enough.

Of course, this video doesn’t hammer home either potential turn all that hard. Gotta keep that surprise going. I love how the focus and zoom fall out of the scene where Michael Elgin cold-cocks Zack Sabre Jr. after basically demanding their match be for the title. And then the brief moments they bring from Elgin/ZSJ definitely paint Sabre Jr. as valorous and Elgin and the prick.

And then the other challengers. Lio Rush, who challenges Sabre Jr. for the title at the next EVOLVE events, and has “no more time to waste.” Ethan Page, tired of getting looked over by the booking committee, and more than happy to remind you of his two wins against Zack.

And finally, back to Sabre Jr., who speaks of the weight of the belt on his shoulder. If that doesn’t get you buying tickets or a FloSlam subscription, then I’m confused.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of the Week:

AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin in a #1 Contender’s match for the United States Championship

SmackDown Live, 4/11

The Superstar Shakeup gave SmackDown Live the kind of roster that everyone wished it had on day 1. Sure, we thought Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt were amazing workers, but that just wasn’t happening.

So this past week saw them add a flurry of talent, with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens coming over as two marquee acquisitions. Oh, and they’re also adding Big E, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston (give me New Day singles runs) and Rusev to a show that already had AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Baron Corbin, Tye Dillinger and Luke Harper? So hot, hot damn.

And as if they felt the need to prove themselves, Zayn, Styles and Corbin put together a match worthy of their names. So while Styles is still working through being a good guy, Sami’s trying to prove himself against a bully he can hurt (Corbin is no Strowman), and Corbin is showing that he’s a fast learner.

This was the closest call for WWE MOTW in a while. While this had to be the winner, I appreciated the work in the other two matches, also worth checking out. This one just had more time and better pacing. Find the full version on Hulu if you have to.

Honorable Mentions:

Note: Both Galloway and Gallagher hit headbutts, no reports have emerged of resultant injuries.

WWE Segment of the Week:

Braun Strowman Savagely Attacks Roman Reigns

Monday Night Raw, 4/10

I’m really confused about what WWE meant to do with this segment, but I loved it so much nonetheless. This isn’t the best WWE segment of the year (remember the Festival of Friendship?), but damn it’s a close second.

Sure, he didn’t lift the ambulance (hello, it’s pro wrestling), but everything else about it was just so damn cool. Braun just rag-dolling Reigns around the backstage area elevates him to the most awesome thing on the Raw roster.

I watched this Raw at a bar with other fans, and this segment became the most amazing moment when consumed with a dozen or so fans screaming their heads off. So I just can’t emphasize enough how huge this moment is. 

WWE needs to handle this properly on Monday, and keep Roman off TV and let Braun continue to be the next wonder of the world, but not overdo it.

Some notes:

  • Roman takes a moment to remove his clipped-on microphone, because he’s a good employee who treats company property with care.
  • The segment wins by demonstrating impossible awesomeness by way of camera tricks.
  • Someone (possibly the WWE) started a god damn online petition to fire Strowman. That, if done outside of the company, is today’s version of that time people thought the NWO actually invaded WCW and called the police.
  • How does this happen the same week as The United Incident?

And about my confusion:

So, this made Strowman cooler than ever for many. Was it supposed to make Roman pitiable? Likable? Is this just to get Roman cool as a vengeful motherfucker?

After Roman Reigns had all the heat last week, are they trying to cool him down? What the hell?

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 13 (3/31 – 4/5)

Oh what a week. In short: WrestleMania Weekend isn’t just about WWE. When WrestleMania comes to town, it draws in more other promotions than any fan can manage to see. Which means so many promotions are active at the same damn time.

In a way, that means these weekends might be best viewed at home. I was able to stream more than enough (but not all, we’ll get to that) wrestling, thanks to FloSlam, the FITE app and the WWE network. As someone who attended WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, I can say that seeing all of the shows in any city without public transit (such as New York) will require significant pre-trip mapping and plotting and familiarity with taxis and ubers. Or, getting a rental car.

So while I will have watched around 42 hours of wrestling for this edition, there was even more. So, if you find yourself looking for more than what I list, the HighSpots network has the stuff that even I missed. Let this be a warning to you, kiddos, if you go to WrestleMania in New Orleans next year, which I hope to, you might need to take a time management class first.

You might have noticed that I didn’t list WWNLive.com when I talked about streaming services, which is weird considering I did use it for Progress. Going forward, you ought to be wary of live events from there, as the promotion fell on its face trying to stream Progress: Orlando. It claimed that a denial of service attack was involved, but I’m suspicious that the company couldn’t handle the stress of Progress fans. Refunds for that event are due some time this week(!).

Lastly, a note. You might notice that the dates on this week are a little shorter than a full week. Looking at when exactly the graps take place, I’ve decided that future roundups will start on Thursday and end on Wednesday. Think it might help get this thing up faster.

As always, a list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched:

  • PROGRES: Orlando, 3/31
  • EVOLVE 81, 3/31
  • WWE Hall of Fame, 3/31
  • Kaiju Big Battel, 3/31
  • WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup: Scottish Qualifier , 3/31
  • Ethan Page: I Hate WrestleMania Weekend, 3/31
  • WrestleCon Supershow, 3/31
  • Ring of Honor: Supercard of Honor XI, 4/1
  • NXT TakeOver: Orlando, 4/1
  • WWN Supershow, 4/1
  • Beyond Wrestling, 4/1
  • Full Impact Pro, 4/2
  • WrestleMania 33, 4/2
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/3
  • WWE Ride Along, 4/3
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/3
  • NJPW Road to SAKURA GENESIS 2017, 4/4
  • SmackDown Live, 4/4
  • 205 Live, 4/4
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/4
  • NXT, 4/5

Non-WWE Match of the Week:

Keith Lee vs Donovan Dijak

EVOLVE 81, 3/31

So, damn it was hard to pick just the non-WWE match of the week, so boy are there a ton of suggestions below. But yeah, this match is a delight.

A hoss fight, if you don’t know, is when you take two (or more) big boy wrestlers and have them settle their differences in the ring. Keith Lee and Donovan Dijak, though, was an ultra hoss fight. They were doing all kinds of moves you don’t expect from such huge dudes. Like Keith Lee’s monkey flip, or his corkscrew plancha off the apron.

The match was so intense that the crowd started an “OH! Bask in, his gloooorrrrry!” chant ala Zack Sabre Jr.’s “Seven Nation Army” chant. A much watch if you like big dudes, and still something you should check out to see what they can do when they’re not a bunch of Great Khalis.

EVOLVE 81 is available on the FloSlam network.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Fred Yehi vs Matt Riddle, EVOLVE 81, 3/31
  • Darby Allin vs Ethan Page, an Anything Goes Match, EVOLVE 81, 3/31
  • Travis Banks & TK Cooper (South Pacific Power Trip) vs Sami Callihan & Shane Strickland, PROGRESS in Orlando, 3/31
  • Tyler Bate © vs Mark Andrews for the WWE UK Championship, PROGRESS in Orlando, 3/31
  • Team Ricochet (Richocet, Jason Cade, Sami Callihan, AR Fox & Desmond Xavier) vs Team Ospreay (Osprey, Lio Rush, Drew Galloway, Ryan Smile, & Marty Scurll), WrestleCon Supershow, 3/31
  • Marty Scurll vs Adam Cole, ROH TV Title MatchRing of Honor: Supercard of Honor XI, 4/1
  • The Young Bucks vs Matt and Jeff Hardy, ROH Tag Team Ladder Match, Ring of Honor: Supercard of Honor XI, 4/1
  • Travis Banks & TK Cooper (South Pacific Power Trip) vs Catch Point, WWN Supershow, 4/1

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

Ethan Page: I Hate WrestleMania Weekend

YouTube / Ethan Page, 3/31

One of two back-to-back award winners this week, Ethan Page’s YouTube channel continues to reward those who know about it. This week, that means we’re treated to a tirade about WrestleMania Weekend. Specifically, Page goes after the smart fans who constantly put themselves over in the stands and annoy him for not keeping kayfabe going at the merch booth.

Maybe some day he’ll be in the WWE and complain about how shitty it is that fans bring beach balls to the shows of WrestleMania week.

Honorable Mention:

WWE Match of the Week

DIY vs The Revival vs Authors of Pain ©

NXT TakeOver: Orlando, 4/1

As should be expected, the WWE tag team match featuring The Revival was the best damn match from the promotion, writ-large.

The story going into this match was that Akam and Rezar, The Authors of Pain, a pair of impossibly thick, big boys are just unbeatable. Not only are they good at fighting, but they’ve got the tag team wrestling genius, the former Road Warriors manager, Paul Ellering giving them orders.

That combination led to them beating fan favorites DIY (Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa) for the titles, and then getting in the targets of former champs The Revival (Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder). Also, The Revival and DIY are true rivals, so everyone comes into this with reason to hate the other teams.

So while this match begins as a triple-threat, the two smaller teams unite and turn it into a 4 on 2. From the differing combinations (Gargano & Dawson; Ciampa & Wilder) to the powerbomb spot, it’s all just glorious. Also, the moment with the air getting sucked out of the room is practically a tiny tribute to first eliminated team’s ability.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Asuka vs Ember Moon, NXT TakeOver: Orlando, 4/1
  • Shane McMahon vs AJ Styles, WrestleMania 33, 4/2
  • Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho, WrestleMania 33, 4/2

WWE Segment of the Week

The Booing of Roman Reigns

Monday Night Raw, 4/3

Absent from the above list is Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker in a Battle for The Yard match. What may not have been obvious at the start, but feels like it now, is the fact that this was the most hamfisted retirement stip ever.

And so Monday Night Raw began with the most iconic moment in years. Following a replay of the retirement of the most beloved zombie ever, the crowd let loose with chants.

The following chants take place, in this order:

“Un-der-ta-ker!”
“Ro-man-Sucks!”
Roman Reigns’ music hits. Roman enters the arena, and then the ring.
A torrential downpour of boos hits.
“DELETE!”
“Fuck! You! Roman!”
Reigns mouths the words, “I’ve got you in the palm of my hand”
“YOU SUCK!” (not ironically, as with Kurt Angle)
Every time Reigns moves the mic to his mouth, the crowd boos harder and harder.
“ASS!HOLE!”
“RO! MAN! SUCKS!”, in the key of “New Day Rocks”
“SHUT! THE! FUCK! UP!” (to a man who hasn’t said a word yet)
Roman Reigns: “This is my yard now.”

End Scene. And with that, the WWE may have accepted Roman Reigns’ place as a heel. We’ll know better next week but this was a very good sign.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kurt Angle meets Enzo and Big Cass, Monday Night Raw, 4/3
  • Welcome to NXT, Drew … McIntyre?, NXT TakeOver: Orlando, 4/1