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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:

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Watch This Wrestling 41 (10/15—21)

Hello friends!

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

What I Watched

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

Upcoming Watch List

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

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams vs Zack Sabre Jr.

Evolve 95, 10/15

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

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

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Lucha Underground Finale Montage

Lucha Underground, 10/18

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

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

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

pic.twitter.com/eczgLhReET

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

Available via El Rey, iTunes and other services

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Aleister Black vs Raul Mendoza

NXT, 10/18

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

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

WWE Segment of the Week:

Kevin and Sami Explain Themselves, Again

SmackDown LIVE, 10/10

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

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

Honorable Mentions:

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Watch This Wrestling 39 (10/1—7)

Hello friends! Yes, this is the third of three posts that went up late, and back to back to back. Why? Because I was giving every spare piece of energy to this:

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

What I Watched

  • Monday Night Raw, 10/2
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/3
  • 205 Live, 10/3
  • NXT, 10/4
  • Lucha Underground, 10/4

Upcoming Watch List

  • WWE Hell In A Cell, 10/8
  • MLW One Shot, 10/8
  • PROGRESS: Revelations Of Divine Love, 10/8
  • Monday Night Raw, 10/9
  • NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling, 10/9
  • SmackDown LIVE, 10/10
  • 205 Live, 10/10
  • NXT, 10/11
  • Lucha Underground, 10/12

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Hair vs. Mask: Fenix vs. Marty “The Moth” Martinez

Lucha Underground, 10/4

Solid blowoff here, though the victory was clearly foreshadowed to anyone who pays attention to indie wrestling in the US. Fortunately, the match provided serious intensity from both men, as well as enough blood to make you question your will to watch (for a second week in a row).

While the heel turn from The Mariposa didn’t feel foreshadowed, the involvement from both her and Melissa Santos felt necessary and warranted here. I just don’t know where Marty goes from here.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Ivelisse vs Katrina, Lucha Underground, 10/4

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Ethan Page Discusses Future After Evolve Wrestling Departure

Evolve’s loss is the wrestling world’s gain, or so that’s the message that All Ego Ethan Page is projecting. Yet again proving he’s willing to do something different, Page takes the “hottest free agent” trope, and spins it on its head.

Here’s my own letter: 

Dear New York-based indie wrestling promotions,

BOOK ETHAN PAGE.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Ivelisse and Jeremiah Crane argue, Lucha Underground, 10/4

WWE Match of The Week:

Roderick Strong vs Drew McIntyre © for the NXT Championship

NXT, 10/4

A great, brutal, and strong match, but I love it for the kicker at the end of the segment.

In my text editor, I have a passage that reads “As I watch the end of NXT TV 10/4, I cackle. The Roddy Heel Turn Is Apparently On Its Way.”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Roman Reigns vs The Miz © for the Intercontinental Championship, Monday Night Raw, 10/2

WWE Segment of the Week:

Silent fist action

Monday Night Raw, 10/2

The first Raw of the month narrowly averted disaster. While it almost appeared to end with the biggest let-down in ages — Kalisto joining the Cruiserweight division — it didn’t.

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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:

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Watch This Wrestling 30 (7/30–8/5)

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

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

What I Watched

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

Upcoming Watch List

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

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

30 for 30: Stokely Hathaway!?

WWNLive via YouTube, 8/1

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

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

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada

NJPW: G1 Climax Day 14, 8/5

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

WWE Match of The Week:

Aleister Black vs Kyle O’Reilly

NXT, 8/2

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

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

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

WWE Segment of the Week:

Fashion Peaks

SmackDown LIVE, 8/1

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

Honorable Mentions:

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Watch This Wrestling 29 (7/23–29)

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

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

What I Watched

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

Upcoming Watch List

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

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

ACH: The Main Event Player

An Evolve Mini-Doc, 7/23

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

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Michael Elgin vs Kenny Omega

NJPW: G1 Climax, 7/27

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

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

Honorable Mentions:

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

WWE Match of The Week:

New Day vs The Usos

WWE Battleground, 7/23

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

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

WWE Segment of the Week:

The Fashion X-Files

WWE Battleground, 7/23

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

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

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Watch This Wrestling 27 (7/9–15)

Because of region-blocking, I’m one of the folks who didn’t get to watch the British J Cup on NJPW World, so while it has tons of stuff that sounds awesome (Riddle vs Ishii included), it won’t be in here.

My PROGRESS binge, if you were curious, is going swell. But with the G1 starting tomorrow, I’m not even sure if I’ll get the J Cup in before August.

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

What I Watched

  • Evolve 89, 7/9
  • Being The Elite Ep. 63, “Hot Topic”, 7/9
  • WWE Great Balls of Fire, 7/9
  • Monday Night Raw, 7/10
  • SmackDown LIVE, 7/11
  • 205 Live, 7/11
  • Talking Smack Live, 7/11
  • NXT, 7/12
  • Lucha Underground, 7/12
  • PROGRESS: Chapter 51: Screaming For PROGRESS, 7/15

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 1, 7/17
  • Monday Night Raw, 7/17
  • SmackDown LIVE, 7/18
  • 205 Live, 7/18
  • A MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR TALKING SMACK, REST IN POWER
  • NXT, 7/19
  • Lucha Underground, 7/19
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 2, 7/20
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 3, 7/21
  • NJPW: G1 Climax Day 4, 7/22

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

ACH vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page

Evolve 89, 7/9

Sure, this is technically a match, as all comedy matches are. But since the concept of competition was absent, swapped out for flipping the birds to Evolve management, I’m not filing this under the match category.

Still, though, it’s an amazingly fun time. Both men spend the match ripping on tropes, and send Lenny Leonard (one of the best commentary guys in the game) into a fit.

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Walter vs Matt Riddle © for the Atlas Championship

PROGRESS: Chapter 51: Screaming For PROGRESS, 7/15

Sure, PROGRESS’s lack of a live stream creates that same terrible spoilers problem that PWG has, but this match is a banger even if you know who’s gonna end.

This, in part, makes up for a criticism of Riddle I’ve heard over the last week. Some think he has tendency to not sell moves enough, but I gotta say, when he finally does sell hard here, it sure helps Walter seem even bigger for this performance.

Available via Demand Progress.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Darby Allin vs. Timothy Thatcher, Evolve 89, 7/9
  • Fred Yehi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. © for the Evolve World Championship, Evolve 89, 7/9
  • Jordynne Grace vs La Rosa Negra (Shine Nova Championship Tournament First Round Match), Shine 43, 7/14
  • Holidead vs. Ivelisse (Shine Nova Championship Tournament First Round Match), Shine 43, 7/14

WWE Match of The Week:

Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar ©

WWE Great Balls of Fire, 7/9

Before the bell even rung, you knew this match was awesome. Clearly, Brock has bought into Joe in a way he refused to for Ambrose (which almost seems to be vindicated by time?), with the Samoan Submission Machine slamming the beast through an announce table EARLY.

So while the match wasn’t long, it had the strongest effect on me of any on the card. And since it’s not often that a WWE PPV has me screaming, I give this the W.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Exit The Strowman

WWE Great Balls of Fire, 7/9

Did they turn him? No, they did better by allowing Braun to keep his mystique after Roman Reigns attempted vehicular manslaughter on his ass.

Oddly, no video here. Maybe because of the blood? Watch it (again) on the Network, I guess.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch This Wrestling 26 (7/2–8)

You’ll notice is that while ROH TV is in my watched list, but it isn’t in my to-watch-list. Why’s that? Their TV shows have been not-great for months and with a massive amount of Progress and NJPW to watch over the coming weeks, I’m trying to use my time more efficiently. Also, I’ve gotten tired of their PPVs and TV episodes not lining up because of their pre-tape schedule.

Also, a belated Best Non-WWE award to The Bachelorette for the Kenny King vs Lee The Racist feud. So while I love Kenny King now, and he won an ROH TV title #1 contender’s ranking this week on ROH TV, that’s still not enough for me to keep watching that show as it is these days. If ROH TV somehow improves its shows, then we’ll see if they can get the rose again.

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

What I Watched

  • 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
  • Progress: Chapter 50: I Give It Six Months, 7/4
  • NXT, 7/5
  • Lucha Underground, 7/5
  • Evolve 88, 7/8

Upcoming Watch List

  • Evolve 89, 7/9
  • Being The Elite Ep. 63, “Hot Topic”, 7/9
  • Monday Night Raw, 7/10
  • SmackDown LIVE, 7/11
  • 205 Live, 7/12
  • Talking Smack Live, 7/12
  • NXT, 7/13
  • Lucha Underground, 7/13

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Best of Bros: Keith Lee and Matt Riddle

WWNLive via YouTube, 7/7

This may go as no shock as I am a fan of ~both these guys~, but this is another solid mini-doc from Kenny Johnson. This is the first I’ve seen of a promotion focusing on Riddle’s Altered Bro moments, and the digital effects applied there are great.

Also, this shows off their Evolve 87 match as the must-see it was, as well as giving more spotlight to Keith Lee’s charisma, and attention to the issue of being friendly with someone who’s out to get you. Riddle didn’t show up to aide Lee at Evolve 88, and this could be shown as reason why, with The Bro not wanting his strongest competition at full-strength. Or he’s just a prick like John Cena who doesn’t do anything when his “friends” get attacked.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tomohiro Ishii, IWGP US Championship Tournament match

New Japan G1 Special Night 2, 7/2

The inclusion of Tomohiro Ishii is one of the things about the G1 Special in the US events that makes me the most jealous, considering The Stone Pitbull didn’t show up at the ROH / NJPW War of The Worlds NYC PPV.

This event gave the LA audience everything I wanted, and then some. Of the matches they got, I preferred his match against ZSJ because you rarely see Ishii in submission matches, and this showed he’s great there too. Also, loved the insane move of ZSJ’s trying to go strike for strike with the walking, talking human version of Ben Grimm aka The Thing.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kenny Omega vs Jay Lethal, New Japan G1 Special Night 2, 7/2
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs Kenny Omega, New Japan G1 Special Night 2, 7/2
  • Young Bucks vs ROPPONGI Vice, New Japan G1 Special Night 2, 7/2
  • Kay Lee Ray vs Toni Storm ©, Progress Chapter 50
  • CCK vs BSS, Progress Chapter 50
  • Ethan Page vs Keith Lee, Evolve 88, 7/8
  • Darby Allin vs “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, Evolve 88, 7/8
  • ACH vs. Fred Yehi for the Evolve World Championship #1 Contender position, Evolve 88, 7/8

WWE Match of The Week:

AJ Styles vs Chad Gable

SmackDown LIVE, 7/4

I was split this week on the E’s best match, because both were great, but also predictable. But while I enjoyed Roode being despicable, I cared more about the continuation of Chad Gable’s solo sojourn.

As Gable said in a backstage interview afterwards, the tag division is a little packed at the moment. If they need solid solo matches to get the audiences to care more about American Alpha, so be it.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

The Rap Battle: The New Day vs The Usos

SmackDown LIVE, 7/4

The first great rap-related segment in WWE history, and it had bars for days. Haven’t seen it somehow? Find another version than the one below, as WWE left off the best bar.

Honorable Mentions:

Categories
Uncategorized

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.