Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Random Topics #1

Welcome to a new series here on the blog, called Random Topics. The concept is basically in the name. I take any topic that I feel like talking about, or one that was suggested that I find interesting. Without further ado, let's get into the first topic!

What I miss about WWE.

This is a big topic, but one I felt like talking about for a couple reasons. First, WWE is obviously in a sub-par state right now, and it makes you miss previous years. The second reason is because I recently went on a little vacation where I had no internet access, so I decided to bring the first 5 or so pay-per-views of the year from 2005. Seeing these really made me realize how poor of a state WWE is truly in right now. There are a couple different points I would like to cover in this, so I'll split them up into different paragraphs.

The first point, is the wrestling. Of course this is a different era, where every match has to be a 4+ star match, and if it isn't then most likely people are quick to dismiss it. But yet, in the years of Ruthless Aggression, we were not getting the best wrestling on any of the pay-per-views. You'd have a great match here and another one there, but you could never expect anything consistent. This era is still considered one of the best ever though. This is because the matches could draw you in. An example here is Judgment Day 2005, one of the shows I watched. The first match I had 0 interest in before hand. MnM vs. Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas. No promo package, no anything. What a random match to start off this event. But as they started, they drew me in. Holly and Haas were great faces and got the crowd behind them with little things like Holly getting the new blood (Mercury) into the corner and raising his hand. Holly knew that he has a reputation for putting the beatdown on new guys, and with as much heat as MnM were getting, he knew that the crowd would love some hard chops. Nitro and Mercury got the cheep win, which gave them even more heat because of the way the match drew the fans in. Even poor matches like Big Show vs. Carlito accomplished something, having Carlito gain massive heat by using his bodyguard (Matt Morgan) to pick up the win. The only truly bad part from this show was the Orlando Jordan vs. Heidenreich match, which leads me to my next point.

Bad people don't last long. In this time, if you weren't doing at least one thing right, you weren't going to last long. Of course there were people who were bad in the ring, but they made up for it with their character. Examples here are Heidenreich and Kenzo Suzuki. These two were bad no matter what role you put them in (how do you have a really bad match with Undertaker for the former, or just look bad in the ring with Eddie, Benoit, and Mysterio for the latter?) They both ended up gone. Then take someone like JBL. In-ring he wasn't the greatest ever, or anywhere near that. But can you name a better heel in that era? Cause I sure cannot. In this modern day of WWE, they have their most talented roster ever, but we still complain about in ring action. Now no one off the top of my head is particularly bad all-around, but if they are bad in one aspect, they aren't making up for it in another. Jinder Mahal is a good example in this case. His in-ring work is really bad, this is obvious. But usually you would make up for it in something like character. Now his character isn't bad, but it isn't something that makes up for how bad his wrestling is. But he is the WWE Champion. This hurts everyone, whether it be the other superstars on the roster, or the company itself. More users are turning off the channel, even though you have expanded your market. It seems to be a scenario of 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards. How can they help this? That leads into my third point.

Character. Man in Ruthless Aggression, these guys really took their character and rolled with it. Big superstars like Kurt Angle, John Cena, Eddie Guerrero, Brock Lesnar, etc. They all took their character to heart, and made the crowd love them or hate them just like they should. But what makes this stand out from modern day, is letting the lower card guys take a character and do what they want with it. Deuce and Domino are guys that were never going to make it to the top, but still were a reason to tune in to Smackdown cause you wanted to see the smug guys lose to London and Kendrick. Even Boogeyman who couldn't put on a great match, made you want to tune in to see what he would do next, and the crowd loved it. Nowadays WWE has put such a restraint on what guys can do with themselves, it's almost robotic. Let Roman Reigns work the crowd, cause he can do it. I strongly dislike him, but the post-Wrestlemania promo where he said 5 words is one of the best in modern day WWE. But he can't do anything more than that cause the company has his, and almost everyone else's written out word for word. It's simply boring. Look at the fashion files. They really let these guys do what they want, and they have one of the most over stories in the company right now. Then you take someone brilliant like Kevin Owens, who knows how to get heat in the best way, and you restrain him cause people get upset. It's not right, and it's something that I miss from WWE.

That's all for the first Random Topics. If you don't feel like reading the whole thing, I can leave a summed up portion in the conclusion. I miss letting guys put on their own matches, I miss not having sub-par people at the top of the company, and I miss letting guys run with their character. Hopefully you enjoyed this week, and be sure to look out for the next installment.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

AJPW Summer Action Series 2017 - Day 2 Review

AJPW Summer Action Series 2017 - Day 2 Review
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo

Well, it's been a while. Life is crazy. How about some AJPW full review?


AJPW Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match: Hikaru Sato (c) vs. Minoru Tanaka

I skipped the classic beginning card Japan tag matches, hopefully I didn't miss anything relevant. This was a good first match. They kept up the limb work, and it all looked really nice. The finish was red hot with beautiful submission trades, leading to a modified Armbar that was too much for Tanaka to handle.

Winner: Hikaru Sato in 13:18

Like I said, enjoyed this match and the finish was really great. Can't ask much more than that. ***

I'm not too up-to-date with AJPW feuds, but I popped when Tajiri came out and gave Sato the green mist. Great to see Tajiri doing good for himself.


AJPW World Tag Team Championships Match: The Big Guns (c) vs. NEXTREAM

Going into this match I was somewhat expecting a pretty good match since I know Jake Lee and Naoya Nomura are two incredible athletes. However as the match went on, I learned that I wasn't going to get my good match. Not sure if it was the Big Guns that were the cause (using my prior knowledge to similar looking wrestlers in WWE I would assume this is the case) or if the two teams simply didn't mix well.

Winners: NEXTREAM in 11:28

The titles did change hands here, which hopefully will lead to some great matches from the two young athletes. This match however, I was not a big fan of. **

If you're unfamiliar with AJPW, the only thing that really goes on between matches are interviews with the competitors of the last match. Most of these are in Japanese, so I tend to skip.


Joe Doering vs. Kento Miyahara

This match was definitely the main draw to this card for me. The two put on my current AJPW MOTY back in April, and even though I don't watch much AJPW, this match was still amazing. They both brawl inside and outside of the ring, and when Doering gets the upper-hand, he starts picking apart Miyahara's back. He continued to work the back in the ring, but then the pace slowed. Not a lot happened after that, then they had another exchange, then a couple German Suplexes, and Miyahara had Doering pinned just like that.

Winner: Kento Miyahara in 8:18

A much shorter match than I was expecting. I feel like with 5 more minutes like they had for the Championship Carnival, they could've put on another fantastic match. Nonetheless, this was some great action with a little dullness. If you're in the mood for some non NJPW puro, this is a good choice. ***½

Joe Doering's interview was in English so I decided to listen. He talks about having a disappointing 2017 so far. I hope this leads to a 3rd match between the two with a longer time.


AJPW Unified Triple Crown Championship Match: Shuji Ishikawa (c) vs. Suwama

For about a year now I've seen a couple AJPW posters here and there, and they all seem to have Suwama on them. Is it fair to assume he is AJPW's Okada? That could be both a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. This match was honestly hard to watch. No emotional investment at all, and no notable in-ring action to distract you from the previous point. I say a match is bad when you end up wishing that the ref counts the 3 just so it is finished.

Winner: Shuji Ishikawa in 19:37

Good for the crowd for seeming at least a bit excited in the match, but man this sucked. So much stalling for no reason, and such little action and stalemates, for again no reason. Sad for a pretty good event to end with a sour finish. I'll be a bit nicer with this rating for the decent finishing stretch. *½

Overall: 5/10. A show that was headed to being average, but fell hard with the main event. If you are going to check out this show, I'd say check out the first 3 matches for a good feel of AJPW. Solid action in the opener and in Doering/Miyahara, both should satisfy your puro needs. Looking forward to a stronger showing in the next show I am able to catch.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

AJPW New Year Wars 2017 - Day 1 Ratings

AJPW New Year Wars 2017 - Day 1 Ratings
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo

Atsushi Aoki vs. Koji Iwamoto - **½

Keisuke Ishii and Fuminori Abe vs. Yuma Aoyagi and Soma Takao - 

Ryoji Sai, Rikiya Fudo and Minoru Tanaka vs. Zeus, Yohei Nakajima and SUSHI - **¼

All Asia Tag Team Championships Barbed Wire Board Death Match: Masanobu Fuchi and Atsushi Onita (c) vs. Jun Akiyama and Masao Inoue -

SuwamaJoe Doering and Hikaru Sato vs. Kento MiyaharaNaoya Nomura and Jake Lee - ***

New Year Battle Royal Match - ¾*

Overall Rating: 3/10. My first recent AJPW show. I didn't know what to expect, but the show overall was lacking. Nothing stands out here, and the only saving grace would have to be the 2nd to last match. Hopefully the shows pick up from here.

Also an update for the blog. I recently sustained an injury while playing baseball, so I am unable to type well. This will stop me from writing full reviews for a while, and instead just give ratings for matches on a show. I will be doing this for random shows, and not Smackdown, since I feel Smackdown should be full reviews. Thanks for understanding.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Smackdown #393 Review

Smackdown #393 Review
Sap Center (AKA HP Pavilion)San JoseCalifornia

YEAHHHH! I WALK ALONE! Batista walks out in the whitest turtle neck imaginable to a crazy pop from the crowd. He speaks more about how he will not be intimidated by The Undertaker. But then... GONG! Undertaker is in a graveyard, seemingly digging a grave for Batista. He says Batista's title reign will REST. IN. PEACE.

Matt Hardy vs. Joey Mercury
This is a Money in the Bank qualifying match, and with their current rivalry, it has a lot of potential. King Booker is also on guest commentary. The match starts going back and forth, but nothing notable. All of the attention is on King Booker's amazing commentary. Joey Mercury did start getting the momentum by working on the left arm throughout the match. We come back from commercial and Mercury is using the ring post to wrench the arm, while King Booker is still saying some gold about how he will win at Wrestlemania. Mercury goes to the top rope, but Hardy catches him and starts mounting some offense. He hits a combination of signature moves, then rips off the protective mask and hits a Twist of Fate from the second rope for the 3.

Winner: Matt Hardy in 13:50
This was an ok opener, made better by King Booker's commentary. I would've preferred it if the match was a bit shorter. **

Backstage with MVP, he makes a statement saying he will be the man qualifying for Money in the Bank.

Scotty 2 Hotty, Shannon Moore, and Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Gregory Helms, Daivari, and Chavo Guerrero
A cluster of a match starting with Shannon Moore and Gregory Helms facing off. They both soon tag out though, and Daivari begins choking out Scotty 2 Hotty. The face team tries to get the crowd to will on Scotty, but the crowd is pretty dead for this match. Chavo, Daivari, and Helms keep Scotty away from his corner, but the crowd remained quiet. Jimmy Wang Yang comes in and flies all over the place and cleans house, but Gregory Helms silents him. Then everything breaks down and bodies go flying, and before you know it Wang Yang hits a moonsault and pins Daivari for the 3.

Winners: Scotty 2 Hotty, Shannon Moore, and Jimmy Wang Yang in 7:18
I'm sure this match was here just because they have no idea what to do with the cruiserweights, which is very unfortunate. If they were going to do this match, the entire thing should've been booked as a car crash, and not trying to start it out as a technical bout. 

A video is shown, displaying the actions of Vince and Umaga towards Rey Mysterio from last week.

Vince McMahon comes out promoting the Wrestlemania match yet again. We see videos from this past Raw and ECW showing Umaga and Bobby Lashley feuding. Just as I was about to fall asleep from this promo, Lashley's music hits and things get interesting. Vince tells him he'll pay him double whatever Trump is paying him. Lashley of course rejects this offer, but he gets slapped by Vince. Lashley then looks like he is about to murder Vince, and that's the end of the segment. This match has 0 to do with Smackdown, so I question why they have these segments.

After commercial, Mr. Kennedy is backstage with Vince and he says he wants Lashley in a match. So the match that was booked is for the ECW title, and is no holds barred, for Kennedy only.

Ashley vs. Jillian Hall
Jillian Hall starts to sing, but Ashley cuts her off and starts punching her. Ashley starts getting the crowd on her side, and that gives Jillian a chance to get the advantage. Jillian grabs the mic and starts trying to sing, but Ashley cuts her off yet again. Ashley counters a powerslam, and hits an elbow for the win.

Winner: Ashley in 2:26
This was a fairly short match and was just to promote Ashley's Playboy appearance, so I'll leave it unrated.

Finlay vs. MVP vs. Chris Benoit
It is worth to note that Finlay clarifies with the Michael Cole and JBL that Little Bastard's name is Hornswoggle. I've been calling him Hornswoggle from the start so I apologize. The match starts off with all 3 keeping a close eye on each other, with the big stakes of Money in the Bank at risk. MVP and Finlay begin double teaming Benoit, and as they go for pins, the other would pull the other off of Benoit. MVP tosses Finlay outside of the ring, and Benoit hits a nice suicide dive on MVP. Then we get a commercial. We come back and Finlay has control over Benoit back inside of the ring. MVP comes back in the ring and begins working on Benoit. The double teaming continues for a while, until MVP gets a bit too cocky and Finlay takes him down. Chris Benoit gets back into control with a Sharpshooter on MVP which stays locked in until he switches to a Crossface on Finlay, but MVP breaks it up with a huge dropkick. Benoit takes Finlay out of the match afterwards with a nasty german suplex outside of the ring. He then misses a Flying Headbutt onto MVP. This seems to be MVP's match, but with the help of a certain leprechaun, Finlay is able to hit both superstars with a shillelagh for the win.

Winner: Finlay in 11:09
 Another good match coming from the combination of Finlay/Benoit. All 3 come out of the match looking strong, and the set up for mania was great. Although it gets the same rating as the top match, this doesn't quite beat out Finlay/Benoit for best Smackdown TV match. ***

Jerry Lawler is announced for the Hall of Fame.

Two major announcements for matches next week. Undertaker takes on Finlay, and Batista takes on Kane.

ECW Championship No Holds Barred Match For Mr. Kennedy Only: Bobbly Lashley (c) vs. Mr. Kennedy
The match starts off with Lashley dominating, but when he goes to use an exposed turnbuckle, he gets warned by the ref. Kennedy takes advantage of the distraction, and throws Lashley up against it. Back from commercial we see Kennedy still in control, and he goes for a count out win, to no avail. After failing to choke out Lashley, Kennedy grabs a chair and cracks it over Lashley's skull, but it still doesn't put him away. So the chair shots continue, until Kennedy misses a swing and the momentum shifts. Lashley gets Kennedy up and hits him with a running powerslam for the 3.

Winner: Bobby Lashley in 10:35
A shorter match than their No Way Out match, which is much appreciated. This did kind of make Kennedy look weak, but I guess it's alright in order to boost Lashley up for the Wrestlemania match against Umaga. **¾

Overall: 6/10. This was a great week for Smackdown. I did give it the benefit of the doubt when averaging scores because of the opening promo, and learning from past mistakes with the main event. Next week seems to be another good episode as we are getting two huge matches, thanks to the Holla Holla Hall of Famer Teddy Long.

Friday, April 7, 2017

WWE Network Hidden Gems Review #1

WWE Network Hidden Gems Review #1
Samoa Joe vs. William Regal - UPW @ Santa Ana

Welcome to the first Hidden Gems review from the network. Today I'll be looking at a dream match of sorts. If you couldn't tell from the title, we've got Samoa Joe vs. William Regal from Ultimate Pro Wrestling. Now, this isn't going to be the Samoa Joe we all know and love, from as far as I can tell at least. This match is from late 2000, meaning that this is pre ROH Joe. But could he still give us a classic match? Let's find out.

The match started off with a wrist lock and didn't break away from it until the late minute and a half of the match. I'm not exaggerating either, it was a poorly paced technical match with Regal attempting to carry an inexperienced Joe about halfway through the match, and then seemingly giving up. The effort seemed lost, and the match was a great disappointment. It also doesn't help that the crowd was completely silent except for 2 girls who would scream whenever Regal showed some offense. In the end, Joe botched getting tripped, and tapped out to the Regal Stretch. I can give the match one star, but nothing more than that. *  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Smackdown #392 Review

Smackdown #392 Review
PayOne CenterSan DiegoCalifornia

The night starts off with a video package showing the past 3 weeks of build up to Batista vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania. This is looking like a pretty great feud.

After the video, Batista walks out and defends his actions at No Way Out against The Undertaker. He seems confident that he will be walking into Wrestlemania as champ, and out still champion.

Matt Hardy, Brian Kendrick, and Paul London vs. Joey Mercury, Deuce and Domino
The match started out with fast tags between Kendrick and London, and some strong offense, until Domino attacked Kendrick behind the ref's back. Deuce was then tagged in, and him along with Domino played excellent heels, keeping Kendrick isolated from his corner just like any good tag match. Kendrick started some offense and got an incredibly hot tag to Matt Hardy. He continued to clean house and with the help of London and Kendrick taking out Deuce and Domino with double suicide dives, he pinned Mercury for the win.

Winners: Matt Hardy, Brian Kendrick, and Paul London in 11:22
This was your average 6 man tag match, and it was a great way to start off this show. Deuce and Domino looked strong as a tag team, and Matt Hardy had some great momentum. **½

We had a weird backstage segment with Krystal and Vickie Guerrero, the latter saying everything was taken care of. Just odd.

The Money in the Bank qualifying match between Edge and Rob Van Dam from Raw was shown to hype up the upcoming qualifying match between Kane and Booker T.

Chavo Guerrero vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
Chavo started off the match fast by attacking Scotty 2 Hotty while he was taking off his shirt, but Scotty didn't back down fighting right back. Chavo took control however, and started beating down on Scotty. He used cheap tactics such as choking him with the ropes to stay in control, and screamed at Scotty repeatedly saying how he wasn't worthy of the Cruiserweight Championship. Scotty fought out of a submission, but was met with a huge big boot, and again was unable to gain control. Chavo went for the triple verticals, but Scotty countered and hit the Worm. Chavo rolled out of the ring, but was caught with a senton from Scotty. Back into the ring, Chavo rolled up Scotty and got his feet on the ropes for the 3.

Winner: Chavo Guerrero in 7:39
This match didn't click well unfortunately. Scotty got a bit of momentum, but it took a bit too long to get it going I think. That really took away for the excitement.

Falls Count Anywhere Match: King Booker vs. Kane
King Booker, despite seeming scared, goes right into brawling with the big red machine. The two go back and forth for quite sometime, spilling outside of the ring even. After a while King Booker gets the advantage, and is taking Kane all over the ringside and throwing him up against everything. Booker makes a mistake when trying to use the ring bell, and Kane gains control, taking him up the entrance ramp. King Booker shifts the momentum with a DDT on the solid steel, and he continues to beat up Kane on the stage. However this doesn't last long as Kane hits a huge uppercut, and takes King Booker to ringside, and throwing him into the steps. Booker finally gets to use the bell, and we come back from commercial to see him in control. They continue to go back and forth for a while longer, and just as Kane is about to hit the Chokeslam, The Great Khali comes out and attacks Kane. After the attack, King Booker pins a knocked out Kane for the win.

Winner: King Booker in 17:56
This was a better match than their No Way Out encounter, the only problem was it went on a bit too long yet again. This planted the seed for Kane vs. Khali at mania. It was still kind of random, but doesn't really take away from the match itself. **½

Backstage after the match, King Booker is celebrating, and he shakes hands with Khali. Is this a formed alliance?

There is also a flashback to last week to where Ashley reveals the cover of Playboy and the crowd goes crazy.

Finlay and Hornswoggle vs. Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman
Apparently the match started while a commercial was going on, so I'm not sure how it started. Finlay takes the bag of worms and dumps them out, and stomps on them. Little Boogeyman hit Finlay with a low blow, and begins beating him up, but Hornswoggle comes into the ring and starts to fight with Little Boogeyman. Finlay stops it though, and he turns around into a big boot from Boogeyman, who then turns his attention to Hornswoggle. Finlay hits Boogeyman with his shelaylay and Hornswoggle gets the pin.

Winners: Finlay and Hornswoggle in 4:00
This was a comedic skit, not a wrestling match. DUD

Mr. Perfect gets announced as a part of the Hall of Fame.

Rey Mysterio comes out to the ring, hyping up his upcoming return from his knee injury. As he is talking, Vince McMahon interrupts him. He comes out with multiple security guards and blocks the ring. He doesn't really even acknowledge Rey, he just talks about how is going to beat Donald Trump at Wrestlemania, and shave his head. He then asks Rey who he thinks will win, and Rey tells Vince he's a loser. This makes Vince angry of course, and he decides to bring out Umaga, who is representing him for the mania match. He tries to bully Rey into saying Vince will win. Then he low blows Rey, and gives him to Umaga for a giant Samoan drop. Then he hits a hip attack. Vince decides this still is not enough, and he commands Umaga to jump on the injured knee. This was a heat magnet.

Overall: 4.5/10. Not a terrible show, but not that good either. There was a solid opener, and a solid Kane/Booker match, but 2 bad matches as well along with an ending I don't entirely agree with. I feel as if the segment was ok, I just don't think it should've ended Smackdown.

Smackdown 2007 Statistics:

Pay-Per-View Match of the Year: Royal Rumble Match - Royal Rumble - ****
Smackdown TV Match of the Year: United States Championship Match: Chris Benoit (c) vs. Finlay - ***
Worst Pay-Per-View Match of the Year: ECW Championship Match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Mr. Kennedy - DUD
Worst Smackdown TV Match of the Year: Finlay and Hornswoggle vs. Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman - DUD 

Announcement

So, as most of you know the blog has been very inactive/inconsistent when posting reviews and such. Well I plan on changing that, due to people seeming to want more content. Now I have a schedule planned out for the future of this blog, and I hope you all like it. You can expect 1 2007 Smackdown show a week, and a match review from the Hidden Gems Vault off of the WWE network. Once in a while there may be a 3rd post per week, whether that be an extra post of one of the former mentioned series, or something covering an event in the wrestling world, or even something I just feel like reviewing. I look forward to providing you all with content, and the new Smackdown review should be up in just a bit. Thank you.