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  1. SmartMark15

    NXT talk

    I've really detested the psuedo heel turn for Johnny but I'm just glad that it's all back on track to where it should have been in the first place. The pay off will have been tainted a bit by the horrid detour we took but I think it will be enjoyable (and even great) nonetheless. Perhaps I'm just easy to please.
  2. SmartMark15

    The Pro-wrestling Curve of Attractiveness

    For my money, that'll be Ember Moon or Naomi. Facially, while Ember is prettier, neither are strikingly attractive in that sense. Also, Carmella looked fantastic in her heel run singlet and how high it was cut.
  3. A really awesome match that kept the pace high and the intensity strong. For the first time, Kawada's aggression and intensity earns him the majority of the offense in the match but that elbow and Misawa's bombs can always get the job done. Lots of action packed into a tight match that adds a dramatic shift in the dynamic between Kawada and Misawa. ****1/2
  4. A little slow to start but things really picked up Kawada grows more and more defiant in the face of impending defeat. It seemed to me that throughout this match, Misawa just came across as the better man, always matching and topping anything that Kawada dared to throw at him. You get the feeling that maybe if Kawada strung together just the right amount of offense together and with the right momentum, he could pull of the win. But once Misawa gets his elbows in, it's night night. Probably my favorite moment of the match was Kawada getting bombed on and just diving for a takedown as a last resort. ****1/2
  5. The opening backdrop driver is a beautiful way to set the tone for this rivalry. From there, it does slow down a bit with the dueling limb work that doesn't quite pay off later on in the match. The final half of bomb throwing was something to behold though. Even going in knowing the results, there are moments that could make you believe. One that sticks out is Kawada just dropping into a Rear Naked Choke after going for powerbomb after powerbomb. There was a nice sense of desperation there that came across well. But when it comes to dropping bombs, few do it as well as Misawa and he blasts Kawada into oblivion by the end. Awesome match to start off a historic rivalry. ****1/2
  6. Gauntlet matches are an easy sell for me because no matter how you look at the individual segments, they all bleed together to form a cohesive whole that allows one to affect the next and so on. Same goes here as this match had a very simple goal from the outset: convince us that Kofi Kingston can leave the Elimination Chamber as WWE Champion. Towards that goal, we had an excellent opening segment with Bryan and Kofi going back and forth. Bryan, of course, looks amazing on offense with his brutal strikes and submissions. I also liked the rising sense of frustration from Bryan as he allowed his offense to escalate the more pissed he was that he couldn't put Kofi away. I enjoyed Rowan's brief interference spots but those were made extra excellent with Kofi's insane bumping. Bryan gets hoist by his own petard as his interfering heavy allowed just enough time for Kofi to recover to nail a Trouble in Paradise to counter the running knee. Then, we get a brief segment where Kofi and Jeff trade high flying moves which was fun and didn't overstay its welcome. Joe comes in next and flexes his awesome badass douchebag character as he takes Kofi lightly the whole way through. We get more crazy bumps from Kofi off the top and to the floor. We also get the classic Hart-Austin '96 to finish to grant Kofi a believable win over Joe. Joe's attack allows for more character moments as AJ tries to give Kofi the chance to take forfeit and Kofi denies him in a fantastic moment that really gets you to believe in Kofi and his quest to believably take the title home this Sunday. It was nice to see AJ play the heel in this segment as the fresh aggressor against the worn down iron man. Some of the bumps in this segment looked brutal like Kofi taking that snap backbreaker on AJ's knees as well as missing his meteora and crashing into the ringpost and to the floor. AJ locks in one of his most brutal Calf Crushers to get the tap out victory, leading to a standing ovation for Kofi's efforts. The finish is exactly how it should have ended. They did it leading into the Royal Rumble and it's a nice lead into the Chamber as well. It's simple but the crowd was spent after Kofi's journey and it was a good close to the show. This match was all about Kofi and everyone played their roles perfectly to make him look like a legitimate contender. Excellent hour of TV wrestling and one of the best matches of the year. ****1/2
  7. I really turned around on Jay White at the tail end of 2018 from his US Title loss to Juice all the way into his G1 run. This was not his best work and not even his best match with Tanahashi. There was no urgency, probably because Tanahashi was focused on selling the knee for much of the early going and also because the crowd didn't buy into White's offense quite yet. At the same time, that's because White didn't have the same snap and violence behind his offense today that made him really pop back in August last year. I had hoped that some of the more old school heel tactics actually worked but I guess that would get in the way of trying to put over Jay White as a legitimate threat. All in all, this felt very much like the Rainmaker Shock match in that it's clearly not as good as it might have the potential to be down the line. Not saying that White will be on the level of Okada but I do think there's possibilities for him especially as he continues to cement his spot at the top. Overall though, this was a disappointment. You could tell the crowd only woke up for a couple of spots down the stretch and of course for the finish. I doubt Jay's reign lasts long but I do hope he gets the chance to hone his work in the upper slots of the card because there's definitely room to grow especially if his progress in 2018 is any indication. ***1/2
  8. SmartMark15

    Current New Japan

    It's looking like White vs. Okada in MSG and I do believe Okada will take the belt back there.
  9. SmartMark15

    [2006-08-12-ROH-Unified] Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness

    This is one of the well-beloved matches in ROH history that never quite clicked with me personally. I was never drawn into this match the way others have been. However, I do believe their 6th Anniversary match is easily one for the books and probably a top 2-3 ROH match.
  10. Love your enthusiasm but first quarter is a historically hot period for WWE with the Mania build. Things go off the rails in the last half of the year.
  11. SmartMark15

    Current New Japan

    Thought Suzuki-Sanada was the best of the bunch. I don't think I can understate how cool Tanahashi and Okada are as a team. They do feel genuinely special together and the interactions together do feel incredibly exciting such that even stringing together their signature moves feels like a big deal.
  12. KENTA just requested and has been granted his release. In a perfect world, he gets a G1 run this year.
  13. A little too heavy on the matwork for my personal taste but that was probably to be expected given the face vs face dynamic these two had going for them. The matwork was good though and the limb psychology did remain throughout the match and even played into the finish. A few miscues when they started trading the bigger blows meant that the pacing was a little thrown off. Some fun moments in there though. ***3/4
  14. SmartMark15

    Royal Rumble 2019

    We don't deserve that man. Legit the best in the world.
  15. SmartMark15

    [2019-01-27-WWE-Royal Rumble] Asuka vs Becky Lynch

    A perfect opener, if you ask me. A slow but steady start that led into a pretty hot finishing stretch that didn't burn out the crowd. Perfect pacing to get the crowd nice and riled up for the night of action to come. Great finish too with Asuka bridging on the Asuka Lock. Showed a real urgency to the match that she had to adjust her arsenal to take out Becky. ***3/4