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Found 22 results

  1. Pretty solid spotfest and all of them are pretty good in the ring. Charlotte still has a little awkwardness but nothing that won't go away in time. I just think she's so naturally talented that it's easy to overlook how a lot of her stuff looks a little unseasoned. Another throwaway match, but a good showcase of the women in NXT.
  2. Coffey

    WWE Clash of Champions

    I'm making this thread because, on paper, I actually think this looks like it could be a pretty good show. In addition, I'm also actually watching the Pay-Per-View tonight because I don't have to work & have not watched a lot of wrestling lately. I think the last show I watched was AEW All Out. So I have an itch that needs to be scratched. I also, miraculously, talked my girlfriend into watching with me. She's not watched a show with me since Asuka was still in NXT (she loved Asuka, so her not being used on the main roster is a big deal to her viewing interest). Despite the fact that Seth Rollins is wrestling twice on the show - meanwhile talent like Rusev can't even make a show - is a bit disheartening, but I'm still optimistic. Let's see if this thread can be more active & lively tonight! THE CARD: Universal Champion Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan (No Disqualification Match) SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville SmackDown Tag Team Champions Big E & Xavier Woods vs. The Revival Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Miz United States Champion AJ Styles vs. Cedric Alexander WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado ===== ***** ===== I think that Nakamura/Miz will probably disappoint my expectations, as that's how I've felt about Shinsuke's entire WWE run. Styles/Alexander should be good. New Day/Revival will probably be pretty good. Both women's title matches could be good. The Cruiserweight match will probably end up being on the preshow but it could be decent. I do like Gulak. I think Rose/Deville have both improved lately, especially Sonya, but I don't expect anything from that match. I don't care about either Seth matches, especially the tag match which somehow managed to put four of the most boring motherfuckers on the entire goddamn roster into one match. Good lord. Still don't know why WWE ever signed Bobby Roode or re-signed Dolph Ziggler. Two Seth matches on one card is brutal, but it is what it is. I've liked what they've been doing with Rowan lately but I don't think that match will be anything. Just Rowan doing some no DQ stuff with chair/steps & then losing clean to a Spear most likely. The Kofi/Orton match is the biggest question mark to me. I don't know what to expect from that one. This Kofi reign has been boring & forgettable & I'm ready for it to be over. On the other hand, Randy Orton is boring & forgettable & the last thing he needs is another title run. The feud doesn't make sense of why it's even happening. They need to get the belt off of Kofi but they need to start making new guys, especially if they're going to try to hit FOX running when Smackdown moves over there. If they just try to go back to same old shit, Roman, Charlotte, etc. I don't think people are going to care. ...where's Brock?
  3. This match gets a lot of mileage out of the face/heel dynamic. Pretty much everything that goes on in this match feeds off of it and the characters that these two have created. Sasha playing the arrogant heel champ who takes pleasure in picking apart and embarrassing her opponent, while Bayley is someone who may have finally figured out who she is and the confidence that comes with that. As for the actual work in the match, Sasha performance is masterful. All of the little details that she brings add depth to what could have been an overly simple story. Bayley's strong responses to Sasha's insults bring energy to the match. If Sasha vs. Becky showed what the women could do from a work perspective, then this showed that they could not just bring that again but have a story too. ****1/2
  4. Excellent match. After Ronda's disappointing show at the Rumble, she totally made up for this here. Ronda was clearly pissed off by the crowd pre match and thus brought tons of aggression in this, going at Bayley early on like a rabid dog leading to some cool scrambles for the arm bar. Then Ronda's selling came into play when she twisted her leg in the corner, Bayley zeros in on the leg, hitting a nasty dragon screw in the ropes. Ronda selling her leg and arm (from Sasha's rumble and Bayley's initial arm work early in the match) superbly. Bayley was great here too, loved her work here and she did a great job at the limb work. Glad to see Bayley back into the mix again. Tons of fight and struggle in this. Nice little rough match here. ***3/4
  5. Loved this. Sasha's character work in her matches in the past few weeks has been super enjoyable to watch & it was exactly that here, as well. She was very heelish w/ her cockiness & general attitude towards Bayley. Loved her going after her taped up shoulder too, that added some very nice psychology to the match & I loved Sasha's facial expressions during the attack towards it. Bayley's selling was very good. The crowd response was amazing as well w/ them actually booing Sasha at times, responding to the story they were telling w/ her character! Very good stuff. ***3/4
  6. I like pro wrestling that preserves the struggle of a fight, even if it is one often resembling action/boxing/martials arts movie scenes more than an actual real competition or a fight. I don't like pro wrestling where the workers struggle to simulate the fight itself, and if you're not bothered by the sloppiness that is still very much present in many of these matches, well, good for you. But I'm having trouble taking Bayley seriously when she messes up very basic looking spots. The match was fine-Bayley got some solid shine early on and then we transitioned into a cool control segment where Asuka nailed Bayley with a brutal knee and kept cutting Bayley off every time Bayley attempted a comeback. Asuka really nailed some sharp kicks in here, it was a joy to watch. Unfortunately Bayley's comeback was pretty lame, slamming someone's head into the the turnbuckle as a comeback works if you're a tecnico and Fuerza Guerrera is bumping for you but as a means of vanquishing the biggest badass the NXT women's division has had so far it's not very convincing, especially when the slams themselves don't look especially violent. Bayley's babyface comeback offence of running elbows/kneedrops/legdrops would've been much more efficient if Asuka's control segment laster longer and was used as the actual comeback. Finish was also kinda eye-rolling, didn't really buy into Bayley becoming this huge badass, her acting wasn't there and her daring Asuka to hit her in the face and immediately covering up was just so stupid, it's the kind of stuff that happens when you have Triple H and friends laying out puro machismo tribute spots. Do I even need to explain how stupid no-selling a head kick is after treating it like a KO shot a mere second after? You fire up and barely get to your feet at best after something like that. That would've made for a much better and intruiging finish than what they did. ***
  7. Pretty simple story here as the beloved champion takes on the dangerous undefeated challenger. This does get off to a slow and even awkward start, (Asuka stiffs Bayley with a forearm after their first lockup.) Once they they settle down, they do get into a nice groove with each other. I do like that Bayley went right at Asuka and never showed any fear but that does cost her at times as she gets out-struck and outclassed on the mat. She does adjust and learns to pick her spots which leads to some nice counters. Also, I enjoyed the announce team as both Phillips and Graves put over both of the matchup plus point out little stuff like Bayley trying to use submissions that had got her wins in previous title matches. Overall, an incredibly well done title match the is different from the typical fare you get from the WWE. ****1/4
  8. These two had a really good match last year, so I knew there was some chemistry there. They had an even better match here - it was executed so well w/ the emotion & the effective babyface-heel roles. Alexa's work on top was really good, really liked her trash talk during that too. Bayley's big comeback was super great - loved the energy & fire she brought. The sense of urgency picked up big time once Bayley's comeback was done - they started hitting each other w/ the big bombs; Bayley trying to go for the super Bayley-to-Belly, Alexa busting out the sunset flip powerbomb, Bayley doing her awesome Macho Man tribute elbow. The finish was really neat with Alexa getting a win with a normal DDT (in 2017!!) - it made perfect sense because Bayley's head hit the ringpost just before. Great match! ****
  9. Loved the beginning with Nia establishing dominance, she looked like a monster just beating up Charlotte, Bayley & Sasha. Loved it. Loved the Horsewomen realizing they need to team up to take her out - that was real great, and the whole beatdown of Nia was tremendous. After she was eliminated, the match fell off a bit, but it still remained good & as a result we got a very good, borderline great match. ***3/4
  10. This actually reminded me of the Bayley/Sasha classic from Brooklyn when it comes to the structure of the match. Charlotte's work on top was superb, really vicious work over Bayley's neck, and Bayley was excellent (as usual) as the fiery babyface. Fantastic match, if we get a better TV match this year, we're in for a treat. ****1/4 EDIT: goddamn botched the title. Meant to put RAW, not Royal Rumble lol.
  11. Awesome match! Both Charlotte & Bayley were absolutely on point here - Charlotte working the heat on Bayley was wonderful, loved the trash talk, and her work on top was overall very good. Bayley's selling was good. She is such an awesome babyface wrestler. That Macho Elbow was very nice. All in all, this was some very solid rasslin! ***1/2
  12. ShittyLittleBoots

    [2017-02-06-WWE-Raw] Bayley vs Nia Jax

    These 2 have a really good chemistry with each other. This was a really good David vs. Goliath battle - mostly just Nia dominating Bayley with her solid looking offense, with Bayley getting some really good, well timed hope spots in. I thought that Bayley's selling & bumping were really great here, she made Nia look like a true killer. Awesome match. ***1/2
  13. This was better then the more hyped WrestleMania three-way. The main reason being that their was a solid story being worked throughout rather than the constant chaining of spots that was the Mania match. Charlotte is in full on beast mode here. This was the most physical that I've ever seen her work as she just manhandling both Sasha and Bayley. Bayley took the brunt of the attacks from both Charlotte and Sasha to the point were I bought the finish of Charlotte just finishing her off with a kick after she pinballed off of Sasha. The Horsewomen continue their run of having very good, if not great, multiwoman matches. ****
  14. This is the rubber match of their feud with Bayley have the added motivation of looking to get a title shot plus revenge for being injured by Jax. This match is more of a game of cat and mouse than their other two matches. Bayley doing a lot of darting and dodging in order to find opening for offense. Eventually, Nia is able to catch her and just starts clubbing her down. Bayley does an excellent job of selling plus adding some neat transitions to tease comebacks. Run up to the finish is great with both women taking some nasty bumps along the way. Fantastic way to end their rivalry. ****
  15. This is a rematch of the NXT Women's Title match that they had last fall. Right from start Bliss is in ramped up, Takako Inoue style, bitch mode. Just like the Carmella match, she hits all of her offense in a really nasty way. It was surprising to see Bayley get off most of her offense from counters or take advantage of Alexa having a tantrum. Match could have really used another 5 minutes that could have potentially made it a MOTYC, but even though it's a bit short it's still a great TV match. ***3/4
  16. Bayley's first TV match since losing the NXT Women's Title to Asuka is a rematch from December. Nia Jax looked a lot better here than she did in that match. She looked much more confident in the ring and as a result, came off as a far more convincing monster. I really liked how she countered Bayley's various sleeper attempts by simply flinging Bayley off of her. Finish was interesting as they went with a freak knee injury leading to the finish even though Jax was in control for most of the match. Very strong performances from both women. ****
  17. This match was setup at the previous TV taping when Carmella won a battle royale for a title shot. They also played up the real life friendship between the two of them. I really liked how Bayley worked this match. She controlled most of the match but managed to find some nice ways to keep Carmella looking competitive. Also thought that Carmella's selling was very good throughout the match and the way that she built up to the back-to-back dives was tremendous. Realistically, this match was as good as you could hope for given Carmella's experience level. ***3/4
  18. The Road to WrestleMania XXX: The Good Shit - http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/33558-the-road-to-wrestlemania-xxx-the-good-shit/ The Road to WrestleMania 31: The Good Shit - http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/33559-the-road-to-wrestlemania-31-the-good-shit/ NXT at WrestleMania 31 Axxess – March 26, 2015 These matches aired on the April 8, 2015 broadcast Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale Qualifier Tournament Semifinal Neville vs. Hideo Itami Staredown triggers a “THIS IS AWESOME~!” chant, and it should for this is a dream match. Eight years ago, this could be manipulated into being ROH vs. PWG. Five years ago, NOAH vs. DG. Easily the best match of the tournament as this would be the only chance for these two to collide while in NXT based on plans in the very near future. While this of course didn’t reach greatness, they showed that such a match of that magnitude is capable in the future. Everything about this match was just so professional, from the mat wrestling (including a battle to gain leverage on hammerlock trades), Neville refusing to be the answer to the Go to Sleep trivia question, and Neville’s cut-offs when Itami took over in the middle and in the closing sequences. In particular, my favorite spot was a teased running corner dropkick from Itami, only to eat a perfectly timed superkick from Neville for a hot nearfall. Of course, the tease became reality since these two are so polished and experienced. This should’ve been the tournament final, and as someone who finds fan conventions totally useless, advertising a match like this ahead of time in the future would make me consider attending the session. ***1/2 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale Qualifier Tournament Semifinal Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze Couldn’t come close to breaking ***, let alone the semifinal that this followed. This was paced as a fine TV or house show style match, nothing memorable whatsoever, but just enough for Balor to get his shit in and pop the crowd and lead to the rematch with Itami in the final. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale Qualifier Tournament Final Finn Balor vs. Hideo Itami Nothing close to their first dream match in NXT’s prior tournament several weeks earlier and for understandable reasons, as both men are in their third matches of the evening, plus have matches booked the next night at San Jose State University. There really are no complaints to make here, as the match was good but nothing special, which is exactly where it needed to land to leave the crowd happy. Itami pulls off the major upset though, which shouldn’t have been with so much Japanese media in town due to Tatsumi Fujinami’s HOF induction. *** Crazy food for thought: I never, ever prior to 2014 would’ve thought I’d see KENTA on the same WrestleMania card as Sting. WrestleMania 31 Tag Titles Match Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Big E & Kofi Kingston The SF native Usos are of course decked in 49ers colors, and it’s an obvious shame that Jey had the busted shoulder and could only come out to soak in the moment without getting to do anything physical whatsoever. Gut-wrenching, as them winning the straps in a standard tag from the champs to open the PPV broadcast would’ve been something special. The champs and hometown boys are of course the most over, while the New Day are still like a wet fart, looking hopeless to ever catch on. Now as for this match, I hated it on broadcast viewing. Sure it was a fun spotfest live, but the broadcast version exposed this as nothing more than a TNA “go out there and do a video game” match. That’s probably not a coincidence with Rudy Charles as the assigned referee, and this was the first WWE match I think I’ve ever seen in which a referee failed to keep track of who was legal. The match wasn’t THAT crazy to justify such sloppy officiating. Others will love this more than me, but I have no use for this in ROH, PWG, or TNA, let alone WWE, especially on the industry’s grandest card of the entire year. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale Decent battle royale that didn’t quite live up to the original’s finishing stretch. The segments to mention were of course Show eliminating Itami like a complete, utter jabroni, thus making his appearance useless, as him getting to the final four would’ve done quite a bit to build the NXT brand. Cesaro got his moment to shine by scoop-slamming Kane out of the ring, only for Show to get his win back over him from the prior year. Then of course Damien Sandow (Mizdow) got fed up with the Miz’s bullshit, eliminating him to have a fun final with Show. Show won for what would be obvious reasons at the conclusion of the event, although I sensed live during this match, and now believe even more so with the narrative forced by the commentary when Show won, that Sandow should’ve gone over here. The reason isn’t even about Sandow being the hot hand at the time, although that plays a part (Miz could destroy the trophy leading to their singles match at the next PPV, and maybe it actually would’ve caught on as a singles program for a few months.) Instead, I believe with how limited Show has been in terms of being the slightest bit of an interesting character in 2015, having him choke in this match for a second straight year could’ve made for a compelling undercard narrative going into WrestleMania 32 – would the third time be the charm for Show? Show him preparing for what he feels is his rightful prize in training videos, cutting promos/interviews explaining what it’d mean to him due to the Andre comparisons, etc. Then he is an actual force in that match at AT&T Stadium, perhaps the last highlight of a long and successful career, even though it never reached quite the level of Andre’s. IC Title – Ladder Match Wade Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. R-Truth vs. Daniel Bryan Fun gimmick match to open the PPV portion although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have a memorable ladder match. There were stunts in this match, although nothing was timed and delivered to be on par with the memorable spots of prior ladder matches such as the Shawn Michaels splash, Edge leaping spear, etc. Having three of the most organically popular babyfaces (Ambrose, Ziggler, D-Bry) thrown in a match with four geeks obviously didn’t help either. If any moments were standout, they’d have to be the dumbest one and the finish. Ambrose got pushed off by Harper and fell off of a ladder in the ring, onto a ladder platform outside the ring. Now with this being the biggest show of the year, this is the time to do a stupid stunt like that, but I’d have reservations had I been in his shoes, as this spot on the card was clearly beneath him and the other two legitimate stars shoehorned into this match. Those other two provided the other standout moment as Ziggler and D-Bry exchanged headbutts on the ladder, with D-Bry of course winning thanks to experience against Nigel McGuinness, and claiming the IC Title. Quite the lazy way to pacify those upset with D-Bry’s booking since returning a few months earlier, but if anyone could make that belt mean something again, he’s the very best choice. ***1/2 Since WWE was adamant about having a ladder match on this show, here was one of the million ideas I had in fantasy booking: Seth Rollins is forced (thanks to Sting somehow getting leverage on the Authority) into putting the Money in the Bank briefcase on the line against the five guys (minus Roman Reigns) he and his buddies had violated the most since his betrayal of the Shield. That would be Ambrose, Ziggler, D-Bry, Ryback, and Randy Orton. That provides a loaded ladder match, that also manages to put two of the company favorites and the three fanbase favorites as mentioned all in a marquee match for the event, as well as providing quite the compelling story for a match since Rollins would see everything he had gained potentially blow up in his face. Now speaking of the two company favorites I was referring to… Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton Rollins is of course accompanied by J&J Security. My favorite match of the night in person, and maybe still even with something else later on objectively edging this out quite a bit. What I love so much about this match is that it not only overcame the shitty booking since Orton’s return several weeks earlier, but this felt the most like a sporting competition compared to everything else on the card. Sure, J&J Security got involved a little bit and were quickly dispatched by Orton, but that was as minimal as possible. This looked like a match in which both men went to the film room and put in their proper time studying one another. There were great counters and blocks all over this match, plus excellent teases. Whether it was Rollins dodging an early Ace Crusher attempt, or blocking a powerslam only to eat one seconds later, this was a purist’s dream for me. In person, this was an excellent match, but on broadcast with polished production, this held up many months later, and the finish of Rollins going for the SR curb stomp, only for his momentum to backfire and see himself lifted to helplessly fall into a perfectly timed Ace Crusher, is gonna be played in highlight reels and talked about for years to come, no matter how uncomfortable WWE is about the stomp. This lived up to my expectations after the classic they had months earlier in Buffalo. **** Dream Match and Sting’s WWE Debut Match Sting vs. Triple H It sure seemed strange to have two of the most promoted matches taking place so early on the card, but I’ll explain why it was actually quite brilliant in my overall assessment of this event at the end of this review. Charles Robinson is the assigned referee, and I shudder to think had it been someone else not familiar with Sting. This may not have been as much fun live if it wasn’t for him. Unlike HHH’s prior WrestleMania match, I’m not going to provide the detailed move by move analysis. This match wasn’t about putting on a technical masterpiece to pay off an angle several months in the making. Instead, this was about providing a dream match for lapsed fans that yearn for the business to feel like the days of the Monday Night War. Now with that said, the first thing I’m going to address is the storyline going into this match. This was a blood feud based on vigilantism vs. corruption and oppression, so this match based on that storyline shouldn’t have relied on the retro faction warfare smoke and mirrors it got. This match certainly needed to have its smoke and mirrors, as NEITHER man looked to be in the best shape from an appearance or conditioning standpoint, but structured more like a brawl. While color was also obviously being saved for later on the card, I believe it was absolutely essential to have here both for the storyline and hide the shortcomings of both performers, and that it wouldn’t take away from the color in another match later. The decision to have the original New World Order and D-Generation X, while providing for a fun, unforgettable segment, was extremely out of place for the storyline developed between Sting and HHH. Don’t get me wrong – it was something to see the two hottest factions of the Monday Night War finally collide, and I never thought the day would come in which SHAWN MICHAELS GIVES STING THE SUPERKICK. That was definitely a surreal moment. I’m going to analyze that decision and its effect on this match even more. I had been critical that Sting’s perspective shouldn’t have been so limited going into this show, and that it should’ve been hammered down the audience’s throat that the Authority reminded him of the nWo being such a destructive cancer and leading cause in WCW’s death (his mission would be to save WWE from a similar fate.) While that dynamic was mentioned in one great video, it was so brief while the Authority hogged so much mic and screen time that even a detailed viewer like me practically blinked and missed it at the time. So DX comes to help out HHH, and then the nWo comes out minutes later. Some may question that based on Sting’s history with the nWo. Why would they come out to help? The reasons are layered – it’s an opportunity for Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash to appear on the biggest show of the year, so of course they’ll take it. Also, let’s remember (as much as none of you want to) that when the nWo splintered into separate factions, Sting joined the Wolfpac version. Also while in TNA, Sting has shown he no longer held a grudge against any of those three, teaming with and aiding them on multiple occasions. WWE would never mention these details of course, but they exist. In addition, the original nWo are all backstage at Levi’s Stadium, see someone they went to war with and against getting manhandled by D-Generation X. Why wouldn’t they wanna come help out someone they respect, while also feeling a sense of competitive pride dating back to the Monday Night War to prove who the alpha faction of that time truly is? With that part of the analysis out of the way, I move on to this. The way this match was structured, including DX and nWo involvement/brawling, baseball bats, sledgehammers, and HBK attacking Sting to benefit HHH, this didn’t belong in 2015 at all, not even thinking about the vigilante vs. authority angle. This entire segment should’ve taken place at WrestleMania X8 or WrestleMania XIX, with it leading to the Sting vs. Shawn Michaels dream match at the following year’s WrestleMania. The timing would have been far more appropriate with the War wounds far fresher, it’d lead to a hot match nobody could’ve even thought would become reality, and it’s a shame that couldn’t happen as WWE’s insistence on pussy-footing around with established WCW talent rubbed Sting the wrong way after WCW’s death. With all of this said – this was a hell of a spectacle, even with Sting and HHH appearing to both get gassed or out of sync at points. And I’ve no problem with the handshake afterwards – HHH was the one that offered it, both men having earned each other’s respect and moving on despite what lead to their dream showdown. I’d have had Sting win of course for the obvious reasons, but this definitely contributed to me getting my money’s worth live. For the next half hour or so, the show is all filler. A mini concert. A meaningless divas match pitting the Bella Twins against Paige & AJ Lee (I’m sure Divas champ Nikki tapping clean to Lee’s Octopus hold will lead to something, I just know it will), and then the HOF recognition segment. While many hate filler and I’d usually argue against this as I strongly prefer cards to be structured in order of match importance, it worked for me here for two reasons, one which I’ll list here. This half hour or so of pure filler gave me time to walk around Levi’s Stadium while still in daylight and take in the surrounding Santa Clara beauty. HIGHLY suggested for everyone to do the same when at this venue. US Title Match Rusev vs. John Cena By far the hottest, most sensible angle coming into this show, it’s just a shame that this didn’t quite live up to its buildup or even their first match several weeks earlier. This was of course a good match, but it’s not a compliment when stating the best moment was Rusev’s tank entrance (the night’s best gimmick entrance by far), no matter how spectacular that particular piece of production was. Before I explain why this didn’t quite live up to the hype, especially for this being Rusev’s year-in-the-making first loss, the match had its bright spots. Everything was clean and crisp, nothing sloppy like Sting vs. HHH, and I appreciated Cena’s overall no-nonsense demeanor throughout the match. That sold his perception of Rusev as a threat and also his patriotic anger. Rusev also got his fair moments of dominance and had to really work to lock in the Camel Clutch, but of course it finally wouldn’t work out for him. As for why I found this disappointing, which my star rating won’t reflect, is mostly because this didn’t have a super-hot finishing competitive stretch of epic proportions as it deserved. For Rusev’s historic loss, a year in the making, on the year’s grandest stage, more effort should’ve been placed in showing just how difficult that task would’ve been for Cena, similar to how opponents of the Seahawks have felt for the past four years. A distraction sports-entertainment finish thanks to Lana, while obviously leading to a breakup between her and Rusev that those behind the scenes would want, didn’t add to the primary story. Rusev wouldn’t have been hurt by losing without the sports-entertainment booking; but his stock certainly hurt by being down for the count after just one Death Valley Driver, rather than a series of nail-biting nearfalls that would’ve had us all in attendance jumping up and down with emotion. Like the IC Title with D-Bry earlier in the evening, if the plan is for the US Title to have its prestige raised after a solid Rusev reign, Cena certainly is the best pick possible. ***1/4 In the next segment, the Authority gloat over the supposed attendance record and that they drew the box office, rubbing in HHH’s victory over Sting. To be clear, that wasn’t disrespect from HHH towards Sting, but towards the audience for relying on Sting to get the job done and thinking he could take the Authority down and serve them the same humble pie as the Shield and D-Bry did in 2014. Speaking of pie, out came the Rock, predictably so after the Authority threw in a “millions” remark, What followed is one of the greatest segments I’ve ever experienced live and has been discussed to death in what looked to be leading to a huge crossover match the next year at AT&T Stadium. Rock got the cheap pop talking about his very early days in the Bay Area and got slapped by Stephanie McMahon, then convinced Ronda Rousey to come into the ring and help him knock the Authority down a peg. Not quite on par for me personally with the Championship Ascension Ceremony in Seattle, but definitely an all-time WrestleMania moment that blew Rock, Hogan, and Steve Austin’s segment a year earlier out of the water. Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker Live, this match looked like a sloppy mess to me. That’s explainable as Wyatt reportedly rolled his ankle earlier in the day during warmups or walk-throughs, and he’s not elite enough to overcome that. On broadcast, this match was still nothing special and arguably felt like a waste of time, but Taker still looked a bit lethargic and broken down, albeit still significantly healthier than a year earlier when he was concussed. Of course, Taker gets the win to show he’s still got it, and leaving Wyatt, one of the most pushed acts on the roster without any clear storyline direction. Whatever, the crowd popped for it. WWE Title Match Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns Now of course, was this the right main event? I still say no, even with how shockingly great this turned out to be, as the “right main event” I’m referring to has the potential on paper to be a true all-time classic for the industry should it ever actually occur. Now with that said, I went into Levi’s Stadium, despite how disappointing the Reigns push was, hoping these two would give me my money’s worth and prove everybody wrong that was concerned about the predicted lack of chemistry these two would have. And I’m happy to say that I was totally wrong in that regard. Start to finish, this entire presentation was top-notch art. In a match perfectly structured for each other’s strengths, they went out and smashed it for the top prize in the industry. From Lesnar getting the early domination segment (in a manner far more captivating than Kane or Big Show struggled to reach against Reigns in the months leading up to this), to Reigns smiling to show he could absorb the pain that the Beast Incarnate unleashed upon him, to Lesnar juicing after being slammed head-first into a ring post to transition to Reigns shining, I could not have asked for a better match from these two. It wasn’t just the structure of this match, or even the off-the-charts, unforgettable finish that made this a special match between two bad-ass heavyweights. The crowd provided an AMAZING big fight atmosphere that translated exceptionally well to the broadcast, and I can say that live it was a pleasure to be a part of. Lesnar was the hottest babyface on the roster, and Reigns through no fault of his own was the biggest heel to a significant portion of those in the Bay Area that weekend. Now as for the finish, nobody could’ve really seen it coming after the booking of the prior several weeks and Lesnar signing a contract extension just days earlier. But to see Seth Rollins, the former Tyler Black, sprint to the ring once Reigns had knocked down Lesnar (but still struggling himself to take advantage thanks to the former UFC World Heavyweight Champion’s brutality), and successfully cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase, was a rewarding live experience I’ll remember forever, reminding me of why I remain a fan of such an often-disappointing niche industry after 18 years. He had worked his ass off to achieve the Shawn Michaels spot I foresaw for him a year earlier, and it was the right call to make to give the company a chance to (hopefully) re-evaluate the path for Reigns to reach his inevitable coronation. Plus, Reigns seeing a bit of humility doesn’t hurt him, and Lesnar is still protected since he didn’t do the job. This also adds a layer to the choice Rollins made to sell out and destroy the Shield, in what I hope one day will pay off in that particular threeway dream match so many of us yearn for. ****1/2 Coming out of this show, many who attended it, including Dave Meltzer himself, said this may have been the greatest WrestleMania of all-time. That was a bit hyperbolic, but as someone who has attended every WrestleMania since the 25th edition at the now-named NRG Stadium, this is right behind WrestleMania XXVI in Phoenix as the best one I’ve attended as an overall event and experience. I had mentioned earlier that this show used an unusual but very satisfying format. With many months to have slept on it, it was actually BRILLIANT to split the card into pretty much two halves, with the first half closing with the Sting vs. HHH co-main event prior to going on what was in reality a halftime/intermission show before getting to Rusev vs. Cena to kick off the second half. This allowed those in attendance to get snacks and use the restroom without missing anything important, and for me personally I used the time to admire the geographic and new money beauty surrounding Levi’s Stadium. This was a WrestleMania with two great matches, one of them a MOTYC, plus THREE absolutely unforgettable WrestleMania moments, including a historic first-ever MITB cash-in on the grandest stage (poetically a decade after the concept’s birth), Sting’s first ever WWE match, and what appeared to hopefully be signs of the company re-evaluating some of its storytelling mentalities, both with the one that seems destined to be its next face, as well as two midcard titles that were now placed on true champions. This review isn't quite done yet though. I must throw in my two cents regarding two special documentaries highlighting the WrestleMania 31 journeys of Hideo Itami and Roman Reigns, the former airing on NXT's April 8, 2015 broadcast, the other being a WWE 24 episode. As has been said over and over again, I don't care how much time and money these types of pieces cost, they should be happening more frequently. How anyone could watch these documentaries and not feel some kind of connection to Itami and Reigns, who obviously came from VERY different backgrounds and would both leave Levi's Stadium empty-handed in storyline, would be truly baffling. Not only do these documentaries do a great job of highlighting its particular superstars, but the engulfing experience that is WrestleMania weekend and why everyone should enjoy it first-hand at least once.
  19. Not sure if anyone else would be interested but I threw this list together. Joshi has had a pretty good year so I wanted to try and compare them to the matches that happen in NXT. I also wanted to see if I could reasonably stretch the list long enough to include a match from the WWE main roster. Luckily, there's been a couple of really good matches so the list didn't have to get too egregious. 1. Kairi Hojo vs. Meiko Satomura (Stardom, 6/14) 2. Io Shirai vs. Koguma (Stardom, 2/22) 3. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (NXT, 8/22) 4. Arisa Nakajima vs. Hikaru Shida (JWP, 7/11) 5. Tsukasa Fujimoto/Arisa Nakajima vs. Misaki Ohata/Ryo Mizunami (Ice Ribbon, 12/31) 6. Io Shirai/Mayu Iwatani vs. DASH Chisako/Sendai Sachiko (Stardom, 9/23) 7. Kairi Hojo vs. Mayu Iwatani (Stardom, 5/17) 8. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (NXT, 5/20) 9. Io Shirai vs. Dark Angel (Stardom, 10/11) 10. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (NXT, 10/7) 11. Su Yung vs. Madison Eagles (Shine, 10/2) 12. Kairi Hojo vs. Takumi Iroha (Stardom, 7/4) 13. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte (NXT, 3/27) 14. Kana/Konami vs. Syuri/Hikaru Shida (Kana Pro, 3/8) 15. Emma vs. Asuka (NXT, 12/16) 16. Io Shirai vs. Mayu Iwatani (Stardom, 8/23) 17. Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Maki Narumiya (REINA, 12/26) 18. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (WWE, 11/10) 19. Mio Shirai vs. Arisa Nakajima (M.I.O., 6/19) 20. Ayako Hamada/Yuu Yamagata vs. Misaki Ohata/Ryo Mizunami (Pro Wrestling WAVE, 12/23) Other Matches to Watch: Nikki Bella vs. Paige (WWE, 1/6) Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Kagetsu (Oz Academy, 1/11) Hikaru Shida vs. Sakura Hirota (Pro Wrestling WAVE, 1/25) Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch (NXT, 2/11) Mio Shirai vs. Io Shirai (M.I.O., 2/14) Mayumi Ozaki/Sakura Hirota vs. Kagetsu/Kaho Kobayashi (Oz Academy, 3/1) DASH Chisako/Sendai Sachiko vs. Nanae Takahashi/Kairi Hojo (Sendai Girls, 3/11) Ryo Mizunami vs. Rina Yamashita (Pro Wrestling WAVE, 3/15) Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Kurumi (Ice Ribbon, 3/21) Arisa Nakajima/Rabbit Miu vs. Sareee/Meiko Tanaka (JWP, 3/22) Io Shirai vs. Kairi Hojo (Stardom, 3/29) Mia Yim vs. Santana Garrett (Shine, 4/3) Kana vs. Ryo Mizunami (Pro Wrestling WAVE, 6/14) Kairi Hojo vs. Meiko Satomura (Stardom, 7/22) Paige vs. Sasha Banks (WWE, 7/27) AKINO, Sonoko Kato, Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Arisa Nakajima, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Hikaru Shida (Oz Academy, 8/23) Santana Garrett vs. Allysin Kay (Shine, 9/4) Jessicka Havok vs. Kay Lee Ray (Shine, 10/2) Santana Garrett vs. Evie (Shine, 10/2) Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim (Stardom, 10/16) Aoi Kizuki/Kayoko Haruyama vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto/Arisa Nakajima (Ice Ribbon, 10/17) Io Shirai/Mayu Iwatani vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto/Kellie Skater (Stardom, 10/18) Io Shirai/Mayu Iwatani vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto/Santana Garrett (Stardom, 10/25) Meiko Satomura vs. Mayu Iwatani (Stardom, 11/15) Kairi Hojo vs. Mika Iwata (Stardom, 11/15) Meiko Satomura vs. Io Shirai (Stardom, 12/23) * ratings are included with reviews linked in the thread. Top 10 Women of 2015: 1. Io Shirai 2. Sasha Banks 3. Kairi Hojo 4. Arisa Nakajima 5. Bayley 6. Tsukasa Fujimoto 7. Becky Lynch 8. Hikaru Shida 9. Ryo Mizunami 10. Santana Garrett
  20. Coffey

    NXT Takeover Respect

    Tonight is the next Takeover event for NXT on the WWE Network. Pretty stacked card, in my opinion, if you're a fan of the NXT shows. NXT Women's Championship: Bayley© Vs. Sasha Banks 30 Minute Ironman Match Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals: Finn Bàlor & Samoa Joe Vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals: Jason Jordan & Chad Gable Vs. Rhyno & Baron Corbin Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team Classic Finals: The Winners of each Semi-Finals Asuka Vs. Dana Brooke Asuka (formerly Kana) in-ring NXT Debut Apollo Crews Vs. Tyler Breeze
  21. Coffey

    NXT TakeOver Brooklyn

    NXT Takeover Brooklyn is tonight on the Network. Looks like it's only a 2-hour show. Thought this should have it's own thread. Anyway, the card: NXT Title: Finn Bàlor© Vs. Kevin Owens (Ladder Match) NXT Women's Title: Sasha Banks© Vs. Bayley Samoa Joe Vs. Baron Corbin NXT Tag Titles: Blake/Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss)© Vs. Vaudevillains Jushin "Thunder" Liger Vs. Tyler Breeze Apollo Crews (Uhaa Nation) NXT in-ring debut Sold out Barclay's center ("more than 13,000 fans"), so crowd should be hot. Although I'm sure they don't have as many seats up for NXT as they do for Summerslam. Not sure how that all works.
  22. I loved the performances from Sasha, Charlotte and Bayley in this. Sasha ducking Charlotte early and using the Lynch distraction to clothesline her on the apron was great heel work. As were the little taunts thrown Charlotte's way. Charlotte played the badass face perfectly. Bayley starting off as the fiery avenger and morphing into the FIP was great as well. Becky was fine but overshadowed by the other three by a long way. If this match had about five to ten more minutes and was the blowoff to a tag feud it would have been a MOTYC, but it was a buildup match for Sasha vs Charlotte. So the Bayley FIP turns into a quick Sasha rollup to get the one-up on Charlotte instead of a big Bayley comeback that sets up a Charlotte hot tag (the crowd would have gone for this hook, line and sinker with a few more cutoffs.) Regardless, really good stuff and worth seeing if you like tag wrestling and great heel work.
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