Sunday, November 3, 2019

Jimbo’s Quarterly Rasslin’ Round-Up (Q3 2019 Edition!)

Are you ready for a whirlwind recap of the best, the worst and the most random pro wrestling matches of the last three months? Hold on to your Hulkamania t-shirts, folks — it's time to rumble.


By: Jimbo X

It's truly another golden age for the pro rasslin,' and with so many promotions out there puttin' on so many matches on a nigh daily basis, it can get a little confusing differentiating the cream from the crap. Thus, we here at The Internet Is In America has decided to help many a brother out by publishing our own quarterly, DVDVR-inspired rundown of random matches from across the full spectrum of professional wrestling, be it the bigs like the WWE and New Japan or the indies established and developing in the U.S., Japan and Mexico.

Throughout the year we're going to review eight matches in-depth from every month across four quarterly installments. As far as the match selections are concerned, we'll be taking a good, long gander at all sorts of bouts, including the critically praised, snowflake showered New Japan super main events, the best the WWE has to offer, CMLL and AAA's marquee offerings, whatever the fuck All Japan, NOAH and the rest of the Nippon B-leaguers are up to and the most noteworthy (and bizarre) indie outings from the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada and wherever they hell else the masses have a penchant for men in their underwear pretending to kill one another for five dollars a ticket.

(Oh, and a reminder — unlike that weeb jabroni Dave Meltzer, we here at The Internet Is In America actually has a scientific rubric to explain our star ratings, which you can evaluate anytime you want right here.)

But enough jibber-jabber ... let's head down to the ring and get this shit started proper, why don't we?

KENTA, seen here doing his best E. Honda impersonation.

JULY 2019 MATCHES

July 06, 2019
KENTA vs. Kota Ibushi (NJPW G1 Climax 29 - Block A Day 1)

You've got to see this one fat, purple-haired girl in the audience wearing too much red lipstick and literally drinking a Red Bull energy drink. I want to marry her. Also, can we take the time to note how fuckin' boss Kota Ibushi's theme is? Because it totally is. Oh my god, there are more fat blonde hoes in the front row thinking they're hot as shit because they're wearing skin-tight red and pink dresses at a JAPANESE pro wrestling show. They show Shibata hanging out on the other side of the arena, and the place is like, 90 percent empty. The fans chant "New Japan" while KENTA mean mugs the fuck outta Ibushi. Collar and elbow tie-up to begin. KENTA goes for a cheap slap on the ropes and Kota almost catches him with a retaliatory spinning kick. KENTA with an early low kick, now Kota is returning the favor. We've got ourselves a pseudo-kickboxing match going on now, before KENTA drags Kota to the mat. Kota counters into a facelock, but KENTA floats over into a headlock. LOL when KENTA SLAPS THE SHIT out of Kota in the corner. Ibushi falls KENTA with a titty slap and gets to stomping. Kota with elbows and more kicks to the shoulder. KENTA punts Kota in the sternum a couple of times and feeds him a flying double knee drop off the top rope. KENTA continues to kick the shit out of Ibushi, but Kota kicks out of the pin attempt. KENTA with a side headlock applied, but Kota fights out of it with strategically-placed elbows. Then KENTA says "fuck you," and proceeds to knee Kota right in the goddamn sternum. KENTA with more patellas to the back of Kota's head, complete with a dickish punt to the side of the noggin to get the Dallas crowd truly riled up. Kota baits KENTA into an elbow-off and KENTA just fuckin' kicks the shit out of him some more. Ibushi is back to his feet and they're trading forearms like crazy. KENTA with a kick to Kota's spine, but Ibushi kicks out at two. Ibushi hits a beautiful dropkick to bring KENTA's offensive putsch to a halt. Kota with a powerslam and a moonsault, but KENTA kicks out. Kota with a waistlock, but KENTA wiggles free and hits a leg lariat on the rebound. KENTA with a series of clotheslines and a MEAN overhead belly-to-belly suplex. KENTA climbs the top turnbuckle and hits Kota with a flying lariat. Kota, of course, kicks out. Now the fans are chanting "Let's Go Red Shoes," because fuck them, that's why. KENTA goes up top again and tries to go for a spinning DDT, only for KOTA to counter out and elbow KENTA off the turnbuckle. Kota lifts KENTA up for an attempted German, but he he can't get it so he just Pele kicks that motherfucker, instead. Kota goes for a flying crossbody but KENTA kicks him right in the navel in mid-air. KENTA drapes Ibushi over the ringside barricade and elbows that fuck good. And there's the flying double stomp, you assholes! On the plus side, KENTA at least had the compassion to land on Kota's back instead of his head like Naito would've. Alright, the 20-count is on, and Kota gets in aound 12. KENTA immediately hits him with a deluge of dropkicks and ANOTHER top-rope double stomp. Kota, however, kicks out at 2.999. KENTA signals for Go 2 Sleep, but Kota wisely grabs hold of the ropes to escape. Kota hits a spinning clotheslines on the rebound to drop KENTA like a sack of ... I guess rice, since he's Japanese? Kota hits the sitout powerbomb, but KENTA kicks out at two. Kota looks for his finisher, but KENTA counters it into a crucifix. There's a double clothesline and KENTA drops Kota with a jumping knee. Now they're both yelling at each other like animals and it's incredible. They trade elbow shots on their knees for a while and now we go vertical for forearm exchange. KENTA connects on a head kick and ALMOST gets the three-count. KENTA with more head kicks, but Kota weathers the storm. KENTA rolls down his knee pad and does the cut-throat signal. And he connects on the Go 2 Sleep — even though KENTA totally misses Kota's head altogether and appears to knee him right in the armpit — to secure the pinfall.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: Man, if it wasn't for that MAJOR botch at the ass-end of the match, this thing could've been a legit MOTY contender. KENTA looked almost NOAH-esque at certain junctures in the bout, and Ibushi took the “L” like a champ, in turn setting a very highwater-mark for the rest of the G-1 tournament to aim for. It might not be an all-time classic, objectively, but it’s definitely an entertaining bout worth going out of your way to catch.

July 06, 2019
Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW G1 Climax 29 - Block A Day 1)

Okada gets a pretty big pop, as he should. LOL, literally everybody in the crowd is some form of autistic.  The fans chant "holy shit," because I can only presume a nun or priest accidentally defecated on themselves somewhere in the audience. Collar and elbow tie-up to begin, as per the norm. Okada with a clean break and Hiroshi clocks him good for being such a dick. Time for a forearm-a-thon, sponsored by Right Guard deodorant. Okada with a big boot, but Hiroshi is right back up. Okada whiffs on a dropkick and there's a million billion counters and reversals and the fans are just eating it up like Pop-Tarts. Because a considerable number of the audience members are morbidly obese, you see. Hiroshi with a senton elbow and he pretends to play an invisible guitar. Hiroshi with more elbow strikes and Okada dropkicks his ass off the top rope. Okada with a DDT on the (padded) arena floor and Hiroshi pretends he's paralyzed for a little bit. Okada with a sliding dropkick and a cocky pin attempt, which the crowd boos because kayfabe, I guess. Okada bullies Hiroshi into the turnbuckle and feeds him more elbow shots. Okada with a dragon screw leg whip, but he kinda' screws it up a little. Okada with a reverse neckbreaker, but Tanahashi kicks out at two. Okada holds onto a face lock but Hiroshi battles out with elbows to the ribs, then Hiroshi lands a dragon screw leg whip of his own. Hiroshi with a flying elbow off the ropes and a dropkick in the corner. Hiroshi with a flipping senton, but Okada kicks out at two. Okada lands a spinning elbow off the ropes and another DDT. Hiroshi kicks out. Hiroshi with a European uppercut and a dragon screw leg whip between the ropes. Okada responds with a flapjack and Okada connects on an uppercut. Hiroshi with a dropkick to the knee and Okada lands that over the shoulder knee-assisted neckbreaker thingy. Okada goes up top and lands the old Macho Man Randy Savage elbow drop. RAINMAKUH CAMERA PAN-OUT POSE TIME BUT BE EXTRA CAREFUL TO NOT SHOW THE TV VIEWING AUDIENCE JUST HOW MANY EMPTY SEATS ARE IN THE ARENA TIME. Hiroshi uses the theatrics to go for a flash roll-up, then he locks in a Boston Crab. Okada, of course, makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Okada rolls to the outside and Hiroshi hits a BEAUTIFUL High Fly Flow off the top rope while the camera momentarily pans on a fan holding a sign saying "RIP Perro Aguayo" for literally no reason whatsoever. Back in the ring and Hiroshi hits the Twist and Shout, only for Okada to hit a missile dropkick, only for Hiroshi to hit the Sling Blade, only for Okada to hit ANOTHER Shotgun drop kick and a Tombstone piledriver. Hiroshi hits another Sling Blade and climbs the top turnbuckle. He connects on the crossbody and climbs the adjacent turnbuckle. He goes for the High Fly Flow, but Okada gets his knees up. Okada looking for another Tombstone but he can't quite seem to get it. Okada whiffs on a backslide, but he uses it to land his first RAINMAKER of the bout. He maintains wrist control and hits another one. Hiroshi goes for a small package but doesn't get it. He follows suit with a bridging dragon suplex, but yep, Okada kicks out of that, too. Okada holds onto the wrist while Hiroshi slaps him a couple of times. Okada hits a Tombstone, lands his third Rainmaker of the match and that's all she wrote, folks.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Another outstanding entry in the longstanding rivalry, although one that I thought wasn't quite up to par with some of their more recent outings. You know what to expect here — this thing was basically “Okada vs. Tanahashi’s Greatest Hits” played at half-volume, which still, ain’t too shabby. The ending may have been a tad predictable, but come on — when is the ending stretch of ANY Okada match not paint-by-freakin’-numbers?

July 06, 2019
LA Park and El Hijo de LA Park vs. Dr. Wagner, Jr and El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. (MLW Fusion 67)

Man, lucha libre naming conventions just don't make any damn sense to me. I mean, technically, isn't calling him "El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr" basically saying he's Dr. Wagner Junior, Junior? I mean, it would be a lot easier for everybody if they just called him Dr. Wagner III and be done with it, just goddamn saying. Also, LOL at that HORRIBLE knockoff of "Bad Medicine" Los Wagners come out to. HOLY SHIT does LA Park's Oakland Raiders-inspired costume look badass as fuck, though. The roughly 98 percent fat white person audience chants "lucha libre" because they don't know what else to do other than feel intrinsic shame for simply existing. Wait, why is Dr. Wagner, Jr. wearing a mask? Didn't he lose that shit a couple of years back? One of the announcers says that these guys defy conventions about luchador size, which is a really sly way of saying "they're all fat." It's Park and Wagner, Jr. to begin, but it ain't long until the Wagners do diving topes to the outside in stereo. The two Hijos start going at it, then they start pummeling on Daddy Park. Baby Wagner cannonballs Daddy Park in the corner, but he kicks out. Baby Park gets flapjacked and Daddy Wagner dropkicks him while his son Camel Clutches him. Dr. Wagner Jr. with a Samoan drop on Park and then Hijo del Dr. Wagner hits Park with a frog splash. Yep, he kicks out of that, too. The PARKS collide into each other  and then EL HIJO DEL PARK HITS EL HIGO DEL DR WAGNER JR WITH A SWEET FLIPPING ROCK BOTTOM OFF THE ROPES! He goes for a pin attempt while Daddy Park powerslams THE FUCK out of Daddy Wagner, but it's just a two count on both accounts. Now the Parks are ganging up on Daddy Wagner, complete with this GREAT spot where El Hijo MEXICAN DESTROYERS his own daddy on top of Dr. Wagner, Jr. And now it's time for the PARKS TO SUICIDE DIVE, ya'll bitches! Holy shit, this is muy excellente. Now the elder luchadores are going at it uno y uno, with PARK just fucking YANKING Dr. Wagner Jr's mask off, to which Wagner responds by performing air connilingus on the audience. Dr. Wagner, Jr. hits LA PARK with a sloppy top rope cutter, but you know PARK ain't going to job to that shit. Meanwhile, Jim Cornette tells a GREAT anecdote about how Mil Mascaras refused to take his mask off on international flights. Daddy Park drops Daddy Wagner with a headbutt and Park gets the crowd to chant "Si, se pueda," which, of course, is Spanish for "Yes, se pueda." Dr. Wagner, Jr. counters a suplex attempt with a GREAT looking implant DDT on PARK, then Baby Park hops in the ring and spits on Baby Wagner, and now it's time for the offspring to battle el solo. Baby Wagner hits Baby Park with a spinning fisherman's brainbuster, but Baby Park kicks out. Then Baby Park hits Baby Wagner with a flying spinning heel kick off the ropes then he gives him a goddamn CODEBREAKER off the top rope, with Daddy Wagner conveniently breaking up the subsequent pin attempt. The younger wrestlers collapse after simultaneous clotheslines, and there's a great spot where the elder wrestlers go for cheap pin attempts. Now it's back to Senior night, as Daddy Wagner dragon screw leg whips Daddy Park, and Jimmy C. reminds the audience that the original Dr. Wagner's gimmick was that he was LITERALLY an evil Nazi surgeon. Then Daddy Wagner does push-ups and body slams Daddy Park, but Daddy Park gets right back up, throws him off the ropes and eats boot on the flying axehandle attempt. Also, because LA Park is so fat, he LITERALLY broke the turnbuckle flying off of it, so good job there, lard-ass. Baby Park pulls the ref out of the ring to prevent the pinfall being registered, then Daddy Wagner kicks Daddy Park off the apron, following suit with a PHAT rolling cannonball to the outside. Now the juniors are going at it, with Baby Park hitting a Mexican Destroyer for a two-count. Daddy Park lands a super kick, then Daddy Wagner enzuigiris that motherfucker and then Baby Wagner superplexes Baby Park good. The seniors are back in the ring and Daddy Wagner gives EVERYBODY tilt-a-whirl backbreakers before suicide diving on Daddy Park yet again, in the process LITERALLY breaking the guardrail. Which, naturally, means, Baby Park and Baby Wagner have to ALSO SUICIDE Dive motherfuckers against the guardails, thus giving LA Park just enough time to spear Baby Wagner out of his boots in the middle of the ring for the pinfall.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: I'm probably overrating this one, but holy shit, that was some of the most fun I've had watching pro rasslin' all year-round. There’s no psychology, no high spots, no thigh-slappery, no convuluted pseduo-technical bullshit, just four Mexicans in masks beating the holy hell out of each other for that sweet, sweet gringo dinero. All four men, obviously, have had wilder, woolier and bloodier brawls, but all in all? This is a joyously violent little jaunt, and if you have a taste for trashy lucha libre mayhem — which, by all accounts, you SHOULD if you’re reading this website — you definitely need to hit this one up on the YouTubes.

July 19, 2019
LA Park, El Hijo de LA Park and LA Park, Jr. vs. La Bestia Del Ring, Rush and Mistico (CMLL Super Viernes El Adios De Mexico)

The naming conventions in Mexico make no sense to me. So how can LA Park sire BOTH an el Hilo and a junior? I mean, couldn’t they just have called Park, Jr. el Other Hijo de LA Park and be done with it? All of the Parkas come out looking like Oakland Raiders fans and it’s a glorious sight to behold. By the way, that’s actually Dragon Lee under the Mistico mask, not Sin Cara. Just wanted you to know that upfront. So the heels attack La Real Familia before the bell sounds and it’s ALREADY bedlam. It’s Rush and Daddy Park to begin, only for Mistico to come in and super kick the patriarch of La Real Familia good. Now it’s Mistico and El Hijo, and things get choppy and floppy early and often. El Hijo with a flying arm drag and a hurricanrana, and then there’s a standstill in the middle of the ring. Park Jr. and Bestia enter the fray and Jr. immediately gets drop kicked good. Jr. lands a flying arm drag and Mistico tries to bump him out of the ring. Jr. responds by hitting the single sloppiest Frankensteiner of all-time ever, then he suicide dives between El Hijo’s legs to wipe out Bestia … thus, leading to El Hijo moonsaulting the whole lot of them on the Arena Mexico floor. Now it’s Daddy Park and Rush going at it again. There is a FANTASTIC SPOT where Park spears Rush through the ropes and the wipe out EVERYBODY on the floor below. The Parks regroup in the ring and the ref raises their respective hands in victory, although I’m not entirely sure why. Oh, by the way, this thing is a best two-out-of-three falls match, so you’ll NEVER GUESS what’s gonna’ happen in the next fall. Segunda Caida begins with Daddy Park and Rush starting off the action. Park with a million billion arm drags and a tilt-a-whirl-backbreaker. He gets Frankensteinered by Mistico, then Daddy Park fat splashes Bestia off the top rope. Mistico accidentally kicks Bestia out of the ring and then Rush double dropkicks Park and El Hijo. Daddy Park gets stomped in the corner, then Rush makes him eat shotgun dropkick. And that gives the judos an EASY, series tying pinfall right there. Alright, tercera caida time. Bestia continues to pummel Park in the middle of the ring, and now he’s breaking out the weight belt for some very unsportsmanlike whipping. Now Rush is tearing at Park’s mask and the crowd is FREAKING out. El Hijo eats a back elbow from Bestia and Mistico slaps Daddy Park out of the ring. Mistico beats up on El Hijo in the corner and Daddy Park’s mask is almost totally ripped off. In case you were wondering, he kinda looks like a fat, brown Tiny Tim. Now Rush is standing atop that CMLL announce cylinder and showboating to the crowd, while Mistico continues to rough up El Hijo good. Rush and Daddy Park start brawling through the crowd while El Hijo gets double teamed by Mistico and Bestia. Rush clobbers Park with an ENTIRE ROW OF SEATS and Mistico superkicks El Hijo in the ring. Rush drags Park back to the ringside area and snapmares him on the padded foam. Then he starts slapping him with an electrical cord. El Hijo is whipped over the guardrail then he gets triple-teamed by the heels. Mistico and Bestia tie up Park so Rush can slap him silly. Park, however, breaks free and boots Rush over the ropes, and then all three Parks hit triple stereo suicide dives to the outside. I guess now is a good time to bring up the fact that the ref is literally the Hispanic version of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. Park Jr. punts Bestia next to the announce cylinder, while Daddy Park grabs ANOTHER ROW of seats and lawn darts ‘em at Rush. Meanwhile, El Hijo body slams Mistico next to the Roshfrans ad and then he body splashes him off the top of the stage. Jr. slams the ringside barrier door on Bestia’s head Rush starts walking back to the locker room, then he re-enters the ring and starts jawing with Park and they kinda’ pantomime they want each other in a hair vs. mask match, then Park starts slapping Rush like there’s no tomorrow. They trade splashes in the corner and Park does the Fargo Strut. Park hits Rush with a very, very fat clothesline, but he kicks out at dos. Good to see Mexican wrestling fans are every bit as fat as the ones in America. Park tries to spear Rush again, but Rush counters it with a power slam. Just a two-count. Now Park powerslams him, but that likewise only registers a two-count. Park goes for an abdominal stretch but Mistico pushes him out of the ring. Now its El Hijo and Mistico going at it. El Hijo ALMOST yanks off Mistico’s mask, then he super kicks him. Then they take turns trading German suplexes and Mexican Destroyers, and now it’s time for Jr. and Bestia to go at it. Bestia with a sorta’ Olympic Slam and a Senton, but Jr. kicks out. Now he’s ripping at the mask.Now it’s three-on-three donnybrook, just the way God intended it to be. Jr. body slams Bestia and hits him with a moonsault, but Mistico breaks up the pin attempt. Jr. hurrincanranas Bestia, then it’s time for Rush vs. Park uno on uno again. Park hits a Nightmare on Helms Street, of all things, but the ref refuses to make the third and final hand slap, for some inexplicable reason. So Rush stomps on Park in the corner, but then Park SPEARS him good, then El Hijo and Bestia start scrapping, then Park Jr. and Mistico get involved and Rush kicks Park in the cojones when the ref ain’t looking and then Rush shoves the ref and the ref says “I grow tired of your tomfoolery” and declares Los Parks el winner-os.

My Score: ****

The Verdict? A total mess of a match, but there’s no denying that it was unrefined fun from start to finish. While on the surface this one was technically more outlandish than the aforementioned MLW tag teamer with, I just think the pace and flow of the former moved along better than this one, especially considering that groan-inducing nutshot DQ finish. Still, it’s awfully fun, unrefined lucha sleaze while it lasts — and it’s perfect background fodder for a sloppy enchilada dinner, if absolutely nothing else.

July 19, 2019
Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NJPW G1 Climax 29 Day 6)

Moxley comes out of the crowd wearing this trashy salvage store pleather jacket with his name spray painted on the back. He also has no muscles whatsoever, which makes him a perfect addition to the AEW roster. Ishii comes out wearing a shirt that says “Stone Bite You Pitbull,” which yeah, sounds like something the Japanese would put on a T-shirt. They get into each others’ faces before the bell rings and as soon as it chimes they start forearming one another like crazy. Moxley with a big boot and a body slam, then he tosses Ishii over the top rope, then it’s time for some brawling through the audience. Moxley slams Ishii’s head into the wall a couple of times then he chops him over a guardrail. Moxley knees Ishii in the head a few more times and hugs Red Shoes, for no reason whatsoever. Then he sleeper holds him back into the ring so he can stomp him some more. Eventually, Ishii ISHIIS UP but Moxley says “nah, that don’t work for me, brother” and STF’s him instead. He turns it into this wonky cross-arm chokehold thingy but Ishii manages to get a boot tip on the bottom rope. Moxley, the poor sport he is, then proceeds to slap Ishii’s chesticles in the corner hard only for Ishii to FINALLY get his offensive second wind with a shoulder charge off the ropes. Of course, Moxley rebounds with a clothesline and a suplex. You know, Moxley kinda’ reminds me of Arn Anderson, if Arn Anderson was overrated. Ishii begs Moxley to feed him some forearm shots, then Ishii elbows the yellow off his opponent’s teeth. We roll to the outside and they take turns whipping each other backfires into the metal guardrail thingy. Oh, now Moxley’s got two chairs, and he’s beckoning Ishii to join him in a furniture fight. Moxley gets the best of that exchange, then he pulls a table out from underneath the ring. Man, those anorexic-looking buffet tables always make me chortle. Moxley threatens to send Ishii through the lumber, only for Ishii to grab him and try to suplex *his* ass through the table. Eventually, they give up on trying to furniture one another and Moxley instead topes Ishii like a mofo. Moxley grabs another chair and wallops his foe with it good, only for Ishii to punch the chair back into Moxley’s face on the second attempted bonk. Now it’s time for Ishii to feed Moxley hard steel. Then Ishii climbs the top rope and SPLASHES HIS FATNESS AND ALSO HIS BALDNESS on Moxley and the table immediately turns into toothpicks. Back in the ring, Ishii perches Moxley on the top rope and he hits him with a super brain buster. Moxley, of course, kicks out at two. They take turns trying to hit each other with diving clotheslines, then they exchange German suplexes, only for Moxley to turn Ishii inside out with a lariat. Moxley goes for a diving knee but Ishii catches him and hits him with a diving clothesline of his own. Moxley starts chewing on Ishii’s neck and hits him with a running knee off the ropes. No, I don’t know why Dean Ambrose decided then was the most opportune time to give a Japanese man a hickey, either. Now both men are splayed out in the middle of the ring doing that old “slow crawl to get back to their feet” spot, complete with plenty of absurd headbutt sequences. Ishii unloads a barrage of forearm shots, then Moxley drops him like a sack of rice on a forearm shot of his own. Then Moxley hits Ishii with his shitty Rock Bottom variation, which Ishii obviously kicks out of, then he hits him with another jumping knee and Ishii kicks out of that, too. Moxley goes for a double-arm DDT, but Ishii backdrops him. He goes for it again and this time Ishii cleans his clock with a clothesline. He clobbers him with a second lariat, but yep, Moxley kicks out of that, as well. They keep countering finishers and Ishii drops Moxley with a clothesline. Then he tries to hit him with a couple of more clotheslines, but Moxley no sells ‘em and FINALLY manages to hit his double arm DDT … only for Ishii to kick out at two. So Moxley hits Ishii with one more running knee and one more double arm DDT and yep, that’s what gets him the victory.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: A really, really fun brawl, and probably the best match Dean Ambrose has been involved in for quite some time. Still, I didn’t think it was quite as great as the IWC hivemind would have you believe, as there are some considerable doldrums sinking in here and there, and I really can’t say I was too crazy about the ending stretch, either. Regardless, both men but on a solid showing, overall, and it had some memorable spots. And shit, it still beats having to watch a Zack Sabre, Jr. match, any day of the fuckin’ week.

July 20, 2019
Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay (NJPW G1 Climax 29 - Tag 7)

As soon as this match was announced, you could almost hear Dave Meltzer unbuckling his britches and breaking out the Skin So Soft. Will comes out wearing some kitschy brown Assassin's Creed get-up and he looks like they kind of guy you Purple Nurpled like a motherfucker back in middle school. Okada, of course, comes out looking like a heterosexual rainbow pimp and it's awesome. The announcers keep saying that Will is 0-3 against Okada, so SPOILER. Will has a big-ass bandage on his neck, no doubt attributable to a jugular injury given to him by an admirative male fan. They do a whole buncha arm-lock reversals and Will locks in a kneeling headlock. Okada counters with an arm twist, which Will reverses. Okada with a drop-toe hold and a headlock takedown. They do another Greco-Roman knuckle lock sequence and Okada has another headlock applied. He hits Will with a shoulder tackle, but Will does managed to monkey flip him. Okada takes a breather on the outside and Will holds the rope open for him to re-enter the ring. Will with some chops in the corner, then Okada drop kicks him off the top rope. Okada elbows him on the neck as soon as he gets back in the ring and hits him with a slingshot senton. Will eats turnbuckle pad and Okada shoulder charges him real good. Will tries to sound tough and starts panting while throwing titty slaps and Okada knocks his femboy ass out with one forearm smash and we all guffaw. Then Will hits a vertical suplex out of nowhere, then he hits Okada with a handspring flipping kick. Will hits a flying elbow off the ropes, but Okada kicks out of that shit like it's nothing. Will lands his first legit hard titty slap off the match and the crowd goes wild. Will goes for a 619 variation but appears to fuck it up so Okada hits him with that unnamed over-the-soulder-neck-to-the-knee-breaker thingy. Okada Japs up and hits Will with a shotgun dropkick and he sails into the turnbuckle like a ragdoll. Okada with a bodyslam and he goes up top. He lands the diving elbow and then it's RAINMAKER CAMERA PAN-OUT POSE TIME!~ There's a pretty nifty counter-reversal-sequence, which ultimately concludes with Okada landing a MAN-SIZED dropkick on Will. Okada hits a tombstone piledriver, but Will counters the first Rainmaker with a flippy kick. Then Okada kicks him over the ropes again. Then they take turns throwing elbows at each other on the edge of the mat apron. Will appears to get the better of the exchange, ultimately dropping Okada with a high kick, leading to a guard-rail assisted Os Cutter on the (padded) arena floor. The 20-count is on and Okada gets in at 18 ... just in time for Will to hit him with a coast-to-coast dropkick. Then Will hits the Os Cutter again, but it's only good enough for a two-count. Will goes for a super Os Cutter, but Okada catches his back  in mid-air, whiffs on a Rainmaker and dropkicks that ass instead. Okada goes for a Rainmaker, but Will counters it with a Spanish Fly in what has to be the single most kayfabe-killing spot in wrestling history. Ever the opportunist, Will immediately goes up top again, only for Okada to likewise kicks out of the shooting star press. Will signals for the Stormbreaker, but Okada reverses it into a Tombstone. Except Will counters THAT into a tombstone of his own. Will hits a hook kick and goes for the Stormbreaker again, only this time Okada flips out of it and Rainmakers that muddafugga. Then Okada goes for another Rainmaker, but Will counters it into a Stormbreaker, but then Okada counters THAT into a spinning Rainmaker, then he hits one more spinning Rainmaker and yep, that's the match, folks.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: According to Dave Meltzer, this match is better than ANYTHING Misawa, Kobashi or Kawada has ever done. I know I've said this a couple of times before, but holy shit, is Dave Meltzer the worst fukin' mark on the planet. It’s a good match, to be sure, but nothing revolutionary, nothing I’d consider worthy of MOTY honors (or even MOTN honors, for that matter) and quite frankly, I reckon Okada has LITERALLY had about 20 better matches from 2019 alone than this one. So, once again, to sum things up for you: fuck Dave Meltzer, whenver the subject of Dave Meltzer arises.

July 26, 2019
Kazuchika Okada vs. KENTA (NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night Nine)

At this juncture in the tourney, both men are undefeated. The crowd is CLEARLY behind Okada on his one. Both men try to look as expression-less as possible while stalling in the corner before the customary lock-up. KENTA with a waistlock, which Okada counters with an arm wrench. Okada gets a drop toe hold, then there's a clean rope break from the Rainmaker. Kenta with a modified headlock and KENTA slaps the taste out of Okada's mouth on what would have otherwise been a "clean break." Now it's forearm shot city, folks, population — these two fuckers. KENTA with several gut punts and a jumping knee off the top rope while Okada's hanging off the ropes like Japanese laundry. Okada rolls to the outside and KENTA kicks the shit out of his back on the arena floor. KENTA with a neckbreaker, but Okada kicks out at two. Now he's working a headscissors-"smell my balls" submission attempt, with Okada easily rolling his way to a rope break. KENTA with more hard kicks to the sternum, but Okada is all like "go ahead, bitch, keep doing it." Then Kenta fakes Okada out and drop toe holds that Japanigga again and locks in a head twist, following suit with an elbow drop to the noggin. KENTA with a side headlock, then he drops Okada with a patella to the intestines.Then he fakes a knee drop, punts Okada's head and TAUNTS him with his own Rainmaker pose. That made me chuckle heartily. Okada is up and he is for forearm-y. Okada counters a suplex with a fucking ACE fisherman's suplex (sorta) and now it's time to feed KENTA spinning back elbows. Okada with a flying butt bomp in the corner and a DDT. Just a two before KENTA kicks out. Okada goes for his over-the-shoulder-neckbreaker-to-the-knee thingy but KENTA escapes and hits a powerslam. KENTA with a spinning DDT that catches Okada on the throat with the top turnbuckle rope and a follow-up elbow drop. Okada kicks out. KENTA looking for a triangle, but Okada escapes and hits a flapjack ... although, if you ask me, that pancake certainly didn't deserve the abuse. Both men are vertical and KENTA is quite slap-happy. Then Okada dropkicks KENTA off the top rope. Okada slings KENTA into the ringside barrier, then he boots his ass into the third row. Then KENTA drapes Okada over the guardrail and fucking KILLS HIM DEAD with a stiff-as-fuck dropkick to the back of his head. And just like that, neck brace sales in Japan shot up 350 percent. Back in the ring nd KENTA hits a springboard dropkick and several running punts in the corner. KENTA whiffs on the double stomp and Okada shotgun dropkicks him TWICE in retaliation. Okada climbs the top turnbuckle, but KENTA starts punching him in the breadbasket. Okada eventually elbows KENTA off him, but KENTA counters the flying elbow drop into a trangle, which he transitions into a Crippler Crossface he calls the "Game Over," which I think we can all agree is a much better moniker than his original title, "The Retarded Son Killer." Of course, Okada makes it to the ropes. KENTA with a jumping knee to the back and the PSYCHO KNEE, which leads to a PSYCHO kick out from Okada. KENTA with ANOTHER Psycho Knee and Okada PSYCHOTICALLY kicks out of that shit, too. KENTA goes up top and he gets ALL of the double stomp. Alas, Okada kicks out. KENTA does the old Chris Benoit "throat cut" gesture and tries to go for Go 2 Sleep, bu Okada counters it with a Tombstone, then KENTA counters THAT into Go 2 Sleep, but Okada counters THAT into a dropkick to the back of that motherfucker's neck. And there's another dropkick from the IWGP champ. Okada hits the Tombstone and it's RAINMAKUH CAMERA PAN OUT POSE TIME~! KENTA, of course, ducks the first Rainmaker attempt and lands a spinning lariat, yet he's too winded to make a pin attempt. Now they're on their knees elbowing each other's faces. Now KENTA is raining down palm strikes, then he locks a rear naked choke on Okada. Then Okada dropkicks that motherfucker AGAIN,  reverses the Go 2 Sleep into a spinning Tombstone and hits the Rainmaker for the three-count. In the post-fight, Kevin Kelly says Okada will eventually "own every record in history," which sounds REALLY ambitious to me. The two slap hands at the end of the match, and then Okada says some stuff in Japanese, which I'm assuming is just a volley of hate speech against the ethnic Chinese.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Yeah, it was a "formula" Okada match, but when that formula is so good, why bother changing what ain't broken? For what it’s worth (which, upfront, ain’t a whole lot), KENTA seemed to have noticeably less pep in his step than he did in the G-1 curtain-jerker against Kota, and it times, it did seem like both men were just drifting through the motions. On the whole, though, it was solidly satisfying material, and it gives all of us hope that, somewhere down the line, both men will come motivated for a real show-stopping showdown in the years ahead.

July 28, 2019
Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus (AJPW Summer Action Series 2019, Tag 8)

These two had a real barnburner last year, and there’s no reason why this one shouldn’t be every bit as good as their low-key MOTYC from ’18 — no, not even the fact they’re holding the contest inside what appears to be a middle school basketball gym that MIGHT be able to hold 500 people, tops. It takes the ring crew a couple of minutes to get all of the streamers out of the ring, and we begin the Triple Crown Championship outing with your standard collar and elbow tie-up. Kento allows Zeus a clean break off the ropes. Of course, on the next one he slaps his he-boobies hard and we’ve got ourselves a classical King’s Road standoff, ya’ll. Zeus, obviously, is irked by such and immediately proceeds to armlock Kento like a disgruntled LAPD officer handling a black teenager. Kento, of courses, reverses the hold, but then Zeus reverses it right back. Kento lands a boot to the face, only for Zeus to take him off his feet with a flying shoulder charge. Both men roll to the outside, where Zeus slings Kento right into a cameraman. Hooray for first person realism! Then Kento slings Zeus into the guardrail and kicks him right in the face for good measure. Then Zeus bearhugs the shit outta’ him and belly to back suplexes him on the padded arena floor. Oh, that’ll show him, alright. Zeus chokes Kento on top of the turnbuckle post, then he locks in a ghastly-looking modified sleeper hold. In a modern rasslin’ climate where not a whole lot of grapplers actually look intimidating, Zeus is one of the few wrestlers on ANY continent who literally looks like he might legitimately rape and murder somebody one day. While I’m typing all of that, Kento gets his second wind with a drop toe hold and a mini-619, which leaves Zeus rolling around on the gymnasium floor again. Kento drops Zeus with a well-timed elbow shot, then he racks him abdomen-first on the guardrail. He headbutts Zeus one more time and rolls him back into the ring. There’s this one guy in the front row with a mustache who is easily the most Mexican-looking Japanese dude I’ve ever seen in my life. Kento dropkicks Zeus on the back of the head while he’s hanging off the top rope like a hate crime victim and the crowd ROARS with approval. Kento applies a neck crank and transitions to a head-scissors/smell my genitals submission attempt. Zeus gets to the rope, but Kento refuses to break the hold because this shit is PERSONAL. Eventually the ref tires of his tomfoolery and pulls him off. Zeus pops right up with a million billion overhand chops and palm strikes, then he starts punching the bejeezus out of Kendo’s head in retaliation for the shenanigans from earlier. LOL at the really old guy standing up near the exit wearing a WWE shirt that just has the “WW” logo on it. Kento hits Zeus with back-to-back dropkicks and he just waits for the challenger to get back to his feet. Zeus clobbers him with a jumping clothesline off the ropes then he murder-death-kills with another bearhug-belly-to-back-neck-compression-suplex. Zeus follows suit by clotheslining Kento off the ropes and hitting him with a flying tope to the outside. They exchange forearm shots on the edge of the apron, with Kento ultimately planting Zeus with a DDT on the precipice of the mat. Then he Germans him off said ring apron, which is a great visual, really, because Zeus hung unto the ropes for dear life as the champeen set it up. That also means he had to work with Zeus’ bunghole DIRECTLY in his face for like a minute straight, so don’t say that dude didn’t earn his paycheck this evening. Now we’ve got another chop-off in the ring, which concludes with Kento hitting Zeus with a brainbuster. He feeds Zeus a knee-to-the-face sandwich — with a stiff German suplex as the lunch meat — but the challenger kicks out at two. Kento goes for another German, only for Zeus to counter it into a NASTY looking ankle lock. Kento hits Zeus with another running knee to the face in the corner. Then Zeus hits him with several hard elbow shots and axe handle smashes, but Kento no sells them and starts punting Zeus in the head instead. Zeus hits a defensive dropkick and choke slams the champ for a two-count. Then he climbs the top rope  and goes for a frog splash, only for Kento to get his knees up at the last second. Oh boy, I bet you didn’t see THAT little plot twist coming, did you? So Kento goes for another bridging German Suplex, but Zeus kicks out at two. He tries to fo for another one, but Zeus breaks free and head kicks him, following suit with a NASTY clothesline that’s like a millisecond short of garnering him the championship belt. Zeus goes up top again and this time he connects on the frog splash. So, naturally, Kento kicks out of that, too. Zeus goes for a brainbuster, but Kento counters it into a bridging roll-up for a 2.999999999999-count. Then Zeus clobbers him with ANOTHER lariat, and Kento kicks out of that at 2.9999999999999999. Zeus lands another brutal lariat, but Kento kicks out again. Kento counters a brainbuster with a high angle German, but Zeus counters out of that and socks Kento good with a hard right hand. Kento ducks the clotheslines, hits back-to-back jumping knees and Zeus cleans his clock yet again with one more lariat. Zeus goes for another clothesline but eats knee twice. Kento tries to lock Zeus’ arms up, and he manages to get the bridging, high angle German for the three-count.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict? Another really, really good match in their rivalry, although not one of the better contests they’ve had as of late. Still, there’s no denying that this was a GREAT old-school All Japan heavyweight bout that emphasized everything great about “minimalist style” puro. This is just meat-and-potatoes Japanese pseudo-King’s Road style goodness, with hard hits, lotsa’ bombs and PLENTY of suplexes that look hurty as a motherfucker. The slower pace might scare off some of you young-uns weaned on Marko Stunt matches, but if you’re looking for a more methodical, more hard-hitting take on Japaheeno grappling, definitely try to flag a copy of this one down the next time you’ve got about half an hour to spare.

Really, what's more Mexican than super-macho men breaking construction rebar over each other's noggins for meager pay?

AUGUST 2019 MATCHES

August 03, 2019
Psycho Clown, Cody Rhodes and Cain Velasquez vs. Texano Jr., Taurus and Killer Kross (AAA TripleMania XXVII)

This might just be the single most random assortment of people ever included in a trios match. I mean, shit, this thing wouldn't be any weirder if Anne Frank was the special guest referee. I believe it's important to point out how goddamn goofy Cain Velasquez's get-up is. He's wearing this leather gimp mask with mini-devil horns on it, and needless to say ... it's goofy. So Psycho Clown and Texano begin the contest. Psycho Clown arm drags him and hits a splash off the corner, following suit with a backbreaker. Texano flips over the top rope and Cody Rhodes gets the tag. Now Taurus gets tagged in. He's a brown guy LITERALLY wearing a bull's head for a wrestling mask. Oh my god ... he's LITERALLY A BIG BLACK BULL, ya'll. Anyhoo, Cody hits him with a powerslam and vertical suplexes that motherfucker like it was nothing. Then he superkicks him, allowing Killer Kross to get the tag. I'm not entirely sure, but I think Killer Kross' gimmick is that he's canonically a white supremacist or something. And that's our cue for the guy with the "Brown Pride" tattoo on his chest to enter the fray. Kross tags in Texano and Texano acts all scared and shit and the audience screams "puto!" at him and it's a great moment for all parties involved. Then Taurus gets tagged in and Cain hits him with the fattest hurricanrana of all time. He follows that up with a pretty good twirling arm drag and then it's time for him to go one-on-one with KK. He goes to tag Taurus, but Taurus bails on him. Cain lands a German suplex and a wonky looking flipping suplex. Then he slaps Kross real good and all of the rudos enter the fray and it's a three-on-three donnybrook. Kross and Cain brawl on the outside while Taurus and Texano double team Cody. Now Texano has a bull whip, and he's cracking it over Psycho Clown's back like a runaway slave. Sorry, but that's the best analogy for the situation, and I ain't apologizing for it. Now Texano is slapping Cain with the bull rope, while Taurus locks in some sort of shitty-looking armbar. Kross pummels Psycho Clown on the outside, then Cain drops Texano with a spinning kick while Psycho Clown pummels everybody else with a rainbow-hued broom. Cody flips Taurus out of the ring and wpes him out with a plancha to the outside. Clown clips Kross off the apron and brings out a table. Yep, Psycho frog splashes KK through it. What are the odds. So now, it's basically Texano vs. Cain one-on-one in the ring. Cain drops him with a sloppy belly to back suplex and locks in a kimura, and yep, Texano taps. So cue the celebratory mariachi music, as the good guys celebrate in the ring afterwards and I develop a sudden want of fried corn chips and watery salsa.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: An entertaining bout that didn't try to be anything more, or better, than it had to be. Really, the whole thing was more or less built to be a showcase for Cain to show of his LUCHA MOVEZ, and I think you’d have to be half-retarded to not be impressed by quickly he’s picking up on the “craft.” Yes, it’s hardly anything more than a one-note spectacle bout, but at least that one-note is pretty goddamn spectacular.

August 03, 2019
Blue Demon, Jr. vs. Dr. Wagner, Jr. (AAA TripleMania XXVII)

I have no idea why Dr. Wagner, Jr. is wearing a mask for this one. I mean, didn't he lose it a few years back? Shit, these Mexicans really need to figure out if they're going to follow their own lucha libre regulations and requirements, especially if they want to stay out of our detention centers. So Blue Demon comes first to that one Red Hot Chili Peppers song while riding a giant yellow cherry picker like he was commanding a neon brontosaurus, while Dr. Wagner comes out to "Bad Medicine" by Bon Jovi and rocking an all white uniform, so you just KNOW that means he's going to be bleeding buckets in this motherfucker. Then a buncha' fire comes out of the entrance ramp and mariachi music starts playing and they bring out the two-peso version of Bruce Buffer to do the ring announcements. Anyhoo, Blue Demon wastes no time at all, jumping Wagner right at the bell and bonking him good with a couple of unprotected chair shots to the noggin. Now it's time for some crowd-brawlin' — and since this is Mexico City, here's hoping they have their wallets stashed somewhere safe and unobtrusive on their person. Blue Demon hits Wagner in the face with a trash can while an ad for Tums plays in the background. Dr. Wagner's mask is ripped open and he's bleeding already. Then Blue Demon smashes a beer bottle over his face and the fluid splashes all over the camera and it is a GREAT visual. They slap each other on the outside some more and the announcers want to remind you to use OSEL PINTURAS, es muy buena! Wager yanks off his own mask, revealing his child-molester-like visag and Blue Demon fucking potatoes him with a legit left-right combo. Then Blue Demon, Jr., Jr. holds up Wagner so his daddy can titty slap him a few times. Demon wacks him with the dreaded COOKIE SHEET OF DOOM and it looks like Wagner's sprung a pretty nasty forehead leak. Demon parades Wagner around ringside, making sure his opponent's no-doubt hepatitis-tainted blood gets all over them. Then Wagner clobbers Demon with the COOKIE SHEET OF DOOM AND DISMAY, then Blue Demon goes for a sharpshooter, but he can't get it, so they slap each other some more and Wagner grapevines his ass and tries to pull his mask off. Then he COOKIE SHEETS that motherfucker some more and now Blue Demon is bleeding like a motherfucker from a huge perforation in his mask. The announcers keep laughing at all of the bloodshed, probably because it reminds them of periods and how innately inferior Mexican woman are to Mexican men. There's a LONG pan to the audience, as Blue Demon brings a FUCKING HAMMER into the ring to beat Wagner silly. No, not a sledgehammer, like a normal hammer you'd buy at a hardware store. Come to think of it, how come nobody's put on a Home Depot Death Match before? That shit would be perfect for one of those garbage indies down in Mexico. So Blue Demon locks Wagner in an armbar and he's really wrenching that sumbitch hard and it's all dramatic and Wagner eventually gets to the ropes. Then Demon rolls to the outside and starts beating up Wagner's camp for no reason, and more COOKIE SHEETS OF DOOM enter the fray. Demon works for the half-sharpshooter, but Wagner escapes. So Demon locks in another arm wrench, and at this point he's EASILY got a gallon of blood smeared on his chest. At this point, one of these motherfuckers is going to LEGIT pass out from blood loss. Demon keeps working the arm wrench, but Wagner just kinda' lays there, not doing nothing. Then when he breaks the hold, Wagner immediately goes for a roll-up, but only gets a two-count. Then Wagner hits Al Snow's old Snowplow finisher, of all things, but, Demon kicks out of that, too. He hits a THIRD Snowplow, only form Demon, Jr., Jr. to pull the ref out of the ring before he can register the pivotal three-count. Then Blue Demon, Jr., Jr. threatens to hit Wagner with a fucking CINDER BLOCK, so naturally, Wagner's white-bedecked camp has to enter the fray and give him an MS-13 beatdown. Meanwhile, Demon, Jr. picks up the cinder block, stalks up behind Wagner, and goddamn INCINERATES it over his noggin for the three-count. In the post-fight tomfoolery, the refs put Wagner in a neck brace while Demon continues to bleed all over the place, rocking out to RHCP. Oh, say that's why they want to build that wall again.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Well, it was WAY too short to qualify as a MOTY candidate, but it was nonetheless a fun and satisfying match that definitely delivered the trashy goods. This was just good-old-fashioned, hate-filled, lucha libre mega-violent sleaze through and through, complete with Demon putting on what may very well be THE juice job of 2019 in this ‘un. And like fuck that I’ll ever badmouth any match that concludes with a Hispanic person having a chunk of rebar exploded over his pinata, in this universe or any other.

August 11, 2019
Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Summerslam 2019)

LOL at Paul Heyman introducing Brock as the "Seth Stomper." I also like how he kinda pronounces his client's first name like "Barack" sometimes. Seth has the taped rapes a'la DDP, and Brock immediately starts ramming the shit out of him in the corner. Then he drives him into the opposite turnbuckle and slugs him real good in the abdomen. Rollins barely staggers Brock with a kick, Lesnar goes for a release German, Seth lands on his feet and lands a head stomp — but it's only good for a two-count. Brock rolls to the outside and Seth lands a flying knee to the outside. Brock goes for another German, and once again Seth lands on his feet. He super kicks Brock twice, goes for another head stomp, but Lesnar catches him and F-5s his ass. But he's too injured to make the immediate cover, though. Then Brock grabs Seth by his taped ribs and literally spins him around like a bitch, and then he literally calls him a bitch and starts suplexing the SHIT out of him. Then Brock Germans Seth on the padded arena floor and screams like a gorilla and we're all enjoying it. Also, I don't know who that bitch is on commentary, but rest assured, I don't like her. Seth gets Germaned once more and he rolls to the outside. Rollins slams Brock face-first into the metal ring post (I mean, I presume it's made out of metal) and connects on a springboard knee to the face. Seth climbs the top rope but Brock sidesteps the flying knee and suplexes Rollins yet again. Now we've got dueling "Burn It Down" / "Suplex City" chants. Brock drops his gloves and continues to launch Rollins all over the ring. Now Brock has a bearhug applied, and for once, the move actually looks PAINFUL instead of blatantly homoerotic. Rollins gets to the ropes, but Lesnar catches him with a clubbing blow on the "clean break." Brock drives Seth into the turnbuckle, and goes for another shoulder charge, only this time, Seth darts out of the way and Brock bonks his noggin on the post. Seth boots Brock off the apron and follows suit with back to back suicide dives, but on the third plancha, Brock grabs him and slams him into the turnpost again. Now Brock is tearing apart the Spanish announce table. Seth superkicks him onto it and Rollins climbs the top rope. And yep, he frog splashes Lesnar through the particle board. You have GOT to see this one soiboy marking out in the audience — it's the height of 21st century sadness. The two crawl out from underneath the wreckage and Rollins hits another frog splash in the middle of the ring. "Paul Heyman looks shook," that one announcing bitch says. Rollins goes for a curb stomp, but Brock kicks out at two. Now Rollins is gearing up for another curb stomp. Lesnar goes for another F-5, but Rollins sneaks his way out of it, hits a superkick and one more curb stomp for the "upset" win.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: Eh, it had its moments, but we've seen WAY better Brock-beating-the-living-shit-out-of-people-only-for-his-opponent-to-hit-one-move-out-of-nowhere-and-win-it-all matches over the last few years. When it was intense it was quite intense, but at the same time, there was a LOT of repeated material throughout the bout, especially all of those goddamned curb stomps. Shit, can you imagine Seth and Roman being booked against one another at WrestleMania? The whole fuckin’ thing would be 20 straight minutes of fuckers jump-punching and head-stomping one another over-and-over again. I mean, what is this, pro wrestling or a Nintendo platformer from 1989?

August 12, 2019
Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White (NJPW G1 Climax 29 Final)

This is for all the marbles, kiddos. Red Shoes makes the rest of Bullet Club leave ringside before the match begins proper. I think I speak on behalf of all peoples everywhere when I say this ISN'T the G1 Final match we probably wanted. Jay White has a goatee now and looks like a discount Seth Rollins. Collar and elbow tie-up to begin with Kota affording Jay a clean break. Gedo tries to yank Ibushi's leg on an Irish whip, so Red Shoes says "no, fucka, you!" and ejects him. Back in the ring and Kota mid-kicks White outta' the ring. Kota connects on a dropkick, then he crashes and burns on the metal ring post. Jay goes for a figure four of sorts around the pole, but he can't get it locked on all the way, so he just launches Kota into the ringside barrier instead. Now Jay is trying to crush Kota's ankle on the barrier. Oh shit, KENTA is now a member of Bullet Club ... oh wait, I don't really care. The Japaheeno fans all boo White's incredibly poor sportsmanship. Jay lands a snap suplex and White continues to work the ankle. Kota fires back with some knuckle sandwiches and Jay cuts him down with chops. White with a shitty underhook suplex into the turnpost, and Kota kicks out at two. Ibushi gets back to his feet  and goes for a hurricanrana, only for Jay to catch him and shuck him back down to the mat. Ibushi goes for another 'rana, except this time he manages to stick it. Ibushi hits a one-legged moonsault off the turnbuckle, but White kicks out at two. Kota drops White with a punt to the stomach and sticks another standing moonsault. Then he goes for a backflip knee drop and lands right on his patellas. White with a DDT and a running uppercut, but Kota kicks out of the twisting brainbuster. White goes for a chop block and Ibushi literally Mario stomps Jay's ass and we all have a hearty chuckle. Ibushi with another hard punt, and White counters with an STO and the BEST German suplex he's ever thrown in his career. Kota gets perched on the top rope and White lands a superplex. Kota counters the Kiwi Crusher and hits the basket driver, which almost sounds like "bastard driver," which admittedly is a really great name for a move intended to paralyze another motherfucker. The trade blows on their knees for a bit (yet oddly, neither is arrested for public indecency) before White drops him again with a high angle uranage. Kota, of course, kicks out. White goes for the Blade Runner, but Ibushi ultimately counters it into a sleeper hold suplex. Jay launches Kota into the ref and then use the opportunity to hit Jay right in the balls. Gedo returns to ringside and slides a chair into the ring. White chop blocks Kota and Gedo holds Ibushi down so Jay can crack him over the knee repeatedly with the metal furniture. White with an inverted dragon screw leg whip and then he locks in the TTO, which is basically an inverted figure four leglock. Kota grabs onto a revived Red Shoes, but he's miles away from the ring ropes. Of course, he gets there after some effort, while Gedo continues to hide in the corner. Kota takes a LONG time to get back to his feet. When he does, White locks in a sleeperhold, which Kota escapes from via a Pele kick. Then Ibushi lawn darts White into the turnbuckle, then he tries to set Jay up for a deadlift German suplex off the second rope. He sticks it, but White still kicks out at two. Kota's injured patellas suddenly heal themselves and he's able to slap the dog fuck out of White. Of course, Jay ends that putsch with a dragon screw leg whip, which definitely sounds like an unorthodox sexual position, the more I think about it. Anyhoo, Kota hits  clothesline and the Last Ride powerbomb, but Jay kicks out at two. Gedo climbs into the ring and Kota superkicks his ass out. Jay goes for the sleeper suplex, but Kota escapes and hits his running knee to the head finisher. Rocky pulls Gedo out of the ring and Ibushi lands another Om-be-yo or whatever the fuck it's called and Jay STILL kicks out of it. What is this shit, a Johnny Gargano match? Ibushi drops White with back to back superkicks to the noggin, then Jay hits the Blade Runner out of nowhere. He can't make the pin, though, and both men wind up on their feet again. Kota hits a straight-jacket German, then Jay hits a sleeper-suplex ... actually, two of them. White with a brainbuster, but Kota counters the Blade Runner with standing knee to the head. Kota hits his finisher one more time and ... goddamnit, WHITE KICKS OUT. Even the Japanese fans are all like, "OK, this is some excessive bullsit." So Kota has to hit his finisher ONE more time, for real, ya'll, but after 31 minutes of action, that's what FINALLY gets Ibushi the W.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: Well, it wasn't an all-time classic, but all in all, it was a pretty entertaining and engrossing match that actually felt like it had some real emotion to it. In fact, this might be the best Jay White match I’ve ever seen, which is kinda’ like braggin’ about having the highest test scores in remedial math, but you know what I mean. Anyhoo, both these guys brought it and it felt like a real big atmosphere match and I was enthralled by pretty much all of it. And seeing just how badly the Japanese faithful want to see Kota win the IWGP title really puts a sparkle in my eyes and some butterflies in my stomach — if his showdown with Okada come Jan. 04 isn’t a MOTD-contender, I’ll eat my own feces and livestream it on Periscope.

August 31, 2019
KENTA vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NJPW Royal Quest)

This’ un is for the NEVER OpenWeight title, which has to be like, one of the 10th or 11th most prestigious championships in Japan these days. There's this one hot blonde skank in the crowd wearing red lipstick and having really bad British teeth holding up a placard that reads "NJPW since 1972" and that has to fulfill like four or five of my biggest sexual fetishes right there. We've got a collar and elbow tie-up to begin, with Kevin Kelley saying a whole buncha' shit about KENTA sucking in WWE without technically coming out in the open and saying it. There's also this one British guy doing commentary, and his voice sounds REALLY fat and smoky and irritating and I hate it. So KENTA rolls to the outside, then he pulls Ishii out of the ring, then KENTA lands a boot to the face in the middle of the ring and Ishii gets right back up and starts throwing forearm shots like a motherfucker. KENTA whiffs on a face punt and Ishii tackles him real good. Ishii with a buncha' chops in the corner and KENTA reverses it with a ton of elbow shots, but Ishii don't sell none of 'em. KENTA with a DDT off the top rope, with Ishii's throat landing on the top rope. Now KENTA is rattling off a million billion kicks and the fans are booing him like he supported Brexit or something. "Fuck you KENTA," the fans chant, because apparently they don't know this shit is fake yet. Ishii starts heabutting KENTA in the intestines and then KENTA starts hitting him with knee drops. KENTA with a swinging neckbreaker, but Ishii kicks out at two. Ishii keeps no selling KENTA's kicks to the stomach and then he powerslams the FUCK out of him. Ishii with more chops and forearms in the corner and he pushes the ref down, for some inexplicable Japanese reason. Ishii with another body tackle and then we have another forearm-shot-a-thon, before KENTA drops Ishii with a lariat. KENTA connects on a springboard dropkick, a Yakuza kick and another dropkick. KENTA goes for the double stomp but has to barrel roll out of it when Ishii rolls out of the way. KENTA lands a draping, rope-assisted DDT, then KENTA falls Ishii with a stiff punt to the ribcage. Ishii no sells a German suplex attempt and hits one of his own. Well, LOL, because KENTA is apparently LEGIT knocked out by the suplex, and he's way too fucked up to hit a lariat or whatever counter that was supposed to be. So it looks like Ishii improves and just drops his ass with a whole buncha' forearms and punches. Even the announcers know this shit needs to be stopped pronto, but of course, this being New Japan, nothing happens to ensure the wrestlers' safety. KENTA appears to be out of his concussion funk and connects on a lariat. He climbs the top rope and lands the double stomp. Ishii kicks out at two. KENTA counters a brainbuster, I think, but the way this match is going who knows, Ishii himself could've torn a quad and lost his balance. Even these mark-ass fans know KENTA is in no condition to be in the ring, but think of the KAYFABE! Now they're doing the old "let's sit Indian-style in the middle of the ring slapping each other" spot, and KENTA goes for a rear naked choke. Ishii escapes and drops KENTA with a forearm shot, then he turns him inside out with a clothesline. KENTA, of course, kicks out at two. The Guerrillas of Destiny decide to interfere, but Ishii valiantly fights them off. Ishii hits the brainbuster, but the Guerrillas pulls the ref out of the ring before he can make the three-count. So they double team Ishii for a bit, throw KENTA on top of Ishii, roll the ref back in there but Ishii kicks out at two, miraculously. KENTA goes for another sleeperhold, lets it go, and the two slap each other hard a couple of times. KENTA signals for the Go2Sleep and he gets ALL OF IT. And yep, that gives him the three-count, and the NEVER Championship, to boot.

My Score: *** 1/4

The Verdict: It started off pretty good, but as soon as KENTA obviously got concussed this thing started going off the rails fast. I mean, Ishii is already a fairly limited grappler as it is, and when he has to literally sandbag a motherfucker in La-La Land for the next 15 minutes of the bout, some doldrums are bound to kick in. Indeed, it’s pretty much a miracle in and of itself that they managed to salvage as much of the bout as they did — and yet another testament to how god-awful the unions must be in Japan.

August 31, 2019
Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki (NJPW Royal Quest)

After a million billion matches fluctuating from meh to freakin' outstanding in Japan, these two take their fabled rivalry to jolly old England, which is a lot like Japan, I guess, except with even worse food, somehow. Suzuki with some low kicks to begin, backing Okada into the corner before the referee says cut that shit out. Okada calls for a test of strength. He locks in  a wrist lock and we have dueling chants from the fan piping up throughout the arena. Suzuki reverses the hold and transitions to a modified stump puller. Okada spins out and gets back to his feet. Suzuki with a gut kick and another arm twist. Okada rolls through and gets a single leg takedown. Now he's working a good old fashioned "I'm going to pull your foot backwards, you bald-headed bitch" submission. Suzuki grabs Okada's hair and reverses it into a straight armbar. Now he's working for a triangle. Okada escapes and rolls to the turnbuckle for a breather. Suzuki baits Okada into a strike-off, and the forearm shots, they doth fly. Okada with a big boot, a snapmare and a spinning wheel kick to Suzuki's big-ass noggin. Okada with more forearm shots and Suzuki goes for a ring rope assisted armbar. Suzuki rolls to the outside and launches Okada into the guardrail. Now Suzuki has a chair. Red Shoes tries to convince him to drop the furniture, which gives Okada just enough time to Pearl Harbor his foe. Now they're fighting up the rampway. Suzuki looks for a Gotch piledriver but he can't get it, so he just knees Okada in the head instead. He heads up the rampway and gives Okada a nice, long running punt to the sternum. Then he grabs the chair again and tosses it into the ring. He sets it up in the middle of the ring, crosses his arms and awaits the countout. Okada rolls back into the ring and Suzuki starts a' stompin'. Okada lands a barrage of forearm shots but Suzuki just laughs them off and clobbers the champ good with a stiff elbow strike. Now Suzuki's going for a weird-looking Boston Crab variation. He transitions from that to a more traditional STF. And he transitions THAT into a toehold/Camel Clutch combo that looks painful as a motherfucker. Okada breaks the hold and Suzuki kicks THE SHIT out of his sides while he's down. Okada is on his knees and just absorbing shots, smiling like a Cheshire cat. Time for another forearm-off. Okada drps him with a spinning elbow off the ropes. The champ kips up and stars clobbering Suzuki with forearms and elbows. He hits a DDT, but Suzuki, of course, kicks out at two. Suzuki rolls to the outside and Okada hits him with a slingshot cross body. Back in the ring, Suzuki starts kneeing Okada like crazy and catches him with a running boot in the corner and another face punt for a two-count. Suzuki works a reverse Fujiwara armbar and bends his fingers back as Okada slowly makes it to the ropes. Suzuki releases the hold and it's time for more sternum kicks. Suzuki continues to mete out damage to Okada's "injured" right arm. Suzuki with another running boot to the face for another two-count. Suzuki sets Okada up for a piledriver but gets back body dropped and spinning elbowed for his efforts. Okada with a shotgun dropkick, and I can't tell you just how much more enjoyable watching New Japan is WITHOUT the English commentary. Okada goes for this funky fireman's carry slam but only gets a two-count. He goes up top and connects on the flying elbow drop and then it's time for RAINMUKAH POSUH!~ Suzuki, of course, gets right back up and it's time for yet another exchanging of forearms. And yep, Suzuki can DEFINITELY dole 'em out, that's for sure. Goddamn, Suzuki is just a world-class showman. He puts his hands behind his back and challenges Okada to hit him with everything he's got, then Okada returns the favor. Suzuki drops Okada with a goddamn MAN-SIZED forearm smash and kills him DEAD with an elbow to the back of the skull. Suzuki calls for the piledriver and Okada dramatically wiggles his way out and counters with that funky ass knee-assisted neckbreaker of his. Now they're throwing forearm shots on their knees and the tomfoolery concludes with Okada European Uppercutting Suzuki down to size. Then Suzuki starts breaking out the headlocks, only for Okada to catch him with a dropkick off the ropes on the rebound. Okada with a rear naked choke and the fans are booing, for some reason. Okada releases the submission attempt and starts feeding Suzuki elbow smash sandwiches again ... only for Suzuki to tag him with a dropkick of his own and apply his OWN rear naked choke. Okada makes it to the ropes and Suzuki kicks him, hip tosses him and reapplies the sleeper hold. And on the third arm-drop, Okada does a full 360 and RAINMAKERS THE FUCK OUT OF SUZUKI and it's great in every possible way. Okada maintains wrist control and drops Suzuki with another lariat. He goes for a discus elbow, only to get dropped by a Suzuki uppercut. Suzuki rattles off a series of palm strikes and drops Okada, much to the U.K. crowd's approval. Suzuki goes for another sleeperhold and converts it into a piledriver attempt. Okada grabs one of Suzuki's free legs, spins him around and greets him with a dropkick. Okada hits another dropkick off the ropes and signals for another Rainmaker, and from there there's a fantastic series of counters and reversals that concludes with Okada hitting a spinning Tombstone piledriver and a final Rainmaker clothesline for the 1, 2 and 3.

My Score: **** 1/2

The Verdict: Quite possibly the best New Japan match of the year, and it didn't even take place on Japanese soil. As I said at the beginning of the review, these two guys alternate really great and really mediocre matches, but this one was DEFINITELY one of their best outings to date. Pretty much EVERY note here was pitch perfect and they played up to the “American-style” about as well as any two reverse-gaijins could’ve. Pretty much EVERYBODY watching this wanted Suzuki to pull off the upset, and that gave it that je ne sais quoi that so many pro ‘rasslin matches are missing nowadays — genuine emotion. DEFINITELY go out of your way to see this one, kids, even if it requires using DailyMotion’s god- awful search engine.

August 31, 2019
PAC vs. Kenny Omega (AEW All Out)

They do this weird "Lost In Translation" pre-match vignette showing Kenny Omega walking around Japan looking all confused and shit, which is pretty goddamn opaque, even for AEW. For those of you not familiar with PAC, he's basically some random indie guy who looks like Roman Reigns without the muscles. Or charisma. Or drawing power. But it's OK, though, because he makes up for it with THE FLIPZ and a hipster beard, naturally. Headlocks to begin and PAC kips up. Omega gingerly walks over PAC's back and everybody in the crowd cheers for it, presumably because it appeared quite homosexual in nature. There's a whole buncha' counters and then PAC starts showboating to the crowd. Omega goes for the Kitaro Crusher, but PAC pops right back up. Omega with a monkey flip and he goes for the Terminator dive, only PAC re-enters the ring and hurricanranas his ass. Then PAC gets flipped to the outside and Omega goes for a plancha, only for PAC to kick him in the intestines on the way down. They take turns throwing each other into the guardrail, then PAC slams Omega sternum first on the edge of the ring apron. Then PAC starts slinging Omega into the ringside barrier some more. Back in the ring, and PAC hits Omega with a top rope dropkick. Jim Ross says he's a "dumb bastard" for not making an immediate pin attempt, which, yeah, I guess is a valid point, kayfabe-wise. Now PAC is working a side choke. Except he's doing it wrong, but hey, like anybody thinks that's a surprise. Omega breaks the hold and starts throwing some knife-edge chops. Omega clotheslines PAC over the top rope and then he hits him with a flying swanton on the show floor. Omega dropkicks PAC right on the back of his fucking skull and hits a fisherman's brainbuster for a two-count. Omega lands that "You Can't Escape" Fireman's Roll, except this time PAC actually DOES escape ... only for Omega to capture him on the rebound and hit it anyway. Well. Omega whiffs on a moonsault and PAC connects on a counter spike DDT. Omega kicks out. PAC climbs the top rope and hits a moonsault to the outside. Yep, this shit right here is NXT-tastic. Wait, holy shit, is that the Hawaiian shirt guy from ECW in the crowd? Fuck PAC's 450 splash, THAT'S what the cameraman ought to be panning on all up-close and shit. Now it's time for a really shitty forearm exchange sequence, concluding with Omega punting PAC in the corner and powerbombing his ass good. Alas, PAC kicks out of the elevated spinebuster, because everybody kicks out of fucking everything in NXT. Omega hits a dropkick and an ooshi-gurushi (like fuck I know how it's really spelled), then he makes good on the V-Trigger. Omega goes for the One-Winged Angel, but he can't get all of it so he just Germans PAC like a motherfucker instead. Yep, PAC kicks out at two. PAC with a back body drop and he hits what J.R. calls "The Proverbial Out of Nowhere Cutter," which is actually a GREAT name for a sub-finisher actually. PAC then hits an avalanche German, but Omega kicks out of that shit, too. Omega hits the snap dragon suplex and connects on another V-Trigger. PAC kicks out. PAC with a spinning kick to the solar plexus but he misses on the enzuigiri. PAC with a superkick, Omega ripostes with another V-Trigger. And there's ANOTHER one, for good measure. Omega goes for the reverse-rana, only for PAC to counter it and BOTCH THE FUCK OUT OF IT BIG-TIME, BROTHER. Omega with more titty chops and another V-Trigger. Kenny goes for the One Winged Angel, but PAC counters with the Brutalizer submission, which is a really shitty looking clusterfuck octopus hold. AND OMEGA PASSES OUT, the ref calls for a stoppage and what I'm pretty sure is a transvestite looks plum SHOCKED in the audience. Well, that's a hell of a way to deflate an audience ... and kill the star power of your main attraction, right before a national fuckin' cable TV deal, naturally.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: Eh, it was OK for what it was, but Omega is DEFINITELY capable of far better. There’s really nothing on display here that we haven’t seen before — and executed far better — and hot cheese on a cracker, was the finish about as anticlimactic as it gets. I mean, you LITERALLY booked the face of your company to job clean to a motherfucker whose finisher is an abdominal stretch, and expected people to pay $29.99 to watch it?

August 31, 2019
Chris Jericho vs. Adam Page (AEW All Out)

The bout to determine the first ever AEW World Heavyweight Championship. Jim Ross says he doesn't recall ever calling a heavyweight championship bout of this magnitude before, which is officially the biggest lie anyone has ever said in wrestling before. Of course, since this is AEW, they just HAVE to pat themselves on the back for having a female referee calling the match. Jim Ross says Jericho is in "the best shape he's been in in years," which, yeah, is now THE absolute biggest lie ever said in the history of wrestling ever. Jericho LITERALLY looks like Fat Thor nowadays, and it's both hilarious and tragic. Jericho hits an armdrag and Page throws some chops in the corner. Jericho goes for a fat crossbody and Page just tosses him backwards and clotheslines him out of the ring. Now it's time for some crowd brawling. OK, now the crowd brawling is over. Page hits a big boot back in the ring, but Jericho kicks out at two. Jericho hits a one-legged missile dropkick, because that's pretty much all he can muster at the ripe old age of 68. Page kicks Jericho out of the ring again and Page hits a tope suicida to the arena floor. But seriously, suicide is no laughing matter, people. Page hits a flying clothesline off the top, and it looks like shit and only registers a two-count. Jericho eats arena floor mat on an ill-advised crossbody, and then Page eats knee on a botched shooting star press to the outside. LOL at one of the announcers saying Page has "gas for days" — cue fart sound effects. Ross says the championship could be awarded via countout, but "wouldn't that be lame?" Page gets bumped onto the guardrail again and Jericho throws him into some manlet at ringside wearing a pink shirt. Then Jericho grabs the timekeeper bell and dings it a couple of times, and even the NPC AEW crowd doesn't cheer for it anymore. Back in the ring and Jericho hits a one-armed DDT. Jericho shows off his abs, which is kinda' weird, because he doesn't actually have abs anymore. The fans chant "you're a stupid idiot," which is just about the gayest thing I've ever heard from a wrestling crowd. Actually being sodomized isn't as gay as that chant, actually. Alright, back to the "action." Jericho works a shitty hammerlock and then he lands a dropkick off the ropes that actually does look kinda' decent. Time for a chop-off. Jericho with a flying crossbody, and Page counters with a fallaway slam. Boy, that sequence looked about as smooth as two morbidly obese people fucking in a VW Jetta. Page with a sliding lariat and a standing shooting star press. Jericho kicks out at two. "If given the opportunity, Jericho will counter your ass off," Ross comments. Page hits a Russian leg sweep off the ropes and this crowd is so fuckin' beyond dead it's hilarious. Like, they can't even convince themselves to think this thing is worth a shit. Jericho applies the Walls of Jericho and Page shucks him off. Then he tags Jericho with a discus elbow and the crowd just yawns and I'm loving ALL OF THIS. Jericho rolls to the outside to blade and just kinda' wander aimlessly around the ring perimeter for a couple of laps. Page chases him down and chucks Jericho into the ringside barrier. Back in the ring and Page stomps Jericho in the corner. Page gets snake eyed on the turnbuckle pad and Ross makes a weird comment about Jericho "having enough soldiers in his tank" to win this match. Page hits a swinging neckbreaker off the top rope, but Jericho kicks out at two, of course. Page lands another discus elbow but doesn't go for a pin, for some reason. Then Jericho suplexes Page onto the top rope, the Page superkicks Jericho on a springboard dropkick counter. Page hits a clothesline off the ropes and he goes for the Dead Eye. Jericho, of course, rolls through and locks in the Liontamer. Page makes it to the ropes. LOL at the ref admonishing Jericho and Jericho actually ACTING SCARED of here. Holy shit, this promotion is so cucked. Page lands a moonsault to the outside, but the crowd is all flippy shitted out so it hardly gets a reaction from the audience. Jericho hits Page with the Codebreaker, but Adam kicks out at two. Jericho hits Page with some really shitty looking knees to the head and Page drops Jericho with another discus elbow. He goes for a standing shooting star press and Jericho gets his knees up. He goes for another Codebreaker, but Page counters it into his "Dead Eye" reverse piledriver, but Jericho kicks out at two. You know, Page kinda looks like Kenny Omega's stunt double, and that's not a compliment. Page goes for another Dead Eye, and Jericho counters out and connects on that SHITTY Judas Effect spinning back elbow and yep, that's what gets him the three-count ... and the AEW title.

My Score: *** 1/4

The Verdict: Nice to see the promotion of the future is building itself around a fucking 50-year-old, ain't it? I’ve got some quibbles with the structure of the match, but overall, it wasn’t too bad. Although I REALLY have to question AEW’s commitment to a guy who a.) has a bona fide dad bod and b.) throws the shittiest back elbow since Chael Sonnen as their biggest box office attraction. Uh, you AEW guys sure you don’t want to promote your hip and edgy countercultural product using somebody who wasn’t born while Richard Nixon was president?

If you think that's impressive, you ought to see Tim Sylvia's tope con hilo.

SEPTEMBER 2019 MATCHES

Sept. 03, 2019
Shuji Ishikawa and SUWAMA vs. Ryouji Sai and Zeus (AJPW Explosion Series 2019 - Tag 13)

This one is for the AJPW World Tag Team Championship, naturally. The Violent Giants jump the contenders during the introduction and we have got some WILD brawling through the crowd right from the get-go, complete with plenty of Japanese motherfuckers having their heads slammed into metal directional posts, just the way God intended. It's SUWAMA and Zeus, officially, to begin. Zeus hits a shoulder tackled and SUWAMA rolls to the outside. Yeah, this Zeus is DEFINITELY a better wrestler than the one that was in No Holds Barred, for sure. SUWAMA eats guardrail on the outside and then he suplexes Zeus on the padded arena floor below. Then Ishikawa's old fat ass comes flying to the outside with a NASTY looking knee to the solar plexus. Back in the ring, Zeus starts throwing some slaps and SUWAMA drops his ass with a big, fat chop. Then Ishikawa throws his ass out of the ring and slings him into the guardrail a couple of times for good measure. He goes for a quick pin attempt, but Zeus kicks out at two. SUWAMA gets tagged back in and he eats a double shoulder charge from the champs. LOL, they're both fat. SUWAMA his a high angle suplex and locks in a Boston Crab, which really should be called a Crab Roll since he's all Japanese and whatnot. Zeus struggles to make it to the ropes, but he gets the break, regardless. Ishikawa is tagged back in and Zeus chops him, then Ishikawa chops him even harder and he falls down. Ishikawa goes for a pin, but Zeus kicks out. SUWAMA is tagged back in, but Zeus no-sells his offense. Well, until he noogies him down to his knees, anyway. SUWAMA with a belly to back suplex, but Zeus kicks out. Zeus hits a big double leg takedown (almost a half Sky High, really) and Sai FINALLY gets the tag. He kicks SUWAMA in the face and boots Ishikawa off the apron. Sai goes for a suplex but SUWAMA blocks it and starts feeding him hand-burgers again. Sai counters with a great looking back throw of his own. SUWAMA hits him with a flying shoulder charge and Ishikawa is tagged back in. Sai gets clotheslined in the corner and double stomped off the top rope. Just a two-count. Zeus is tagged in and he drops Ishikawa with a flying clothesline, then he drops him with a BOSS belly to back suplex. He goes for a chokeslam, but can't get it. Ishikawa counters with a MEAN looking backbreaker over his knee. Well, that looked ouchy. Then the Violent Giants hit Zeus with a sandwich clothesline, with Sai breaking up the pin at the last second. Then the Violent Giants call for stereo powerbombs, but the challengers back drop them simultaneously. Ishikawa eats back-to-back clotheslines in the corner and a double suplex, but SUWAMA breaks up the pin attempt. Zeus goes for a superplex on Ishikawa, but gets head-butted for his efforts. Then Sai runs up and kicks his fat ass off the turnbuckle and we all LOL. Zeus manages to hit a really slow and really fat brainbuster on Ishikawa, but SUWAMA breaks up the pinfall after the frog splash. SUWAMA Germans the fuck out of Zeus and drops Sai with a lariat-o. Then the Violent Giants take turns running a clothesline train on Zeus, with Sai breaking up the pin attempt. There's a weird tower of doom spot that ends with Zeus hitting a diving clothesline on Ishikawa. But Ishikawa, naturally, kicks out. Zeus goes for the Jackhammer, but Ishikawa escapes and counters with a dragon suplex and a running knee to the noggin. Zeus kicks out at two. Then Ishikawa hits an avalanche brainbuster, but yep, Zeus kicks out of that, too. Zeus turns Ishikawa inside out with a lariat, then SUWAMA gets STO-ed like a motherfucker by Sai. By the way, Ishikawa's teeth literally look like neon-yellow pieces of popcorn. So he and Zeus get into another slugfest, with Zeus dropping his ass with a man-sized lariat that Ishikawa still kicks out of. However, the follow-up Jackhammer gets the job down, as Zeus collects the pinfall AND the tag team title.

My Score: ***

The Verdict: Well, it was good enough, but hardly an all time classic. You could tell all four competitors just weren’t feeling it, and the final stretch was particularly lifeless. It had its moments, but it's definitely a “meh” tag bout, considering how great some of All-Japan’s other tag matches this year have been. An easy pass for me.

Sept. 03, 2019
Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura (AJPW Explosion Series 2019 - Tag 13)

The Triple Crown, of course, is on the line for this one. Oddly enough, the champ Kento comes out first. He's literally what would happen if you put Misawa and Okada into the telepod from "The Fly." Meanwhile, Nomura is this kinda chubby guy with a haircut like Moe from "The Three Stooges. He has some supremely chunky titties, just wanted you to know. We've got your basic collar and elbow tie-up to begin, with Nomura allowing Kento a clean break. Kento boots Nomura in the face, there's a couple of counters and reversals and we have a standstill so the audience can cheer. Nomura works a wrist lock and Kento reverses it. He slugs Nomura on an otherwise clean break, and then he poses in the middle of the ring while Nomura just looks at him on the outside like "you fat-faced asshole." Nomura is slung into the guardrail, and then he fucking LAWN DARTS Knto into the steel ring post and we all have a hearty chuckle. Nomura slams Kento head-first into the post a few more times, then he fucking gores him into it for good measure. Back in the ring and Nomura hits Kento with double knees to the solar plexus. Alas, he Sting-at-Great-American-Bash-92's himself into the ring post, allowing Kento to headbutt the SHIT out of him on the outside. Kento drops Nomura sternum-first on the guardrail and rolls back into the ring to pose some more, anxiously awaiting the inevitable countout victory you know isn't going to happen in a million years. So he rolls to the outside, headbutts Nomura one more time, and tosses his carcass into the ring. Kento hits a dropkick while Nomura is draping over the top rope, then he starts working on a facelock. He converts that to the old "smell my balls" headscissors hold, but Nomura is nonetheless able to get the rope break. Kento refuses to release the hold so the ref has to pry him off Nomura. Nomura gets up and slugs Kento real good, only for Kento to trip him up and dropkick him again. Nomura hits a double stomp and drops Kento again with a running shoulder block. Nomura punches Kento in the kidneys and DDTS him on the edge of the apron. Then he German suplexes him off the edge to the (padded) arena floor below. Some trainers tend to Kento, who takes his sweet time getting back into the ring. Kento hits a running knee in the corner, then Nomura locks in a rolling guillotine choke. He counters that into a seated abdominal stretch, of sorts. Now he's pushing Kento's head up and down like a Pez dispenser and it's really, really funny. Nomura goes up top, but Kento gets his knees up on the frog splash. Kento looks for a super German (not unlike Hitler) off the top rope, and he sticks it. He follows suit with another German and TWO stiff-looking running knees. Nomura, of course, kicks out at two. Nomura back elbows the fuck out of Kento, and then he spears THE FUCK out of him. Now they're trading forearm shots all crazy-like, with Kento getting the best of the shenanigans. Nomura no sells the curb stomp and Kento starts elbowing him some more. Nomura, however, drops his adversary with a slap. Yep, just your standard bitch slap, folks. Nomura stalks Kento in the corner, only for Kento to knee him several times and hit him with a stalling German for 2.99999. Kento signals for another high-angle German, only for Nomura to break free and hit a rolling spear for a 2.99999999-count. Nomura hits Kento with a brainbuster, but he kicks out with like a millisecond to go. Nomura tries to get Kento in a fireman's carry, but he escapes and knees him right in the face. Twice, actually. Kento goes for another running knee, and Nomura kicks out of that, as well. Kento gears up for another German, only for Nomura to escape and hit a million billion elbows and an avalanche Death Valley Driver for another 2.9999999-count. Kento with another knee to the face and he lands another avalanche German and, yep, that gets him the three-count.

My Score: ****

The Verdict? A good match — a really good match, actually — but hardly the MOTY contender some people on the Internet want it to be. The first 10 minutes of this match are about as by-the-numbers All Japan as it gets, and the concluding stretch — while admittedly gripping — did feel awfully familiar. This is one of those odd matches where the best thing about it, really, is the middle, which has a lot of great psychology and build-up. Through and through, though, it’s a well-paced match and I’d consider it a solid outing — just maybe not one worth going too far out of your way to witness.

Sept. 07, 2019
Marshall Von Erich, Ross Von Erich, Low Ki and Tom Lawlor vs. Jacob Fatu, Josef Samael, Simon Gotch and Ikuro Kwon (MLW War Chamber 2019)

So yeah, it's basically a brazen ripoff of War Games, but like fuck I'm EVER going to complain about that, no matter who's involved in the tomfoolery. Marshall comes out first, accompanied by daddy Kevin von Erich, who looks skinny AS FUCK these days. It'll be him and Simon Gotch going at it for the first five minutes. The two take turns trading fisticuffs and Marshall hits a standing dropkick and a rolling senton in the corner. Marshall hits a standing elbow drop and applies a side headlock. Remember, pinfalls and submissions don't count until all eight men are in the ring. Marshall hits a sliding clothesline, then Gotch starts hitting some low kicks and European uppercuts. Marshall goes back to the side headlock, then Gotch converts it into a head scissors submission. And Marshall goes right back to the headlock. I'm seeing a pattern here. Gotch gets tossed into the cage mesh and then Marshall hits his ass with a suplex. By the way, this thing is in Dallas, so it's really fitting that the Von Erichs would be front and center in all this shit. Marshall drops Gotch with some chops and then he goes for a modified guillotine. And here comes Josef, who looks like the Muslim version of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, really. Gotch hits an enzuigiri, and then Josef starts raking that motherfucker's eyes. Gotch with a jumping knee in the corner then he puts Marshall in a headlock with Josef stomps his noggin. The new Von Erichs logo looks like it could be the insignia of a vape shop. And here comes Tom Lawlor as the second man in for the faces. He punches the fuck out of everybody and body splashes Josef in the corner. Lawlor LITERALLY chokes Josef in the corner while Marshall takes turns kicking the shit out of Gotch's kidneys. Lawlor feeds Gotch some more fist-burgers, then Fatu enters the fray. Marshall and Lawlor try to double team him , but Fatu drops Lawlor with a Samoan Drop and then Marshall eats a HUGE uranage and a handspring moonsault. Fuck, that dude CAN MOVE for a fella' his size. I hope he doesn't die of a heart attack in his sleep in five years like most Samoan wrestlers are wont to. Josef LITERALLY eats Lawlor in the corner and that's our cue for Low-Ki to stroll on out. Gotch hits him with a couple of European uppercuts, then he drops him with a springboard kick off the ropes. Low-Ki elbows Gotch in the corner and Josef is juicing bigtime. And here comes Kwon, some half-black Japanese-looking dude with beaded cornrows. So, naturally, he goes right after Low-Ki. Marshall slams Kwon, Gotch elbows Lawlor in the corner and Fatu tosses Low-Ki into the mesh. So yeah, it's just a bunch of blood and flab flying all over the place. And here comes Ross, the other Von Erich, so the match beyond OFFICIALLY begins. Also, you have to dig that AWFUL ripoff music of "Stranglehold," don't you? Marshall applies THE CLAW to Gotch and Josef is like, double juicing now — we're talking some serious menstrual cycle explosion face going on right now. Fatu sings Low-Ki into the cage some more and Lawlor breaks off a Mortal Kombat combo on Gotch. Josef goes for the first pin attempt of the match, and Lawlor, of course, kicks out at two. Fatu strangles Ross with some wrist tape and Tony S. tries to get Ross' supposed flu over as some huge match variable. By the way, there's a whole bunch of barbed wire draped all over the top of the cage, so NOBODY can escape. Lawlor chops Fatu a whole bunch in the corner while Josef chokes Low-Ki with his boot tip. No Kwon is choking Ross with some wrist-tape. Isn't that, like, a felony and shit? The heels are in total control at this point, but Marshall is making a desperate comeback attempt. Josef is still bleeding like a stuck pig, but he's still able to hit gutwrench suplexes and shit. Meanwhile, Kevin von Erich on the outside looks like he's having a methamphetamine-spawned hallucination, and that's the way I prefer it. Ross hits Gotch with a running dropkick, then Low-Ki hits Kwon with a million billion elbow strikes. Josef is trying to climb over the barbed wire cage, anyway, but gets bored and just decides to elbow smash a motherfucker instead. Lawlor punches Fatu a buncha' times and hits him with a running dropkick. He's LITERALLY the only man left standing in the ring at this juncture. He revives all of his teammates and Lawlor hits Kwon with a running knee in the corner. Fatu superkicks some motherfucker and Josef tries to asphyxiate Low-Ki again. Hooray for aggravated assault-strangulation charges! Marshall hits Fatu with a big body slam, and then Kwon gets body slammed atop his own teammate. Lawlor goes for an ankle lock on Gotch and Fatu hits a HYUGE Samoan Drop, even though Marshall tried to apply the claw during its administration. Josef and Low-Ki are slugging it out and then Low-Ki starts grinding Josef's face ON THE BARBED WIRE. Then some dude dressed up like a fat ninja tries to climb into the cage and Kevin von Erich springs into action and applies THE CLAW and everybody marks out, including me. Lawlor puts Josef in a rear naked choke, but he fights out of it. Kwon sprays ASIAN MIST in Lawlor's face, then Fatu hits a moonsault. Low-Ki breaks up the pin at, like, 2.9999. Gotch goes for a piledriver, only for Marshall to hit him with the CLAW. Ross sets him up in an electric chair, and Marshall hits Gotch with a FLYING CLAW off the top rope for the 1,2,3. Huh ... what a weird way to end the bout, but whatever.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: Well, it wasn't my favorite War Games wannabe I've seen over the last few years, but it was certainly fun while it lasted. To be fair, like, half the people in this match had no charisma or heat whatsoever, and as War Games wannabes often tend to do, it seems like there were long, laborious stretches where pretty much nothing at all was happening. Still, the ending was well executed, and holy shit, was it a hot watching Kevin break out the CLAW on random motherfuckers, just for the hearty, nostalgic LULZ.

Sept. 15, 2019
Cain Velasquez, Brian Cage and Psycho Clown vs. Texano, Jr., Taurus and Rey Escorpion (AAA Invading NY)

Holy shit, is Psycho Clown's music catchy. It's what the Mexican restaurants on the Killer Klowns from Outer Space's homeworld must sound like. Cain, of course, comes out wearing that weird-ass leather gimp mask with the horns on it. So it's Taurus and Cain to begin. Taurus, of course, literally has a bull's head for a mask. Cain hits a one-legged powerbomb and goes for an armbar, but Taurus gets a rope break. Taurus hits a running takedown, but Cain stuffs him on the canvas. The fans chant "Si, se puede," although they never specify what they intend on pueding. Cain hits Taurus with a big scoop slam and goes for a Magistral Cradle, of all things. Taurus escapes and starts slapping the FUCK out of Cain, only for Cain to drop him with a spinning kick off the ropes. Now it's time for Cage and Rey to tussle.Rey is literally a Hispanic D'lo Brown, right down to the protective vest. There's leapfrogs a plenty and Cage hits some flying head scissors. Cage connects on  running elbow in the corner and then he super kicks everybody, culminating in a spot where he gives Taurus and King a DOUBLE German suplex. The heels respond by triple teaming Cage for a powerbomb. Then he gets super kicked by all three rudos at onece and it's fucking glorious. Taurus hits Cage with a jumping armbreaker and Texano, Jr. gets the tag. He connects on a spinning kick but can only get a two-count. King is tagged in and he hits Cage with a standing elbow drop. Just a two-count. Cage hits Texano with a tornado DDT off the top rope and Psycho Clown gets the hot tag. Texano jumps him from behind and starts ripping at his big goofy mask, only for Psycho Clown to hit a flying headscissors. Tauus gets a discus elbow and a super kick, plus a super flippy, kayfabe-destroying REVERSE Canadian Destroyer. Clown hits Texano with a hug power slam, but King breaks up the pin attempt by slapping him with a bull rope. Clown grabs the item and starts smacking everybody with it, then he pulls out this teal piece of plastic and hits his own teammates with it before tagging Cain in. Clown and Cage hit dual planchas to the outside, then Cain climbs the top rope for a flying irrelevant Heavyweight splash to the outside. Now it's Cain and Taurus back in the ring. Cain with punches in bunches in the corner and Taurus uppercuts him good before spiking him with a DDT. Then Cage powerbombs Taurus into the turnbuckle and superplexes him off the top rope. No, LITERALLY the top rope. Cage hits another superkick, only for King to hit him wih a fucking BOSS sitout powerbomb on the rebound. Psycho Clown is back in and he is slap-happy. He hits a sunset powerbomb off the top rope, but Texano breaks up the pin attempt. Texano lands a gourdbuster, then Cain comes in and starts kicking everybody. Then Texano gets clotheslined, then Psycho Clown hits Rey with a backcracker and then Cain hits a fucking LETHAL INJECTION on Taurus out of nowhere to get the three-count. 

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Man, that was just pure, retarded, lucha action from start-to-finish and I enjoyed it immensely. Cain looked even better here than he did in his debut, which makes me wonder just how big of a draw he could be if he decided to do this shit full-time. I mean, he'd make a natural foil to Brock Lesnar in the 'E, wouldn't he? [EDITOR’S NOTE: This encapsulation, obviously, was written before Cain was signed to the WWE, which means that a.) I’m kinda’ prophetic and b.) yep, WWE suits are apparently faithful followers of TIIIA who actually factor my opinions into their hiring processes. Talk about influence on the business, eh?]

Sept. 16, 2019
KENTA vs. Kota Ibushi (NJPW Destruction in Kagoshima)

Just so you know, Kota's IWGP title shot at the Jan. 4 Tokyo Dome Show is on the line in this one. So, uh, did the Money In The Bank gimmick ripoff the Jan. 4 briefcase, or is it the other way around? Holy shit, LOL at KENTA fucking BLASTING Kota with a super kick as soon as he enters the ring. KENTA, who has a blond dye job now by the way, clocks Kota with the briefcase and starts stomping on it. The ref tends to Kota for a really long time, to see if he's "medically fit" for competition. The bell has yet to ring for the "official" contest, in case you were wondering. Kenta lands a running knee for a 2.999999 as soon as the bell sounds, and then he slings Kota to the outside. KENTA slings Ibushi into the metal ringside barrier over and over again, which Kevin Kelley suggests is happening at "1,000 miles per hour," which to me, sounds pretty hyperbolic. Eventually KENTA punts Ibushi over the guardrail and DDTS his ass on the hard concrete floor, which appears to have some light padding on it, actually. KENTA re-enters the ring and awaits the countout. Back in the ring, KENTA hits Kota with a draping DDT. Kota kicks out at two. KENTA boots Kota's head in the corner a couple of times and then he drops him for a two-count with a spinning elbow off the ropes. KENTA with a sleeperhold, but Kota fights out of it. KENTA with a ton of knee drops and Kota finally gets some offense in with a dropkick. He follows suit with a powerslam and a picture perfect moonsault, but it's only good enough for two. Kota with a plancha to the outside and KENTA eats hard ankle legit on the landing. Kota kicks KENTA in the back and now it's time to exchange forearms. Then there's this great spot where they head kick each other at the same time for a double knockdown. Kota with a Frankensteiner, then KENTA tries to wring his leg on the steel ring post. Now KENTA has a chair. He smashes Kota's leg with it, even though he actually missed hitting it by a good three or four feet. And why wouldn't that shit be an automatic disqualification, anyway? KENTA then drops Kota knee first on the announce desk, and apparently, Kevin Kelley is slowly morphing into Jim Ross. Back in the ring, KENTA continues to work Kota's patella. KENTA with a dragon screw leg whip and a heel hook that looks an awful lot like a half figure four — should we call it the figure two leglock for consistency? KENTA rattles off a bajillion leg kicks and hits another leg whip. Then he goes back to the figure two. Kota gets to the ropes and breaks the hold. Inbushi with a running kick in the corner and a dropkick that KENTA totally no sells before going right back to the figure two. KENTA with "massive forearms" in the corner and a missile dropkick. He goes up top and connects on a double stomp, but Kota kicks out at two. KENTA with another leg whip and then he applies a PROPER figure four. It takes a while, but KOTA finally makes it to the ropes. Kota drops KENTA with a big lariat and follows it up with a sitout powerbomb. KENTA kicks out at two. Then the Guerillas of Destiny do a run-in, only for Kota to Pele kick both of those motherfuckers. Kota hits a running knee on KENTA, but the G.O.D. yank Red Shoes out of the ring and hit Kota with the Magic Killer. And that's our cue for YOSHI-HASHI and Tomohiro Ishii to make the save and run off the Guerrillas. So KENTA and Kota go back to hitting each other with forearms and KENTA hits a Psycho Knee for a two-count. Then KENTA hits Kota with his own finisher, but Ibushi STILL kicks out of that shit at two. KENTA goes for the Go-2-Sleep, but Kota counters his way out and hits HIS knee-to-the-face finisher on KENTA for another two-count. Kota connects on one more Kamigoye, and yep, that's what gets him the pinfall.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: Yeah, it wasn't as good as their match earlier this year, but it was still pretty damn entertaining. You know exactly what you’re getting into with these two, and while it wasn’t the best either men have been known to muster in the squared circle, I feel as if the product, taken as a whole, was quite enjoyable. Indeed, it’s kinda’ hard to believe that so many people out there on the Interwebz called this one of the worst NJPW main events of 2019 — especially when they keep letting Will Ospreay close out their shows.

Sept. 18, 2019
Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong (NXT on USA)

This is for the NXT North American Championship, by the way. Man, Mauro is not good at doing references to Prince at all. I'm not sure what "The Walking Instagram Filter" is supposed to mean, but to me, it somes awfully homosexual in nature. Strong scores a takedown and there's some mad scrambling on the canvas. Dream works a wrist lock, but Strong counters it into a hammerlock. Dream clothesline Strong out of the ring and Roderick takes a breather. That's our cue for the first TV timeout. We return to action and Dream hits Strong with a dropkick. He hits an axe handle off the top rope then lands another one to the outside. Mauro makes a really corny homage to "When Doves Cry," and I really hope he gets depressed again shortly. I mean REALLY depressed, if you catch my drift. Strong backdrops Dream on the guardrail and hits him with a dropkick. Strong drives Dream back first into edge of the apron and rolls his carcass back into the ring. Strong applies a sleeperhold, but Dream escapes. Strong with chops in the corner galore. He continues to work the back with a ton of stomps. Now he's working  weird-looking crucifix armbar. Dream is back to his feet and he connects on a jawjacker, only for Strong to hit a stiff-looking backbreaker for a two-count. Strong lands another uranage-into-a-backbreaker combo, but Dream kicks out of that, too. Dream reverses a slingshot attempt into a sharpshooter, but Strong kicks his foes out of the ring. Then Dream tackles Strong into the metal steps, which, of course, is our cue for another TV timeout. OK, we're back, and now Strong is chopping the shit out of Dream. They're trading blows while perched on the top rope, and Strong takes a tumble. Dream lands a flying double axe handle, and follows suit with a superkick. Strong kicks out at two. Dream goes for another quick roll-up, but Strong kicks out. There's the DREAM-TT. Strong kicks out at 2.999999. Dream climbs the top turnbuckle again, and Strong rolls outside of the ring. Strong hits Dream with a running kick on the ropes, then Dream slaps Strong, then Strong hits Dream with a V-Trigger. Now Dream is tied up in the ropes, like it was 1988 or something. LOL at Roderick hitting the person of color with a ton of elbows. Strong hits a tiger bomb, but Dream kicks out. Time for the STRONGHOLD, you motherfuckers. Alas, Dream manages to get to the ropes and break the hold. Hey, here comes the rest of Undisputed Era. I'm sure they won't interfere in this or anything like that. They take turns throwing really effete punches and one another and yep, there's the ref bump.  Dream hits the Dream Valley Driver, Strong's stable mates interfere and he's able to hit Dream with the End of Heartbreak, which is officially the worst name for a finisher ever. Dream hits another DVD, Cole superkicks Dream while the ref is distracted and that allows Strong to hit the End of Heartache again to score the three-count, and thus the championship belt.

My Score: ***

The Verdict: An alright TV match, but nothing we haven't seen a million, billion times before already ... and done MUCH better. Velveteen’s charisma only took this bout so far, and Roderick Strong’s in-ring prowess could only make up for so much of his deficiencies as an entertainer. So instead of having a match that enhanced the best elements of each wrestler, what we ended up with is a merely suitable, made-for-TV type-match with a screwy finish that left neither competitor looking all that strong in the long haul. Oh, and it also had Mauro on commentary, so you KNOW that’s a shit-ton of demerits for the match, just out of sheer principle.

Sept. 27, 2019
Barbaro Cavernario vs. Big Daddy vs. Ciber the Main Main v. Ultimo Guerrero vs. Negro Cases vs. Gilbert El Boricua vs. Volador, Jr (CMLL 86th Anniversary Show)

Volador, Jr. comes out dressed as fucking Predator and Barbaro jumps him in front of all those dancing hoochies at ringside to get the festivities started. Yep, that's Mexico for you, in a nutshell. So anyway, the hook here is that it's a cage match where the last two guys in the ring have to have a normal 'rasslin match, and whoever loses gets cue-balled right before the Arena Mexico faithful. Keep in mind, this is easily the biggest show CMLL does all year long, and THIS is what they chose as the main event. So yeah, it's goddamn bedlam to begin, with Volador, Jr. taking his sweet time climbing into the cage after being Pearl Harbored by a caveman. Naturally, he decides to dive on top of everybody instead of just going through the door like a normal person. Huh, the more I think about it, Volador looks WAY more like the Green Lantern villain Sinistro than I recall. So everybody is doing the usual Royal Rumble shtick trying to fill time and Barbaro makes a mad scramble to escape the cage, but the faces, of course, pull him back in. I'm not even going to pretend like I know what the canonical rules for this shit is supposed to be. All I know is that Big Daddy is both a poor man's Kofi Kingston and also a vast improvement on Kofi Kingston at the same time. Anyhoo, he's the first man to escape, and the El Boricua powersalms and clotheslines everybody en route to being the second man to escape. Huh, a match about a whole bunch of Mexicans climbing over a wall to freedom ... subtle. Barbaro is the third man out, despite Ultimo Guerrero's best efforts and also mullet. Ciber gores Negro Casas old ass and suplexes him good. Volador, Jr. climbs the cage like he's about to body splash a motherfucker, but he just climbs down the cage and gingerly walks his way to the back as the fans boo. Also, there are some REALLY fat fans in Mexico, which makes me feel a lot better about American society now. Guerrero and Casas double team Ciber, but then they accidentally clothesline each other and Ciber uses the downtime to flee the cage. Which, of course, means it’s the old-ass veterans being forced to duke it out for the right to retain their coifs. Negro Casas' bald spot LITERALLY starts at the beginning of his forehead, so it's kinda' like  reverse bald spot, really. Meanwhile, Guerrero looks like a fat, Mexican Mike Awesome, and that's pretty awesome actually. They take turns clotheslining each other's old, fat, flabby asses and Casas goes for a senton, Just a two count. Guerrero gives Casas a front suplex, but he kicks out of that, too. Casas locks in an STF, but Guerrero gets a rope break. Casas goes for the oldest, wrinkliest hurricanrana of all-time, only for Guerrero to reverse it into a super bomb for a two-count. Casas goes for a victory roll, but Guerrero kicks out of that shit, too. Guerrero hits a reverse suplex off the top rope to finally record the first fall. Wait, that's the ONLY fall? Well shit, that's terribly anticlimactic. Of course, Casas gets his head sheared in the post-match antics, while the crowd chants "Negro!" over and over again and Mexican-flag colored confetti spills all over the ring. Man — Mexicans are fucking weird.

My Score: ** 3/4

The Verdict: Well, this was an absolute clusterfuck, no doubt about it. By now, I’ve learned that it’s fruitless to make any sense out of lucha libre — you just gotta’ stand back and admire the violence as it presents itself and try not to think about it any more in-depth than that. That said, I still reckon this stat-studded spectacular was a pretty big misfire, and one that lacked drama, intrigue or much of anything in the way of thrills. I mean, it’s the absolute biggest show your promotion puts on all year wrong, and this indecipherable train wreck is what you choose to main event it?

Sept. 28, 2019
Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi vs. EVIL and SANADA (NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2019)

This one’s being held in New York somewhere, so of course, everybody in the audience is some sort of permutation of fat weeaboo shut-in mark. Looks like it’s going to be Kota and EVIL to begin. So, uh, is EVIL supposed to be the Japanese lovechild of RVD and The Undertaker? ‘Cause that’s TOTALLY the vibe I’m getting out of him. Kota with a boot to the face early, then EVIL whiffs on a senton. The fans cheer and holler for all of their floppiness and near falls. What is this, the ECW Arena circa’ 1999? Okada gets tagged in and he flips off SANADA on the apron. So, of course, SANADA HAS to be tagged in now, by pro wrestling law. SANADA really does look like a cross between Kenny Omega and young Santa from that old Rankin-Bass TV special Santa Claus is Coming To Town. You know, if he was squinting at the sun and stuff. Collar and elbow tie-up to being. Okada affords SANADA a clean broke off the ropes. Okada with a headlock and a shoulder tackle. SANADA leapfrogs and Okada goes for a quick roll-up. Just a two-count. Okada hits a snap mare, but SANADA is right back up. EVIL trips Okada up and SANADA capitalizes with a dropkick. LOL, EVIL literally looks like a purple-headed yogurt slinger with that haircut. SANADA rakes Okada’s back with his nails (when was the last time you saw THAT in a wrestling match?) and EVIL gets the tag. He hits Okada with a reverse neckbreaker and the reigning, defending IWGP Heavyweight champ kicks out at two. EVIL and Kota brawl on the outside while SANADA sets up the Paradise Lock, which is EASILY the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen in a wrestling match, even if it does conclude with SANADA literally drop kicking his butthole. SANADA with a headlock, but then Okada flapjacks him real good. Kota gets tagged in and he boots EVIL right in the face. Then he kicks SANADA a whole buncha’ times and hits him with a standing moonsault for a two-count. SANADA takes Kota off his feet with a low dropkick and EVIL gets the tag. EVIL with a clothesline and a brainbuster. Just a two-count. Kota slugs him with a couple of forearm shots, then EVIL returns the favor. This is NJPW main event-by-the-numbers stuff at this point. Eventually EVIL beats Kota down with forearm shots, but Kota stops the putsch with a kick to the sternum and a follow-up Pele. The two fresh men got tagged in at the same time and Okada drops SANADA with a spinning elbow shot. The two exchange forearms some more and SANADA locks in his reverse dragon sleeper thingy. Kota breaks up the sub attempt. SANADA with a backbreaker and a moonsault, but Okada rolls out of the way. The champ hits a dropkick and goes for a Rainmaker. SANADA counters with an elevated backdrop. EVIL gets the tag and he starts slapping the mat like he was Donkey Kong or something. Then he literally throws his ball sack into Okada’s face for a two-count. OK, that was weird. Okada hits his over-the-knee neck breaker thing that I’m still not sure what to canonically call and Ibushi is tagged in. EVIL gets drop kicked and power slammed, but he kicks out of the moonsault. SANADA crushes Kota in the corner and EVIL clotheslines him good. Okada breaks up the pin. EVIL hits his one-handed power bomb thingy but Ibushi kicks out at two. Meanwhile, the camera TOTALLY misses the other two guys brawling on the outside, and all you can hear is the metal clanging of the guardrail while God knows what sort of tomfoolery is happening out of view. So Okada runs back into the ring and Tombstones EVERYBODY, then SANADA drops him with a twisty neck breaker off the ropes. Then EVIL ROCKS Kota with a stiff German and now all four men are splayed out on the canvas like an all Asian remake of Jonestown. SANADA and Okada roll to the outside, leaving Kota and EVIL to duke it out. Ibushi staggers EVIL with a couple of forearm shots, then he falls him with a stiff high kick. EVIL hits a spinning punch to the sternum and then he clothesline him right out of his boots. Kota, of course, kicks out, only for EVIL to fold up Ibushi like an accordion with his STO finisher. And yep, that’s what gets ‘em the three-count, folks. 

My Score: ***

The Verdict? Eh, it was fun, but hardly anything more than a glorified, low-effort, made-for-free-TV main event-caliber matchup. It’s obvious that the whole intent of the match was to get people salivating for the inevitable singles bouts for Okada/SANADA and Ibushi/EVIL, and in that facet, it certainly did its part. But the match, as a standalone offering? Eh, it was merely what it was and hardly anything more — good, but not great, entertaining, but not invigorating. Unless you LITERALLY rub one out to Okada every night, I think it’s safe to say you can pass on this one.

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