Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Jimbo’s Quarterly Rasslin’ Round-Up (Q2 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?

...and that, folks, is the proper way to handle transitional champions.

APRIL 2019 MATCHES

April 04, 2019
Josh Barnett vs. Minoru Suzuki (GCW Josh Barnett's Bloodsport)

So the hook here is that the promotion is sort of a "fixed-martial-arts" hybrid a'la RINGS and UWF, which, as we all know by now, is some shit I LEGITIMATELY love although it's certainly an acquired taste for normie 'rasslin fans (i.e., those probably democrat voters who have never had the patience to watch a REAL MMA fight the whole way through before.) So Suzuki comes out to his regular New Japan music and the crowd sings along and he just looks at them all in disgust and it's great. One of the really cool things is that the ring doesn't have any ropes, which makes this shit feel all shades of "Virtua Fighter" and I'm diggin it. So Barnett comes out looking like a NXT jobber (the beard, the generic death metal iconography, etc.) and for a guy whose name is LITERALLY in the name of the event, he gets a rather lukewarm reception from the audience — which, unfortunately, does appear to be made up primarily of hipster douchebag neo-wrestling fans who probably voted for Bernie Sanders. Not that it's any surprise, but the announcers are pure dog shit. The "arena" is just some bar in New Jersey and it's so tiny you can hear each individual conversation in the building. Barnett and Suzuki with your standard test of strength opener and Josh takes him down with a waistlock. Suzuki counters and there's a mad scramble leading to a standstill. Hooray for pseudo-amateur wrestling-style! Barnett with a tie-up, some knees to the stomach and he works an armbar. Suzuki counters with a scissors lock and Barnett counters out with a weird-looking "shoot" cloverleaf. Now he's angling for an ankle lock. Suzuki is back up and he's going for a grapevine. He punches Josh once in the stomach and goes for a cheap leg lock. Barnett counters with a headlock while the fans chant "King of Pancrase," even though Josh is so doughy these days they ought to be chanting "king of pancakes." Suzuki has Josh' back but one of the rules is you can't punch dudes in the face, for some reason, so Minoru goes for a modified camel clutch instead. Barnett gets folded up and he works another ankle lock, which Suzuki counters with his OWN ankle lock. Suzuki with a face lock, with his legs wrapped around Barnett's waist. Looks like Suzuki's going for a rear naked choke now. Barnett escapes and locks in an armbar, while the announcers talk about Suzuki's ghost haunting the building if he dies or some shit. Suzuki looks for a full nelson, but Barnett rolls out. Suzuki ripostes with a text book headlock, only for Barnett to SHOOT (sorta') back body drop that Japanigga' HARD. Barnett with a running boot to the solar plexus, and how he's doing some open-palmed ground and pound. Suzuki counters with a straight kneebar, then he gets vertical and knees the fuck outta' Barnett before landing a STIFF forearm shot. Alright, now it's time to get pro 'rasslin as fuck, folks. Barnett with a jumping knee and Suzuki fires back with a million billion forearms. Barnett whiffs on a couple of head kicks and he takes Suzuki down with the first suplex in pro wrestling history that actually LOOKS painful. Minoru with several knees to the noggin and Barnett is feigning injury. Suzuki with more knees to the stomach and he's looking for a package piledriver. So piledriving a motherfucker is legal but a straight jab isn't? What the fuck is up with these rules? Barnett gets in a few badly telegraphed soccer kicks, and then he locks Suzuki into a modified STF (but it'll always be "The Oriental Twist" to me, people.) The ref does the old "arm drape" spot and Minoru gets his bicep in the air on the third raise. Josh holds Suzuki in a headlock and Suzuki back body drops him. There's a whole buncha' occult looking shit on Barnett's pants, which I suppose is the old English font of the 2010s when it comes to fake tough guy iconography. Suzuki rolls out of the ring for a breather and then Josh leg kicks him good. Suzuki rolls to the outside and drags Josh outside with him. He punches a ref, grabs a chair, and clobbers Josh right over the back, but Josh no sells it and starts forearm shooting dafuq out of him. Back in the ring Josh knee strikes Suzuki like a sonofabitch and clamps on a mean headlock. Barnett lands one of those old school gut-wrench suplexes while the fans start chanting the bass line from "Seven Nation Army," because they truly are the scum of the goddamn earth. OK, so we have a new ref in the mix now. There's three minutes to go in regulation and the two competitors are just whaling on each other with forearm shots. Barnett lands a close-fisted punch, but the ref don't do shit. I don't even feel like trying to figure out what the rules are supposed to be for this shit anymore. Minoru with a headbutt and there's 60 seconds left in regulation. Minoru with a karate chop and Josh fires back with girlie-slaps of his own. And, of course, with 30 seconds remaining, we have ourselves an all out palm strike-a-thon, and it's really, really funny. The fans immediately start chanting "five more minutes" and the ref says "alright, let's do it" and the fans start screaming "G-C-Dub," which, uh, kinda' reminds me of something, but I'm not sure what. So in overtime, Barnett lands a head kick and a spinning wheel kick, but Suzuki no sells it. Suzuki gets German suplexed and Barnett works for a rear naked choke. It looks like he's got it in deep. But this isn't real, so Minoru bites his way out of the hold and locks Barnett in an impossibly straight knee bar, all the while CHEWING on Josh's boot. Eww, that's just nasty. "I am a MAN" Suzuki says and Barnett forerams him good. Josh looking for a guillotine choke, but Suzuki countes it with the fuckin' OCTOPUS HOLD, of all things. Barnett falls on his back, then Suzuki tries to lock in a hammerlock ... I think. One minute to go in O.T. "Fight forever," the fans chant, because fuck them, that's why. Suzuki goes for a desperation heel hook and Barnett returns the favor. And the clock doth run out with both men still a hookin' each other, sans a clear victor.

My Rating: *** 3/4

The Verdict: Well, that was certainly fun, although the anti-finish certainly hurt the match as a whole. I’ve seen way better “shoot-style” bouts in the past (I assure you, this shit ain’t anywhere CLOSE to matching the greatness of RINGS at its apex), but all in all this was pretty gripping, and thankfully, the sports-entertainment malarkey was kept to a minimum. I didn’t dig it AS much as some other people on the Internet did, but I dug it nonetheless — if you’re looking for more “realistic” ‘rasslin, definitely give this one a look-see.

April 04, 2019
Pentagon, Jr. and Rey Fenix vs. Rob Van Dam and Sabu (Impact Wrestling United We Stand)

Yep, nothing says "we're a hip and with it promotion" quite like building your counter-WrestleMania show around dudes who were main eventing ECW shows 20 fucking years ago. Still, RVD and Sabu don't look anywhere near as bad as you'd imagine, even if they both have a kinda' wax dummy visage going on these days. So anyway, the first two minutes of the match is literally a buncha' posturing before Sabu breaks up the "ciera miedo" pose, and after five seconds (literally) of action we have another standstill. The Lucha Bos. dropkick the ECW alum out of the ring and now it's time for some outside brawling. RVD and Fenix buddy off and Sabu pummels Pentagon with a chair. Sabu with a flying clothesline on Fenix, then Pentagon gets an RVD bodyslam. RVD botches the rolling thunder senton, because of course he would. The fans actually have the audacity to chant "You've still got it" during this shit. RVD with his patented monkey flip on Fenix, then Sabu puts him in a modified camel clutch. Pentagon slaps 'em good before punting Sabu and RVD right in the fucking face. Sabu eats double boots from the Lucha Bros. and then he gets karate chopped. Wait ... is the titular character from "I Dream of Jeannie" at ringside? What the fucking fuck is this bullshit? LOL at how ridiculously small that ring is. RVD and Sabu grab a table, but it's intercepted by the Lucha Bros. Cyrus the Virus talks about the table impaling the wrestlers, which I'm honestly kinda surprised hasn't happened in a Big Japan deathmatch by now. So the Lucha Bros. get draped over the table, and RVD and Sabu hit 'em with stereo leg drops. Of course, the Lucha Bros. kick out. RVD goes up top, but Pentagon knocks him off with a chair. Sabu gets the Fear Factor piledriver, Rey Fenix keeps RVD at bay and Pentagon picks up the pin.

My Score: **

The Verdict: Look, I'm as nostalgic for the glory days of ECW as much as anybody, but this shit right here was just sad. Neither RVD or Sabu have the gas tanks or adequate number of ligaments left to pull this shit off, and they CERTAINLY don’t have the mettle to go full-tilt with the fuckin’ Lucha Bros. The match may have had a glimmer or two of decency, but on the whole? This was one “throwback” bout that just plain stunk up the joint.

April 05, 2019
Hanson and Rowe vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet (NXT TakeOver: New York)

Of course, this is the swan song for Black and Ricochet before heading over to the main WWE roster. Before the bell, Mauro says they have more chemistry than Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and, tonight, they're not in the shallow anymore. Holy shit, somebody take this asshole's bipolar medication away from him and hope he gets REAL depressed sometime. I can't tell the War Raiders apart, so if I fuck up their names ... well, I don't care, honestly. So it's Black and the bald one to begin. I guess that's Rowe. There's a standstill after Rowe lands a double leg takedown. Rowe with a waistlock takedown and a standing switch. Black feigns a head kick and it's all dramatic and shit. Now it's Hanson and Ricochet in the ring. Ricochet with headscissors and a dropkick. Black and Rowe get tagged in, and Mauro makes a "Moment of Zen" reference and the fans chant "NXT." The fat ones roll over the backs of the skinnier ones and Rowe eats tandem dropkicks from Ricochet and Black. Hanson ass blasts Black and Rowe slams his own tag team partner on Ricochet's belly. Rowe slams Black again and works an arm wrench. Hanson is tagged in. He slams Black and tags Rowe back in. Ricochet gets the tag and Rowe gets headscissored and head kicked. Ricochet with a springboard clothesline and a standing shooting star press, but Rowe kicks out at two. Ricochet with something kinda' resembling an abdominal stretch. Black gets the tag and he hits Rowe with a spinning elbow. Now he's working a seated abdominal stretch, and after that don't work he just starts kicking the shit outta' him instead. Rowe with a back throw and a HUGE knee to the face. Hanson gets tagged in and Ricochet eats a FAT crossbody. Then Hanson screams like he has autism and fat slams Ricochet and Black in the corner over and over again. Ricochet grabs Hanson and hits a fallaway slam, which Mauro says is "insane in the membrane." Black and Rowe get tagged back in and it's a punch-a-thon. Black registers a roundhouse kick to the head, only for Rowe to knee him good. Then Black knees Rowe hard as fuck and Germans him halfway to hell. Rowe, however, kicks out. Ricochet and Hanson are tagged in and do dueling cartwheels (really) and Hanson hits the fattest back handspring elbow in the history of humanity. Hanson goes up top, but Ricochet brings him down. Rowe is tagged in and he knees Ricochet like a sonofabitch. Then Rowe throws Hanson's ass into Ricochet's face, then they double team him with a springboard Doomsday Device, which is broken up by a double stomp from Black. Black hits a moonsault to the outside on Hanson, only for Rowe to wipe HIM out with a tope. Then Ricochet hits a flying corkscrew to the outside to wipe HIM out, then Hanson does a fucking cannonball that wipes out EVERYBODY. It's Ricochet and Rowe in the ring first, with Ricochet landing a superkick before tagging in Black. Aleister hits the Black Mass and Ricochet hits a thunderous Shooting Star Press, only for Hanson to break up the pin at 2.999999. Ricochet goes up top again, but he misses on the 630. Black misses on a moonsault to the outside, then Hanson gets tagged in and he feeds Ricochet Thor's Hammer. Then they double team Ricochet with the Fallout leg drop, and that gives 'em the three-count. Of course, the departing Black and Ricochet get a standing ovation despite the loss, and the two soon-to-be NXT graduates hug, much to the delight of the Brooklyn audience.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: A solid, fun-as-fuck opener right there. It was just power move after power move, and for once, the formula worked in favor of the holistic match. You know exactly what you’re getting (and not getting) as soon as you waltz into this one — and if you can’t have at least a little fun with this one, I think you’re direly in need of a new hobby.

April 05, 2019
WALTER vs. Pete Dunne (NXT TakeOver: New York)

WALTER literally looks like an inbred soccer hooligan, while Pete Dunne looks like the kind of guy who might rape you at Bonnaroo. So WALTER has a good half foot advantage here, and is only a mere 100 pounds heavier than his adversary. Anyhoo, this is for the NXT United Kingdom Championship, which is a thing. Walter immediately smothers Dunne with his fat and works a wishbone submission. Dunne does some rolling around, though, and now both men are vertical again. Dunne with the blatant small joint manipulation. WALTER whiffs on a huge chop and then he slings Dunne to the mat by one hand. Dunne lands a forearm smash, and then WALTER chops the SHIT out of him and it's great. Dunne with a clothesline, but WALTER leapfrogs and big boots Dunne like a bitch. Then he climbs the top rope and starts choking Dunne with his boot. Time to roll to the outside, as WALTER literally flapjacks Dunne onto the edge of the apron. Back in the ring and WALTER works  kneebar. Dunne counters with an ankle lock, but WALTER keeps a' chopping that bitch like he was a bitch. WALTER looks in a Boston Crab, and Dunne makes it to the bottom rope. WALTER with more clubbing blows, and Dunne bends back his foe's fingers. WALTER, naturally, responds by kicking Dunne's fucking head off with a big boot. Dunne with a ton of E. Honda slaps and he hits WALTER with an enzuigiri in the corner. He escapes a suplex and lands a huge head kick, thus sending WALTER reeling to the outside. Dunne with a moonsault to the outside and WALTER makes his way into the ring at the seven count. Dunne follows suit and he powerbombs WALTER off the top rope. No, for real. WALTER, of course, kicks out at two, because there ain't no way anybody's gonna' buy him getting put away by such a pussy-looking powerbomb. Dunne with a double stomp off the top rope to WALTER's ribs on the outside and back in the ring WALTER lands a shotgun dropkick. Dunne gets locked in a sleeperhold, and then he gets release German suplexed. WALTER with a PHAT powerbomb, but Dunne kicks out. WALTER with another thunderous chop and Dunne can't get any traction with his own slaps so he tries to bend WALTER's fingers again. WALTER stomps Dunne's face, but Dunne escapes the powerbomb and lands a step-up enzuigiri. The fans chant "U.K.," because these people are the goddamn worst. Dunne stomps on WALTER's fingers but then WALTER punches Dunne's asshole on the top rope and gives him a SUPER RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX. Because the "New Japan" cheat mode has been enabled, however, Dunne kicks out at two. Dunne with a powerbomb of his own and a crucifix. WALTER, of course, kicks out. Mauro says this match is almost as contentious as Brexit, which is probably the closest he's ever come to saying something that's actually funny. WALTER and Dunne take turns kicking each other's faces and Dunne works a fingerlock submission. OK, this shit is just preposterous. WALTER clotheslines Dunne off the top rope and he hits a giant fat person splash, but Dunne locks in a triangle. But WALTER escapes and kicks the shit out of Dunne's head for pissin' him off. WALTER hits a HUGE Burning Lariat, but Dunne hits him with a clothesline of his own, followed by his finisher, the Bitter End. WALTER, of course, kicks out. I don't know if the fans are chanting "Walter" or "bullshit" at this point. Both men are back to their feet and trading forearm shots and chops. WALTER drops Dunne DEAD with a big boot and he starts climbing the top rope. Dunne gets up and bends WALTER's fingers again. Dunne goes for a triangle, only for WALTER to reverse it into a lawn dart power bomb. OK, that looked NASTY. WALTER climbs the top again, and this time he connects on the body splash. One, two, three, and we have ourselves a new champion, folks.

My Score: ***

The Verdict: It was an above-average match, but it definitely had its fair share of demerits. All of that finger-bending shit is just idiotic, and I didn’t think their two styles meshed all that well, to be honest with you fam. Really, this was just a churched-up squash match with some solid spot-fu thrown in the mix here and there — it’s mildly entertaining, yes, but don’t even think of comparing it to a Regal vs. Benoit donnybrook, you goddamn fuckin’ Internet charlatans.

April 05, 2019
Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT TakeOver: New York)

Gargano comes out dressed like Iron Man while this 30-year-old bald dudes in the front row with ZZ Top beards worship him. Yeah, that sounds about right. Holy fuck, does Adam Cole look so much like Shawn Michael it's scary. Of course, he's flanked by Undisputed ERA when he comes out, and I'm not going to pretend that I DON'T know who any of them are. Of course, this is a 2/3 falls match, so we're likely taking 40-plus to finish this one — just a heads up, guys. It's kinda' hard to tell, but I think Cole got the bigger reaction. OK, he definitely did, since everybody started chanting "ADAM COLE" before the bell rang. Mauro begs the viewers to tweet about this, and it's actually kinda' sad, really. We get your standard collar-and-elbow tie up to begin, with Cole securing a headlock takedown. On the mat, Gargano works a half-nelson. Cole escapes and secures another headlock takedown. Cole lands a shoulder shunt but whiffs on the shining wizard. Johnny with a Japanese arm drag and the crowd goes bananas. Gargano continues to work the arm, with his knee driving into Cole's skull. The fact that Mauro is quoting Nelson Mandela during a pro wrestling match is pretty much everything you need to know why I hate him so much. Time to exchange forearms and shit. Gargano with a flying headscissors, a drop kick, and another sliding drop kick to to the outside. Cole lands an enzuigiri, of sorts, and chops Gargano in the corner. Cole works a chinlock and this fat guy in the crowd wearing a "Bay Bay" shirt starts screaming and we all chortle. Now Cole is working a reverse dragon sleeper, and they wipe each other out in stereo flying crossbodies. Gargano with a release belly to back suplex and Cole goes for an opportunistic roll-up. Just a two count. Gargano with a slingshot spear, but Cole kicks out at two. Mauro says something about the Cleveland Browns' new look offense and I really *wish* this guy would get deeply depressed again. Gargano goes for a "high-risk maneuver," but it only nets him a two. I use the generic term because I have no idea what the fuck he was trying to do to Cole, honestly. Cole with a backcracker off the top rope. Just a two. The two exchange small cradle pinning predicaments for a bit and Cole hits Gargano with a jumping enzuigiri. Cole with a gut kick and Cole hits his finisher out of fucking nowhere to secure the first fall. Alright, time for segunda caida. Cole with stomps a plenty in the corner and a phat German suplex. He lands another "Last Shot," but this time Gargano kicks out at two. Allegedly, that's the first time anyone's kicked out of his finisher. Cole cold cocks Gargano and Johnny spears him on the apron. And there's the flying cannonball on the follow-through. Fuck, I HATE Mauro's pop culture references. Cole lands that Okada-neck-to-the-knee neckbreaker thing but Gargano kicks out at two. Cole looks for a top rope powerbomb, but Gargano counters with an avalanche air raid crash ... only for Cole to kick out at two. Man, all this product placement for Papa John's really makes me want a pizza, and also to casually say the n-word. Gargano with a step-up enzuigiri and a slingshot DDT over the top rope ONTO the edge of the ring apron. Cue the crowd chanting "mama mia," because NPCs are apparently a thing in 'rasslin, too. Cole slings Gargano into the metal turnbuckle thingies twice and then Gargano locks in a bridging armbar into the Gargano Escape, and that gets Cole top tap early. Gargano is "bleeding" from his right eyebrow, and the camera pans on the faces of both competitors and it's all cinematic and dramatic and shit. And our third and decisive fall is now underway. There's a faux hockey fight to begin and then these two fuckers start flying a mile a minute, with Cole eventually landing the neck-over-the-knee-breaker thingy for a two count. Gargano with a top rope enzuigiri, then he lawn darts Cole into the corner. He goes for a flipping Rock Bottom thingy, but Cole kicks out of that, too. BTW, Mauro calls the Full Nelson-into-a-Flatliner move the "Hertz Donut," because ... just fuck it, really. Cole is landing some knuckle sandwiches, and then they superkick each other at the same time for another standstill. The fans are just lapping this shit up. Gargano with a forearm shot, and Cole fires back with a superkick to the back of the head and a straight-jacket German Suplex. Gargano kicks out at two and just lies there on the canvas looking like a dead fish. Cole with a high angle backdrop driver, but Gargano follows suit with a super kick, a reverse spike hurricanrana and another superkick, for good measure — only for Cole to just roll out of the ring all casually to avoid the pin attempt. Cole wheelbarrow suplexes Gargano on the edge of the apron, then Gargano hits Cole with a spike DDT, then a slingshot DDT. Just a two. Cole rolls to the outside and Gargano lands a tope. Cole gets back in the ring and hits a superkick and FUCKING CANADIAN DESTROYER, but Gargano kicks out of that, too. Naturally, that gets the "fight forever" chants flaring up in a hurry. Cole calls Gargano "a failure" and taunts him on the outside. Gargano starts sweeping stuff off the Spanish announce table, only for Cole to hit him with the Fairytale Ending. Thankfully for Gargano, the table didn't break, at least. LOL at the fatasses at ringside chanting "one more time." Gargano struggles to beat the countout, but he's back in the ring at 9.9999. Cole sizes him up for the super kick, and he lands it as soon as Gargano is back in the middle of the ring. Johnny, however, kicks out. Dueling chants for "Johnny Wrestling" and "Adam Cole" pipe up. They exchange superkicks, but Gargano counters the Canadian Destroyer into the Gargano Escape. Hey, here comes the Undisputed ERA to fuck everything up. Gargano gets his eyes clawed and the ref takes a tumble to the outside. Gargano eats O'Reilly's finisher, but he KICKS OUT. The rest of Undisputed ERA remains at ringside, as Gargano immediately back body drops their leader into the wave of humanity on the arena floor. Gargano fucking destroys Cole's teammates, but as soon as he gets back in the ring Cole hits him with a superkick and ANOTHER Last Shot ... and Gargano STILL kicks out. Cole goes for another Last Shot, except this time Gargano counters it into the Gargano Escape in the middle of the ring and Cole TAPS! In the post-match festivities, his autistic wife dog piles him in the middle of the ring and he celebrates the championship win with his daddy at ringside. And right before he exits the arena, TOMASSO CIAMPA comes out to hug his former tag team partner, as our storybook ending fades to black.

My Score: **** 1/2

The Verdict: NXT is pretty much the only promotion in North America that can do sports-entertainment-style right, and this was another outstanding, character-driven championship tilt, complete with one of the most satisfying finales the 'E has given us in a LONG time. Yes, you can complain about all of the usual NXT “shortcomings,” but you know what? I don’t give a fuck if it IS two vanilla midgets kicking out of each other’s finishers 9,000 times, when the total product is presented so well. If the final five minutes of this match didn’t have your pancreas doing backflips, then you better get someone to check your pulse — this is an OUTSTANDING match, and one that’ll probably be a legit contender for MOTY once everything is all said and done. 

April 05, 2019
L.A. Park vs. Masato Tanaka (GCW Joey Janela's Spring Break 3, Night 2)

I'm not even remotely joking when I say that, when it's all said and done, JJSB3 is the early frontrunner for show of the year. I mean, for fuck's sake, you had a LEGIT (****) match featuring a guy with one leg, a legitimately awesome comedy match with two non-existent wrestlers and a death match main event that saw a dude get a pair of scissors lodged through his trachea but STILL kicking out — and that was just the highlights of Night 1! This middle-of-the-pack card from night two gives us the most brilliant match-up in the history of pro rasslin — I mean, L.A. Park is the master of the chair shot and Tanaka has eaten more steel in his career than the planes that brought down the Twin Towers. Who HAVE we not had this booked before? Anyway, Park comes out rocking his ruby red Lord Zedd costume, while Tanaka looks a little skinnier and significantly balder than he was back in ECW in 1999. We get a shoving match to begin, and then it's chops city. They exchange clotheslines in the corner and Park does the Fargo Strut. And Park has a chair. Tanaka gets bonked, but Masato no sells it. Masato hits the roaring elbow with the chair colliding into Park's face, but the luchador legend kicks out. Park with a powerslam off the ropes, but Masato kicks out. Park removes his belt, and now it's time for Masato get lashed like a runaway slave. Tanaka with a boot in the corner and a tornado DDT off the top rope. Masato with a sliding lariat, but Park kicks out at two. Tanaka with a high cross body to the arena floor below, and there goes the first three or four rows of chairs. Tanaka smashes a beer in Park's face and Tanaka gets tossed sternum first into the ring apron. Masato gets another chair shot to the back and Park body slams Tanaka into a row of chairs in the crowd. Park pulls out two wooden doors, sans the knobs for some reason, and he places the lumber in the corner. Park powerbombs Tanaka through the not-quite-table, but Masato kicks out. Park shakes his dick in front of the crowd and sets the door up in the other corner. Park hits a SWEET release German suplex nd a running knee to the face. Tanaka kicks out. Park climbs the top rope and Tanaka superplexes his ass. Tanaka goes up top again and hits a frog splash. Park kicks out at two. Then Tanaka starts doing pelvic thrusts and stomps Park in the corner, only for Park to spear his ass through Chekov's door in the corner while he wasn't paying attention. And yep, that gets us our three count, folks.

My Score: ***

The Verdict: Yeah, that was fun, but nowhere near as awesome as it should've been. Pretty much every LA Park match follows a certain formula and pretty much every Masato Tanaka match follows a certain formula, and unfortunately, mixing those two formulas just creates a weaker version of both. It was good, but anybody expecting a hardcore dream match outta’ this one is going to be SUPREMELY disappointed.

April 06, 2019
Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada (NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard)

White comes out to no reaction at all from the Madison Square Garden crowd, and that makes us all guffaw a  plenty. White rolls to the outside early, because he's a big pussy. His Zsasz-inspired pants, however, are kinda' cool. Almost. Collar and elbow tie-up to begin and Okada affords his foe a clean break. Okada takes White down with a shoulder shunt, but White attacks him from behind. Huh, how about that ... a Japanese dude getting Pearl Harbored. White locks in a headlock, but Okada escapes ... only to get trapped in ANOTHER headlock. Okada back to his feet and he's landing some punches. He drops White with a big boot to the face. Okada with a snapmare, but White bails to the outside as soon as Okada starts bouncing off the ropes. Okada gets sick of waiting for his sorry ass and rolls to the outside. Okada launches White backfirst into the ringside barrier, and he follows suit by booting him right in his big, stupid, Trent Reznor-looking face. Okada goes for a draping DDT, but White launches him into the turnbuckle post, then he snap suplexes him into the barrier, all while Gedo (or is it Jado?) looks on with glee, dressed like a golf caddy and shit. Okada rolls back into the ring and White stomps him and does that thing where the bad guy seesaws the face's throat into the bottom rope. Man, I love that spot. Now White has a chinlock applied. Okada fights out of it, only for White to catch him with a back elbow. Okada kicks out at two. White with chops galore in the corner, followed by a back body drop. Okada kicks out, of course, because that's a shitty move to end a main event match on. Okada is back to his feet and unloading forearm smashes in bunches. Okada goes for his first Rainmaker of the bout, only for White to counter with a DDT. White locks in an inverted STF, but Okada makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Okada is back to his feet and throwing forearm shots like a motherfucker. White stops the offensive putsch with some chops, but Okada flapjacks his ass good on the proverbial reacharound. Okada hits several spinning back elbows before sticking a rather basic DDT. White kicks out. White with a boot in the corner and Okada socks him good before drop kicking him off the top rope. The action rolls to the outside and Okada hits White with a running boot to the face. Okada slings Gedo (or Jado, one or the other) over the guardrail and wipes 'em both out with a suicide dive. Okada goes for that over-the-knee-neckbreaker thing, but White wiggles his way out so Jay can hit him with another back body drop. White hits a Saito suplex and a rushing uppercut in the corner. He follows suit with a spinning brain buster. Okada lands the Okada-neckbreaker (seriously, WTF is that move officially called?) Okada goes for a Tombstone and White cowers in the corner like a widdle bee-otch, so Okada stomps him and chops him a plenty for acting like a woman. Then White hugs the bottom rope in the corner again, because I think his gimmick is that he’s literally autistic or something. Okada with back-to-back dropkicks, including a real beauty off the top rope. Just a two. Okada goes up top and lands a terrific-looking elbow drop and THERE’S THE RAINMAKUH PAN OUT POSE!~ White dodges the Rainmaker by just dropping on his anus, so Okada punts his forehead for a bit out of pure spite. Okada feeds White more knuckle sammiches. White lands a flatliner and a German suplex. White lands a high angle uranage, but Okada kicks out. White goes for the Kiwi Krusher, but Okada escapes, only to get dropped to the show floor below. White throws Okada back into the ring and he lands the Krusher. Okada, of course, kicks out. Okada with a European uppercut and White starts throwing forearms. Okada lands the Tombstone. He kicks out and Okada boots him right in the noggin. They two go nose-to-nose and we have ourselves a slug-fest. White with chops galore while Okada’s strung up on the ropes. And Okada hits a dropkick outta’ nowhere. Gedo eats an elbow and White gets dropkicked again. White counters the Rainmaker with a sleeper suplex. There’s a billion counters and reversals and Okada finally dropkicks White and lands a spinning Rainmaker. And another one … only for White to kick out. LOL at that one dude who threw a streamer into the ring prematurely. So now, the crowd is REALLY into it. White hits the Blade Runner, but he’s too winded to make the pin. They’re trading blows on their knees, but not in a sexual way. Both men are finally back to their feet. Gedo interferes again and White uses the distraction to hit Okada right in the testicles. White signals for the Blade Runner, and Okada reverses it into a German suplex. They keep reversing backslides and Okada lands another dropkick. Okada hits a Rainmaker out of nowhere and maintains wrist control. Okada with a spinning Tombstone, one more Rainmaker and that’s the match, folks.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: It was a SIGNIFICANTLY better bout than the one they had at Wrestle Kingdom, but it was still a FAR cry from the top-tier stuff Okada's been doing for the last four or five years now. This is probably the best White match I’ve ever seen, although it should go without saying that Okada did the majority of the grunt work here. Still, it had a hot and intense vibe from start to finish, and the last five minutes were just phenomenal. A MOTY-candidate, it might not be, but it’s nonetheless extremely entertaining stuff that’s probably worth going out of your way to witness.

April 7, 2019
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WWE WrestleMania 35)

Well, raise your hand if 15 years ago you EVER thought you'd see Bryan fuckin' Danielson's face on the side of the Empire State Building — and feel free to raise ALL of your appendages if you thought ten years ago, if you would've told the IWC that on a show involving AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Tyler Black, the most over motherfucker at WrestleMania would've been KOFI KINGSTON. Anyway, I fully support the idea of referring to ALL black people as "B-plus players" from here on out. It just has a nice ring to it. You know, the term "vanilla midget" gets thrown around a lot these days, but seeing Daniel Bryan wearing the WWE Championship, I mean, just *goddamn.* So anyway, New York City is full of cucks, so of course Kofi is the clear crowd favorite.  LOL at Daniel commissioning that a new WWE champ be made out of hemp. That's the kind of shit that's such a parody of itself it kinda' swings the full way back around and becomes unironically awesome. Daniel with a headlock takedown, and we have ourselves a standstill. Kofi with an armdrag, kinda, and Daniel bridges out of a pinning predicament. Kofi dropkicks Daniel out of the ring and connects on a flying black person to the outside. All of the midcarders are in the back, glued to their TV monitors. Daniel with European uppercuts in the corner and another headlock takedown. Daniel with a shoulder shunt, Kofi leapfrogs, and Daniel looks for the Mexican Surfboard. He's got it, but Kofi, of course, escapes. Kofi with uppercuts in the corner and Kofi connects on a botched double stomp. Daniel has Kofi's back and he clobbers the person of color on the back of his neck a few times. Kofi lands a flying karate champ off the ropes and he follows suit with the Boom Drop. Kofi with a sliding baseball kick to send Daniel reeling to the outside. Unfortunately, Kofi Trayvons himself on the edge of the announce desk and Daniel rolls his carcass back in the ring. Daniel drapes Kofi over the top rope and kicks him a couple of times. Then he hits him with a flying knee to the back. But it's only good enough for a two-count. Daniel with another waistlock and he keeps ragdolling Kofi with suplexes. Kofi feeds Daniel some back-elbow shots in the corner, only for Daniel to drop toe hold him into a running knee to the noggin. And there's the follow-up dropkick. Daniel counters a Kofi dropkick into a Boston Crab. Alas, Kofi gets to the ropes and breaks the submission attempt. Daniel racks Kofi on the top rope and Kofi butt bomps him off. Daniel  gets elbowed a billion times and Kofi lands a frog splash on Daniel's back. Daniel, of course, kicks out. Time for a slug fest. Kofi goes for Trouble in Paradise, but Daniel counters with a Boston Crab. Kofi counters out of that and we exchange near falls. Kofi with a top rope crossbody, but Daniel kicks out. And now Daniel is looking for the LaBell Lock. He can't get it. Daniel gets both legs up in the corner and Kofi eats double boot. Kofi lands the SOS, but Daniel reverses it into the LaBell Lock. Kofi gets a boot on the rope, so that breaks the hold. Fuck, Daniel really does look like he could be the next Unabomber. Daniel with some hard kicks to the sternum and Kofi just eats 'em. Now it's a kick-off, with Daniel getting the upper hand. Only for Kofi to land a reverse Curtain Call that he announcers don't even know what to call. Anyway, it only nets a two, so who gives a fuck. Daniel rolls to the outside and now Rowan is staring down Kofi. Xavier Woods gets tossed over the table and Big E. gets clotheslines before Kofi hits him with the Trouble in Paradise. Daniel goes for a tope, but he gets elbowed on his way out. Daniel with a flying knee, but Kofi kicks out. Daniel stomps Kofi's head hard, like Emmett Till hard. Daniel locks in the LeBell Lock again, but Kofi pries his way out, only to get caught in a half-arm triangle. Now Kofi is raining down fists on Daniel, and now he's stomping the fuck out of the champion. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise, and that gives him the clean three-count for the title win. In the post-match, the New Day gives Kofi the OLD WWE title and the fans go wild, no doubt excited that their wives' sons FINALLY get to see a black person hold the World Heavyweight Championship in a fake sport.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: Yeah, that was entertaining as fuck, no way around it. While I don’t think it’s as good as some Internet dorks are saying, the two competitors definitely put in solid showings tonight, and even better, they actually mixed up the formula a bit instead of giving us a remix edition of the bouts they had earlier this year. Not only is it far and away the most entertaining thing about this year’s Mania, the more I think about it, it may have been the ONLY entertaining thing about this year’s Mania.

Bloody old people and fat young people clapping — welcome to Bernie Sanders America, ya'll.

MAY 2019 MATCHES

May 04, 2019
Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA (NJPW Wrestling Dontaku — Tag 2) 

So the commentators begin by telling us that SANADA is 0-5 against Okada. Oddly enough, they refrain from talking any majo shit about his weak-assed, bleached-blond beard, which is just about the gayest thing that's happened since actual gay people were invented. A slow start to begin, with arm locks and twists and shit galore. Okada with a pushing takedown and an ankle pick. Okada stretches SANADA's arms some more and they exchange near falls a whole buncha' times before doing simultaneous kip-ups to the crowd's roaring approval. Okada gives SANADA a clean break off the ropes then he hits SANADA with a sliding dropkick, then there's this weird spot with a waistlock that goes on for like two minutes. Okada with a chinlock and SANADA responds with a ton of elbow shots. SANADA with a leaping 'rana and SANADA can't apply the Paradise Lock. SANADA with a dragon screw leg whip and then he locks in Milano Collection A.T.'s Paradise Lock variation, which is easily the dumbest move in the history of pro wrestling. Then he dropkicks Okada's asshole, because you might as well do something LITERALLY gay after performing a move that is figuratively homosexual. SANADA with a chinlock of his own now, then Okada hits him with a diving uppercut. Okada lands another spinning elbow smash and follows it with an ass splash in the corner and a DDT. SANADA kicks out at two. SANADA yanks Okada off the apron, then Okada slings SANADA into the metal ringside barrier and boots his ass right over it. Okada hurdles over one layer of blue barrier and wipes out SANADA with a beautiful crossbody — which, strangely, doesn't draw anywhere near the ovation from the audience as you'd expect. Back in the ring and Okada lands a body slam. He heads up top but has to bail on  a frog splash. SANADA catches him with a dropkick and a pescada to the outside. Okada with a flapjack back in the ring, and then he peppers SANADA with forearm shots. SANADA with some boots to the noggin and a jumping spin kick to the stomach. SANADA flies out of the attempted German suplex and hits a top rope springboard dropkick on the rebound. Okada hits the funky over-the-knee-neckbreaker and he follows that up with a top rope elbow drop. RAINMAKUH POSE CAMERA PAN OUT TIME!~ They exchange victory rolls and sunset flips for a full minute and Okada locks in a Cobra Clutch, of all things. SANADA with a dropkick counter, then Okada hits SANADA with an even better looking dropkick. Okada goes for a tombstone, but SANADA counters it into the Skull End, but then Okada counters that AGAIN and lands a Tombstone for realz. SANADA with a floatover "Skull End" on the aborted Rainmaker attempt, and Okada's legs (and perhaps penis) start to go limp. Okada counters the move with an attempted body slam, and then SANADA hits Okada with a spinning neckbreaker, using the ropes for extra leverage. SANADA lands a Tiger Suplex, but Okada kicks out at two. SANADA with a shitty backbreaker, but he whiffs on the moonsault. Okada with a big boot in the corner and Okada hits a spinning Rainmaker out of nowhere. SANADA does about five or six counters in a row to lock Okada back into the Skull End. Then he starts swinging him around and drops to his back, with his hooks firmly in. Okada briefly escapes, only for SANADA to lock in the submission from the OTHER side now. Okada struggles to get to the ropes, but SANADA traps him and pulls him back to the center of the ring. For some dumb reason, SANADA breaks the hold so he can hit Okada with a Muto Moonsault. He lands the first one, but Okada gets his knees up on the second one. Now they're trading blows on their knees, but not in the homosexual prostitution way. SANADA drops Okada with an uppercut and crumbles him to the canvas with another one, for good measure. Okada with a shotgun dropkick on the rebound, and SANADA goes for the Skull End again, only this time Okada used the ring ropes to reverse it into his OWN Skull End, but he can't quite convert it into a Tombstone. Now it's a dog fight for control of the waistlock and SANADA locks in the Skull End after a LONG tombstone reversal spot. Okada whiffs on two Rainmakers, only for SANADA to drop him with his OWN finisher! Okada, however, kicks out at 2.9999. Okada hits a spinning Tombstone, he holds on to the britches and he hits the textbook Rainmaker for the 1, 2 and 3. In the post-fight, Okada says some shit in Japanese and then a video package from Chris Jericho plays, and he challenges Okada to a match at Dominion in June, and he also looks like a retarded boomer. 

My Score: ****

The Verdict: A very good match, even though I liked their bout from earlier in the year quite a bit more. Really, the only thing I’d say hurt this match was all of the pointless “Skull End” spamming stuff — I mean, the endless stream of V-Triggers might be annoying, but it’s still more fun than watching some Japaheeno fella’ pretend to squeeze another Japaheeno fella’s head like a pimple for random two and three minute intervals. Still, as a whole, it’s a rock-solid, mostly entertaining match — check it out if you’re an Okada completist, for sure.

May 05, 2019
L.A. Park vs. Pentagon, Jr. (MLW Fusion Episode 56)

What could possibly say “celebrating Cinco De Mayo right” quite like watching L.A. Park’s nearly 60-year-old, 300-pound ass put on some of the best pound-for-pound ‘rasslin on the planet against arguably Lucha Libre’s best all around up-and-comer? Anyhoo, Park is rocking the ruby red Lord Zedd get-up, while his valet is out there looking like a telenovela vampire. Complaints, you will be getting none from me. Props to the dude wearing the Tampa Bay Lightning jersey in the crowd — after how bad they get their asses kicked in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it definitely takes some chutzpah to don that stuff in public. So Park Pearl Harbors Pentagon on the ramp and rams his head into the metal ringpost, then he conks him over the head with the metal steps. LOL at all the fat white people in the crowd. Park does the Fargo Strut for literally no reason whatsoever, then he ties Pentagon’s mask to the rope so he can get a couple of free slaps and boots on ‘em. Park takes off his weight belt and starts a slapping’. Jim Cornette accuses Park’s manager of being a succubus as she gives Pentagon a couple of limp-ankled kicks. Park works an arm wrench and the ref almost gets KO’ed by Park punch. Park’s valet tries to yank off his mask and he kisses her, which is basically the same thing as raping somebody nowadays. Well she and Park yell at each other in Spanish, Pentagon hits a tope to the outside. Park slowly, fatly re-enters the ring and Pentagon hits a Sling Blade. Some people call it a kaiser blade, but I’ve always called it a Sling Blade. Park lands a big, fat German suplex and a big, fat running knee to the face. Pentagon kicks Park off the top rope and hits him with a super lung-blower. Parka, of course, kicks out. Park with a headbutt and another fat Mexican knee to the face. Pentagon lands an enzuigiri and a super kick. Park gets a big, fat, Hispanic foot on the bottom rope. Park lands a big boot and then he duplexes Pentagon into the turnbuckle. Pentagon gets his considerably smaller Hispanic foot on the bottom rope to break up the pin attempt. Then holy shit, Park just TORPEDOES Pentagon with a diving lawn dart to the outside OUTTA’ NOWHERE. Now that was a thing of big, fat beauty right there. Then Park hits a twisting ass splash off the top rope and yep, there’s the spear for the easy three-count. Then in the post-fight, Park opens up a giant present left near the entrance ramp, and surprise, Mance Warner (the guy whose most technical move is an eye poke) attacks him and they start brawling as the show conveniently fades to black.

My Score: ** 3/4

The Verdict: Eh, these Park matches are starting to get a little TOO predictable for my tastes. Furthermore, Pentagon didn’t get anywhere near as much offense in as he should, and the whole thing was just too short — and uneventful — to warrant going out of your way to watch. Ultimately, these two guys have such radically different styles that it’s almost impossible to book ‘em together in a way that shows off both of their finer qualities; I say you can safely skip this one, for sure.

May 06, 2019
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WWE Monday Night Raw)

Hey, what do you know, it’s a rematch of the only bout from WM35 that was actually worth a damn … for free, on cable television. Kingston, the defending champion, comes out first and slings pancakes at the audience, because … well, I’m sure there’s SOME way to consider that racially insensitive, somehow. Meanwhile, Bryan comes out to a crappy remix of “Ride of the Valkyries,” looking like a vegan Unabomber, which is really what MOST indie shitters nowadays look like, the more that I think about it. Bryan with knees and dropkicks in the corner right out the gate, and then Kofi turns him inside out with a clothesline. He follows suit with a senton plancha to the outside, and that’s our cue for a commercial break. We return from the ads and Bryan is once again stomping Kofi in the corner. Kofi does some fine leapfrogging and hits Kingston with a floppy kick for a two-count. Kofi with a running punt to the sternum and a modified Vader Splash coming off the ropes. Just a two. Kofi with chops in the corner and some REALLY bad looking European uppercuts, which I guess makes sense since technically, he’s African. Bryan hits Kofi with a monkey flip, which is probably racist, and then he launches Kingston to the outside. Kofi gets rammed face first into the LED turnbuckle post and Bryan kicks him in the ribs back in the ring. Now he’s working the arm a little bit. Kofi fires back with punches and kicks, then he botches a twisting knee strike in the corner. Bryan hits a double undertook slam and transitions to a straight arm bar on the way down. NICE. Now he’s looking for the LeBell lock, but he ain’t getting it. Kofi lands a crossbody and both men flail to the mat. COMMERCIAL BREAK TIME. OK, we’re back. Kofi lands a punt to the noggin and Daniel flips him over the top rope. Bryan launches Kofi into the ringside barricade, then he climbs the top rope and does this weird flying butthole to the face on Daniel. Kofi climbs the top rope again and lands a frog splash on Bryan’s back. He kicks out. Kofi connects on a headbutt and Bryan finally locks in the LeBell Lock. Kofi gets an ankle on the bottom rope and Daniel has to break the hold. The older Daniel gets, the more he looks like a methed out Varg Vikernes, don’t he? Daniel hits Kofi with a ton of kicks and Kingston gets to this feet and starts whaling on him in the corner. He misses on a body splash but he’s able to hit an axe handle smash off the ropes. There’s the Boom Drop, but Daniel dropkicks him on the aborted Trouble in Paradise. Daniel hits a crappy looking German suplex on the rebound, but Kofi kicks out at two. There’s a pretty good counter-reversal-counter spot, and Kofi finally hits the TIP to score the decisive pinfall.

My Score: *** 1/2 

The Verdict: You know, that’s probably about as good a match as these two guys could’ve had considering the time constraints, and I for one, found the bout surprisingly enjoyable. Of course, it wasn’t anywhere near as good as their Mania match, but they nonetheless managed to get WAY more mileage out of this barely 10-minute-long sprint than they probably should’ve. Let’s try to milk this rivalry for as long as we can, Creative — you know, not that you have much else to base the product around nowadays.

May 19, 2019
AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins  (WWE Money in the Bank 2019)

Man, is it a hoot watching that old stock footage of AJ when he was in WCW? Yeah, you forgot about that shit, didn't you? Basic collar and elbow tie-up to begin, then a standstill. Also: this commentary is already the worst goddamn thing ever. AJ with a hurricanrana, then he jaws Rollins like a little bitch. Seth with an arm wrench and AJ ripostes with an armdrag. Another standstill. Rollins squeezes on a headlock, AJ with a leapfrog and Roman catches him with a clothesline on the rebound. AJ gets chopped and thrust into the corner. Seth with a snapmare and a knee drop. AJ kicks out at one. Seth does some leapfroggin' of his own and AJ hits him with a SMOOV looking dropkick. AJ with a text-book backbreaker and Seth fires back with chops and punches. Seth with an armdrag, then he reverse STOs AJ into the second turnbuckle pad. OK, that was kinda' cool. AJ threatens a Styles Clash off the apron, but Seth wiggles loose. Then AJ hits a MEAN running knee, then he jacks his jaw on the top rope. Except Seth only sells it for like, a second, before recovering and hitting a plancha to the outside. They beat the 10-count, then Seth immediately clotheslines AJ over the top rope and hits him with another suicide dive. AJ lands a defensive forearm smash, only for Seth to respond with a Sling Blade. Seth connects on a springboard clotheslines, but AJ kicks out. Here's a fun game you can play at home: count up all the fat people in the crowd wearing Bullet Club shirts. Seth does that gay-ass Kawada head kick thing, then AJ hits Seth with the old knee-to-the-noggin neckbreaker variation. AJ with a forearm in the corner, but Seth counters the attempted Styles Clash with a turnbuckle bomb and a PHAT frog splash. AJ, of course, kicks out. By the way, this PPV is brought to you by Papa John's, the only pizza that might call you a nigger if you're not careful. AJ is perched on the top rope. He punches Seth off of him, then he German suplexes that motherfucker. AJ with a Rack Bomb, but yep, Seth kicks outta' that shit, too. LOL at Styles' ever increasing forehead. Styles gets crotched on the top rope and Seth looks for reverse suplex off the top rope. He lands it and another one back on terra forma. Yep, AJ kicks out. This feels like a really good TNA Impact! match from 2009, for what's that worth. Seth hits a gut kick, but AJ counters a clothesline into the Calf Crusher. There's some mad scrambling and Seth boots AJ right in the face to formally break the hold. AJ hits a flipping inverted DDT off the rope. Only good enough for a two-fer. Seth hits a superkick, bu he's too winded to go for a pin. Now both men are standing and trading blows, but not in the homosexual way. Seth with a dropkick, AJ misses on the Pele Kick and Seth goes for the Curb Stomp ... only for AJ to counter it with the STYLES CLASH! And yeah, you knew it ... two-count only. AJ goes for the springboard Phenomenal Forearm. Seth counters with a knee to the face and another superkick. He gears up in the corner, hits the Curb Stomp and yep, that'll score him the three-count.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: That's the best match AJ Styles has had in the 'E in quite some time, and probably the best one he's had in 2019 so far. It may have started out a little bit slower than we wanted, but it certainly heats up down the stretch — and there’s no denying the last five minutes of this ‘un are goddamn primo. Both men have been in WAY better matches, but that really shouldn’t take away anything from the inherent awesomeness of this standalone bout.

May 24, 2019
El Phantasmo vs. Rocky Romero (NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Day 9)

I like El Phantasmo, because he literally picks on retards in the audience, and anybody who does that has to be a pretty cool person, deep down. Meanwhile, Rocky Romero is of questionable racial stock. Actually, I have no idea whether either of these two guys are black, white or Hispanic, which I guess makes them the perfect embodiment for contemporary society. Rocky hits a suicide dive to the outside less than a minute into the match, and now we've got ourselves some brawling 'round the ring. Romero spits water in ELP's face and then he high-fives Jushin Liger. Now they're brawling through the crowd. Romero sneak attacks ELP, just like black people are prone to do, and then he hits a shitty-looking flying knee off a rampway. Romero headlocks ELP and drags him back to the ring. ELP locks in a half crab and punches the knee for good measure. Romero hits an enzuigiri and the announcer says something about "hanging out with his wang out." ELP lands a moonsault, but of course, Romero kicks out at two. ELP with stomps in the corner and the announcer says something about cat asses. Who the fuck is calling this show? Romero gets his knees turned to sawdust with a dropkick, then he gets tied up in the tree of woe for some testicle smashing. ELP continues to kick Romero like a sumbitch, then he does the old Undertaker ropewalk move across the entire perimeter of the ring, stopping periodically to kick Romero in the face. Of course, this ends with ELP getting crotched for his tomfoolery. Romero hits a plancha to the outside, because that's like rote instinct for indy wrestlers these days, and the chase, it is on. Romero goes for a running knee strike but ends up cracking his patella on the metal ringpost. Then ELP runs Romero's balls into the corner and he barks at a middle-aged Japanese woman and it's hilarious. ELP pulls back the ring mat to show the hard wooden floor below. ELP goes for a Tiger Driver or something, but Romero backdrops his way out of the sticky situation. Then Romero lawn darts ELP into the ringpost shoulder-first. Then Romero goes up top and does a flying cannonball to the outside, taking out a couple of New Japan trainers in the process. Romero literally looks like a white person in blackface, the more I gawk at him. Romero with a double stomp off the top rope, but it's just a two-count. Romero with sort of a flying arm wrench off the ropes, then Romero stomps on ELP's balls in the corner. Is this some sort of furtive appeal to ball-busting fetishists or something? Romero with a tornado DDT off the top, which is turned into a cross armbreaker, which ELP counters into an ankle lock. Romero counters that into a triangle, and ELP powerbombs his ass to escape the hold. ELP connects on an enzuigiri, then Romero lands one of his own. Romero goes for Slice Bread No. 2 but gets crotched ... again, with the penis-related injuries! Romero eventually hits the old Go Shiozaki super-finisher, then he locks in the arm bar. ELP, however, manages to get to the ropes. ELP with a super kick in the corner, then sort of a shining wizard. ELP with a spinning fireman's carry neckbreaker and it's time for some more outside activities. Romero gets launched into Milano Collection AT and the countout begins. ELP misses on a frog splash and Romero hits a jumping knee and a clothesline. ELP, of course, kicks out. Romero hits the old Ultimo Dragon finisher (you know, the leaping reverse Stunner thing) but ELP kicks out at one. The ref is down and Romero locks in the armbar. ELP taps, but of course, there's no ref to register the fall. ELP hits Romero's balls and goes for a cheap pin, but Romero rolls out of it. ELP connects on the frog splash, but Romero kicks out. There's another ref bump and ELP has the title belt. Now they're doing the old Eddie Guerrero spot where Romero pretends to have been rocked up the noggin with the belt. Then there's a whole buncha' near falls and Romero hits a killer hurricanrana, but ELP kicks outta' that too. ELP with a knee to snout, another series of nearfalls ensue, Romero goes for the arm breaker, there's some rolling around and ELP TAPS with like a minute left in the match. 

My Score: ****

The Verdict: The final five minutes of this match were just fantastic, almost making up for some of the doldrums earlier in the match. Of course, the Internet would have you believe this is some kind of legitimate MOTY contender, but I’m just going to go on ahead and assume that those kinds of people were probably high on bath salts and beating off at the time. It’s a good match, alright — teetering on being legitimately great — but anybody expecting a five snowflake opus here is in for a rude awakening … metaphorically and not literally, of course, because Rick Rude has been dead for, like, 25 years now.

May 24, 2019
Tommy Dreamer vs. Rob Van Dam (Impact Wrestling)

Yep, it's the two most ECW-people not named J.T. Smith and Hack Myers going at it under the bright lights of the ECW Arena ONE MORE TIME. At this point, Tommy Dreamer is a very, very fat man wearing Dusty Rhodes polka dot britches and Rob Van Dam's hairline is way back in a galaxy far, far away with Luke Skywalker. LOL at the fans chanting "you've still got it after" literally 20 seconds of grappling. Dreamer with a suplex, and Rob Van Dam does some flippy, floppy shit. So yeah, it's just like 1998 all over again. Dreamer's standing switch may indeed be slower than Mil Mascaras'. RVD whiffs on a leg drop and a spinning kick, and we have a standoff. The fans chant "fight forever," even though the two men in the ring really haven't started fighting yet. Dreamer, much like Michael Jackson in his prime, goes for a school boy, only for RVD to pop right back up and Yakuza kick that white nigga. RVD rolls to the outside and Dreamer sprays water in his face. LOL at the Diet Cokes on the timekeeper's table. RVD goes for a flipping guillotine leg drop, but he botches it, somehow. RVD grabs a chair and I think there's a legit cancer patient in the front row. So RVD hits the chair-assisted dropkick. Dreamer crotches RVD on the top rope, then Dreamer hits a sliding baseball dropkick on RVD's face with the chair in front of his snout. RVD with a backheel trip, but he misses on rolling thunder ... hear my cry. Dreamer KILLS RVD dead with a DDT on the chair, but because this is a tribute to ECW, nobody sells nothing. RVD with a spinning leg drop and Dreamer counters with a fairly decent-looking piledriver. Dreamer whiffs on an elbow drop off the top rope, then RVD drop toe holds his ass onto the chair. RVD lands the Five Star Frog Splash from about three-quarters across the ring and yep, that's what'll give us our three-count. Then "The North" attack the both of 'em, only for the ECW alum to clean house up until the moment Moose runs in and wrecks the dying embers of EC-Dub like Paul Heyman's bookkeeping in 2000. Then the lights go off and Sabu shows him with this one fat bitch dressed like Jeanie from "I Dream of Jeannie" and a whole buncha' Canadians eat metal.

My Score: ** 3/4

The Verdict: Well, that could've been great no matter the circumstances, but it wasn't as bad, ultimately, as I was anticipating. Of course, the clusterfucky run-in extravaganza at the tail-end sunk everything leading up to it, but the more I think about it, isn’t that the most befitting way to pay homage to ECW imaginable? Granted, it’s not as hardcore as sneaking a gun into WrestleManiz X-7 and committing a double homicide live on PPV, but still ...

May 25, 2019
Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes (AEW Double or Nothing)

Yep, it's Goldust vs. Stardust — in a match that wouldn't even have been good enough for a WWE PPV in 2013 — duking it out to appease the soul of Dusty Rhodes. In the pre-match theatrics, Cody comes out dressed like Ivy in "Soul Calibur" and he beats up a throne with the Triple H iron cross on it with a sledgehammer. Meanwhile, his black girlfriend screams "beat it down!" and a whole bunch of dry ice comes steaming off the prop after one smack. Holy shit, this promotion really is for autists. Meanwhile, Dustin comes out wearing this VERY homosexual leather bondage uniform with half his face painted nwo WolfPack colors. Also, his theme music is a REALLY bland ripoff of "Brain Stew" by Green Day, which doesn't fit with his character at all. LOL at Jim Ross saying Goldust was both "deeply involved" and "successful" during the Attitude Era. The fans are chanting "this is awesome" before the bell even sounds. Oh, I hate this crowd already. Excalibur says that Dustin has been walking around Las Vegas all week in his street clothes, but now that he's in his ring gear, he looks "really in-shape." What the fuck does that mean? Anyhoo, it doesn't take look for Cody to hit a plancha on the outside. Dustin hits a molasses slow 619 (for real) and then a fuckin' flippin' senton off the apron. Then Dustin lands a twirling bulldog, then it's time for the ten-count punches in the corner. Cody bails to the outside and he takes a breather in the crowd. Back in the ring and Brandi Rhodes throws water in Dustin's face. That allows Cody to hit a torture rack backbreaker and an abdominal stretch. Dragon whip leg screw time. Dustin kicks out at two. Cody with a powerslam, but Dustin kicks out of that, too. Dustin lands a couple of clotheslines and that one move where he drops to his knees and uppercuts a mothefucker. Cody surreptitiously removes the turnbuckle pad from the corner and, of course, Dustin gets drop toe-holded into it. Dustin rolls to the outside for an obvious blade job, and then Brandi spears Dustin, because that's just the way black people are. Earl Hebner decides to eject her, but I must say the part where he described her as a "sheboon skank" was a little over the top. So Diamond Dallas Page comes out and LITERALLY carries her to the back. LOL at JR's line about DDP giving her some yoga in the back to calm her down. I hope by "yoga" he actually means "big white cock," amiright? Cody rolls to the outside and rubs his brother's blood all over his titties. Dustin is juicing pretty bad — the most blood I've seen in an American non-deathmatch in years, to be honest, fam. I actually like Excalibur's commentary about Cody using the point of his knuckles to dig deeper into Dustin's wound. Dustin keeps throwing some wild looking punches and Cody hits a curb stomp. And there's a GREAT shot of blood pouring out of Dustin's eyebrow. Just NASTY. Cody with a double sledge off the top, and Dustin counters with a power slam. Cody locks in the figure four out of nowhere. Dustin manages to flip the submission over, but then both men grab hold of the ropes simultaneously to break the move. Cody's got his belt off now. Time to get raped ... or, I guess, whipped. One or the other. Dustin with an atomic drop and then he LITERALLY pulls down Cody's tights so he can slap his BARE ASS with the whip. Then he lands a GODDAMN FUCKING CANADIAN DESTROYER, of all things, for a two-count. Yeah, I think it's safe to say Dustin has won "overachiever of the year" on the merits of this match alone. They go up top and Dustin lands a HUGE suplex, followed by a fierce looking Cross Rhodes. Of course, Cody kicks out at two. Cody with a low blow and the Disaster kick. He hits a Cross Rhodes of his own, but Dustin kicks out and this one fan in the crowd who looks just like Chris Chan freaks the fuck out. God, this thing is like a bug zapper for post-post-modern freak shows. Dusty with a hedbutt and he lands another Cross Rhodes, which Cody kicks out of again. Now we've got a good, old-fashioned punch-off, complete with dueling sitting uppercuts. Then they botch the hot fuck out of a flying double clothesline spot, and Cody kicks out. Excalibur does do a pretty good job of using all that blood as an excuse for the fuck up. Cody lands a Vertebreaker/neckbreaker variation — and admittedly, it is pretty badass looking — but Cody doesn't go for the immediate pin. He lands one more Cross Rhodes and THAT'S what gives him the three-count. In the post-match shenanigans, Cody — who is literally dyed pink from all his brother's blood — and aks Dustin if he wants to be his tag team partner for a match against the Young Bucks at the next AEW show. Then they hug and it's all emotional and people with Star Wars things on their smart phones take pictures of the scene, because it's all emotional and whatnot.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: If AEW wanted to put on a match that posited them as the stylistic opposite of the WWE, this was definitely the match to do so. Ultimately, this thing felt like a sort of hybrid between TNA circa 2005 and peak 1990s CMLL, made even better by a complete and utter lack of flippy bullshit and some truly outstanding brawling sequences. Even without Goldust bleeding like a stuck pig, this thing was just old school awesomeness, through and through — assuredly, Daddy Rhodes is up there in heaven, smiling down upon his offspring pummeling the shit out of each other with blunt objects for literally hundreds of dollars.

May 25, 2019
Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega (AEW Double or Nothing)

Jericho does this thing where a bunch of imitators come out depicting him at various points in his career — the Lionheart phase, the List of Jericho phase, the "I have a light-up jacket and also am furtively homosexual" phase, etc. Eventually, Jericho comes out wearing a fedora and looking VERY fat, so much so that he may literally break the walls down if he leans against it too hard. Meanwhile, Kenny Omega's entrance is — really uneventful. Also, for some fucking reason there's a giant Cracker Barrel in the middle of the ring, which takes product placement to dizzying new heights in the realm of professional wrestling. Excalibur says he doesn't think Jericho's much ballyhooed new finisher "The Judas Effect" is a real thing. Anyhoo, they lock up and take turns slapping each other for a bit, then Jericho hits a shoulder charge that takes Omega off his feet. Kenny chops like a sumbitch and Jericho gets pummeled in the corner. Winnipeg on Winnipeg violence right there, homey. Omega goes for a hurricanrana and Jericho converts it into the Walls of Jericho. Omega gets to the ropes and rolls to the outside. Omega body slams Jericho on the timekeeper's podium — apparently, they couldn't afford a full-size table — and Jericho pushes Omega off the barrier into the crowd. Then Jericho grabs a camera, only for Omega to spit water in his face and dropkick that muddafukka. LOL at Jim Ross trying to explain why the referee isn't counting out either of them. Omega with more chops, the "You Can't Escape" Roll and a moonsault. Only good enough for a two-count. More chops a comin' and Jericho sticks a dropkick. Not bad for a dude who's almost 50, really. Jericho turns Omega inside out with a clothesline while obvious plants in the audience recoil in horror. For some reason, there's a fat guy in the crowd dressed like Jesus, and another fat dude dressed like Randy Savage. Goddamn I hate this promotion and the degeneracy it inspires. Now Kenny has a nose bleed, with like, Suspiria-red blood. Jericho goes to the outside and pulls a table from under the ring, which J.R. hilariously calls a "chair." Then Omega does a flying senton to the outside and smacks Jericho good while he's holding the table. Alright, when's he going to use the Cracker Barrel as a weapon? Omega with a springboard double stomp, on the table, to the outside. Yep, this is pretty much everything I expected this match to be, fam. LOL at the table not breaking no matter how much damage it receives. "That must be the toughest table in the world," J.R. says. Omega lands a Kitaro Crusher, but Jericho kicks out at two. Omega with a wheelhouse kick to the back of the noggin and our first V-Trigger of the match. Expect about 5,678 more of them before the match is over. Omega with a back body drop off the top rope that takes, like, a full minute to set up. Jericho with an elbow smash, but Omega gets his knees up on the Lionsault attempt. Jericho counters the One-Winged-Angel with a release German suplex, THEN he hits the Lionsault. Omega, naturally, kicks out at two. Yeah, this crowd is totally exhausted at this point. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, only for Omega to V-Trigger that Canadanigga, which THEN results in Jericho back body dropping Omega out of the ring THROUGH Chekov's table on the arena floor below. Also, when are you fuckers going to give me credit for actually coining the term "Chekov's table" back in 2017, you thieving scoundrels? Jericho claws Omega's titties and lands a springboard dropkick. Omega punches Jericho off the top rope, only for Chris to land a botched CodeBreaker on Omega's crash landing. Obvious kick out at two. Man, you have to love that TOTALLY ORGANICALLY DIVERSE AND NOT AT ALL PAID front row audience, eh? Omega with a sudden snapdragon suplex, multiple V-Triggers and an attempted OWA. Jericho counters with what J.R. calls "the ugliest DDT you'll ever see" and an enzuigiri. Jericho counters another OWA attempt with yet another DDT, then he hits the CodeBreaker. Then Jericho hits the shittiest, slowest spinning back elbow you've ever seen in your life and THAT's what gives us our three-count. Holy shit, that move was like, Chael Sonnen-levels of bad. In the post-mach antics, Jericho calls the fans a buncha' marks then Dean Ambrose comes out of the crowd and the fans go crazy because he's somebody that's actually headlined a PPV in the last five years. He DDTs Jericho and the referee and then he and Omega start brawling all over the arena, culminating with Ambrose DDTing Omega on a stack of plastic poker chips. Well, I guess that's our next major PPV main event, ain't it?

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: A pretty disappointing (and very predictable) bout that wasn't even close to being as good as their one Tokyo Dome bout (which, to be honest, I didn't think was THAT good to begin with.) Jericho’s “wildman brawling boomer Monster Energy Drink emo Clockwork Orange” shtick is getting old FAST and Omega never really had a chance to show off his finer attributes in such a stultified outing. Needless to say, I don’t think anybody will be clamoring for a Jericho-Omega 3 after this one. 

So, uh, the Saudis DO know that Goldberg is Jewish, right?

June 2019 Matches

June 01, 2019
Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole (WWE NXT TakeOver XXV)

Their best-two-out-of-three-falls match from April was probably the best match of the first part of 2019, so yeah, expectations are sky high for this one-fall Championship follow-up. There's a billion shoulder charges to begin, with both men going for, and whiffing, on their finishers in the opening one-minute scramble. Cole rolls to the outside for a breather and Gargano politely holds the ropes open for him to re-enter the ring. Gargano works a wrist lock while the partisan crowd shouts "ADAM COLE!" over and over again. Gargano goes for the Gargano Escape, but Cole escapes. Time to exchange forearm shots, with Cole seemingly getting the better of the smash-fest. Gargano with a hurrincanrana, followed by a tumbleweed senton off the apron. Then Gargano double stomps Cole's arm, which Mauro worries could've "hyperextended" the joint. Uh, nigga, couldn't you just say "broke" instead? Wait, is Gargano's ring attire Wonder Woman-inspired. Man, what a cuck. So Gargano locks in the rarely-seen hammerlock cloverleaf submission and continues to pound on Cole's "injured" right arm. Gargano perches Cole on the top rope and kicks his head real good. Then Cole escapes and super kicks Gargano's calf, so he comes tumbling down like the Twin Towers on 9/11. Too soon? Cole with a dropkick in the corner and that one bitch on commentary says Cole gave Gargano's leg a "DDT." I've been saying it for years, women's suffrage was a mistake. Cole hits another dropkick off the top rope and follows suit with a dragon whip leg screw. So for those of you keeping note at home, Cole has an injured arm and Gargano has an injured leg. Just wanted that on the record if you missed it. Gargano goes for a small package, but it's no good. He counters a Panama Sunrise with a sitout powerbomb. Time for yet another forearm exchange. Gargano hits several very shitty looking lariats and overhead belly to belly suplex. Gargano with a step up enzuigiri and a tornado flatliner off the top. Yep, Cole kicks out at two. Gargano lands the slingshot spear, but yep, Cole kicks out of that, too. Mauro says Gargano "has more heart than Valentine's Day," which makes me kinda' wish he got REALLY depressed, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Anyway, Gargano goes for a flying backward ass-attack for no reason whatsoever and Cole counters with a lungblunger for two. I'm pretty sure the referee is taller and more buff than both of the wrestlers. Cole lands a NICE enzuigiri, and he follows that with a Torture Rack-Burning Hammer-into-A-Go-2-Sleep for a fuckin' two-count. There's no such thing as a protected finisher these days, so just give that little illusion up. Now they're swapping superkicks, with Gargano landing the coup de grace when Cole flies off the top rope for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Then they double kick each other unconscious on the outside while the fans yell "This is Awesome," because these fuckers REALLY need to get out more. They both just barely beat the countout, as Gargano hits a slingshot DDT. Only good enough for a two-count. LOL at all those empty seats in the arena. Gargano hits another double head stomp and Cole rolls to the outside. Cole kicks him off the ramp and hits that evil-looking brainbuster-to-the-knee thingy that has a Japanese name I can't pronounce. Regardless, Gargano kicks out at two. Oh wait, Gargano's pants are Captain Marvel-themed, so now I hope he loses for sure. Gargano locks in the Gargano Escape on a tilt-a-whirl counter (of all things) and Cole counters it with a figure four. Are those Stars of David on Gargano's kneepads? Regardless, I've always hated his squinty-eye logo thing. I mean, how the fuck DO you sell that action figure, with an open-relationship girlfriend strap-on accessory? Cole punches Gargano a whole bunch of times and spikes his patella a couple of times. Cole goes for the figure four again and gets spike DDTed off the apron. Gargano goes for a flying tope but Cole just fucking kicks him in the head and it's great. And there's the Panama Sunrise on the (padded) arena floor. Gargano, of course, kicks out. Cole tells Gargano "his special moment" is over and pulls his knee pad down for the Last Shot, which he very obviously misses. Gargano goes for the Gargano Escape, but then Cole counters it with Gargano Escape, then Gargano LITERALLY escapes and hits Cole with the Last Shot, but Cole kicks out of his own fuckin' finisher. This is the greatest match in AEW history right here. Now they're exchanging forearms again, with Cole landing a million, billion front kicks. Cole rolls to the outside and grabs a steel chair, only for Gargano to accidentally tope the fuck out of the ref. Uh-oh. Gargano super kicks the chair in Cole's face and rolls him back into the ring. So Gargano rolls the ref back into the ring and Cole hits a, I don't know, sort of a Pedigree variation on the ropes for, you guessed it, just a two. Gargano plays possum and locks in the Gargano Escape one more time. Cole starts elbowing the knee and escapes the Escape. He superkicks the shit outta' Gargano's knees, goes for the Panama Sunrise, but Gargano counters it. Cole hits the Panama Sunrise AGAIN and then connects on the Last Shot, which FINALLY gives us our finish and, by default, a new NXT World Champion.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: A solid main event, but nowhere near as good as the one they had on WrestleMania weekend. This time around, the constant finisher spamming and kickouts worked against the overall flow of the match, and the double Panama Sunrise/Last Shot finale was definitely a disappointment. Still, if you can overlook the obvious flaws, it’s still a fast, fun and frenetic match — you know, just as long as you can do without ring psychology for a half hour or so.

June 07, 2019
Bill Goldberg vs. The Undertaker (WWE Super ShowDown 2019)

I, for one, am absolutely flabbergasted that the Saudi Arabian audience is CHEERING for a Jew. I guess that just goes to show you that millenia of ethno-religious hostility can be surmounted by one thing and one thing only: grown men in their underwear pretending to fight each other. Holy shit, Goldberg is looking a lot like Capt. Spaulding from all those Rob Zombie movies. And despite being 52, he's still amazingly buff-looking. Judging by his reaction, I think it's safe to say today's fans desperately, DIRELY miss watching wrestlers who are legitimate alpha ass-kickers. The Undertaker gets his usual long-ass intro, complete with druids and torches and a super-elaborate set design. Fuck, UT is so old I'm starting to think his whole slow-walking gimmick isn't a put-on anymore. He takes off his hat to reveal his receding hairline, which at this point starts about halfway down his back. For those wondering: the whole intro took about six and a half minutes. The match hasn't even started and it already feels more like a legit Heavyweight Championship-caliber fight than any ACTUAL Heavyweight Championship the WWE has put on in a LONG TIME. Goldberg does the throat coat gesture and Taker pops him. He immediately hits a Spear off the ropes and another one for good measure. Billy only gets a two and Taker does the patented sit-up spot. Taker fucking CHOKES the shit out of Goldberg, then Goldberg lands a judo toss and transitions to a kneebar. Of course, the Saudi Arabians don't know what a kneebar is, so they have no idea how to react. Taker gets a rope break and Goldberg kicks him in the corner. Then Goldberg LITERALLY, LEGITIMATELY busts his skull open HARD WAY on the metal ringpost. Taker punches and kicks Goldberg like crazy as Hebrew blood flies all over the ring. Taker with shoulder charges and a clubbing blow to the back of the neck. Holy shit, Taker actually managed to do the tightrope walk without botching. Taker hits a chokeslam and follows it up with a Tombstone, but Goldberg kicks out. I'm not doctor, but I think Goldberg may LITERALLY have knocked himself retarded on the ringpost spot. Taker keeps landing those patented PURE STRIKES in the corner then they take each other down with stereo clotheslines. Taker with more pummeling in the corner and there's yet ANOTHER stereo clothesline spot. The fans are chanting "this is awesome," and for once, they're actually right. Taker with more PURE STRIKES and an avalanche splash in the corner. Goldber gets Snake Eyed and Goldberg hits a Spear outta' nowhere. He signals for the Jackhammer, but Taker sandbags him (I think) and Bill winds up hitting a goddamn SHOOT brainbuster, which Taker promptly kicks out of at two. Goldberg goes for the Tombstone, but Taker wiggles his way out. Then Taker hits a kinda' shitty-looking chokeslam (in which it appears Goldberg tried to sandbag him) and yep, that's what gets him the three-count. After registering the pinfall, Taker looks visibly pissed for some reason. Then he just stands in the middle of the ring under a blue moon for awhile, which I think may or may not be a subtle allusion to Islam. I think, possibly. 

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict? There are some people on the Internet calling this a worst MOTY candidate and others considering it a five-star classic of minimalism. As often the case in this wacky thing we call life, the reality is actually somewhere in the middle. Needless to say, the format didn’t work out quite as well as it did for Brock and Goldy a couple of WrestleManias ago, but I don’t think it was an embarrasing shitshow from beginning to end, either. It had its cringey moments (that goddamn ropewalk might be the worst spot in the history of pro wrestling), but overall I don’t think you can complain — too much — about the performances put in by these damn near AARP-aged veterans.

June 05, 2019
Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi (NJPW Best of the Super Junior 26 - Tag 15)

I ain't telling you anything new when I say I *loathe* Ospreay's style. But I'll at least give this one a look-see, considering everybody on the Internet keeps telling me it's a MOTY contender — not that I put too much stock in what those dweebs and dorks on ProWrestlingOnly think about anything, but what the hell ever. Shingo's nickname is "The Dragon," even though his ring get-up makes him look more like an alligator, but that's just me. Will comes out with a real sword at his side and points it at Shingo during the pre-match staredown. Uh, isn't that like a form of assault or something? Will affords Shingo a clean break off the ropes to begin. They do a test of strength spot, with Will locking in a hammerlock. Shingo reverses the hold. Shingo drops Will with a shoulder tackle, but Ospreay is right back on his feet. There's four million counters as reversals as Will and Shingo whiff on feigned Os Cutters, German suplexes and fucking head kicks galore before a standstill so the fans can clap and cheer. Shingo earns the wrath of the audience by not allowing Will a clean break in the corner. Will with a couple of chops, a hurricanrana and a buncha' flippy shit in the middle of the ring for no reason whatsoever. LOL at Shingo grabbing a cup and throwing it at him from the outside. Back in the ring and Shingo hits Will with a couple of elbow shots, then Shingo gets launched to the outside and Will reckons now is as good a time as any to plancha that ass. Shingo drops Will face first on the edge of the apron and DDTs him on the mat covering the arena floor. Shingo goes for another Death Valley Driver, but Will counters with a head kick. Then Shingo does a rolling cannonball to the outside and the guardrail nearly goes into his asshole on the crash landing. Shingo with stomps, knees to the midsection and a short-armed clothesline. Shingo drops Will again with an elbow shot and a back body drop. Will retaliates with chops, only for Shingo to catch him off the ropes for another modified Death Valley Driver. Of course, Will kicks out. Shingo with a double chop, then Will kips up and hits Takagi with ... I blinked and missed it, folks. Will lands the 619 but whiffs on the springboard balls to the face. Will hits a dropkick in the corner and a standing shooting star press. Just a two. Shingo rolls to the outside again and Will hits the springboard Sasuke Special to the outside. Will with a flying crossbody, but Shingo kicks out. Will with a spinning kick and Shingo responds with a SICK clothesline. Then Shingo literally flips Will in the air like a cartoon character, with Ospreay doing two full rotations like a retard. Well, if kayfabe wasn't dead before, that was certainly its sexual homicide right there. Will goes for the Stormbreaker, but Shingo escapes. Shingo goes for a suplex and Will counters with a cutter, but it happened so fast and looked so fake that nobody in the audience really reacts to it. Will with a running boot to the face in the corner and Shingo gets perched on the top rope. Will signals for a top rope Stormbreaker, but Shingo elbows that Englishnigga off the top rope. Will with another kick to the back of the head, Shingo threatens a super Death Valley Driver and he STICKS IT. Will, of course, kicks out. Shingo yells and hits Will with a clothesline in the corner. Will with a handspring, but Osperay flips out of the Death Valley Driver. Then there's forty five billion more counters, which concludes with Shingo hitting Will with a Tarantula flapjack. Will hits that powerbomb-to-the-back-of-the-knees move but Shingo kicks out of that, too. Oh wait, the replay shows Will's knees didn't even connect with Shingo's back, so I guess that sorta counts as a botch? Shingo wheelbarrow suplexes Will into the corner post and THAT was fuckin' great. Will kicks Shingo on the apron and hits an Os Cutter on the edge of the ring. Of course, both men than roll to the outside and roll around on the mat in sublime pain, because that's a rasslin' law or something along those lines. The ref starts administering the 20-count. Will hits a springboard dropkick as soon as Shingo re-enters the ring. Then he does the 630 butt stomp and a shooting star press off the top rope ... which Shingo kicks out of. Will hits the Robinson Special (which is him twirling around like a ninny before just lightly tapping Shingo on top of the head) and then he hits the Os Cutter. Shingo kicks out. Will goes for the Stormbreaker again but can't get it, so he starts kneeing Shingo in the head instead. Then Shingo gets up, says "I tire of your homoerotic bullshit" and headbutts THE FUCK out of Will and we all chortle. Then Shingo elbows Will a gazillion times, only for Will to land a hook kick, only for Shingo to counter with the LAST OF THE DRAGON, which despite having a nonsensical moniker, is actually a pretty boss-looking finisher. Of course, Will kicks out of that, as well. Shingo with back to back lariats, but by gum, Will kicks out of that, too. Shingo goes for the Last of the Dragon again, except this time Will countes it with a reverse-rana. Then Shingo hits Will with three more clotheslines, only for Will to superkick him on the rebound. Will hits the Spanish Fly (i.e., that completely gravity-defying flipping Rock Bottom), and he follows suit with a "Hidden Blade," or as it is called in my neck of the woods, "hitting a motherfucker in the back of the head." Will hits the Os Cutter and FINALLY connects on the Stormbreaker and yep, that finally gets him the three-count.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: Well, it was an entertaining, considerably better-than-average spot fu match, but you'd have to be on crack cocaine to think that's anywhere CLOSE to being a MOTY nominee. Hell, I'm not even sure that would qualify for a MOTN candidate on most New Japan shows ... or even THIS very card, for that matter. Still, it had its moments, and the ending was pretty good — although, for the life of me, I just can’t figure way anybody in the crowd would get emotional, to the point of tears, over such, well … vanillaness.

June 09, 2019
Naomichi Marufuji vs. Go Shiozaki (NOAH Global Junior Tag League Night Seven)

Holy shit, I love Marufuji's haircut. Both men are rasslin' under a giant photo of Mitsuharu Misawa and KENTA KOBASHI is on commentary duties, so emotions are definitely high as a motherfucker for this one. Go gives Maru a clean broke off the ropes and then it's armwrench city. Go goes for a diving lariat and Maru KNEES THE FUCK outta' that fucker and it's beautiful. Go rolls to the outside to pick up the pieces of his brain and Naomichi, ever the opportunist, pursues. Go gets Irish whipped into the metal guardrail, then he gets rammed shoulder-first into the metal turnpost. Or I guess that's a steel turnpost, but whatever. Then they start titty slapping each other HARD, then, it's time for some crowd brawling. Marufuji dumps a cup of Sprite on Go and gingerly saunters back to the ring. Wow, talk about BLATANT product placement for Coca-Cola right there. Back in the ring and Naomichi continues to wrench the arm like a sumbitch. Go starts firing back with some elbow shots of his own, and Naomichi retaliates with knife edge chops en masse. LOL at that one Japancel in the audience wearing Tiger Mask headgear and obviously being a virgin. Go lands a counter sidewalk slam and a brainbuster, but Maru kicks out at two. Go chops Maru a million billion times in the corner and drops him with a clothesline. Maru hits a curb stomp and a superkick, but Go kicks out. Now it looks like Maru is going for an Americana, of all things. No, the MMA submission, not the coffee-variation. Time for more breast-bruising chest chops. Then Maru breaks out a fucking AWESOME Mortal Kombat combo in real life, only for Go to drop him with a lariat out of nowhere. Maru ripostes with a running knee in the corner and SLICE BREAD NO. 2, YOU ASSHOLES. Of course, Go kicks out. Maru locks in the Cobra Clutch and fucking kills Go DEAD with a Last Shot to the back of his head. Except, you know, Go kicks out of it anyway. AND THERE'S THE GO FLASHER OUTTA NOWHERE. Only thing is, Go is too shaken up to make the immediate pin, so he has to wait a bit and hit him with another backbreaker ... which, naturally, only nets another two-count. Maru counters with an armbar, but there's some rolling around resulting in Maru modifying it into a keylock. Take note, Zach Sabre — this is how you SUCCESSFULLY implement MMA style into pro wrestling. Maru with more superkicks, a jumping knee and Go counters with a roaring elbow. Go with a lariat, a weaker Go Flasher variation and one more lariat to complete the OREO SANDWICH OF PAIN. And yeah, that, somewhat anticlimactically, is what gives Shiozaki the three-count.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: A solid "tribute" bout, but yeah, both of these guys have had WAY better matches against one another. This really felt like a slower, more watered-down version of the stuff they were doing 15 years ago, which I suppose is to be expected. Still, for what it was (and wasn’t), it was still a pretty fun little bout, and about as close as we’re likely to get to “real” King’s Road style nowadays … which is sad, really, on so many levels.

June 09, 2019
Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Takashi Sugiura (NOAH Global Junior Tag League Night Seven)

Takashi is the grizzled veteran eying ONE MORE RUN while Kaito is the hot young stud the company desperately, direly needs to become a breakout box office draw. So naturally, Takashi gets half a metric ton of silver streamers on his intro while Kaito gets, like, two or three pieces of confetti — that's NOAH in the year 2019 in a nutshell, folks. We've got your basic collar and elbow tie-up to begin, with Takashi allowing Kaito a clean break off the ropes. Kaito with a hard titty slap and Takashi fires back with a lariat. Kaito with a spinning back elbow and a sweet hip toss, leading to a momentary break in the action. There's a bajillion arm wrench reversals and Takashi Sting-at-Great-American-Bash-92's himself on the metal ringpost, allowing Kaito to hit a cannonball to the outside. Back in the ring and Kaito is stompin' mad. Now he's working on a stump puller, until Takashi makes it to the ropes. Then Takashi spears Kaito THROUGH the ropes, resulting in the defending champ crashing into the ringside barrier. Sensing an opportunity, Takashi peels back the mat and hits a twisting neckbreaker on the EXPOSED DEADLY ARENA FLOOR OF DEATH. The ref administers th 20-count and Kaito makes it back in around, oh, the 12 or 13 mark. Takashi clubs Kaito in the spine with some HARD elbow shots and follows suit with a camel clutch. Kaito makes it to the ropes. Takashi punts the lower lumbar, but Kaito kicks out at two. They exchange boots to the face before Kaito finally lands a suplex, which is really funny because it sounds like the announcer describes the move as "a bulbasaur." Kaito hits a spinning elbow off the ropes and Takashi makes an even uglier face than usual. Kaito connects on a top rope missile dropkick, but Takashi kicks out. Takashi hits a tandem running boot and knee strike in the corner, then he perches his foe on the top rope. SUPERPLEX TIME, YOU MOTHERFUCKER. Now Takashi's locking in a Boston Crab, and I'm plum ECSTATIC that somebody in 2019 has found a way to make a rasslin' match entertaining WITHOUT having to include 9,000 dives to the outside and kicking out of each others' finishers 54 times in a row. Anyhoo, Kaito makes it to the ropes and breaks the submission hold. Takashi hits a running knee, but Kaito is all FIGHTING SPIRIT and he just won't die, even after Takashi hits him upside the head with 50 unanswered elbow strikes. Kaito lands some European uppercuts, only for Takashi to lariat him good. Kaito stops the putsch with a BEAUTIFUL defensive dropkick off the ropes. Takashi with more elbow shots and Kaito lands another dropkick and a bridging German suplex. Takashi, however, kicks out at two. Kaito heads up top and dropkicks Takashi RIGHT ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD. Just a two count. Kaito looks for a Tiger Suplex, but Takashi escapes and drops the champ with one knuckle sammich. Takashi Germans Kaito into the turnbuckle post and he just kind of lays there, doing his best impersonation of a beached whale. Then Takashi hits, of all things, a fuckin' GUTWRENCH SUPLEX off the apon to the mat below — can't say I've ever seen THAT ONE before, folks. Kaito just barely beats the 20-count, and as soon as he's back in the ring Takashi knees him int e face and elbows him about 100 or 200 times in the corner and it's FUCKING FANTASTIC. Then Takashi German Suplexes Kaito RIGHT ON THE TOP OF HIS HEAD and feeds him one more running knee for good measure. Of course, Kaito kicks out at two. Takashi unleashes another volley of elbow strikes before dropping Kaito with a head kick. Then Takashi locks in a ROLLING GUILLOTINE CHOKE. Alas, Takashi breaks the hold to go for a cocky pin attempt and Kaito, naturally, kicks out. Takashi with a high angle slam, but Kaito kicks out of that, too. Takashi goes for a SUPER HIGH ANGLE SLAM, but Kaito fights him off with headbutts, allowing him to hit a SUPER INVERTED DDT off the top rope. Well, that's certainly a high-risk maneuver you don't see everyday. Then Kaito slaps the taste out of Takashi's mouth and hits him with a Tiger Suplex. He goes for a brainbuster but Takashi COUNTERS IT WITH A STANDING GUILLOTINE. OK, that was great. Of course, Kaito manages to break the hold and land the brainbuster anyway, and Takashi kicks out of that at two. Kaito clips Takashi with some hard elbow shots of his own and Takashi is more than happy to return the favor. Kaito lands a dropkick, but Takashi no sells it. Kaito lands ANOTHER dropkick and Takashi no sells that one, too. Then Takashi hits a lariat, but Kaito pops right back up, dovetailing into another wild elbow exchange. Kaito hits the OVERTHROW, but Takashi kicks out at two. Kaito hits a brainbuster, but Takashi kicks out of that, as well. Kaito with a high-angle, bridging Tiger Suplex — yep, Takashi kicks out of that, too. Kaito rocks Takashi with a billion elbows while Sugiura screams like Peter Wheeler in the opening shootout scene from Robocop. And then Kaito land's one more bridging Tiger Driver (which he cleverly calls "King's Road") and THAT'S what gets him the three count. Confetti shoots out of the rafters, we get one more close up of that Misawa portrait and we cut to Kenta Kobashi, smiling like a Cheshire cat while music that sounds suspiciously like a Neil Diamond song plays in the background. And folks, if that doesn't embody everything that makes pro wrestling great, I don't know WHAT the fuck does.

My Score: **** 1/2

The Verdict: Halfway through 2019, that's gotta' be my pick for MOTY. This thing just FELT like prime NOAH, if not late stage ‘90s All Japan at certain points. Sugiura played his role PERFECTLY here, making Kaito look legit as fuck in a super physical title defense that kept the hijinks to a minimum and the action constantly flowing without things devolving into high spot after high spot. This is an utterly phenomenal “old-school” style puro match, and I strongly implore you to do whatever it takes to see it — yes, even if it does mean visiting the Russian version of YouTube, or God help you, Dailymotion.

June 09, 2019
Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi (NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka jo-Hall)

LOL at Kevin Kelly saying this match is going to be both "intense and scary." Like, are there going to be spiders and shit crawling around in the ring during the match? Now he's talking about Ibushi treating the IWGP Intercontinental Championship with disdain and destruction. I have no idea what the fuck that's supposed to mean, folks. Ibushi works a side headlock early. Naito with a sunset flip and a hip toss, then Kota punts him right in the sternum. Then Naito connects on a dropkick and the Osaka crowd boos like mothefuckers, for some reason. The announcers talk about Mexicans calling Naito racial slurs and then he uses his legs to lock Ibushi in a Full Nelson, kinda. Kota makes it to the ropes and Naito doesn't break the hold. He finally lets go and we have a brief striking exchange. Naito spits on Ibushi and stomps the shit out of him in the corner. You can just smell the resentment in this one and it's great. Naito with a dropkick in the corner and a cocky pin attempt. Ibushi kicks out at two. Then Naito spits on the ref before kicking Kota in the head some more. Naito with thumbs to the eyes and he is just chewing the goddamn scenery as a heel and it's beautiful. Kota lands a double stomp as baseball slide counter and Kota hits a snap-rana. Naito spills to the outside, so you know what that means — twisting corkscrew pescada to the outside time, you motherfuckers. Naito lands an enzuigiri, then Kota Germans him. Naito responds with a swinging DDT off the ropes and now both men are down. Now the fans are cheering the shit out of Naito, because all Nips are bipolar, apparently. Naito with clubbing forearms in the corner, the Ibushi Pele kicks Naito off the top rope. Now Ibushi is going for a SUPER GERMAN off the second rope. Naito counters it with a piledriver OFF THE APRON attempt, but Ibushi snakes his way out of that, too. Naito with a boot to the face and he threatens to German Ibushi off the apron again. Oh wait, now he's going to German him ON THE EDGE OF THE APRON AND HOLY SHIT HE FUCKING DOES IT AND KOTA'S NECK FOLDS UP LIKE AN ACCORDION. These motherfuckers are trying REAL hard to make it into the next Faces of Death compilation. Back in the ring, Naito makes Ibushi eat turnbuckle pad. Both men climb up top and Naito lands the most beautiful reverse-rana I've ever seen in my life. Of course, since selling is optional nowadays, Kota kicks out at two. Naito goes for a Destino, but Ibushi counters it with a BRUTAL spike package piledriver. I could watch these fuckers turn each other's necks into sawdust all day, fam. Now both men are back to their feet, elbowing the shit out of each other. Naito conks Kota good with a series of heabutts and then Kota lands a palm strike and a clothesline. Naito with a dragon suplex and a Destino, but Kota has two bars of energy left on his power meter and kicks out at two. Naito goes for another Destino and Ibushi makes him GO 2 SLEEP. He follows that up with THE LAST RIDE and then Naito kills him DEAD with a leaping DDT. He hits a swinging reverse DDT off the top rope, but yep, Kota kicks out of that, too. He goes for one more Destino, but Ibushi counters out of that. Kota hits another reverse-rana and a SICK brainbuster, but sweet fuck, Kota kicks out of that, as well. Naito connects on one more Destino — which has to be the stiffest I've ever seen — and THAT gets him the three-count.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: An outstanding match and another great addition to their already superb rivalry. They’ve had maybe two or three better matches over the years, but that’s no diss to the outing here whatsoever. Unlike a lot of New Japan rivalries, you can actually FEEL the resentment in this one, and it makes all of the neck-dropping hilarity that more enjoyable. These are two men more than willing to get paralyzed for our amusement and for that? All we here at TIIIA can say is “Domo Arigato, thank you, very much-o, Mr. Roboto.”

June 09, 2019
Kazuchika Okada vs. Chris Jericho (NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka jo-Hall)

What the fuck *is* Jericho's gimmick supposed to be now? Fedora-wearing, black-lipstick-clad, leather-jackets-with-spikes, kinda' fat guy? Because that's the vibe I'm getting, fellas. Meanwhile, Okada comes out looking like Japanese Ric Flair with fake Yen falling from the rafters. Not that I need to tell you this but hot fuck, is Okada awesome. LOL at Cyrus trying to get Jericho over as if he actually has REAL LIFE street fighting experience. Hiroshi Tanahashi is doing the Japanese play-by-play, it appears. We get your basic collar-and-elbow tie-up to begin and Jericho gives Okada the old Three Stooges eye poke. Jericho knocks Okada off his feet with a shoulder block and starts screaming "what!" at the audience. Okada with a couple of elbow shots and Jericho rolls to the outside for a breather. Kazuchika chases after him and Okada hits Jericho with a big boot back in the ring. Okada whiffs on a missile dropkick and they fuck up a Walls of Jericho transition spot BAD. So Jericho has the Boston Crab applied, but of course Okada makes it to the ropes. Jericho kicks Okada over the ringside barrier and then he starts throwing steel chairs all over the place. Jericho hits Okada with a DDT on one of those skinny-ass Japanese buffet tables, but it doesn't break. Oh well, at least Okada's head made a nice thumping sound bouncing off the furniture. Jericho pulls another table out from under the ring and Red Shoes berates him for his shenanigans. Jericho threatens to powerbomb Okada through the wood, but Okada pushes him into the guardrail. Jericho grabs a camera and flips off the audience before throwing Okada back into the ring. Jericho lands a flying crossbody but Okada kicks out at two. Jericho with a high-angle suplex and a cocky pin attempt the referee refuses to count. Jericho elbows Okada in the head a couple of times and calls him "a piece of shit." Jericho hits a missile dropkick and starts doing the old Hulk Hogan ear-cupping taunt. Jericho lands a stalling vertical suplex, but you know Okada's gonna' kick out of that shit right there. Jericho with more chops and Okada fires back with some elbows of his own and a flapjack. Okada nips up (literally, since "nip" is a racial slur for the Japanese, I think) and he hits a series of elbows and a DDT. Jericho rolls to the outside again and Okada kicks him over the ringside barricade. Okada flies over the guardrail but Jericho royally fucks up what should've been a Codebreaker counter. So Jericho rolls back into the ring and waits for Okada to get counted out. Okada, of course, rolls back in at 16. Isn't it weird how the Japanese announcers always count in English? Jericho with clotheslines in the corner, then they keep reversing Tombstone attempts. There's this weird roll-up spot where Jericho winds up locking in the Walls of Jericho again. Cue another rope break for Okada. Jericho chokes the ref in the corner and Okada dropkicks the shit out of him. Jericho goes up top for an ax handle smash and this time Okada catches him with the dropkick counter. Okada lands a Tombstone and he goes for a Rainmaker. Jericho counters with a sitout powerbomb, and Okada kicks out at two. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, but this time Okada catches him and hits him with the knee-to-the-neckbreaker counter instead. OK, that was kinda' cool-looking. Jericho rebounds and hits Okada with a springboard dropkick. Jericho works for a superplex and Okada throws him off face first. Okada with a flying elbow and an oddly delayed RAINMAKUH POSE PAN OUT. Jericho with an enzuigiri, and now both men are throwing wobbly-ass punches at one another. Jericho connects on the Lionsault, but Okada kicks out. Okada lands the shotgun dropkick and stands on Jericho's head in the corner. Holy shit, Jericho botched ANOTHER Codebreaker spot. Okada HAS to kick outta' that shit right there just for the company to save face. Jericho calls Okada "a stupid sonofabitch" after pulling the protective padding off one of the turnbuckle covers. Jericho threatens to lawn dart Okada into the exposed metal, but Okada counters with a German suplex and a fuckin' CODEBREAKER of his own. Cue the twirling Tombstone, which Jericho promptly no-sells so he can lock in the Walls of Jericho one more time. Okada tries to twist out of the hold and he eventually twirls Jericho's ass out of the submission attempt. Okada eats exposed turnbuckle and Jericho sets up THE JUDAS EFFECT. He whiffs on it, Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, and Okada just simply sits down to get the easy 1-2-3 on a simple counter spot. Then Jericho beats up on Okada some more with chairs until Tanahashi makes the save. Well, I guess we know who Jericho's next NJPW program is going to be with, I suppose.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: I can't really recall the last time Okada had an IWGP title defense this lackluster. Not that it was a bad match by any stretch, just that, by Okada's standards at least, it was a relative letdown. Frankly, at this point Jericho is just way too old and fat to match Okada’s faster tempo, and the brawling spots throughout left a lot to be desired. I suppose there were a few moments of decency, but on the whole, this thing can’t be considered anything other than minor disappointment considered the marquee talent involved in it.

June 29, 2019
Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela (AEW Fyter Fest 2019)

We're less than a minute in and J.R. is ALREADY making cheap plugs for his BBQ sauce. Moxley comes out without the IWGP U.S. title and gives the camera  big water kiss and it's gross as shit. Janela hits a tope to the outside in the first 33 seconds of the bout. Now we're brawlin' through the crowd, with Moxley feeding Janela knuckle sandwiches all over the building. "You're head bouncing off the ring post is not a good thing," Ross says. Janela breaks out a table and hits Moxley with a prosthetic leg, of all things. Moxley looks like the Aryan Nations version of Val Venis and I'll leave it at that. Moxley with a steel chair-assisted bodyslam. Janela goes for a Swanton but catches nothing but chair, while Ross admonishes him for not taking care of his hospital bills. Now Moxley has a steel chair wrapped in barbed wire. Now Moxley stomps the barbed wire INTO Janela's chest. Janela gets right back up and hits a couple of kicks, then he hurrincanranas Moxley into the wire-wrapped chair. Moxley and his rapidly receding hairline, however, kicks out at two. Janela gets another table and Jim Ross makes an oblique reference to D'Von Dudley. And that's when Janela Russian Leg Sweeps him AND his opponents on Chekov's table to the outside. Back in the ring and Moxley gores Janela through the OTHER table a'la Rhino. Now Moxley has TWO tables. Something tells me he isn't setting up a game of Magic: The Gathering, either. Janela points to his penis and Moxley re-enters the ring and feeds him some hand burgers. Moxley reaches under the ring and breaks out a black poster board with barbed wire superglued to it. "I didn't know Moxley was a do-it-yourselfer," Ross comments. Janela catches Moxley and Death Valley Drivers that white nigga into the barbed wire. Of course, he kicks out at two. Time for another elbow exchange. I know this is going to be a surprise, but there sure are a lot of fat people in the crowd. Janela gets turned inside out by a clothesline, but he gets up and superkicks Moxley a couple of times. Janela's got a ladder. Janela slams Moxley's head into the metal steps a couple of times and Joey starts climbing the ladder ... and he CONNECTS on the flying elbow to the outside, sending Moxley through a table in the process. Janela pulls out another barbed wire board and lays it between the ring and ringside barrier. Moxley hits a DDT as soon as Janela is back in the ring, then Moxley Death Valley BOMBS Janela through that aforementioned board. Moxley throws Janela back into the ring and Moxley goes crazy with shitty-looking knee strikes. Moxley reaches under the ring and pulls out a bucket of ... something. "That ain't FightStick buttons" one of the commentators states. Yep, it's thumbtacks galore. Moxley takes Janela's boots off and then he gives him a one-armed power bomb. Then he gives Joey an atomic drop and he screams like a maniac as the camera pans close-up on his bloody foot wounds. This is almost gay bondage porn at this point. Moxley gets some more thumbtacks, hits another implant DDT and yep, that scores him the W.

My Score: *** 3/4 

The Verdict: An entertaining lite deathmatch that did a really good job of getting Moxley over as a hardcore powerhouse. Granted, a lot of the spots felt like a garbage wrestling’s greatest hits compilation, but at least they tried to sprinkle in SOME psychology amidst all of the broken furniture and bloody upholstery accessories. It’s totally low-brow and super dangerous and completely unrefined nonsense … and yes sir, I do prefer it that way, in case you were wondering.

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