Tag Archives: tag team wrestling

No Mercy and Monday Night Raw Were Actually Worse Than You Thought

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      Disclaimer: I was in a bad mood when I wrote this so reader discretion advised. Read at your own risk.

      Our constant readers may have noticed that the F2H family failed to post their usual live review articles about Smackdown Live’s No Mercy and last night’s Monday Night Raw. Have we lost faith in Vince McMahon’s promotion? Are we bored with the product? I’ll answer your question with a question: does a bear shit in the woods? In this instance, the bear is Sean Waltman and the woods is Rena Lesnar’s luggage; and the answer is an emphatic yes.

      While on the surface the No Mercy pay-per-view seemed like a solid venture, when you scrutinize it even a little bit, the entire show folds like a wet house of cards. Here is a short list of some of the more cringe-worthy moments of the show. The pre-show featured Jerry Lawler awkwardly flirting and eye-fucking Nikki Bella, a 4-team tag match (overkill in any scenario) that included The Acesnsion, and Curt Hawkins big debut that was only a declaration by him that he would have a match on Tuesday.

      Prior to the show, WWE announced the “main event” triple-threat would go on first to start the show, essentially confirming WWE’s lack of confidence in their own product, being fearful that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would pull viewers and bomb their PPV. Although the triple-threat was a decent match, it still featured yet another John Cena title attempt, grasping for the coveted Ric Flair record; and Dean Ambrose in the main event picture, a man with no charism, character evolution, or ability to carry a promotion as either a heel or babyface. And while AJ Styles put on a great outing, I am still watching him on NJPW every week on AXS-TV and his crimped style with WWE is nowhere near his best work in a ring.

      No Mercy also featured Nikki Bella utilizing the antiquated 50/50 booking style of WWE in order to beat Carmella. Speaking of the women, Becky Lynch was suddenly injured and not competing. So we saw Naomi not only wrestle but defeat Alexa Bliss. Both finishes were weak and did nothing at all for the losers while barely giving a boost to the winners. The third women’s match of the night was between Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin. Yeah, I said it. Why is this on a pay-per-view? Nobody cares!

      The highlight of the night was Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. This was an excellent match and the best on the entire card. Nothing to complain about here. The main event was Randy Orton taking on Bray Wyatt. Oh great, two of the weakest in-between heel/face chimeras in the entire company. Wyatt has strewn together infinitely more losses than wins. And Orton has been a watered down version of himself ever since returning from injury. The build to this match was terribly dis-interesting. And the big “twist” finish was a Luke Harper run in. This ended a pay-per-view in 2016.

      Skip ahead to Monday Night Raw and now we’re really swimming out to the deep end with no life preservers. We’re talking about a show that surprisingly opened with Sasha Banks and Charlotte declaring they were having a rematch INSIDE Hell in a Cell. This was a groundbreaking moment…that was immediately cut short by Rusev interrupting. He insults both of them, along with all women’s wrestling (as does Lana) and hijacks what should have been an epic segment. Then Roman Reigns comes out and further buries the angle. Then, in all of Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley’s jaded wisdom, they put Charlotte on a team with Rusev against the team of Banks and Reigns. Despite Rusev belittling Charlotte, she now gets the “honor” of being his tag team partner.

      Do you know why this segment happened? Because Kevin Dunn (a guy that probably has twenty Donald Trump signs in his yard) objectifies women and probably doesn’t think they can carry a moment on their own. They needed big, strong men to come out and bolster their credibility. “Nobody is going to buy women in the Cell! We need men to put it over!” Nevermind the fact that when you have a match with Roman Reigns, Rusev, Charlotte, Lana, and Sasha Banks, the only goddamn babyface in the entire thing is Banks. Reigns is not a face! But WWE continues to try and pair him with any one in order to try and persuade the crowd to oh and ah over him.

      Then we have a match between Kofi Kingston and Cesaro. The big angle here is Sheamus sits ringside and tweets during the match. Oh, just brilliant fucking television. Really helps sell Cesaro and Sheamus as a team and absolutely helps make New Day look strong. *vomits in mouth, down onto Ultimate Warrior t-shirt*

Bayley comes out and wrestles Cami Fields. Who? Exactly. She beats a jobber and then gets attacked from behind by Dana Brooke (wearing a way-too-tight outfit) and then Brooke just stands there awkwardly like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights when he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Brilliant. There were four horsewomen in NXT. Becky has the Smackdown Women’s Title. Sasha and Charlotte are breaking new ground fighting for the Raw Women’s Title. Meanwhile, Bayley is given about two minutes against someone named Cami Fields. Just a real career booster for her. Good job, Vince!

      The newly formed Cruiserweight Division continues to get its legs cut out from underneath it as WWE, despite having three hours of television, just keeps hitting us with Cruiserweight tag-team matches. We get Tony Nese and Drew Gulak against Sin Cara and Lince Dorado. Without fanfare, Sin Cara is now suddenly in the division. Dorado spends the whole match carrying Sin Cara before picking up the win. According to Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon, there are only two Cruiserweights named T.J. Perkins and Brian Kendrick. Anybody who isn’t them will just be the bathroom break match on Raw.

      Then we come back from commercial to find Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in the ring. Oh boy! That’ll really boost the ratings! Luckily we are saved by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. But before we can even see them wrestle, they are attacked by The Club. So let me get this straight. Cesaro and Sheamus, a team thrown together two weeks ago get to face New Day, but two of the top three tag teams on Raw have a segment with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel? Then WWE hits us with a bullshit 4-team tag at a PPV the night before? Why not save the multi-team matches for actual talent? I’d definitely watch New Day vs Enzo and Cass vs The Club any day.

      Oh, but that segment isn’t even over. After The Club and Enzo and Cass leave, Axel and Dallas are still competing! They demand a team! So we have to suffer through not only them in a match, but a hastily thrown together Sami Zayn and Neville tag-team. Is Teddy Long running creative all of a sudden? We’ve had five matches so far and four of them have featured tag teams! Brilliant! I’m just as baffled as Vince as to why the ratings continue to tank. Fuck you, McMahon.

      As if things couldn’t get any worse, we then are “treated” to a match between R-Truth and Titus O’Neal thrown together, on the premise, and I shit you not, of Truth trying to give O’Neal’s favorite candy bar to another wrestler. Now, while I can appreciate both men as they have skill and could be great if pushed properly (yeah right, as if that would ever happen), they certainly should not be in a match facing each other. Why, you might ask? Because they have a combined age of fucking 83. R-Truth is in his mid-forties and Titus is 39. This is not a live-TV match. This is not something you expose people to and then try to laugh off the sliding ratings to the board of directors. In simple terms, this is not a match you put on TV if you want people to take what you do seriously.

Backstage segment with Perkins and Kendrick showcasing the 50/50 booking again. I won’t even elaborate on any of that. Braun Strowman then squashes the “Splash Brothers” (who look like a Sheamus and Xavier Woods cosplay couple) and then asks Foley for stronger competition. If only Braun could be what he’s asking for: better talent. He has become a spectacle much like Big Show, Kane, and The Great Kahli before him. Vince will take a giant, twist and contort them, and turn them into a traveling freakshow.

      And then the inter-gender match. Holy shit what a waste of time. Rusev and Charlotte against Reigns and Banks. The big creative ending here was Sasha making Charlotte tap to the Bank Statement timed perfectly with Reigns hitting Rusev with a spear. Been there, done that, played all the way out. Then Reigns and Banks stand with their arms in the air, smiling. As if Reigns was suddenly a good guy. Then T.J. Perkins defeated Jinder Mahal. Oh wait, that was Ariya Daivari. Another useless squash match doing nothing for anybody, including the viewers.

      The main event was Seth Rollins versus Chris Jericho. Alright, I really can’t complain about this if I’m being fair and unbiased. It was a great match, highlight of the night for me. My only real gripe is that Jericho has main-evented a shit ton of Raw’s this year and did so again last night. Yes, Jericho is awesome. And his work these past few weeks with Kevin Owens has really been the crutch that has saved Raw from swirling into a black hole from wince there is no return. That being said, Jericho is older than both R-Truth and Titus O’Neal. Is the best WWE can do is to have a 45-year-old in the main event? Does that sound bonkers to anyone else? It says a lot about how incredibly talented and what great shape Y2J is in; but it also speaks volumes about how weak WWE thinks their own product is.

      They don’t trust their youngers guys to do the job. They don’t have faith or confidence in their roster. And this is true across the board. Both Raw and Smackdown suffer from this inability to pull the trigger on younger talent. The result is getting a 39-year-old John Cena in a main event trying to get another world title. When is WWE going to move on? They speak of a new era and yet continue hitting us with out-to-pasture talent. Now the big hyped up sell is a potential match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, a match about fifteen years too late between two men with a combined age of 88. Granted, both men are genetic anomalies (Lesnar more so on the chemically enhanced side) and will probably look great. But the point being is that WWE continues to live in the past. And the WWE Universe seems nostalgic to days gone by.

      That’s why Sasha Banks gets a pop for mentioning Eddie Guerrero. That’s why Charlotte gets a “Woooooooooo!” every single time she mentions her dad. WWE doesn’t do anything to make their current talent relevant. They are censored and limited and forced to get over by mentioning long since retired or dead Superstars. It’s a vicious cycle all the way around. Fear, uncertainty, doubt; it all mixes together to make WWE unsure of their talent, the talent unsure of their place, and the fans unsure of why they should even give two shits about any of it. There are so many problems to list but I’m just one man and this article is already absurdly long. I have a love/hate relationship with WWE. It’s a frustrating partnership because I see the potential of what this company could be. As a kid I watched wrestling. Then I grew up. But wrestling never did. It plateaued and in some instances took a step back.

      You can blame the break of kayfabe. You can blame the dirt sheets. You can blame the internet. You can even blame Vince for bringing too many promotions together and “killing the biz.” It doesn’t matter what the cause was. The effect is what truly matters, and in this case the effect is mediocre, unfulfilling, lazy, and often boring professional wrestling. CM Punk said it best: “Vince McMahon is a millionaire who should be a billionaire.” The reason why he isn’t is that the wrestling experience he presents is no longer thrilling to a certain extent. We demand more but WWE keeps coming up short. Smackdown Live is on tonight and we won’t be doing a live review for that either. If they want us to write something, they need to give us something worthwhile to write about. Until then, let the onslaught begin.


Article by Jamie Curtis Bakerfotoflexer_photo
@MrNotWell

New Japan Pro Wrestling Match Results and Feedback (09.23.2016)

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      Tonight’s matches are from December 19th, 2015 in Korakuen Hall all the way from Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. The first bout on he card is straight out of Mexico as Mascara Dorada defends his CMLL World Welterweight Championship against Japan’s Bushi, a member of Los Ingobernables. You may recognize Dorada from WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic as Gran Metalik. Before the match can begin, one of Bushi’s partners, Naito attacks Dorada. After the bell rings, the winded Dorada is thrown out of the ring and planted on the ground. High-flying action to begin. Back in the ring, Dorada takes control with a dropkick off the ropes. This one goes in and out of the ring several times, much to the crowd’s delight. Energetic offense really showcases the skill of both wrestlers.

      Missile dropkick off the top rope by Bushi and Dorada is down. He recovers and walks across the top rope, hitting a splash on Bushi. Naito tries to help Bushi, but Goto, there in support of Dorada, breaks that up and the pair battle outside the ring. Goto throws Naito into the barricade and kicks him. They fight out into the crowd. Bushi is down and Dorada hits a moonsault off the top rope. Cover, but Bushi somehow kicks out at two and a half. The third member of Los Ingobernables, EVIL, enters the ring to distract the ref. Bushi spits green mist in the face of Dorada, low blows him and bridges him into a cover. Dorada kicks out. Bushi off the top rope hits an MX and pins to win the title! After the match Bushi says before the end of the year he will also win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship which seems unlikely. Maybe he means 2016?

      The second and final match on the card features some tag team action. The team of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata taking on Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii. Tanahashi and Okada start as the crowd is all fired up, chanting. Grappling to start, which Tanahashi takes control of. Leg take down by Okada and both men are down grappling on the mat. They separate and the crowd applauds. The next tie up leads to Tanahashi getting a wrist lock that he breaks and steps back from against the ropes. Okada throws Tanahashi into the corner and tags Ishii in. Tanahashi goes and tags Shibata. He goes right after Ishii, putting him in a headlock. The two play a few mind games and then trade forearms. Shibata wins the exchange and then chops Ishii in the corner. He switches places and chops Shibata. Okada tries to interfere and Tanahashi runs across the ring, knocking him off the apron. Headbutt by Ishii.

      Okada holds out a boot and Ishii throws Shibata into it. He tags Okada who sliding dropkicks Shibata on the mat. Neckbreaker by Okada into a cover, but only a one count. Ishii is tagged back in and he kicks and chops Shibata. Okada tagged in and he whips Shibata into the corner. Slam into a stationary Senton and Shibata is reeling. Cover, but a kick out at one as we head into a commercial break. When we return, Shibata is still getting his ass beat by Okada. He throws Okada off the ropes and knees him in the gut. Tanahashi is tagged in and he drops Okada and then knocks Ishii off the apron. Rolling Senton and a cover, but Okada kicks out. Tanahashi dropkicks Okada in the left knee, then puts on a Texas Cloverleaf, but Okada reaches the ropes. Ishii tags in and sprints across the ring, knocking Shibata off the apron.

      Ishii chops Tanahashi into the corner. Then the two trade headbutts. Tanahashi loses that exchange and soon he is in a headlock on the mat. Tanahashi explodes with a Dragon Sleeper, flooring Ishii. He tags Shibata in who kicks Ishii down and then hits Okada off the apron. Running dropkick in the corner by Shibata and he has taken control. He suplexes Ishii and covers, but a kickout at two. Cross arm breaker submission by Shibata, transitioning into a triangle choke. Ishii squirms and screams. Tanahashi keeps Okada from getting in to break it up. Shibata puts more and more pressure on and finally Ishii breaks it by stretching a foot to the bottom rope. Shibata goes to work kicking Ishii. Tanahashi and Okada tag in and they go right after each other.

      Reverse neckbreaker by Okada. He climbs the top rope and drops an elbow on Tanahashi. He does The Rainmaker pose. Tanahashi dropkicks his knee again. Dragon Screw on the same knee and then a Texas Cloverleaf. Okada screams for his partner, but Shibata puts Ishii in an abdominal stretch. Red Shoes asks if Okada wants to quit. Ishii hip tosses Shibata and breaks the hold that Tanahashi has. Okada is writhing in pain and rubbing his knee as Tanahashi hits a sling blade off the ropes. He climbs the top rope, but Ishii blocks it and then suplexes Tanahashi off the second rope. Shibata takes Ishii down, but Okada dropkicks Shibata down! All four men on the mat as we head to what should be our last commercial.

      Tanahashi and Okada trade blows in the center ring when we return. Tanahashi slaps Okada, Okada uppercuts him to the mat. Crowd in a frenzy. Ishii and Shibata are tagged in. They both bounce of the ropes and attack each other. Suplexes traded back and forth. Ishii loses the exchange but both men are down. They get up and Shibata dropkicks Ishii and covers, but short count and a kick out. Chinlock by Shibata, but Okada stops it. Tanahashi throws Okada out of the ring and he and Shibata try to double team Ishii but he counters and plants them both! Sliding clothesline into a cover on Shibata, but he manages to kick out. This Tokyo crowd loves it. Great action throughout this one all the way.

      Choke by Shibata on Ishii. Okada dropkicks Shibata from behind. Shibata recovers and kicks Okada out of the ring. He tries to hit a Penalty Kick on Ishii, but it’s blocked. He headbutts and clothesline Ishii. He slams Ishii and Tanahashi hits High Fly Flow off the top rope. Penalty Kick by Shibata and he pins Ishii for the win! What an outstanding match. That one was fantastic from bell to bell. Trainers come in after the match to check on Ishii. Shibata gets on the mic and says Tanahashi will close the year out. He gives the mic to his partner who calls out Okada. The champ gets in the ring and they face each other. Tanahashi says he doesn’t care about money or love or tears. He is fighting with pride and it’s his pride against Okada because he wants to take NJPW to the next level. Okada says he doesn’t plan to embarrass himself at Tokyo Dome. After the match Tanahashi says there is no more baby or heel. There will just be a winner that will lead New Japan Pro Wrestling into the future.

      Awesome broadcast. Enjoyed that very much. As usual Jim Ross and Josh Barnett called a hell of a program. Great action and really got me excited for WrestleKingdom. The DVR says a new episode records next Friday so we’ll be there with the usual covers. Have a good Friday, wrestling fans!


Article by Jamie Curtis Baker20140601_175649

@MrNotWell