2018 Match of the Year (Top 10 Matches of 2018) NJPW, NXT & WWE

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2018 was a great year for professional wrestling if you ignore the industry giant. Everything but the WWE was remarkable this year, this was my first year watching New Japan Pro Wrestling, I started on January 4th, 2018 with Wrestle Kingdom because I watched the Showbuckle video on Naito, and ever since I’ve never looked back, I believe I watched every single event this year and that influence is definitely reflected on this list. So now let’s countdown the 10 best Pro Wrestling Matches of 2018 and reveal what my Match of the Year selection is:

  1. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Yano Toru – G1 Climax Day 4

Your favourite match might not be on this list, but Toru Yano is, and deservedly so. Who would have assumed that Yano would have maybe the most interesting and different story throughout the G1? Toru Yano is a notorious comedy character whose G1 matches are usually one to watch because every year he upsets at least one of the major players in his block, usually preventing them from going all the way. He’s beaten Kenny Omega and Minoru Suzuki is past tournaments and this year he even beat eventual block winner and G1 finalist Kota Ibushi. But the story going into the 2018 G1 is that Yano had sworn off cheating and underhanded tactics and was going to win his matches with his previously forgotten wrestling expertise. Kevin Kelly would commonly remind us about a story of Yano beating up a tree or something. In his first tournament match against Ishii he presented this forgotten knowledge and we were all collectively impressed but in his second match here with the pro wrestling master Zack Sabre Jr.

This match is more than anything else, incredibly fun. The Korakuen Hall crowd make this match, their like New Japan’s Full Sail without the pretension and they eat up everything in this match. From Zack Sabre Jr’s innovative use of the count out rule, where he tied Yano up and put a submission on him and making a run for the ring when the count was 18, something I’m sure we all thought of as kids to Yano’s counters to Zack’s pure wrestling. The crowd comes alive every time Yano successfully counters a move and especially when he comes close to winning after throwing Zack into an exposed turnbuckle multiple times. The uniqueness of this match is what granted it a slot on this list when your favourite match didn’t. Come matches end the correct decision was made and Zack Sabre Jr overcame Yano’s advances, getting the two points. But damn me if everyone watching wasn’t impressed with Yano’s standout performance.

  1. Woman’s Money in the Bank – Money in the Bank 2018

The second ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match stands out to me as the greatest main roster outing this year. The Chicago crowd was electric for this match and it’s interesting to go back and watch babyface Becky Lynch getting a massive crowd reaction and losing, with what we know will come later. The commentators mentioned an interesting fact about Ember Moon and that her being in this match makes her the quickest superstar to ever be in a Money in the Bank ladder match in relation to being called up to the main roster. The unpredictability of the match at the time is reflected in the crowd reactions for the different possibilities. Becky Lynch was the clear crowd favourite here, every time she would climb the ladder and especially the spot where she climbed up the side of a ladder that was held up by two girls on the ground, the crowd exploded with excitement. Ember Moon had a spot where it looked like her winning was possible and the crowd reciprocated wanting a fresh face in the title picture. Alternatively, when Charlotte and Sasha Banks looked to be winning the crowd was vocal about their disappointment, freshness was needed in the title picture. However, when Alexa Bliss who was only two months removed from her last title reign won the match the crowd exploded, because everyone likes Alexa Bliss. This match was creative in its spot’s, Sasha nearly killed herself multiple times and especially when Ember Moon cross-bodied her onto a ladder. Great match and for me be the best main roster match of the year.

  1. Aleister Black vs Andrade “Cein” Almas – NXT Takeover New Orleans

The Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match was the best main roster WWE match of the year, but the best NXT match of the year was Aleister Black defeating Andrade ‘Cein’ Almas for the NXT Championship. This match narrowly edges out Andrade’s first Takeover outing against Johnny Gargano, which I believe will be an unpopular decision, but this match was far more enjoyable from start to finish. The Gargano match was great the first time but when I rewatched it, but when I rewatched it for this video its length really effected the overall enjoyment factor of the match. Long matches usually aren’t my favourite, despite the hour and 10-minute match further down on the list, usually the beginning isn’t engaging, and I find myself wanting to do something else, especially on rewatches. But on said rewatch of this match I found myself entirely engaged. Almas is so unbelievably good with move combinations, like his former tag team partner Tetsuya Naito, that watching him move alone is exciting. Black has the best looking striking in professional wrestling and his long build only highlights this. Additionally, the Zelina Vega element on the outside keeps the match fresh when it’s at its slower point, she’s a third performer the audience can watch. Her inclusion in the finish just brings the whole match full circle and the finish caught the fans in New Orleans entirely off guard because they exploded possibly louder than any other Takeover crowd ever when Black hit the kick and got the three-count. This was an excellent showing for all three of the people involved and now with the context that Aleister Black were likely dating at the time of the match, since they recently got married, adds another layer to this match.

If the opening sentence of this entry in the list didn’t register, from here on out we are exclusively talking New Japan Pro Wrestling.

  1. Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll – Sakura Genesis 2018

Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll possibly put on the scariest match of 2018 at Sakura Genesis. This match was masterfully brutal, I think we all collectively thought Ospreay was dead after the bump on the apron. Besides the Psycho Sid botch that might be the scariest wrestling footage to watch in slow motion. But this match like our number 1 entry on this list owes its placement somewhat to a botched spot. Ospreay’s head was cut open and the imagery of the scarlet read patch in his hair was breathtaking. If Ospreay hadn’t become a superhero in the final NJPW match of 2018 this would have been my favourite image in New Japan this year. But the rest of the match following the spot continued the brutality with Scurll relentlessly pulverising Ospreay with stomps to the back of the head and moves making him land on his head. The Ryogoku audience also made this match, their sympathy with Ospreay and their surprise at his resilience made the match what it was. These two truly did a great job at convincing us that Ospreay was dead, and for him to them come back and win the match was the feel-good moment we needed to conclude the match. Ultimately, everything planned and unplanned came together brilliantly in this match resulting in one of the best matches of the entire year.

  1. Naito Tetsuya vs Kenny Omega – G1 Climax Day 2

Now this match may not have superseded their five star plus effort in last year’s G1 final, but whenever these two touch something magical happens. Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito are fantastic wrestler, I think we are all aware of that, but whenever they meet they are trying to show each other just how good they are. But Naito brings something to high intensity matches that his top 5 contemporaries lack and that’s personality in the spots, there is no one funner to watch fuck around in a match then Tetsuya Naito. This is made blatantly evident in the beginning of this match where they trade back and forth shots and they attempt to out-trick each other but will also be blatant on a match later down on the list. But the final 10 minutes of this match might be the best 10 minutes of NJPW this year, it was a tossup going in on who would win the match and they heavily played into the drama here, the crowd was clearly more Naito then Omega, but Omega wasn’t an out right heel and the crowd came alive during the final stretch. WWE crowds maybe livelier throughout big matches but the confused screaming from a New Japan crowd when they can tell the next big move might be the last is an unmatched atmosphere and this match capitalised on this factor entirely. Ultimately, Omega came out the victor but not ever I the biggest of big Naito fans could remain disappointed due to the performance I had just witnessed.

  1. Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll – Fighting Spirit Unleashed

Marty Scurll may have been the most slept on wrestler in all of 2018, not only did he have repeat match of the year contenders with long-time rival Will Ospreay, landing these two the only repeat match on this list but also with outstanding outings against Okada at All In and the match with Kushida at King of Pro Wrestling, its robbery that he isn’t being mentioned in the wrestler of the year conversation. On an earlier draft of this script the two entries of Ospreay and Scurll were swapped but evidently, I opted to switch the two of the them for one reason, this match doesn’t waste time. Immediately the match starts off hot with Ospreay attempting and successfully catching everyone off guard by his instantaneous attack. It brought the live crowd immediately back into the show after the unnecessary intermission and nearly had me believing he beat Marty in seconds. It was reminiscent of the Shibata and Ishii opening from their classic G1 match. The match never really slowed down they continued to go as hard as possible, doing all their grandeurs spots and eventually had a surprising winner, and a feel-good moment for us Marty Scurll fans. Maybe the only reason this match is ranked better than the Sakura Genesis match is because my guy one, but that doesn’t matter because bias is inherit in these lists. Additionally, I really liked the commentary performance here, Kevin Kelly and Jim Ross’ combination shun most brightly during this match. Kevin Kelly gave the necessarily background and history for uninformed fans and Ross gave the match an unmatchable big fight feel. And all this was crammed into a concise 15-minute package whereas the Sakura Genesis match went double that time.

  1. Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada – Dominion 6.9

Say what you want about the lack of build to this match storyline wise, this match was inevitable, and this was the right time. Dominion a year later and I think everyone understood that Omega was winning this match, but a New Japan without Okada on top is something we hadn’t seen in years, and some of us may have even forgotten is that was possible. But the matches 1 hour and 10-minute length was all building to the moment that everyone anticipated seeing and that was Omega holding up the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. This match was grand in scale, the crowd was clearly on Kenny’s side they understood what they were about to see and only added to the festivities, and props to Osaka for the AJ Styles chant after Omega broke out the Styles Clash. Don Callis was another outside factor that only added to my enjoyment of the match, it was a Bobby Heenan watching Ric Flair in the Rumble esk performance from him. His freak-out at the conclusion when Omega one was a vicarious one for many us I’m sure. But the match itself stood out to me on the rewatch. I mentioned previously that long matches usually aren’t my favourite because they are slow and hard to rewatch, but this match told a progressing story for an hour and 10-minutes that had me engaged the entire time, everything built perfectly to the grand Omega victory. This was the climactic moment of over a year and a half of booking and it all paid off excellently for New Japan and the fans through this match.

 

  1. Hiromu Takahashi vs Taiji Ishimori – Best of the Super Juniors Final

This match was the most surprising to me, I was 100% sure that Ishimori was going all the way in the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament. He’d just returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling with a new character and a new look, in a new faction and he had destroyed everyone in his block including the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Will Ospreay, he seemed destined to travel all the way to Dominion and collect his prize and this very well may have been New Japan’s initial plan, but Hiromu Takahashi stood in his way. Now that Hiromu is injured I think everyone has forgotten just how over Hiromu was for the first half of the year, he wasn’t only seconded to Naito in L.I.J but second to Naito is overall popularity. If you go back and watch the Bushi and Hiromu vs Suzuki Gun match the crowd chants Hiromu like he’s their God, and this popularity was only made clearer throughout the Best of the Super Junior’s tournament and that’s why it was imperative that he went over in this match, which thankfully and against all odds, he did. Not only was the match great because the right man won but because it was chaotic. From the infamous hurracarrana down the flight of stairs, to the area length running drop kick to the dualistic spike-rrana’s, this match has everything. Ultimately, Hiromu proved why he has the undying respect from the audience and proved why it was he that deserved to go on to Dominion to dethrone Ospreay, even more than the up-and-coming hot, new prospect Taiji Ishimori. But as we contemporarily look forward to Wrestle Kingdom 13, it seems Ishimori will be getting the last laugh and that IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

  1. Naito Tetsuya vs Tomohiro Ishii – G1 Climax Day 4

There are no two men I enjoy watching wrestle then Tetsuya Naito and Tomohiro Ishii, and in this match, they proved why they deserve this stop on the list. The action is great, and the clash of personalities is even better. Watching these two stubbornly smack each other for 20 minutes is so enjoyable. These two have an intertwined past and in Kayfabe hate each other, Ishii was the only person Naito ever successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against in his short title reign and Ishii has beaten Naito for other championships in the past. The rivalry is there for every match these two have to be an anticipated event. The counters to each other’s moves throughout the match are so inventive and subversive, just everything about this match is everything I want from a professional wrestling match. This match and its inclusion so far up on this list just reflects the inherit bias in these lists, I doubt this is many people’s second favourite match of the year, when the match first happened everyone loved it, but for many this was overshadowed by other matches in the G1, but for me this match remained the uncompromised benchmark for the tournament and I loved it. Plus, in this one Naito actually won.

  1. Juice Robinson vs Jay White – G1 Special

This match was somehow more chaotic than the Best of the Super Juniors final, had a better feel good moment than the Dominion main event and was more fun to watch then Ishii vs Naito. Who would have predicted Jay White and Juice Robinson to have the match of the year, at the beginning of 2018? They have improved experientially over this calendar year to becoming easily to me the best heel and best babyface in wrestling. Jay White has revolutionised Bullet Club and was recently officially made leader and Juice continues to prove through his incredibly speaking ability that he is the best talker in the wrestling business today. All this potential and all this excellence as well as an incredibly timed botch was fully on display in this roller-coaster ride of a wrestling match.

The crowd is another element this match had going for it, the Cow Palace was electric for this match, they were entirely behind Juice and despised Jay White. This build up would pay off in the eventual 3-count wherein the crowd exploded when Juice beat Jay. But the unforeseen and possibly most engaging element in the match was apparently not planned like I had assumed upon seeing how perfectly it seemed to fit in the story of the match. Jay and Juice where throwing each other into the guardrails so hard they were making Suzuki jealous, the guardrails were flying off everywhere literally creating sparks because of the impact, this created some incredible visuals. Eventually Jay White would suplex Juice into the announce desk and sent Jim Ross flying and prompted a run-in from Josh Barnett, that was apparently a shoot. This bump from JR and subsequent run-in from Barnett heightened the already rampant drama of this match and this all culminated in Juice’s victory and subsequent celebration. This match was an experience and easily was my favourite match in professional wrestling this year.

 

Honourable Mentions:

– Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito – Wrestle Kingdom 12

– Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega – Wrestle Kingdom 12

– Andrade “Cein” Almas vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Takeover Philadelphia

– Adam Cole vs Aleister Black – NXT Takeover Philadelphia

– Men’s Royal Rumble – Royal Rumble 2018

– Women’s Royal Rumble – Royal Rumble 2018

– Asuka vs Sasha Banks – Raw, Jan 29, 2018

– Kazuchika Okada vs Sanada – New Beginning in Osaka 2018

– 6 Man Ladder Match – NXT Takeover New Orleans

– Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs Triple H and Stephanie McMahon – WrestleMania 34

– Kazuchika Okada vs Zack Sabre Jr. – Sakura Genesis 2018

– Juice Robison vs Hiroki Goto – Road to Wrestling Dontaku

– Ronda Rousey vs Nia Jax – Money in the Bank 2018

– Young Bucks vs Sanada and Evil – G1 Special

– Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – G1 Climax Final

– Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler – NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4

– Marty Scurll vs Kazuchika Okada – All In

– Guerrillas of Destiny vs The Young Bucks – Fighting Spirit Unleashed

– Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi vs Cody – King of Pro Wrestling 2018

– Shayna Baszler vs Kairi Sane – NXT Takeover WarGames 2018

– Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Takeover WarGames 2018

– Tommaso Ciampa vs Velveteen Dream – NXT Takeover WarGames 2018

– Pete Dunne, Ricochet and War Raider vs The Undisputed Era – NXT Takeover WarGames 2018

– Becky Lynch vs Charlotte – WWE Evolution

– Becky Lynch vs Charlotte vs Asuka – TLC 2018

 

 

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You Either Get Wrestling or You Don’t…

I hate absolutism, but to completely contradict myself that statement, it seems to me that there are two predominant perspectives about the contemporary opinion on modern wrestling; you either get it or you don’t. You either despise it for its stupidity and can’t get over the main conceit (that it’s fake) and those who see the theatrics and eccentric nature of it all and are drawn in. And if you at any point in your life find yourself drawn in you will always come back to it. You’ll get the curious itch whenever you least expect it and you’ll be back, maybe not forever but for a little while. And the cycle will forever continue, and you will be unable to escape.

 

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I never seen or heard of a person coming around on professional wrestling, if they aren’t interested abstractly, then they never will be interested. You’ll never find that one perfect match to show non-wrestling fans to get them interested in the business, so stop asking that stupid question. I don’t really have anything further to say; you either get professional wrestling or you don’t, and you never will.

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Only Heels Survive in Contemporary WWE

WWE has a problem with crafting universally liked babyfaces. This is for a variety of mostly obvious and frustrating reasons, but the most annoying reason is dumb babyface syndrome. Dumb babyface syndrome is applicable whenever a babyface does something obviously stupid because they are the good guy and WWE thinks we are all morons and think like they act. Your favourite wrestlers that are babyfaces will ALWAYS lose because the heels need HEAT, for some indiscernible reason this strategy along with 50/50 booking are ubiquitous in modern WWE. As a result, the only way to be in any way successful in connecting with the contemporary WWE audience of cynical smarks is to be a heel.

 

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If Alexa Bliss was a plucky babyface literally no one would care about her, she’s only relevant because she constantly goes over and retains the Raw Woman’s Championship, because she’s a heel. As a result, she gets constant television time and the audience sees her much more than Sasha Banks, Bayley or Ember Moon because they’re dumb babyfaces that constantly lose. Bobby Roode is a classic example of dumb babyface syndrome and how it can halt any momentum a talent has. Bobby Roode as a heel in NXT was one of the most over acts in the development system’s history, but on the main roster as a dumb babyface he’s dead in the water, constantly losing and having no emotional resonance with the crowd.

 

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Therefore, Becky Lynch fans should rejoice at her recent heel turn, now she’ll constantly be booked smarter than Charlotte or any of the other suffers of dumb babyface syndrome on the SmackDown woman’s roster. She’ll likely go over at Hell in a Cell and go on a lengthy reign where she continues to get more and more over because of her constant victories, until they eventually turn her babyface and kill her momentum because of her overwhelming support from the audience. Look at Seth Rollins, his character currently has no direction and he’s only remotely over because he’s such a good worker. His positive crowd reactions were much more visceral when he was a heel because the audience didn’t cringe every time he made an obviously stupid decision. Ultimately, heels are booked to be crafty and manipulative, while babyfaces are booked to be generic, go-nowhere, dumb heroes and because of that only heels survive in contemporary WWE.

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Media Consumption Month #1 (August 2018)

Welcome to the first monthly edition of Media Consumption, the post where I reflect on all the noteworthy media I consumed the previous month. Originally this series was going to be weekly, but I didn’t consume enough media to write articles every week to make these posts interesting. I welcome you to argue with me about anything or leave constructive criticism in the comments below: (You Don’t have to have an account!)

Attack on Titan Season 3:

Attack on Titan Season 3 has continued to develop, and now pages inscribed into my mind in only black ink are being fully-realised in animation, and it’s a fantastic experience. Attack on Titan is responsible for my current level of anime fandom, it brought me into the fold in 2014 and once I caught up on the manga later that year. At that time the manga was in the middle of this arc and so this adaptation is a great sense of nostalgia personally. Episode 2 stood out for expanding on the Levi chase scene and creating an action spectacle out of it with insanely, impressive animation. The People vs People arc is something I’ve been defending for years and the backlash from anime only watches has been surprisingly largely non-existent, which is reassuring. A heavily criticised element of Season 3 has been the OP, which is admittedly tonally more cognisant of the initial half of Season 3, but still incredibly lame and uninteresting. The ending theme however sounds like the birthchild of Season 2’s Opening and Ending, it is fucking outstanding. The aesthetic is unique and awesome, and the music brilliantly reflects Historia as a focal character. All in all, I’m eagerly anticipating the continuation of Season 3.

Steins; Gate 0:

Steins; Gate 0 is making me internally conflicted. Binge watching the first 12 episodes of the series, to catch-up, was so fun but the week to week wait with these episodes is poison to the shows pacing. It’s hard to re-immerse yourself in this complex story every week. Sometimes I’ve completely forgotten how we ended last week, so I think ultimately to get a proper view on the series I’ll have to re-watch the entire thing once the Dub is finished. But honestly the most annoying aspect of the show in these previous few episodes is the Steins; Gate 0 original character Kagari. She sucks, she terrible, I don’t care about her at all and she seems to be the motivation for the plot progression and recently and her voice actor is terrible. If I hear her scream mommy again I’m going to have a brain aneurysm. This show is currently on a wait and see basis, hopefully the show pulls through with a widely satisfying conclusion.

My Hero Academia Season 3: 

Filler is one thing, but a filler episode that’s just an advertisement for an inconsequential film that I’m going to force myself to watch, is an entirely different scenario. My Hero Academia double-decker fucked us with the latest episode and this filler garbage is pissing me off. I’m already significantly less interested in this arc in comparison to the first arc of this season and this shit isn’t helping. The most interesting arcs in My Hero are either tournaments or villain battles, whenever they focus on becoming a ‘hero,’ it bores me to tears, I don’t give a fuck about Superhero ideals just play with the characters we like. But if my speculation is correct things may get much more interesting when ‘she’ reveals herself in the coming episodes.

Devilman:

I read the first chapter of Devilman on a whim because I wanted to see the character designs and   how they differ from Devilman Crybaby (the only Devilman content I’ve seen). Little did I know the first chapter was about the weird and rushed dinosaur element from the end of Devilman Crybaby; and now I’m completely intrigued so I’ll be reading the original manga for the foreseeable future. It makes complete structural sense for this to be the opening chapter and I can’t comprehend why it was shoehorned into the final episode of the Netflix adaptation. The second chapter introduces the main characters and they are all largely like their 2018 counterparts, but the manga clearly is establishing a much slower pace, that I’m totally in favour of. Devilman Crybaby was an incredibly enjoyable clusterfuck, but at times it was hard to reconcile the character motivations and plot developments from episode to episode with the insane speed the show was running in. This manga however, seems to be explaining things much more clearly and I’m hooked.

Cowboy Bebop:  

I am forcing myself through this show… it’s just so boring! I’ve reached Episode 11, (the weird alien spoof) and I think the disconnect I have with this show comes down to my hatred of episodic media and my disinterest in anything to do with Space. I feel like I’m wasting my time largely while watching this show, there’s nothing we are building to, nothing to look forward to in anticipation, just more inconsequential characters dicking around. It’s a shame because Episode 5 is evidently a masterpiece, I would rather re-watch that 26 times than continue, but we’ve come this far so we can’t give up here, and maybe I’ll understand by the end. It’s certainly not all bad; the cinematography a times is impeccable, Ed is an excellent character and Faye is easily the hottest anime bitch ever, but I’m constantly watching Spike and Jet dicking around being entirely uninteresting. You can check in next month to see if my overall opinion on this show is any different.

Vinland Saga:

Vinland Saga is about to be the Anime of the Year in 2019, I’ve finished the prologue and next year’s anime adaptation is definitely ending here and when it does, I dare someone to try and challenge it. This was a text-book example of how to fantastically build and payoff a climax within a section (arc) of a story. Real progression with the plot and characters, genuine intrigue for how the story develops going forward, and self-contain, effective and memorable characters. I was completely blow away by the way Vinland Saga just surprised me and cemented itself onto my favourites list. That final chapter was so great; Askeland’s ultimate noble sacrifice and redemption that directly feeds into the development of Canute and Thorfinn was gripping. The last page and Thorfinn’s big, “WHAT NOW?” moment was exhilarating, and I get extremely excited when imagining that moment in animation. Everything came together so cohesively, and it felt like none of my time was wasted and all of my time was well spent investing in Vinland Saga… Thank You Mr. Makoto Yukimura.

The Vision of Escaflowne:

Escaflowne is the only of the four new shows that I watched the second episode of, because the first episode made such an impression. The art style is quite unique in this show, the texture on the dragon’s skin and the weirdly, good-looking over-sized noses all differentiate this show from anything I’ve ever seen. I like that both episodes had seemingly our two main characters both taking the role of the fish out of water in each other’s world and allowed us establishing moments of each respectively. It’ll be interesting if we keep switching between Earth and the ancient sci-fi world that’s name escapes me currently. The Dub in this show isn’t distracting and the main girls voice gives me odd nostalgic feelings, but I can’t place what other projects the voice actress has appeared in, that I’m familiar with. I’m interested to see how this plot, above the others, will progress going forward. All the other shows have a direction and a set tone already but this one seems to be the most dynamic and the one I’m most interested to see develop, even if Serial Experiments Lain was my personal favourite of the 4 new shows.

Revolutionary Girl Utena:

For this show choosing the Dub made for an incredibly unpleasant experience. The voice acting wasn’t remarkably terrible, though it wasn’t any good either, but the voice lines were out of sync with the mouths. This is some basic, fundamental shit that I believe would be difficult to fuck up this badly. The plot didn’t exactly interest me; I watched the first episode only and that was 2 weeks ago now and all I recall is she wants to be a prince to those in need because of her backstory and that she beat some prick in top of a floating castle above the school. It wasn’t all bad, I see the potential in the aesthetic and I love weird, unique shit and this definitively qualifies. Ultimately, this was my least favourite out of the 4 new shows I checked out this month, but I’m not dropping it and will likely be watching the sub going forward.

Serial Experiments Lain:

Serial Experiments Lain was fucking awesome. Unfortunately, I have only seen the first episode, but the entire show worked cohesively so effectively, that I was salivating by the end. The imagery and aesthetic are so visually compelling and striking that the scenes of the initial suicide and the distracted father with the multiple computers, are burned into my subconscious. What a fascinating show; from the aesthetic to the chilling music, to the arthouse elements, to just the way the characters deliver dialogue, everything directly speaks to me. I watched this show, as I did all others in the English Dub and this was easily the standout one of the bunch. Even the 13 Episode length excites me, and this is a show I’m deeply interested in continuing next month and watching develop further.

RahXephon:

RahXephon is intriguing. The obvious Evangelion inspirations and obvious, and I love it. It’s also been about two weeks since I watched episode 1 of this show, so I don’t remember everything (and likely will have to re-watch it) but I was intrigued. Seeing all the Evangelion elements slightly altered in a different team’s vision is a unique and fun experience. I identified the NERVE like military organisation, the Rei parallel character is self-evident and that woman that saved him in the abandoned train station is our Misato. This is one I’ll have to re-watch to remember all the little details that will become important later, but I’ll certainly be continuing this next month.

B Gata H Kei:

Whenever I would look back at my limited anime catalogue, one show stands as a flashing outlier. One of these things are not the same, and Yamada’s First Time or B Geta H Kei, was that outlier. It was a show I watched in Grade 8 for obvious reasons, but I remember liking it way too much. I began watching it in the Summer holidays (December where I live) and my family was on a vacation living in this rental house on limited internet and all I can remember thinking about the entire week of vacation was that I wanted to get home and continue watching this show. It’s a lot of what I thought about that entire week, and I couldn’t watch it while I was there because if KissAnime used up a huge amount of the data people would start asking questions and I didn’t want to have to explain what the show was to them. So, it was a constant internal struggle to pull myself away from the Safari tab on my iPad.

So now, a few years removed, I was fascinated to re-watch this show and try to understand my plight with this show, and this show is deceptively fun. The premise of the show is awesome, and I’m shocked at the overwhelming charm of all the characters. This show brings out something I like to call, ‘forgotten nostalgia,’ which is infinitely more powerful than your ordinary, run of the mill, nostalgia. As I gradually recalled elements of this show it transported me to a different time and the feelings of forgotten nostalgia were so strong. I got a similar feeling when I watched some old Looney Tone Cartoons on YouTube recently and remember the little jingles Daffy would sing to himself and how intrench into my very being they were. Re-hearing the Opening Theme and more importantly the Ending Theme after all this time shocked the nostalgia meter. Something I hadn’t thought about in years yet it all felt so near and familiar. Re-watching this show is a remarkable experience and I can’t wait to continue my journey past episode 3 next month.

G1 Climax:

The G1 Climax wrapped up in early August, and what a trip it’s been. 4 weeks of constant 3-hour professional wrestling shows definitely had me at my limit, but it was all undeniably fantastic, even if I was extremely salty about the conclusion. Before we get into specifics I would like to shout-out a retrospective lookback that New Japan has realised on their Japanese YouTube page that summarises the tournament, with some additional unseen footage of interviews with reoccurring and one-time audience members and shots of the behind the scene actions of the wrestlers. Even if you haven’t been following the tournament as closely as I have, it’s a must watch.

The G1 ended weirdly this year. I predicted going into the tournament that the finals would be a Wrestle Kingdom Main Event rematch with Naito finally beating Okada in a big match scenario. Evidently the finals didn’t feature either of them, instead Tanahashi defeated Kota Ibsuhi in the finals. Okada was eliminated due to his time limit draw with Tanahashi on the first night in Budokan, which was incredibly exciting and a nice feel good moment for the long time New Japan audience that adore Tanahashi, and this decision was fine with me because Naito beating Tanahashi again, this time in the finals would have fitted into the Naito storyline quite well. But that wasn’t to be because Naito lost to Zack Sabre Jr and Omega lost to Ibushi, and therefore the B Block ended in a 4-Way tie with each man having 12 points, but because of previous match-ups Ibushi, who had beaten all the other contenders, proceeded to the finals. Now Zack ending on 12 points is amazing to me, Zack is my second favourite wrestler in New Japan, but my most favourite is Naito and I was furious when Zack pinned him. Naito fans have been waiting for his big moment for years and we were denied it at Wrestle Kingdom and so this G1 was his to win. But ZSJ fucked it all up…

So, I went into the final night quite pissed and disinterested, but Shibata showed up and Tanahashi and Ibushi had one hell of a match. The final Tanahashi run was inevitable and I’m fine with it, he obviously deserves it and Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi is a mega-match. That along with the likely Chris Jericho vs Kazuchika Okada for the Intercontinental Championship have me very excited for January 4th. I have no idea what Naito will be doing until January, and Juice Robinson vs Cody is going to yield some phenomenal promos. Ultimately, I’m incredibly thankful that New Japan gives us a month break until the Destruction tour, because I desperately need it.

NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4:

NXT Takeover this go around was underwhelming to me; my favourite match was the NXT Woman’s Championship between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler and that match withstanding, I didn’t care for anything else on this show. Nothing on this show was bad in terms of match quality or storytelling but nothing stood out to me. The Main Event felt like we were walking old ground, only to have a terrible finish. Adam Cole and Ricochet just didn’t inspire anything in me. The opener was meaningless, there were no stakes because everyone understood exactly how the match was going to play out. Velveteen Dream and EC3 was sloppy and all over the place and the whole show just felt unremarkable. The Kairi Sane match had something these matches lacked; I cared that Kairi won that belt. I’m a Kairi Sane fan and her beating Baszler told a simplistic story that kept me caring. All these other matches felt like the outcomes didn’t matter and they were just on the card to be good wrestling matches; and if there’s something I particularly don’t give a fuck about its good wrestling. With Kairi winning the championship I believe the Main Event for Survivor Series’ accompanying Takeover is evident; Kairi and Io Shari should tear the house down and show everyone what Japanese Woman’s wrestling is.

SummerSlam 2018:

Overall, as blasphemous as a statement like this usually is, I think SummerSlam handily impressed more than NXT Takeover. Nothing was as exciting as Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, nothing got the reaction that Becky Lynch’s turn got, and nothing was as clever as that Main Event. The opener however, was not a highlight of the night, the only person involved in this boring feud that I’m remotely interested in is Drew McIntyre. I have little interest in a babyface Dean Ambrose, I have even less interest in Seth Rollins currently and no amount of rehab will ever have me invested in anything Dolph Ziggler does. To boot this match was boring as fuck. New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers was enjoyable; retrospectively the New Day absolutely should have won the belts here, but hindsight is 20-20 and Eric Rowan couldn’t have picked a worse time to tear his bicep, and Harper should just continue killing dudes in his stead. Braun Stroman squashing Kevin Owens was fucking awesome, and incredibly ballsy for the WWE to do in front of this audience. There seemingly is a payoff coming from this squash with Kevin quitting recently on Raw, so he’ll be fine, and this got Braun to the exact point necessary for later in night. I love short matches that don’t fuck around, and this was a perfect example of one.

The two biggest matches for SmackDown were next and they both were remarkable. Becky Lynch may have been the most over wrestler on the entire show and it was fun to watch. The story in this match was executed with pin-point accuracy; it was necessary for them to get the belt off Carmella, she’s a bigger star coming off this run, they played into the audiences’ fatigue with Charlotte being rammed down their throats and paid off the audiences’ frustrations with Becky being repeatedly being walked over. If you’re a Becky Lynch fan this heel turn should be the best possible outcome for you, because now Becky’s going to be booked strong instead of being positioned as the moronic babyface and will only get over even more. You must be a heel, or AJ Styles, contemporarily to get over in WWE. Speaking of which this was the greatest fuck finish I think I’ve ever seen; AJ Styles and Samoa Joe probably could have had a basic storyline and had a barn-burner of a match but instead this entire feud is being dominated by an unbelievably well written (mostly well performed) storyline. Samoa Joe is the best promo in this company, he and Kevin Owens have a way to give their terribly written dialogue without sounding like absolute geeks; they are great in spite of the material they are given instead of being great because of the material they are given. Joe notably kicked out of the Styles Clash, and this may be an indication of his much-needed victory at Hell in a Cell. If WWE are ever going to go with Joe as a world champion this is the time. The follow up on SmackDown was also great, AJ told him to not do something and then Joe said FUCK YOU, beat him up and did it anyway like he was Stone Cold Steve Austin. There is no reason not to vicariously love Samoa Joe right now.

Daniel Bryan and Miz was fucking awful. It was way too long and after the previous two thrilling segments the crowd didn’t care at all. WWE has butchered Daniel Bryan’s comeback so terribly that Brooklyn couldn’t remember why they ever cared about him. The crowd was left in a bored hazed following that snore fest and hearing Baron Corbin’s music definitely didn’t wake them up. But WWE in another great decision had a surprise appearance from the Demon, and another fantastically refreshing squash match. Finn Balor desperately needed to remind any of us why we cared about him and he did exactly that with this performance, he’s a hot commodity again and I’m excited for what’s next. Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy calmed the crowd down again, these boys really couldn’t do anything in this position. Jeff definitely tried by killing himself with that Swanton spot on the apron, but the crowd was largely disinterested and now we can move on to Randy Orton and Jeff which I’m at least vaguely interested in.

To end the night, we got back-to-back viewings of Raw’s Main Events; and again, both matches delivered. Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey did what it set out to do, introduce the Bella’s for our inevitably depressing Evolution Main Event and put Ronda over as a monster. But most interestingly Roman Resigns and Brock Lesnar was a captivating finale to an entertaining night. You’ve got to respect the clever way WWE constructed this Main Event, from the Stroman inclusion to Brock’s continued rampage, to Roman finally pinning Brock Lesnar after 3 years of build. No one booed with disinterest like at WrestleMania, instead 15 thousand people were on the edge of their seats for the entirety and they were all worked into caring about Roman’s 15th big moment. Well done WWE, SummerSlam was pretty cool.

Denzel Curry – Taboo:

This album is unbelievably great. Denzel Curry’s new album Taboo is his best work yet and has permeated my ears ubiquitously over this past month. While I don’t believe any single song from the album compares to Imperial’s best song, This Life, but Taboo is exceedingly more consistent than Imperial or Nostalgic 64. Taboo (the song) is a melancholic, smooth opening that establishes the tone of the project and immediately prepares the listener, then Black Balloons follows and is a different sound than Curry usually puts forth. That obscurity is continued with Cash Maniac which are both smooth, memorable and almost relaxing songs, but this is entirely juxtaposed by the following track, Sumo, which is loud, intensive Denzel at his best. Reference to Chowder, references to Rikishi (which obviously popped me) and references to obscure PS2 platformers all combine into an energetic bridge to the second part of the album.

Super Saiyan Superman continues this energy with a quick track, that’s name itself is enough for successful song, even if it is weird Superman isn’t mentioned at all in the song. (I believe.) Switch it Up and Mad I Got It are the least memorable to me, I still enjoy them when they play but I haven’t yet sought them out specifically, but Siren’s was my favourite song from the album for a time. This is easily the smartest track on the album, there’s some fantastic wordplay from JID (especially the National Anthem section) in what I believe is his best performance to date, and the haunting final soliloquy makes for a smooth track, that’s definitely the most substantive on the album. Clout Cobain is next, and it’s been overplayed by me personally so now it’s not my favourite, but it very well may make a return to my favourites list from the album. The music video almost overshadows the simplistic song in some regards and I find they make a must more palatable combination, whereas the song separately is slightly repetitive.

The Blackest Balloon is another slightly repetitive track that benefits from its short runtime, but the chorus maintains a place in my head at least once a day. Percs is the song I’ve listened to the least on this song, only because I forgot to download it, so I’m too unfamiliar with the track to give an informed opinion on it. Finally, the album closes on Vengeance and Black Metal Terrorist, which both are heavy favourites of mine. They both maintain the high energy Denzel is known for and evolves them in two distinctly different directions. Vengeance is entirely stolen by JPEGmafia’s hilariously brutal feature, with the standout line of the album, “If he dies, he dies, Pussy meet the Sky!” Black Metal Terrorist is the ending of the album and it drills home the entire project with madness and high energy, fast verses. Overall this album is a definitive Album of the Year contender.

 

Media Consumption Week #1 (Monday July 23rd, 2018)

Welcome to the weekly (hopefully) series of me chronicling my media consumption while giving brief opinions on the various things I’ve been watching, reading, playing ect. I welcome any conversation or discussion in the comments:

Steins; Gate:

I unintentionally re-watched all of Steins; Gate in a few days, I just got entirely sucked in after watching Episode 1. I think this further demonstrates to me that re-watching your favorited series is so important in understanding what you consider the peak of entertainment. Figuring out how everything fits together and noticing little details in any narrative, strengthens your liking for whatever series. But this re-watch was so interesting to me because I used to believe Steins; Gate was my favourite show for a time, and then I watched some other shows and didn’t revisit this show and it fell gradually down the list. Following that I remember trying to re-watch some of Steins; Gate about a year ago but I didn’t really like it and found the dialogue cringy and annoying. However, now after a fully-fledge entire re-watch I find myself liking this show as much as I ever did. It’s not on the level of The Sopranos or Black Lagoon but Steins; Gate remains special to me. Ultimately: Re-watch your favourite shows with regularity, it’ll make you feel good.

Despite my anecdotal monologue, some aspects of the show that I appreciated this time through were the character interactions and just how fun they are to watch. Obviously, this has always been an acclaimed attribute of this show, but in this re-watch, I found myself savouring the opening 10 episodes because the slice of life interactions, and sadly that isn’t as prevalent when the drama and plot begin to pick up after the major plot twist of Episode 12. I fell back in love with these characters and watching them on screen was so fun and nostalgic, and proved for a very enjoyable overall experience.

Steins; Gate Zero:

Originally, I watched Steins; Gate 0’s pilot episode upon its initial release, but it had been awhile since I had re-watched the original and I was slightly lost about where this show fit in on the timeline among other little aspects, so I just ignored it recently, internally coming to the conclusion that I would watch it all once it came out entirely. Now the Dub is out and there were about 11 Episodes out, so I decided to give it another chance, and ended up watching it all in about three days. The emptiness left in my heart when I caught up was what drove me to re-watch the original series and now I’m anticipating the next release.

Now to discuss the actual show: It’s an unrivalled experience for me. The structural nature of a sequel to Steins; Gate that takes place on a world line where none of the character interaction are remembered by anyone, but Okabe is brilliant. When familiar elements in the narrative reappear but are slightly different it truly gives you a thrill making your mind wonder with the possibilities. An example is when Moeka initially appears and the viewer is made to think about what her possible roll in this world line is. All reappearing characters and plot elements are like this and it is truly an experience that keeps the viewer on his/her toes on a fundamental level. Additionally, me picking up on hints and foreshadowing due to my many experiences with the original made me feel respected as a die-hard fan of the series. I picked up on the identity of the biker chick and noted the American professors strange behaviours because it was foreshadowed similarly to things in the original Steins; Gate and those “ahahhh” moments are the adrenaline filled highs I live for. So far, I think its earned its already monumentally high position on MAL and is a worthy sequel to the original Steins; Gate.

Cowboy Bebop:

Watching Cowboy Bebop for the first time was a daunting task; As much as you try to repress the acclaim surrounding it and judge it purely by its merits, the legacy of the show still bleeds through and influences your opinion. Part of the reason for my lack of Cowboy Bebop experience was because it is an episodic show and that really doesn’t traditionally appeal to me, and even in this show I wasn’t enthralled until Episode 5 which absolutely blew me away entirely. What I love about this show, and this is even present in the episodes I wasn’t so into in, is the sound design where the show can go from being show loud and overbearing to absolute mellowness in an instant. This mellowness is my favourite individual aspect of the show, there is yet to be a completely over the top loud villain or hero everyone just maintains this overly cool demeaner and its captivating. This show is very relaxing, and I don’t think I’ve explained myself the best here…

More specifically I would like to discuss Episode 5: Ballad of Fallen Angels. I love everything about this episode and its easiest one of my favourite episodes of any tv show ever, I was completely blow away by this episode. I’ve watched it over a few times now and I absolutely hope that this is the only indication we ever get into Spike’s backstory, I’ve got all the information I need, and I now understand Spike entirely. The sequence of specialised music timed with the brief flashes into his past blew my socks off, it was more effective than any other expositional method and I really hope they don’t attempt to create any more depth there because its unneeded. The atmosphere of this episode is uniquely brilliant and justifies my time investment in the unequal first hour and a half of content.

Neon Genesis Evangelion:

I’ve only recently got Neon Genesis Evangelion. I watched it earlier this year for the first time and chronicled some of my ongoing thoughts on Twitter and then came to the conclusion that Eva was special, but I didn’t entirely get it yet. Recently re-immersing myself back into the world of Eva, I finally appreciate it the way I wanted to originally. Moreover, I understood its predominant social commentary of communication and how when it breaks down (and it always does) how everything goes to shit. I started thinking of how miscommunication leads to nearly every problem in everybody’s lives and leads to depression and all that good stuff. My epiphany about communication and its relation to Evangelion through a recent re-watch also further proves my previous point about the importance of re-watching your favourite series’.

My Hero Academia Season 3:

My Hero Season 3 has been in a bit of a slope recently. After the conclusion of the first arc of this season we’ve been having some down time to refocus on the hero’s in trainings’ training, also known as the most boring aspect of this series. By the end of the All for One vs One for All fight my investment in the villains was at an all-time high. But they seem to have been reserved in the background for the time being to focus on this upcoming exam. The most recent episode has shown some potential and I believe we will be emerging from this slope in quality in the coming weeks.

Vinland Saga:

Vinland Saga caught my eye because it was commonly compared in some way to Berserk and that there is an upcoming anime for the series and I wanted to get ahead of the game. After reading it for 6 volumes I have every intention to complete it. I don’t have any foundation opinions on the series yet, and my biggest take away so far is that I enjoy the characters. Thorfinn may have some generic qualities but his brooding, edginess (for lack of a better word) is fun to watch. Askeladd is the most interesting character so far, he obviously has his own agenda and I’m interested to see how the Welshmen develops. Finally, Thorkell is great, he’s another character with some generic qualities but his disregard for convention and absolute self-confidence is also fascinating to watch. Overall I’m just interested in how the entire manga develops from here, because there’s definitely potential here.

Berserk Manga:

I’m cautiously reading and taking notes of the Berserk manga for an upcoming project and re-reading this series is an absolute gift. Analysing the idiosyncrasies of this manga and now understanding the proper thematic relevance and sub-textual elements gives you a different perspective on Berserk and a better understanding of just how great this series truly is. However, I’m going to wait to delve too deep into Berserk, to not spoil my aforementioned upcoming Berserk related project.

Octopath Traveller:

I have played very little Octopath Traveller at this point and I predominantly just mirror the most generic, reoccurring sentiments that it looks beautiful and plays well. No hot takes here, I hope to play much more of this game over the next week.

Fortnite:

What can I say about the universal phenomenon from Epic Games? I’ve been playing Fortnite for nearly a year now and I’m still completely interested and invested and play nearly every single day. My recent Nintendo Switch purchase absolutely hasn’t assist in quelling this craving. Easy access to just one more game is life-altering and it’s still as fun and addictive as ever. I’ll continue to play this increasingly more popular game…

G1 Climax 28:

New Japan’s G1 Climax is acclaimed throughout the wrestling community as one of the shining examples of professional wrestling. My New Japan journey began earlier this year on January 4th (and not for the obvious reason) so this G1 is my very first, and I was excited and hyped for both the tournament and even the press conference, and I was not disappointed in the slightest by either. The press conference was great and only further highlighted that New Japan doesn’t only have the best pure wrestling in the world but by far the best promos in the world. WWE promos are scripted and unconvincing whereas they press conference interviews were incredible with Zack Sabre Jr. giving his usual hilarity, Fale proving that you only need a few words to get your point across and Tama Tonga and Juice Robinson empathising that they are the best two promos in the business. (And don’t forget about young Jay White)

The three standout stories in this year’s G1 are the reanimation of the Bullet Clubs old ways, Jay White proving to be the best up-and-coming heel in the business and Toru Yano trying to fight against his true nature. The first two are intertwined in a controversy about outside interference and ref bumps; in both these storylines cheating in their matches or outright disqualifications are heavy prevalent and this has some people outraged. This all feeds into the story and New Japan is already capitalising on this aspect of their respected storylines by subverting the views expectations and creating something new. Jay White’s cheating finally caught up to him and he got his comeuppance when Minoru Suzuki beat the shit out of him and ended his undefeated streak. As for the Firing Squad they have been making enemies of the referee’s and this is having consequences in their G1 standings, because they’re losing matches because of it. Additionally, when the referee goes down and the baby-face still overcomes the odds like Sanada did over Tama Tonga the crowd exploded. All this is building and has consequence, this isn’t a fuck finish to delay a feud a couple more weeks for the PPV, it has legitimate storyline weight to it.

As for match recommendations, the following all stand out to me; (notably these are all B-block matches): Naito v Omega from Night 2, Zack Sabre Jr. v Toru Yano from Night 4, Naito v Ishii from Night 4 and Ishii vs Goto from Night 6. If you’re a lapsed wrestling fan or ever been curious about the wacky world of professional wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling is an excellent way to start.

Extreme Rules 2018:

It was bad. I think at this point we all understand that this event was forgettable and terrible, and it isn’t the crowds fault at all. The event was encapsulated by the crowd’s stellar performance, this show was too long, and no one cares about any of this garbage. Who could possibly care about anything on this show; nothing matters these titles are traded back and forth for no discernible reason, there’s no consistency in the storytelling and it’s just a cycle of fan-hatred and garbage television. WWE was ruined Asuka in favour of a joke side-kick and Carmella, pulled the trigger on some unfunny comedy tag team 6 weeks too late and wasted everyone’s time for 30 minutes on a fuck finish. I have nothing new to add; this show was garbage.

Payback 2017 Review

Chris Jericho defeated Kevin Owens to win the United States Championship

6Payback 2017 was introduced to us with this United States Championship match, in which he belt surprisingly changed hands, only to change back two days later on Smackdown. This match was largely boring to me in the beginning, much like their WrestleMania match, but when they started calling back to the figure spot, and incorporated it into the match, I was interested. By the end of the match I was ultimately satisfied by the performance, it was a nice surprise and the angle they followed up with on Smackdown was pretty great as well. But moving forward with Kevin Owens as the champion we are headed to Backlash were AJ Styles will challenge him, but I don’t think AJ will be winning the belt in Chicago. WWE seems fixated on creating this nationalistic character in Kevin Owens, he has a new gimmick being the ‘Face of America’ he even has brand new graphics on the stage and everything, so I doubt that they would invest all of that money and have him lose after two months of the gimmick. Therefore Owens will probably hold on to the championship until at least SummerSlam and possibly drop it to Shinsuke or Tye Dillinger.

Austin Aries defeated Neville by disqualification, and therefore Neville retained the Cruiserweight Championship

5The show continued with the Cruiserweight Championship Match which ended in a justified disqualification finish. The match as a whole was nothing special, but passable, there wasn’t any TJ Perkins involvement like I speculated. The finish was justified because neither one of these guys can afford to take a clean loss. Going forward this division really needs so proper direction, the company really still hasn’t integrated the cruiserweights into Raw. They still constantly do rest holds and don’t do anything unique or inspiring and whenever someone is on TV enough to get over like Jack Gallagher was for two or three weeks they lose to Neville and are replaced on Raw and sent down to 205 Live. Cedric Alexander is still out injured and if I was booking this division I would build around him going into SummerSlam and have him defeat Neville.

The Hardy Boyz defeated Sheamus and Cesaro to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships 

4Besides one very notable exception, this was easily was the low point of the entire night. I had absolutely no interest in this match, so much that I wasn’t even paying attention to this match. I was preoccupied and putting cloths on the line and I caught the end of the match as well as the heel turn. I willing to wait this heel turn out and see what these guy can do in this different role, but Cesaro is still unbearable in promos and Sheamus is so played out so it will be an up-hill battle for these guys to do anything of purpose on the main roster. Another point of contention in the wrestling community as of late is the state of the Broken Matt Hardy character, and in my opinion what they are doing now is perfect of old, attitude era Matt Hardy and the new, broken version of Matt Hardy. But overall we just need to hurry to SummerSlam and get to this Revival vs Hardy Boyz match!

Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley to win the Raw Women’s Championship

7The highlight of the night was easily this match for the Raw Women’s Championship with another surprising championship change when Alexa Bliss picked up a semi-clean victory over Bayley in her very own hometown, it was beautiful. Alexa Bliss, and maybe if I’m being super generous Carmella, are the only NXT women that have come up to the main roster and improved. All the four horsewomen have been destroyed by this 50/50 booking and terrible promos but Alexa has risen above them all and deserves to win this belt. This is the best main roster women’s match I have seen in a very long time. But with Bayley no longer the champion the Sasha Banks heel turn has seemingly been pushed back because if she was to turn heel now there wouldn’t be any baby faces on Raw besides Bayley and Mickie James. So the future of this division is totally unknown, but at least in the meantime Alexa will be cutting promos instead of the female Roman Resigns that now resides on Smackdown.

Bray Wyatt defeated Randy Orton in the House of Horrors Match

3Quite frankly this ‘match’ was dogshit! This is a prime example why the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick shouldn’t be fully explored in the WWE. This was over produced garbage that didn’t even make environmental sense. When the PPV was airing the sun was still out but in the pre-tape its pitch black. Dave Meltzer summed it up perfectly! Moving on…

Seth Rollins defeated Samoa Joe

This feud definitely shouldn’t have happened at this time, for multiple reasons. The first is that neither one of these guys can afford a loss they both should run through people until SummerSlam, nut they finished with a roll-up attempting to protect both guys but that just means this feud must needlessly continue and someone has to win at some point. After this is wrapped up I think Samoa Joe should win the Intercontinental Championship before SummerSlam and I think a Joe vs Ambrose feud would be intriguing. Rollins always has the Lesnar dynamic, they could always go back down that route, but I think another opinion would be to have Rollins go after Bray Wyatt, it would be fresh and it hasn’t been done yet so why not?

Braun Stroman defeated Roman Reigns

5This match will forever live in the shadow of the match at Fastlane that match had a disappointed finish but this match was overall disappointing and the finish was utterly underwhelming. Nothing interesting or compelling happened in the match it was just two dudes in a ring and then Stroman rightfully won, but even that was screwed up when they had him comically run into an ambulance door immediately after the match on Raw Talk. It’s also disappointing that Stroman is only being built up like this monster because Lesnar needs someone to squash. But the plan is seemingly to do Lesnar and Resigns at WrestleMania next year which is fine with me I guess. However I would much rather see Resigns vs Cena or Rock vs Resigns.

6Ultimately this show overall was a total disappointment and I regret wasting 3 hours of my life just to see Alexa Bliss win a meaningless title. Payback 2017 gets a 5. Hopefully Backlash, a show I have actual interest in, will live up to my expectations. YOU CAN’T HINDER THE JINDER!

Booking From the Superstar Shakeup through to SummerSlam

The roster as they stand at this point in time:

Raw: Roman Resigns, Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Chris Jericho, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, Big Show, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Apollo Crews, Bo Dallas, Cesaro, Sheamus, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder, Rhyno, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, R-Truth, Mark Henry, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Goldust, Elias Samson, Darren Young, Curtis Axel, Kalisto, Neville, TJ Perkins, Akira Tozawa, Austin Aries, Brian Kendrick, Cedric Alexander, Ariya Divari, Drew Gulak, Jack Gallagher, Lince Dorado, Mustafa Ali, Noam Dar, Rich Swann, Tony Nese, Dana Brooke, Emma and Alicia Fox

Smackdown: Randy Orton, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, John Cena, Shinsuke Nakamura, Dolph Ziggler, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Tye Dillinger, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Natalya, Luke Harper, Eric Rowan, Aiden English, Epico, Primo, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, James Ellsworth, Carmella, Tamina, Mojo Rawley, Kane, Jinder Mahal, Konor, Viktor, Rusev, Lana, Zack Ryder and Sin Cara

Payback: (Raw Exclusive PPV)

Preshow-                                                                                                                                      Emma defeated Dana Brooke in a singles match                                                                        Akira Tozawa defeated Brian Kendrick in a singles match

Main Show                                                                                                                                      Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho to retain the United States Championship                      Alexa Bliss defeated Sasha Banks in a singles match                                                                      Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz to retain the Intercontinental championship                      The Hardy Boyz defeated Sheamus and Cesaro to retain the Raw Tag Team    Championships                                                                                                                                      Samoa Joe defeated Seth Rollins in a singles match                                                                      Neville defeated Austin Aries to retain the Cruiserweight Championship                                Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt in a House of Horrors match to retain the WWE  Championship                                                                                                                                        Bayley defeated Nia Jax to retain the Women’s Championship                                                    Braun Strowman defeated Roman Resigns in a Falls Count Anywhere match

Backlash: (Smackdown Exclusive PPV)

Preshow-

Tye Dillinger defeated Jinder Mahal in a singles match                                                                 American Alpha defeated The Shining Stars in a Tag Team match

Main Show-

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler in a singles match                                                 Luke Harper defeated Eric Rowan in a singles match                                                                   Becky Lynch defeated Carmella in a singles match                                                                       The Usos defeated The New Day to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships           Kane defeated Sami Zayn in a singles match                                                                         Naomi defeated Charlotte to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship                     AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens to win the United States Championship                                 Randy Orton defeated Baron Corbin to retain the WWE Championship

Extreme Rules: (Raw Exclusive PPV)

Preshow-

The Club defeated Heath Slater and Rhyno in a tag team match                                                 Elias Samson defeated R-Truth in a singles match

Main Show-

Bayley defeated Emma to retain the Raw Women’s Championship                                 Samoa Joe defeated Seth Rollins in a singles match                                                                       TJ Perkins defeated Austin Aries in a singles match                                                                       Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss in a Steel Cage match                                                               Neville defeated Kalisto to retain the Cruiserweight Championship                                           The Hardy Boyz defeated The Revival to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships             Bray Wyatt defeated Finn Balor in an Extreme Rules match

Money in the Bank: (Smackdown Exclusive PPV)

Preshow-

American Alpha defeated Breezango in a tag team match                                                           Zack Ryder defeated Jinder Mahal in a singles match

Main Show-

Becky Lynch defeated Naomi, Charlotte, Natalya, Tamina, Carmella and Lana to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a Money in the Bank Ladder match                         Rusev defeated Mojo Rawley in a singles match                                                                             Randy Orton defeated Kevin Owens to retain the WWE Championship                                    Kane defeated AJ Styles to win the United States championship                                                Eric Rowan and Luke Harper defeated the Usos to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships                                                                                                                               Sami Zayn defeated Baron Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Dolph Ziggler, Tye Dillinger, Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods to win the Money in the Bank Ladder match

 

 

Bad Blood: (Raw Exclusive PPV)

Preshow-

Mickie James defeated Emma in a singles match                                                                           Elias Samson defeated Goldust in a singles match

Main Show-

Cedric Alexander defeated TJ Perkins, Austin Aries, Rich Swann, Jack Gallagher, Akira Tozawa, Brian Kendrick, Mustafa Ali, Noam Dar and Kalisto in a Ladder match to become the number 1 contender to the Cruiserweight Championship                                     Enzo and Cass defeated The Club in a tag team match                                                                 Bray Wyatt defeated The Miz in a singles match                                                                             The Revival defeated The Hardy Boyz to win the aw Tag Team Championships                     Samoa Joe defeated Sheamus and Cesaro in a 2 on 1 handicap match                                       Roman Resigns defeated Finn Balor in a singles match                                                     Bayley defeated Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss to retain the Raw Women’s Championship in a Fatal 4-Way match                                                                                   Braun Strowman defeated Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in a triple treat match to retain the Intercontinental Championship

Battleground: (Smackdown Exclusive PPV)

Preshow-

Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder ad Sin Cara defeated The Ascension and Aiden English in a 6-Man Tag Team match

Main Show-

Becky Lynch defeated Naomi to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship                 American Alpha defeated The Usos in a tag team match                                                               Shinsuke Nakamura defeated James Ellsworth in a singles match                                             Kane defeated Kevin Owens to retain the United States Championship                                     Rusev defeated Tye Dillinger in a singles match                                                             Charlotte defeated Carmella in a singles match                                                                               Baron Corbin defeated Sami Zayn in a singles match                                                                   Eric Rowan and Luke Harper defeated The New Day to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships                                                                                                                                       AJ Styles defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship

SummerSlam: (Dual Brand PPV)

Preshow-

Tye Dillinger defeated Tyler Breeze in a singles match                                                                                                                     Alexa Bliss defeated Emma in a singles match

 

Main Show-

Cedric Alexander defeated Neville to win the Cruiserweight Championship                         The Revival defeated The Hardy Boyz to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships in a Ladder match                                                                                                                                 Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship             John Cena defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in a singles match                                                         Bray Wyatt and Sister Abigail defeated The Miz and Maryse in an Intergender tag team match                                                                                                                                                         Finn Balor defeated Kane in a singles match                                                                         Sasha Banks defeated Bayley to win the Raw Women’s Championship                                     The Shield defeated The New Day in a 6 Man tag team match                                                   Samoa Joe defeated Triple H in a Street Fight                                                                                 Cesaro defeated Sheamus in a singles match                                                                                   AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin, Randy Orton, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens to retain the WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber match                                           Eric Rowan and Luke Harper defeated American Alpha to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships                                                                                                                   Brock Lesnar defeated Braun Strowman to retain the Universal Championship

Call Ups from NXT:

Raw:

Hideo Itami (Cruiserweight)                                                                                                                 Bobby Roode

Smackdown:

DIY                                                                                                                                                         Asuka

Thank You!

If you have any questions or want elaboration about anything about the Booking in this post Tweet me: @nationofenter