NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka (2019)

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NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima) and Jushin “Thunder” Liger def. Takashi Iizuka, Minoru Suzuki, and Taka Michinoku by disqualification

MY PREDICTION: Iizuka, Suzuki, Michinoku (0-0-1)
★★½


TAG TEAM MATCH
Evil & Sanada def. Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida

MY PREDICTION: Evil & Sanada (1-0-1)
★★


IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 3-WAY MATCH
Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi def. Taichi, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru

MY PREDICTION: Naito, Takagi, Bushi (2-0-1)
★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens def. Tomoaki Honma & Yoshi-Hashi

MY PREDICTION: Takahashi, Owens (3-0-1)
★★½


TAG TEAM MATCH
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa) def. Toru Yano & Togi Makabe

MY PREDICTION: G.O.D. (4-0-1)
★★★


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Taiji Ishimori (c) def. Ryusuke Taguchi

MY PREDICTION: Ishimori (5-0-1)
★★★★


SINGLES MATCH
Kazuchika Okada def. Bad Luck Fale

MY PREDICTION: Okada (6-0-1)
★★★½


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jay White def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)

MY PREDICTION: Tanahashi (6-1-1)
★★★★


As the show’s title says, this is a new beginning and is more about setting up things than paying them off. With that in mind it was a good show overall. The undercard tag matches had my attention a little more than usual and am looking forward to the likely Tenzan/Iizuka happy ending later this month when Iizuka has his last match before he retires. Evil and Sanada had a solid match against two of the most promising young lions. Tachi lost his Intercontinental title match at New Beginning in Sapporo day 2, and now lost this 6-man tag match. So much for Taichi’s push, thankfully. Tama Tonga has, predictably, dropped the “good guy” shtick he had going since WK13 and thus stopped losing. Ishimori and Taguchi put on one of the best matches of the show in a good defense for Taiji. Lastly, we had the IWGP Heavyweight Championship change hands in the Switchblade Shock! I think this is the right way to go since Tanahashi retaining here wouldn’t have sown anything interesting going forward. Here’s to Switchblade’s new era!

Recommended matches: Ishimori/Taguchi and White/Tanahashi

PPV RATING: C+

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NXT TakeOver: Phoenix

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NXT TakeOver: Phoenix (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
War Raiders (Hanson, Rowe) def. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) (c)

MY PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (0-1)

★★★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Matt Riddle def. Kassius Ohno

MY PREDICTION: Riddle (1-1)

★★★½


NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Johnny Gargano def. Ricochet (c)

MY PREDICTION: Gargano (2-1)

★★★★★


NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Shayna Baszler (c) def. Bianca Belair

MY PREDICTION: Baszler (3-1)

★★½


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Tommaso Ciampa (c) def. Aleister Black

MY PREDICTION: Black (3-2)

★★★★


This was an average NXT TakeOver event, as in, NXT TakeOvers tend to average an A- with me. In other words, a great show as usual! Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly continue their trend for amazing tag team title matches. I’ll be curious to see what happens with Undisputed Era now that they don’t have any championships within their ranks. There’s no way Riddle/Ohno feud continues after this since Ohno has now lost 3 straight times to Riddle. He’ll probably slink back out of sight for awhile and Riddle will find a new feud, but I’m not sure what that would be at the moment. Gargano/Ricochet was my match of the show, but I don’t know where this leaves Ricochet exactly. Baszler continues to put on solid matches in the women’s division. Clearly Belair is not ready to be the top woman. I feel she did a fairly decent job here, but her in-ring work still leaves something to be desired as she delivered her sloppiest finisher yet in a near-fall situation. I feel like Black is heading to the main roster after this. Ciampa and Gargano now with both singles men’s titles means NXT will still continue to be the #DIY show at the top.

Recommended matches: NXT Tag Team and North American Championship matches

PPV RATING: A-

NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool

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NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

NXT UK TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Zack Gibson & James Drake def. Moustache Mountain (Tyle Bate, Trent Seven)

★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Finn Bálor def. Jordan Devlin

(Finn Bálor replaced Travis Banks)

★★★★


NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
Dave Mastiff def. Eddie Dennis

★★★


NXT UK WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Toni Storm def. Rhea Ripley (c)

★★


WWE UNITED KINGDOM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Pete Dunne (c) def. Joe Coffey

★½


This was the first TakeOver PPV for NXT UK and it did not deliver. The crowd really cheered most of event as if it was as good as the main NXT TakeOvers. It’s cute and nice to want things. Every other performance of Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, and Pete Dunne I’ve seen was eons better than what they did here. The tag team title match started and stayed too slow for too long, but eventually got into gear and ended up being okay. Mastiff/Dennis was pretty decent. Women’s title match was eh. UK title match spent so much time at such a slow pace with way too many false finishes and was way too long. The only very good match was the one that had one of the two competitors replaced with a WWE main roster guy that’s criminally underused, Finn Bálor. This change lends credence to the idea that the NXT UK roster is not ready for prime time (baby) as the whole show indicated. That’s especially sad considering Moustache Mountain and Pete Dunne were in some of my absolute favorite matches of 2018 so I don’t know why those two matches were as lackluster as they were.

Recommended matches: Bálor v. Devlin

PPV RATING: C-

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13

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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Will Ospreay def. Kota Ibushi (c)

MY PREDICTION: Ibushi (0-1)
★★★★½


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 3-WAY MATCH
Shingo Takagi & Bushi def. Roppongi 3K (Sho, Yoh) and El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c)

MY PREDICTION: Takagi & Bushi (1-1)
★★★


RPW BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Tomohiro Ishii (c)

MY PREDICTION: ZSJ (2-1)
★★★★


IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 3-WAY MATCH
Evil & Sanada def. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa) (c) and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson)

MY PREDICTION: G.O.D. (2-2)
★★★★


IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Juice Robinson def. Cody (c)

MY PREDICTION: Robinson (3-2)
★★★½


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Taiji Ishimori def. Kushida (c)

MY PREDICTION: Ishimori (4-2)
★★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Jay White def. Kazuchika Okada

MY PREDICTION: Okada (4-3)
★★★★


IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
Tetsuya Naito def. Chris Jericho (c)

MY PREDICTION: Naito (5-3)
★★★★½


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Kenny Omega (c)

MY PREDICTION: Omega (5-4)
★★★★★


Wrestle Kingdom 13 feels like a bit of a letdown compared to last year’s WK12. A number of matches weren’t quite as good as I had hoped and many of them were pretty short too. Having said that I can’t hate on the show at all as there wasn’t a bad match on the show. After watching my first year of New Japan Pro Wrestling, it’s hard not to have such high expectations for this show. But hey, I’d rather be slightly let down by a great show not being superb rather than watching a bad show. New Japan in 2019 is starting out with a completely new set of champions and looks set out to be quite different than 2018 was. It’ll definitely be interesting going forward!

Recommended matches: IWGP Intercontinental Championship match and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match

PPV RATING: A

usagi704’s GAME OF THE YEAR 2018 Awards

RULES FOR GAMES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NOMINATION
(List of games eligible for this year’s awards)
– THE GAME MUST HAVE BEEN PLAYED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
– THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RELEASED THIS YEAR

My 10 Favorite Games Played in 2018

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Everybody’s Golf (PlayStation 4)
– Most Surprisingly Good Game

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Yakuza: Kiwami 2 (PlayStation 4)
– Best Story

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Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (PlayStation 4 / PS Vita)

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Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise (PlayStation 4)

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Dragon Ball FighterZ (PlayStation 4)

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Yakuza 6: The Song of Life (PlayStation 4)
– Best Character (Kazuma Kiryu)

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Tetris Effect (PlayStation 4)
– Best Visuals
– Best Music

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Dante’s Inferno (PlayStation 3)

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E.X. Troopers (PlayStation 3)

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SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Switch)


Dishonorable Mentions

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Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 (PlayStation 3)
– Most Disappointing Game

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Sword Coast Legends (PlayStation 4)
– Worst Game

Best of Pro Wrestling 2018

BEST WRESTLING SHOWS OF 2018
10. NJPW Strong Style Evolved
9. NXT TakeOver: WarGames II
8. NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed
7. NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4
6. NJPW Sakura Genesis
5. NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia
4. NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
3. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12
2. NXT TakeOver: Chicago II
1. NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall

BEST WRESTLERS OF 2018
10. Velveteen Dream

NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP LADDER MATCH @ NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
Adam Cole v. Ricochet v. Lars Sullivan v. Velveteen Dream v. Killian Dain v. EC3

@ NXT TakeOver: Chicago II
Ricochet v. Velveteen Dream

@ NXT 9.5.2018
Velveteen Dream v. Johnny Gargano

NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NXT TakeOver: WarGames II
Tommaso Ciampa (c) v. Velveteen Dream

9. Tomohiro Ishii (NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Champion, RPW British Heavyweight Champion)

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 10]
Kota Ibushi v. Tomohiro Ishii

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 14]
Tomohiro Ishii v. Kenny Omega

@ NJPW Road to Destruction 9.7.2018
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Will Ospreay & Tomohiro Ishii

@ NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii

8. Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Champion)

IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018 [Day 2]
Kazuchika Okada (c) v. Hiroshi Tanahashi

IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BEST OF 3 FALLS, NO TIME LIMIT MATCH @ NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall
Kenny Omega v. Kazuchika Okada (c)

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 17]
Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Kazuchika Okada

@ NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii

7. Johnny Gargano

NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia
Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) v. Johnny Gargano

@ NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
Johnny Gargano v. Tommaso Ciampa

STREET FIGHT MATCH @ NXT TakeOver: Chicago II
Tommaso Ciampa v. Johnny Gargano

@ NXT 9.5.2018
Velveteen Dream v. Johnny Gargano

6. Roderick Strong (2-time NXT Tag Team Champion) & 5. Kyle O’Reilly (2-time NXT Tag Team Champion)

@ NXT 5.16.2018
Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch v. Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong)

NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NXT TakeOver: Chicago II
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) (c) v. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch

NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NXT 7.11.2018
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) v. Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate, Trent Seven) (c)

NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) (c) v. Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate, Trent Seven)

WARGAMES MATCH @ NXT TakeOver: WarGames II
Pete Dunne, Ricochet, and War Raiders (Hanson, Rowe) v. Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong)

4. Hiromu Takahashi (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion)

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12
Will Ospreay v. Marty Scurll (c) v. Kushida v. Hiromu Takahashi

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka
Will Ospreay (c) v. Hiromu Takahashi

@ NJPW Best of the Super Jr. 25 [Day 4]
El Desperado v. Hiromu Takahashi

FINAL @ NJPW Best of the Super Jr. 25
Hiromu Takahashi v. Taiji Ishimori

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall
Hiromu Takahashi v. Will Ospreay (c)

3. Will Ospreay (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion)

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12
Will Ospreay v. Marty Scurll (c) v. Kushida v. Hiromu Takahashi

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka
Will Ospreay (c) v. Hiromu Takahashi

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Sakura Genesis 2018
Will Ospreay (c) v. Marty Scurll

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018 [Day 2]
Will Ospreay (c) v. Kushida

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall
Hiromu Takahashi v. Will Ospreay (c)

@ NJPW Road to Destruction 9.7.2018
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Will Ospreay & Tomohiro Ishii

@ NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome [Day 2]
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay

2. Kota Ibushi (NEVER Openweight Champion)

@ NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2018 [Day 2]
Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega) v. Cody & Marty Scurll

@ NJPW Strong Style Evolved
Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega) v. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson)

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 8]
Sanada v. Kota Ibushi

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 10]
Kota Ibushi v. Tomohiro Ishii

FINAL @ NJPW G1 Climax 28
Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Kota Ibushi

@ NJPW Road to Destruction 9.7.2018
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Will Ospreay & Tomohiro Ishii

@ NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii

@ NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome [Day 2]
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay

1. Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Champion, IWGP United States Champion)

IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12
Kenny Omega (c) v. Chris Jericho

IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH @ NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo [Day 2]
Jay White v. Kenny Omega (c)

@ NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2018 [Day 2]
Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega) v. Cody & Marty Scurll

@ NJPW Strong Style Evolved
Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega) v. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson)

IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BEST OF 3 FALLS, NO TIME LIMIT MATCH @ NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall
Kenny Omega v. Kazuchika Okada (c)

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 2]
Kenny Omega v. Tetsuya Naito

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 10]
Kenny Omega v. Sanada

@ NJPW G1 Climax 28 [Day 14]
Tomohiro Ishii v. Kenny Omega

@ NJPW Road to Destruction 9.7.2018
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Will Ospreay & Tomohiro Ishii

@ NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii

@ NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome [Day 2]
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) v. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay

NXT TakeOver: WarGames II (2018)

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NXT TakeOver: WarGames II (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

SINGLES MATCH
Matt Riddle def. Kassius Ohno

MY PREDICTION: Riddle (1-0)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Riddle (1-0)


NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BEST OF 3 FALLS MATCH
Shayna Baszler (c) def. Kairi Sane

MY PREDICTION: Sane (1-1)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Baszler (2-0)
★★★


SINGLES MATCH
Aleister Black def. Johnny Gargano

MY PREDICTION: Gargano (1-2)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Black (3-0)
★★★★


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Tommaso Ciampa (c) def. Velveteen Dream

MY PREDICTION: Ciampa (2-2)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Ciampa (4-0)
★★★★★


WARGAMES MATCH
Pete Dunne, Ricochet, and War Raiders (Hanson, Rowe) def. Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong)

MY PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (2-3)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (4-1)
★★★★½


Recommended matches: NXT Championship match and the WarGames match.

PPV RATING: B+