NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12

wk12

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 thoughts (match rating scale is out of 4 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) def. Roppongi 3K (Sho, Yoh) (c)

★★★½


GAUNTLET MATCH FOR THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT 6-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano) def. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa) (c), Michael Elgin, War Machine (Hanson, Raymond Rowe), Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka, Zack Sabre Jr.), and Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe)

★★


SINGLES MATCH
Kota Ibushi def. Cody

★★★


IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil, Sanada) def. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer) (c)

★★★


HAIR VS. HAIR MATCH FOR THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Hirooki Goto def. Minoru Suzuki (c)

★★★½


4-WAY MATCH FOR THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Will Ospreay def. Marty Scurll (c), Kushida, Hiromu Takahashi

★★★★


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

★★★


NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH FOR THE IWGP UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Kenny Omega (c) def. Chris Jericho

★★★★


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Tetsuya Naito

★★★


Wrestle Kingdom 12 was a really entertaining show all around and as a newbie to NJPW, I had a good time watching it despite not having any history watching most of the wrestlers on the show.

Recommended matches: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match and IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship match.
PPV RATING: A

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usagi704’s GAME OF THE YEAR 2017 Awards

Wow, what a year in video games. The first half of the year was especially good for me, but the second half was damn good too. My format for the awards has changed and now features my top ten games of the year. The old category wins are now denoted as achievements and not separate categories. Now on with the show!

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


(DIS)HONORABLE MENTIONS

Nex Machina (PS4)
• Best Music

Groove on Fight: Gouketsuji Ichizoku 3 (SS)
• Most Improved Follow-Up

Red Faction II (PS2)
• Most Surprisingly Good Game

Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)
• Most Disappointing Game

Unholy Night (SNES)
• Worst Game


DanFev
M2 are the masters of emulation and with their new series of shmup re-releases, M2 ShotTriggers, they are going above and beyond even for them. Dangun Feveron is a 1998 CAVE shoot-’em-up that has never had a home release until now. It’s a fantastic disco themed game with a wonderful soundtrack. Hopefully this will come stateside in 2018.

 

Nioh
It’s been very difficult to find an experience as good in the Souls-like genre outside of From Software’s own entries. Enter Nioh. What started out as a PlayStation 3 exclusive when it was originally announced extremely early in the seventh generation turned in to a Soul-like for PlayStation 4 and later, PC. Nioh is an incredible example of the genre and Team Ninja did a great job putting their own spin on the formula. Easily the best non-From Souls-like.

 

RFA
Most people seem to prefer the previous game to this one, Red Faction: Guerrilla. I am not one of those people. I really enjoyed it, in part, because of it’s linearity and not despite it. The awesome environmental destruction is better than ever and the new Magnet Gun makes it work for you. It’s always fun to use it to fling debris at enemies’ faces or make one enemy fly into another enemy!

 

SD
Somehow with all of the problems this game had in development, it turned out to be an excellent open world GTA clone. It was originally going to be another game in the True Crime series and I think we got something far better than what we would have gotten if it was one of those games.

 

SotC
I first attempted to play Shadow of the Colossus a few years ago, but at the time I really wasn’t having any of it with the controls and grip meter mechanic. After playing Fumito Ueda’s most recent game, The Last Guardian, in December of last year, I decided I would give SotC a real shot at the very beginning of this year. I was able to get a handle on the controls much faster than expected and the grip meter can be a challenge to manage. None of it is perfect, but it worked better than I thought it would. It a very rewarding to figure out how to take down all the colossi and the soundtrack is outstanding. I actually prefer the PlayStation 2 version despite the lower overall framerate because the colossi are a little less aggressive in trying to shake you off, at least they are in the North American version. I’m really looking forward to the PS4 remake at 60 fps.

 

TLoU
I enjoyed The Last of Us a lot more than I expected. I thought I would dislike the stealth with limited resources, but the resources weren’t as limited as I thought. The thing about this game I liked the most was the character interactions rather than the story being told. Ellie was a pretty relatable character. I liked the moments when she couldn’t relate to descriptions of things from how lives were lived before the current state of the world as she knew it.

 

Bulletstorm
A game of pure dumb fun whether it’s from the combo based gunplay or the over-the-top stupid dialog. It’s a game I’d love to see a sequel to.

 

Nier
Yes, the original Nier gets the nod over the follow-up, Nier: Automata. When it comes to Yoko Taro’s games, it’s first and foremost about the crazy characters and story. Gameplay clearly comes second and after playing both Nier games back-to-back, I can say without any uncertainty that the original Nier has the better story and characters. I can still remember the major beats of Nier’s story, but I have mostly forgotten Automata’s and that says it all.

 

Y0
I didn’t expect Yakuza 0 to become arguably the best game in the series, but here we are. The story is definitely the best in the series. The shit that happens to Tanimura is crazy and it makes you really hate Sohei Dojima for real. Made me happy when he was killed when I revisited Yakuza 1 via Yakuza Kiwami. The Completion Points system made it more rewarding than ever to do as many of the side missions as possible which was great for me as I never did very many in previous games and now I felt incentivized to do so. Oh, Kiryu-chan, I can never stop loving you.

 

HZD
For well over a deacade Guerrilla Games has been slaving away on the mostly middling Killzone series. They’ve always had the technical chops to hang with the best out there and the gameplay was usually fairly good. They always lacked in designing and writing appealing characters and story. Killzone’s Rico was always a scumbag despite supposedly being one of the good guys and the motivation to be against the Helghast was at times questionable and made you feel like you’re the real bad guys. Horizon: Zero Dawn finally married Guerrilla’s technical prowess to great characters, story, and gameplay. It’s such a surprising turn from a studio mainly known for high budget standard fare that I can’t help but name Horizon: Zero Dawn my Game of the Year!

NXT TakeOver: War Games

NXT_Takeover_WarGames

NXT TakeOver: War Games thoughts (match rating scale is out of 4 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

SINGLES MATCH
Lars Sullivan def. Kassius Ohno

This match went as expected and as it should, a hard fought match that still made Sullivan look dominating while still having Ohno look strong. A solid opener.

MY PREDICTION: Sullivan
★★


SINGLES MATCH
Aleister Black def. Velveteen Dream

The simple feud of Dream wanting recognition from Black by making him “say my name” is dumb on the surface, but these two have been selling it so well that I couldn’t help but be into it. The payoff match here was very impressive with both performers looking great. Black gets the win and in the end does indeed say his name.

“Enjoy infamy, Velveteen Dream.”

MY PREDICTION: Black
★★★½


FATAL 4-WAY MATCH FOR THE VACANT NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Ember Moon def. Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross, and Peyton Royce

Going in I think any of these women could have an argument made for them winning the title, except Royce, but the obvious and most deserving person won after all of those great confrontations with Asuka during this year that saw her fall short each time. The match was just under ten minutes which is quite short, but there was plenty of great spots and it felt like they made the best of the time they had.

MY PREDICTION: Moon
★★★


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Drew McIntyre (c)

This was certainly not the outcome I expected here as I feel it is too soon for Almas to have the title and too soon for McIntyre to lose it. Makes me think McIntyre is going up to the main WWE roster because that’s how it usually works in NXT which is why there’s only two guys (Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura) that have ever been 2-time NXT Champions. It could be that this feud continues and McIntyre regains the title, but I guess we’ll see very soon.

MY PREDICTION: McIntyre
★★★


WAR GAMES MATCH
The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) def. Sanity (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain) and The Authors of Pain (Akam, Rezar) & Roderick Strong

Bringing back an old WCW match staple after not having seen it in 19 years was a good idea as it turns out. Lots of great spots like a superplex off the top of the War Games cage onto all of the other wrestlers in the match was crazy and was preceded by a “Please don’t die” crowd chant. Undisputed Era definitely needed this win to cement their name and this certainly did it.

MY PREDICTION: Undisputed Era
★★★½


TakeOver: War Games was a really entertaining show all around as NXT PPVs always tend to be. Recommended matches: Black v. Dream and the War Games match.
PPV RATING: A

WWE SummerSlam 2017

SummerSlam 2017 thoughts (match rating scale is out of 4 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

SINGLES MATCH
John Cena def. Baron Corbin

MY PREDICTION: Cena
★★


WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Natalya def. Naomi (c)

I wasn’t into this one much because the Smackdown Women’s division really isn’t investing in any way and this match wasn’t very good either. I did get the outcome I wanted, but it was a very flat outcome. On the plus side, Natalya came out with a very Bret Hart inspired jacket on that I like.

MY PREDICTION: Natalya
★★


SINGLES MATCH
Big Cass def. Big Show

While I don’t follow Raw at all, the whole Enzo Amore locked in a shark cage and suspended above the middle of the ring was still the dumbest thing I’ve seen since I’ve started watching pro wrestling again. It had zero impact on the match and wasn’t even involved as any kind of stipulation either. The match amounted to a bad Big Show match (because all Big Show matches are bad) with added annoyance from Enzo running his mouth non-stop.

MY PREDICTION: Cass


SINGLES MATCH
Randy Orton def. Rusev

Terrible match. And by “match” I mean an RKO followed by a pin for 10 whole seconds of pointless.

MY PREDICTION: Rusev


WWE RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss (c)

MY PREDICTION: Bliss
★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Finn Bálor def. Bray Wyatt

MY PREDICTION: Bálor
★★½


WWE RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose def. Cesaro & Sheamus (c)

Match of the night!

MY PREDICTION: Rollins & Ambrose
★★★½


WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Special Guest Referee: Shane McMahon
A.J. Styles (c) def. Kevin Owens

The U.S. Championship match or as I like to call it, Shane McMahon’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. It was funny to watch all of the scenarios in which Shane just happens to get clocked.

MY PREDICTION: Styles
★★★


WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jinder Mahal (c) def. Shinsuke Nakamura

Mahal has been a solid champ so far, but I felt he hasn’t grown and improved enough with the belt to warrant a retention here. Case in point as this is at least the third time he won with this exact same formula, but now with a really sloppy Khallas. I do think it ultimately was the right call for Mahal to retain despite my feelings and prediction because I feel it’s still a little too early for Nakamura to win this title and he needs to have the crowd pop bigger than they already are for him. Very disappointing match overall.

MY PREDICTION: Nakamura
★★½


WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Fatal 4-Way
Brock Lesnar (c) def. Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, and Roman Reigns

This was my other contender for match of the night. It was very close to getting that nod, but there’s only so many goddamn Superman Punches from Reigns I can take before I throw my hands up in disgust. I think I counted at least 7 or 8. Outside of that, the match was really all about Lesnar against Strowman and that confrontation absolutely did not disappoint. Strowman looked incredibly strong and absolutely destroyed Lesnar so many times that Brock was stretchered out, but made his return to retain his title.

MY PREDICTION: Strowman
★★★


SummerSlam 2017 was a pretty poor show. Multiple bad matches, a few sub-par matches, a few serviceable, but the disappointing matches heavily outweighed three good matches. Watch the Raw Tag Title, U.S. Title, and Universal Title matches and skip the rest.
PPV RATING: C-

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III

TakeOver: Brooklyn III thoughts (match rating scale is out of 4 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

SINGLES MATCH
Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Johnny Gargano

MY PREDICTION: Gargano
★★★


NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Sanity (Alexander Wolfe & Eric Young) def. Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) (c)

MY PREDICTION: Authors of Pain
★★★


SINGLES MATCH
Aleister Black def. Hideo Itami

MY PREDICTION: Black
★★★


NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Asuka (c) def. Ember Moon

MY PREDICTION: Asuka
★★★★


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Drew McIntyre def. Bobby Roode (c)

MY PREDICTION: Roode
★★★½


TakeOver: Brooklyn III was a stellar show all around. Every match is worth watching!
PPV RATING: A+

WWE Battleground 2017

Battleground thoughts (rating scale is out of 4 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The New Day def. The Usos (c)

No real complaints here. The best match of the show.

MY PREDICTION: The New Day
★★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Baron Corbin by disqualification

Probably the weakest Nakamura match I have seen so far. Usually a match with him means a solid if not great match, but Corbin was the weak link here. Their styles didn’t mesh and Corbin didn’t sell a good deal of Nakamura’s offense as well as he needed to.

MY PREDICTION: Nakamura
★★


FATAL 5-WAY ELIMINATION MATCH FOR THE #1 CONTENDER FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Natalya def. Tamina, Lana, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair

I kinda expected Tamina to win because of her recent ties with Lana and perhaps Lana would help her win. I’m glad Natalya won and I hope Naomi is dethroned at SummerSlam.

MY PREDICTION: Tamina
★★½


WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kevin Owens def. A.J. Styles (c)

An unsurprisingly good match considering the who’s in it. My only complaint is the title switching back to Owens less than a week after Styles won it at the Madison Square Garden house show.

MY PREDICTION: Styles
★★★


FLAG MATCH
John Cena def. Rusev

I can’t stand this kind of jingoistic bullshit and a match based on it makes me all the more uninterested. Being proud of something you had no control over, such as where you were born, is the stupidest thing. Why stop there? Proclaim pride for the color of your skin while you’re at it! Doesn’t help that I find Cena lame as fuck in all aspects.

MY PREDICTION: Cena
★½


SINGLES MATCH (unscheduled)
Sami Zayn def. Mike Kanellis

This was just a repeat of their match on the last Smackdown and predictably Zayn gets his win back. Feels like this feud is already treading water in spite of it just starting recently. Neither guy is doing anything for me.

MY (IMPROMPTU) PREDICTION: Zayn
★★


PUNJABI PRISON MATCH FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
Jinder Mahal (c) def. Randy Orton

A fairly good match considering how bad the previous two Punjabi Prison matches in the past were. The whole timed door thing was pretty stupid, but it didn’t get in the way. While they were inside the inner part the match was way too slow paced. Luckily it picked up in interest once the Singh Brothers arrived to help Mahal escape from the inner section. Of course, as is now customary at each PPV Mahal has been in a championship match, at least one of the Singh Brothers has to take a big spill onto one of the announcer tables. The ending came with the surprise return of The Great Khali by choking Orton and holding him in place so Mahal could escape the outer section and retain the title.

MY PREDICTION: Mahal
★★½


Battleground 2017 was an alright show. If you’re only going to watch one match, make it the New Day/Usos Tag Team Championship match.
PPV RATING: ★★½

WWE Money In The Bank 2017

MONEY IN THE BANK thoughts (rating scale is out of 4 stars)

WOMEN’S MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
Carmella def. Lynch, Flair, Natalya, Tamina

This was somewhat tepid, fairly short (13m20s) for such a match with a bullshit booked finish.
MY PREDICTION: Flair or Natalya
★★


TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The New Day def. The Usos by countout

This was a good, solid match all told until another dumb fuck finish that saw The Usos just give the match up, pick up their title belts and walkout of the match to retain via countout. Fuck these finishes so far! Are the bookers high on that good ish?
MY PREDICTION: The Usos
★½


WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Naomi def. Lana

Another tepid women’s match. Carmella and Ellsworth came out and teased cashing in her ill-gotten gains twice during the match, but ultimately didn’t do it. This match could have happened on Smackdown.
MY PREDICTION: Naomi
★★


WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Mahal def. Orton

Finally we get to an actual good match! The entrances for both guys were really milked and they were fun. Mahal recieved really good heel heat during his entrance which always makes me smile. Most of the match was Orton selling a hurt left knee after taking a fall to the outside early on which resulted in a very good methodical destruction of said knee by Mahal. It was a very old school, grounded match. Singh Brothers interferred (of course) after Orton hit an RKO on Mahal by putting Jinder’s foot on the ropes. Referee ejects them from ringside for this. The Singhs then try to intimidate Bob Orton at ringside which leads to Randy destroying them similar to Payback which ultimately leads to Mahal hitting Orton with The Khallas and The Modern Day Maharaja retains his championship. I think this is Mahal’s best match I’ve seen so far and the performance he really needed.
MY PREDICTION: Mahal
★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH (unscheduled)
Breezango def. The Ascension

A Fashion Files segment came on even though Breezango wasn’t on the card, but after a bit of humor (they had an ’80s style cell phone that was labeled as “Property of Paul E.”) a match was set up by the supposed people who trashed their police station and beat up Breeze last week which ended up being the return of The Ascension. I have no experience watching them, but the match was OK, but was short and could have been done on Smackdown.
MY (IMPROMPTU) PREDICTION: Breezango
★★


MEN’S MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
Corbin def. Styles, Nakamura, Ziggler, Zayn, Owens

I don’t think I can convey much of any details about this match because of how many people were in it and how long it went on for, but it was the best match of the night! One thing I will mention is that Corbin attacked Nakamura during his entrance which meant Shinsuke gone for most of the match. Later when Nakamura made his triumphant return, there was Kinshasas a plenty to go around! Styles took multiple sick bumps onto ladders in the middle and later he and Nakamura had a great little showdown. Ziggler at one point hit Zayn off the ladder with a Zig Zag. I think I remember somebody getting destroyed by Corbin with a Deep Six. Definitely watch this and the WWE Championship match, but skip the rest.
MY PREDICTION: Corbin
★★★½


As you can tell, Money In The Bank 2017 as a whole was a pretty big shitshow with 2 good matches and a bunch other shit stinking up the place. Watch Mahal/Orton and Men’s MITB.
PPV RATING: ★★