NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco

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NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

10-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
King Haku, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens def. Gedo, Yoshi-Hashi, Rocky Romero, Yoh and Sho

MY PREDICTION: Haku, Tonga, Loa, Takahashi, Owens (1-0)

★★½


TAG TEAM MATCH
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano def. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.

MY PREDICTION: Ishii & Yano (2-0)

★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Hangman Page & Marty Scurll def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kushida

MY PREDICTION: Tanahashi & Kushida (2-1)

★★½


NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hirooki Goto (c) def. Jeff Cobb

MY PREDICTION: Goto (3-1)

★★½


IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) (c) def. Evil & Sanada

MY PREDICTION: The Young Bucks (4-1)

★★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay def. Tetsuya Naito & Bushi

MY PREDICTION: Naito & Bushi (4-2)

★★½


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hiromu Takahashi (c) def. Dragon Lee

MY PREDICTION: Takahashi (5-2)

★★★½


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

MY PREDICTION: Robinson (6-2)

★★★½


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kenny Omega (c) def. Cody

MY PREDICTION: Omega (7-2)

★★★★


G1 Special in San Francisco was a pretty tepid event. The first four matches were OK with a good moment here and there. Bucks v. Sanada/Evil was a step down from their Dominion match, but still very good. Okada/Ospreay v. Naito/Bushi followed with a surprisingly meh match. They must be taking off the night in preparation for the G1 that starts next week. Takahashi v. Lee was a very good match with some really hardhitting spots you’d expect out of these two. White v. Robinson had a number very good moments in a very good match. Omega v. Cody was super predictable, but was still excellent and led to more questions at the end of what everyone’s status is within the Bullet Club.

Recommended matches: Bucks v. Sanada/Evil and Omega v. Cody
PPV RATING: C+

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NXT TakeOver: Chicago II

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

NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) (c) def. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch

MY PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (1-0)

★★★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Ricochet def. Velveteen Dream

MY PREDICTION: Ricochet (2-0)

★★★★½


NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Shayna Baszler (c) def. Nikki Cross

MY PREDICTION: Baszler (3-0)

★★★


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Aleister Black (c) def. Lars Sullivan

MY PREDICTION: Black (4-0)

★★★½


STREET FIGHT MATCH
Tommaso Ciampa def. Johnny Gargano

MY PREDICTION: Ciampa (5-0)

★★★★½


I went into TakeOver: Chicago II expecting a good show, but not as good as the last year of TakeOvers. My expectations were exceeded a lot! The excitement and pace of the NXT Tag Team title match was insane and unrelenting. Lorcan/Burch really stepped up when they finally got onto a TakeOver PPV and were even better than their performance in the excellent 6-man tag match from the NXT weekly show a few weeks ago. Velveteen Dream brings his big wardrobe change to every TakeOver and it’s always fun. His match against Ricochet was also superb. Black v. Sullivan was much better than expected and it showed that Sullivan has a lot of potential. Ciampa and Gargano once again tore it up with a scintillating street fight that looks to set up Gargano/Ciampa III for Brooklyn IV.

Recommended matches: Ricochet v. Dream, NXT Tag Team Championship match, and Gargano v. Ciampa II

PPV RATING: A

NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall

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NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) def. Roppongi 3K (Sho, Yoh)

MY PREDICTION: Roppongi 3K (0-1)

★★★½


TAG TEAM MATCH
Juice Robinson & David Finlay def. Jay White & Yoshi-Hashi

MY PREDICTION: Robinson & Finlay (1-1)

★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. def. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano

MY PREDICTION: Suzuki & ZSJ (2-1)

★★★★


NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP 3-WAY MATCH
Michael Elgin def. Hirooki Goto (c) and Taichi

MY PREDICTION: Goto (2-2)

★★★½


IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) def. Evil & Sanada (c)

MY PREDICTION: Evil & Sanada (2-3)

★★★★★


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Cody, Marty Scurll, and Hangman Page def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Rey Mysterio Jr., and Jyushin “Thunder” Liger

MY PREDICTION: Tanahashi, Mysterio Jr., Liger (2-4)

★★★★


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hiromu Takahashi def. Will Ospreay (c)

MY PREDICTION: Ospreay (2-5)

★★★★★


IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Chris Jericho def. Tetsuya Naito (c)

MY PREDICTION: Naito (2-6)

★★★★½


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BEST OF 3 FALLS, NO TIME LIMIT MATCH
Kenny Omega def. Kazuchika Okada (c)

MY PREDICTION: Omega (3-6)

★★★★★


Dominion for 2018 turned out to be as I predicted in quality. I expected multiple 5-star matches, but I didn’t expect three! The Suzuki/ZSJ v. Ishii/Yano tag match wasn’t quite 4-star match quality, but it earned it from me because it was so damn entertaining. Elgin winning the NEVER Openweight Championship really surprised me, but honestly shouldn’t have in retrospect. Elgin showed a lot of improvement at Wrestling Dontaku and I think he deserves it. The Young Bucks are now double tag champs with the NEVER 6-Man and IWGP tag championships. Chris Jericho was vicious as always when he’s in New Japan and this time he actually defeated Naito for the IWGP IC title! Omega winning the IWGP world title and unseating the incredible run by Okada was something I thought I would be wrong about. It felt surreal to see the final One-Winged Angel hit for the pin and see Kenny Omega crowned the new world champ. The whole show is a must watch and isn’t likely to be topped for best pro wrestling show of the year for 2018. See it if you can!

Recommended matches: Watch my three 5-star rated matches at least. Please.
PPV RATING: A+

WWE Backlash 2018

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WWE Backlash 2018 (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Seth Rollins (c) def. The Miz

MY PREDICTION: Rollins (1-0)

★★★★


WWE RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Nia Jax (c) def. Alexa Bliss

MY PREDICTION: Jax (2-0)

½


WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jeff Hardy (c) def. Randy Orton

MY PREDICTION: Hardy (3-0)

★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Daniel Bryan def. Big Cass

MY PREDICTION: Cass (3-1)

★½


WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Carmella (c) def. Charlotte Flair

MY PREDICTION: Carmella (4-1)

★★


WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
A.J. Styles (c) and Shinsuke Nakamura fought to a no contest

MY PREDICTION: Nakamura (4-1-1)

★★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

MY PREDICTION: Strowman & Lashley (5-1-1)

★½


SINGLES MATCH
Roman Reigns def. Samoa Joe

MY PREDICTION: Reigns (6-1-1)

★★


 

Backlash 2018 was an overall average show with many less than par matches. The show, similar to New Japan’s Wrestling Dontaku, is more interested in setting up and continuing things rather than paying anything off. I don’t know why there was an extended time wasting segment involving a bunch of people not on the Backlash card. I’m still enjoying the Styles/Nakamura feud, but not really much else.

Recommended matches: Rollins v. Miz and Styles v. Nakamura
PPV RATING: D

NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018 [Day 2]

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NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018 [Day 2] (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi def. Yuya Uemura, Ren Narita, Shota Umino

MY PREDICTION: Liger, Mask, Taguchi (1-0)

★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens) def. Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka

MY PREDICTION: Bullet Club (2-0)

★½


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Chaos (Sho, Yoh, Rocky Romero) def. Suzuki-gun (Takashi Iizuka, Taka Michinoku, Taichi)

MY PREDICTION: Chaos (3-0)

★★½


TAG TEAM MATCH
Chaos (Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii) def. Toa Henare & Togi Makabe

MY PREDICTION: Henare & Makabe (3-1)

★★


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Chaos (Jay White, Yoshi-Hashi, Hirooki Goto) def. Michael Elgin, David Finlay, Juice Robinson

MY PREDICTION: Chaos (4-1)

★★★


10-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, Evil, Sanada, Tetsuya Naito, Bushi) def. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado)

MY PREDICTION: Suzuki-gun (4-2)

★★★½


10-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa) & Golden☆Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) def. Bullet Club (Cody, Marty Scurll, Hangman Page, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson)

MY PREDICTION: Bullet Club & Golden☆Lovers (5-2)

★★


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Will Ospreay (c) def. Kushida

MY PREDICTION: Ospreay (6-2)

★★★★½


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi

MY PREDICTION: Okada (7-2)

★★★★


Wrestling Dontaku 2018 was a pretty good show. I enjoyed the furthering of the Bullet Club civil war which seems to have ended outside of Cody and Kenny Omega specifically. Nice debut of Taiji Ishimori by attacking and challenging Ospreay. Chris Jericho surprise appearance going after Naito to finally further that story. Also the setting up what could easily be the match of the year at Dominion between Okada and Omega for their fourth match together. This show had a few good matches and good moments, but I like it more for what it set up rather than for what it did.

Recommended matches: Ospreay v. Kushida and Okada v. Tanahashi
PPV RATING: B

WWE Wrestlemania 34

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Wrestlemania 34 was a shit show with a sweet set. The only good or interesting thing that happened is that Shinsuke Nakamura turned heel after he failed to become WWE Champion against A.J. Styles. Most of the matches were lackluster or just flat out bad. The best was Styles v. Nakamura, but even that massively failed to live up to anything these two have done in the past. Felt like WWE has nothing but contempt for their fans. NXT is the only good thing WWE has going. Fuck this show. Fuck WWE.

PPV RATING: D-

NXT TakeOver: New Orleans

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

NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP LADDER MATCH
Adam Cole def. Ricochet, Lars Sullivan, Velveteen Dream, Killian Dain, and EC3

MY PREDICTION: Dream (0-1)
HARTKNIGHT‘S PREDICTION: Dream (0-1)

★★★★½


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

MY PREDICTION: Baszler (1-1)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Baszler (1-1)

★★★½


NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole) (c) def. Authors of Pain (Akam, Rezar), and Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong

MY PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (2-1)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (2-1)

★★★★½


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Aleister Black def. Andrade “Cien” Almas (c)

MY PREDICTION: Black (3-1)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Almas (2-2)

★★★★


UNSANCTIONED SINGLES MATCH
Johnny Gargano def. Tommaso Ciampa

MY PREDICTION: Gargano (4-1)
HARTKNIGHT’S PREDICTION: Gargano (3-2)

★★★★★


TakeOver: New Orleans was a wonderful show with my favorite moments being the heel turn of Roderick Strong helping and joining Undisputed Era and when Gargano had second thoughts about stabbing Ciampa with a broken crutch yet still turned around and used Ciampa’s knee brace for his submission win.

Recommended matches: NXT North American Championship match, NXT Tag Team Championship match, and Gargano v. Ciampa

PPV RATING: A