Saturday 18 December 2010

PS 50 2010

50. Jack Swagger
49. Jeff Hardy
48. Max Buck
47. Edge
46. Shawn Michaels
45. Jeremy Buck
44. CM Punk
43. Eddie Edwards
42. The Miz
41. Sheamus
40. Jay Briscoe
39. Kaz Hayashi
38. James Storm
37. Roderick Strong
36. Mark Briscoe
35. Togi Makabe
34. Robert Roode
33. Satoshi Kojima
31. Kenny Omega
30. Kevin Steen
29. Christian
28. Daisuke Sekimoto
27. Claudio Castagnoli
26. Daniel Bryan
25. PAC
24. Chris Hero
23. Chris Jericho
22. Naruki Doi
21. El Generico
19. Randy Orton
18. Kota Ibushi
17. AJ Styles
16. BXB Hulk
15. Rey Mysterio
14. Hirooki Goto
13. CIMA
12. Shinsuke Nakamura
11. Alex Shelley
10. Seth Rollins (Tyler Black)
09. Chris Sabin
08. Naomichi Marufuji
07. Go Shiozaki
06. Shingo Takagi
05. Takashi Sugiura
04. Prince Devitt
03. Hiroshi Tanahashi
02. Davey Richards
01. Kurt Angle

Friday 17 December 2010

Japanese Platinum Vol.1 DVD Review By Shaun Nichols

Roderick Strong & Eddie Edwards vs KENTA & Atsushi Aoki   ***3/4
Apollo 55 vs Golden Lovers   ****1/2
Satoshi Kojima vs Hiroshi Tanahashi  ****
Mentallo vs Masato Tanaka vs Akira Shoji   **
Roderick Strong & Eddie Edwards vs KENTA & Atsushi Aoki   ****1/4
KENTA & Atsushi Aoki vs Koji Kanemoto & Tiger Mask IV   ****
This is probably the first WLH Japanese Platinum collection that Stu's put out for probably 8 or 9 years and all the matches featured are from this year with 4 of them taking place in either October or November.
We start with Noah and a match from the NTV Cup which is a tounament for junior tag teams and this is a match from the first night in Block A. Match starts pretty standard until Edwards tries a cheap shot on KENTA who's stood in the corner, KENTA basically just kicks the shit out of him on the floor. This enables KENTA and Aoki to get the heat on Eddie for a few minutes, loads of stiff kicks and forearms with Eddie getting the occasional flurry until he's able to make the hot tag to Roderick. Unfortunately for the ROH boys, Roddy doesn't have much more luck than Eddie and the NOAH team remain firmly in charge. They hit a double stomp/frog splash combo on Strong for a close two count. Aoki uses a cross armbreaker for an attempted submission, KENTA uses a running knee and a STF on Edwards. Eddie responds with a backpack bomb and a sharpshooter on KENTA, he maintains momentum with a huracanrana off the top followed by a powerbomb for a close two count. We're now getting very close to the 30 minute time limit however following yet more double teaming it's Eddie Edwards that picks up a major victory for the team by nailing KENTA with a brainbuster for the pin.
Moving onto NJPW and Apollo 55 defending their IWGP Jr tag titles against DDT's Golden Lovers, over the years there have been far more inter-promotion matches with groups happy to push outside wrestlers as serious threats to the promtion's titles. The champions start by working on Kenny Omega's arm but they are not able to maintain control and it's the challengers use of double teams that enable them to get the heat on Devitt. Omega uses a torture rack on Devitt but an unfortunate miscue allows the hot tag to Taguchi. Taguchi with a DDT on the apron on Ibushi, Prince Devitt hits a suicide dive on both Golden Lovers. Moments later both Omega & Ibushi hit somersault dives to the outside. Kota Ibushi hits his awesome double moonsault on Devitt for a 2 count and then uses what I can only describe as a somersault kick on Devitt when he was on the top rope. Devitt responds with a huge suplex on Ibushi followed by a double stomp off the top. All four men trade stiff kicks as match builds to it's conclusion. Champs think they've retained when the nail Ibushi with the Black Hole Vacation for an insane two count. We are to have new champs though when Ibushi puts Devitt away with a twisting somersault splash for the titles.
Staying with NJPW but going back to August and the final of the G1 Climax tournament, with freelancer Kojima returning in style to battle NJPW star Tanahashi. It was Tanahashi that dominates the opening few minutes working on Kojima's injured left arm. Eventually Kojima makes a comback working over Tanahashi's right knee again for about five minutes. He uses a sharpshooter and a single leg boston crab among other things. Tanahashi responds with a running rolling dive to the floor, but Kojima is back in charge after using a spinebuster and then catching Tanahashi on the top rope with a stiff lariat. Tanahashi manages to go back to working over Kojima's left arm but hits nothing but Kojima's knees when he goes for a splash off the top. He does get a couple of two counts on Kojima with a roll up and then a falcon arrow. Another splash to Kojima hits but a third misses its target again. As we head to the finish Kojima hits a brainbuster but Tanahashi stays in it with a tiger suplex. Kojima though is not to be denied and claims the win with two big lariats for the elusive pinfall.
Moving on to Tajiri's SMASH promotion and their second show from April, this is a hardcore match in the spirit of FMW in style. It also features an heavily wrapped baseball bat which is encased in barbed wire. Tanaka & Shoji start by brawling on the floor, Mentallo sees the bat and for little reason ignores it in favour off a twisting press off the top. Tanaka makes first use of the bat with a very safe swing onto Mentallo and then drops it. Mentallo hits back with moonsault off a chair onto Tanaka but as to wait for a fan to sit on the chair to steady hit. Shoji seems to be in the match to be completely beaten up and also to bleed. Tanaka dives off a balcony and puts Shoji through a table. Mentallo his Tanaka with a huracanrana, we then see Tanaka use part of the broken table to give Shoji a number of unprotected headshots, Shoji then hulks up. We get a double samoan drop from Shoji where Tanaka basically just climbs on Mentallo's back and Shoji falls backwards. Mentallo hits a falcon arrow on Shoji, lays the forgotten baseball on him and then hits a moonsault for the win. All three did work hard but this still wasn't very good. 
We had back to NOAH and the final of the NTV cup, match starts slowly with some nice matwork. KENTA and Edwards then trade stiff forearms and the next few minutes are dominated by stiff chops, kicks and forearms. Edwards manages to gain the upper hand by hitting Aoki with a double stomp, a number of frequent tags by the ROH team keeps Aoki on the defensive. However a miscue by Edwards and Strong allows KENTA to make the hot tag. He manages to get a couple of two counts on Eddie but he can't maintain control of the match and Strong catches him in the stronghold and then uses one of his thousand modified backbreakers for a two count. The stars of this match are Edwards and Aoki though and they get the majority of the time in the ring with Strong & KENTA playing the minor roles. Aoki uses a fantastic rolling northern suplex on Edwards for 2. KENTA does hit Strong with the GTS but the ROH champ manages to roll to the floor. Fittingly it was Aoki who got the win after hitting Edwards with a folding suplex for the three count.
That win meant that KENTA & Aoki got to challenge Koji Kanemoto and Tiger Mask IV on 23/11 for the GHC Jr tag titles. Fans were hopeful that the home team challengers could reclaim the crowd and were red hot to see KENTA and Kanemoto go to war, Kanemoto is just fantastic as the outsider taunting the fans. KENTA gets first advantage with stiff kicks on Kanemoto. Kanemoto returns stiff kicks and forearms on Aoki but to a good crowd reaction manages to walk through it. Tiger Mask hits Aoki with a tombstone piledriver but again that does little to slow Aoki down. Aoki does miss a missile dropkick though. Moments later and KENTA & Kanemoto are taking turns in kicking each other in the face and offering face washes in the corner. Kanemoto really starts to mock the NOAH fans, KENTA misses a GTS and gets caught in an anklelock. Having survived, he then gets dragon screw leg whipped by Tiger Mask followed by a tiger driver for a two count. The challengers build steam by double teaming Tiger although the champions restore control when Kanemoto hits a moonsault on Aoki. Moments later he hooks Aoki with the anklelock and dsepite his best efforts he has to tap when KENTA is unable to make the save. Afterwards KENTA walks off leaving Aoki which indicates that he's turning heel. Kanemoto is obviously having a lot of fun with the result being that NOAH are lining up Aoki and the returning Marufuji as the next challengers which should be awesome. 

Monday 13 December 2010

DVD Recomendations By Shaun Nichols

DVD Recommendations AKA Things You Have to Buy.

In an effort to bring you as much quality wrestling releases as possible, allow me to point you in the direction of the following titles. These DVD's are either discs that I would encourage any fan to watch or shows that have pretty much had universal praise. So here goes..
Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho - Well it seemed to take forever but the WWE finally released a suitably fitting 3 disc set in honour of the great man. Disc one has a very enjoyable documentary which if you like his band you'll enjoy even more than I did and a number of really good extras including a hilarious argument between Chris and an old man at a TV taping. Discs two and three are filled with some of his best matches throughout his career which are dominated by his WCW and WWE matches, the matches are generally well selected. It really is a damn fine set for any Jericholic.
ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII - This was the very well received iPPV from June which took place in Toronto. It's main evented by a genuine MOTY contender between then ROH champion Tyler Black defending against Davey Richards, every review of this match as given it ****1/2 or higher and it really does have great fan reaction in the last several minutes. It's by no means a one match card and also features the first 1 on 1 between Steen and Generico, the latest installment between the Kings of Wrestling vs The Briscoes and a somewhat dream match between Kenny Omega vs Christopher Daniels. A show you simply can't go wrong with.
PWG Seven - There have been several outstanding PWG shows this year, the best of which is arguably this. This features two serious MOTY contenders and they only wrestle in front of a few hundred fans. Main event is an insane 3 way for the tag belts with El Generico & Paul London defending against the Young Bucks & Cutler Brothers and is just ridiculously entertaining. Davey Richards defends the PWG world title against Chris Hero, Scott Lost as his emotional retirement match, Bryan Danielson faces Roderick Strong and we also get Chris Sabin vs Akira Tozawa from Dragon Gate. Another awesome show.
PWG BOLA 2010 Nights 1 & 2 - The famed 'Battle of Los Angeles' returns, see the breakthrough performance of Ricochet against Claudio Castagnoli, the continued brilliance of Chris Hero. The match that Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer fame said was the best match he'd seen live all year which was Hero vs Tozawa on Night 2. To cap it off you get the most unpopular winner of any BOLA tournament, two really fun nights and one fantastic event.
DGUSA Enter the Dragon (1st Anniversary) - Due to PPV restrictions with Danielson returning to the WWE, DGUSA couldn't show his match against Shingo on the PPV airing so they had to wait until they released the DVD. Let's just say that it was well worth the wait and was just as good as you would imagine that it would be. Also on the show was an 8 man elimination, BxB Hulk defending his title against Mochizuki and a very fun 4 way featuring Ricochet, Adam Cole, Chuck Taylor and Arik Cannon. If you get the 2 disc set you'll also see two very good Bryan Danielson matches from FIP from 2005.
There really was some very good stuff in 2010 it's just that not a lot of it was in the WWE or TNA. In a few days I should have an indepth review of the latest WLH DVD compilation - Japanese Platinum 'Rebirth' Volume 1 which features among the matches the Tokyo Sports Awards Match of the Year winner Golden Lovers (Omega & Ibushi) vs Apollo 55 (Devitt & Taguchi) from October.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Ultimate Fighter Finale Review By Shaun Nichols

This was the finale of the 12th series of the Ultimate Fighter and will be headlined by Jonathan Brookins who was the most impressive fighter of the series so far and who has used the rear naked choke to gain his victories against the number one pick of the series Michael Jordan. Jordan so far hasn't come across that well, he's won all his fights by decision. So going in, Brookins appears to be the favourite.
Show opens with Leonard Garcia facing Nam Phan, Phan reached the semi finals before losing to Jordan in the Ultimate Fighter and has now dropped down to featherweight. Following the UFC-WEC merger this is the first featherweight fight in UFC history for those of you that like your history trivia. Garcia is far more aggressive but is quite reckless, Phan is more measured and as a result is probably more effective. Opening round is very close and could have gone either way. Second round also is all about stand up rather than takedowns, Phan is very dominant in this round and arguably took it 10-8. Garcia starts final round really fast but as usual starts to tire half way through the round. Final round is similar to first round in that Phan is more effective but Garcia comes across as the aggressor. Phan should still the round. Judges are split, one judge gives it 30-27 to Phan however the other two judges score it 29-28 to Garcia. Phan is suitably shocked and the announcers and fans aren't too far behind. Garcia admits that Phan won the fight and offers to fight him again.
Up next is a fairly boring fight between Rick Story and Johnny Hendricks, problem was that the opening fight on the show was pretty exciting despite the poor decision. These fighters unfortunately cancelled one another out. Story wins first two rounds by being more aggressive, Hendricks manages to score the odd takedown but nevers manages to do a lot with it and maintain control for any period of time. Hendricks does have more success in the last round but doesn't do enough damage to win the round by more than a 10-9 margin. Story wins 29-28 across the board.
Two other fighters from the current Ultimate Fighter series are up next, both Cody McKenzie and Aaron Wilkinson reached the quarter finals. This is not a great fight as McKenzie traps Wilkinson with a modified version of the guillotine half way through the first round.
Demian Maia is up next against the winner of the Ultimate Fighter 3 in Kendall Grove. Maia is by far the better wrestler and completely dominates the opening two rounds. He doesn't seem to have any problems getting past Groves defence securing a number of takedowns. He doesn't seem especially bothered about the last round which Groves barely wins. Maia is given 29-28 decision on all three scorecards.
We know see interviews with GSP and Koscheck for next weeks UFC 124 PPV. Koscheck surprisingly doesn't try and be a heel only smirking when GSP is answering a question. To summarize Koscheck says that he's a much improved all round fighter from their first fight in 2007 and that GSP shouldn't underestimate him. GSP responds by saying that once he beats Koscheck for a second time, he won't fight him again and that he'll be looking forward to the next chapter of his career.
In our co-main event Stephan Bonnar who won the inaugaral Ultimate Fighter faces Croatia's Igor Pakrajac. Bonnar was very impressive here and comfortably won all three rounds. Pakrajac did occasionally look dangerous striking however Bonnar was able to regularly secure takedowns and maintain controls. Both fighters had a point deducted for illegal knees and punches respectively. So Bonnar settles for a 29-26 win across the board.
This leaves us with the finale, Michael Johnson surprisingly dominates the first round. It's fought completely standing up and he's a far better striker the Brookins who as to take a number of decent punches to the face. Brookins needs a completely different strategy or he's definitely losing. Fortunately for him he's able to do so and quickly secures a takedown. As a wrestler he is more skilled than Johnson and seems to have no problems in keeping control. This means that going into the final round it could easily go either way and is dependent on the round being fought standing up or wrestling on the mat. Brookins gets the takedown but with Johnson being against the cage he's not able to do a lot of damage. Standing back up it's advantage back to Johnson however Brookins does near the end hit another takedown and throws a few punches. It's not a big final round for Brookins but he's done enough to win the final round and therefore the fight 29-28 on all three scorecards to become the winner of the 12th series of Ultimate Fighter.

Friday 3 December 2010

Is The Return of Triple H Close?

This past Monday night on WWE RAW, Sheamus won the King of The Ring tournament, could this mean the return of the 'King of Kings' Triple H is close?

The current WWE product is rather poor, the current champion is The Miz and I have blogged elsewhere about my feelings on this. John cena has been in an angle with Nexus which the last action saw Cena 'fired' from the WWE but yet, he is advertised still on houseshows and is appearing under the moniker of Juan Cena - John Cena's Mexican cousin. Randy Orton, the man beaten by The Miz for the WWE title, is advertised as The Miz's oppenent on the next PPV but I am hearing Orton is now out injured. Talking of injuries, over on the Smack Down brand, The Undertaker is out injured and WWE hope he'll be fit for Wrestle Mania.

Sheamus has had a decent run in the WWE, they had the faith to put the strap on him and now they have given him the King of The Ring win so hopefully there are big things ahead for the Irish man and this could mean a feud with Triple H if and when he returns. I think, a return of Triple H is needed.

Signing off, Stuart Rodgers

How to Kill PPV Business By Shaun Nichols

This year's Survivor Series would have left anyone who bought the show wondering why they actually wasted their money by ordering the PPV. The following nights Raw would only have confirmed the feeling that they should have spent their money on something else. The Survivor Series was solely pushed on the idea that John Cena would either be fired or that he would screw Randy Orton out of the world title. Randy Orton was so concerned about the threat of Wade Barrett that he'll barely mentioned him in any of his promos instead the big focus was on Cena. R-Truth appeared weekly in the run-up to the PPV to let Orton know that he didn't think that he could trust Cena while maintaining that he was John Cena's friend. Strange definition of a friend that is.
An awesome Roddy Piper promo on the go home show should ensure that the PPV did a decent number, Cena also promised that whatever happened he would give Barrett a severe beating at the PPV after the main event. Did fans order the PPV to see Cena get his revenge and kick Barrett's ass? Of course some fans did. Did Cena follow through? No, why do something on PPV that people have paid good money for when you can delay 24 hours and let people see it for free.
What we also didn't see was Wade Barrett firing John Cena at the PPV nor did we see on Raw. Supposedly it may have happened over a drink in the bar or maybe over pancakes the following day's breakfast for all we know. The final tease for the PPV was that the Miz who wasn't booked to wrestle on the show would cash the MITB briefcase at the Survivor Series. Again this was held back until the following days Raw. So on PPV fans didn't see Cena attack Barrett, Miz cash the case in or see Cena fired. Fans watching Raw did see Miz cash the briefase and win the title, Cena attacking Barrett to stop Wade winning the title. So out of the PPV or Raw which event was the most memorable? The answer of case was Raw. Another question worth asking is if fans that ordered the Survivor Series felt that gave value for money and if they felt that Cena's 'Free or Fired' stipulation was adhereed to? The clear answer is no.
A lot of fans really liked Cena's 'farewell' promo on 22/11 Raw and as a standalone promo it was very good. Even fans that don't have anytime for Cena would have to admit getting the fans to do duelling chants of 'Let's go Cena' and 'Cena sucks' was pretty cool. Maybe in 2011 fans could start a 'Fuck you Cena' chant as 'Cena sucks' as now being turned into a babyface chant to some degree. The main cloud hanging over this promo is that absolutely no one in the crowd was buying that Cena was actually fired. Cameras panned frantically looking for fans who were upset. They found nothing. Cena then switched to saying how he had missed major family events and he was looking forward to going home. Still nobody was buying it especially when Cena walked backstage and gave Randy Orton a 'goodbye' hug. Less than an hour later he was back screwing Barrett in a world title re-match. To see how fans can react to what they see all you had to do was wait approximately five minutes to see the hatred in the face of the Linda Blair girl in the crowd when Miz won the title.
Since then Cena appeared on the following weeks Raw attacking a number of Nexus members and will turn up no doubt on next weeks TV. Despite the fact that in storyline he's no longer employed by the company as CM Punk at least tried to remind us on commentary. From a consistancy point of view this is really bad, as on the 22/11 edition of Raw Laycool (employed by the company but on the Smackdown brand) were not allowed into the building in a skit because they were not on a list of Raw talent. A week later Cena wanders through and attacks WWE employees from a common sense perspective it is pure stupidity and explains why stipulations do not draw for the WWE and why they should not draw. The company chooses to never deliver and follow through on those stipulations and as a result they really don't deserve to have fans paying $50 dollars expecting to get a pay off to a major storyline that doesn't come.