NJPW “G1 Climax 24″ Day 5 Reviewed

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I *loved* Day 4, I was pretty effusive in my praise in my review and I thought the show had a number of really good matches, so Day 5 had a lot to live up to. Heading into Day 5 there were two matches in particular that jumped off the page for me, Shelton Benjamin and Katsuyori Shibata and Tetsuyo Naito and Kazuchika Okada. The rest of the card was less appealing and I wasn’t sure that this day could live up to Day 4’s standards (at least in my own mind). So, how did Day 5 stack up?

 

Block B: Lance Archer (2 pts.) v. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4 pts.): You know what I can’t get past when I watch Tenzan? That top rope bulldog he does looks like garbage. I always know that I’m going to see it, I always know it’s going to look terrible and it kind of takes me out of the match. This really wasn’t a bad match at all, pretty hard hitting and evenly matched. Archer ends up winning and even though I thought it was a solid effort I still found myself kind of uninterested by the end.

 

Block A: Tomohiro Ishii (4 pts.) v. Doc Gallows (2 pts.): I’m not sure it’s a totally good idea to have Gallows and Archer wrestle back to back as it’s almost impossible to not compare them. The size difference between Ishii and Gallows is pronounced to say the least, did add some excitement to a vertical suplex by Ishii but man that dude appears to be 5 feet tall (at most) next to Gallows. Gallows with a jumping nothing, looked like maybe he was going Vader Bomb but since he landed on his feet, bent at the waist and got a boot in the mouth I’m not sure what it was actually supposed to be. I will say that the distinct size difference made all the difference in this match as Ishii hitting the brainbuster for the three count was a great visual. Pretty average match but the end was hot.

 

Block A: Satoshi Kojima (4 pts.) v. Davey Boy Smith Jr. (2 pts.): This is like one of those matches that feels like the type of thing that I would like, and yet something never really clicks for me. These two went all out – probably the longest match that either of them has had in the tournament yet. Smith Jr., who has been impressive to me thus far picked up the win but I don’t know, it didn’t really work for me.

 

Block B: Minoru Suzuki (2 pts.) v. Yujiro Takahashi (2 pts.): So all the things I said about the previous match, about how it really didn’t do much for me – this was the exact opposite of that. There was something incredibly gratifying about a match that featuring a showboating dick like Takahashi just getting his face slapped as hard as humanly possible by Minoru Suzuki. I loved it, and I am giving Takahashi the credit as well because he is so utterly unlikeable that it gave the match some added weight. Ultimately Suzuki wins with the SAKA OTOSHI which as Jason Felix rightly points out is a really fun move to scream out loud, try it.

 

Block B: Toru Yano (4 pts.) v. Karl Anderson (2 pts.): I’m still confused about Yano, but Anderson jumping him before the bell, ripping off his robe and then doing the Yano, Rob Van Dam taunt to “MA-CHINE GUN” made me laugh, actually even the “YA-NO SUCKS” and “BUL-LET CLUB” chants made me laugh, anytime someone rips off Rob Van Dam I laugh is what we’ve learned here. I will say this about this match, I found myself absolutely loving it. I don’t know what that says about me, but I really loved this whole thing. Between Anderson stealing the stolen RVD taunt, and Yano doing it himself. Between Anderson dodging Yano’s attempt at low blows, only to ultimately find himself hit by a low blow and rolled up for the loss was great. This was a perfect example of a match that isn’t given much time but two guys doing a ton of work, incorporating a lot of fun spots and just killing it. Even as I write about this match I am enjoying it even more. Also who thought Yano would have 6 points after five days?

 

Block A: Katsuyori Shibata (4 pts.) v. Shelton Benjamin (8 pts.): Not going to lie, I was legitimately excited about this match heading into Day 5 viewing. Guys, for real New Japan is making me think that Shelton Benjamin might be one of the baddest men on the planet. At one point in this match Shelton caught a Shibata kick and dropped Shibata on his head, then rolled to the outside and giant swung Shibata into the guardrail a couple of times — Shelton Benjamin is a bad ass. Shelton’s strikes look so good right now — standing face to face with Shibata and throwing forearms in this match was excellent. If you don’t think Shelton Benjamin is a boss right now, watch him reverse a Go 2 Sleep into an ankle lock and tell me that isn’t a dude totally locked in. As bad ass as Shelton is you have to give a ton of bad ass credit to Shibata who took a beating in this match, found a window open and choked the life out of Benjamin before hitting him with the PK and getting the win. The magical undefeated run of Shelton Benjamin has now left the building, you will be missed.

 

Block B: AJ Styles (2 pts.) v. Hirooki Goto (6 pts.): I have a confession to make, I find myself enjoying AJ Styles more when he wears his Bullet Club ring gear than when he wears his AJ ring gear. It’s almost like when I see the black and white I know he’s going to carry his part of the match. That seems irrational but that’s how my brain works. I’ve never been a huge fan of plodding, methodical AJ Styles but I understand he’s older and a heel so it’s the way he has to wrestle, but I am starting to come around on derp faced, Bullet Club leader AJ Styles. All of that being said, this one didn’t really click for me. I don’t think Goto is the best guy to take a ton of offense. When I watch Goto I want to see him kick the crap out of people, not get slapped around and put in headlocks by pouty face AJ Styles. Things picked up a bit when Goto hit what I’m going to call a sunset flip destroyer from the top turnbuckle on Styles, the crowd started to get invested seeing Goto making a comeback, but the comeback was short lived and ended with a Styles Clash and AJ picking up the win. The finish picked this one up a bit but the early portion with Styles just dominating felt a bit flat to me, when I see Goto/Styles I want to watch Styles get pummeled for awhile.

 

Block A: Shinsuke Nakamura (4 pts.) v. Tomoaki Honma (0 pts.): I’m not sure there is a pairing of two bigger personalities in this tournament, unless Honma and Yano were to somehow meet in a cross-block special attraction. Pretty solid Honma chant to open the match which just goes to show you that even if I’m not sold on the guy, the live crowd absolutely loves him. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the highlight of this match was early on Honma puts Nakamura down and motions for his little falling headbutt, but before he even goes off the ropes Nakamura stands up and Honma had this amazing look on his face of disappointment that he didn’t get the chance to try (and ultimately fail) at the headbutt. I’m not saying that Honma should have beaten Nakamura, but I am saying that Honma needs to win one of these because throughout this whole match I found myself just blindly staring at the screen waiting for the inevitable BomaYe and three count. I get that he was a late replacement, and he doesn’t really win anything anyway, but there is absolutely no drama in these matches because you know how they’re going to end.

 

Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi (6 pts.) v. Bad Luck Fale (4 pts.):Is Tanahashi growing weird facial hair? I still have a hard time not seeing Fale as a guy who hasn’t really figured out how to be a big guy and hit like a big guy without actually murdering his opponent. Tanahashi doing the High Fly Flow to the outside when he’s basically held together with duct tape and Tylenol is always amazing to me. I don’t really understand the physics of Fale, on his back “catching” Tanahashi in the High Fly Flow and lifting him up for the Samoan Spike — I mean, he didn’t stop Tanahashi’s momentum in the air, wouldn’t the move still hurt? Semantics aside the end of this match was awesome, and the Bad Luck Fall continues to be the most bad ass finisher in the world. Fale picks up a big win over Tanahashi in a match that was probably what you should expect out of these two.

 

Block B: Tetsuya Naito (6 pts.) v. Kazuchika Okada (6 pts.): So it’s Day 5, and 3 of the previous 4 days have all been headlined by Okada, it’s fair to say that he’s winning this tournament right? Getting busted open by Yano has been great for Naito who I thought put on an incredible match with Styles on Day 4 and this was a match that I was very excited to see because I think both of these guys are capable of greatness. Watching Okada find inventive ways to get guys in position for the Air Raid Crash neckbreaker is one of the great joys of the G1 this year. Also on the list: Okada’s flying elbow, Okada’s drop kick and his ridiculously goofy finger points before the Rainmaker pose. When Naito hits the Stardust Press it looks awesome, so you could probably add that to the list of things that are amazing. In this match it looked like Naito landed right on Okada’s face, which probably didn’t feel super good but does explain why he was unable to kick out of the move. I’m not sure this was as great as I wanted it to be, but it was still a solid match. Naito continues to look amazing in this tournament with a ton of explosiveness and resiliency. He didn’t bleed on Day 5, which is probably good for his long term health, though I must admit that the blood added a ton of gravity to his match with Styles. Okada is a different animal entirely and it was good to see him lose here and a huge win for Naito.

 

So how does Day 5 stack up? It wasn’t as good as Day 4 top to bottom, but it wasn’t Day 2 either. I loved with all of my heart the Benjamin/Shibata match and I’d give high marks to the Yano/Anderson and Naito/Okada matches. Nothing stood out on this show as feeling lousy though the Davey Boy Smith Jr/Satoshi Kojima match was a complete non-entity for me. At this point nobody has really separated themselves from the pack though I think card positioning would tell you that Okada is the man to beat in Block B, even with a loss on Day 5 to Naito. Now that we’re at the halfway point though I don’t think you could say anyone is truly “out of it” other than Honma who was never expected to even be in the tournament so him being in that position doesn’t feel like much of a surprise. There are no undefeated performers left in the field, but I have to imagine that at the half-way point nobody predicted Shelton Benjamin and Tetsuyo Naito to be the leaders in the clubhouse.

 

BLOCK A
Shelton Benjamin (8)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)
Bad Luck Fale (6)
Tomohiro Ishii (6)
Shinsuke Nakamura (6)
Katsuyori Shibata (6)
Satoshi Kojima (4)
Davey Boy Smith Jr. (4)
Yuji Nagata (2)
Doc Gallows (2)
Tomoaki Honma (0)

BLOCK B
Tetusyo Naito (8)
Hirooki Goto (6)
Kazuchika Okada (6)
Hioyoshi Tenzan (4)
Togi Makabe (4)
Toru Yano (4)
AJ Styles (4)
Lance Archer (4)
Minoru Suzuki (4)
Yujiro Takahashi (2)
Karl Anderson (2)

NJPW “G1 Climax 24″ Day 4 Reviewed

Oh Day 4, there are only so many glorious things I can say about you. I have been binge watching the previous few days to catch up with reality and have finally reached that point. Because of that I haven’t really had the chance to read any other reviews from the previous couple of days and I don’t know what people think of what’s been going on, but man did I love Day 4.  As I look over the matches from Day 4 there wasn’t a weak match in the group, and a couple of the matches were standout levels of strong. I loved the second half, Styles/Naito and Tanahashi/Shibata specifically. We’re still early enough in the proceedings that we haven’t seen anyone really separate from the pack, except for Shelton Benjamin and I find it almost impossible that he’s going to continue with this hot streak for much longer. Without further ado, here’s my review of Day 4:

 

Block A: Bad Luck Fale (4 pts.) v. Satoshi Kojima (2 pts.): Am I wrong in thinking this was a werd choice to open the show? One thing that I’m liking right now about the G1 is that Fale is wrestling some guys who he can really lay into and that’s helping him seem like an actual monster, instead of people telling me that he’s a monster. He still falls back into pillow fighting but when he puts a hard chop into Kojima it actually looks like it hurts. Even though they look like glancing blows I do like Fale swinging clubbing forearms in the corner because he is such a monster. His running splash in the corner also looks good. Though I think there was a lot of good here for Fale I still think he should stop using the spear, he doesn’t really spear anyone so much as bend over at the waist and catch guys running off the ropes, it’s a nightmare, it looks terrible and I’m not even sure how softly placing someone on the mat is supposed to hurt them. Just when this match felt like a Fale squash match, Kojima squirms out of the Bad Luck Fall, hits consecutive lariats and pins the IWGP Intercontinental Champion? Wait, what? Kojima’s win seemed to come out of nowhere but I didn’t dislike this match by any means.

 

Block A: Shelton Benjamin (6 pts.) v. Davey Boy Smith Jr. (2 pts.): Ain’t no stopping Shelton Benjamin, nooooooooow! Love the handshake that Shelton immediately turns into a Rock Bottom and tries to get the win. This is a Suzuki-gun match which comes into play when TAKA Michinoku stops Smith Jr., from hitting Shelton with a chair, only to be hit with a chair from Smith Jr., while he was distracted. TAKA trying to stop Smith Jr., from using the objects was also a nice addition. The vertical suplex by Smith Jr., reversed into a neckbreaker by Shelton Benjamin spot in the middle of this match was awesome — say what you want about Shelton but dude brought his work boots to the G1 this year, he’s been awesome through four days. Shelton’s grape vine on the ankle lock looks better than almost anyone else, but Smith Jr., reversing it by just standing up and turning in into a sharpshooter was amazing. Shelton ultimately wins (because Shelton always wins) with the Zig Zag (or whatever he calls it) and continues his roll through the G1. I really really liked this match.

 

Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4 pts.) v. Minoru Suzuki (0 pts): I could watch Minoru Suzuki wind up and slap dudes all day long. This match involved the rare, non red sleeve referee schmozz where Suzuki for the second day in a row used the ring bell as a weapon with no consequences. Suzuki has some pretty stiff kicks for a guy who doesn’t wear kick pads, that can’t feel good. I kind of liked every part of this match and still found myself not really liking it. Suzuki finally looked like a killer here getting Tenzan to tap out with a choke that looked brutal, and Suzuki-gun is dominating this day.

 

Block B: Hirooki Goto (6 pts.) v. Toru Yano (2 pts.): I think Yano is one of those guys who suffers to me because of the language barrier. I have no idea what Yano is supposed to be, is he doing some comedy stuff? His facial expressions are wacky. This was basically Goto beating the tar out of Yano for two minutes, Yano getting the quick roll up pin and getting the win out of nowhere. That’s the second win for Yano in this tournament that he got in that style. I might be alone in this but I just don’t get it.

 

Block A: Tomoaki Honma (0 pts.) v. Tomohiro Ishii (2 pts.): Honma serves a valuable role in the tournament, he takes an amazing beating and the crowd goes nuts when he gets on a run and that was in full effect here. He is also a completely competent striker, the two guys stood in the middle of the ring and just slapped the shit out of each other in the middle of the match, an exchange that actually led to Honma hitting his rebound falling headbutt (complete with cut away to the crowd!). I also have to say that Ishii sold a DDT better than anyone has ever sold a DDT in life. The crowd was so hyped when Homna went to the top rope and motioned for the falling headbutt, of course Ishii moved because that move has a 0% success rate but the crowd ate the whole thing up. The end of this match was awesome, the crowd was super hot, both guys just stood in the middle of the ring smashing each other in the face until Ishii decleated Honma with a lariat. Ultimately Honma did what Honma does, eat the pin after a deadfall brainbuster by Ishii. This was another really good match even knowing that Honma had almost no chance of winning.

 

Block B: Togi Makabe (2 pts.) v. Lance Archer (2 pts): I might be wrong but aren’t Lance Archer and Doc Gallows essentially playing the same role in this tournament? Is it wrong that I think Archer is more effective as the gaijin monster? This match spilled outside pretty quick and the early portion was basically just Archer manhandling Makabe. Archer also got physical with the ref, which for Archer is pretty much par for the course (just ask Brandon Stroud). I don’t know if Makabe went for a big splash, or a diving headbutt but whatever it was, it was literally the ugliest and least effective move I’ve ever seen. Makabe did get a little redemption with a diving knee to win the match. I didn’t love this match, but I am absolutely starting to come around on Lance Archer who is really playing his role well. Also it’s been a tough day for the Killer Elite Squad.

 

Block A: Yuji Nagata (2 pts.) v. Shinsuke Nakamura (2 pts.): Nagata coming off a really good match with Fale from Day 3, and Nakamura is always wonderful so I was looking forward to see what they could do here. One of the wonderful things about Nakamura is that his body moves so much that when he gets kicked by Nagata here he sells the shit out of it. His head is flailing, his limbs are going in every direction, it’s really wonderful. There is no other way to put this than to say that during the mid-point of this match Nagata straight up beats the shit out of Nakamura and it is awesome. Nakamura who doesn’t kick nearly as convincingly as Nagata still looks like a beast here because the old man is doing everything he can to make it seem that way. If you’re wondering what makes Nagata so great, at one point he gets Nakamura in a crossface, the move isn’t going to end the match but Nakamura’s face isn’t exactly positioned right, so Nagata makes it a point to reposition Nakamura’s face for the visual – it has no practical impact it just looked better. Both guys busted their asses in this match, it was hard hitting, it was intense, the crowd was into it — it was everything you want out of a G1 match. There was a great near fall on a BomaYe which was followed up by a second BomaYe for the win. This match was awesome, keep up the good work Day 4 you’re doing great.

 

Block B: Tetsuya Naito (4 pts.) v. AJ Styles (2 pts.): It’s obvious as this tournament progresses that Styles it becoming more confident as a heel in Japan. His facial expressions are really good and he’s finally making his dead, expressionless eyes work for him. The placement of this match makes it clear that Okada is the draw and the focus of Group B, I’d be shocked if he didn’t win the group. I mean if Naito and Styles can’t headline this day than who could Styles face that would be headline worth (outside of Okada on Day 1)? Naito busted open early in this one, obviously that cut didn’t heal from his match with Yano on Day 3. Naito getting turned inside out on a dropkick by Styles was awesome. Styles ripping off the band-aid over Naito’s eye and smashing his elbow down into the cut to open him up was excellent and such a heel move. Again, AJ is getting comfortable as a bad guy. Naito as the busted open, bleeding, plucky face underdog is perfect too which made this match in my opinion. This match alone made Styles look better than anything else he’s done in New Japan thus far, and that includes being IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Naito was awesome here selling for Styles and his facial expressions, covered in blood really put this thing over the top. Here’s the beautiful thing about how good this match was, Naito wins with the Stardust Press, he pins the IWGP Heavyweight Champion and I left the match thinking both guys looked great. Again this day has been off the charts for me with quality matches.

 

Block B: Kazuchika Okada (6 pts) v. Karl Anderson (0 pts): The Karl Anderson can’t win a match in the G1 storyline this tournament has been interesting. As I said earlier Okada is clearly the favorite in Block B and I can’t imagine a situation where he doesn’t emerge from this part of the draw.  Anderson not letting Okada have his full entrance and just wailaying Gedo was awesome, and then doing the Rainmaker post in the middle of the ring just brought up the heat factor. Has anyone ever mentioned that Okada has a beautiful elbow drop, but his goofy little point thing before the Rainmaker pose is just weak? Also what’s the success rate on the first Rainmaker lariat after the pose? Is it more rare than Honma hitting the falling headbutt? I’m confused at the finishing sequence of reversals because it looked weird, but ultimately Anderson reverses the Rainmaker Lariat into the Ace Crusher and picks up the victory, huge win for Anderson to get him on the board – this was as solid a match as you’d expect from these two.

 

Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi (6 pts.) v. Katsuyori Shibata (2 pts.): Oh man, Tanahashi walking past Shibata to the corner and Shibata never moves from the middle of the ring, never turns his head, never even looks at Tanahashi. For a guy who everyone seems to agree is walking on gimp legs and has trouble getting out of chairs, Tanahashi is fully committed to throwing himself around like a rag doll, including flying around on the outside which can’t be good for someone with that type of pain. I admire how committed Tanahashi is to the High Fly Flow when someone gets their knees up. The crowd was molten hot for the finish of this match and when Shibata got the three count the place was going wild. I stopped writing about the match after the first six minutes and just sat back and enjoyed it. Seriously, Shibata has two of my favorite matches in the tournament already and it’s only Day 4, this was excellent.

 

BLOCK A

Shelton Benjamin (8)

Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)

Satoshi Kojima (4)

Bad Luck Fale (4)

Tomohiro Ishii (4)

Shinsuke Nakamura (4)

Katsuyori Shibata (4)

Yuji Nagata (2)

Doc Gallows (2)

Davey Boy Smith Jr. (2)

Tomoaki Honma (0)

 

BLOCK B

Hirooki Goto (6)

Kazuchika Okada (6)

Tetusyo Naito (6)

Hioyoshi Tenzan (4)

Togi Makabe (4)

Toru Yano (4)

Yujiro Takahashi (2)

AJ Styles (2)

Lance Archer (2)

Minoru Suzuki (2)

Karl Anderson (2)

 

NJPW “G1 Climax 24″ Day 3 Reviewed

I’m zooming through my Day 3 review because I am way behind and need to play some catch up. Day 2 felt like a place holder, but things picked up in the second half of Day 3. If you thought Shelton Benjamin would be winning the tournament through the first three days of competition congratulations you’re a much better prognosticator than I am.

 

Block A: Doc Gallows (0-2-0, 0) v. Tomoaki Honma (0-2-0, 0): I still enjoy Honma missing his falling headbutt but I don’t know if I’ll be saying that by the time this tournament ends. Honma at one point hit a nightmare sunset flip that was too close to the ropes and looked awful. Honma also struggled to bodyslam Gallows. I know Honma’s only role is to take punishment, have a short hero come back segment and lose, but if he can’t do the hero comeback segment I’m not sure the falling headbutt spot is enough to warrant his level of popularity. The truth is that Honma is wildly popular and if he ever does win a match in this tournament the crowd will shake the building to the ground. Of course Honma didn’t win this match and Gallows, who headlined Day 2 picked up a win in a pretty lousy opener for Day 3.

Block B: Karl Anderson (0-2-0, 0) v. Lance Archer (0-1-0, 0): Well this match spilled to the outside pretty quick. I did like the psychology being used by Anderson to focus on the knee of Archer to bring the bigger man down to size. Archer has pretty fantastic facial expressions in the ring and Anderson is a master at getting the crowd involved so from that perspective this match worked for me – and I really liked the reversal set that led to the end. The rest just happrned, but I did not expect Archer to win.

Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan (1-1-0, 2) v. Yujiro Takahashi (1-1-0, 2): Tenzan via Anaconda Vice in a match that I’ve already completely forgotten.

Block A: Shelton Benjamin (2-0-0, 4) v. Tomohiro Ishii (1-1-0, 2): At this point not even Shelton Benjamin’s mother thought he’d be 3-0 over the first three days of the tournament and have wins over the IWGP Intercontinental Champion and the hottest wrestler in the company. Things are going really well for Shelton Benjamin. For some reason Gallows/Honma got what felt like 40 minutes and these two got 8 but they made the best of it, including a great sequence of ankle lock reversals and the finishing sequence that led to Benjamin getting the win was excellent.

Block B: Tetsuya Naito (1-1-0, 2) v. Toru Yano (1-1-0, 2): I always say in these reviews that blood makes matches in New Japan feel way more intense, but sometimes that isn’t the vibe that you’re looking for – like when Toru Yano is involved in a match. Naito got busted open early in this one and bled like a sieve. Yano making his faces while Naito bleeds buckets was a bit off putting to me, though the match itself was really well done and hard hitting, much better than I anticipated. Naito wins with the Stardust Press in another shockingly good outing for Naito who pretty much always puts his work boots on during G1.

Block A: Davey Boy Smith Jr., (0-1-0, 0) v. Katsuyori Shibata (1-0-0, 2): I was very interested to see this match. Shibata was the star of Day 1 and had Day 2 off and Davey Boy Smith Jr., had a solid match in his own right on Day 2. With these two guys involved I assumed their contest would be very marital arts inspired and hard hitting. The early portion of the match was certainly a lot of rolling around in the MMA style and the middle portion of the match that had dueling European uppercuts and elbows did satisfy my hard hitting lust. Shibata’s power bomb reversal into the triangle choke was awesome, as was Davey Boy Smith Jr., getting out of the choke using brute strength. In the end I’m pretty shocked that Smith Jr., picked up the win with the power bomb – Shibata was so hot after the opening day, but the run up to the finish was good and I actually really liked what they did in the short amount of time that they had.

Block A: Yuji Nagata (1-1-0, 2) v. Bad Luck Fale (1-1-0, 2): Nagata did something that I didn’t think was possible, he dragged a really good, hard hitting mach out of Fale. It’s crazy that it took a guy who is almost literally a million years old to finally make Fale seem like a monster. Nagata turned back the clock during this match though including hitting a pretty great exploder suplex and an even better belly to back suplex that I thought could’ve ended the match (but didn’t). At some point the wheels kind of came off for Fale, he grabbed Nagata for the Samoan Spike really weakly and he hit one of the worst spears that I’ve ever seen in my life – which might have been because he was afraid he’d kill the old man, but was probably because he just doesn’t lay into any of his moves. Fale finally did hit the Bad Luck Fall which always looks awesome and picked up the win.

Block B: Hirooki Goto (2-0-0, 4) v. Minoru Suzuki (0-1-0, 0): I’ve been impressed with Goto thus far in the tournament he’s really shown me something. Suzuki got Day 2 off after losing that quick roll up to Yano on the first day. These two came right out swinging for the fences exchanging pretty stiff chops to open the match. This was one of those matches where nobody in New Japan can be disqualified as Suzuki clocked Goto in the head with the ring bell on the outside at one point – to the surprise of nobody the referee was long red sleeve ref. Because this was the red sleeve ref ultimately TAKA Michinoku gets involved but gets fought off by Goto for his trouble. Apparently Suzuki with the gator roll on the ref wasn’t grounds for a DQ. The interference kind of took away from what was otherwise a nice match and in the end Goto gets out of a sleeper hold into a leg roll/roll up for the pinfall win.

Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-0-0, 4) v. Satoshi Kojima (1-1-0, 2): Tanahashi is just bringing it right now, you can tell that he’s more motivated now than he has been on a couple recent tours where I felt he was just going through the motions. I’m also kind of loving Kojima in this tournament, at one point he hit Tanahashi with a lariat off the top turnbuckle to the floor that looked pretty brutal. The crowd got way into this one after that lariat off the turnbuckle. I have to ask – does Kojima wear his elbow pad to the beach, he has a hilarious tan line when he first takes that thing off. Tanahashi threw one of the nicest High Fly Flow that I’ve ever seen right onto Kojima’s knees – dude is committed. Tanahashi picks up the win after the High Fly Flow to a standing Kojima followed by a High Fly Flow on a downed Kojima and he gets the win. I really enjoyed myself during this match.

Block B: Kazuchika Okada (2-0-0, 4) v. Togi Makabe (1-1-0, 2): Crowd is HYPED for this match. Love the idea of Okada daring Makabe to hit him to prove that he’s (Okada) tough enough, and Makabe sort of daring Okada to hit him because he doesn’t think Okada is strong enough to take him out. Amazing moment after Okada hits the flying elbow and does the Rainmaker pose where Makabe gets to his feet and stands toe to toe with Okada who is holding the Rainmaker pose with a smile on his face, I loved that. I don’t really have a ton to add to this match – it was fantastic. The crowd was electric, both guys delivered and in the end Okada got the victory with the Rainmaker and that was how you want to end a day of the G1.

BLOCK A
Shelton Benjamin (6)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)
Bad Luck Fale (4)
Satoshi Kojima (2)
Katsuyori Shibata (2)
Tomohiro Ishii (2)
Yuji Nagata (2)
Shinsuke Nakamura (2)
Doc Gallows (2)
Davey Boy Smith Jr. (2)
Tomoaki Honma (0)
BLOCK B
Hirooki Goto (6)
Kazuchika Okada (6)
Hioyoshi Tenzan (4)
Tetusyo Naito (4)
Yujiro Takahashi (2)
Toru Yano (2)
Togi Makabe (2)
AJ Styles (2)
Lance Archer (2)
Karl Anderson (0)
Minoru Suzuki (0)

NJPW “G1 Climax 24″ Day 2 Reviewed

So here’s the thing, Day 1 of the tournament launched with a litany of great matches and that was on purpose. You’re not going to launch the G1 tournament with a lackluster event. But in fairness with so many guys competing in the event you’re also not going to have every show be as stacked as the first night. This Day 2 event was never going to live up to the hype of Day 1, it just wasn’t possible. All you’re trying to do with Day 2 is to build on the momentum you got from Day 1, move the tournament forward and give the fans something to talk about. I think Day 2 did all of that and more, though the biggest highlight of the day was the crowd who were electric throughout and at one point even convinced me that Toru Yano might beat AJ Styles. Let’s talk about the show though, shall we?

Block A: Satoshi Kojima (1-0-0, 2) v. Tomohiro Ishii (0-1-0, 0): Ishii appears to be the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles of the G1 as he kicked off Day 1 and Day 2, not a bad choice actually as his match today was really solid. Every once in awhile blood does add intrigue to a match and in this one Ishii got busted open in the mouth which immediately made it feel more intense. Really fun spot during the match where Ishii reversed the Kojima slap spot in the corner, Kojima humored him for a moment, reversed it back and laid into Ishii. The crowd was super into this match and the intensity of the striking really put it over the top. Ishii finally puts Kojima away with the brainbuster but this was a great match and a great way to open a show that I was a little iffy on before it began.

Block A: Shelton Benjamin (1-0-0, 2) v. Bad Luck Fale (1-0-0, 2): Well, there goes the neighborhood. So Shelton Benjamin pins the current IWGP Intercontinetnal Champion clean as a whistle after escaping a Bad Luck Fall, because of course he does – who didn’t see that coming? To be honest even Benjamin seemed legitimately shocked to have heard the bell ring indicating that he had won. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Shelton — he deserved the win but it just felt like with Fale obviously on the fast track to super-duper stardom in New Japan that he wouldn’t struggle much with Shelton Benjamin.

Block B: Yujiro Takahashi (1-0-0, 2) v. Hirooki Goto (1-0-0, 2): Everything about Takahashi is hateable. I’m not even a huge Goto fan but I went into this match just wanting to see Takahashi get pummeled. I will give Takahashi some credit, I mean it is his job to get people to hate him and on that front he’s doing swimmingly. There were a ton of near falls in this match which did help to build the drama towards the finish. This match was without a doubt the best Takahashi match that I’d ever seen. I loved the finish sequence including Goto hitting a brutal head butt before the Shoten Kai and the three. Solid effort by both guys which is something I haven’t said about Takahashi, ever.

Block B: Lance Archer (0-0-0, 0) v. Tetsuya Naito (0-1-0, 0): The crowd, which has been good up to this point is so hyped for Naito it’s not even funny. The reigning G1 champion hasn’t had the best twelve month stretch since the last tournament but he’s very popular in this particular room. If you were looking for a match that was mostly just Lance Archer beating the shit out of Naito than this is the one for you. I did not particularly enjoy myself during this match but I must confess that Archer hit a great chokeslam that Naito took like a champ – that should have ended things but instead Naito kicked out at two, got a quick roll up out of the F’n Slam and scored the victory. I know this was Archer’s first match of the tournament so it sets the table for him but he got about 90% of the offense and lost, this match made him look like a goober.

Block B: Yuji Nagata (0-1-0, 0) v. Tomoaki Honma (0-1-0, 0): It’s crazy how popular Honma is with this crowd, especially when you take into account that he wasn’t even supposed to be in this tournament. At this point I could probably watch an entire match that is just Honma missing head butts. The crowd did their best to make this match better than it was. They love Honma and he does such a great job putting over other people’s offense but I don’t know I just wasn’t into it. Nagata wins with the backdrop driver with a bridge for the pinfall victory.

Block A: Shinsuke Nakamuara (0-1-0, 0) v. Davey Boy Smith Jr. (0-0-0, 0): I haven’t really read reviews of the show yet because I’m writing these thoughts while I watch Day 2, so I might be on an island with this thinking but I loved this match. Davey Boy Jr., more than held his own in this match and did a great job of pinballing Nakamura around the ring for long stretches of the match. Even though Nakamura won the match I don’t think Smith Jr., looked bad and in fact I’d argue that he looked spectacular in this match — the exact opposite of how I felt about Archer in his loss to Naito. Nakamura dug deep in this one and withstood everything that Smith threw at him, the fact that Smith Jr., was able to lay into Nakamura so much and really beat him up helped pay off the face burst at the end which was sold even better when Smith Jr., kicked out of the first Boma Ye. It took two Boma Ye’s to put down Davey Boy Smith Jr., and honestly even in losing I came away from that match looking forward to seeing more of him.

Block B: Toru Yano (1-0-0, 2) v. AJ Styles (0-1-0, 0): It’s somewhat comforting that AJ Styles has the exact same reaction to Toru Yano that I do which is sort of head scratching confusion. I liked this match because it was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion against Toru Yano, and AJ Styles dominated and won clean. The only moment of real note came on a near fall by Yano on a quick roll up, playing off his victory over Suzuki on Day 1, but AJ blocking the second attempt into the Styles Clash was perfect and this was a good reminder that AJ Styles is for all intents and purposes the top dog in the New Japan yard. I will comment that even though the roll through to the Styles Clash was a bit ugly, I give AJ credit because when he rolled Yano over for the pin he was so close to the ropes that it looked like Yano’s hand might go under the ropes, so AJ positioned himself to hold Yano’s hand away from the ropes to complete the pin — that’s professional work right there.

Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan (1-0-0, 2) v. Kazuchika Okada (1-0-0, 2): Wait, was the purpose of this match to make Tenzan look a lot like Yano because he kind of looked completely overwhelmed in this match to me. I am sort of feelin’ Tenzan right now, I loved him breaking away from a Rainmaker Lariat by headbutting Okada in the face, but other than that most of this felt like a vicious beating by the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Even when Tenzan hooked in the Anaconda Vice, which helped him win on Day 1 I never thought he belonged in the same ring as Okada.

Block B: Togi Makabe (0-1-0, 0) v. Karl Anderson (0-1-0, 0): This is another example of a match getting some added heat because of blood. Early on Anderson busted Makabe’s mouth open so he had that pink smile throughout that always makes a match feel a little more intense (as I said during the Ishii opener). The problem I have with this match is that it built up nicely and then ended, like abruptly ended with Makabe hitting the King Kong Knee and pinning Anderson. It all felt rushed and the ended really let me down.

Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-0-0, 2) v. Doc Gallows (0-1-0, 0): Watching Doc Gallows come to the ring something strikes me, nobody current in the Bullet Club makes a convincing finger gun. Every one of them has these limp, tired, bored looking finger guns and Anderson of course has no concept of what a machine gun firing would look like, it’s all very distracting. Devitt used to commit to the finger gun — we miss you Prince Devitt. This match involved my favorite New Japan trope, red sleeve referee watching Doc Gallows hit someone with a steel chair and just shaking his head in disapproval. Does Doc Gallows have distractingly thin legs? Gallows did a good job of putting a beating on Tanahashi which made the baby face comeback more appealing. It took two high fly flow’s to put Gallows down. I’m not going to revisit this match by any means but it was perfectly acceptable and a decent way to the end the second day of the tournament.

With that, day two of the tournament ends with Tanahashi in the ring celebrating a victory over a Bullet Club member, after Okada received similar treatment on Day 1. I was disappointed not to see Shibata on Day 2 after his excellent performance against Nakamura on the first day of the event, but I do think that having the extra time off for performers will keep guys fresh and healthy through the duration of an otherwise relentless schedule.

BLOCK A

Shelton Benjamin (4)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4)
Bad Luck Fale (2)
Satoshi Kojima (2)
Katsuyori Shibata (2)
Tomohiro Ishii (2)
Yuji Nagata (2)
Shinsuke Nakamura (2)
Doc Gallows (0)
Tomoaki Honma (0)
Davey Boy Smith Jr. (0)

BLOCK B

Hirooki Goto (4)
Kazuchika Okada (4)
Yujiro Takahashi (2)
Toru Yano (2)
Hioyoshi Tenzan (2)
Togi Makabe (2)
Tetusyo Naito (2)
AJ Styles (2)
Karl Anderson (0)
Lance Archer (0)
Minoru Suzuki (0)

NJPW “G1 Climax 24″ Day 1 Reviewed

I’m posting this review a little bit late as Day 2 has already concluded and by the time I actually finish this review, Day 3 will probably be in progress. I had always intended on reviewing the entire G1 tournament but then my son was born on July 21, 2014 and I fell two days behind. Soooooo, I’m playing catch up. Whenever I actually get “caught up” these reviews will probably take on a more comprehensive feel but keep in mind that I watched Day 1 from a rocking chair in the Mother/Baby room at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester and I watched Day 2 from my couch after my two children and wife all went to bed, so my thoughts are a bit scrambled.

  • Bad Luck Fale d. Tomohiro Ishii (Block A): The opening match of the tournament is an interesting bout because both of these guys are legitimately solid choices to emerge from Block A. Fale is being pushed to the moon right now after a stretcher job victory over Shinsuke Nakamura to become the IWGP Intercontinental Champion and Ishii has been having match of the year quality matches with just about everyone. This match gives you a decent idea of which of the two is more likely to come out of Block A as Fale dispatched Ishii relatively easily with one of the best finishers in wrestling right now, the Bad Luck Fall.
  • Shelton Benjamin d. Luke Gallows (Block A): Raise your hand if you thought that Shelton Benjamin and Festus would be meeting in the first round of the most prestigious heavyweight tournament in the world? I remain nonplussed by Gallows and Benjamin is always a mixed bag for me. I didn’t hate anything I saw in this match but I’m not going to check it out again.
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan d. Karl Anderson (Block B): Another match that I could take or leave. I don’t particularly understand the appeal of Tenzan, or Anderson for that matter. I don’t think the Machine Gun has a run in him like he made last year and Tenzan certainly isn’t going to wind up winning the tournament but it was interesting to see one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions submit one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions.
  • Satoshi Kojima d. Yuji Nagata (Block A): I showed this match to my wife, she thought Nagata looked very old, so take that for what it’s worth. I actually really enjoyed this match and lately I’ve found myself more and more invested in Kojima. I think this tournament could do wonders for him. You always know what you’re going to get out of Nagata and even though it feels weird that he just dropped the GHC Championship he’s certainly going to take a ton of pinfalls in this tournament block.
  • Toru Yano d. Minoru Suzuki (Block B): Enough with these two please? Yano with a quick roll up to get the win in match 75 of their best of 225 series.
  • Yujiro Takahashi d. Tetsuya Naito (Block B): I know there is someone out there that loves Takahashi but I am not that person. At one point he appeared to just forget what he was supposed to do and wound up dropping Naito right on the crown of his head — thankfully Naito wasn’t killed in the process but he did ultimately succumb to the Miami Shine and Takahashi continues his inexplicable rise through the ranks of New Japan.
  • Hirooki Goto d. Togi Makabe (Block B): This match began the string of amazing matches to end the show. The near falls towards the finish of this match sold me on it and I was way invested by the time it ended. Really the only problem with this match is that it came at the front end of such a strong ending that nobody will remember it happened in two weeks.
  • Tanahashi d. Tomoaki Honma (Block A): Holy Honma! So this match was supposed to be Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi but I honestly think this was a better match. There was a moment here where Honma goes for his ridiculous diving/falling headbutt and misses. The referee standing just off to the side just stands next to the downed Honma shaking his head in disappointment, it was glorious and hilarious and everything I want out of a Honma match. I loved everything about this and I am so happy that Honma got a spot in the tournament if he’s going to put matches like this one together.
  • Katsuyori Shibata d. Shinsuke Nakamura (Block A): This match. This match. This match. If there is one match every night of the G1 that is the equivalent of this match than this is going to be the greatest tournament that has ever happened. I honestly never think about Shibata until I’m watching a match like this and suddenly all I can think is that there is absolutely nobody on the New Japan roster who is better than Shibata. This match was awesome and maybe it was sleep deprivation but it felt like Shibata handily beat Nakamura and absolutely announced himself as a legitimate threat to win the tournament.
  • Kazuchika Okada d. AJ Styles (Block B): This had to happen. Styles has basically beaten Okada at every turn using outside shenanigans and clean as a whistle, if Okada didn’t win this match he’d never be seen as a legitimate threat to Styles again. I thought this was a solid effort and I even understood having Takahashi show up to interject himself into the proceedings — before that we had a completely clean night where other than Takahashi the Bullet Club was beaten relatively easily. But Okada overcame the odds, tossed Takahashi from the ring and hit the Rainmaker lariat for a huge win to kick off the tournament. I still think that Okada is going to win the G1 this year to set up a rematch with Styles where he takes the belt from him and I think this win goes a long way towards building that up.

BLOCK A

Shelton Benjamin (2)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2)
Bad Luck Fale (2)
Satoshi Kojima (2)
Katsuyori Shibata (2)
Tomohiro Ishii (0)
Shinsuke Nakamura (0)
Doc Gallows (0)
Tomoaki Honma (0)
Davey Boy Smith Jr. (0)

BLOCK B

Hirooki Goto (2)
Kazuchika Okada (2)
Yujiro Takahashi (2)
Toru Yano (2)
Hioyoshi Tenzan (2)
Togi Makabe (0)
Tetusyo Naito (0)
AJ Styles (0)
Karl Anderson (0)
Lance Archer (0)
Minoru Suzuki (0)

Beyond Wrestling “Americanrana 14″ Preview: Drew Gulak v. Tommaso Ciampa

Beyond Wrestling’s biggest show of the year and arguably the biggest independent wrestling show on the East Coast this year takes place from Fete Music on July 27th. If you haven’t already picked up your tickets, the company is trying to #SellOutFete and move 400 tickets to the show, they’re about half way to the goal and if you’re thinking about attending you should totally grab you tickets right now. Instead of doing one lengthy preview for the show I’m going to preview one match per day in advance of the event.

Part 1: Kimber Lee v. Silver Ant

Part 2: Ryan Rush v. Brian Myers

Part 3: Eric Corvis v. Jimmy Jacobs

Part 4: Team TREMENDOUS v. Best Friends

Up next it’s the European Rounds match between Drew Gulak and Tommaso Ciampa.

INTRODUCTIONS

Drew Gulak: I haven’t talked about the points standings at all in these previews but Drew Gulak is the highest rated wrestler on the Beyond Wrestling roster and it’s not even that close. There are no titles in Beyond Wrestling so he isn’t the champion, but he is essentially the King of the Mountain. Gulak made his Fete Music debut for Beyond at the first “Americanrana” where he went toe to toe with Chris Dickinson. He returned at “Point of No Return” as Biff Busick’s partner against the Dojo Bros. He’s wrestled Ciampa once before at Fete, but he’s also tangled with Biff Busick (at CZW “To Infinity…”), Kevin Steen (at “Feeding Frenzy”) and Kimber Lee (at “Unbreakable”). Gulak has also been involved in the Secret Shows and is an all around great performer.

Tommaso Ciampa: Ciampa debuted in Beyond Wrestling rockin’ a Dan Marjerle jersey at “Point of No Return” and had a war with Chris Dickinson at “Tournament for Tomorrow II.” Ciampa has wrestled Gulak once before at Fete Music and also had a pretty intense stand off with Gulak at a Secret Show following a Ciampa/Ryan Rush match. Ciampa is very familiar to the Fete Music crowd though.

RELEVANT HISTORY

This is one of those matches with some history. So Gulak and Ciampa had a “Submission Match” at “CRITICAL! Acclaim” that included the picture you’re seeing above of Gulak being choked out by Ciampa’s knee brace. I missed “Critical! Acclaim” live but watched it on tape immediately upon it becoming available and I thought their first meeting was amazing. For purposes of this preview, here is my review of the first Gulak/Ciampa meeting:

Let me talk about that submission match for a second. So the rumor is that the live crowd hated the submission match and neither Drew Gulak or Tomasso Ciampa were happy with it when it ended. When I watched the match on video I L-O-V-E-D it. Honestly I think it was the best match on the card and it’s not really that close. I am so digging what Drew Gulak is doing right now, the guy is literally on a roll that is tough to match having amazing technical, hard hitting matches with everyone from Timothy Thatcher to Ciampa. The way this match was laid out – and the way Ciampa wrestled it was excellent. Ciampa is a brute and he hit as hard as he could, but he broke out some awesome spots including an amazing Rings of Saturn using his knee brace (which had been ripped off) as added leverage.  I also loved that Gulak had a game plan and stuck to it – he focused on the weak knee of Ciampa and that weakness ultimately led to Gulak getting the win. I flippin’ loved this match and if the live crowd didn’t that’s too bad I hope they revisit it on video because it was excellent.

The two had a further interaction at a #SecretShow following Ciampa’s victory over Ryan Rush. As Ciampa was leaving the ringside area he slapped Gulak right in the face who was sitting by the curtain. I have heard that it wasn’t planned and that Gulak was none-to-pleased by the slap but who knows when you’re being worked. Either way there is some history here that should play into the match.

THE STAKES

The weird thing is that the Submission Match seemed to favor Gulak (and he won) and the European Rounds match seems to play right into Gulak’s style as well. I haven’t seen a ton of information on the rounds for this match so I won’t speculate as to how long the bout will be, but the added stipulation of judged rounds like European style wrestling will be a very interesting. I think the stakes for Ciampa are pretty clear – he hasn’t been able to beat Gulak yet and now he’s getting a chance to beat him, in a match that seems prefectly tailored to Gulak’s style. A win for Ciampa would absolutely validate his technical prowess but would also erase some of the bad taste in his mouth from the submission match loss back at “CRITICAL! Acclaim.” For Gulak that stakes are always the same – he’s the top ranked wrestler in Beyond which makes him the standard bearer. I’ve said before that Gulak hasn’t been one of the “break out” Beyond stars, he isn’t in the same group as JT Dunn, Biff Busick, Kimber Lee — but I think he exists on a level above them, as the guy who the rest of the promotion kind of flows around. He represents the company very well, and because this match is being contested in a style that seems to favor him — he has the pressure of holding up his end of the bargain with this one.

PREDICTION

A lot of feuds that have been built up over time are ending at “Americanrana 14″ and I’m not sure this will be one of them. This feels like the kind of thing that needs a third act, so give me Ciampa to win but maybe not on points, could be a KO to set up some type of wild brawl down the road to blow off this feud.

Beyond Wrestling “Americanrana 14″ Preview: Team TREMENDOUS v. Best Friends

Beyond Wrestling’s biggest show of the year and arguably the biggest independent wrestling show on the East Coast this year takes place from Fete Music on July 27th. If you haven’t already picked up your tickets, the company is trying to #SellOutFete and move 400 tickets to the show, they’re about half way to the goal and if you’re thinking about attending you should totally grab you tickets right now. Instead of doing one lengthy preview for the show I’m going to preview one match per day in advance of the event.

Part 1: Kimber Lee v. Silver Ant

Part 2: Ryan Rush v. Brian Myers

Part 3: Eric Corvis v. Jimmy Jacobs

Up next, it’s the tag team match that everyone is talking about — well, okay, maybe it’s the *other* tag team match that everyone is talking about featuring the most popular tag team in Beyond Wrestling and a guy making his Beyond Wrestling debut. It’s Team TREMENDOUS against the Best Friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTIONS

Team TREMENDOUS: Dan Barry tells an interesting story about how the pairing of Bill Carr and Dan Barry wasn’t even supposed to appear on Beyond Wrestling’s “We Care A Lot” they were a last minute replacement. Due to their excellent performance at that show they secured a booking as part of the tag team 4-Way at “Americanrana” and proceeded to steal the show. Team TREMENDOUS has been off and running since as maybe not the “break out” success tag team of the past year, but certainly the most popular tag team in Beyond Wrestling. The Juicy Product might have all the gold, but only one team has had the crowd start a chance because a member bought a new shirt. Team TREMENDOUS has been in the ring with everyone that is anyone coming through the door in Beyond Wrestling including a CZW tag team title match with the Beaver Boys, a match with the *then* ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon and 3/4 of Mount Rushmore. This time out it’s the highly entertaining and wildly popular duo of Chuck Taylor and his best friend Trent Barreta.

Best Friends: Trent Barreta is making his Beyond Wrestling debut, so he has no history with the company. Chuckie T made his debut at “Point of No Return” and discovered a terrible secret about Eric Corvis’ handbook. Taylor also popped back up in Beyond at “Feeding Frenzy” when he stepped up and took the “secret challenger” spot against Kimber Lee. Even though they have no history in Beyond together, Best Friends are one of the most popular tag teams in the country right now and have already locked down BOLA 2014 honors, so a match with Team TREMENDOUS isn’t exactly the most significant pairing they’ve had this year.

RELEVANT HISTORY

None. Though Dan Barry did team with the Swamp Monster back at “Point of No Return” and you know how Chuck Taylor feels about the Swamp Monster.

THE STAKES

It’s easy to suggest that the Juicy Product has benefited the most from Beyond Wrestling over the past year but I think much of their success has to do with Combat Zone Wrestling as much as anything else. Even Biff Busick who has been an absolute stud for Beyond Wrestling can probably credit National Pro Wrestling Day and the “Wrestling Is…” family of promotions for getting his name out over the last year. Nobody has benefited more than Dan Barry and Bill Carr through their status as Beyond Wrestling tag team aces. Even though the Juicy Product hold belts up and down the East Coast there is a reason that when the Young Bucks came to Beyond Wrestling it was Team TREMENDOUS that they ran into first — because Barry and Carr are the bell weather team in the company. Whether it’s Da Hoodz or reDRagon, Team TREMENDOUS is capable of putting on a great match with anyone — so if you’re looking for a stand out match, you throw someone in the ring with Barry and Carr and see what type of magic happens.  What’s at stake in this match for Barry and Carr is that sooner or later someone is going to have to acknowledge that while they do wrestle a comedy style at times, Team TREMENDOUS deserves to be booked anywhere in the country and the fact that these guys are wrestling in places other than Beyond Wrestling (and occasionally CZW) is a crime. Jokingly during their match with the Bucks and Steen, Barry and Carr did their interrogation spot and asked Steen how they can be booked in PWG — a great showing against the Best Friends would be a solid step in that direction. For the Best Friends, they have nothing to prove. Nobody is afraid that they won’t have a great match, the crowd will love them, they’ll sell a ton of t-shirts and everyone will go home happy. Sometimes being one of the best national acts in the country is as easy as that.

PREDICTION

This is one of those beautiful matches where neither team actually needs to win. Nobody is harmed if they lose, nobody really gains anything by winning. The only purpose for this match is for four guys who are fully capable of putting together an amazing match to go out and do just that. When reDRagon was the ROH World Tag Team Champions, Team TREMENDOUS beat them so adding the BOLA2014 winners to their mantle would really add to Barry and Carr’s cache plus I really don’t think Taylor and Baretta have any reason to do anything but put over two guys trying to break nationally so gimme Team TREMENDOUS in the match of the night.