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NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool

January 12th 2019

Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) - NXT UK Tag Team Championships

Just thought I'd rewatch this early classic from this year, and it's still fantastic fun a second time around. With the molten crowd at the first NXT UK Takeover, the chants are brilliant, most of which at the expense of Gibbers. Meanwhile Moustache Mountain are stupidly over, and are treated like golden gods, the excitement of this being for the Inaugural NXT UK Tag Titles adding even more stakes.

I love this match, and it's still on my list of matches of the year. The heat of having both UK Tournament winners in Tyler Bate and Zack Gibson facing off, Trent Seven's babyface in peril selling is second to none, and the hot sequences were exactly what the crowd wanted. I'm a huge fan of Zack Gibson's work both in the ring and the mic, but take nothing from James Drake, he was also great in the match. 

The reactions to Tyler Bate's "b i g s t r o n g b o i" spots are some of the loudest I've heard in years, the man is already a star, and way before hitting his prime. The closing sequences of this match are infecteous, with Trent kicking out of an incredible combo of moves that I always buy as the finish every time. 

Also I'd like to praise the booking decision here. Instead of playing the safe card and putting the titles on Moustache Mountain, Drake and Gibson won, establishing a second big team for the brand while providing a strong chase for the babyfaces (which is where the money is).

 

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NJPW Kizuna Road 2019

June 16th, 2019

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) (c) vs. Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo)

Image result for Kizuna Road 2019

Ok, I have many feelings about this match, so if you haven't seen it yet, this will contain spoilers.

So, I really enjoy the work of all 4 guys in this match, and I'm really glad that the IWGP Junior Tag Titles were given this spotlight in the main event. Taiji Ishimori has been an absolute star over the last year with New Japan. He had a stellar BOSJ 25, and quite a lowkey amazing IWGP Jr. Title Run, with his defences against Taguchi and Liger being some fantastically fun matches. Also the 3-Way match at G1 Supercard was everything it needed to be, a crazy spotfest. This then led to a match of the year contender with Ishimori and champion Dragon Lee in the main event of Wrestling Dontaku Night 1. 

Meanwhile, the much hyped newcomer El Phantasmo has been a brilliant grimy, asshole heel. Doing some really sleazing things like spitting on his hand before delivering chops, while also being a great highflyer. 

Needless to say that Roppongi 3K are great, they've been a staple of NJPW's Undercard and Jr. divisions, finally regaining the IWGP Tag Titles at the 47th Anniversary show.

Now, to the match.....it wasn't awful, but given the talent involved, I expected more. It seemed that the chemistry wasn't quite there between Ishimori and ELP, there were some sloppy spots and the match itself felt like they were going through the motions. The match was a little lifeless. Part of this could be attributed to YOH being quite bloodied up at the start of the match behind his ear, so we don't know how much of that hurt the match. Another factor that may have cost the match is that it's so soon after the gruelling Best of the Super Juniors tournament, which all 4 men were in. It must be  difficult to go out there for a main event after being banged up from a massive tour of tough singles matches. Furthermore, Ishimori's shoulder was quite badly banged up from earlier in the year, so he understandably is taking it a bit lighter.

And now onto the result. I don't agree that giving Ishimori and ELP the Tag Titles was a good idea. R3K had pretty much just got the titles back after 2 underwhleming reigns from their debut, never able to defend them. In this 3rd reign, they managed a single title reign before dropping them, while being one of the only dedicated tag teams in the Jr. Division. I wouldn't be surprised if they're going to try SHO in a singles push, after his recent performances and rivalry with Shingo. However, this would be a HUGE hit to the Jr. Tag Team Division, bearing the question if the tag titles should be unified. 

Overall, it was an ok match, not particularly offensive, but I was really excited for this one, and it rang quite hollow for me at the end.

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Laredo Kid vs Hijo Del Vikingo
I don't watch lucha wrestling as much as i should, i guess i say that about a lot of wrestling in general for there is only so much time to give. That being said this had a lot of what i enjoy about this style with some spectacular dives, hard hitting moments and smooth and quick chain wrestling early on. This match really had it all.  Hijo Del Vikingo is one to keep an eye on at only 22 years. 

 

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Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi (c) for the NEVER Openweight Championship at Dominion 2019. Such a good match, these two are amazing together and I just can't wait for their match in the G1. I loved their New Japan Cup match and this one was just as good. The best part about these two's matches is that they don't seem like they drag on like most Taichi matches. They don't wait too much time to get into the hard-hitting fast-paced action and it's super fun. Seriously if you have a NJPW World subscription and haven't seen one of the Ishii vs Taichi matches, SEE IT. They're amazing.

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Jordan Devlin Vs David Starr: Over The Top Wrestling, 2019

I don't watch as much OTT as i should. Them releasing this match for free is a god send because it might be one of my favourite matches by the end of the year. I had to replay the opening of the match a few times just because of the great tension it was building before it all let loose. Definitely recommend anyone not familiar to give it a go. The opening package brings you up to speed.

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