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Watch This Wrestling 21 (5/28—6/3)

Spoiler alert, I disagree with the general consensus about a NJPW PPV main event, yet again. From what I saw online, people were agog about the final match of the BOSJ, and if you haven’t caught up, skip down to the Best Matches/Segments sections, because I’ve got to talk about this.

So, yeah, now, seriously:

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In this age of smarter fans and those who kiss the pencil Gedo uses to book, I couldn’t fathom how this is your final. First of all, face vs face shouldn’t be a problem, and secondly, yes, you’ve got two talented workers in Will Ospreay (one of my favorite wrestlers today) and KUSHIDA. But it’s so obvious what’s going to happen.

The story of the Timesplitter’s redemption has been obvious ever since he got squashed in April’s Sakura Genesis. I could even see the seeds of it mid-way through the tournament in last week’s story. So, to put him up against a non-company guy, the one who won last year, is essentially giving a spoiler warning to anyone paying attention.

But still, I set my alarm to get up at 4am and watch it live, because I thought it would be fun and hoped for something interesting. So while the match had a bunch of fun spots and solid pacing (had the editing that Okada/Omega needed) it still couldn’t bring me in.

But that’s not a real problem. As you’ll see below, there’s been a shitton of good matches this past week, including that one itself. It just wasn’t the match of the week that many will tell you it was.

As always, if I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched

  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, tournament matches from 5/28, 29, 31, 6/1, 3
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/29
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/29
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/30
  • 205 Live, 5/30
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/30
  • NXT, 5/31
  • Lucha Underground, 5/31
  • Progress Chapter 49, 50: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 2, 6/2, 3 (VOD post-dates)

Upcoming Watch List

  • Progress Chapter 51: Super Strong Style 16, Day 3, 6/4 (VOD post-date)
  • WWE Extreme Rules, 6/4
  • Monday Night Raw, 6/5
  • ROH Wrestling, 6/5
  • SmackDown LIVE, 6/6
  • 205 Live, 6/6
  • Talking Smack Live, 6/6
  • NXT, 6/7
  • Lucha Underground, 6/7

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

Hate Speech Tears People Apart… Wrestling Brings People Together

WCPW: Fight Back, 6/3

For a chance of pace, I’m going with a segment that has practically no wrestling-content in it. But still, it’s the most important non-fight segment that happened this past week. On Saturday, What Culture Pro Wrestling had an event that was supposed to be the second series premiere of its Loaded series. But as Adam Blampied (aka Plumpy) explains, that can’t happen anymore, thanks to YouTube’s recent stupid decisions dealing with advertisers who didn’t want their content to appear anywhere near that Pewdie Pie, who I gather is a thinly veiled bigot.

So, watch:

Now that that’s done, here’s a link to the petition Blampied references. If you like me or pro wrestling, or simply think that non-hateful performance art should be allowed to make money, sign up. Thank you.

Honorable Mentions:

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

The Mack vs Johnny Mundo: All Night Long

Lucha Underground, 5/31

So, I’d forgotten what Lucha Underground’s Season 3.5 premiere would give us, and was slightly unenthused by the prospect of this. But then it happened, and I loved it.

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Credit: twitter.com/LuchaElRey

The story here is that the super athletic Johnny Mundo (Mr. Hardcore Parkour) picked the All Night Long stipulation (an iron man match) for The Mack’s title shot against him, because it fits his style much more than it does Mack’s.

With about 10 seconds left in the match, I assumed I knew the moment that would swerve the ending. And then that didn’t happen. A mere moment later, show instead pulled another rabbit out of its ass, and then layered more on top of that.

But to pull myself out of this meta-level analysis, credit to all involved, especially Mundo and Mack, for an excellent match. Mundo’s sure solidified himself here as a top-level talent and a heel that can lead a show.

A note about the plethora of solid matches below, they’re ordered chronologically, not by quality or preference.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Justin Thunder Liger vs Dragon Lee, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/28
  • Will Ospreay vs Taichi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/28
  • Ryuske Taguchi vs KUSHIDA, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/29
  • Justin Thunder Liger vs Taichi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/31
  • Will Ospreay vs Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/31
  • Marty Scurll vs Ricochet, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/31
  • Jeff Cobb vs Nathan Cruz, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • Jimmy Havoc vs Mark Haskins, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • David Starr vs Zack Sabre Jr., Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • Trent Seven Promo, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 1, 6/2
  • KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 6/3
  • Jinny vs. Laura Di Matteo vs. Toni Storm (Natural Progression Series IV Final Progress Women’s Championship Match), Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 2, 6/3
  • Jeff Cobb vs Matt Riddle, Progress Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16, Day 2, 6/3

As always, Progress events can be found on its VOD service Demand Progress, and NJPW events are shown on NJPW World.

WWE Match of The Week:

Finn Bálor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Samoa Joe

Monday Night Raw, 5/29

I find it funny that for a second week in a row, the secondary, mid-show main event is much better than the one that closes the show. These three have incredibly fun chemistry and did a great job of teasing Extreme Rules’ main event.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Why, Ciampa, why?

NXT, 5/31

Heel turns require solid logic to work, and boy did they give Tommaso Ciampa some solid rationale. I even felt complicit.

Honorable Mentions: