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Watch This Wrestling 17 (4/27—5/3)

Here’s the latest edition of my weekly roundup of what’s worth checking out from the week in wrestling. People I talked to loved the Raw main event more than I did, but my issue was that the winner was so clearly obvious.

If somehow you found this and you don’t know I do a podcast about wrestling, I do! It’s called The Ring Post, and we just published our latest episode “Paybacklash” which you can find here.

As always, a list of what I watched for this week’s edition and what I’m planning to watch next week. If I’m missing anything that can be accessed without too much trouble, @ me on twitter: henrytcasey.

What I Watched:

  • Progress Wrestling, Ch.47: Complicated Simplicity, hit VOD on 4/29
  • NJPW: Wrestling Toyo Province 2017, 4/29
  • WWE Payback, 4/30
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/1
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/1
  • SmackDown Live, 5/2
  • 205 Live, 5/2
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/2
  • NXT, 5/3
  • NJPW: Wrestling Dontaku, 5/3

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Kenny Omega vs Tomohoro Ishii

NJPW: Wrestling Dontaku, 5/3

As much as I loved the matches from Progress 47 (watch it) nothing stands up in comparison to this bit of business from The Cleaner (Omega) and the Stone Pitbull (Ishii).

I wanted there to be a little more heel/face dynamic when I was watching this match, but in the time since I’ve realized why. Omega may possibly be turning heel, and this match may have primed the crowd to handle it, as they’ve already been turning on Okada, his opponent at the upcoming Dominion show.

NJPW: Wrestling Dontaku is available on NJPW World.

Honorable Mentions:

  • South Pacific Power Trip vs. London Riots, Progress Wrestling, Ch.47: Complicated Simplicity, hit VOD on 4/29
  • PROGRESS World Title and Tag Team Titles on the line: British Strong Style vs Ringkampf, Progress Wrestling, Ch.47: Complicated Simplicity, hit VOD on 4/29
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs Ricochet, NJPW: Wrestling Toyo Province 2017, 4/29

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Page vs. Darby – The Final Chapter

WWN Live/YouTube, 5/1

I’ve had a hard time writing about the recent last man standing match between Ethan Page vs Darby Allin. This video, another gem of an Evolve Mini-Doc from Kenny Johnson, tells so much story that it needs to be screened at the start of the next Evolve event.

Excellent mix of match footage and backstage content, with caption overlays as necessary. Gives the suicidal Darby Allin all the credit he deserves. I hope he’s going to be well soon.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Naomi & Charlotte Flair vs Natalya & Carmella

SmackDown Live, 5/2

While the Payback PPV had some good stuff, this is the match I found myself thinking about more. And that’s less about the match itself rather than what it did for its characters. Love everything that happens once Charlotte arrives, as well as Becky’s decisions.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

The Fashion Files

SmackDown Live, 5/2

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best non-wrestling segment of the WWE week. Please, let this be a recurring bit. As I noted on the latest episode of The Ring Post, I want this to be a plot device for summarizing the current state of SmackDown Live.

Purest of gold here:

Honorable Mentions:

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Don’t Miss This 5 (2/3 – 9)

WWE Match of the Week:

The 205 Live Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match

205 Live, 2/7

As should be the case more often, the best wrestling in the last week in the WWE happened on 205 Live. The show, designed to be a path to superstardom for performers from the Cruiserweight Classic, was struggling to find its sea legs until around the time that Neville returned from injury with an undercut hairstyle and complete badassery. This match took the five most-over other guys in the division: Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, Noam Dar, Jack Gallagher, and T.J. Perkins, and let them shine.

From submission holds to high-flying moves, this match let each performer show off why they are on the WWE roster. While the surprise victory probably doesn’t mean anything (I doubt he’s beating Neville, this match gives hope for those who worried about the division. Shows all they need is time and stakes. Oh, and the dickishness of Noam Dar. That’s essential.

Non-WWE Match of the Week

Donovan Dijak vs. Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley vs. Lio Rush vs. Jay White vs. Jonathan Gresham

ROH Wrestling, 2/5, available on the FITE app for free.

So, it wasn’t a great week for televised (or even streamed) matches outside of WWE this week, but watch this match to enjoy a good spectacle of frenetic wrestling. Not only should you know Lio Rush’s name by now, but check out the big man Donovan Dijak, who is as big and agile enough for Vince to have signed him years ago.

Also, a fun fact about Dijak: he’s left ROH. Expect to see him in Evolve in March and probably in NXT by the year’s end.

WWE Segment of the Week:

Nikki, Natalya, and John Cena

The Natalya vs. Nikki Bella storyline taking place on SmackDown Live (which arguably started at Survivor Series) is one of the better but least buzzed about feuds in the WWE at this moment. It’s been driven by Natalya, who finally found that she can be compelling on the mic, though only as an utter savage.

So it’s great to see this scene, which ties everything together for Survivor Series. From Nikki talking about John letting her fight her own fights to Natalya’s BRU-TAL run-in to Cena almost convincingly act like he didn’t know what happened while he was off camera. It sets up the Elimination Chamber match as well as future stuff between Nikki and Cena.

Honorable mention: NXT, 2/8 Points to Bobby Roode for laughing his ass off after saying “no wait, of course I’m the kind of guy who loves to point out he was right.

Non-WWE Segment of the Week

The Broken Hardys Expedition Of Gold

Impact Wrestling, 2/9

So you’ve probably heard that Broken Matt Hardy has been threatening to take the tag titles from teams in other promotions, such as ROH’s Young Bucks. And while that’s actually booked for Mania weekend this April in Orlando, he’s also made less-likely challenges to WWE’s The Wyatt and New Day.

So while this all seems unlikely, the Hardys managed to surprise again on Impact, using a new and improved Vanguard 1 drone. Jeff got to play the role of the doubter this week, asking Matt to explain his plot to jump over to other promotions, which is based around using Vanguard 1, the sass-mouthed drone that can now teleport the Hardys. I’ll shut up now, so you can watch and find out their first stop.

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