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Watch This Wrestling 19 (5/11—17)

This is the longest it’s taken for me to post a WTW and I’m guessing there might bemore delays going further. Not only has work gotten in the way of supposed free time, but I’m hitting moments where I don’t have enough hours to watch it all.

That’s the issue with the BOSJ tournament happening in tandem with spring, which brings social obligations and it becomes hard to find time to watch it all.

What I Watched

  • “Moving Forward” – Being The Elite Ep. 51, 5/11
  • From the Desk of Stokely Hathaway: It’s Personal, 5/11
  • Ring of Honor: War of the Worlds, 5/12
  • “Bullet Club Gets a Villain” – Being The Elite Ep. 52, 5/13
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/15
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/15
  • SmackDown Live, 5/16
  • 205 Live, 5/16
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/16
  • NXT, 5/17
  • EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Kyle O’Reilly Perfecting The Style, 5/17
  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors 2017 Night 1, 5/17

Upcoming Watch List

  • NJPW Best of The Super Juniors, 5/18, 20, 21, 22, 23
  • Being The Elite Ep. 53, 54, 5/18, 23
  • EVOLVE 84, 5/20
  • EVOLVE 85, 5/21
  • WWE Backlash, 5/21
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/22
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/22
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/23
  • 205 Live, 5/23
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/23
  • NXT, 5/24

Non-WWE Segment of The Week

“Bullet Club Gets a Villain” – Being The Elite Ep. 52

Ring of Honor: War of the Worlds, 5/12

I’m more than ready to admit some I-Was-There bias for this one, but it is a banger. So, before I chew on it, watch:

While YouTube has recently proven itself unfriendly to pro wrestling, The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega used this series to show the platform’s potential. Vignettes published to YouTube can provide the supplemental storytelling that promotions such as Ring of Honor and New Japan do not.

Despite what some might tell you, this new addition creates a match made in graps heaven. Some of the biggest Scurll fans shy away from the fact that he’s just as much of a Cool Heel as the Young Bucks, but as his first appearance in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament showed, everyone loves this villain.

And the crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which I was a part of, sure loved to see the villain pop open his newest umbrella. Maybe some day the Bullets will add some actual heelishness, but until then, these cool kids belong together.

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Will Ospreay vs. Jay White

ROH: War of The Worlds, 5/12

As much as I want to award either of the below Best of The Super Juniors matches, both of those met their expectations, while this match exceeded. Sure, Ospreay/White looks like a fun match on paper, but not a match of the year competitor.

Going into this I didn’t have much of a thought about Jay White, and by the time he left the ring, I had expectations for the kid’s future. It also felt like a major milestone for Ospreay too, that he can lead as well as this.

ROH even gets points for booking, words I’d never thought I’d say, with its use of after-match theatrics. Those watching live raved and claimed instant-five-star classic, and even Dave Meltzer gave it a 4.5 out of 5.

ROH: War of The Worlds is available via PPV VOD on the FITE app.

  • Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors Night 1, 5/17
  • Dragon Lee vs Hiromu Takahashi, Best of The Super Juniors Night 1, 5/17

WWE Match of The Week:

Finn Bálor vs Roman Reigns

Monday Night Raw, 5/15

Just as with the above match, this won its spot by defying odds.

And no, I haven’t soured on Bálor or Reigns, just on Monday Night Raw. The fact that this got the time it did and they got to cook as much as they did, should have given the red show a blueprint for the future. One they’ll need with Braun Strowman on the injured list.

WWE Segment of the Week:

Day One Is H

SmackDown Live, 5/16

There isn’t much to say about The Fashion Files. This was its third edition, and still laugh-out-loud funny. If you haven’t seen this already, then enjoy. Also, if so, leave a comment, I’m curious as to who you are.

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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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Watch This Wrestling 16  (4/20 – 26)

Indie Wrestling Twitter freaked out over Trevor Lee vs. Chip Day from CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide 102 practically the second it hit YouTube, and for good reason. It’s a blast. Unfortunately, it had a big moment that killed the vibe for me.

At some point midway or late in the match, Day gets what seems like too much offense in for Lee to kick out. And yet, he did. But seriously, check out that match, linked below.

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:

  • T1W & Battle Club Pro: “The One Who Knocks”, 4/22
  • EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • Tier 1 Wrestling Presents: “True Will”, 4/23
  • EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/24
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/24
  • SmackDown Live, 4/25
  • 205 Live, 4/25
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/25
  • NXT, 4/26
  • CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide 102, 4/26

Upcoming Watch List

  • 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:

Keith Lee vs Kyle O’Reilly

EVOLVE 82, 4/22

EVOLVE continued its hot streak at 82 & 83, the two New York shows it put on last week. And how did it rebound from losing Drew Galloway (now McIntyre) to WWE? By adding Kyle O’Reilly. And if you thought you’d seen Kyle’s best during his recent Ring of Honor, run, I suggest you check his re-debut match in EVOLVE (which was against Keith Lee) out.

Not only does Keith Lee just not have bad matches, but the booking here plays nicely with the problem inherent in the match. Sure, the crowd almost turned on the show, but Lee’s charisma and O’Reilly’s intense violence helped bring everything home.

EVOLVE 82 is available via FloSlam.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Matt Riddle vs Timothy Thatcher, EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • [EXTREME VIOLENCE WARNING] Darby Allin vs Ethan Page, EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • Matt Riddle vs Penta OM, Tier 1 Wrestling, True Will, 4/23
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Lio Rush, EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Fred Yehi vs Kyle O’Reilly, EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Trevor Lee vs. Chip Day, CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide 102, 4/26

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

Stokely Hathaway’s Big News

EVOLVE 83, 4/23

And it’s come to this. Stokley Hathaway, the Paul Heyman of EVOLVE now manages … well, you’ll see.

I love this for more than a few reasons, and what it’ll do to Yehi & Williams are paramount among them. It’s one of those solid show-opening promos that sets a ton of plates spinning to make for some excellent business.

WWE Match of The Week:

Drew McIntyre vs Andrade “Cien” Almas

NXT, 4/26

Again, I liked this as much for the work and their in-ring chemistry as I do for what it accomplishes. Further establishing Drew’s beastly force and Almas tranquilo chill made for good story telling beats in the build to NXT TakeOver: Chicago, which will be here before we know it.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Table For 3: Common Bonds: Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and AJ Styles

Table For 3, 4/24

The worst kept secret in WWE is that the shows right before a PPV (known as the Go-Home events, as in: send them home ready to pay more) now suck eggs.

Therefore, my favorite thing on WWE this week was the latest episode of Table For 3 on the WWE Network. Not only did Nash, Michaels and Styles get to shoot the shit, but they get to let HBK tell his side of why he doesn’t want to un-retire to face Styles.

Honorable Mentions:

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Watch This Wrestling 15 (4/13 – 19)

First of all, an apology for how late this is. My weekend was a blur of indie wrestling and Persona 5, but I’m looking to get next week’s done quickly.

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 Presents: Freedom’s Road S01E07, 4/13
  • Make Me Feel Alive…, EVOLVE, WWN Live, 4/14
  • How To Cut A Good Wrestling Promo, Ethan Page, 4/14
  • OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/17
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/17
  • Chikara: Bad Wolf, hit VOD 4/17, originally happened 4/1
  • SmackDown Live, 4/18
  • 205 Live, 4/18
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/18
  • NXT, 4/19

Upcoming Watch List

  • T1W & Battle Club Pro: “The One Who Knocks”, 4/22
  • EVOLVE 82, 4/22
  • Tier 1 Wrestling Presents: “True Will”, 4/23
  • EVOLVE 83, 4/23
  • Monday Night Raw, 4/24
  • ROH Wrestling, 4/24
  • SmackDown Live, 4/25
  • 205 Live, 4/25
  • Talking Smack Live, 4/25
  • NXT, 4/26

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks (The Elite) vs Lio Rush, Ryan Smile, & Will Ospreay (The Uptown Funkers)

OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15

While the below honorable mentions do some things well, this match checks a lot of boxes, and with style.

While the Funkers do in fact funk, they also bring the high flying brilliance that Rush and Ospreay are known names for. And of course you have The Bucks doing their chicanery and Kenny being the slyest devil in the game.

OTT: Scrappermania III is available via FloSlam.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Marty Scurll vs Jay White, OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15
  • Martina, Nixon Newell, & Alex Windsor vs Bea Priestley, Jinny, & Katey Harvey, OTT: Scrappermania III, 4/15
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs Mike Quackenbush,Chikara: Bad Wolf, 4/1 (available 4/17)
  • Silas Young, Hangman Page, Jay White, and Jay Lethal vs Colt Cabana, Lio Rush, Hanson from War Machine and Bobby Fish, ROH Wrestling, 4/17

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

EVOLVE Mini-Doc: Crowning A WWN Champion

Directed by Kenny Johnson, via WWNLive/YouTube, 4/17

If you want a brief primer on what’s going on with a few of the biggest names in EVOLVE, this is a great way to catch up with Catch Point. Not only does it tell the Yehi / Riddle story, as well as show off the dickishness of “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, but it doesn’t leave the other half of the 6-man elimination match behind. And that means you get more Stokely Hathaway, and to learn about Jon Davis and Parrow.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Sasha Banks vs. Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax – Fatal 4-Way Match

Monday Night Raw, 4/17

It’s not a perfect match, but it deserves some callout for something that WWE got right with the swaps in the women’s division. With Mickie James and Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and Bayley finally have opponents with similar frames.

It was weird that WWE announcers never harped on the uphill battle that the comparably-tiny Sasha Banks should have been facing with the chiseled and statuesque Charlotte Flair. But now, they won’t need to, and this match showed some proof. While we all love an underdog, Sasha looks more realistic a potential victor now, and if this is her day 1 chemistry with James and Bliss, she will have a solid chance of thriving under this new era.

Also: Charlotte appears to have been the puzzle piece that SmackDown Live’s women’s division needed. Her match with Naomi was the first time in a while that either performer worked with someone who physically matched up. Unfortunately, a series of whiffs near the end made that match harder to watch.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

Cesaro & Sheamus welcome The Hardy Boyz to Team Red

Monday Night Raw, 4/17

This segment is the proof that Matt Hardy is now working with the WWE when he’s trolling the masses about a return of his former self. As Dave Tach put it on our latest episode of The Ring Post, Matt can spend 95 percent of a promo in Hardy Boyz mode and then sprinkle on a bit of Broken Brilliance.

Honorable Mentions: