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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 18 (5/4–10)

No preamble this week, minus the typical 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:

  • WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup: Mexico Qualifier, 5/5
  • Fight Club Pro: Dream Tag Team Invitational Night One, originally took place on 4/11, available on VOD on 5/5
  • Battle Club Pro: May The Villain Reign, 5/6
  • Monday Night Raw, 5/8
  • ROH Wrestling, 5/8
  • “FIFTY” – Being the Elite Ep. 50, 5/8
  • SmackDown LIVE, 5/9
  • 205 Live, 5/9
  • Talking Smack Live, 5/9
  • NXT, 5/10

Upcoming Watch List

  • “Moving Forward” – Being The Elite Ep. 51, 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

Non-WWE Match of The Week:

British Strong Style vs The Elite

Fight Club Pro: Dream Tag Team Invitational Night One, originally took place on 4/11, available on VOD on 5/5

Few teams can go toe to toe with The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson), but British Strong Style might have actually pulled it off. Of course, many might balk at the $20 VOD price of the DTTI Night One event, but this card is a fantastic roundup of the best of independent wrestling talent today.

Available for purchase on Vimeo.

Honorable Mentions:

  • EC3 vs Flip Gordon vs Darius Carter, Battle Club Pro: May The Villain Reign, 5/6
  • Young Bucks vs The Squad, ROH Wrestling, 5/8

Non-WWE Segment of the Week:

“FIFTY”

Being the Elite Ep. 50, 5/8

Matt & Nick Jackson’s Being The Elite YouTube series took a big turn with this episode, that I’ll explain further next week, but “FIFTY” offers everything. From storytelling and a cornball saccharine rendition of “Say Something” to on-the-road behind-the-scenes footage, this is proof of why the Young Bucks have been smart to cut their own path on the road.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Match of The Week:

Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong – NXT Championship No. 1 Contender’s Match

NXT, 5/10

If you were wondering about how much rust Hideo Itami would bring to the ring, you can watch this match to bury those questions. Also, points to Roddy for finally being over with the Full Sail crowd.

Honorable Mentions:

WWE Segment of the Week:

“12 Days”

SmackDown LIVE, 5/9

This was the second time we’ve seen this style of promo from Jimmy and Jey, The Usos, and I give them all the credit for having waited between renditions. Normally with WWE, once a promo style gets over, it gets run until stale (see: Amore, Enzo & Cass, Big).

Still, the UK crowd, which had been a little quiet overall throughout the week, bought in fully here.

Honorable Mentions:

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Don’t Miss This (1/6–12)

I recently realized I watch too much wrestling not to turn it into a feature here at withapassion.com. So, I give you a new feature (that I hope to turn out in weekly fashion), Don’t Miss This, a guide to the best matches and segments from the week in WWE and outside of the WWE.

What are my qualifications? Every week I watch Raw, SmackDown Live, 205 Live, Talking Smack, NXT, Lucha Underground and IMPACT. I even watch all EVOLVE PPVs and try to watch Ring of Honor and NJPW on AXS, but can’t guarantee those, as the first set already takes 10.5 hours of my week. Videos are embedded when possible, but they’re often abridged versions, especially WWE’s.

WWE Match of the Week:
The Revival vs. DIY

NXT 1/11, for the NXT Tag Team Championship 

Most of you have seen The Revival vs. DIY before (and if you haven’t thanks for reading this!) but this match is still amazing even if you have. These four men do tag-team wrestling so well, that every time is a must-see. Between Revival’s inventive heel tactics, Gargano’s ability to make getting his ass kicked look amazing, and the brutality of Ciampa’s knees and elbows.

Non-WWE Match of the Week:
Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. The Monster Matanza with Dario Cueto

Lucha Underground 1/11; Death Match 

More than just your standard David vs Goliath match, as Matanza is more like Frankenstein’s Monster, with his keeper, Dario, watching the match on-camera in states of fear and pride.

How do I know Jeff Cobb is great at portraying the Matanza character? I’ve met the guy (he’s super nice) but I still forget it’s him under that mask, thanks to demented mannerisms and inhuman rage. Also, Vampiro and Striker do a great job of teasing and pointing towards the finish, in a way that I didn’t realize until it was all over. It’s an excellent match to cap the middle of LU’s third season.

Oh, and if you don’t have El Rey:

WWE Segment of the Week:
Jack Gallagher and Ariya Daivari Parlay

205 Live, 1/10, contract signing for I Forfeit match 

Either I have a bias towards Jack Gallagher, or the WWE didn’t offer many worthy segments this week. Probably both. 

Yes, I know you can see Gallagher admit — off-mic — that he’s forgotten his line, but the rest of this is too good. From the return of William the umbrella to calling their feuding “playing silly boogers for too long,” this segment brings the humor that WWE programming is often lacking.

More importantly, this Parlay (contract signing) segment set up this Euro-tinted I Quit match as the actual end of this feud. Gallagher did a nice, Wilder-Wonka-esque job of it, stating “when you forfeit, you don’t only end the match, you end this quarrel between me and you. You lose, and you live with that.” Daivari plays his part well, responding to everything Gallagher says with a correct mix of incredulity and disgust. Corey Graves even shines, registering shock after Daivari throws William the umbrella out of the ring.

Also worth mentioning: a post-match brawl featuring Asuka on NXT

Non-WWE segment:
Young Bucks Respond to House Hardy

Ring of Honor, 1/8 

Again, this wasn’t the strongest week for non-match segments, so I give the outside-of-the-WWE nod to a Young Bucks talking segment. Starts off with the Bucks of Youth being smug bastards about their lucrative contract, and ends with a moment that was worth your time.

As you may know, Broken Matt Hardy challenged them at Final Battle, and here, the Bucks accept the challenge. What nobody expected was a House Hardy member to invade the taping, but as you might have already seen, that happened too.

If you don’t get ROH (and it’s hard to find) here’s some less-than-great footage posted to YouTube (credit: The Elite: the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega).