1) Timothy Thatcher: Granted, I wasn't able to see the Evolve shows this weekend, but from what I'm hearing, I can't deny this man the top spot. Timothy Thatcher has quickly become one of my favorite guys to watch on the indies, so I'm pretty sure when I see his matches from this weekend, I'll agree with some of the high praise. At Evolve 51, he successfully defended the Evolve Title against Johnny Gargano in what many are calling a Match of the Year candidate. Not satisfied with that, he went out and had another match that people are saying was great when he defeated former champion Drew Galloway in another title match. All in all, it was another successful weekend for a guy that has been having a pretty great year.
2) Naomichi Marufuji: Pro Wrestling NOAH's big yearly tournament is known as the Global League Tournament. The finals took place this weekend and saw Naomichi Marufuji take on Suzuki-Gun member Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin was 6-1 heading into the finals, and went to a draw with the GHC Champion. Marufuji defeated Benjamin to win the entire tournament and earn himself a shot at the GHC Heavyweight Title. That title is held by Suzuki-Gun leader Minoru Suzuki. I expect Marufuji to win it and put an end to Suzuki-Gun's hostile takeover of Pro Wrestling NOAH, saving the company. It would be cool to see him win that considering I've liked the guy since 2006 and saw him wrestle live multiple times with Ring of Honor.
3) Shinsuke Nakamura: The biggest show of the week was probably New Japan's Power Struggle in Osaka. The main event of the show saw IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura retain his belt against Karl Anderson. Anderson had defeated Nakamura early on in the G1 Tournament, so he came in as a bit of a threat to Nakamura's belt. The match itself was great, though it saw a fair amount of Bullet Club interference. The biggest news however, came after the match. Nakamura wasn't allowed to celebrate for long as AJ Styles got in his face and basically challenged him for the IC Title. This will most likely occur at Wrestle Kingdom and will be a first time ever bout.
4) Tomohiro Ishii: The reigning NEVER Openweight Champion competed in my favorite match of the week. He defended that title against his rival, Tomoaki Honma. The quality of the matches between these two is possibly unmatched right now. They never have a bad match and I've given all of the ones I've seen, which is about five, more than four stars. This was another. It wasn't on the level of their G1 match that Honma won, but was among their better outings. Honma put up one hell of a fight and had the crowd firmly believing in him. Alas, Ishii was able to retain and will be the champion heading into Wrestle Kingdom 10 on January 4th in the Toyko Dome. No word on who his opponent will end up being. I just hope it isn't Togi Makabe again.
5) Matt Sydal and Ricochet: New Japan Pro Wrestling's Jr. Tag Team division is incredibly stale. So I appreciated seeing Matt Sydal and Ricochet team up to participate in the Super Jr. tournament. I'm not the biggest fan of either guy, but they are both pretty good. I really love Ricochet as Prince Puma though, he just fits the Lucha Underground style so well. Anyway, Sydal and Ricochet made it to the finals of the tournament against Roppongi Vice at Power Struggle. They pulled out a match that was very good and won the entire tournament. Usually, the winners get a title shot. Unfortunately though, their title shot will be shared with the Young Bucks and Roppongi Vice at the Tokyo Dome.