Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fave Five 6/27/16-7/3/16

1) Katsuyori Shibata: Another relatively slow week. There were some standouts and first, I'm going with Katsuyori Shibata. He's been consistently one of the best guys in NJPW for the past few years and his current title run shows why. After regaining his NEVER Openweight Championship from Yuji Nagata at Dominion, he made his first successful title defense against Tomoaki Honma in the main event of Kizuna Road. While it wasn't a spectacular match like their outing in the G1 Climax two years ago, it was a fitting main event and another feather in the cap of Shibata's great 2016. Hopefully, he gets a really strong run in the G1 Climax to further solidify that Shibata is the man. He's way over and NJPW is desperate for more main event talent. Hell, I wish he'd win the entire G1, even if it leads to Naito taking the briefcase from him in September or October. It would at least be something different.

2) Dean Ambrose: For the past few weeks, nobody has been working harder than Dean Ambrose. Since winning the WWE Title and taking over as the top guy while Roman Reigns is out suspended, Dean Ambrose has been working a crazy schedule. He's appeared on several WWE shows, including multiple events in one night. This week, he was one of the few people to stay behind while the WWE was in Hawaii, but still made it over to Japan to compete there. While the WWE was in Hawaii, Ambrose was main eventing Smackdown in a win over the Miz following a really fun segment of Miz TV. On Raw, in a first time ever match, Ambrose defeated AJ Styles in the main event to keep the Battleground main event as a triple threat. Ambrose has been given the ball (even if it is only for a short time) and is running with it.

3) Matt Sydal, Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima: It's hard to consider winning the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships an accomplishment at this point. The titles have been around for six months and have changed hand seven times already. Still, the victory for the strange team of Matt Sydal, Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima was one of the bigger ones of the week. They bested "The Elite" of Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks to all win the title for the first time. It was a fun match but I don't expect them to hold the title for a while. Nobody does. Another reason they get to make the list is for Ricochet's work as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground. This week, Puma faced Dragon Azteca Jr., who was one of his Trios Titles partners. Puma and Azteca put on one hell of a first time ever match that Puma won. It helped set up the Puma/Mysterio match for Ultima Lucha in the coming weeks.

4) Sasha Banks: It's about damn time that I can safely start putting Sasha Banks back on these lists again. She found herself here throughout 2015 more than almost anyone else but the WWE has kept her out of the spotlight following WrestleMania. She's back in the Women's Title picture and making statements. On Raw, she teamed up with former rival Paige to defeat Women's Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke. On Smackdown, while Charlotte was away in Hawaii I believe, Sasha then went on to defeat Summer Rae in a pretty good match. Sasha is the best the company has to offer and it continues to show.

5) Will Ospreay: Was the sole survivor in a great Chaos vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon elimination tag match at Kizuna Road.

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