Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fave Five 2/15/16-2/21/16

1) Tomohiro Ishii: The rise of Tomohiro Ishii over the past few years has been pretty remarkable. He rose to become a fan favorite in New Japan Pro Wrestling and was able to become NEVER Openweight Champion a few times. He lost that title at Wrestle Kingdom earlier this year but found himself in another title match this week. At the ROH Honor Rising show in Tokyo, he got a shot at Roderick Strong and the Television Title in the main event. It's a match I've wanted for a long time and they delivered a great, hard hitting performance. Ishii pulled off the upset and won the belt. It looks like he'll be doing more work with ROH throughout the year.

            2) Kevin Owens: This past Monday, Raw opened with Dean Ambrose and it led to Stephanie McMahon making a rare Fatal Five Way match for the Intercontinental Title. Kevin Owens bested Ambrose, Tyler Breeze, Dolph Ziggler and Stardust to win back his championship. His terrible feud with Ziggler continued at Fastlane, where he defend the title against him. It was a pretty good match and Owens managed to retain the gold. Hopefully, with the title back on his shoulder and WrestleMania coming up, we'll get Owens/Styles or Owens/Zayn at the Show of Shows.

3) Roman Reigns: The main event of Fastlane was pretty much the most predictable one in a really long time. Roman Reigns was going to win once the match was announced and it indeed happened this week. The match was good, but didn't reach great levels for me, especially due to the shitty finish. Still, Reigns pinned Dean Ambrose again and Brock Lesnar stayed unpinned in the last two years. Reigns had the "epic" Mania sign staredown with Triple H, though it hardly felt like it. The crowd in Cleveland pretty hated anything he did. Reigns is going to WrestleMania, earning his spot on this week's list.

            4) AJ Styles: Since his arrival in the WWE, AJ Styles has been booked pretty well and it continued this week. On Raw, he picked up a victory over the Miz, in another pretty solid match between the two. On Smackdown, Styles waited for Chris Jericho to defeat the Miz before Jericho accepted his challenge for a rubber match at Fastlane. The rubber match came at Fastlane and was, outside of the main event, my pick for the match of the night. Unfortunately, Jericho kicked out of the Styles Clash, which I feel hurts the move. However, Styles won with the Calf Crusher, cementing a submission victory and establishing that move.

5) Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks: These three Bullet Club members are collectively known as "the Elite". This week, at the ROH/NJPW Honor Rising shows, they faced the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions, the Briscoes and Toru Yano. They were able to dethrone them, making the trio already the fourth champions in history, despite the belt debuting on 1/4/16. It now makes Omega a double champion with his IWGP Intercontinental Title. Hopefully, since the company seems hellbent on pushing him to the moon, it means the titles won't switch hands again anytime soon.