Monday, April 11, 2016

Fave Five 4/4/16-4/10/16

1) Tetsuya Naito: For six of the seven days this week, I had my heart set on giving the top spot to AJ Styles. Then Invasion Attack went down and Tetsuya Naito finally captured the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. This was glorious. Naito was given a major push a few years back as a white meat babyface and it did not go over well. Fast forward and his heel persona has been excellent, to the point where he became the first man not named Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi or AJ Styles to hold the title in years. Naito ended Okada's nine month stranglehold on the strap. It was a great match, made even better by the atmosphere and moment of Naito finally winning it all. His post-match stuff was even better, tossing the belt around like he doesn't care. Naito is amazing.

2) AJ Styles: I never thought I'd see the day, but AJ Styles is the number one contender for the WWE Title. Following a completely stupid loss to Chris Jericho at WrestleMania, Styles, along with Jericho, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn answered the challenge of Roman Reigns. They were thrust into a Fatal Four Way main event (where Cesaro replaced an injured Zayn). The match turned out to be great and Styles pinned Jericho to earn the spot. He was the focus of Michael Cole's weekly sit down interview and opened Smackdown face to face with Reigns. Styles then competed in another really good match on Smackdown, winning alongside Cesaro against Owens and Jericho. All in all, a huge week for the phenomenal one.

3) KUSHIDA: The best match of a loaded week had to be KUSHIDA defending the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship against the debuting Will Ospreay in New Japan. There haven't been many debuts as good as this. Ospreay and KUSHIDA went full tilt for a nearly perfect fifteen minutes of wrestling. A lot of people are talking about how great Ospreay was, and that's warranted, but let's not forget about KUSHIDA. He actually won the match and once again proved that he is not only the best Jr. Heavyweight in NJPW, but one of the best in the world period. He's now also set up for a title defense against Jushin Thunder Liger, who has the record for most reigns with 11.

4) Katsuyori Shibata: Since Wrestle Kingdom on January 4th, Katsuyori Shibata has held the NEVER Title. His most recent focus has basically been the "Fuck The Old Guys Tour". Shibata has had issues with the older generation of NJPW guys, like Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. After beating Kojima a few weeks ago, he faced Tenzan at Invasion Attack. The match proved to be better than I expected and Shibata retained. After the bell, Nagata entered the ring to check on his friend, only for Shibata to kick him in the face. So not only did Shibata keep his title, but he set up another upcoming match. If their match during the G1 Climax two years ago is any indication, this should be all kinds of awesome.

5) The Miz: Just 24 hours after Zack Ryder's feel good WrestleMania Intercontinental Title win, the Miz challenged him for the gold. After some back and forth, Miz got in Ryder's dad's face at ringside. This led to the return of Miz's real life wife, Maryse. She got in Ryder's dad's face and helped Miz win the title for a fifth time. Then on Smackdown, Maryse gave Miz a fancy introduction as he successfully defended the title against Ryder in a better match. Miz finished the week 2-0, won a championship and got his gorgeous wife on his arm for the foreseeable future. It's a good time to be him.