Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Lucha Underground 6/1/16 Review

The episode stats with a recap of Chavo winning the Gift of the Gods Title two weeks ago, before losing it to Cage last week. Cage challenged Matanza for tonight. We also see the Trios Title changing hands last week.

Son of Havoc def. Daga in 6:58
Daga is my homie. I like that even though he's part of the unlikely trio, Son of Havoc came out on his own. It's fitting after the early issues he had with Ivelisse by his side. Havoc showed off some of his aerial skill but the real story was the development of Daga. He showed off some personality and poise. As Daga worked a single leg crab, Kobra Moon walked down to ringside. If you recall, she handed Daga a win recently and seemed to want her some Daga. She rooted for him at ringside. Kobra got involved by grabbing Havoc's leg, but he fought out of it and won with a shooting star press. Solid match that got Havoc a singles win and furthered the Moon/Daga stoy. ***

Daga awkwardly helped Daga up and he shoved her away. She got on her knees in front of him and wrapped herself around his leg but he again pushed her back.

Rey Mysterio is working out backstage when Dragon Azteca Jr. comes up to him. He says that he found the cell where Matanza is kept and is going for revenge. Rey tells him that his focus should be on winning back the titles. They almost come to blows over the fact that they aren't trying to avenge Dragon Azteca. Puma comes up and Rey nearly hits him too. Puma says that whatever is going on concerns him because they're his partners. I liked it better when Puma didn't speak.

Trios Championship: Jack Evans, Johnny Mundo and PJ Black (c) w/ Taya def. Dragon Azteca Jr., Prince Puma and Rey Mysterio Jr. via disqualification in 9:44
It's a rematch from last week! The champions all came out with bandannas and just looked like total douchebags, which was perfect. Evans was spectacular, just talking so much shit as the champions worked over Mysterio. The challengers had a great spot where they triple dropkicked Evans while seated in the corner. In a huge spot, Puma superplexed Evans onto everyone else outside. After Puma missed a 630, Evans mocked him with one of his own, but only got a near fall. Things were going along great until Puma got pissed at the constant cheating by his opponents and he kicked Mundo in the dick, leading to the DQ. This had a better energy than last week and I liked that the ending seemed to be leading to something different for Puma. ***3/4

Rey Mysterio and Dragon Azteca tried to calm Puma down, but he just superkicked Taya. Rey held him back from doing more.

Backstage, Dragon Azteca Jr. found Matanza's cell. Black Lotus is there and tells him not to do it. She reveals that Dragon Azteca killed her parents, not Matanza. Matazna grunted a bunch as Dragon left, saying that she knows it isn't true.

Lucha Underground Championship: Matanza Cueto (c) w/ Dario Cueto def. Cage in 13:29
IT'S A HOSS FIGHT! Cage knew that their power was about even and he had a game plan, using his athleticism to take down Matanza. He even got in a powerbomb on the outside. Matanza tried to answer with athleticism of his own but his standing shooting star press didn't do much as Cage continued to take it to him. Both guys tried pump kicks at the same time and took each other down. Dario did a great job in showing concern throughout. They traded getting up instantly from Germans until Matanza went to a swinging gutwrench instead to keep Cage down. The fans popped for all of that. Things slowed a bit as Matanza began to slow things down. Each Cage near fall was eaten up by the fans, especially the one on the Lucha Destroyer (F5). He went into a series of kicks but got caught in the Wrath of the Gods as Matanza retained. A great hoss fight between two awesome big men. This felt like a big deal, Cage got in a ton but Matazna didn't lose any of his appeal. ****

Overall: 8/10. Another great episode of Lucha Underground. We got a lot of focus on wrestling and it worked out. The opener was fun and the Trios Title match improved upon last week's good match. We did get storyline advancement with Daga/Kobra, pissed Puma and the Azteca/Matanza stuff. Speaking of Matanza, he and Cage had an awesome hoss fight that was well worth it.

If you do want to check out Lucha Underground, which you absolutely should, and don't get El Rey Network (like me), you can sign up for the streaming service Fubo.TV. It's a great way to support the company and channel while streaming the show online. You can sign up and get Lucha Underground right here with!

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Night Nine Review

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Night Nine
May 31st, 2016 | Hiroshima Green Arena in Hiroshima, Japan

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty in this tournament as people are close to getting mathematically eliminated at this point. The A Block is up again and they’ve been very consistent so far. I’d say the two guys performing the worst so far in the tournament are over in the B Block (Tiger Mask IV and Chase Owens), so I’ve been enjoying A Blocks slightly more.

A Block: BUSHI [4] def. David Finlay [2] in 7:18
Fresh off of his big first win on night seven, Finlay came out firing and went right after BUSHI. It quickly backfired when things spilled outside though. Finlay looks like he’s slowly morphing into Trevor Lee. He withstood a BUSHI onslaught for a bit. Finlay slapped on the stretch muffler and looked to make it two in a row only for BUSHI to make it to the ropes. Finlay had BUSHI’s middle rope Codebreaker scouted, dodged it and it led to some close near falls. Knowing he had just come off of the big first win, they did well on the false finishes. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be because the second Codebreaker attempt worked and BUSHI got the win. Like most of the tournament, this was very solid. Both guys worked hard as Finlay continues to be a breath of fresh air. Nice to see BUSHI string together two in a row as well. ***¼

A Block: Matt Sydal [8] def. Rocky Romero [4] in 13:37
After starting 2-0, Rocky Romero dropped two straight coming into this show, while Sydal lost his first match before reeling off three wins in a row. They know each other well considering their respective teams traded the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles for the past two months. They had a pretty good feeling out process and when Rocky couldn’t gain the upper hand, he resorted to mind games. He faked out Sydal on a dive before making him chase him around the ring. Sydal, ever the dumb babyface, ran right into a dropkick inside. Sydal’s comeback of course included him taking to the air. They fought outside where Romero hit a sliced bread, leading to the typical countout tease. There was a really strong exchange of strikes and Romero took Sydal up top. Sydal fought him off and hit a big rana before scoring on the Shooting Sydal Press and winning his fourth in a row. Better than I expected. Hell, I liked it more than their tag matches this year. Really good back and forth stuff.***½

A Block: KUSHIDA [6] def. Gedo [2] in 13:34
Gedo got his only win on night one, while KUSHIDA racked up two in a row after a surprising 0-2 start. KUSHIDA was easily the most popular person on the night and for good reason. I loved that KUSHIDA changed up his offense to go after the arm specifically. Instead of his usual cartwheel dropkick, he delivered a kick to the arm, which Gedo sold by yelling incredibly loudly. Gedo continued to use every old school heel tactic in the book. Everything from feigning an injury to using the exposed turnbuckle. If there was a way for the filthy veteran to steal the upper hand, he was not afraid to use it. The crowd ate all of this up and was red hot throughout. Despite him heeling it up, the crowd seemed to get more into Gedo as the match progressed and popped hard for his Rainmaker pose. KUSHIDA was able to counter the actual Rainmaker into the Hoverboard Lock and win. Really good stuff here that had the added benefit of a great crowd. Gedo doing everything he could to try and win was awesome as well. Not many have talked about it, but Gedo has been really enjoyable thus far. ***¾

A Block: Ryusuke Taguchi [8] def. Kyle O’Reilly [6] in 11:46
Both guys game into this show tied for first with six points. O’Reilly has been consistently really good so far, while Taguchi has been hit or miss. Right from the start, O’Reilly went after the arm, while Taguchi targeted the leg and I appreciated the efforts to try and set up their submissions early on. It would make sense for some guys to try and win as quickly as possible. O’Reilly had control but Taguchi resorted to his ass based offense to get him back into this. O’Reilly busted out the Sharpshooter, instantly making me like him even more. Unfortunately, Taguchi made it to the ropes. I liked the finish as O’Reilly did the whole “turn a kick out into my finisher” thing, only for Taguchi to turn that into a rollup and then take that kick out into his ankle lock. O’Reilly fought hard and nearly broke the hold, but eventually had to tap. A bit too much ass offense for me to really like it, but I thought it was fine. The cool finish added to it for me for sure. ***

Overall: 7/10. I feel like I’ve given this score out to the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament on most nights, but it’s fitting. The tournament continues to be really consistent with lots of good, solid matches. There were four good matches on this night. None are bad, though only Gedo/KUSHIDA is one you should see if pressed for time. Still, while the booking is a bit confusing (Taguchi and Sydal with 8 points, BUSHI eliminated with four) things are moving smoothly. By the way, Romero, BUSHI, Finlay and Gedo are all eliminated at this point.

Ryusuke Taguchi8 (4-1)Ricochet6 (3-1)
Matt Sydal8 (4-1)Beretta4 (2-2)
Kyle O'Reilly6 (3-2)Jushin Thunder Liger4 (2-2)
KUSHIDA6 (3-2)Volador Jr.4 (2-1)
Rocky Romero4 (2-3)Bobby Fish4 (2-2)
BUSHI4 (2-3)Chase Owens4 (2-2)
David Finlay2 (1-4)Tiger Mask IV4 (2-2)
Gedo2 (1-4)Will Ospreay2 (1-3)