Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lucha Underground "The Amulet" Review

Tonight's show starts with highlights of Dario getting out of jail, the Famous B/Mascarita Sagrada angle and the Weapons of Mass Destruction match announcement.

We see footage that happened during Ultima Lucha Dos when Detective Ryan and Reyes are with their boss, listening to Dario murder Mr. Cisco. Reyes wants to bring in Dario but the boss has none of it (she was told not to pursue Dario last season). Ryan laughs and they get into a little choreographed fight scene but it doesn't get out of hand. She says this is more than just avenging Cisco. Reyes responds "that's Mr. Cisco."

Dr. Wagner Jr. w/ Famous B and Brenda def. Mascarita Sagrada in 0:54
Brenda is dressed like a nurse. Famous B stops Melissa Santos from announcing Wagner because she isn't famous enough. This stems from Famous B turning on his former client, Sagrada, and attacking him. They actually start with a normal match and Sagrada takes Wagner over. Wagner quickly recovers and wins with a Dr. Driver. Famous B uses a stethoscope to check on Sagrada because "he's dead".

Time for a video of the ancient Aztecs. At least, I think it is. A sick, seemingly dying man tells his daughter that a war must be fought. He gives her an amulet that only works on females and tells her that when she becomes a woman, it'll make her immortal and she won't age. Even if the war takes a thousand years, they must win the war. Her father then dies. The camera pans to the police captain, Vazquez, and she seems to have half of that amulet. Reyes arrives and she suspends him because he wants to just get Dario, while she wants to use him to get to someone even bigger.

Mil Muertes w/ Catrina def. Argenis in 1:33
This is funny since Argenis was one of the Disciples of Death. Argenis tries but Mil is in a foul mood. He launches him on a powerbomb, but Argenis comes back with a kick and moonsault. Mil kicks out at one and ends him with a spear and Flatliner.

After Catrina administers the lick of death, Prince Puma shows up. He attacks Mil Muertes and nails a missil dropkick that sends him outside. Puma hits a baseball slide and Catrina gets in between them, taking Mil to the back.

We see a clip of Dario Cueto arriving back at his office last week. Joey Ryan comes up to him and says that he knows Dario killed Cisco. He even admits that he's a cop, but wants to be on the right side of this war, so he offers himself up as a double agent. Joey says he did everything to keep Dario out of jail, unlike his idiot partner. He reveals that Cortez Castro is a cop too. Joey wants a deal because he has child support to pay, so Dario give him some cash.

Back to Captain Vasquez in present day. Reyes shows up and wants to be on her side of the war. She sends him back to the Temple and looks at her half of the amulet after he leaves.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Match: Killshot def. Marty "The Moth" Martinez in 22:21
No rules in this one and the ring is surrounded by military themed weapons. It looks like a giant boot camp set up. Marty comes out in complete military gear including camo face paint, a gun and Killshot's dog tags. Killshot attacks from behind during Marty's entrance and ends up busting Marty open in the first minute with a gun. Killshot kicks his head through a wall, but Marty just laughs. Marty takes Melissa Santos hostage and throws her into Killshot. He catches her and lets her go safely before chasing down Marty. Marty goes to the testicular claw, getting a "freaky bastard" chant. The big spots are here as Killshot delivers a 450 splash off the stands onto a standing Moth but was then German suplexed onto the apron a few minutes later. They move into beating the shit out of each other with ladders and chairs. Marty just nails every expression and totally gets his character. He hits a superplex onto some crates before taking a DVD onto a ladder. Marty returns with a powerbomb from inside to the outside through two tables. Note that there is a decent amount of recover time between these spots. Killshot brings out the biggest ladder of the match. It gets set up in the middle of the ring and a table is opened on either side. They fight up top and Mariposa comes out to stop Killshot. He kicks her down and she falls through a table. He grabs Marty's junk before laying in some brutal shots that send him down a few rungs. Killshot snatches his dog tags back and double stomps Marty off the ladder and through a table to win. Insane finish to an insane match. It was just big spots and brutality for the sake of it either. There were great storytelling bits like Mariposa coming into play and the poignant moment of Killshot getting his dog tags back. We got our first great match of the season. ****1/4

In the back,  an angry Mil Muertes is beating up lockers. Catrina appears and tells him that he will soon get his hands on Prince Puma, he just has to be patient. She says that she has waited hundreds of years to get what she wants and we see that she has the other half of the amulet. Oh shit!

Overall: 8/10. Yes, the first two matches are barely even matches. I get that. But the one match we do get is a tremendous war that gave shine to two of the most underrated and overlooked members of the roster. The rest of the show did a great job in furthering angles and setting up the season with Puma/Muertes, the Famous B stuff, the war between Dario and Vazquez and introduced the amulet story.

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 Road to Destruction 9/12/16 Review

NJPW Road to Destruction
September 12th, 2016 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan

With the three Destruction shows coming up over the next few weeks, it was time for NJPW World to air the one “Road to Destruction” event. For those unaware, these shows mostly use multi-man tags and things like that to build excitement for the bigger upcoming events.

The opening video package served as a reminder that I’m still not over the booking of the G1 Climax. On the upcoming 9/17 Destruction in Tokyo show, we are getting Katsuyori Shibata vs. Bobby Fish for the NEVER Openweight Championship and KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Both of those matches sound rad.

On 9/22 in Hiroshima, the Briscoes face the Young Bucks to unify the IWGP Tag and Jr. Tag Titles. Boring. Adam Cole will also defend the ROH Title against Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada goes one on one with Bad Luck Fale. Wow, that all sounds uninteresting. Kenny Omega defends his Tokyo Dome title shot against the first guy to beat him in the G1, YOSHI-HASHI. Their G1 match ruled so that should be good at least.

Lastly, on 9/25 in Kobe, Satoshi Kojima, Ricochet and Matt Sydal defend the NEVER Openweight Six Man Titles against Dave Meltzer’s favorite team, Adam Cole and the Young Bucks. Tetsuya Naito also gets a shot at the Intercontinental Title in a G1 rematch against Michael Elgin. Though Naito deserves the top prize, the match should be excellent.

David Finlay def. Henare in 5:01
Henare is a new young lion. David Finlay seems to have graduated of sorts. He now has cheetah print gear and may have moved into the Juice Robinson/Cody Hall level of young lion. Henare is a heavyweight from New Zealand, which is where NJPW found Bad Luck Fale and Jay White. He seems to know what he’s doing somewhat as you could tell that he’s not completely new to wrestling. Finlay worked an aggressive style for most of the match. Henare applied the young lion crab, but Finlay reached the ropes. We saw Henare counter a cutter with a backslide, only to end up taking the cutter anyway and losing. Perfectly acceptable given what this was. Henare did alright and it’s great to see Finlay doing something more. **¼

Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi def. Captain New Japan and YOSHITATSU in 5:44
Wow. It’s as if someone dared Gedo to throw the four most uninteresting people on his roster into one match. Yoshi is still cosplaying as Triple H. The Bullet Club members attacked before the “hunters” could get into the ring. Yoshi has been growing frustrated with CNJ losing so often and it costing them in their hunt for the Bullet Club. This followed the same old formula. CNJ gets beat up, Yoshi gets a mild tag, CNJ still takes the pin. This time, it was after a DDT from Takahashi. Yoshi got fed up and asked the fans to vote on Twitter if he should kick CNJ out of the hunters group. Not interesting in the slightest, but props to Gedo for booking an actual angle here. ½*

Jushin Thunder Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi and TenKoji def. Chaos (Gedo, Roppongi Vice and Will Ospreay) in 7:28
TenKoji did their thing early on, which the crowd loved. I’ve really grown to like both of them after my first viewing of Tenzan was in his injury riddled 2015 G1 Climax. Beretta took the brunt of their offense. I may truly dislike Gedo as a booker, but he’s a lot of fun in the ring. His mockery of Kojima’s flurry of chop was priceless. Pretty much everyone came in and got their shine, including Will Ospreay, who a lot of people would expect to take it lightly due to injury concerns. His spots were fun before Taguchi made Romero tap to an ankle lock. I suspect Gedo didn’t take the fall since he has a Jr. Tag Title match coming up in NOAH. **¾

Great Bash Heel def. Manabu Nakanishi and Yuji Nagata in 8:23
There were two parts of this match that really stood out to me. First, Nagata and Honma just beat the shit out of each other in the middle of the ring, which is always a treat. Then, Nakanishi took to the skies for a cross body, complete with “superfly” hand gesture. When the match became Nakanishi working with Makabe, it was pretty rough. Nakanishi ended up applying the torture rack while Nagata had the armbar in, but neither man got the submission. In the end, the Kokeshi, followed by the King Kong Knee Drop ended it. Ho-hum match featuring four guys going through the motions. **¼

EVIL def. Juice Robinson in 10:58
This is one of the more interesting matches on this card. Can Juice hang with a guy that has had a really strong 2016? EVIL was aggressive from the start and did his signature chair spot outside. He wore down Juice, who then nailed a spinebuster and dropkicked him outside. Juice followed with a plancha to a nice hand from the audience. EVIL nearly got the win but Juice rocked him with a right hand and lariat. Juice also busted out a powerbomb and tried a diving headbutt, but missed. He still fired up only to get hit with the EVIL bomb for two. EVIL was done with his shit and won with the STO. Strong match and up there with the one against Go Shiozaki for best Juice match so far. Both guys looked good, it had a hot crowd and was fun. I like it. ***¼

reDRagon def. NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata and Tiger Mask IV in 10:16
I’ve long considered reDRagon the best tag team in wrestling, though the Revival have surpassed them in 2016. Bobby Fish is heading towards a NEVER Openweight Title shot, while O’Reilly actually beat Shibata at ROH’s Field of Honor event last month. Early on, we got standard tag stuff that didn’t wow anyone. I really enjoyed the interactions that Shibata had with reDRagon. His singles stuff against both guys should be good. Tiger Mask was kind of just there. He did hit a nice tombstone at one point though, so there’s that. It looked like reDRagon had it won but Shibata broke up the pin and started striking both of them. The numbers game overtook him, but he demanded more and more kicks until he couldn’t take it anymore. They took him out with Chasing the Dragon before nailing Tiger Mask with it and winning. Fun match that accomplished the goal of getting me excited for Fish/Shibata. ***¼

Chaos (Hirooki Goto, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI) def. The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, The Guerillas of Destiny and Kenny Omega) in 14:24
Oh boy. I have to see Tanga Loa wrestle as well as look at Kenny Omega with the G1 briefcase. Sigh. Fale still tried to attack the ring announcer. YOSHI dyed her hair to be more blondish and it isn’t a good look. The Bullet Club attacked before the bell and sent Chaos outside. This followed standard multi-man tag formula. The heels did some stuff, the faces got a hot tag and they previewed Okada/Fale, YOSHI/Omega and Omega/Okada. GOD hit their finish on Ishii but he kicked out because they’re pretty bad. Okada body slammed Fale for a pop. Everyone kind of got their shit in until Ishii ended Loa with a brainbuster. Solid but NOWHERE NEAR the level of the string of Chaos vs. LIDJ matches earlier this year. **¾

Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA and Tetsuya Naito) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA and IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin in 16:04
It’s the best thing in NJPW, Tetsuya Naito. BUSHI did not come out with Naito and SANADA, as instead we got someone in a suit and Naito’s old mask. It was the same way that EVIL was revealed as a member of the group last year. We were to believe it was BUSHI at least. Elgin and Naito started out, giving a preview of their upcoming title match. Elgin even did Naito’s trademark taunt and pose. Tanahashi and SANADA got some interaction as well, which was cool since their G1 match ruled. The other LIDJ member attacked Tanahashi on the outside and KUSHIDA tried to unmask him, but failed. Elgin took to beating up Naito inside before the tag went to KUSHIDA. I still think that a Naito/KUSHIDA match would be awesome. KUSHIDA applied the Hoverboard Lock on Naito, but out came BUSHI casually strolling to the ring. He spit the mist at KUSHIDA, got the tag and hit the MX but Tanahashi broke up the pin. Pretty much everyone got some offense in and KUSHIDA fought valiantly but took a codebreaker, flipping Piledriver and a second MX to lose. Really good match that was the best part of the show. Elgin/Naito and BUSHI/KUSHIDA are rematches of dope pairings we got earlier in the year, so they should be among the best things on the Destruction shows. ***½

After the match, KUSHIDA took more of a beating and they continued to build the Destruction cards.

Overall: 6/10. I feel like this show was just about what you’d expect from a “Road to” event. The matches ranged from decent to really good (outside of the first two being lackluster) and it did the job of building towards the bigger upcoming events.