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SmartMark15

Member Since 20 Apr 2017
Offline Last Active Today, 04:24 AM
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Topics I've Started

Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa (Street Fight - NXT Takeover: Chicago 6/16/18)

17 June 2018 - 12:10 AM

I've made it no secret that this is my favorite feud in wrestling today and that their last match was my match of the year. And while that still holds true, this match brought a different flavor to the rivalry that still felt like a valid progression from the last match. The brutality was there, the hate was there, the big spots and big bumps were all there. While at times it does get bogged down by WWE-style theatrics, I am still generally a fan of those kinds of theatrics so I can't really complain. 

 

Perhaps the biggest thing going for this match is the finishing stretch. I'm sure a lot of people were annoyed or upset by the ref bump and screwjob tone. I thought it was great. It was unnerving and difficult to watch at points which is how I know they've got me emotionally hooked and invested. This was a violent spectacle the likes of Owens-Zayn II from NXT or Lesnar-Cena from SummerSlam 2014 and I am a big fan of violent spectacle.

 

*****


Jake de Leon vs. Zayden Trudeau (PWR Wrevolution X 5/20/18)

26 May 2018 - 12:17 AM

 

Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, Southeast Asia and the Philippines in particular, has cultivated a wrestling community by and for internet fans. The people with the capacity to find and consume all different kinds of wrestling are the ones who have the capacity to fund and partake in putting on wrestling shows. This match, which takes place at Philippine Wrestling Revolution's biggest show of the year, seems to be the peak of that kind of zeitgeist. Spots taken from Shibata, Okada, Omega, and countless others permeate the match, not in a sense of natural progression or organic fluidity but more as a point of recognition to pop the crowd. "Remember this spot? I know you watched this match, do you remember it?"

 

I'm trying not to disparage these guys too much because the reality is, this is the peak of the industry locally as it is. It's just fascinating to consider the mindset that appears to go into structuring these matches. 

 

***1/2 


The Undisputed Era vs. Pete Dunne, Danny Burch, & Oney Lorcan (WWE NXT 5/16/18)

16 May 2018 - 09:46 PM

Roddy and O'Reilly have returned to their calling as big ragdoll bumping chickenshit heels. They look great bumping for the babyfaces and they put that little extra stank on it that makes a babyface comeback so satisfying. Burch looked great during his mat exchanges with O'Reilly and made a sympathetic babyface during the first control segment. Then we get Pete Dunne coming in as an intense, heated babyface and he threw some fantastic strikes and cut a great pace working against the heels. Oney Lorcan was a fantastic hot tag to end the last control segment and lead into the big finishing stretch. Great six-man tag and it makes me pretty excited for the UE-Burch/Lorcan tag match upcoming at Takeover.

 

****1/4


Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa (Unsanctioned Match - NXT Takeover: New Orleans 4/7/18)

07 April 2018 - 09:20 PM

Johnny Gargano has put on two five star matches in a four month span. Unless Daniel Bryan gets booked in a high profile singles feud, I don't see anyone topping the emotional investment and sympathy that Johnny Gargano draws out from a crowd. Pairing him with Tomasso Ciampa, who transformed from fun indie superstar into one of the best most vicious heels in the world today, is just absolute magic. The feud has been built up to simmer and simmer until it came to its insane boiling point here.

 

The match was worked with an immediate sense of hatred and brutality. Big punches, heated brawling, all of them building up to big spots. The incorporation of weapons was ridiculously good and organic all throughout. I mean, Ciampa stealing crutches from a fan?! That's some 80's heel heat right there and it was perfection. The addition of the knee brace to create some truly magical storytelling moments towards the finish. I mean, I don't know how much I can gush about this match. It was just so good on every level and by far the match of the year.

 

It's crazy what a long term build and two incredibly talented workers dedicated to their story can pull off. Absolutely everything right with pro wrestling.

 

*****


Golden Lovers vs. The Young Bucks (NJPW Strong Style Evolved 3/25/18)

26 March 2018 - 12:49 AM

Kenny Omega hesitates to harm The Bucks, even stopping Ibushi from going after Matt's back. Loved Matt's back selling throughout, making it the center for some of the match's biggest transitions. Particularly liked how it forced him to drop the Sharpshooter. Thought it was a nice little plot thread that ran through the match. Then they do crazy spots, and I'm sorry but I'm a sucker for crazy spots. And these didn't feel overkill, they transitioned from one to the other really well. We didn't get too many pinfall attempts til about the last 10 minutes or so. 

 

I like how the crazier spots that stick out at least had significant character moments. Ibushi forcing Omega to V Trigger Matt. Matt not taking Omega's mercy and initiating the One Winged Angel. Matt switching directions at the last minute during the One Winged Angel to put Kenny through the table instead of completing the More Bang For Your Buck on Ibushi. Lots of great stuff all over.

 

****3/4