Hi folks! Hope you enjoyed WrestleMania week. Having watched four PPV events in as many nights, I think it’s good to summarize what we’ve seen and share what I believe were the best & worst shows. I like ending things on a high note, so let’s begin with some of the worst experiences.
Impact Wrestling’s United We Stand
As a fan of this company for over a decade, it may rank as one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen them produce. Not only was it meant to represent six promotions (Impact, LU, AAA, MLW, Dragon Gate & Wrestle Pro), it was doing so during WrestleMania week. The venue? The Rahway Recreation center, and yes it’s as “indy” as it sounds. The pre-show was conducted by the young “kid” referee going around with a camera. Production was terrible, the ring was small, and the crowd was dead throughout. They had major sound issues too, and some entrances (Havoc & Lucha Bros) were severely delayed. And who featured in the main event? 50+ year old RVD & Sabu against the red-hot, lightning quick Tag Team Champions The Lucha Brothers.
Ace Austin’s dive off the Ultimate X structure, and parts of the Monster’s Ball (Callihan vs. Havoc) were pretty cool. But outside that? Johnny Impact earned an X-Division title shot for no reason (he’s the World Champ). Team Impact lost AGAIN to Lucha Underground due to one of their team members betraying them. Even LAX vs. Low Ki and Ricky Martinez couldn’t save this card. Joey Ryan vs. Tessa Blanchard was the only interesting bout, once you see past all the gimmick-y stuff from Ryan. RVD & Sabu (more so) bogged down the main event, and there was nothing extreme about this “Extreme Dream Match”. Kudos to the talent for doing what they could, but they didn’t have a lot to work with at this extraordinarily weak event.
ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard
I’m not watching either promotion regularly (always tune in for Wrestle Kingdom each year), but I had to check this out as it’s historic being hosted in Madison Square Garden. And I wasn’t disappointed! But there were moments which .. in my opinion, hurt the show to the point it could not beat NXT TakeOver’s perfect card. The first example was Kenny King staying on the outside of the battle royal til the last moment to eliminate both Jyushin Liger & The Great Muta. It was really special seeing these legends, and fans were seriously in to the showdown. Is Kenny a heel? It doesn’t make sense considering who won the ROH title later. And since when was he World Championship material? Whatever’s going on, the fans loathed the decision. Luckily Muta & Liger got their own back on him.
Next up was a squash match with Rush going over Dalton Castle in 15 seconds after making a grand entrance. I don’t get it? Castle beat up his boys again .. which isn’t new. Last time I saw ROH he was feuding with them, so they must’ve got back together .. and are splitting up again? I don’t know. Felt like a waste of time.
Speaking of which, the New York City street fight changed from being Bully Ray vs. Juice Robinson, to Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon, to a six-man tag all in the space of an hour. We also had to endure a dude called MegaRan trying to rap over a rap song and make it sound good. Not that he was terrible .. just that it was seriously out-of-place.
Bully came down to the ring and stared at MegaRan for a while. The fans wanted him to annihilate this guy .. but he didn’t! Even letting MegaRan insult and square up to him .. and that’s not the Bully Ray I know. The Bully Ray I know would’ve torched his ass through a flaming table. That’s how you give fans a payoff after being audibly tortured. Also, what happened with The Beautiful People Velvet Sky & Angelina Love? I liked the surprise, but have seen others commenting about “ROH getting more like TNA”; is that a bad thing?
The rest of the card was sweet though. Clearly, the New Japan stuff out-shined what Ring Of Honor had to offer. Found it funny in the main event buildup when Okada repeatedly stated “New Japan has the best wrestling, New Japan is the place to be”. Like a big middle finger to AEW, and possibly some tough love directed at ROH as well. And I almost forgot about Enzo Amore & Big Cass jumping the rail in a worked shoot .. does anyone want to see these guys employed by ROH? No? Figured as much.
Lastly, the worst part of the ladder match was when Jay Lethal decided it would be smart to dump two ladders forming an “X” (someone put a ladder through another to make it) over the top rope to the floor. In doing so .. he almost injured a fan as it came crashing down on the first row. Officials rushed straight over, apologizing profusely for a good five minutes. Luckily no harm was done, as the fan stayed in their seat and enjoyed the rest of the show.
Went in with low expectations as it was never gonna’ beat TakeOver or G1 Supercard for match quality. In fact, there was only really one great match (fan reaction) and that was Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston. In the women’s battle royal, I felt bad for Sarah Logan as she would’ve benefited greatly from the win .. but instead, WWE did a “Kenny King” and had Carmella take it after slyly waiting on the outside (isn’t she a face?). Braun Strowman winning the Andre The Giant battle royal was inevitable, and the match forgettable.
I was stoked seeing Rollins vs. Lesnar on first, but the way he won was anti-climactic. Three curb stomps and it’s over? The win didn’t feel real at first. I recently commented in an article about the heat Lesnar’s mustered over the past few years, but WWE flushed it all down the toilet here. It’s nice getting the title back full-time .. but the “Beast Slayer” made it look a little too easy (despite suffering a brutal beating beforehand) to be remembered fondly.
Probably me, but I never got into AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton. Just not enough to get invested; it was filler which needed implications for the winner & loser. I was a fan of the result of the women’s tag, but something seemed off about the match. In fact, I’d say all the women didn’t work to the standard we’ve seen before. Joe squashing Mysterio was understandably a big disappointment for some, as was Balor’s quick win over Lashley. Drew McIntyre being made to look weak against Roman Reigns was possibly the most irritating thing of the night; everyone agrees Drew should be made to look good in defeat.