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Worker of the Week 26

This was a great, diverse, and consistent week for wrestling all around the world, with big shows from WWE, NXT, AJPW, Stardom, and GLEAT, just to name a few. There were first time champions on Impact's Down Under Tour and a massive five man cage match with the highest stakes possible in Dragon Gate. There was so much good wrestling this week, even if there wasn't any stand out, blow away matches like Ospreay and Omega from week 25. The honourable mentions list will be massive because of it too.

Honourable Mentions:

- Nathan Frazer (Nathan Frazer vs Dragon Lee, NXT, 27/6)

- Evil Uno (The Hungbucks vs Dark Order, AEW, 28/6)

- Sting (Sting & Darby vs Jericho & Guevara, AEW, 28/6)

- El Desperado (El Desperado vs Willie Mack, ROH, 29/6)

- Claudio Castagnoli (Claudio vs Komander, AEW, 30/6)

- Hikaru Shida (Hikaru Shida vs Taya Valkyrie, AEW, 30/6)

- ABC (ABC vs Moose & Myers, ABC vs Motor City Machine Guns, Impact, 30/6, 1/7)

- Gisele Shaw (Deonna Purrazzo vs Gisele Shaw, Impact, 1/7)

- Finn Balor (Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor, WWE, 1/7)

- Ethan Page (MJF vs Ethan Page, AEW, 1/7)

- Powerhouse Hobbs (Powerhouse Hobbs vs Dustin Rhodes, AEW, 1/7)

- KZY (Natural Vibes vs Gold Class & Doi, Dragon Gate, 2/7)

- Yuma Aoyagi (Yuma Aoyagi vs Yuji Nagata, AJPW, 2/7)

#10 - MIRAI

After winning the Cinderella Tournament for the second year in a row, MIRAI finally got her Wonder of Stardom title opportunity against the then double champ, Tam Nakano.

MIRAI came into the match more determined than she's ever been before, and more willing to do whatever it took to win. The God's Eye member went toe to toe with Nakano, meeting and exceeding everything that was thrown at her. Whenever Tam would go for knee strikes so would MIRAI. Whenever Tam went for a submission, MIRAI would catch the champ in one of her own. Even on the outside MIRAI was taking it to Tam, suplexing her on the rampway.

MIRAI went all out and hit some big moves like a lariat when both women were standing on the top rope, and she kicked out of all of Tam's signature offence like the Violet Screwdriver and Twilight Suplex before hitting a crossbody from the top and a Miramare Shock for the win! This was a passionate and star making match for someone who Stardom have been pushing for a long time, finally getting the white belt.

#9 - Fujita "Jr." Hayato

Fujita "Jr." Hayato made a big name for himself at the All Star Junior Festival earlier this year and throughout his time in Michinoku Pro, now had a chance at GLEAT's newest title, the LIDET UWF Championship. This is a title contested under the UWF rules that are common in GLEAT since it's inception in 2020 and lends itself to a more MMA style match. The title match was the culmination of an eight man tournament with Hayato somehow getting a buy to the finals (I dont watch regularly so dont ask me why) at GLEAT Vr.6 in Tokyo Dome City Hall.

His match was against Takanori Ito, a GLEAT regular and someone with a lot of experience in these types of match-ups, had to beat Dan Tamura and Yu Izuka to make it to the finals. The finals itself was probably one of the best UWF matches I've seen from the promotion, with Ito taking it to Hayato right from the bell and getting the Michinoku Pro representative down to one point left. Ito would hit some nasty Suplexes and Brainbusters that would leave Hayato rocked, only for Hayato to just beat the ten count to continue the match before he would fire back with some amazing kicks and palm strikes to the face, but Ito would find another big hit and send him back to the mat.

Hayato would quickly lock in an armbar, then and ankle lock, and finally finish off Takanori with the Guillotine Choke, his opponent passing out within seconds. This was a great match that was the definition of fighting spirit done right. Fujita looked like an absolute animal while still making his opponent seem like one of the most legit fighters in the company.

#8 - Shun Skywalker

Dragon Gate's Shun Skywalker took part in one of the companies most famous match types at this years Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival show on the 2nd of July. The Mascara Contra Mascara Steel Cage matches are always one of the highlights of any show they're on, and this one in particular way pretty good. The premise of the match is that each masked wrestler would have a copy of their mask placed on a pole at the top of a steel cage, whoever could retrieve their mask was allowed to leave the cage and the last person still in the ring would have to remove their mask.

The participants were Shun (obvs), Strong Machine J, Ultimo Dragon, Dragon Kid, and Shun's faction mate Diamante. For most of the match Shun and Diamante focused on Strong Machine J, tearing at his mask and stopping him from retrieving the one placed at the top of the cage, even letting others leave in favour of double teaming the second generation star. It ended up with Shun, J, and Diamante as the final three, but J managed to fight and claw his way out using the chairs that Skywalker had delivered to him by the rest of his faction (z-brats). J made it out of the cage and left Shun and Diamante in a sticky situation. Shun faked sympathy, saying that he'd take the L and unmask instead of Diamante, only to betray him and pull him off the top of the cage before he could snatch his mask from the pole.

The two had a heated and tense couple of minutes as Shun desperately tried to scrabble up the cage, both to stop Diamante and in an attempt to escape. I loved this ending as the climbing of the cage felt natural and clumsy and risky, unlike a lot of other cage spots in WWE that can look over rehearsed. Ultimately Shun would make it to his mask and out of the cage, leaving another former friend in the dust to save his mask.

This was great heel work from Shun and he showed of his moveset in the process, hitting a great moonsault onto Diamante who was lying on some chairs in the ring before the finish.

#7 - Baron Corbin

This might be a controversial pick, but this was definitely the best Baron Corbin singles match I've ever watched so I thought it would be good to give him a little ego boost.

Corbin wrestled on NXT this week, challenging the NXT champion Carmelo Hayes for some reason (I dont keep up with their "storylines"), but it was actually pretty good, especially for a Corbin match. He went back to the "Lone Wolf" gimmick that he'd been using back in NXT and was totally dominant in this match. He took advantage of Melo's injured ribs, hitting great looking gut punches the whole match and did some fun brawling on the outside too. He also used rest holds correctly for once, spacing and pacing them out nicely to build heat and get the crowd invested rather than just slowing the match down for no reason.

He also sold for Carmelo really well, taking big offence and making it look devastating since Hayes only got like 30% of the offence in the match. I hope to see this Baron Corbin on a more regular basis and booked like this version of him, instead of the stupid broke/rich gimmick deal he'd been using for so long on the main roster.

#6 - Soma Watanabe

On the same show as the Takanori/Hayato match, Soma Watanabe challenge for the G-REX Title held buy T-Hawk of STRONGHEARTS. Soma has shown himself to be one of the best in GLEAT, putting on great matches against the likes of Takanori Ito, Minoru Tanaka, and Yu Izuka to name a few, but this was his first shot at the top title in GLEAT.

There wasn't much story to the match, rather Soma just throwing everything he had at T-Hawk. He hit some great looking knees and kicks mixed in with his quickness and aerial ability, showcasing his wide range of styles. He was super smooth the whole match and just felt like a big star when he was in there hitting dropkicks and suicide dives to the outside.

Sure T-Hawk punked him out sometimes like only T-Hawk can, but by the end of the match it was clear that Soma will be a top star in the company very soon and has tons and tons of potential.

#5 - Solo Sikoa

Solo Sikoa was involved in the "Bloodline Civil War" match at Saturday's Money in the Bank show that emanated from London, as he fought against his own brothers the Usos along side the tribal chief Roman Reigns.

Although the match was plodding at first, pandering to wacky and somewhat reparative chants from the UK crowd, it got going in the last ten minutes and mixed great work-rate with cleaver and thoughtful spots from the groups past. Solo acted has the legal guy for most of the match with Roman taking control when he though that Sikoa wasn't performing well, but this dynamic was totally switched on its head by the end of the match.

After both Jimmy and Jey kicked out of a Samoan Spike from Solo and a Spear from Roman it was clear that Sikoa was doubting his loyalty to Roman. He came walking over to Reigns who was kinda having a panic attack, looking at him like he was pathetic and not worthy of leading him anymore. It was probably my favourite part of the match and my favourite bit of character development in the whole Bloodline story so far!

#4 - Samoa Joe

I thought that Joe's overall presentation since the start of AEW Collision has been extremely good, and his match verses Roderick Strong on this week's episode was just another step closer to making him the top heel on the show.

His first round match in the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament was against Strong and it was a rematch that many had been waiting decades for. Joe looked like a monster in this one, taking blow after blow from Strong only to laugh in his face once he realised nothing was working. Even though Joe isn't in his physical prime its his insane psychology that allows him to keep having matches on this level. He knows when to slow things down. He knows when to sprint. He knows when to sell. He Knows Pro Wrestling.

The angle after the match was also great, locking in the Coquina Clutch on Strong until the medics had to take him out on a stretcher, Joe looked on with pride. When he started staring down Punk on commentary it seemed crazy to me that their match was going to happen the next week in REGINA?! Anyway, Samoa Joe should win the whole tournament if you ask me.

#3 - Adam Brooks

This is Adam Brooks first time on the WOTW list and he's coming in with eight points for his great match against Robbie Eagles at Impact's Down Under Tour in, you guessed it, Australia! The two Down Under shows from Wagga Wagga were surprisingly very good and I advise everyone reading to check out both shows, but the opening match of night 2 in particular was a real highlight.

Alongside Impact Wrestling, a new promotion was being set up called Oceania Pro Wrestling, and their first champion was determined on night 2, between Adam Brooks and Robbie Eagles (from New Japan). The match saw Brooks relentlessly target the head and neck of Robbie for the whole match with brutal and innovative maneuvers. For example, you know Ospreay's Cheeky Nandos kick where he traps his opponents neck in the corner and superkicks them? Brooks did that but just straight up kneed Eagles in the head instead.

Brooks also sold very well in this match as Robbie would try and counter his offence by taking out the knee of Adam. Unfortunately for Eagles he came up with this plan too late into the match and even though he caught the eventual champion in submission after submission, Brooks was just too big and too powerful for the former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion to keep down and Brooks powered through the pain, hit a dropkick into the corner, and finished the match with a Swanton Bomb for the one two three.

This was a great match with a hot crowd and showcased Brooks really well, especially since he's going to be taking part in NOAH's N-1 Victory tournament coming up in July-Aug time.

#2 - Jon Moxley

After the amazing ten-man tag team match at AEWxNJPW Forbidden Door, Jon Moxley and Tomohiro Ishii went to war yet again in a G1 Climax 29 rematch on Dynamite.

The match obviously wasn't as good as their Korakuen Hall classic from 2019, but it still captured a similar sort of energy, even with a much more subdued crowd. The two just beat the shit out of each other from bell to bell as you would expect, taking chops, lariats, forearms, and headbutts that made me cringe (in a good way? I guess in a way were its like "good for them, but what the fuck"). The one count kick out from the lariats were awesome, even though Omega and Ospreay did one of the best versions of that spot of all time in my eyes, but this was different, it was way more "fighting spirit" rather than emotional outburst like Kenny's.

I mean there's not much else to say about the match given its layout, just something you need to experience for yourself. And if you haven't watched their G1 29 match before, then you're in for a real treat if you liked this one!

#1 - Alex Shelley

Alex Shelley makes his way onto the list yet again this week, and in the #1 spot too! Shelley had two great matches at Impact's Down Under Tour, defending the Impact World Title against Steve Maclin on night one and challenging for the Impact World Tag Team Titles held by Austin and Bey on night two.

His match against Maclin was similar to their one at Under Siege where Shelley won the title, but was still a great match nonetheless. Shelley used his technical ability to take down and neutralise Maclin's power and his impressive speed (for his size and skill set). It was a back and forth where Shelley always seemed to come out just a step ahead of Steve after each sequence even after taking big offence like a spear on the apron, or being thrown into the barricade. He always snuck in a hold or two to keep Maclin on the back foot and managed to tap him out with the Boarder City Stretch to retain the title!

The tag team title match was also brilliant as you would expect from these two teams. The fluidity and chemistry between the two is incredible now that ABC have had a ton of reps as a team. The two teams have also had a few matches between each other both in singles and tag team matches. The pace of the match was great, with very little down time even though they went around 20 minutes and all the action was crisp and well executed, especially the double team maneuvers.

A great two days for Shelley who keeps proving that he's one of the best wrestlers of all time and that Impact is actually worth watching! Outstanding performance from him.

Ok now after week 26 lets have a look at the leaderboard:


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