top of page

Worker of the Week 34

After one of the biggest weeks in pro wrestling HISTORY, we take a look at all the amazing performances from around the world that made it such a special seven days of wrasslin'. Of course we had All In: London from Wembley Stadium and RevPro's 11th Anniversary Show, but we also saw action from over in Japan as the N-1 Victory comes to the block finals and Sareee challenges for her first singles title since returning to Japan!


Honourable Mentions:


- Yuma Aoyagi (Yuma Aoyagi vs Ryuki Honda, AJPW, 21/8)

- Chad Gable (GUNTHER vs Chad Gable, WWE, 21/8)

- Jon Moxley (Jon Moxley vs Fenix & Stadium Stampede, AEW, 23/8 & 27/8)

- Swerve Strickland (Darby & Wayne vs Fox & Swerve & Swerve & Christian vs Darby & Sting, AEW, 23/8 & 27/8)

- El Lindaman (El Lindaman vs Rising Hayato, GLEATxAJPW, 23/8)

- Maika (Maika vs Utami Hayashishita, Stardom, 26/8)

- Zack Sabre Jr. (Zack Sabre Jr. vs Ricky Knight Jr., RevPro, 26/8)

- Samoa Joe (CM Punk vs Samoa Joe, AEW, 27/8)



#10 - MJF


Although the main event of AEW All In: London wasn't the most flashy or athletic ordeal of the week, Maxwell put all he could into his performance and had the crowd in the palm of his hand because of it. There was a great deal of drama and tension to the match, as MJF and Adam Cole put on an emotional and engrossing spectacle of a match, calling back to many different moments in this young, but detailed story.


In-ring wise, the match was fairly solid, with both men starting with a quick technical exchange before MJF used some questionable tactics on Cole to a positive reaction from the 81k in attendance. It was clear from this point on that no matter what, he was the face in this match. Cole would cheat here and there, only to get the opposite reaction Max did. This would ramp up throughout the match, with Cole even hitting a gnarly Brainbuster on the ring steps to a chorus of boos.


The climax of the match was when both men hit a (double) clothesline on each other and Bryce counted a double pin-fall, declaring the match a draw. Cole grabbed the mic and begged for five more minutes, but Max said no. "WE'RE GOING TILL WE GOT A WINNER IN FUCKING WEMBLEY!!" This got the loudest pop of the entire weekend and the got the crowd even more invested in the match, which turned into more of a soap opera at this point, with Roddy Strong coming down to ringside, trying to get Adam to cheat Max out of the title. A couple of ref bumps later and MJF got the roll-up pin on Cole to retain the title.


As I said, Max was cheered for everything he did in the match and he executed everything perfectly to get the crowd invested not just once, but twice in one night (also winning the ROH Tag Team championship on the Zero-Hour). It takes a special performer to have the high point of a 6 hour show be the main event, but he did it.


#9 - Kenny Omega


Kenny teamed with his Golden Lovers partner, Kota Ibushi, and Hangman Adam Page, to take on Jay White, Juice Robinson, and Konosuke Takeshita in Wembley Stadium. It was a great match that saw so many historical feuds come full circle in front of the largest (paid) crowd in pro wrestling history.


While I dont think the match reached the levels it could have, it still gave us all the best bits of Kenny Omega throughout. Kenny was on point in this match, all his V-Triggers hit perfectly, his Terminator Dive performed magnificently, and the tag team work with Ibushi was a dream come true to see in person. Kenny was the glue that held this match together, being the legal man for most of the bout. He was also great at coming out of nowhere to change the momentum of the match on a dime, getting off multiple Dragon Suplexes and V-Triggers on all members of the opposing team. In the end he got rolled up by Takeshita, losing in shocking fashion, but setting up a singles match for All Out, which should be even better than this match.


Overall a great showing from Omega, who got one of the loudest reactions of the night.


# 7 & 8 - Matt & Nick Jackson


Although the Young Bucks didn't win the AEW Tag Team championship from FTR at All In this past Sunday, they still put on one of the best matches of the night, with an intense, well built, and theatrical fight, even if it didn't live up to the past two matches.


It started out slow and the two teams mirrored each others move, really giving the sense that both teams were on the same level (which was the main story of the match), but also more familiar with the others than ever before. There were some great counters during the middle section of the match, but it really picked up once both teams started to tease their finishers and stealing the finishers of the other team. These got great reactions from the crowd and even though some thought that the finisher spam was overdone, and the nearfalls were too abundant, it was received well in the stadium as it felt like the occasion was well worth it.


Going into the match I was sure that the Young Bucks were going to win, so when they kicked out of the Shatter Machine (RIP Big Rig) I was even more confident. Cash kicking out of two BTE Triggers was just insane to me and drove home the reality of how big and important the match was. It also rattled me, as at that point I knew the Bucks were taking the L in this one. Ultimately I think the Young Bucks brought more personality and charisma to the match, they played more of a heel role than FTR, but still let the crowd choose who they wanted to cheer for instead of ramming it down our throats.


#6 - Go Shiozaki


Heading over to Japan now, we take a look at the N-1 and Go Shiozaki's great last few matches of the tournament before he faces Kenoh in the finals this coming Sunday. He had three tournament matches in two days as on the 26th he faced Manabu Soya in an amazing match, then on the 27th he faced team mate Katsuhiko Nakajima in another good match, winning and facing Soya again as both men were on 9 points. Go won the match this time an secured his place in the N-1 Finals!


His first match with Soya went to a time limit draw, but the match didn't drag at all. The two kicked it off with a test of strength, but moved Go started chopping pretty soon afterwards. They brawl on the outside for a bit and Go dominates the former Kongo member for most of the next 20 minutes. The final 10 minutes were where it really heated up, and Shiozaki was desperate to get the win, using all of his finishers on Soya, but he couldn't keep Soya down. Gowan Lariat, Go Flasher, and a Limit Break, but to no avail. Go made Soya look great the whole match, even when he was in control. On top of that Go had to use rope breaks to stay in the match, putting over Soya even more.


His match verses Nakajima was a little underwhelming to me, but still gave us that a great hard hitting match, even if it lacked a lot in terms of importance and storytelling. It was much faster paced than the first Soya match, and a lot more even in terms of offence. We'll talk about the second Soya match in a second.


#5 - Manabu Soya


Soya's N-1 has been one of the best of all the competitors this year. He's really found his groove this year and being able to show his improvement against a variety of different opponents has made him look like more of a star than ever. Of course we already talked about his first Go match of the week, so lets dive into his great match with El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. and then the second Shiozaki match.


On the 27th his normally scheduled block match against El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. saw a rematch from February of this year, and although it wasn't any where near as good as that match, it was still an exciting watch that showcased Soya as a step above Wagner now, compared to earlier in the year. He kicked out of lots of Wagner's big moves like the Spinning Powerbomb and the Michinoku Driver, before putting the Mexican down with a Jumping DDT after a really physical match.


The second Shiozaki match was my second favourite match from these two N-1 shows and it had Manabu come in with a lot more confidence than before. Maybe too much, however. He took it to the beat up Shiozaki, who had just come off his match against Nakajima, and mocked him by hitting a ton of chops in a row, but eventually Shiozaki got back into the match and targeted the arm of Soya to counter the strikes. From then on Go would gradually get more and more of the offence, until Soya was clearly on the back foot. One of the things Soya has shown a lot more of since the dissolution of Kongo is emotion, and it's shown in his N-1 campaign. His selling and babyface energy in his matches has been through the roof and the crowd is certainly behind him as a upper-mid card guy right now.


It's been great to see Soya's evolution through this tournament, and its been one of the best things NOAH had done all year. Can't wait for Soya's third match with El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. for the National Championship.


#4 - Kenoh


Going into the final night of N-1 block action, Kenoh and Jake Lee were both sitting at 10 points, so the winner was guaranteed entry into the final this Sunday.


This was by far the match of the tournament for me, and the result tickled my fancy as well. Both Kenoh and Lee went all out in this one, with perfectly executed offence and a great story told throughout the match. Kenoh started out by making fun of Lee, while Jake kept his stoic persona, even in the face of a majority Kenoh crowd (even when he tried to get the crowd to cheer him they didn't). Jake would take advantage of Kenoh jokery and targeted the leg of the former Kongo leader, thus making it extremely painful for Kenoh to get off any kind of kick on Lee. Instead of changing up his tactics, however, Kenoh powered through the pain and continued to kick like his life depended on it.


Jake was obviously taken a back by this and didn't have a back up plan, so eventually Kenoh would managed to recover over the course of the match while still pelting the GHC Champion with kick after kick. Even still he had to battle with every last bit of energy in his body and he showcased this so well. He hit loads of signature moves, and even landed the PFS, but only got a two count from it. He would have to hit the Moonsault Double Knees to the gut from the top rope to finally put Lee away, but even then, the crawl over to pin had me doubting he'd get the three count here because it was so perfectly timed. A great showing from Kenoh, who gave Jake Lee one of his best matches of his career!


#3 - Sareee


Sareee had, undoubtedly, one of the best women's matches of the whole year, when she faced the Beyond the Sea champion, Arisa Nakajima, in Korakuen Hall on Friday. This was Sareee's first title match since coming back to Japan from her terrible NXT run (due to no fault of Sareee).


Sareee came out strong at the start of the match hitting a few strikes, but it quickly moved to the outside where Nakajima tossed Sareee into the crowd and threw multiple chairs at full force towards her, which really set the tone for the match going forward. Both would trade submission holds and some fairly stiff strikes for the bulk of the match, but as they got down the stretch the strikes started to become scarily stiff. This was one of the most hard hitting matches of the whole week, and that's saying something considering who is #1 this week. So many times in this match I audibly gasped or yelled because of the strikes, it really was a roller-coaster of the bout that everyone show go out of their way to see!


Sareee did a great job at finding the balance between being the underdog in the match, chasing for the title, and being an absolute badass in the ring, with some of the best striking I've seen in ages.


#2 - Will Ospreay


Ospreay probably had the most emotional week of anyone I've mentioned on the list so far. Having a match with one of his greatest rivals, Shingo Takagi, in his home promotion, RevPro, with 4,000+ brits cheering him on. Also defeating one of the greatest of all time, Chris Jericho, in front of the largest paid wrestling crowd in the history of the planet, in Wembley Stadium. It's hard to deny that he's one of the greatest of all time, and that's before we actually talk about his amazing performances from this week.


He and Shingo had an amazingly fast paced match that blew the roof off of the Copper Box Arena. The two have unbelievable chemistry, that's no secret, and even though it (again) wasn't their best match, it still gave us a wonderful injection of action that only those two can produce. They hit all the spots, but it was obvious that Ospreay was holding back somewhat, with the biggest match of his life happening less than 24 later I can't blame him. Oh and by "holding back" I mean he only had a 4.75 star match (my opinion) rather than the usual 5+ star match, so lets not get that confused. This was a sensational match that only Ospreay and Shingo can produce.


Jericho stepped up to Ospreay in their match, having one of the best of the night, despite everyone claiming it wouldn't be. Ospreay looked like a star as soon has he walked out into the stadium and by the end of the match he was cemented as one of the best of all time. By no means did he carry Jericho through the match, but he pushed Chris to go as hard and as fast as he's gone since his WCW cruiserweight days and it resulted in an amazing match where Jericho pulled off things he's never done before, like the hurricanrana counter to the Storm Breaker, which Ospreay did with Naito just the week before.


#1 - Tomohiro Ishii


Going into All In week I had no idea that Tomohiro Ishii would come out of it as the MVP, but his match against Luke Jacobs at RevPro's 11th Anniversary was on another level, even for Ishii. It started as all Ishii matches do, with extended chopping and forearm exchanges, leading into trading lariats back and forth, progressively introducing more and more complex counters and reversals into the mix to the point where it surpassed the majority of the awesome singles bouts Ishii puts on on a regular basis.


I'm not going to write too much else for this one, because it a match that you have to watch to get the full extent of it's awesomeness, but I want to shout out Luke Jacobs for hanging with Ishii and sometimes even outdoing him in the ring, but ultimately Ishii was the ring general in the match and made it all flow together seamlessly.


With All In in the rear-view mirror, lets have a look at the leadboard!


Comments


bottom of page