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Worker of the Week: Week 10

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

In a week dominated by New Jacan Puc- I mean New Japan Cup matches, we see tag team competitors leap up the leaderboard for well deserved performances both in tag and singles competition. The women of ROH also put on a show with the first women's title match of the new ROH on HonorClub era! All around a fun if not extraordinary week of wrestling!


Honourable Mentions:

-KUSHIDA (KUSHIDA vs Jonathan Gresham, Impact, 9/3)

-Jake Lee (Lee & Greene vs Kiyomiya & Kotoge, NOAH, 9/3)

-Daisuke Harada (Daisuke Harada vs Atsushi Kotoge, NOAH, 9/3)

-Hiroshi Tanahashi (Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs Okada & Tanahashi, NJPW, 6/3)

-Tomohiro Ishii (Tomohiro Ishii vs David Finlay, NJPW, 6/3)

-Riho (Riho vs Nyla Rose, AEW, 10/3)



#10 - Wheeler Yuta

After losing to his former best friend Orange Cassidy a few weeks ago, Wheeler Yuta has shown a more aggressive, brutal, and crafty side to his already impeccable technical wrestling arsenal.


On this weeks episode of ROH Wrestling Wheeler defended his ROH Pure championship against NOAH's Timothy Thatcher in an awesome match that saw fast submissions and brutal limb-work. This new side of Wheeler has been much needed in my opinion, as his character beforehand seemed to be the "junior" member of the BCC as Riccaboni labeled him the week before rather than the champion he is. From using a closed fist once, which is within the rules, to distracting the referee and using a second, and abusing the ropebreak rules to get the advantage, Wheelers new and more ruthless wrestling style has done wonders for his in ring work. Enough to score him one point this week!


#9 - AMAKUSA

From one title defence to another, AMAKUSA put his GHC Jr. Heavyweight championship on the line against his former stablemate, Kongo's Hi69 (Hiroki) at Star Navigation on the 9th.


Coming off a great match with lots of eyes on it, against Hiromu, this title defence was an important match to show new viewers his skills against NOAH blood. Starting with a quick technical exchange, AMAKUSA showed some innovative evasive maneuvers on the ropes as well as his signature twisting dive to the outside. His highflying moves were all on point, with a clean spinning crossbody of the top, kind of similar to Rey Fenix's Tornio, being one of the highlights.


It wasn't the best match I've seen from AMAKUSA, but him kicking out of three Stuka Splashes from Hi69 and pinning him with the (as Mark Pickering on commentary called it) Saikoku(?) went a long way in pushing him up the power rankings in NOAH.


#8 - Orange Cassidy

Orange defended his AEW All Atlantic title for the final time on this week's Dynamite, fending off Jay Lethal for a second time, before being attacked by Double J, Jeff Jarrett.


The match kicked off with the two trading fast hip tosses and arm drags, keeping the counters flowing in between roll ups. Orange would kick out Jay's arm as he went for a spring off the ropes, trying to hit the Lethal Injection. This would set the scene for the whole match as he would continue to focus Lethal's left arm, who retaliated by taking out the knee of Cassidy. This is one of the things I love about pro wrestling, and why I probably rated this match higher than most, but Orange's targeting of the arm and selling of the leg throughout the match was logical and executed well.


The finish was great with Lethal going for the Lethal Injection, but his shoulder crumbling under his own weight allowing Orange to take advantage of what he'd been hoping for the whole match, with the Orange Punch sealing the deal. Great, logical wrestling from Cassidy gets him three points this week... I guess.


#7 - Aaron Henare

The self proclaimed "Primal Bro" Aaron Henare had a standout display in the ring against one of New Japan's biggest stars, Shingo Takagi, in his first round match in the 2023 New Japan Cup on the 10th.


Henare showcased his solid striking skills and fighting spirit against the Rampage Dragon in a high paced bombfest where Henare held his own and BEAT the KOPW champion clean in the middle of the ring after the Streets of Rage. One of the more shocking results from this years first round matches. I like how dynamic and sudden Aaron's offence is, as it allows for some mark out moments, like a Berserker Bomb counter to the Pumping Bomber and a straight headbutt that stopped Takagi in his tracks and allowed for Henare to hit the Streets of Rage for the big win over the "hometown hero" as Cobb called Shingo on commentary. Overall the match was really smooth and exciting with good counters, set-ups, and nearfalls that really allow Henare to shine.


This wasn't the only Cup match Henare had this week, as he went 1 on 1 with NEVER Openweight champion Tama Tonga in another good match, not as good as his one with Shingo, but still a good match for Aaron to add to his portfolio of 3.5+ star matches, especially against Tama who isn't known for carrying guys to matches at this level. A great week for Henare and a great run in the New Japan Cup lands him four points this week.


#6 - Athena

Athena had one of the best women's matches in ROH history on Thursday this week as she defended her title against the fan favourite Willow Nightingale in the main event!


Athena played of Willow's connection with the crowd really well which built up both women throughout the match, using the studio setting to great affect with trash talk to Nightingale, mocking her, and landing stiff kicks that echoed around the venue. Heel Athena is so great, because she knows how to turn simple moves and transitions into something devilish and destructive. Things like pulling the hair get Willow on the mat, or using the ropes to attack the neck, even just adding a few extra, unneeded strikes on a beat down to get the fans behind the challenger.


Couple all of that with a red-hot babyface like Willow, the willingness to take big moves like a powerbomb on the apron, and just smooth botchless wrestling in between and you get an amazing match that does wonder for both women and sets the standard for a great women's division in ROH.


#5 - Kazuchika Okada

Speaking of great heel performances, the IWGP World Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada had a more subtle and condescending performance against New Japan's two newest returns in Shota Umino and Ren Narita while teaming with Tanahashi on the 11th.


The match saw Okada dominate the two prospects and beat them with ease, especially Narita who he hit with the Rainmaker at the end, only to get distracted by Umino, deal with him then casually walk back over to Ren. He challenged him to give him his best shot only to duck and hit another Rainmaker for the win.


This wasn't the Rainmaker's best performance of the week, however. He also had an IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team title match against his stable-mates Bishamon (teaming with Tana again). This match was just phenomenal, pitting the two best wrestlers in the world against the best tag team in the world. Okada didn't hold back in the match, running the ropes as fast as he could and hitting YOSHI-HASHI with a massive back elbow before sending him flying out the ring with a dropkick while YOSHI-HASHI was on the top rope. A double DDT on the outside of both his CHAOS brethren cemented the World champions determination in this match.


Later in the match the teamwork of Okada and Tana really came into its own and had the crowd on tenterhooks waiting for new champions, but even an elbow drop, high fly flow combination couldn't keep the champions down, as the teamwork from Bishamon just outclassed that of the Dream Team. That being said the Dream Team were so good in this match, with both members swapping from offence to defence on a dime, and Okada making the save multiple times, like moving Tana out of the way of a lariat and hitting YOSHI-HASHI with a dropkick, or even coming in to break up a pinfall. It was a great match that once again showed us a different side to the Rainmaker.


#3 and 4 - Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis

Another great week for the Aussie Open guys with a great tag team match on the ROH show on HonorClub against Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus, as well as a blow away performance from Kyle Fletcher in two New Japan Cup matches, one on Friday and another just two days later on Sunday.


The ROH match was a great showcase for both them and in the process Titus and Williams, who really benefited from facing such a good team in Aussie Open. And I think this was purposeful since Kyle and Mark played more of a heel role in this bout. Solid action, showing the vast array of tag team moves Aussie Open are known for.


Focusing in on Kyle now, he had two amazing matches against YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto, obviously setting up for an IWGP Heavyweight Tag title match at Sakura Genesis. His match verses YOSHI-HASHI was great, with Kyle moving incredibly fast, especially with his running kicks in the corner that look devastating. They traded stiff looking chops and Superkicks with Kyle using his size to keep one half of the tag team champions at bay while still being able deal massive damage. Even on the other end of the action Kyle is one of the best bumpers on the planet. He knows the precise amount to sell as to not look overly goofy, but still put over the move better than anyone else can.


The ending was insane with Kyle hitting eardrum shattering strikes on YOSHI-HASHI, a forearm, a lariat, and chop, and a superkick that nearly took YOSHI-HASHI's head off. He finished the match a few minutes later with a massive tombstone piledriver and advanced to the second round against Hirooki Goto.


Starting off hotter than the first round match, Goto and Kyle immediately went for big bombs and taking it to the outside, throwing each other into the barricade in classic New Japan style. Kyle hit more of his signature Rocket Kicks, using his speed to make the most of his newly gained size. There were a few miss-timings between the two and it kind of took away from the match a little, however, Kyle did get some "Aussie Arrow" chants from the Shinga crowd suggesting that they didn't think it was a big deal. Fletcher also busted out some more high risk offence compared to the YOSHI-HASHI match, with a big Moonsault from the top rope to the outside. Overall the match wasn't as good as the first round one, but that doesn't mean it was a bad bout at all. In fact it's still one of my favourites of the tournament so far. A very very well deserved 8 points to Kyle and 7 points to Mark Davis too.


#2 - David Finlay

This was the first time we saw Finlay since his attack on Jay White at Battle in the Valley and it was a big shock (to me at least) for him to come out as a new member of the Bullet Club at the 51st Anniversary show on the 6th.


He came out with completely dyed hair, pitch black, which kind of looked a bit tacky, but I think I'll warm up to it. In ring wise he was very good as one might expect (if they watch the product) and Finlay really showed off his fighting spirit as is required when having a match with Tomohiro Ishii, especially in the New Japan Cup. They told a great story of Finlay being able too take a lot of damage, but finding it hard to hit his big moves like the Trash Panda, but once he does the match is almost certainly over.


David has also had some good character work too, explaining why he joined Bullet Club in a very matter of fact way that made sense in kayfabe but seemed to also draw from real life experiences which is always a good recipe for a good heel. Ultimately I think that he is the best thing to happen to Bullet Club in a while (not counting powerwalking KENTA).


#1 - YOSHI-HASHI

One of the most deserving #1 picks of the series so far, YOSHI-HASHI showed everyone why is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, taking out Okada and Tanahashi and having an amazing first round match against Kyle Fletcher in the New Japan Cup.


I've talked about all of YOSHI-HASHI's matches already at various points in this article, but I'd like to reiterate a few things that I loved about his performances. I loved how much passion he put into both matches and the fact the he took the lead in both too, even with such veterans like Okada and Tanahashi being in the match too. The tag match was really just a showcase for YOSHI-HASHI with Goto playing defence and support, coming in for the save or to complete a move already set up by YOSHI-HASHI. Some of the roll ups he did in that match were brilliant and they had me believing that he could win the whole thing by himself at multiple points in the match. It's amazing that just a few years ago it would be impossible to see YOSHI-HASHI getting big wins like this over guys the stature to Hiroshi Tanahashi and technically the Rainmaker himself!


This was by far the best week of YOSHI-HASHI's career and I hope its only a sign of the things coming his way in 2023! Ten points to the guy who pinned FTR bald at Wrestle Kingdom!


Here is the scoreboard after week 10:



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