Another massive week of pro wrestling with big shows from all the major promotions around the world, from Stardom to NXT. We saw inaugural champions and first time tournament winners, not to mention insane brawls (But I'm not talking about yours, Jericho, that sucked).
- Lio Rush (Mike Bailey vs Lio Rush, NJPW, 23/5)
- Hiromu Takahashi (Hiromu Takahashi vs Titan, NJPW, 23/5)
- Sareee (Aja Kong & Sareee vs Mika Iwata & Mio Momono, Hana Kimura Memorial, 23/5)
- Robbie Eagles (Robbie Eagles vs El Desperado, NJPW, 24/5)
- Chris Bey & Ace Austin (ABC vs Sub-Culture, Impact, 26/5)
- Deonna Purrazzo (Deonna Purrazzo vs Jordynne Grace, Impact 26/5)
- Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (Zayn & Owens vs The Bloodline, WWE, 27/5)
- Matt Jackson (Anarchy in the Arena, AEW, 28/5)
- Wes Lee (Wes Lee vs Tyler Bate vs Joe Gacy, NXT, 28/5)
#10 - Seth Rollins
At WWE's Night of Champions event on Saturday a new lineage for the WWE World Heavyweight title started after a solid back and forth match from two of the best to ever step foot in a WWE ring. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles tried his best to overcome the immensely popular Rollins but would meet his demise as his head got Curb Stomped into the mat and his shoulders pinned for three.
This was a really good match that showcased Rollins' strength and agility fantastically as he hit an inverted version of his classic top rope Suplex into a Falcon Arrow on the mat for a great nearfall. There was one noticeable botch that really took me out of the match, but Seth tried to make the most of a Curb Stomp that AJ was supposed to dodge to stay in the match, but he must have forgotten to, so Seth had to stomp his hand instead. Unfortunately they didn't play off this at all and it was clear minutes later that Styles was, in fact, meant to move out the way. Rollins did well to try and save the spot, however.
#9 - Chris Sabin
One half of the Motor City Machine Guns, Chris Sabin, had a brilliant week with two solid matches. A match on Impact Wrestling TV saw Sabin pick up a big win on former X-Division champion, Mike Bailey, before heading into to Under Siege and being screwed out of that same title when Miguel used spray-paint to the face and rolled up Chris to retain his title.
The Bailey match was a highly technical one which is expected from these two amazing wrestlers. Sabin would use innovative counters and set-ups to pull off great moves. An example of this is when Bailey went for a kick through the ropes while standing on the apron, Sabin caught it and trapped it in the ropes leaving Speedball open for a massive hesitation Dropkick. Chris was on Bailey at every point in the match, countering mat based offence and cutting off his strikes with shots of his own before Bailey could connect.
The Miguel match wasn't as good, but still gave us some engaging limb work and creative counters, before ultimately devolving into cheating from Trey and a ref bump that set up for the finish. Still a good match, however.
#8 - Tam Nakano
Tam made history on Saturday after a massively shocking win against the Wonder of Stardom champion, Mina Shirakawa, meaning she is now the second ever woman to hold both the World and Wonder of Stardom titles simultaneously!
The match started fast with Tam crashing onto Mina on the outside with a top rope Crossbody, before Shirakawa went to work on the Twilight Princess' leg, smashing the right knee into the exposed floor. Tam managed to avoid more devastating damage on the rampway and brawled with the white belt champ on the way back to the ring. Once back in the ring Tam would counter many of Mina's leg focused offence into brutal submissions and impactful suplexes that kept the leader of Club Venus on the backfoot for most of the match, but Mina would take control for a large portion of the match after this.
The finish was most unexpected, as many viewers would have bet a lot of money on a time-limit draw between the two, but Nakano managed to the Violet Screwdriver and a Twilight Suplex to pin her former team-mate in very definitive fashion! Tam's selling was definitely a highlight of the match and it put over Mina's offence effectively so that, even in defeat, the shortest reigning Wonder of Stardom champ still looked like a dominant force in the company.
#7 - Ilja Dragunov
Ilja is a madman, and everyone was reminded of that on Sunday night as he was across the ring from Dijak in a Last Man Standing match at NXT's Battleground event.
This was one of the most hard hitting and brutal matches in recent NXT history as Ilja risked life and limb (literally) to deal as much damage as possible to Dijak. The match saw the use of a multitude of weapons such as tables, chairs, stairs, and Kendo Sticks, but the intensity and violence from Dragunov was clearly the most dangerous thing involved in the match. Ilja would use the foreign objects not as weapons, but as tools to enhance his own bodily offence. One of these spots was an amazing Torpedo Moscow to Dijak through a table. This was just insane, Ilja threw his whole body THROUGH a table and it may have fucked him up more than Dijak, but it looked pretty dang cool.
This was just a crazy match that gave us a rare sense of violence and aggression for WWE, and it's not surprising that it was Ilja that gave it to us.
#6 - El Desperado
El Desperado was part of three great matches this week. Two of these were part of the Best of the Super Jrs 30 tournament as Despy reached the semi-finals of the tournament, but lost to Titan in an amazing match, with a shocking outcome, which seemed to be the theme of this years BOSJ! He also had a fun eight man tag team match with Bailey, Ren, and Shota against Okada, Tanahashi, Ishii, and Taguchi that furthered the Umino/Okada feud.
Before he could get to the semi-finals Despy had to get through one of his biggest rivals in Robbie Eagles in the B Block finals on the 24th. This match was a great one and saw both men target each other's legs the whole match in an attempt to lock in their finishers to advance. The selling and tension was the best part of the match with the end of the tournament meaning that both men were broken down and any of the submission exchanges could have easily been the end of the tournament for either of them.
The Titan match was like the Robbie one, but on crack. Not only was there amazing technical wrestling, but the Lucha influence of Titan infused a different kind of energy in Despy who busted out some of his own highflying moves! Despy put over Titan's Llave Immortal tremendously, just like Hiromu did days before, and that made his finish look killer and added so much to the final between Titan and Wato.
#5 - Steve Maclin
Continuing on the hardcore theme for this week we have Steve Maclin defending his Impact World title against PCO in a no disqualification match at Impact's Under Siege, which quickly got out of hand and ended in a bloody mess that would have made Jon Moxley jealous.
Maclin's dedication and passion shone through in this match after he got busted open early after PCO whacked him in the head with a baking tray as Maclin dove to the outside. The blood came fast and before anyone knew it half of the mat was painted red. Despite all of this Maclin still took it to PCO in unbelievable ways. He staple gunned PCO's mouth closed, smashed slabs of concrete on his back with a sledgehammer, and finally finished of the French Canadian Frankenstein with a KIA on cinderblocks for the one two three!
This was a wild match that rivaled the insanity of Anarchy in the Arena with crazy weapons and showcased Maclin's determination and dedication to the sport.
#4 - Mike Bailey
Once again Mike Bailey makes the list, and for good reason. Bailey had two top notch BOSJ matches with Lio Rush and Master Wato, as well as the Chris Sabin match I've already talked about.
The Lio Rush match was something out of movie, with perfectly timed counters, dodges and spectacular moves throughout with neither man slowing down for a second. The start of the match consisted of Bailey trying to catch Lio with a strike, but Rush being way too quick for him, ducking and dodging every attempt with perfect timing and placing that actually had him evading the strikes, where as a lot of people wouldn't have been in range in the first place. There were loads of big spots and exciting false finishes that ramped up in intensity as the match went on, bolstered by the fact that either man could have easily been a great choice to make it to the semis or even the finals.
The Master Wato match was equally as good, with Bailey being on offence for most of the match, bringing out Wato's fire and will to win better than anyone had in the tournament so far. The striking exchanges between the two were great and Wato being able to cut off the Tornado Kick in the corner with one of his own, meeting Speedball in the middle with a nasty enzi, was perfectly done. Speedball's urgency and timing was the best thing about his performance as he quickly went from move to move, not giving Wato a chance to fight back, but it made the moments where Wato did get his offence in even better.
#3 - MJF
MJF defended his AEW World championship in the semi-main event of this year's Double or Nothing show against Jack Perry, Darby Allin, and Sammy Guevara in a spectacular match that showcased each wrestler extremely well.
The match managed to miss that massive hole that many four way matches get trapped in, and had each wrester in there most of the time, and when one guy was out recovering on the outside the other three would be working smoothly and pulling off innovative and awe-inspiring spots. MJF was great in this match specifically, being the guy to take most of the offence, only to sneak in and piggy back off of the other guy's moves. He also added a lot of story to the match, offering the money to Sammy once again, and ultimately pinning Darby with another Headlock Takeover after he placed the world title on Jungle Boy before Darby Coffin Dropped it without knowing.
Overall this was a brilliant match that closed off a wobbly storyline with all four guys working seamlessly in every aspect.
#2 - Master Wato
The way to the Grandmaster is almost over for Master Wato as he became the 30th Best of the Super Juniors winner this Sunday! Making his way to the semi-finals and beating Bailey to advance, the once highly regarded young lion finally lived up to all the hype he had before he went on excursion and translated that into his biggest career win to date!
Wato's match with Bailey in the semis was brilliant as I talked about earlier, but the way Wato adapts during his matches is always something that captivates me each time. He'll come into a match with Speedball, having never wrestled him before taking loads of offence, and then by the end he's countering all of his big moves and managing to find that opening for him to win. Not just this but his fighting spirit is also amazing. Him kicking out of the Ultima Weapon had me leaping from my chair and his ugly looking Tsutenkaku German Suplex is just the right amount of sloppy to make it seem risky and dangerous for both wrestlers.
As good as the semi final match was, the final was a MOTYC in my eyes. The work done building Titan throughout the tournament and the underdog fire from Wato culminated in what was worthy of a standing ovation!
#1 - Titan
The MVP of the BOSJ playoffs was undoubtablely the masked man from CMLL, Titan. The man has the art of wrestling down to a tee, and can use his variety of wrestling styles to fit any opponent. He started the semis with a great match against Desperado, where he busted out a crossbody from off of a balcony in the arena before getting into it on the mat with a wonderful exchange of submission holds.
Speaking of submission holds, Titan's Llave Immortal lock was built up spectacularly throughout BOSJ, having major names like Hiromu and Despy tap to them in intense stretches of match with the opponent desperately trying to stop Titan from fully locking in the hold. This all led to an captivating moment in the finals against Master Wato where Titan had the eventual winner in a modified figure four leg lock which he then slowly transitioned into the Llave Immortal to an enormous reaction from the crowd who thought it was all over for the blue haired battler.
The finishing sequence to the final was out of this world with a ravenous crowd biting for every single nearfall before exploding when Wato hit the Tsutenkaku German, Titan kicking out of it, and then falling victim to the Recientemente II! Titan did so well in this tournament and proved that he's one of the best Luchadores in the world today! Worthy of the full ten points this week!
Have a look at the leaderboard after this massive week in wrestling!