Cheap Pops - Wrestling News & Views: March 18, 2015

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Cheap Pops - March 18, 2015

by Chris Delloiacono, Mike Maillaro and Jeff Ritter

This week!

  • Worst moves
  • The problem with Wrestlemania 31
  • New Japan Cup Semi & Final Round 3/15/15
  • NXT News and Results
  • Lucha Underground Results

Chris: Welcome to another amazing edition of Cheap Pops!  Ain't no pop like a cheapie!  My name is Campana and I'm joined by two ringers, Cloche (Mike) & Glocke (Jeff).  Together, we are the reimagining of the classic NWA tag team, The Ding Dongs!  I assure you, Freebird Rules will apply when we take the tag straps!

Mike: Cling, clang, ding, dong, BABY!

Jeff: I have no idea what the Jersey Boys are talking about. I wouldn’t let myself be called a Ding Dong if I was sponsored by Hostess and Ron Jeremy.

Why don’t I care about Wrestlemania 31?

Mike: So, I was sitting here trying to figure out why I am not more excited about Wrestlemania this year, and a few things popped in my head.  I’m just throwing this out there and letting my partners in crime discuss them.

I have always had my issue with part-time wrestlers.  But this year, we’re having an even bigger problem.  COMPLETELY ABSENT WRESTLERS!   

Look at three of the big spectacle matches.  Bray Wyatt Vs Undertaker.  Sting Vs HHH.  Brock Lesner Vs Roman Reigns.

- Bray has basically been talking to himself the last few weeks.  I sort of get the idea of bringing Undertaker out at Mania for a huge pop...but at the same time, I really don’t see this as being a good match.  The buildup for this match has potential to be great, but instead, it’s just Bray talking to himself over and over again.  Finally on the March 9 episode of Raw we had a quick audio clip of Undertaker accepting the match.   This is a huge disservice to the fans.

- Same exact situation with HHH Vs Sting.  EXCEPT that HHH isn’t even a full time wrestler.  So a lot of the build up for that match has been a part-time guy talking about an absent opponent. And the few times Sting has showed up, he hasn’t even talked, so we’ve just gotten a lot of awkward staring.

-Brock Lesner Vs Reigns does have one saving grace.  Paul Heyman.  Even without Lesner, Heyman is always great about selling a match.  At this point, he’s done far more to convince me this will be worth watching than Lesner or Reigns ever could.  I sincerely hope that they are giving him main event money...because if anyone buys the PPV for this match, it will be because of Paul Heyman’s terrific work.

I get the fact that most people are only paying $10 for Wrestlemania this year...but I will say right now, I’m not quite sure it is even worth $10 right now.  I also have to admit, I am really bothered by the fact that many of my favorite wrestlers have been tossed into the battle royal or the IC ladder match.   It just seems like no one at WWE can even be bothered to figure out what to do with most of the guys they instead, they will write stories for guys who can’t even be bothered to be there week after week.

The only match that seems to be built up well is Cena Vs Rusev...and I still have my issues there.  Cena is begging for a match on Wrestlemania?  There is no reality kayfabe or not that makes sense.  And the match he is begging for is against the US Champ.  I give credit that Cena is such a good company man that he would go for a match like this, but it’s basically a no win scenario.  Either Rusev wins again, which basically makes Rusev the most powerful man in WWE...or Cena wins, ending Rusev’s streak. It was like when Cena feuded with Bray Wyatt last year, neither man came out of that looking all that great.

I also thought it was a little weird that even though WWE refuses to ever have Cena be a heel, he basically tortured Rusev into giving him a match.  So much for the ultimate boy further news, Superman punched a nun in the throat this morning.  I also thought they should have had Rusev just pass out.  Having him tap actually made me cringe.

Chris: Let me start with Cena/Rusev.  What the hell was that crap on Raw?  The entire situation makes no sense at all?  Why did they rush this match onto Fast Lane?  Now we are forced to stomach the build where Rusev refuses a rematch leading to Cena torturing Rusev to get one?  This so clearly illustrates WWE's incapability of crafting decent character motivations.  

Here's one to think WWE going to have their three up and coming heels all get jobbed out at Battleground...I mean Extreme Rules...wait, this card is actually Wrestlemania.  Back to the point, the way I see it, Rollins jobs to Orton, Rusev loses to Cena, and Wyatt goes down to Undertaker.  I hope I'm wrong.  That begs the question, who's going to be the credible foe down the line for Roman Reigns?

The one really cool bout will be the Ladder Match for the IC title.  What else is there to look forward to?  The battle royal and tag match will be fun, but we saw almost the same exact things last year.  How about that worthless Divas tag match?  Way to waste our time.  I'll admit, Sting vs. HHH should be a good time.  The build has been putrid since it's just HHH flapping his gums, yet the match will be a spectacle.  WWF vs. WCW one more time!  

There's no other match that approaches being a spectacle.  Not a damn thing.  And that, my friends, is the antithesis of a 'Mania card.  Two top tier bouts, a bunch of stuff that really doesn't matter, and a main event destined to underwhelm.  Worth $9.99...well, at least you get the rest of the Network that month!  Here's the big one, is it worth sitting through?

You know why it is worth watching?  Our regular crew having a little get together!  Unfortunately. it's the same thing as Payback, TLC, etc.  A night with pals watching a wrestling broadcast, but it's not THE show of shows.

Jeff: The only network I get is the WWE Network, so I’m spared the buffoonery that is Raw and Smackdown. I thrill to the adventures the once and future stars on NXT which is always somewhat bittersweet in that I know, deep down in the sub-cockles of my heart, that WWE Creative, much like the US Congress, completely ruins everything it touches. Someday the joy I get from watching Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Enzo and Cass, Alex freakin’ Riley and a Diva division that could put many of the men to shame on the cable shows will all be utterly destroyed when they get called up. So am I hyped up like Mojo Rawley after a case of Red Bull? Not in the slightest.

I don’t care about secondary singles titles because they haven’t mattered one tiny bit for almost 20 years now. Not in any meaningful way at least. So I don’t really care about the Intercontinental ladder match. I couldn’t care any less about any match involving John Cena, so the US Title match is of no use to me. I couldn’t tell you who holds the Diva title right now, probably a Bella twin, excuse me while I fail to stifle a yawn. They’ve nixed the Goldust vs Stardust payoff so that interesting matchup is off the books. What’s that leave? The Andre the Giant Invitational Battle Royale? Hell, who wants to win that? All it did for Cesaro wasa bury him. Triple H vs Sting? Wow, even in semi-retirement Hunter’s ego remains unchecked. If he wants to play the same function that is father-in-law has for so long, I guess that’s sort of okay--though I much prefer when the biggest heel in a wrestling organization is an actual wrestler, not a member of the “powers that be.” Sting has maybe a loose handful of reasonably decent matches left in him. It’s a shame to waste it on an angle that promises no useful payoff, win or lose. I personally think Sting should retire, become an announcer, and take over for Jerry Lawler, who would be better served in retirement himself than ruining his health with the WWE’s insane travel schedule. I think if Michael Cole would just shut up or leave altogether a Sting & JBL broadcast duo would be pretty darn fun.

But I digress. I don’t see any reason for Orton to go over at Wrestlemania other than more rampant, ego-driven booking. Having Rollins screw around with America’s premiere news broadcaster, Jon Stewart, rather than preparing to turn in his Money in the Bank contract and only makes sense if that was all he was doing--if he was untested throughout the night. Orton wouldn’t be my first choice here, but what else would you do with him? Kane and/or Big Show? Been done to death already. I still think Rollins cashes in, and I’d be thrilled if it takes the title off of Reigns immediately after he wins it. If Brock retains, Rollins can kiss that briefcase goodbye. I don’t really know how I feel about the title match yet, other than that Daniel Bryan should be in it.

Indeed, the only only match I’m remotely geared up for is Bray Wyatt vs Undertaker, because this is it. This is the swan song, Requiem for a Dead Man. I had hoped it would be Sting facing Undertaker, but Undertaker has been the WWE’s bedrock for a very long time. Sting waited too long. When Undertaker retires it’ll be on his back, quite possibly with his boots left in the ring, a classic gesture signalling retirement from professional wrestling. Undertaker will, I predict, pass the torch to Bray Wyatt, anointing him the next “Phenom” of the WWE. He’s the post modern Ministry already. It’s true. It’s damn true.  

Mike: I agree with pretty much everything Jeff said, but in particular your comments about NXT.  Bray Wyatt and the Shield are basically the only guys that have jumped from NXT to the main roster and been able to maintain their momentum (and even Bray is sometimes questionable).  I am not trying to say these guys are the greatest wrestlers ever but Adam Rose, Bo Dallas, Emma, even Paige to a certain extent.  They were all pretty huge in NXT, but have struggled against WWE’s booking.  I would even argue that Johnny Curtis deserved a lot more than he got in WWE.

This is why I keep saying that Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville might be better off in NXT than they would be jumping to the main roster.  There really is the “big fish in a small pond” thing going on here.  

Chris: I have to agree with both of you.  On one hand, I want to see Zayn and Neville dominating on the main roster for years to come.  Hell, wouldn't they make for a spectacular main event at WM 34?  Unfortunately, as long as Vince is calling the shots, Neville will be the next Justin Gabriel or a member of a tag team with no future.  Who could even guess what awaits Sami on the main roster.  If Vince catches word that he's Arab I would assume he's going to get the most stereotypical gimmick imaginable.  Perhaps he can be the Iron Sheik's nephew the Steel Scimitar? He certainly couldn't just be a regular dude that electrifies audiences.

Besides the ones you mentioned, the one NXT guy who's done supremely well on the main roster is Rusev.  Not because he's better than the guys above, oh no. He's big and booked as a stereotypical '80s villain with zero depth.  Something in Vinnie Mac's wheelhouse.  Thus the bookings are there to spotlight Rusev crush. Unfortunately, his repetitive segments crushed my interest with the same boring shtick long ago, but that's what we should expect from the main roster product.

I hope the touring aspect of NXT makes them a truly viable brand in their own right.  We can keep all the guys we love on the show that's fantastic.  Vince can then have Kane, Big Show, Ryback, and Mark Henry in as many segments as possible on each and every Raw.

Mike: I forgot about Rusev entirely.  My bad.  

Best in Our World - Worst Moves

Mike: We’ve been mostly positive in our “Best In our World” articles the past few weeks.  This time, I want to go a little negative.   I’ve watched wrestling for about 30 years now, and there are just some moves that really bother me.  So, here it is, my “Bottom Five” Worst Moves in wrestling.  These are in no particular order…

I also want to point out that made of the guys who do these moves actually appeared on my favorite wrestler’s lists.  These aren’t really condemnations against the wrestlers, just the moves or the way they do these particular moves.

1) Spear - The biggest problem with the spear at this point is that it’s so overused.  There are guys who looked like beasts when they did it like Goldberg and Rhyno.  But, there are a lot of guys who have used it to consistently win matches where it just looked ridiculous.  Edge, Christian, Bo Dallas, Big Show come to mind.  It’s not that great a move...why is it so overused???

2) Mandible Claw - As I was putting this list together, Mike co-writer on Open Mike Night...reminded to to include this.  He’s 100% right, and I’m just going to steal his words (not the first time) - I actually really dislike the Mandible Claw, too. The history is neat, and I also like Mankind a lot,'s just...I'd rather see something more flashy, honestly. It's also one of the wrestling moves that its easiest to tell is faked.

3) Punk’s GTS & 4) Big Show’s WMD - The GTS and the WMD both have the exact same problem for me.  These are moves that probably would do some serious damage in real life.  But the way they are executed (especially in the WWE), just don’t look great in a wrestling ring to me.   The real annoying part is that both of these guys have a wide arsenal of moves that would make better finishers.

For Punk, I love the Pepsi Plunge and the Anaconda Vise.

Big Show has had a ton of finishers, but I have always thought his choke slam was just perfect for him.

5) Attitude Adjustment - Cena is a legitimately strong why is his finishing move a fireman’s carry into a body slam?  It just looks disproportionately weak to me.  I’d rather see him at least do a Death Valley Driver from that position.

Chris:  Those are some super lame moves!  I'm not going to repeat any of yours, even though some of these could easily make my list.  Here are five more moves that just suck as finishers.

1) The People's Elbow - Love the Rock!  I even love the pageantry leading up to the People's Elbow, the toss of the elbow pad is an absolute blast.  In the end, the move is just an elbow drop.  That's up there with a punch and a fireman's carry on the lame list of match enders.

2) Leg Drop - Did Hulk Hogan ever name this horrible move?  The idea of a massive man just dropping a leg is ridiculous.  On top of how bad it looks, it's a major reason Hogan now has severe back issues.  

3) Asian Spike - Whether it was Terry Gordy or Umaga how is a thumb to the throat a deadly move?  This should have been relegated to a heel heat move in the middle of a match.  These men did far more shattering moves to their opponent than this ridiculous finisher.

4) Fall of Man - Want to see a plate of crap double team maneuver that looks utterly ineffective?  Check out the Ascension and their useless finisher.  

5) F-5 - Is this really much better than the Attitude Adjustment?  It's still a lame Fireman's Carry with a literal twist.  Brock doesn't pull down or add any force to the move.  Perhaps he could have done a shooting star press as a finisher, but you know, landing on your head once ixnays that one.  Brock's belly-to-back suplex looks bone jarring, but the F-5 isn't much better than an airplane spin.

Mike: I think the biggest problem with the Fall of Man is that the Ascension’s timing is often terrible.  It probably could be a cool move if they could just hit it more consistently….okay, maybe not…

Chris:  Its really just a high/low, and shouldn't be hard to hit with some authority.  Unfortunately, Konor & Viktor are less convincing than Ding & Dong.  You got it right, I think the Ding Dongs were a better squad than the Ascension!

Jeff: Again with your ding dongs. I’m more of a Hi-Ho man myself. And I, for one, dig the F-5. But I agree with everything else mentioned so far. Here’s my 5:

1) The Playmaker-- It’s been called many things depending on who did it: But it really only needs one: GARBAGE! It’s the worst move finisher of all-time in my book. It’s a lazy flip with the opponent’s neck probably more protected than in most other neckbreaker variations. I really like MVP as a wrestler but the Playmaker was extremely disappointing.

2) The Big Boot--The worst set-up move and/or finisher used by everyone over 6’4” and it really needs to stop. This ain’t the damn Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, this is pro wrestling! If you’re gonna kick somebody in the face, give him Sweet Chin Music. Give him the Tajiri Buzzsaw. Heck, give him a good ol’ enzugiri. But never, ever, give him a Big Boot. It’s lazy as Hell, and it always makes me hear Tony Schiavone saying it in my head. This was a close call for #1, but I always find that the Playmaker completely ruins my suspension of disbelief.

3) The Boston Crab--Here’s the thing, if it’s done right, it’s pretty bad-ass. Chris Jericho’s original Walls of Jericho, for example, with the bent neck and the higher extension, that looked pretty painful. But sitting lightly on another man’s ass while you gently massage his shins like most people look like they’re doing when they execute this submission hold today just looks ridiculous. It’s just slightly ahead of the next move because nearly everyone uses the Boston Crap (spelled incorrectly on purpose) at some point in their careers.

4) The Brock Lock--Lesnar is insanely strong. He’s like a shaved silverback gorilla. He can throw large men around with reckless abandon and hoist guys like Big Show and Great Khali on his shoulders for the F-5 (which again I personally like as a loose DDT/Facebuster variant). But every now and then he’ll grapevine a guy’s leg behind his neck and stand up. That’s it. The dreaded Brock Lock is nothing more than simply dangling over his trapezius muscle. It might hurt. A little. I tend to doubt it. If he were to slap the Rings of Saturn on somebody, I’d buy that much more than the Brock Lock. Frankly, I’d think his headlock probably hurts more than that.

5) John Cena’s Entire Repertoire--I was going to go with Barrett’s Wasteland here, because as body slams go, that’s mighty weak. I don’t know why he doesn’t just use a Samoan Drop, which I always think looks much more impactful. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that there isn’t one damn move in John-Boy’s arsenal that makes me think, “Oooh, that’s gotta hurt.” From his lazy shoulder tackles, to the aforementioned Attitude Adjustment, to the ludicrous 5-Knuckle Shuffle which is possibly more groan-inducing that even the People’s Elbow or MVP’s “Ballin’ Elbow,” to the most pathetic STF ever, I just don't get how a guy with his physique can win so many titles with such horribly weak looking maneuvers. Cena’s entire moveset is...and I’ll spell it out for ya...S-A-W-F-T, SAWFT! How you doin’? Honorable mention for the entire repertoire category would go to Ron “The Truth” Killings. All that spinning flippity-floppity type moves he does, if you wheel, are just spinning, not necessarily interesting or impactful-looking to me.

Is NXT coming to Philadelphia?

Mike: I try not to use dirtsheet rumors, but this one had me so excited I had no choice: has confirmed with multiple sources that NXT has a hold with the 2300 (formerly ECW) Arena in Philadelphia, PA for two dates, Friday 5/15 and Saturday 5/16.

It would only be the second time WWE has run the legendary independent wrestling venue as the inaugural house show from WWE's 2006 revival of ECW was held there, headlined by Rob Van Dam vs. Kurt Angle with Dean Malenko as the guest referee and Tommy Dreamer vs. The Big Show on top.

The timing of the NXT shows would make the Arena the capital for professional wrestling that week as New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor are running the venue on Tuesday 5/12 and Wednesday 5/13. The Wednesday event is already sold out and the Tuesday event is well on it's way.

Triple H announced during a media conference call prior to the WWE NXT Takeover Rival special on the WWE Network that he intended to take NXT and make it a regular touring brand following it's incredible success with live events in Ohio that sold out almost immediately with no promotion beyond social media.

If this is true, I will be first in line for tickets.  I have been following NXT real closely since it became it’s own promotion.  Hell, at the time, the only way I could watch it was on Hulu, so I had a Hulu subscription for like 18 months (before the Network) just to watch NXT.  And I thought it was well worth the money I was spending.

Chris and I only live like an hour from Philly.  I suspect Chris might already want to to go Phily that week just for the NJPW and RoH shows...

Chris: I did get two tickets for the Wednesday night ROH show.  I'm certainly torn with NXT coming to town a couple of nights later.  First, I want to see exactly who ROH is bringing in from the NJPW roster.  There's no way I can drive to Philly twice in a matter of days, but I'm leaning towards going to the NXT show.  Last year I went to the joint ROH/NJPW event in NY, and I can't see this show being anywhere near as hot as that one.  Plus, getting on the road with my bro for NXT will be UNFORGETTABLE!

Mike: Speaking of’s been awhile since I’ve actually done NXT results...

NXT RESULTS - March 11, 2015


- Enzo and Big Cass def. Lucha Dragons with the East River Crossing followed by an Big Cass-assisted top rope splash by Enzo.    Before the match, Enzo called the Lucha Dragons the Geico Lizards and told them “Save us 15% or more...or get the heck out of the way!”  

-Promo video for Alex Riley’s in-ring return.

-Promo video for Kevin Owens path of destruction.

-Alexa Bliss def. Carmella with the Sparkle Splash.

-Backstage interview with Alex Riley.  Alex Riley talks about being stuck in a cage for the last two years,  This was a terrific promo.

- Tyler Breeze cuts a promo into his phone about Hideo Itami.

- Alex Riley def. CJ Parker with a top-rope blockbuster.  Before match, CJ tries to cut promo, but A-Ry cuts him off.   

- Kevin Owens came out after match to continue taunting A-Ry.  Calls him the dumbest man in NXT.  He says A-Ry was foolish to end his commentary career to get back in the ring.  Owens promises to end his in-ring career next.

- Tyler Breeze def. Hideo Itami with the Beauty Shot.

Chris: Top notch episode this week.  There was no wasted time and each match had some time.  

Mike: I was surprised by how good a reaction Alex Riley got. I think it’s well deserved. I only got to see a little of Alex Riley before the WWE shelved him, but I always thought he was a good worker.  He can cut a great promo, and he seemed to be getting over more than The Miz when they were paired together.   His match with CJ Parker was a good return to form. There was definitely a little ring rust there, but they still worked a good match.

Chris: I was blown away by Riley!  What an amazing reaction by the NXT crowd when he hit the ring and all throughout.  The emotion that Riley showed afterward was something you just don't see in wrestling.  I'm like you, I missed his run except for sporadic stuff, because I hadn't been watching at the time.  Why'd he get relegated to the announce table?  He's good on the stick and worked a solid match.  Here's hoping A-Ry gets the same rub Tyson Kidd did from working in NXT.

Jeff: I think Riley got hurt, if memory serves, and then Creative wasn’t, you know, creative, so it was either go into broadcasting or get “future endeavored.” I think he made the right call. He’s actually quite good on the mike--as is Jason Albert, for that matter--but I too had thought he had the potential to be a breakout star. Where better to re-ignite a career than NXT right now?

Mike:  Speaking of CJ Parker, I’ve really come around on him.  He used to annoy me to no end, but he really has done great work as enhancement talent.  He really does manage to make his opponents look better in the ring, and that is an important skill in wrestling.  You often get jobbers who look clueless in the ring, but CJ usually works solid matches and often seems like he can pull off a victory.  

Chris: You know that I agree with you on CJ Parker!  He's perfection in his role.  The crowd boos him and he gets people over.  

Jeff: If we ever do a Top 5 Jobbers list--and we should--he would probably be a universal pick, along with Iron Mike Sharpe and Barry Horowitz. He gets the crowd against him almost instantly, but he gets just enough offense in (sometimes) to be credible. I actually was shocked by his match against Kevin Owens at R-Evolution. Busting that boring slob’s nose aside, he looked fairly credible in there.

Chris: Iron Mike was a brilliant lower card guy.  He could always draw heat with his stalling and bitching & moaning in the ring.  Parker is a modern equivalent. Remember when they tried to make him a face as a flower child?  This is so much better!

Mike:  Next week’s Best in Our World segment is going to be all about jobbers and enhancement talent.  I’m really looking forward to that actually!

I’ve said this many times, I’m a fan of Enzo and Big Cass.  I was glad they actually let Enzo work a little.  He’s typically the Road Dogg of the team, taking a big asskicking for his partner to save the day.  But, he got in some great offensive against the Luchas.  Best part of the match was Big Cass rushing into the ring to drag Enzo’s unconscious body into their corner to make the tag.  I have never seen that before and it was a hilarious spot.

Jeff: Enzo’s manic energy gets to be a little much sometimes, but Cass is hugely underrated, in my opinion. He’s naturally funny, moves pretty well for a guy his size, and while he does throw up his Big Boot (much to my chagrin) more often than not, he seems to wrestle a little smaller than his frame would suggest, if that makes sense. What I’m saying is that to me he could be a 7-footer who doesn’t have to get by solely on Big Boots, Powerbombs and Chokeslams like EVERY OTHER wrestler over 6’8”. Maybe you can teach that.

Chris: I don't get why Big Cass has been relegated to NXT so long.  He looks like the type of guy Vince has naughty dreams about.  He's immense, well built, can talk, and good looking.  I'm stunned he's been curtain jerking for two years now.  Put him with Enzo and its a hilarious act.  

All told, this was an enjoyable match with the Luchas.  That reminds me of another great thing about NXT--face/face and heel/heel matches are fairly commonplace. There always seems to be a new match on NXT, you know, something we haven't seen a million times before.

Jeff: How ‘bout them NXT ladies? I haven’t seen enough of Alexis Bliss yet, and you can take that in every imaginable context you want...and some you probably shouldn’t! But I like what I see so far. I get a kick out of her “faerie” persona--like a tough Elsa from “Frozen.” It’s different. If they want to turn her heel at some point they can make her the Evil Queen from ABC’s Once Upon A Time--I loves me some Regina!

Mike: Alexa Bliss is definitely improving in the ring.  She had some great moves, although this match was a little sloppy at times.  But it was still far better than a lot of the women’s matches you see from the main roster.  At least Alexa and Carmella were given some time to work.

Chris: I was also impressed with Alexa Bliss.  She seems to have put on a bit of muscle while she was rehabbing.  She didn't look quite so diminutive in the ring.  I agree on her improving.  On the other hand, Carmela is fine, but she has a ways to go.  Not much about her stands out.  She should be used strictly as enhancement talent.  Fer cripes sake, Blue Pants is way more over than Carmela, and she's not even signed to a deal.

Jeff: LETS GO BLUE PANTS! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP-CLAP-CLAP! I agree, Chris, Alexa looks a bit more defined in her arms since she’s come back. Carmela is one pretty woman, but as a wrestler she’s still mighty green.  

Chris: As for the main event, I guess I was wrong about Tyler Breeze getting depushed.  Ever since the last special he's been featured and looking good.  Matches that end out of nowhere can be a cool change of pace.  Hey, let's hear it for Itami as well.  He's adapting quite nicely of late.  I still don't see main roster superstar out of him, but he's been clicking with his opponent for better matches of late.

Jeff: I have always loved heels, but I usually don’t care for the pretty boy gimmicks, like Rick Rude and Rick “The Model” Martel. But Tyler Breeze is so fun to watch in the ring, and he hits that wheel kick like DDP hit Diamond Cutters--anywhere, anytime. Breeze could be huge for a long time if handled correctly in the “Majors.” Or he’ll spend six months jobbing to Slater and Ryder on Superstars and nobody will give him a second thought much less a push. I dearly hope the latter is not the more likely scenario.

Mike:Yeah, I loved that Tyler’s last two wins both featured a Beauty Shot out of nowhere.  Tyler plays that character to perfection, and I am glad that he didn’t get buried in WWE’s attempts to bring new faces into NXT.  

I definitely agree with Chris about Itami.  For a while, I was saying that he looked like he was going to lag behind some of NXT’s other big name signings, but he’s definitely coming along quickly.  His matches with Breeze and Finn Balor were great.  Though it might be impossible to have a bad match with Finn Balor.  Yeah, I am a total Finn fanboy.

And I am very happy that NXT doesn’t seem to have the 3-Month Rule.  Things that happened in the past matter and will get brought up.  Like Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens’ history or Regal coming off commentary for a match, and regretting the decision.  To me, that treats the fans with more respect than a lot of what you see from the WWE.  

BTW, Tyler Breeze’s giant furry selfie stick might be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen!

Chris: Isn't a fan of Finn a Finboy?  And, count me in that bloody terrific club!

Jeff: Knowing what KENTA accomplished in Japan, I kinda thought Itami would be further along already. One thing for sure--I wish he’d stop teasing the Go To Sleep. Are they saving it for Punk or just trying to avoid the fans chanting for Punk? To the best of my knowledge, Itami invented it. If they’re going to play up the indy accomplishments of Kevin Steen and El Generico and to some extent Neville and Balor, then I think they should do more to highlight Itami’s time as KENTA and let him hit the GTS (though I know it made the Worst 5 list). It would work and you could avoid a lot of Punk chants if you nip in in the bud from the beginning and say, “You’ve seen CM Punk win World Titles with this move, but where do you think he got it from? That’s right--Hideo Itami!” It would work, but the WWE hasn’t the testicular fortitude to try it.

Lucha Underground Results 3-11-15

- Pentagon Jr def. Argenis with package piledriver followed by armbreaker submission. After the match, Pentagon snapped Argenis’s arm and once again praised his mysterious master.

- Fenix is dressing backstage.  Catrina says Mil will not stop until he’s taken every one of Fenix’s thousand lives.  The only way to stop him is to bury him.

-Another video of Konnan preparing for war. He’s in a workshop building himself a new cane to use as a weapon. This could have been kind of lame, but the cinematic way Lucha Underground does these videos works so well.  You can definitely see Robert Rodriguez’s influence on these segments.

- Angelico vs Ivelisse with Son of Havoc as special guest referee.  Angelico wins after missing a kick at Son of Havoc, hitting Ivelisse and knocking her out.  Son of Havoc gives a fast count to get Angelico off his woman.

- Mil is backstage staring into mirror.  Catrins is taunting him about their past. “All things must come to an end.”  She promises that Fenix will be sending him back to where he came from.  Coffin match next week.

- Johnny Mundo def. King Cuerno in cage match.  Mundo wins after hitting a corkscrew moonsault from top of the cage.

Mike: Lucha Underground is doing a terrific job building up Pentagon, Jr.  They gave him a little more to do this week, not just a quick squash match.  But he still looked badass.  Argenis gave a great effort, but when Pentagon cuts loose, he looks like a total beast.  He’s strong, he’s agile, and he knows how to work a crowd. Pentagon, Jr should have a huge future!

Chris: Argenis definitely gave Pentagon his toughest match in months.  Yet, Pentagon still went over like an absolute killer in the end.  His build up has been tremendous, but I'm anxious to see where he goes next.  It's time to show us his teacher and get him in a featured program.

Mike: During the Angelico Vs Ivelisse match there were a lot of editing cutaways.  From what I’ve seen online, this match was supposedly much sleazier when they taped it.  Angelico kept grinding up against her, and was making a lot more sexual gestures.  The crowd even started to chant “Sex Offender” at Angelico according to what I saw online.   I’m glad Lucha Underground realized their mistake and toned it down some.   

Ivelisse and Sexy Star have been huge selling points for me for Lucha Underground.  Last week, Sexy Star got squashed and this week, Ivelisse was basically a prop for a lot of the match.  If Lucha Underground wants to have these mixed matches, they need to find a better balance.  To me, both Angelico and Ivelisse deserved better than they got here...though I will say they both did as good as job as they could with what they were given.

Chris: I definitely enjoyed the match, as it were.  They seem to find new spins to put on these matches each week.  That all said, it's been a bit much of this nonsense of late.  I know a new Trios Title is coming to Lucha.  Mixed tags will hopefully be the way to keep Sexy Star and Ivelisse more believably involved in stories.

Mike: A few months ago when we met Johnny Mundo, he hyped up his cage match with King Cuerno as one of the best matches of his career. So, what do you think, did it live up to the hype?

Chris: It certainly didn't disappoint!  Both men got in some huge offense and "beat" each other, as they say, from pillar to mesh.  I liked the spot where Cuerno was nearly out of the cage and Mundo grabbed him by the mask to drag him back in.  Not to mention, that finishing twist by Mundo off the cage was pretty spectacular.  Did Vampiro invoke Snuka from the MSG cage in the English commentary?  He did in Spanish.

Mike: I have to admit, I spent so much time trying to get the perfect screen shot of Mundo posed on top of the cage, I forgot, so I went back and watched the match again.  In fact, Vampiro did not invoke Snuka at all in the El Rey version.  

I thought this match was terrific both times I watched it.  Although I do think it’s funny how Johnny keeps forgetting to sell the leg injury...he did that a few times in the last few weeks. It’s made real noticeable because the commentators keep trying to work that into the story.   Every now and then it seems to pop in his head and he’ll sell in...before doing something spectacular.   Honestly, that doesn’t bother me all that much, I still think it’s funny though.

New Japan Cup Semi & Final Round 3/15/15


Mascara Dorada & Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask def. Jay White & KUSHIDA & Jushin Liger

Yohei Komatsu & Satoshi Kojima def. Sho Tanaka & Yuji Nagata

Tournament Semi-Finals
Hirooki Goto def. Togi Makabe

Tournament Semi-Finals
Kota Ibushi def. Tetsuya Naito

Tomoaki Honma & Shibata def. Bullet Club (Cody Hall & Tama Tonga)

Kazushi Sakuraba & Toru Yano def. Captain New Japan & Hiroshi Tanahashi

YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura def. Bullet Club (Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale & Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson)

New Japan Cup Finals
Kota Ibushi def. Hirooki Goto

Chris: The three tournament matches were all quite good.  Ibushi/Naito was my favorite of the group.  Their acrobatic styles meshed well for a fast paced, high flying bout.  Ibushi's back flip off the top to the outside and his sit down power bomb are breathtaking.  I have to say, Goto really impressed me too.  I'd mostly seen him compete in tags since I got into NJPW.  I always felt like his partner, Shibata, overshadowed him.  The four matches he wrestled the past couple weeks gave me a new found respect for his talents.  He's really good!

I was only 50/50 in my picks but I did call the winner, so that's something!  After taking the Cup, Kota Ibushi chose to challenge AJ Style at Invasion Attack for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.  Ibushi is capable of stunning moves in and outside of the ring.  Hopefully this is his pathway to the tippy top of the card.  Now, I still don't see Styles dropping the title on his first defense, but it's going to be a damn fine match either way.

The undercard featured a lot of building towards Invasion Attack.  Match of the night was Honma & Shibata vs. Tama Tonga & Cody Hall.  Watching Honma & Shibata despise tagging with each other was a hoot.  They knocked each other off the apron and refused tags on their way to a fun win.  Tama Tonga looks ready for a more important role in Bullet Club.  He's got an excellent look and hits great moves.  Cody was still sloppy but shows tremendous fluidity at times.

This was another great show loaded with good wrestling top to bottom.  On its own, this show is worth the $8.50 price tag for an entire month of the NJPW World service.  I'm especially excited for Invasion Attack on April 5th.  A loaded card to conclude a lot of animosity is coming!

Jeff: If I may get personal for a moment, I’d like to take a moment and ring the bell for my grandmother, Darline Loveless, who passed away last week. She and my Grandpa George Loveless are the whole reason I ever became a wrestling fan. They were true-believers, cheering on the Fantastics or the Von Erichs or whomever the faces were at any given time on Wrestling at the Chase. I knew I could get a rise out of them if I broke ranks and rooted for Ric Flair or Dick the Bruiser  or Harley Race or whomever was working heel. Thed fuss and throw peanuts at me and laugh at their silly little grandchild. Just last year I was over at Grandma’s and she had been in poor health for sometime, including what would probably be considered dementia. But from the opening sequence to the signoff of Monday Night Raw, she was whole. She’d sit there on the edge of the couch, shouting at Cena to turn around before that no good Orton got him, and then she’d admonish JBL for saying something good about a bad guy. Grandma was very traditional as a lifelong wrestling fan. She’s now reunited with Grandpa, and I’m sure they’re rooting for Randy Savage and Eddie Guerrero against Rick Rude and Curt Hennig right now. Give ‘em Hell, Grandma! 

Thank you.

Next week, I’m writing the intro--so there!