As the Eric Bischoff entrance song goes: "I'm Back! And Better Than Ever!" Yes that's right, after a short hiatus due to some school B.S. I'm back writing here at the MWC Blog. What better way to return than with a massive post full of thoughts, previews, and predictions!
Today we'll be taking a look at both the WWE and NJPW. We're just a week away from WrestleMania weekend that means both NXT TakeOver and the WWE Hall of Fame will be taking place.
I'll be sharing my predictions for the five big matches at the NXT TakeOver: New Orleans card and tell my thoughts on every individual being inducted into this year's WWE HOF Class.
But before we do all of that tomorrow is already NJPW's Sakura Genesis show. After a successful event in the US with: Strong Style Evolved, NJPW is back at their home land and we've got a great card up our hands with the show being headlined by an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between Okada and ZSJ.
Enough with the blah blah, without further ado, let's get right to writing!
Young Bucks vs Chase & Yujiro
More BC vs BC affair with the newly converted Heavyweights: The Young Bucks taking on their bretheren "Honorary Tongan" Chase Owens and "Tokyo Pimp" Yujiro Takahashi.
The Bucks are fresh off their 5-Star match against the Golden Lovers at SSE, but sadly they loss and more problems within The Bullet Club seems to be arising (P.S. Bullet Club is not fine, don't listen to Cody's conspiracies) and now they'll be fighting Chase and Yujiro, who are both sort of neutral in this whole scenario, although they do prefer the Tongans more than the Elite side of things.
Before I unveil my prediction, I just wanna give a shoutout to Chase Owens who has been performing well these past few months, the man has earned his spot at the G1 Climax if you ask me. Sadly though I think he is taking the pinfall in this one as is tradition.
WINNERS: The Young Bucks
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
It's four men whose names start with the letter T! How fascinating! Anyways, Ishii just had a tag-team match involving Minoru Suzuki and you bet your ass both those men tried to kill the fuck out of each other! Stone Pitbull was elbowed to death for our sins dammit.
Now Ishii is back teaming with his old pal: Toru Yano and they'll be taking on the weird duo of Taichi, who is also a newly converted heavyweight and the crazy bastard that is Takashi Iizuka. Gonna be an interesting sight to behold an interaction between Iizuka and Yano, after all they are former tag-team partners.
As for Taichi, he's been surprisingly killing it as a heavyweight and is even doing moves of his mentor now! Who's that mentor you ask? While it's just Toshiaki Kawada of all people! Unfortunately though, I don't think channeling his inner Kawada would grant him a victory over the CHAOS guys.
WINNERS: Yano & Ishii
NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag-Team Championships
Bullet Club (c) vs. Taguchi, Elgin, Makabe
How the hell is Taguchi getting these 6 Man Tag-Team Title Shots? Who gives him these? I ain't complaining, it's just weird how he gets them randomly, but I digress.
It's an easy win for Fale and GOD. The latter just had a fun match against Cody and Marty, I'm more excited to see how things play out with the Bullet Club is all. I don't really care about the 6 Man Titles, I'm sure NJPW doesn't either.
WINNERS: Bullet Club
6 Man Tag-Team
CHAOS (Goto, White, YOSHI-HASHI) vs Tanahashi, Juice, Finlay
More 6 Men Tag-Team action coming your way this time CHAOS representatives: Hirooki Goto (NEVER Openweight Champion), Jay White (IWGP US Champion), and YOSHI-HASHI will be taking on the trio of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, and David Finlay.
Two storylines here first is the IWGP US Championship feud between Jay White and David Finlay. After White's successful title defense against Hangman Page in SSE, his dojo classmate Finlay attacked him from behind and challenged him into a match for said title. Finally some sort of character development for Finlay but boy is he still bland. Besides being the son of Fit Finlay, what is his character? A wrestler who wears tassles?!
The other story is between Hirooki Goto and "The Flamboyant" Juice Robinson for the NEVER Openweight Championship. As much as I like Juice though, I hope Goto would hold on to that belt for a while, he shouldn't be the "choke artist" anymore.
As for Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI, they seemed to be added there just so they can be in the card. Maybe they'll have a match or feud in the future? But I don't care, it's YOSHI-HASHI. Winning team goes to CHAOS obviously, they ain't gonna have a team of 2 champions lose right?
6 Man Tag-Team
LIJ (Naito,EVIL,SANADA) vs SUZUKI-GUN (Suzuki, KES)
Final 6 Man Tag-Team match of the night is Los Ingobernables de Japon vs. SUZUKI-GUN.
EVIL is finally back after recovering from an injury, it seems like him and SANADA are gonna be feuding against the former tag champs: KES. Naito and Suzuki on the other hand have been having some fun and other times deadly interactions with one another, would be interesting to see how things play out.
It's a hard match for me to pick the winner cause both teams represent champions, LIJ having the IWGP Tag-Team Champions and SUZUKI-GUN having the IWGP IC Champion, but if I have to choose maybe Naito will get a sneaky win over Archer or DBS Jr. Some kind of a roll up or school boy, and then run away from Suzuki's rage!
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag-Team Championships
Desperado & Kanemaru (c) vs Roppongi 3K vs Hiromu & BUSHI
The IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag-Team Championships are being defended in a three way again, this time the defending champions are SUZUKI-GUN's El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Their challengers are Roppongi 3K and LIJ's Hiromu Takashi & BUSHI.
I think the first three way between these teams was fine although it could get messy at times. Hopefully they'll be able to showcase all six men this time without being much of a clusterfuck.
Even though Desperado & Kanemaru just recently won the belts, and I think they are great champions, I want Hiromu & BUSHI so badly to win the belts! Please Gedo, just give it to them already! Maybe my inner LIJ fanboy is talking right now but I just want them to win dammit!
WINNERS: Hiromu & BUSHI
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
Will Ospreay (c) vs Marty Scurll
Another bout between these two for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, Ospreay and Scurll is the feud that keeps on giving! Never you'll be disappointed in a match involving these two Brits.
I know Will Ospreay is still fairly fresh as a new champion, pinning Scurll in that four way at Wrestle Kingdom, call me crazy though but I think Marty will get the belt back once more! He did not have a proper reign and they'll still be able to continue that story of Ospreay just barely able to get the upperhand on Marty during singles matches.
So yeah another one for The Villain!
WINNER: Marty Scurll
Golden Lovers vs Cody & Hangman Page
The Golden Lovers are in action once again this time they'll be taking on "Bullet Club Representatives" Cody and Hangman Page, whom according to Cody himself, are best friends in their own right. Yeah whatever.
Will the 3 Star Savior finally get a taste of that 5 Star?! In all seriousness, I'm loving the continous brew of this storyline between Kenny, Cody, Ibushi, and the rest of Bullet Club. I'm sure a singles bout between The Cleaner and The American Nightmare is due for All In but NJPW is doing a fine job hyping it up with these tag-team matches.
Hangman Page loss his match for the US Championship despite showing great effort, but unfortunately for him, he might be taking the pin for this one. A double V-Trigger to the face for his actions shall be reprimanded by the Lovers.
Continous success for the Golden Lovers, how about an IWGP Tag-Team Championship shot in the future eh? Them vs. EVIL & SANADA would be an instant classic!
WINNERS: Golden Lovers
IWGP Heavyweight Championship:
Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Last but not the least we got the main event wherein "The Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada will be defending his title against the 2018 New Japan Cup winner: Zack Sabre Jr.
ZSJ surprised a lot of people with his performance at the NJC, beating top superstar after top superstar! Just when you think "oh he's finally losing this one" NOPE! ZSJWINSLOL. He defeated Naito, SANADA, Ibushi, and finally Tanahashi in the finals. They really are pushing him to the moon!
While fans are certainly on the fence with ZSJ, some like him, some hate him, it's pretty crazy how fast he got to the top in such a short amount of time. I don't mind it though, I think he brings off an old school vibe in this highflying infested wrestling era, the "modernized" style of the old World of Sport is certainly something to behold nowadays. He is giving justice to Johnny Saint, Mick McManus, and the rest of them legendary grapplers of the past.
Okada on the other hand has been practicing his submission skills as well, adding the Cobra Clutch to his arsenal of moves. The story here is that wrestlers always fall onto wrestling ZSJ's style which leads to their demise, but the RPW British Heavyweight and Tag-Team Champion is yet to face someone like Okada who can pretty much adapt to any style of wrestling. That's why he's the GOAT of today for so many fans!
An intense match for sure with lots of striking and submitting, should be a great way to end off what is already an exciting card. For the winner though, I'm sort of torn in this one. At one side it seems like ZSJ's momentum would be killed off a bit if he were to lose to Okada now, but this is Okada we're talking about. He has defeated every single challenger for his belt so far and I see him holding on to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the forseeable future.
So yeah as much as I hate seeing ZSJ sort of lose some momentum, Okada will still come out victorious either via the Clutch or THE RAINMAKER! (Also more verbal jousts between Gedo and TAKA would be appreciated, thank you very much.)
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada
A well deserved headliner. There was a point in time for pro wrestling where there two kinds of people: those who like Stone Cold and those who like Goldberg. It's fun to read stories of fans having arguments with other fans on who the better man is between those two, certainly a fun time to be a wrestling fan. Only a few wrestlers in history had a great comeback similar to that of Goldberg's!
We thought he has tarnished his legacy forever after the first match against Brock at Mania, but he redeemed himself. Who would've thought that many years later Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, both older, would have a better match compared when they were young?
Bill Goldberg isn't a technical wizard like Bret Hart, but he doesn't need to be. He is a bonafied megastar just in his looks alone, add some mystique with the "undefeated streak" and a cool moveset, and you got yourselves a believable top star.
Sting is always "The Face of WCW" in my book, but Goldberg at one point even got bigger than the Stinger, and it's just undeniable. He made millions for Turner and Bischoff. A box office draw indeed.
No complaints from yours truly seeing Goldberg get inducted, in fact he is long overdue. He will be inducted by fellow Jewish man: Paul Heyman, which I find interesting. I thought it would have been Bischoff or DDP, but Heyman is a welcome surprise.
While I still consider The Road Warriors to be the greatest tag-team of all time, not so far behind them are Bubba Ray and D-Von: The Dudley Boyz!
Just listing their accomplishments alone is enough to justify their spot in any wrestling Hall of Fame:
9x WWE Tag-Team Champions
8x ECW World Tag-Team Champions
2x TNA Tag-Team Champions
2x IWGP Heavyweight Tag-Team Champions
1x NWA World Tag-Team Champions
1x WCW World Tag-Team Champions
1x HUSTLE Super Tag-Team Champions
That's a total of 24 Tag-Team Championship reigns across six major promotions in the US and Japan! Dudleyz are also pioneers not only in hardcore wrestling, but you're not a wrestling fan unless you've seen their TLC matches against E&C and The Hardy Boyz! Speaking of Edge & Christian, they would be the ones inducting them.
For over two decades, The Dudleyz have sacrificed their bodies and entertained the fans all over the world. They have left a huge legacy in wrestling, as long as fans still chant for "TABLES!" their careers will be immortalized forever.
When fans talk about women of the Attitude Era the first that comes to mind would be the likes of Trish, Lita, Chyna, or Sable. Ivory often gets overlooked, but she did pretty well for herself during the times when women were mainly treated as eye candy.
Ivory first stared her career in GLOW, the women's wrestling promotion the now famous Netflix series is based off. She then moved to the WWE and over the years has re-vised her character and became a staple part of the women's division.
She held the WWF Women's Championship three times and will finally get her well deserved spot in the WWE HOF. Ivory will be inducted by her long-time rival: Molly Holly, who on her own right should be in the Hall of Fame as well.
HELL HAS FROZEN OVER! DOUBLE J IS GOING TO THE WWE HALL OF FAME! WHAT?!
When I first heard of this news, I was shocked as hell! But the saying "anything is impossible in the WWE" surely rings true, first we got Bret, then Bruno, afterwards Warrior to make amends with Vinny Mac, now we got Jeff Jarrett of all people?
Ol' Slapnuts had an interesting career. He got introduced to the business thanks to his grandmother and father who are both promoters, starting out young at the Memphis territories, then slowly making a name for himself got his shot at the WWF in a country singer gimmick, with such ridiculous outfit to come with it as well!
In his time with the WWF, Jarrett became a 6x Intercontinental Champion. He also held the European and Tag-Team Titles. When he left the WWF, Jarrett went to WCW, becoming a 4x World Champion and 3x US Champion. Then he would create TNA after WCW's demise, in the middle of all these, he stole Kurt Angle's wife and many years later would create the infamous Global Force Gold!
Now to cap it all off he is being inducted into the WWE HOF. If you would've told me about this in January, I'd just laugh at the idea! But here we are, crazy times we live in. I'm not saying Jeff doesn't deserve it though, he was a fine wrestler and has had the accolades to back it up, but just shocked is all. He's gonna be inducted by Road Dogg, and you already know a certain song will be sang at the podium!
Another country boy is gonna be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. While he may have never won any championship in his time with the company, Hillbilly Jim is still one of the most memorable characters during the height of the Hulkamania era.
He is also one of the rare people in the wrestling business where you never hear a bad word being spoken about him! Jim is just overall a nice gentleman and is certainly a well deserved inductee.
"The World's Strongest Man" is not just an epitath, it's the reality. Mark Henry has solidified himself as one of the greatest big men in wrestling history. Being able to get on with the times and freshen up his character over the years of his time with the WWE.
He may never have been "the guy" but was always a great gateway for those men, similar to Jim, you never heard a single bad word to be uttered against Henry. Not only because he is a legit badass, but underneath that scary persona, he is an actual nice guy.
Mr. USA, Nation of Domination, Sexual Chocolate, The Hall of Pain, you name it, Mark Henry has done it all! Whether being ridiculed or showing off his badass side, Henry was always game for everything as long as it is for the entertainment of the fans!
For 21 years Henry has served the fans inside the squared circle, now it is his time to get honored at the WWE Hall of Fame.
Jeff Jarrett isn't the only singer to be inducted into this year's WWE Hall of Fame, but Kid Rock as well.... WHY? JUST WHY?! Ugh.
There are much more deserving of this award such as Motorhead or Cyndi Lauper. How about Lawrence Taylor? He main evented WrestleMania for crying out loud! Anyone but Kid Freakin' Rock.
This is why the WWE Hall of Fame is still being ridiculed by others because of inductees like Kid Rock and Drew Carey... sheesh.
WARNING: CONTENT BELOW CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM NXT TAPINGS
NXT North American Championship:
The name is Super Mastodon. Been a wrestling fan throughout my life, and I share my interest with you here, at the MWC Blog.
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