Saturday, July 23, 2016

Loose Cannon Fodder #29 [07.22.16]

In what would prove to be the busiest of weeks in professional wrestling, we went into Tuesday- the night after a new episode of Raw, right before the draft- without having even seen the episode of NXT from the week before with Shinsuka Nakamura vs. Finn Balor.   I am typing this in the future though as I will not post LCF28 until we watch that episode of NXT and I write about it in there as such.  

We started with the most recent episode of ROH TV which we should have watched last week I guess because the main event was announced as Mark Briscoe vs. ACH for a shot at the ROH TV Title and, well, as per Aftershock we learned that Mark Briscoe will win that main event match.

During the first match there was a banner on the screen for an upcoming Aftershock taping (which was for 7/16 so it already happened) so I guess Aftershock will be a name they continue to use.   Kevin Kelly also said that the next few weeks of ROH TV are "can't miss", which is something I always dislike when people say because it makes it feel as if there are weeks of ROH TV you can miss.   I mean, yeah, there are and we've missed weeks, but that's not the point.   From the company standpoint- and if I could go so far as to call Kevin Kelly the current "voice of ROH"-  this shouldn't be something coming out of his mouth.

As I think about the line of Ring of Honor figures from FTC, I can't help but wonder if Donovan Dijak will be in it at some point.   I am by no means a fan of Dijak but I'd probably buy his figure because somebody has to lose.   Jason Kincaid also would make for an interesting figure.   This opening contest was good because it wasn't just a squash match for Dijak, which I thought it would be when I saw the two guys involved.   Kincaid tried to hit a suicide dive at one point and Dijak caught him, but later on Dijak missed a big elbow so it kind of evened out there.     Dijak got the win but at least Jason Kincaid got in some decent offense.

The tag team titles were on the line next.   I know Christopher Daniels had a few figures during the Toy Biz days of TNA and then he and Frankie Kazarian both had one made by Jakks while in TNA, but I really hope that FTC makes figures for both of them still in their ROH line.   Christopher Daniels in a removable singlet to look like his "Fallen Angel" character would be most excellent and I'll take Frankie Kazarian with or without hair (PWG era).    The Beer City Bruiser I would likely buy as an action figure but I can live without him.   Silas Young is a must for the ROH action figure line though.    Based on that, The Addiction should retain in this match and, yes, I'm basing ROH matches on their action figure possibilities now.    The Addiction get the win when they pin Bruiser and perhaps it's time for Silas Young to question whether or not BCB is a real man.

In two weeks on ROH TV we'll get Kyle O'Reilly vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH Title.   That should be a good match.

Now we're "live" in the ring with Bobby Fish for "The Fish Tank".  This was taped prior to Aftershock so let's see if Bobby Fish has any questionable comments.    Oh good, so his guests are Mark Briscoe and ACH, who will be in the main event tonight.  I really want an ACH figure but I'm just wondering whether or not FTC will be allowed to give him the Loofy look.   O'Reilly doesn't have too much to say and Tito came out from behind the couch and wrecked the place, so this went rather quickly into the main event match for me, which we all know how it's going to end now but was still a great match you should watch.   Wouldn't it be interesting if Mark Briscoe won the ROH TV Title and then had ACH as a challenger down the line?   Fish was on commentary and didn't seem too offensive and next week we get to see Dalton Castle so I'm happy.

Raw opened with Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon announcing their Commissioners for each of their shows.  It is strange to think that this is the last Raw with both brands as the draft comes next.   I'm just wondering though how I'm going to remember- at least for the first month or so- who is on each show.   And what about guys in lesser roles?  You might have to wonder whether someone like Curtis Axel is on the other brand or if he's just not being used on this brand.     Stephanie selected Mick Foley which makes sense because as The Authority in a way it makes it easier for him to promote his new show- "Holy Foley"- on The WWE Network.    Since Mick Foley is back on WWE TV in a more permanent role though I would also hope that this will bring about some more action figures of him.   Shane McMahon chose Daniel Bryan which worked because of him so being against Stephanie and The Authority.    Where is HHH?

The thing I like about Foley and Bryan being chosen is that they're retired wrestlers and so it's not likely that either of them will be getting in the ring to settle anything because it always bothered me when the person in charge booked themselves as a wrestler as well (Aside from when William Regal does it in NXT now and then)

Cesaro and Sami Zayn defeated Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens in the first match of the night.   So, if Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are ending their feud at Battleground does that mean Cesaro is going one on one with Chris Jericho as well??   Zayn scored the pinfall over Jericho, showing he won't be winning at BG.

We did not see Darren Young defeat Alberto Del Rio on the Hulu 90 minute replay, but we did see a Seth Rollins empty arena promo which felt like a huge waste of time.

The Club + Wyatt Family defeated New Day + Cena/Enzo/Cass in a huge mess of a match.   If two people are fighting each other at a pay-per-view and you put them in a tag match with two other people fighting each other it's all right, but this was just too many people in the ring at the same time, despite the level of talent involved in this match.   The segment prior to this match also had me kind of liking John Cena.

We saw neither Baron Corbin defeating Sin Cara nor Rusev & Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler & Zack Ryder, but we did see Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch defeat Charlotte and Dana Brooke, which was a fun match even as Natalya got involved and attacked Becky Lynch- which is the first I've seen of furthering this feud, though I haven't been watching Smack Down! so there's that.    Even if it takes until Summerslam, I can still bet money on the fact that Sasha Banks is bringing that title home sooner than later.

In the main event, Seth Rollins appeared to win the WWE Title from Dean Ambrose as Stephanie McMahon declared him the winner of the match as the show ended, but it would be revealed later on (And updated on to a draw as both men had their shoulders down and so neither won nor lost.    This was kind of a cheap tactic by WWE, but it got people talking if only for a short time and so why not do something like it since you have the power to do so, as there is a Raw post-show on The WWE Network.    So, all in all, not a bad last episode of Raw before the draft.

I'm not sure how to type up anything about the first live Smack Down! with the draft and all.   Should I talk about how each draft selection is good or bad and why?  Should I talk about how Smack Down! selecting Becky Lynch after Charlotte and Sasha Banks went to Raw is kind of a slap to the face of Becky Lynch- like, "Haha, no title shot for you!!"?    The thing is, as much as I enjoyed this show- and the matches on it- there isn't a lot to say about it.   I know that Seth Rollins, Charlotte and Finn Balor were the first three picks for Raw and Roman Reigns also went to Raw while Ambrose, Cena, Styles and Bray Wyatt went to Smack Down!.   But if you asked me for a specific guy at a certain time I might not be able to tell you which show they are on and that might just have to be something I get used to over time.    I also just know that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are on Raw together.   But yeah, I need some type of cheat sheet for this one and hopefully Smack Down! only gets better going forward from here because, um, yeah, this episode was all right in terms of match quality but it still felt a bit like a taped edition of Smack Down! and so something needs to be changed to mix it up and make Smack Down! feel relevant again without the whole draft aspect next week.

Our first of two episodes of NXT opened with Samoa Joe saying he was there to see the Balor-Nakamura match and he is then confronted by Rhyno.   Announced for next week is Bayley vs. Nia Jax, American Alpha vs. Authors of Pain and Samoa Joe vs. Rhyno.

Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura really should have been part of an NXT live event, but whatever.    One day these two are going to headline Wrestlemania and they'll look back at this match and wonder why WWE didn't let them do it live.   Still, not a lot was taken away in it being taped and Nakamura won a hard fought battle which will put him in line for a title shot against Samoa Joe and things in NXT just got interesting.    Really interesting.

Speaking of Samoa Joe, our next episode of NXT opened with Rhyno vs. Samoa Joe.   This reminded me a bit of a TNA match and Samoa Joe won by making Rhyno tap out.   So, apparently all of that talk and hype by Rhyno was for nothing, huh?  I suspect he'll be complaining about his loss soon enough only to be confronted by someone else and thus he can begin a feud with some young up-and-comer.

As American Alpha were on their way to the ring they were attacked by Authors of Pain, questioning whether or not this match would even happen, but then they eventually did get it on.    It was an interesting enough match, but we all know that American Alpha is on their way to the main roster, so we'll move on from here to our backstage segment with Gargano and Ciampa essentially challenging The Revival to a tag team title shot.   It will be interesting to see though how it all plays out since in the CWC it will be Gargano vs. Ciampa.

A teaser is shown for Hideo Itami returning in two weeks and I couldn't be more excited for that.   NXT might have lost some of their top stars in the draft, but it just seems to keep getting better and better.

Patrick Clark- the guy Mick Foley thought should have won Tough Enough but didn't draft to the Raw brand- took on Austin Aries next and this is the first person from the most recent season of Tough Enough that we're seeing on NXT TV.   So... They signed a few of the competitors and this is the first one we see?   Where is The Yeti who won the whole thing, huh?  Why isn't he here instead??  And Austin Aries makes quick work of Patrick Clark, as one would expect.   Austin Aries deserves better than this and really he should have been drafted rather than Mojo Rawley, but hey, what do I know about wrestling, right?    No Way Jose came out after the match and it looks like we're going to get that sweet, sweet Take Over match between these two.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax was up next in the main event.    This was another great match between these two and Bayley managed to win it with the Bayley to Belly from the second rope.   It was odd that the commentators played up how Nia Jax was drafted but in the match it wasn't like Bayley knew because it was pre-taped but it is kind of nice that you can think of Bayley as sort of being extra motivated during this match because Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss and her own bestie Carmella were all called up to the main roster before her.

I wasn't sure how Lucha Underground was going to fit seemingly so many matches into part 3/3 of Ultima Lucha Dos but apparently this was an extended episode which I am only finding about as I go to watch it.   I have a question though: What does The El Rey Network air on Sunday nights?   It can't be that important that they couldn't have given Lucha Underground a three hour or so block to air Ultima Lucha Dos by itself all at once.   Ah well.

Our first match was Fenix, Aero Star and Drago vs. Johnny Mundo, PJ Black and Jack Evans for the Trios Titles.   Odd I just saw Aero Star and Drago in AAW.    At one point the champs did the air guitar thing with the belts in the ring and the music was dubbed over it.  They also took out the ref for whatever reason.   Angelico made his return on crutches and hit Johnny Mundo with them.   Forget all of the wrestling which came prior to that-- we have new Trios Champs and it's because of interference by Angelico.

Black Lotus was fighting... yawnn.... and... yawwwnn... Look, this match wasn't that great and then Pentagon Jr. came out anyway and destroyed both competitors involved.   Pentagon Jr. cut a promo (yes, really) and said he wants his title shot now and also to be called Pentagon Dark now.  All right.  Whatever.     We go into the title match because why should Pentagon Dark want to be in the main event.    During the match, Vampiro gave Pentagon Dark a barbed wire bat.   Dario Cueto took the bat away from PD and then PD got Dario down as if he was going to break his arm before Mantanza Cueto hit PD in the back with the barbed wire bat.   This lead to the pinning of Pentagon Dark and, hey look, another match that ends because of someone not involved in it only this time at least a championship didn't change hands.  

Matt Striker says this night has been amazing and he must have some New Japan on his monitor or something.   It's okay because Taya is out up next against Ivelisse.    These two had a good match where Taya was slamming Ivelisse's head into the announce desk but you could clearly tell it was Ivelisse's arms hitting (which is better for medical reasons)   The match ended yet again with outside interference.   The lights went out, Catrina appeared, attacked Ivelisse and left.   Taya got the pin and the win if only because of Catrina and thus we have our third match in a row to not live up to the hype because I mean this is the Season Two finale and all, so why not have some decisive victories??

Prince Puma and Rey Mysterio had a decent enough match and even though Rey Mysterio won they couldn't leave well enough alone.   Pentagon Dark came out and attacked Matt Striker and then left Vampiro a bloody mess in the ring.    I mean, I understand that they're trying to add drama to the show and give you that reason to come back next season- to see Vampiro get his revenge I'd assume- but wouldn't it be funny if Season Three began the same way that Season Two did?  Pentagon Dark says he is the master now and perhaps he should have upgraded to Pentagon Master then or something.  I don't know.  I'm just saying is all.   But Pentagon Dark didn't win the Lucha Underground Championship, uh, again and now he's going to take it out on Vampiro, who is basically a commentator at this point.   Last time Pentagon (then Jr) faced Vampiro it was revealed Vamp was the master and so I'm not sure where this is headed exactly but it feels rather confusing.

In the final scenes, Dario Cueto was taken into police custody and placed in a van.    Look, this third installment of Ultima Lucha Dos wasn't exactly great but if we're throwing bookers in jail now for plotholes I don't think anyone is safe.   The last few minutes were just of Dario Cueto sitting in the back of the van with the lights flashing around and it felt like an eternity.   What is this, the end of "The Sopranos"?   Cueto smiled and then the screen said "To be continued..." because, you know, they've already taped Season Three from what I've read.   Hopefully Season Three can begin in the fall and be over before 2017 but I'm not holding my breath.     This was just such an odd ending to an otherwise decent season of Lucha Underground.   So many questionable decisions that hopefully get made up for next season.   Oh well. 

The newest episode of ROH TV opened with Kamitachi vs. Jay White.    During the match it was announced that next week the Jay Lethal-Kyle O'Reilly ROH Title match would take the entire hour episode which is never a bad thing.    Jay White won this match but then The Addiction attacked him while Motor City Machine Guns made the save.   Chris Sabin then booked a six man tag match which was won by the team of Jay White and MCMG.    For those scoring at home, we now have a Lethal, Briscoe and White on the ROH roster.   So many Jays.

Up next the team of Shane Taylor and Keith Lee made their ROH in ring debuts.   They basically squashed two jobbers who I didn't catch the names of exactly.    War Machine came out to attack these two who need a tag team name but they got bested.   With all three other men outside of the ring, Keith Lee flew over the top rope onto all of them crash-and-burn style.   Wow.   Keith Lee said "I am limitless" and I believe him.    For guys the size of Mark Henry (possibly even larger) they certainly can move a lot better than him.   Color me impressed.   When I first saw the Authors of Pain in NXT I noted they reminded me of the Headhunters but Taylor & Lee seem leaps and bounds beyond what AOP can do.

Jay Lethal and Kyle O'Reilly did one of those backstage sit down interview deals to promote their match next week.   It's one of those situations where you don't think Jay Lethal would lose the title on an episode of ROH TV.   To quote the movie Ready to Rumble: "This isn't even a pay-per-view!!"   But yet I could still see Kyle O'Reilly winning this one and that makes this so intriguing.

BJ Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan came out next for an in ring promo because apparently I've slipped into a time vortex and it's 1972.    No one needs to see Kevin Sullivan in 2016 let alone hear him speak.    Thankfully they kept this rather brief.

Dalton Castle defeated Roderick Strong in a hard fought contest that just reminds me why I love professional wrestling.   Roderick Strong just has that quality of bringing the best out in everyone he works with and since he announced his departure from ROH not too long ago it was expected that he would be on the losing end here and yet make Dalton Castle look good in winning, which he did exactly.    I don't know how or what could be done about this- if anything- but when you think of a promotion like WWE and them trying to build new talent it's hard when a lot of talent doesn't leave once they reach the top.   Ring of Honor has always had a great way of their talent reaching their peak and then putting over the new class of talent, essentially creating new stars.    But then this also just plays into WWE's favor because if Roderick Strong is indeed headed to WWE, how long will it be before Dalton Castle becomes ROH Champion and then moves onto WWE as well, putting over the next talent.    I've had nothing but love for AJ Styles in WWE thus far, but it is nice seeing these guys in ROH and other promotions before coming to WWE.

Impact Wrestling opened with Lashley calling out Moose which brought out Mike Bennett and then eventually Moose.   Moose was headed to the ring to face Lashley and as soon as Josh Mathews referred to it as a dream match Eddie Edwards ran down and jumped Moose.   All four men began fighting and it seemed like we were heading for a tag team match but Dixie Carter came on the Titantron and said Lashley and Edwards needed to get ready for their match later on tonight and Bennett needed to get ready for his match next.

This brought us into Mike Bennett vs. Brother Nero and it was also apparently a BFG type of match.    Brother Nero lost the match, which makes sense given the fact that Matt Hardy deleted him, and the new theme music Matt Hardy picked out for Brother Nero about him being obsolete is kind of perfect.    In a strange move for TNA, Matt Hardy came out and basically ushered Brother Nero out of the ring (Matt also went on an earlier rant about how every time TNA uses the Hardy name when referring to Brother Nero he can sue them) and then brought out his opponent in another Bound For Glory qualifying type of match, which thus far Mike Bennett has qualified for only.

Matt Hardy defeated James Storm to advance in the BFG series and then quickly after that EC3 defeated Eli Drake and advanced as well.   Long story short, Drew Galloway then defeated Bram and now we have Galloway vs. Bennett and Matt Hardy vs. EC3 in the Final 4 of the BFG series.   So, looks like we're somehow getting to Drew Galloway vs. EC3 which unfortunately puts us back at one of those two facing Lashley for the title yet again.  How about we have them cost each other their match and then we go to Matt Hardy vs. Lashley?  Please??

There was also some nonsensical Knockouts angle with Maria in the ring with six other women, showing the depth of the KO division.   Seriously: Maria and Cherry Bomb don't really wrestle.   I have no idea how or why Madison Rayne is still with TNA.   So we have Jade, Gail Kim, Sienna and Marti Belle left, who have been holding the division up by themselves for far too long.   The two French dudes attacked Grado's friend backstage and then we also saw Rosemary kissing Bram.  So, yeah, that reminded me that Rosemary was in that six person tag against Raquel.   Why weren't they part of this Knockouts meeting?

I don't know who the current tag team champions are in TNA (Is it The Decay still?) but why don't Al Snow's two French guys go after them instead of playing around with Grado and this new version of Disco Inferno no one asked to see?  The Knockouts need focus and new blood, but combining the TNA World Title and X Division Title into the same match was such a bad idea.   If an X Division wrestler held both titles it'd be okay-- maybe only someone like AJ Styles or Austin Aries could pull it off-- but Lashley holding both titles just defies logic.   Why would someone defeat him for the X Division Title and not the World Title, you know?  It makes no sense really and the only way out of this scenario, after this someone-must-win cage match is for Lashley to forefit the X Division Title, but yeah, it's getting fairly overbooked even if the wrestling itself is thriving.  

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