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 411mania » Wrestling » Video Reviews

Ring Crew Reviews: Top 50 Matches from 2013 (Part IV: 24-14)
Posted by Jack Bramma on 02.06.2014

****1/4 matches.

24. WWE Championship Match with Special Guest Referee Triple H: Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena (c). WWE Summerslam. 08/18/2013. Back at MITB, DB broke off from Hell No to show he wasn't the weak link. He was the odds on favorite to take the briefcase but came up as eyelash short after Randy Orton won it. In the following weeks, John Cena was given the option of picking his opponent and sided with the WWE Universe in selecting the red hot Daniel Bryan. Every McMahon and WWE executive in shouting distance tried to mold DB in their own image to justify his new-found top billing but Dragon resisted all makeovers and danced with what brung him. Vince and Maddox tried to stack the deck against him but The H's stepped in to selflessly name himself special guest referee. Cena condescendingly tried to stick up for DB at every turn but didn't seem to respect him as a threat. On the go-home, DB invoked his international experience and the puro tradition of smacking your opponent before a big match to bring out the best in him. Unfortunately, DB wouldn't extend this honor to Cena because in his eyes, Cena isn't deserving of respect because he isn't a WRESTLER! Cena smacked him the shit outta him and here we are.

• Cena's sporting a heavily wrapped left arm for legit bicep tendon injury. DB goes to work on the arm early but Cena rolls through for a headlock TD. DB armdrags Cena over to escape out. Cole: “DANIEL BRYAN, THE WRESTLER AGAINST CENA, THE ENTERTAINER! Does Cena want to get into a 'wrestling' match with Daniel Bryan, King?” King: “I don't think John Cena has a problem in any kind of match with Daniel Bryan. John Cena picked Daniel Bryan as his opponent here at Summerslam. I don't think John Cena fears Daniel Bryan in any way, form, or fashion.” Test of strength and Cena easily wins it with an inside sweep. DB bridges up and Cena tries to break it but DB HOLDS STRONG! Cena tries against with the same result so DB monkey flips him over and wants the Yes Lock and Cena bails out! OOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Almost never see that. While ringside, Cena whispers to the doctor and King gets the scoop that Cena's elbow is holding up fine. Back in, Cena grabs a headlock to boos and takes him down again. Cole: “There's a reason Cena is using his left arm for the headlock... show off the elbow's not hurt.” DB sends him off and tries a monkey flip but Cena catches him into a double leg TD. Cena jackknife rolls up DB for a few 1 counts before DB bridges up for the Steamboat/Flair spot. DB backslides Cena for 1, 2, no. DSLW and NOW, WE GO TO SCHOOL, BEST IN THE WORLD STYLE!

• DB goes to the trusty Mexican surfboard but Cena easily powers out and hoists up DB for the FU. DB escapes to the apron so Cena plows into him and sends him flying into the announce table. BOOOOOOOOOOOO! NONONONONO! Cena seizes the moment but gets sent into the ring steps instead. DB preps a suplex off them but Cena counters to a SUPERPLEX ON THE FLOOR! The LA faithful remind Cena that he still sucks to them. Back in, Cena covers for 1, 2, only 2. Cena goes to the haymakers in the corner. He sends DB across for a hard whip. Cole: “You can do all the moves you want, but sometimes, power just prevails.” JBL: “Can't coach speed and can't coach power. That's something that's awful hard to counter; I don't care how many wrestling moves you know.” Cena pulls DB out for a DemonBomb. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Little early for that but we'll see how it goes. Cena goes to a chinlock. King: “Triple H, the kind of referee that's going to let these guys go. That's what I like about it.” JBL: “I absolutely agree with you, King. Matches like this should be decided in the ring, not the referee.” DB comes to live with forearms and kicks in the corner. YESYESYESYESYES! King: “DON'T GLOAT, GOAT!”

• Cena no sells to charge out with a boot to the breadbasket to HUGE boos. Massive heat for just a kick and not in the middle of a boo/yay sequence either. Amazing. Cena sends him off and DB flips up-and-over and flies into Cena with a burrito. DB kicks Cena into oblivion only to kick Cena back to life as it's time for the shoulderblocks and Protobomb. Cole: “JOHN CENA ON DISPLAY!” Cena wants the 5KS but DB counters with an up kick and an armbar TD. Cena rolls through so DB tries to kick him off but Cena ignores it, so they repeat the spot and this time Cena gets kicked off. Cena ducks a clothesline and this time hits the 5KS. He wants the FU at 10 minutes in but DB lands on his feet. Cena charges in but eats boot. DB flies off the top with the missile dropkick. 1, 2, no. DB moves in for the kill with DR FG's right to the injured arm. Cole: “Cena's hurt, guys.” JBL: “Can you imagine after Cena beats the Rock at Wrestlemania, Daniel Bryan takes the championship from him at Summerslam?” Cole: “Yeah, we questioned earlier whether Daniel would target the elbow and he has.”

• DB follows up with an armbreaker more DR FG's. DB: “GET UP! GET UP! GET UP, CENA!” Cena counters with a drop toe hold and wants the STF but DB kicks him away and rolls through into the STF! JBL: “CENA COULD LOSE THIS MATCH IN HIS VERY OWN HOLD!” Cena reaches for the ropes but DB pulls him back to the middle for a LEG-CAPTURE GERMAN SUPLEX! 1, 2, 2.999! Another German gets 1, 2, no. DB wants the trio but they counter finishers and DB goes back to the YES LOCK! Cena counters and tries to stack him up so DB locks in a guillotine with a body lock. Some obvious MMA flavor here. Cena no sells to drive him into the corner and backdrop him over. DB rushes in and Cena counters to catch him in the FU. 1, 2, 2.9999999999999999999. YESYESYESYESYES! Cena appears out of answers as he mouths to Triple H: “I know why you like the kid.” Cena heads up top to big jeers but DB cuts him off. They counter and then counter counters before DB hits a superplex and hooks himself in a Tree of Woe for a POWER SITUP! DB fires up for the diving headbutt. 1, 2, kickout and Cena rolls out of the ring to recover. Nice touch. DB builds a head of steam for the suicide dive but Cena cuts him off with a CLUBBINGBLOW.

• Cena climbs the top rope and hits the Super Fame-asser. 1, 2, nearfall. Dueling chants for Cena as he preps DB for a Super FU. DB counters out with the MMA elbows. He wants a top rope rana but Cena catches him and drops down almost landing ON DB'S HEAD before rolling him over into the FU. Near-miss disaster there. Cole: “WILL BRYAN TAP OUT!? IT'S FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP! IS HE GOING TO TAP OUT?! HE'S TRYING TO DRAG HIMSELF TO THE ROPES! FOR DANIEL BRYAN, THE MOMENT OF TRUTH!” DB rolls it over but Cena keeps it locked in. DB gets a second wind and escapes out for the Yes Lock. Cena grabs the ropes to boos. Triple H checks the arm and calls for the doctor but Cena waves him off. DB fires up for a series of IEDs. He tries a third but Cena blows through him with a LARIATO! Double KO spot. They recover for the slug and kick it out before colliding on a double shoulderblock. They use each other to pull themselves up and now it's MAN UP TIME! SLAP IT OUT! DB unleashes Hell on Cena with several smacks and kicks. He tries up and over out of the corner again but Cena CATCHES HIM! He wants another FU but DB counters to a DDT. DB heads up top for a crossbody but Cena catches him again. Cena says it's over and wants the FU! NO! SMALL PACKAGE! 1, 2, 2.999! DR FG ENZUIGIRI! YESYESYESYES! BUSAIKU KNEE! 1, 2, 3 FOR A NEW WWE CHAMP AT 27:00!

• A great match if still a tad underwhelming. DB has carried pretty much every indy star of the last decade to ****+ so it's disappointing that he and Cena can only match just that. Part of me feels like ROH DB > WWE DB in the ring, but the differences are mostly cosmetic and to do with move selection and pacing and ROH DB would never find himself in a position to go over Cena in the first place. He had to cut out the 20 minute wristlock seminars on Roderick Strong if he ever wanted to be a top WWE guy.

• Still, credit where it's due: Cena sold more here than he has for almost anyone since becoming the guy and with a bad arm to boot. Also, this is the first clean as a sheet job for Cena since WM XXVIII to Rock and before that, who knows. In other ways though, Cena was still Cena including going for his go-home barely halfway into the match like he did against Rock at Twice in a Lifetime, though thankfully this didn't lead to finishers galore for both guys.

• I don't feel like these guys have the best chemistry in the world as the counters on the submissions and the AA were less than stellar and the biggest reactions of the match had more to do with Cena's character than anything else. But the ending is manna from heaven that played perfectly into Dragon's Japan promo on the previous RAW and reintroduced puro storytelling to a largely unaccustomed WWE universe. KENTA FTW. ****1/4

23. 12 Man Tag Match: Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, The Usos, Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield and The Wyatt Family. WWE RAW 11/18/2013. DB and Punk had Shield trio on the previous show. That went to a no contest after The Wyatts interfered in an electric moment they went face to face with The Shield before not quite as hot heads prevailed for the time being.

• CMPUNK chant before the bell followed by YESYESYESYES chant. Jimmy and Ambrose to start. U-SO-U-SO-U-SO! Ambrose with a shoulderblock but runs into a LARIATO! U-SO! Bodyslam and Jey is in but Ambrose gets the elbow up and Reigns is in. Jey with a burrito and a haymaker but Reigns no sells to smack him across the ring. In an unprecedented moment, Reigns headbutts Jey as we find out what happens when A SAMOAN HEADBUTTS A SAMOAN! A SAMOAN NO SELLS! Jey no sells to bring in Cody and Goldust for a double shot to the gut and a Goldust uppercut gets nothing on a cover. Rollins tags in. I love the little character touch with each guy from the Shield only tagging in their own unit first. Goldust with a backdrop and another uppercut. Atomic drop and Batista kick get 1, 2, only 2. Jey back in for a superkick. Rollins gets the elbow up in the corner and Jey bails out to the floor selling his nose/mouth. Luke Harper tags himself in and goes to work but Rollins gets in his face at the blind tag: “WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM, HUH?! YOU DON'T MESS WITH ME, ALL RIGHT?!” IT'S THE SHIELD AND THE WYATTS IMPLODING AS BRAY LAUGHS ON! … Some men just want to watch the world burn. ANYWAY, we take a break and are back to Goldust working over Rollins. Cody tags in as Bray tries to get Reigns and Ambrose to drink the Kool-Aid. Bray: “WE CAN HELP YOU!” JBL: “These two teams aren't exactly on the same page.” King: “I think they each have their own book.” Cody with a Jack Briscoe roll up for 2. Rollins sends him into the turnbuckle and Ambrose is in.

• Ambrose with the low blow stomp for 1, 2, only 2. Reigns in to choke. Reigns with some hammers and brings in Rollins for another 2 count. Rollins locks in a Cobra Clutch. Rollins does the Goldust taunt: “SUCK ON IT!” Reigns in for a banana split. Cody fires up but eats a back elbow. Headbutt on Cody and Ambrose is in. Short-arm clothesline gets 1, 2, only 2. Cody stomps the arm and chokes away. Snap suplex gets 1, 2, only 2. Rollins tags in to get cut off with a gordbuster. Rollins still grabs the leg and brings in Harper in desperation. Rollins still talks trash and now Harper's in his face. The fans want them to go at it but Harper takes out Goldust instead only to take a gamengiri on the chin. Tag to DB for the missile dropkick. He clears the Wyatts off the apron. YESYESYESYES! DR FG and he wants the enzuigiri but Harper ducks under. DB drops him into the turnbuckle. IED but Rollins is in without a tag. RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX! REIGNS IN! SHITCAN HIM OUT! PUNCH HIM IN THE BALLS! Sorry, lost my train of thought. Dragon shitcans him out but Harper catches him in a RUNNING LIGER BOMB! Bray Wyatt tags in for several elbows and forearms. Bray: “YOU SEE WHAT I CAN DO! WHY DON'T YOU TRUST ME?!” Bray offers the olive branch and tags in Reigns.

• Reigns with forearms and that brings in Ambrose. Now, they start working quick tags with each other. Rowan hits a bodyslam on DB. Harper: “AAYEAYEAYAAYAEAYEYEAYA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Rowan wrenches the neck and then elbows DB to cut off his second wind. Ambrose tags in for a boot and rolls DB into an STF. DB escapes out and knees him to the gut. DB reaches for the tag but ALL OF THE SHIELD AND THE WYATTS CLEAN OUT THE FACE CORNER! We take a break and are back to DB still isolated in the heel corner. During the break, DB was sent hard into the barricade but also sent Rollins into the steps. Meanwhile, DB counters a spinebuster into a DDT. Tag to PUNK! Springboard burrito and he has a leg lariat for Ambrose and a neckbreaker/DDT combo on Ambrose and Rollins. Punk with stereo high knees and clotheslines. He heads up top for the Macho elbow. He calls for the G2S and gets up Ambrose. But WYATT IS IN! He eats an enzuigiri. Anaconda Vice on Ambrose. The Family is in but the Usos head them off with superkicks. U-SO! They shitcan them out together for STEREO PLANCHAS! Punk gets up Ambrose but he elbows out for the Headlock Driver. 1, 2, Goldust breaks it up. SPEARSPEARSPEAR! CROSSROADS! BEAUTIFUL DISASTER! NO! BUCKLEBOMB! HART ATTACK FROM DB AND PUNK! TOPE SUICIDA FROM DB! Punk catapults Rollins to the floor. Punk counters a swinging neckbreaker into G2S. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to end it 17:36.

• This is the perfect kind of RAW match that should have lead into an even more awesome version on SS. The only mild problem is that if you run it on a PPV you tie up two of your biggest singles stars in a match with your three or four biggest tag teams. The character stuff between the heels was perfect as was the double hot tags to DB and then Punk and finally the red hot go-home with chaos all around. ****1/4

****1/2 matches.

22. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (c). NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome 01/04/2013. They soak in the Tokyo Dome atmosphere at the bell. HT plays to the crowd hanging from the rafters and wants all of them to make some noise. Lockup takes them into the ropes with Okada teasing a cheap shot but giving a clean break to a pop. He then hits his taunt and revels in the heat. Lockup takes them back into the ropes where HT switches for the clean break and now he’s doing the Okada/RKO taunt. Okada grinds the headlock but Okada sends him off only to eat a shoulderblock. Slow burn so far. Back to the headlock and HT counters to a top wristlock that they battle over. HT winds up on top with the headlock and now he shoulderblocks Okada down. Okada pedals back to a neutral cover to recover. HT grabs a waistlock so Okada switches to a wristlock and goes to work on the arm with elbows. HT rolls under into a Cloverleaf and then switches to a headlock. Okada back up for a hammerlock and he drives it into the mat. They trade through hammerlocks with Okada still on top. HT again tries the drop toe hold but Okada comes out STILL with the hammerlock. Sweet.

• HT headlocks him over for a top position headlock. Okada gets to his feet but quickly gets hiplocked back over. This may sound like the usual feeling out, ECW standoff stuff but it’s playing more like a brilliant tete-a-tete where each guy knows the other so well but still can’t stop him from doing what he wants. ANYWAY, Okada gets into the corner for some shoulder surges to counter out. He charges in behind HT but eats a crossbody. HT now charges in and boots away Okada. He climbs up top but Okada crotches him for the Orton DDT off the top. HT bails out for Okada to apply a Camel Clutch IN THE GUARDRAIL! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! HT crawls back in at 15 on the count only to take a yakuza kick. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Okada applies the DID mostly to taunt Okada and then trashes him down into the mat. Okada stomps a mudhole but stops short of walking it dry. They slug it out with forearms and HT ups the ante with a smack. Okada tries to shitcan him but HT skins the cat only to run into a flapjack. Cover gets 1, 2, no. Okada applies a crucifix submission and rolls HT over to facelock it as well. They roll over one more time and HT gets the ropes. Okada pounces with a slam and wants a senton but HT moves. He counters a whip and sends Okada into the corner only to run into a boot. HT comes back with a burrito.

• Okada counters a whip but HT clips the knee with a dropkick and a chop block. Okada covers for a slug it out and HT fires up with a headbutt and Euro uppercut. Okada fires up for some of his own. He wants the BOOT OF FEAR of Okada ducks under for a DSLW! Okada bails out only to fall victim to a High Fly Flow crossbody. Back in, Okada fights off a Texas Cloverleaf and grabs the ropes. HT boots the leg a few more times but Okada valiantly gets some distance for a DSLW OF HIS OWN! Another DDT from Okada for the DID. Okada adds in some MMA elbows but HT gets the ropes. Okada heads up top for the big elbow drop but HT gets the knees up. It’s third wind time as HT steals Okada’s taunt and heads up. Okada cuts him off and preps a top rope Heavy Rain. Japanese Announcer: “DANGEROUS! DANGEROUS!” HT elbows him off so Okada is all FUCK YOU and Bluechipper dropkicks HT to the floor and on the impact, Okada SELLS THE LEG! Okada walks him down the ramp for the TOMBSTONE! NO! HT blocks and then cuts off Okada with the Sling Blade ON THE RAMP! The count gets to 15 but HT breaks it because he doesn’t want to retain the title that way. Back in, HT tunes up the band for a crossbody in the corner. He wants a charge but Okada counters to a Samoan Drop. NO! CRUCIFIX DRIVER! HT IS FEELING IT!

• Perfect Driver and he wants the High Fly Flow but Okada gets the knees up. HT recovers and rushes in but Okada catches him in the Emerald Flowsion neckbreaker. 1, 2, nearfall. Heavy Rain gets 1, 2, 2.99. Diving elbow drop and Okada finally hits his taunt for real. He wants the Rainmaker! NO! ARM CAPTURE GERMAN! 1, 2, kickout. HT rolls it into a bridging German suplex for 1, 2, 2.999999999999999. HT is pissed and arguing with the ref. He gets back on track with the Sling Blade. He wants the HFF. He hits it for 1, 2, KICKOUTTTAAAA! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! THAT’S BEAT ‘EM ALL!

• First time I’ve ever seen someone kick out of the High Fly Flow. He now wants Okada’s head on a spike and drives the knee down into the mat twice WITH AUTHOITY! Texas Cloverleaf. Okada tries to power out but HT deep seats it. Okada looks to be finished. BUT WAIT! OKADA LUNGES AND MAKES THE ROPES! HT runs off the ropes but Okada recovers with just enough zip for the BLUECHIPPER DROPKICK! They use each other to pull themselves to their feet. GO BEHIND! RAINMAKER! NO! DROPKICK! NO! HT STAYS ONE STEP AHEAD! He goes for the Sling Blade but Okada ducks behind for a LARIATO! TOMBSTONE! RAINMAKER TIMEEEEEEEEEEEEE! NOOOO! SLING BLADE! Double KO. Both are up and it’s time for the slug it out. Okada wants another Tombstone but HT blocks. They both fight over the gutwrench before Okada goes to the MMA elbows but HT counters with the dropkick that CLIPS THE BAD KNEE! Tombstone from HT. He makes his way up top but Okada is trying to get to his feet. Just as he gets up it’s High Fly Flow II time. HIGH FLY FLOW III! 1, 2, 3 for HT to retain at 33:34.

• Awesome match though really just the usual Tanahashi special with a coda tagged on to the end. This was the regular ****+ match Tanahashi has with everyone down to the DSLW and High Fly Flow crossbody to the floor and tease before he finally hits the Sling Blade down the stretch. Okada’s arm psychology on HT went nowhere but HT got a little more mileage out of the knee psychology including a finisher counter. The real differences here were the field trip down the ramp for the teased piledriver into a Sling Blade (which was cool) and more importantly, Okada kicking out of the HFF. It took 3 of HT’s finisher to put him down for the count which puts him over big time. ****1/2

21. Traditional Survivor Series Match: Rey Mysterio, The Usos, Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Real Americans and The Shield. WWE Survivor Series 2013. 11/24/2013. Pre-match, Zeb Colter tries to twerk and throws out his back. Cody and Ambrose to start. Ambrose grabs a headlock and bowls over Cody with a shoulderblock and is a little too pleased with himself. Cody with a waistlock and a trip but runs into a hiptoss counter. He counters back and takes down Ambrose with a right. Ambrose chops him and then piefaces in the corner. Cody fights back with rights and a clothesline. Ambrose telegraphs a backdrop but still gets on Cody with a knee to the gut. Ambrose stomps a mudhole in the corner and the ref wants a break. Ambrose keeps on pounding him down repeatedly and argues with the ref. Cody sneaks Ambrose with a School Boy for 1, 2, 3 to send him packing at 2:14.

• Ambrose tries to get his heat back on Goldust but gets dismissed and that brings in the rest of the Shield. The Usos shitcan them out and it's stereo superkicks for WTP. Each Uso then splashes on The Shield and The Real Americans. Awesome so far. Back in, Cody gordbusts Rollins for 1, 2, only 2. Goldust tags in for a backdrop on Rollins for a quick 1 count. GOLDUSTGOLDUST says the crowd. Cesaro tags in and uses the distraction to tag in Swagger with a clothesline. Swagger knees him several times and Cesaro Stun Guns him behind the ref's back. Cesaro in with a double back elbow. Cesaro tags in to slingshot Goldust into Swagger for the Greco Roman TD for 1, 2, only 2. Swagger preps the VaderBomb and Cesaro tags in for the springboard double foot stomp for 1, 2, 2 ½. Goldust blocks a hiptoss for a backslide for 1, 2, only 2. But Cesaro drops his head into a DDT. Double KO spot but Cesaro cuts him off with a front facelock into a KARENLIN DEADLIFT! Goldust clears out the heel corner for a CODE RED! Goldust is still down though. Swagger in for a VaderBomb but he eats boot. Hot tag to Mysterio as he and Swagger reignite their 4 year old WHW championship feud which is brought up by no one. Mysterio with a senton and a wheelbarrow bulldog. He wants a baseball slide but Swagger catches him only to get ranaed into the ropes. 619 and Uso in for a superkick and a splash. 1, 2, 3 and it's back to Okie for Swagger at 8:13.

• 5 on 3 for the faces but Cesaro quickly dropkicks Jey across the ring. Jey though gets lofted into the SWISS DEATH FROM BELOW! 1, 2, 2.999. It's Big Swing time to a POP! 15 ROTATIONS! JIMMY'S IN! BIG SWING FOR HIM! 19 ROTATIONS FOR 34 BACK TO BACK! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Cesaro is gassed though and Cody sunset flips him for 1, 2, 3 and all of We the People are gone at 10:00.

• That's a travesty for Cesaro but I digress. Now it's just Rollins and Reigns against all 5, The Usos, Cody, Goldust, and Rey. Reigns tags in and now it's time to go to work. Rollins: “NOW'S YOUR TIME TO SHINE! TAKE HIM OUT! YOU CAN DO THIS!” Cody ducks a shot and tags in the Usos for a combo burrito. Reigns ignores with a vicious back elbow. Rollins in to stomp away. They work a few quick tags while Cole notes how the numbers are against them and King and JBL joke that all they have to do is isolate one guy and work him over and pin him... FIVE TIMES! Rollins with a back suplex for 1, 2, only 2. Uso flips out of a double back suplex and dumps out Rollins. Jey escapes from Reigns to tag in Jimmy. Jimmy lands a superkick and a Samoan drop. He fires up for the Runaway Samoan Semi for 1, 2, 2 ½. Reigns cuts him off for a superplex. Reigns: “HERE WE GO, BABY!” Jimmy blocks and headbutts him off and wants a splash. Reigns gets the knees up. SPEAR! 1, 2, 3 and Jimmy's out at 14:35.

• Cody in with a springboard dropkick and he's on Rollins who tags in as well. Cody with a Briscoe roll up for 1, 2, only 2. Goldust uppercut and a Teardrop moonsault for 1, 2, 2.999. Cody tries Beautiful Disaster but Rollins blocks. Cody tries Crossroads but Rollins counters again to a Curtain Call. NO! Back to the Crossroads and Cody hits it but Reigns blind tags in. SPEAR AGAIN for 1, 2, 3 at 15:45

• Jey dumps out Reigns for a burrito. Jey then trashes him into the barricade. USO! USO! Back in, Jey wants a splash but Reigns ducks under and tags in Rollins. CURB STOMP! 1, 2, 3 and Jey's out at 17:48.

• Now it's 2 on 2, Reigns and Rollins against Goldust and Rey. Rollins stomps away on Rey. Rollins: “WELCOME BACK, REY!” Mysterio rolls through a sunset flip attempt into the DR FG enzuigiri. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Rey heads up top but Rollins crotches him into a Tree of Woe. IED and Reigns is back in. Reigns shitcans Rey UNDER the ropes to big heat. WOOOOOOO! Count gets to 8 before Rey staggers back to the apron to beat it at 9. SPEAR! NO! Rey moves and Reigns eats turnbuckle. Rollins tags in and dumps Goldust off the apron smartly. Rey into the corner for the Bret Hart bump but he rolls up Rollins for 1, 2, 3 at 19:44.

• The Yellow Jacket is all alone but not before Rollins waffles Rey from behind like a DICK. Awesome. Reigns chokes Rey for a bit. Reigns: “C'MON, REY! HUH?! YOU CAME ALL THE WAY BACK TO GET JOBBED OUT LIKE THIS?!” Small Roman Reigns chant starts and dies. Rey comes back with a kick and tries to baseball slide through but Reigns catches him only to eat an enzuigiri. Tag to Goldust. JBL: “No one for Reigns to tag.” Goldust is fired up with the uppercut and a spinebuster for 1, 2, 2.999999999. Goldust mounts in the corner for the 10 punches. Powerslam gets 1, 2, nearfall. Reigns drives Goldust back into the corner but eats the crossbody up and over for 1, only 1. Goldust wants the Bulldog but Reigns shoves him off for the Spear. Reigns hooks the leg for 1, 2, 3 at 23:02.

• Rey tries the senton but Reigns catches him. NO! RANA INTO THE ROPES! DIAL IT UP! NOOOOOO! SPEARSPEARSPEAR! 1, 2, 3 AND ROMAN REIGNS HAS DONE IT AT 23:26!

• I don't want to the Shield to break up but that was a thing of beauty. Reigns had star written all over him way before this – facial expressions, trash talking in the ring second only to Mark Henry and maybe Bray Wyatt, aura, etc. – but this straps a proverbial rocket to him akin to Kevin Nash in 1995. What's most interesting to me about this is that Reigns isn't as big as Cena, Batista, Brock, Ryback, etc and certainly not as big as Kane, UT, or anywhere near that size, but he's still booked like a monster akin to Goldberg much more than Ryback ever was. Despite his size, Ryback was never as athletic as Goldberg or Reigns and that's why the Goldberg comparisons rang false to me despite all the outward similarities. ANYWAY, awesome match with perfect booking and wrestling from all involved and damn the naysayers who say it's too odd to make the Shield the underdog like a face having to overcome odds. THAT is how you make a star. ****1/2

20. Two-out-of-Three Falls Match for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki vs. Suwama (c). AJPW Summer Impact 2013. 07/14/2013. At the bell, both men are cautious and take their time circling before moving in. Go easily looks 20-30 lbs lighter since I last saw him in NOAH. Lock up takes them into the ropes where Suwama reluctantly gives a clean break. Another lockup and this time it’s Go giving the clean break rather than chop away. Suwama grabs a headlock and grinds away bringing Go down to a knee. Go sends him off and he eats the shoulderblock. Go’s up and they slug it out with forearms. Each one staggers a bit but keeps on firing back. Go goes to the chops and that stuns Suwama. A shoulderblock sends Suwama down to the mat. Greco-Roman time and they switch underhooks until Go gets the waistlock. They counter through a few times with Suwama getting a hammerlock. Go switches over for a wristlock and counters of a scoop by Suwama into another waistlock. Suwama ducks behind and locks in a chinlock. Suwama uses the hold and rake Go across the chest. Go gets back to his feet and gets the boot up in the corner. He flies off the top but Suwama facesmashes him into the mat. Suwama knees him and then pulls Go around by the hair. Yakuza kick and another and Go is reeling. The third fires up Go who comes firing back with chops. Suwama sons him down with a BEAST chop. A slam and a leg drop get 1, 2, only 2 for Suwama. Suwama grabs the legs and rolls Go into a Boston Crab. Go tries to power out but Suwama deep seats it. Go struggles again but makes the ropes. Suwama now goes to work on the back with kicks. Go is back up with more chops and Suwama knocks him back with more forearms. Suwama ignores a yakuza kick attempt but Go cuts him off with a Bluechipper dropkick counter.

• Go takes over with the LEATHERY chops in the corner. Suwama no sells to overhand chop him. Never one to be outdone on chops, Go trashes him down with MOARCHOPS! Slam and a knee drop off the top gets a nearfall for Go. Go goes from a chinlock to an anchor hold after Suwama pulls his hair. Suwama tries to overpower him but Go keeps arching back into the hold. Suwama finally overpowers and headbutts free. BUT WAIT! GO CHOPS HIM DOWN! Go puts him on the apron just to knock him off with a superkick. Go sends him into the rail for the running chop that knocks him into the first row. Back in, Suwama blocks a suplex from the apron as they jockey for position. Suwama punches free and wants a GERMAN SUPLEX TO THE OUTSIDE! Go counters free so Suwama bludgeons him into a heap with a SLEEPER! Go tries to strike his way back into control so falls prey to some heavy shots from Suwama. Go can’t quite get it going and Suwama assaults him with Steamboat chops and goes BACK TO THE SLEEPER! Suwama switches to an RNC to choke the life out of Go and the ref checks with Go. Suwama releases to hook the leg for 1, 2, 2 ½. Suwama sends him off and Go collapses under the strain of a few Sleepers. Suwama wants the LARIATO but Go goes down before he can even hit him. Suwama knees him and Go can barely muster enough for some sloppy chops.

• Go tries a chop and Suwama gets pissed and trashes him down with another Steamboat chop. Bulldog powerslam gets 1, 2, 2.7. Go gets a boot up in the corner and tries the chops one more time but Suwama knocks him back down with forearms. They slug it out again and Suwama sends him off by the hair and counters AGAIn with the hair and tosses Go into the turnbuckle. Go counters another smash but Suwama blocks the yakuza kick into a capture suplex. Nice. LEFTY LARIATO gets 1, 2, 2 ½. High angle back suplex gets 1, 2, 2.99 for Suwama. The crowd is beginning to get behind Go as he tries to get his second wind. He rolls to the apron for the next spot where Suwama wants a piledriver. Go escapes but eats a yakuza kick and gets thrown into the turnbuckle. Suwama with a few more smashes and Go is done and says he’s taking a hike back to NOAH. Even the ref at this point is asking Suwama to hold back a bit. The business is down enough without offing a major young boy face. Go gets enough energy to clothesline Suwama down. Go heads up top with a flying knee and a seated superkick. Suwama goes down but so does Go still selling the turnbuckle smashes. Go ignores a boot in the corner for a CHOP HOMICIDA! Fisherman Buster gets 1, 2, 2 ½. DISCUS LARIATO gets 1, 2, no. Go fires up because it’s GO TIME MOTHERFUCKER! SUWAMA BLOCKS THE LARIATO! Snap suplex from the big man and Go is stunned. LARIATO from Suwama and a belly to belly throw for 1, 2, 2.99. Suwama calls for a powerbomb but Go counters out only to get kneed in the gut. Another running knee for 1, 2, 3 for Suwama to go up 1-0 at 25:08.

• Go rolls to the apron and Suwama clubs him the rest of the way to the floor. SUICIDE DIVE! Back in, Suwama says it’s over as he hits Go with FOUR LARIATOS. Go no sells to fire back with a Bluechipper dropkick. For the first time in a long time, Suwama is out of answers and bails out. GO PLANCHA! GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO! Back in, corner clothesline and Go puts Suwama up top. Suwama fights back but eats several headbutts. Super rana gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Go wants the Flasher but Suwama blocks. Suwama clubs him back away with forearms and a STEAMBOAT CHOP. Suwama tries to end him with the spinning backfist.

• NO! GO LARIATO! GO FLASHER! ONE, TWO, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM! TEARDROP MOONSAULT! SUWAMA HAS THE KNEES UP! DOUBLE KO! Both are up and collide on LARIATOS! AGAIN! Go tries a rana but Suwama catches him in the LOW DOWN BOMB! 1, 2, BOSTON CRAB! ROLL THROUGH! DEADLIFT POWERBOMB! NO! SUPERKICK! GERMAN! Suwama no sells and rolls through for a German that DROPS GO ON HIS HEAD! DOUBLE NO SELL! DEADLIFT GERMAN! NO SELL! ANOTHER GERMAN! Both try to no sell but stumble around and collapse into heaps next to each other. They slug it out from their knees pausing with every breath until they finally get back to their feet. Suwama goes to a yakuza kick and Go responds in kind. Another from Suwama but Go counters to the LARIATO! 1, 2, 2.9999999999. TEARDROP MOONSAULT! 1, 2, 2.999999 for Go. Go wants the Limit Break but Suwama slides out for a BACKDROP DRIVER! LARIATO FROM SUWAMA! Go no sells to fire up. GO LARIATO CUTOFF! Suwama blocks two LARIATOS for a reverse Tiger Driver. BACKDROP DRIVER! 1, FIRE UP KICKOUT! LARIATO! 1, 2, 2.99999999999. Suwama says it’s over and hits the LAST RIDE! He covers for 1, 2, 3 to put Go down for good 2-0 at 35:03.

• It started out pretty by the numbers and bland with very little steak and no sizzle to compensate for upwards of 15 minutes. There wasn’t much to what was going on and it wasn’t stiff or overpowering enough to make a dent compared to some NOAH slugfests. Suwama’s heat was fairly lastluster composing mostly of fairly tame strikes and Go selling the hell out of it. But when Suwama starts choking the life out of Go grabbing the throat every way possible and then unconscionable pounding him into the turnbuckle, I start coming around. And when Go finally makes his comeback and they go full bore with no-selling and fire ups, it’s beautiful stuff. ****1/2

19. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (c). NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling. 10/14/2013. Okada avoids an early dropkick attempt but HT avoids as well and Okada whiffs. HT wants the Cloverleaf and we’re off to the races. Okada grabs the ropes to get a break. They slow things down and go face to face and soak in the crowd and the moment. HT backs up so they can circle and feel each other out. They trade waistlocks with HT grabbing a Masterlock only to get taken down and countered. HT floats back on top and grinds a headlock. Okada tries to send him off but HT hangs on. Okada tries again only to eat a shoulderblock. BACKTOTHEHEADLOCK! Okada gets to his feet and tries to trip up HT but he’s a step ahead and drops back down… INTO THE HEADLOCK! WOOOOOOOOOO! Okada sends him off and leap frogs but still can’t get free of HT’s lying headlock. Good stuff so far. Okada finally works his way into a corner for a break. HT is fired up and comes back at him and chains into a HEADLOCK! GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Okada counters to a headlock of his own and now he’s the one delivering the shoulderblock. He goes to the DR FG’s and a slingshot senton. Neckbreaker gets 1, 2, only 2 for Okada. He preps the elbows in the corner. HT counters so Okada puts him up top. HT boots him off and tries an attack but lands awkwardly on the knee. Okada can’t even capitalize before the announcers and the ref start going crazy about HT’s health and safety. Okada picks him up to move in for the kill and HT collapses before he can even be attacked. All of the years of carrying Japan finally got to that guy. We get replays of the sickening tear of the ACL—BUT WAIT! SMALL PACKAGE FOR 1, 2, NO! HT IS UP! THE WHOLE THING WAS A RUSE! AIR GUITAR!

• He clips Okada’s knee and then armdrags him over into a resthold. He drives the arm into the mat for a bit. Okada grinds it some more and goes to another resthold. This is going to have to have quite the second half to touch the second match for best of the bunch. ANYWAY, Okada rolls him up but HT quickly counters back into the hold. They go through that again before Okada rolls into a rope break. HT stays on the arm but Okada tries to fire up with forearms with the bad arm but the pain is too much and he collapses selling. He recovers and sends off HT but eats a burrito. HT slams him down for a somersault leg drop off the top but Okada rolls out of the way. He cuts off HT with the DSLW. Okada brings him down for a yakuza kick and Okada kips up for a flapjack as well. Cover gets 1, 2, no. HT counters a whip but misses on a dive in the corner and gets dropkicked out to the floor in a usual Okada spot. Okada sends him into the rail for another yakuza kick. Orton DDT follows off the rail and Okada is on a roll. Back in, Okada with another DDT and he rolls HT into the Deep in Debt. HT makes the ropes after a bit and Okada slams him down to head up top. HT recovers to cut him off and STEAL HIS TAUNT. Okada yakuza kicks him in the face so it’s slug it out time. Thankfully, Okada is STILL selling the arm from earlier if only for a bit. They each grab each other by the hair and fire up simultaneously for more forearms. HT looks to win as he blocks a yakuza kick with a DSLW. Okada wants a dropkick but whiffs so HT kicks him TO THE BAD ARM! NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL, NJPW STYLE!

• HT forearms and elbows the arm to pieces. Dragon Screw ARM Whip from HT. HT boots away on the arm and even tosses the ref away. HT now starts headbutting the arm over the ref’s protestations. Okada tries a Spinebuster to comeback to HT slides down his back so Okada wants RED INK! HT thankfully makes the ropes to save himself the punishment. HT comes right back and breaks the arm over the top rope. Okada fires up for a yakuza kick and the Emerald Frowsion neckbreaker. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Heavy Rain gets 1, 2, no as well. Okada heads up top for a big elbow drop but SELLS THE ARM! OKADA POSE WITH ONE ARM! He tries Rainmaker but HT blocks the arm and then clips the knee. Roll up for 1, 2, 2.99. RAINMAKER OUT OF NOWHERE! But the arm is too hurt to cover. Delayed cover gets 1, 2, 2.999. Okada now locks in Red Ink. He torques the hold but his bad arm is too hurt to keep it locked in(!). HT drags himself over for a rope break. Okada wants the Tombstone but his arm is too hurt. HT goes to arm on the arm with forearms and a Euro uppercut. DRAGON SUPLEX! SLING BLADE!

• Double KO. Okada tries to fire up but runs into a big boot. HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY! HIGH FLY FLOW! NO! Okada rolls to the floor. HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY TO THE FLOOR! HT is laboring and goes to pick up Okada. NO! TOMBSTONE ON THE FLOOR! Okada crawls back in and HT beats the count as well at 19. Another double KO as they both milk the count to drive the crowd crazy. They slug it out and HT immediately goes to the arm. Okada forearms back but sells the impact of each stroke. Okada wants some Euro uppercuts of his own and a Bluechipper dropkick. Another Bluechipper dropkick. RAINMAKER! NO! RAINMAKER FROM HT! 1, 2, 2.9999999999999. Styles Clash and HT heads up top. HIGH FLY FLOW! ANOTHER! NO! OKADA GETS THE KNEES UP! Bluechipper dropkick enzuigiri. Okada wants another Tombstone but HT counters back so Okada counters one more time into it. Okada is fired up for RAINMAKER! NO! YES! NO! YES! NO! YES! NO! BACKSLIDE! NO! RAINMAKER! 1, 2, 3 for Okada to retain at 35:19.

• A great match but one that doesn’t quite get over the fully monty hump that the second one did. Honestly if I had to rank their matches from this year, I’d say the Invasion Attack is the best with the draw in the G1 tournament being second, this one being third, and the January match where Okada kicks out of the HFF last (with all four matches being ****1/2+).  At this point, you know what you’re getting with these matches and it’s just picking nits that separates them. I felt like the story was great as usual but not as unexpected as the one in the draw or the April title change. Okada’s go to the dropkick off the top and in captive moments during the final minutes felt less than stellar. At one point, Okada tried a DSLW on HT that completely went nowhere so he could round off with more yakuza kicks to the floor. Tanahashi’s arm work and Okada’s selling were all top notch. Okada faking out an injured knee was perfect to show the heel lengths he would go to to win this like HBK back in 2008. The end was as usual the best part with Okada needing five counters before he finally nailed the Rainmaker to take it home. ****1/2

18. Two-out-of-Three Falls: Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro. WWE NXT 08/22/2013. Cesaro comes swaggering out without Swagger and Zeb and therefore Zayn flip dives on him to get us started. Back in, before the commentary can finish recounting the feud, Zayn swarms Cesaro with a quick yakuza kick. Zayn school boys Cesaro for 1, 2, 3 to take the first fall at :09. Zayn clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a GENERIC HAMMER to the floor. He sends Cesaro into the stairs. They slug it out on the floor before Zayn slides Cesaro back in. Cesaro runs into a leg lariat for a fleeting 1 count. Zayn mounts in the corner for the punches but only gets to 8 before Cesaro counters. Zayn tries a sunset flip but Cesaro puts the brakes on for a double foot stomp. Zayn moves out of the way and elbows a charging Cesaro. Crossbody from Zayn gets 1, 2, only 2. Cesaro counters a whip and flapjack Cesaro into the ropes for a brief 1 count. Cesaro mounts for the GnP. Cesaro locks in a chinlock and Zayn tries to drive him into the corner but Cesaro goes back to the hair to reapply. Zayn again powers into the corner so Cesaro hoists him up for a powerbomb for 1, 2, 2 ½. Back to the chinlock but Zayn again out with a jawbreaker. Zayn with a head of steam but runs into a LARIATO. Double foot stomp gets 1, 2, only 2. Zayn fires back with forearms and chops but Cesaro counters to the grappling TD. Cesaro mounts and boots away and another double foot stomp. He wants a Karelin lift but Zayn counters mid-flight to the sunset flip for 1, 2, 2.99.

• Cesaro whiffs on a charge and eats a rana for 1, 2, nearfall. Cesaro bridges into a SNAP AB SUPLEX! 1, 2, NO! We take a break and are back to Cesaro applying a Sleeper variation. Zayn sends him off but Cesaro catches him trying a leap frog. Zayn counters to another school boy for 1, 2, no. Cesaro sends him off and tries to flapjack him but again Zayn counters to the dropkick mid-fight. He rushes in but again gets caught in the Sleeper. Cesaro then BIG SWINGS HIM WHILE IN THE SLEEPER! ZAYN TAPS AT 8:44!

• Obviously we're tied at 1-1 now. Cesaro rushes in with a BRUTAL Euro uppercut. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99. Zayn is done but still fights back by grabbing Cesaro's ear. Cesaro shrugs him off and then SUPERPLEXES HIM FROM THE APRON! ONE, TWO, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT'IM! Cesaro like a maniac gets in Zayn's face and yells, “YOU WILL NEVER, EVER BEAT ME!” Cesaro beats him up but Zayn slides down his back for a roll up for 1, 2, NO! SLEEPER! BRET HART COUNTER FOR 1, 2, 2.9999999999999999. Yakuza kick for 1, 2, kickout. Cesaro blocks a whip with stiff forearms. He gathers up Zayn for a powerbomb but Zayn counters to the CODE RED! 1, 2, NO! Cesaro bails out to take a breather. On the floor, Zayn measures and then charges in for a SWINGING DDT THROUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THE ROPES! Cesaro stumbles and falls down as the count approaches 10 but he just barely makes it back. Cover gets 1, 2, no. Zayn uses a knuckle lock to go back up for another Tornado DDT. CESARO BLOCKS! GUILLOTINE FROM ZAYN! NO! Cesaro powers him up for the SWISS DEATH FROM BELOW! NEUTRALIZER! 1, 2, 3, AND ZAYN IS DONE AT 14:42!

• I like the structure and story of a flash pin followed by two straight for a superior heel, but would have liked a bit different execution to get there. The flip splash/yakuza kick at the beginning probably needed one more move to make the flash pin more creditable. Also, I appreciate Cesaro trying to bring the Sleeper/chinlock back as a believable hold but it doesn't quite do it for me. Generico is a better babyface than Zayn (if that makes any sense) as Zayn has just a slew of roll ups mostly in his regular arsenal and Generico has more versatility in that respect. Still, there were some badass counters, an awesome story (plucky babyface tries to take down the crafty WWE veteran), and a great finishing stretch. ****1/2

17. Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii. NJPW New Japan Cup 2013 03/17/2013. 2nd round of the tournament. They collide on a shoulderblock and both no sell early. A second time, third time, FOURTH TIME! FIFTH! DOWN GOES ISHII! Time for the chops. They lay into each other with the lumber and Ishii gets the best of that with several straight that leave Goto lying. Hanging vertical suplex gets 1, 2, only 2. Goto recovers to follow behind for a LARIATO. Goto lands a few front kicks and the spinwheel kick into the Saito suplex. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Ishii drives him into the corner to counter a waistlock and lands a powerslam. Goto hits the corner LARIATO but Ishii no sells for a HANGING SUPERPLEX! BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAST! Goto tries to recover with another follow behind but Ishi follows behind him FOLLOWING BEHIND HIM! DOUBLE LARIATO! Forearm warfare follows with Ishii doubling up with both forearms. He fires up but Goto ducks behind for a GERMAN SUPLEX! NO SELL! GERMAN SUPLEX! NO SELL! DOUBLE LARIATO! BOTH MEN GO DOWN! We're at 5 minutes in for those keeping time. Another double LARIATO and neither goes down! AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN! In a beautiful callback, they go to a fifth time again and Goto finally succumbs. 1, 2, 2.9999999.

• Ishii tries a powerbomb but Goto flies out and blocks a jumping enzuigiri. Ishii catches his kick as well only to eat an enzuigiri. Angle slam gets 1, 2, no. Ishii ducks the spinning LARIATO for a fireman's carry but Goto ducks behind for a BLATANLOWBLOW into a German suplex. Bridge gets 1, 2, nearfall. Goto tries to fire up again but Ishii lands a desperation Saito suplex. Powerbomb gets 1, 2, 2.99. Ishii lands a LARIATO but Goto shakes it off to thunder in for one of his own. Both men are throwing everything they've got into these LARIATOS. They go through another round but still neither will go down. Ishii lands another but Goto fires up for ANOTHER. Ishii is finally humbled into selling even though he has NO gas but keeps standing stiff. Goto tries to lay him out with a final one but Ishii lays him out with a HEADBUTT! Ishii runs into the FU neckbreaker. Goto says THAT'S IT and lands the LARIATO HOMICIDA! 1, KICKOUT! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Goto wants the Shouten but Ishii escapes into the corner. Ishii tries to headbutt his way off the top rope but Goto headbutts him back. SUPER FU NECKBREAKER! 1, 2, 2.999999999. Goto wants a suplex but Ishii counters so Goto counters THAT by ducking behind for another slug it out sequence so Ishii lands the jumping enzuigiri. Goto recovers but runs into a LARIATO. 1, 2, NO! HANGING BRAINBUSTER! 1, 2, NO! Ishii tries another but Goto blocks and it's a stalemate as they both play dead weight. After several both collide on LARIATOS and headbutts. Ishii lands another headbutt before Goto takes him down with a LARIATO! URA SHOUTEN! 1, 2, 2.99999999999999999999999. SHOUTEN! 1, 2, 3 for Goto to win it at 17:03.

• One of the best 50/50 matches you'll ever see with both guys looking super strong and not wanting to give an inch. They brilliantly weave in sequences where they refuse to go down and then alternately end up taking the final fall/sell in the sequence. Just a superb power match. ****1/2

16. Three Way Ladder Match for the PWG World Tag Team Championship: The Inner-City Machine Guns vs. The DojoBros vs. The Young Bucks (c). PWG TEN. 08/09/2013. Big brawl to start with both face teams separating the Bucks and then trying to stack them up. Nick avoids the collision to the apron and hits the FRONT DOUBLE BI! YEAHHHHHHH! The DojoBros knock him into next week which so happens to be the third row in a cool spot. Instead all the faces, line up for corner strikes on Matt. Roddy finishes him off with a backbreaker. Nick is back to dump out EE and springboard X-Factor Roddy down. ASAI MOONSAULT TO EE! Matt fights off both ICMG and hits the Shiranui/dropkick combo. DRFG from Nick and the Bucks are fired up. They single out Swann but he lands on his feet and the ICMG line them up for double dropkicks and standing moonsaults. EE and Roddy cut them off for double suplexes onto the Bucks with Ricochet, as usual, adding in an extra twist. Good stuff so far. Roddy and EE go to the chops on Ricochet. He tries to fire up but gets pounded down and so does Swann. LET'SGODOJOLET'SGODOJO! Swann runs into a flapjack and double chop. The Dojo twins break out a ladder. They avoid the Bucks sliding in but can't avoid the ICMG sliding in with the slam into the ladder. The ICMG follow out with topes on everyone. The Bucks no sell to pull Swann to the floor for superkicks. Ricochet flips out of a suplex but gets tripped up. Roddy is backdropped onto the ladder. EE gets wedged in a headscissors to also take a superkick. Nice.

• Nick preps the ladder and uses it as a bridge into another tope. The Bucks break out an old Lowes ladder. Steen: “Look, how old and shitty it is.” Swann is back up to eat a gutbuster and flipping neckbreaker. Nick climbs up but Swann no sells to meet him there as well. Matt flips his way into climbing up for an ANTICLIMATIC BACK RAKE! AIR GUITAR! YEAHHHHHHHHH! Nick planchas to the floor on EE to prevent his comeback. Matt starts climbing but Swann pulls him down for a superkick as Steen continues burying the ladder. Nick trashes Swann and now he's climbing but Swann is back up. Nick encourages him to push over the ladder because he's prepared for the double jump tope that he's broken out a few times. Swann oblidges but Nick misjudges and crotches himself on the top rope. Swann steals Jericho's C'MONBABY and then handsprings into an Ace Crusher on Matt.

• Nick tries to come back in but again gets crotched. Things have slowed down a bit after that red hot start. EE comes in for an enzuigiri on Swann. Roddy hits the knee strike on Jackon and then drops him on the ladder. Swann leaps and SWAM team rolls past Roddy into a FROG SPLASH ON NICK! OK, that was awesome too. Swann fights off Dojo with kicks and Ricochet adds in a double missile dropkick as well. Ricochet sets up a few ladders for an obvious spot collision coming. He starts climbing the rickety tall ladder. Fans: “IT'S NOT SAFE! IT'S NOT SAFE!” And right they are as it has bent support beams keeping it upright. Jackson pushes the ladder back and Ricochet steals the double jump into a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT! Fans: “STILL NOT SAFE! STILL NOT SAFE!” Swann pulls off Matt for a kick and more Jericho aping. He shoves over the ladder and it's even more trashed now. The Bucks take him out with a BuckleBomb/enzuigiri combo. Ricochet in to eat a BuckleBomb into a ladder as well.

• LET'SGOYOUNGBUCKS/FUCKTHEYOUNGBUCKS dueling chants. Roddy pulls off Matt off the ladder and EE helps him take out both Bucks with strikes and a nice gutbuster/LARIATO combo. Matt takes more strikes a beast Backcracker into a Double Foot Stomp. Awesome stuff. Swann tries to counter EE into a rana but lands instead in the CANADIAN MAPLELEAF! Ricochet leaps up and Roddy lowers himself into a Ace Crusher. Ricochet also with a RegalPlex on EE. Ricochet places the shitty ladder in a neutral corner and Nick Jackson tries to cut him off but Swann enzuigiris him down. Ricochet then dives THROUGH the ladder for a swinging DDT. That's awesome if completely nonsensical. Ricochet then runs back THROUGH the ladder and topes OVER THE RINGPOST OVER A LADDER ONTO THE FLOOR! That was awesome and logical. Nick then MDK bombs Swann THROUGH A TABLE! HOLY SHIT! Back in, Ricochet is cut off by the Bucks and eats a Spike Tombstone OFF THE LADDER! Dojo in but both whiff on chops and EAT LADDER! The Bucks try to capitalize but both get tied up in the ladder attempting superkicks. Stereo strikes from DojoBros in retaliation. Bucks no sells for double superkicks only for Dojo to no sell back for double knees and kicks. That was pretty damn awesome as well. Swann now fires up to climb two ladders at the same time because... the one ladder is barely standing? Dojo recovers double foot stomp him into a Razor's Edge after almost dropping him. EE climbs up but Matt hits the BLATANTLOWBLOW and Nick hurries up to recover the belts at 17:42.

• Awesome stuff for the second year in a row if not quite up to the standards of the classic from last year. Nothing quite reaches the highs of Rick Knox taking a spill only to come out firing on all cylinders for revenge against the Bucks, but for me personally, DojoBros are a step up from Future Shock and Swann and Ricochet are a lateral move at worst. If you cut out a rather dull, few minute stint in the middle, you've got a serious MOTYC but as is, it's a little off if still awesome. ****1/2

15. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi. NJPW G1 Climax – Day 8. 08/10/2013. Okada is still IWGP champ but this is non-title. Crowd is rocking at the bell as HT plays some air guitar. Lockup takes them into the ropes and Okada gives the clean break and hits his pose. HT bum rushes him but gets his leg caught. Okada releases for the Euro uppercuts. He sends HT off but whiffs on a dropkick. Okada swings him off for the Rainmaker but HT counters to a roll up for 1, 2, 2 ½. Okada bails out to regroup. HT chant going but it dies as Okada gets back in the ring. HT with a go-behind but they trade arm wringers with Okada getting the advantage. HT drops him down into the Indian Deathlock but Okada goes back to the wrist. HT rolls through but Okada stays on top. HT rolls through but again Okada on top with the headlock. ECW STANDOFF! After a pause they go through more chain with Okada grabbing a headlock. HT sends him off and eats a shoulderblock. HT tries to clip the knee with a dropkick but Okada avoids and mocks the puny attempt by HT. HT plays possum and tries it again but AGAIN Okada outsmarts him. Beautiful. HT gets the elbow up in the corner and crossbodies Okada into an armdrag. HT switches to working the armbar/Americana combo. Okada gets the ropes and we're back to square 1. HT stays on the arm and drives it into the mat. HT drives it into the mat some more and F4's it while the announcers talk about how it feel affect Okada using the Rainmaker.

• Okada tries to roll him up but HT rolls him back over into a hold on the arm. Okada gets the ropes but HT stays on him wrapping the arm around the ropes. HT tries to charge in but Okada counters to the Orton DDT out of the corner. Okada starts immediately selling the neck. Neckbreaker gets a 1 count for Okada. HT fights back and knocks down Okada but he brags too long and gets dropkicked off the turnbuckle to the floor. Okada places his neck in the rail for some international object flavor. Yakuza kick sends HT into the first row. HT staggers but beats the count at 17. Okada pounces with a basement dropkick for 1, 2, 2 ½. Crowd tries to get behind HT but Okada applies the crucifix chinlock. HT fights and ties up in the ropes but OKADA WON'T RELEASE THE HOLD! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Okada goes to the forearms to the back and HT's selling is atrocious at the moment. Luckily, he fires back on offense only to eat a straitjacket neckbreaker. Okada locks in the arm-trap, uranage choke but then releases and HT goes down in a heap.

• Okada tries a senton but HT moves to cut him off. They trade shots to the gut and HT flies off the ropes with a burrito. HT with a slam and a Swanton off the second rope for 1, 2, only 2. Okada tries to counter a whip so HT comes back with the usual shot to the leg and a chop block. HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE KNEE! DSLW! Okada rolls to the floor for HT's High Fly Flow crossbody. Back in, Okada tries to step through but HT grabs the leg for the DSLW IN THE ROPES! HT wants the Cloverleaf but Okada gets the ropes. HT stomps away on the bad leg. HT stomps in the neighborhood of 20 times on the bad knee. HT sends off Okada but Okada collapses in AGONY. THAT is selling. HT charges in only eat a flapjack to cut him off. They slug it out with forearms and Okada is DONE. He can't even make it to his feet. He won't go out like that and brings himself up for another forearm but collapses again. STOP THE MATCH! Okada has too much heart and it's fire up time with the forearms for both. Euro uppercut from HT and a few more from Okada. Okada blocks a shot to the leg and takes over with a DDT. Heavy Rain gets 1, 2, 2.99.

• Okada heads up top for the big elbow drop and hits it. Okada fires up for the Rainmaker but HT ducks for a Sling Blade. NO! He counters through for the Dragon Suplex into the arm capture bridged German suplex. 1, 2, no. HT won't release but Okada counters to the Emerald Flowsion neckbreaker. Double KO spot. They go back to slugging it out but this time HT goes to the knees with each shot. HT switches to smacks because he has no gas. He avoids a dropkick though with DSLW! 2! Cloverleaf! Okada tries for the ropes and may not make it but finally reaches it on his third effort. HT steals Okada's pose. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Okada tries to shitcan him out in desperation but HT skins the cat back in. Sling Blade and HT wants the High Fly Flow. OKADA ROLLS UNDER! Okada wants another Emerald Flowsion neckbreaker but HT rolls through. NO! RED INK! HT makes the ropes. Okada gathers him up for the Tombstone but HT counters out by going to the knee. Sling Blade is countered with the dropkick enzuigiri. TOMBSTONE! RAINMAKER! NO! SLING BLADE! NO! RAINMAKER FROM HT! BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! HT CAN'T MAKE THE COVER! 1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6! 7! Both men are up. Dragon suplex from HT gets 1, 2, 2.9999. STYLES CLASH! HIGH FLY FLOW! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO KNEES UP! Both men are having a hard time getting to their feet. Okada hangs on for the Rainmaker but HT elbows free. Bluechipper dropkick from Okada. RAINMAKER! NO! THE KNEE GIVES OUT! Time limit draw at 30:00.

• Awesome draw even if this has nothing on the April match. I'd probably take this one over the January defense just because I feel like the finishing stretch is better even without a proper finish. This was pretty average for these two for the first half of the match, but I liked how they avoided having the same match. HT didn't really work the knee until halfway through the match instead settling for the arm though that went nowhere. Okada's selling is BITW worthy as always. ****1/2

14. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker. WWE Wrestlemania XXIX. 04/07/2013. After losing back to back to the Rock and Cena, Punk was left stag for WM. He rose to the occasion and defeated Show, Orton, and Sheamus to go against UT for the streak. Punk would go on to mock Taker, steal the Urn with the dearly departed Paul Bearer's ashes, and then have Paul Heyman dress up as Paul Bearer in the cheapest of cheap heel and heat moments. Punk gets the live band intro usually reserved for Trips, Rock, or Cena. UT responds with one of his best entrances ever over outstretched anonymous arms grasping for his limbs.

• Punk uses his speed early to keep some distance and SMACK THE DEAD MAN! JBL: “I LOVE IT!” Punk cuts UT off at the pass with forearms before Chioda demands a break. UT goozles him into the corner but again Punk ducks under for a smack. Punk: “C'MON!” Punk with an enzuigiri and the crowd is... behind him or at least doesn't hate him. UT comes back with a FOOT TO THE FACE and he dumps Punk out. On the floor, UT goes to the soup bones and he sends Punk into the timekeeper's table. UT trashes him into the SAT and preps it. First, UT posts Punk back-first. UT gets him to the apron for the usual leg drop. Cue up the dueling chants. JBL: “80,000 chanting for The Undertaker.” Yeah, something like that.

• Back in, Punk is reeling and Chioda keeps warning UT so UT stink eyes him back to an adjacent corner. UT goes to the shoulder surges to prep Old School. Punk counters to an arm drag off the top to cut UT off. Punk wants New School and HITS IT! OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! CMPUNK chant for that. Punk with a Russian leg sweep for 1, 2, only 2. Heyman: “YOU ALREADY HAD A TWO! YOU ARE ONE SECOND AWAY!” UT fights off a rest hold and sends Punk across for a shot. UT wants the Liu Kang kick but Punk ducks and UT ties himself up in the ropes. Punk baseball slide kicks him to the floor. Punk flies off with a STRAIGHT EDGE HAMMER to the floor. Neckbreaker gets 1, 2, no back in. Punk goes to more shoulder surges of his own. UT tries to comeback but Punk ducks under for a swinging neckbreaker for 1, 2, 2 ½. Heyman: “YOU'RE A HALF SECOND AWAY! YOU'RE A HALF SECOND AWAY FROM DEFEATING THE STREAK! IT'S MOMENTUM! YOU'RE GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER!” Punk applies another chinlock to slow things down. UT suplexes him over but runs into a boot from Punk in the corner to cut him back off. Punk wants ANOTHER New School but UT crotches him and uppercuts him to the floor. Heyman: “WHAT HAPPENED!? WHAT HAPPENED?! YOU GOTTA GET UP!” UT goes for the plancha but Heyman distracts on the apron. BOOOOOOOO! GOOZLE! Punk breaks it up and sneaks Taker with a springboard clothesline for 1, 2, 2 ½. Punk hits the step up knee and short arm clothesline. He preps the Macho elbow. He hits it for 1, 2, no. Punk calls for the G2S but UT slides out and goozles him. CHOKESLAM! 1, 2, KICKOUT! They slug it out and UT pulls him into the corner for shots. Ho Train follows. Cole: “NOW, YOU FEEL IT!” Snake Eyes and UT wants the rebound LARIATO. NO! Punk cuts him off with a leg lariat. 1, 2, 2.99. Nice cutoff. A clothesline sends UT to the floor. Punk pres the announce table. UT wants LAST RIDE THROUGH THE TABLE! NO! Punk slides out for an enzuigiri. UT lands on the announce table and Punk throws caution to the wind. He climbs back in for the MACHO ELBOW OFF THE TOP TO THE ANNOUNCE TABLE! THE TABLE DOESN'T BREAK!

• Back in, Punk is shoot favoring the knee as he took a hard bump on the announce table. Chioda gets to 9 on the count before UT crawls back in. Heyman: “DO ANYTHING YOU HAVE TO DO!” Punk moves in for the kill but UT catches him in Hell's Gate. Punk gets tied up but still rolls over for a counter for 1, 2, no. Anaconda Vice is locked in. Chioda counts 1, 2, THE DEAD MAN IS ALIVE! UT Zombies up. Cole: “LOOK INTO THE EYES OF THE WALKING DEAD!” JBL: “That's not normal.” Goozle from UT but Punk slides out for G2S! UT NO SELLS! TOMBSTONE! ONE, TWO, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT'IM! UNBELIEVABLE! Double KO spot. They slug it out from their knees with Punk still getting a lot of cheers. Punk tries to kick out of a backdrop but UT no sells. GOOZLE! Punk bumps the ref. Heyman distracts and Punk spinkicks UT to the gut. Another step up knee but UT no sells. LAST RIDE TIME! Heyman slips the urn to Punk. URN WAFFLE TO COUNTER! 1, 2, 2.99. Heyman and Punk know that in the words of Jim Morrison, this is the end, my only friend, the end. Punk throat slashes for a G2S but UT elbows out. Tombstone no but Punk counters and they can't get it together. UT finally lands on top with a Tombstone. 1, 2, 3 and UT takes it at 22:07.

• Whereas the Trips/UT matches, while awesome in their own right, compensate with lots of laying around or “epic” moments and “selling”, this match is structured to allow Punk to do his thing and UT to save his tank for comebacks and character moments -- Punk uses speed; UT takes over with strength for revenge and signature spots; Punk cuts off a signature spot and steals it; Punk stays one step ahead countering every one of UT's comebacks; UT finally fires for no selling but even that doesn't keep Punk down; Punk kicks out of a no sold G2S-Tombstone; Punk finally falls victim losing the counter game and eating a second Tombstone. As always, Heyman from the apron is good for an extra ½* or so. ****1/2

The 411: *10.0 is a default rating for the best of the year.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  10.0   [ Virtually Perfect ]  legend


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