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Figure Four Weekly 9/11/2017: Is the WWE main roster ready for Asuka?

Is The WWE Main Roster Ready For Asuka?

 

by Joseph Currier (@josephcurrier)

With her vacating the NXT Women's Championship and the storyline of both brands negotiating for her to join them, it appears that it won't be very long until Asuka arrives on the main roster.

That segment with her relinquishing the title aired on NXT TV last week, with there having been no announcement of how the next champion will be decided. But whoever it is, whether it's someone currently in NXT or one of the Mae Young Classic finalists, they'll have a difficult time living up to the standard that Asuka set.

After the era of the Four Horsewomen, Asuka was the center of the NXT women's division. Holding the title for 500-plus days, there were points where her dominance overshadowed the rest of the division. Fans mostly saw her as above everyone else and had a difficult time buying into any challenger as a credible threat.

While it's fitting that Asuka leaves NXT undefeated and without actually losing the title, the decision presents an interesting dynamic as she gets called up.

Asuka losing the championship could have been an incredible moment; one that would have added legitimacy to whoever beat her. Even losing to her twice helped Ember Moon a lot. If Kairi Sane or Shayna Baszler won the title from Asuka after coming in from the Mae Young Classic, they would have seamlessly transitioned into the role of the new face of the NXT women's division.

That's not the road that WWE chose to take, but their decision will prove to be correct if they capitalize on it as Asuka joins Raw or SmackDown.

There's been a lot of skepticism about how Asuka will fare on the main roster. That's largely a reaction to how Bayley's time on Raw has gone, and the cynicism is likely at least somewhat valid. Asuka's run in NXT was a perfect combination of talent and presentation joining together to make a superstar. She may do well in WWE, but the women's division won't solely revolve around her.

Bayley's call-up hasn't gone well for a lot of reasons, but she's more of an outlier than the rule. Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Nia Jax have all thrived since joining the main roster. And WWE's three other Horsewomen have unquestionably been success stories despite the occasional bumps in the road.

Wherever she goes, Asuka has a ready-made storyline and fresh opponents waiting for her. She has the opportunity to instantly add life to either women's division by freshening things up. Her story is one of the easiest to tell in pro wrestling. She's a dominant and undefeated outsider who's coming up to replicate the success that she had elsewhere. Everyone reading this can already imagine themselves getting slightly annoyed as commentary constantly points out that she never lost her title in NXT. While WWE has never been able to really encapsulate what made Bayley special before being promoted, Asuka's transition should be a smoother one.

There will be some aura lost with the inevitable overexposure of being featured on television more and having more matches, but Asuka is beyond talented enough in the ring and has enough charisma to make things work. She's obviously ready for her promotion. We'll just have to see if the main roster is ready for her.

 

Mexico Notes

 

by Dr. Lucha Steve Sims (@DrLuchaJr)

It's Anniversary show time!

That's the end of exclamation points for this week. The card is, to put it mildly, underwhelming. It's a slightly-bigger-than-usual Friday night card with two mask matches added on. To me, this has me less interested than any Anniversary show in the past 20 years.

The main event features a men's singles match of máscara contra máscara with tecnico Niebla Roja, age 31, 9 years since his debut battling rudo El Gran Guerrero, age 24, 9 years since his debut. Niebla Roja will be likely seconded by his brother, El Ángel De Oro, while Gran Guerrero will be likely be seconded by his brother, Ultimo Guerrero. Gran Guerrero is a very heavy favorite. He has improved more over the past few months and year than Roja. Roja has in fact been rumored anyway to be calling it a career by the end of this year, for whatever reason. So there's not so much drama in the outcome, it would seem. What is of interest is what form of Niebla Roja will show up. Since a match in late August in which he was hurt in a spot on the apron, Niebla Roja has been completely out of the public, excepting one appearance on CMLL's Informa show at which his complete absence from work for a few weeks, billed on cards but not working. CMLL seems to be under-promoting its titular main event the last month the same way AAA did in its last month for its Triplemania.

Third from the top will be a women's singles match of máscara contra máscara with tecnica La Princesa Sugehit, age 37, almost 22 years since her debut, versus ruda Zeuxis, age 28, 9 years since her debut. This match has been built well, though it may have really peaked about 4 months ago. There were rumors of Zeuxis being invited to WWE's Mae Young Classic, then Princesa Sugehit was the actual invitee, and those events feud speculation as to who would win. Now there's much more doubt than in most CMLL mask matches. Zeuxis is the much younger, has the much brighter future, is the better worker, and is ready to move up to be the #1 ruda in the CMLL firmament as La Amapola steps back her work load. Sugehit is the tecnica, and CMLL would normally be highly averse to having the heels win both stipulation matches at an anniversary show. Sugehit is going for her third big mask, and each time she would have defeated an English speaker if she wins. I suspect Zeuxis wins but this is one of those things that no result other than a draw would be a surprise, I also expect it to be a good match for this division and a very historic and memorable one, being the first-ever women's makes match on an Anniversary show in the 84 years since EMLL/CMLL's first show.

The rest of the card? Meh. None will likely be bad, one or two may even be very good, but they are there as attractions and exhibitions, not to take away from the two mask matches. If you watch it on iPPV, you won't be disappointed, but that's a low bar I suppose.

This is a horribly disappointing card overall, and combined with the bleh Dos Leyendas main event, it's really a frustrating year for fans of lucha and CMLL. Overall, by wide acclaim, CMLL's worst big-show year in I can't even remember how long. I believe they have pans for much bigger fish to fry over the next 2-3 years, but with that front office, who knows? Not an annus horribilus for CMLL, but their year pales against what could have been,

 

Europe Notes

 

by Oliver Court (@AnotherOli)

I will avoid spoilers for PROGRESS' Alexandra Palace show in this week's Euro notes, as the show took place last weekend but won't be up on Demand Progress until the end of the week. I will however comment on their big announcement that next year's 'big show' in September will take place at Wembley Arena, where NXT ran TakeOver: London in 2015. It's a major arena in the UK with a capacity upwards of 10,000, and has the capability of creating a great wrestling venue atmosphere. This is a ballsy move by PROGRESS to run such a large venue, way up in capacity from the circa 2,000 seats of Alexandra Palace. With a year between now and then, there's every possibility that they will receive direct help from WWE to run such a large building, because to aim for such a capacity without that major support would be very difficult, and running a smaller configuration of the building would defeat the purpose of running it. This will be a story to follow throughout 2018, and rest assured PROGRESS will put major effort into selling the show.

On a personal level though, I'm just happy that the 5 month-long build to Alexandra Palace is over and we can get on with more focussed 'standalone' Chapters throughout the winter, which will hopefully yield more great matches and less overwrought 'go-home' booking that has pervaded the last few Chapters.

wXw have announced the participants and first round matchups for the Femme Fatales tournament, which will run in conjunction with the World Tag Team League on the Saturday afternoon of the weekend, as AMBITION does with 16 Carat. Jinny vs Toni Storm is the major first round match, obviously a matchup that gained a lot of traction in PROGRESS, with Jinny being one of the favourites in wXw's four-women round-robin Women's Championship tournament, which will end in December. Alex Windsor vs Pauline, Laura Di Matteo vs 'Alpha Female' Jazzy Gabert, and Viper vs Melanie Grey rounds out the Femme Fatales first round. It's good to see wXw putting a bigger spotlight on their women's division now, giving native Melanie Grey more regular opposition and establishing a central cast of women to serve as the core of the division.

 

Japan Notes

 

by Alan Counihan (@Alan4L)

I don't know whether something was put in the water or if there was an inspiring locker room motivational speech, but the recently aired Dragon Gate shows from August 13th and 20th were noticeably different than anything we've seen from the company this year. There was a spark, energy and intensity to the performances of everyone up and down the roster which made for two killer shows in Kobe and Hakata respectively.

From youngsters like El Lindaman and Takehiro Yamamura to veterans like CIMA and K-ness, everyone in the company put forward maximum effort in an effort to produce some top tier bouts. CIMA in particular really seemed to be trying to lead by example. The 40 year old star with a litany of injuries was wrestling like a 19 year old. He was non-stop whether he was in the ring or on the apron playing cheerleader. He was busting out moves I haven't seen from in years and some I've never seen him do. If his goal was to inspire, it certainly worked because everyone else followed suit.

The highlight bout was the 8/20 main event. Part of the Unit Survival League, the Over Generation vs. Verserk eight man tag had high stakes attached and they wrestled like it. As it got going the 25 minute match started to feel like some of the classic multiman tags that DG is famous for. They were cutting a frantic pace by the half way point and there was no let up as they blitzed through an amazing finishing stretch which culminated in Yamamura's picture perfect Sky Twister Press for the pinfall. For the style, this one of the best bouts in recent years.

The reunited Speed Muscle team of Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi were also on fire in both of their matches. They were part of an excellent 8 man main on 8/13, and then had a belter in the semi main slot of 8/20 against YAMATO and BxB Hulk. I've said this many times, but the way Yoshino is wrestling right now, with a back that was broken in January, defies logic physics and even religion! The guy is unreal and he was awesome in this match. Now in his late 30's, he's still the fastest wrestler on earth.

Shingo Takagi, the biggest heel in the company, and probably the best heel in the business was incredible on both shows too. His tag match with best pal Takashi Yoshida (former Cyber Kong) against the classic team of K-ness & Jimmy Susumu (K-neSuka) was such a fun bully heel vs sympathetic babyface style bout. The finish with K-ness upsetting Takagi with his Hikari No Wa (endless cradle) was so awesome and got a gigantic pop.

Coming off these shows, it feels exciting again to be a Dragon Gate fan! I just can't wait to watch the next one.

 

TV Reviews

 

by Bryan's Friend Vince (@FO_VVerhei)

Retro NWA (8/15/87)

Show opened with a clip of Ric Flair interrupting a match between the Midnight Express and the Garvins. Jim Cornette was frantically begging Flair not to interfere as Ronnie made a comeback. You see, Cornette did not want to lose, so he wanted to avoid the DQ unless absolutely necessary.

Jimmy Garvin vs. Cougar Jay. Jimmy apparently didn't want to burn out this crowd in the opener, so he went out there and traded hammerlocks with Cougar Fucking Jay. An hour later Jimmy won with the brainbuster. It was hysterical because Jay is the guy who holds his arm at the side, defying gravity, when taking suplexes. So when he fell, he really did go down headfirst. Then Jimmy cut a promo saying Ronnie was going to beat Flair, Dusty Rhodes was going to beat Lex Luger, and he was teaming with Barry Windham to chase the Midnight Express and the US tag titles.

Kendall Windham vs. Gladiator #1. OH, NO. They had an atrocious match. Gladiator was clearly the superior wrestler. Think about that. There has never been a human being who looked goofier or more ungainly or more awkward running than Kendall Windham. Zach Gowen hopping the ropes was WAY more coordinated. Gladiator got the heat on him for a while. Kendall hit a dropkick and made a cover and hooked a leg. Gladiator got the FAR leg on the ropes. YOU ASSHOLES BOTH SUCK. Kendall hit a bulldog, for which the Gladiator took a flip bump, and won. FUCK THIS MATCH. (-**).

Kendall then cut a promo that was much much much much MUCH worse than his match. He lisped, he lost his train of thought, he mumbled, he had nothing to say, and he left. Kendall Windham is the Worst Wrestler of all Time of the Week, and of the last several months.

Jimmy Valiant vs. Terry Jones. Terry Jones is out there with his Buddy Landel hairdo in purple and lavendar gear. A phenomenal jobber. Valiant choked him with his boot for like a solid minute. This dude's dead. Jimmy pinned him with the boogie woogie elbow for the win. My mood has turned around. Jimmy then cut a promo at ringside. He talked about teaming with Lazer-Tron and Bugsy McGraw and chasing the six-man titles. Well that sounds appalling.

Sean Royal vs. Larry Stephens. Announcers finally started asking, where the fuck is Chris Champion? Royal had another 50-50 match with a jobber. Larry Stephens held him down with an armbar for a while. Announcers were bored and burying him, saying he needed to do more than just hold an arm. Stephens tried a monkey flip but Royal just pushed him away and hit the top-rope kneedrop for the win.

Flair video. At this point this is about as useful as "Nitro Girls danced.".

After the break they interviewed Royal and asked where Chris Champion was. Royal explained that Champion was right there, the fans at home could not see him due to an illusion, but we would understand in a few light years. Light years measure distance, not time. He began to imitate and call out Dusty Rhodes, rambled on about the New Breed, called out the Rock & Roll Express, and left. Tony was baffled. Jesus this guy.

Ronnie Garvin vs. Dexter Wescott. They claimed Flair had been champion for five years aside from Dusty Rhodes' title reign. I guess the Kerry Von Erich reign wasn't recognized in Atlanta. Ronnie beat him up forever. Even gave him some offense. He hit a chop to the chest and David Crockett briefly lost his mind. Eventually Garvin won with the knockout punch.

Dusty Rhodes cut a promo about learning the sleeperhold. He plugged shows in Denver and Detroit and promised Ronnie would beat Flair. Ronnie then appeared to speak for himself, swearing he had Flair's number and they both knew it. He invited all his Canadian friends to the Detroit show, to see a WAR with Ric Flair. He promised to take away everything precious to Flair, and said nobody could stop him. He had felt Flair shaking inside, felt the panic inside, Flair had called him out, and he was going to PAY for it! This was awesome.

Ivan Koloff cut a promo demanding stiffer competition, because they wanted to be champions. He hated negative people, bitter people who complained. He despised Dusty Rhodes, but admitted Dusty was a winner and a leader, not a whiner or quitter. He called out the SuperPowers, the Rock & Roll Express, the Garvins, and the Windhams.

Ragin' Bull & Barbarian vs. Rocky King & George Smith. George Smith had the best hair ever. It was a mullet, but like the ultimate blow-dry mullet. Just hair everywhere. Bull gave him one chance to do some stuff, but Smith tripped and Bull gave up on that. Barbarian hit a powerslam and I'm quite certain David Crockett had an orgasm. This beating went on a while. Barbarian hit an avalanche Samoan drop. This went through a break. Barbarian pinned King with a diving headbutt. This did not need to go this long.

They showed the full video of that Midnights-Garvins match from the beginning. Despite Cornette's protests, Flair hit the ring and attacked Ronnie. Barry Windham ran out to even the odds. Ronnie cradled Flair and hooked the trunks and the ref counted three. Wut. Flair was as confused as I was. Well, it got heat on Flair-Garvin while also setting up Jimmy and Barry as a team.

Flair came out for a promo. Flair promptly removed his shirt to show the scars on his chest from fighting Garvin. He promised he wouldn't let anyone embarrass him. He said Garvin wasn't ready for the suit, wasn't ready for the jets, wasn't ready to make love to all the women who wanted to go to bed with the champion. He vowed to put Garvin out of the sport, admitting that he had lost touch with reality and Garvin would pay. This was one of Flair's better promos, which would make it one of the best promos ever.

Teijo Khan vs. Keith Steinborn. I FOUND CHRIS CHAMPION. Wait. I stand corrected. Chris Champion wasn't Teijo Khan, he was Yoshi Kwan. Yoshi pinned him with an uppercut. Seriously.

Jim Cornette came out for a promo. He buried the Freebirds for being lousy wrestlers and even worse singers. He called out the SuperPowers, Barry Windham & Jimmy Garvin, and the Road Warriors, and again demanded a match against the Mulkeys.

Midnight Express vs. Ricky Nelson & Dave Diamond. I always love when Eaton goes to shake hands with geeks, and they won't, and he can't understand why. I don't know what was going on in there but Eaton and Nelson were having a real good laugh. Express did a weird double top rope elbow. Don't think that went off like they planned. So Stan double-armed suplex Nelson to the heavens. This went on awhile and Eaton won with a legdrop.

Mod Squad vs. Denny Brown & Italian Stallion. They did not do a squash. They did a competitive match. It was not very good. We got an Italian Stallion hot tag and comeback. Mod Squad cut him off, which made some fans very happy, and won with a top rope elbow.

Barry Windham vs. Ed Franks. Franks was clearly a smaller bodybuilder who was giving wrestling a try. He had a good body, but was short and had clearly never been in a fight before. I've never seen someone circle the ring so poorly, and I didn't know poor ring-circling was even a thing. Every time he ran the ropes, his arms stuck straight down at his side. Barry picked him up for a slam, and Ed dead-weighted him, and Barry just dropped him from up high with disgust. Ed making a strong push here to steal Kendall Windham's Worst Wrestler of All Time of the Week award. He came up short though, maybe if we had seen his promo. Barry won with a lariat. He cut a promo about the Detroit card, including defending his Western States title against Arn Anderson. Then he called out the Midnights. When all your champions are calling out other champions, you have too many champions.

Ivan Koloff vs. Colt Steele. Things were going fine for a while as long as Ivan beat him up. Then Colt Steele got offense. He couldn't string anything together. He had to hit the ropes, then stop. THen sort of do a leapfrog, then stop. Then do a horrendous dropkick, then stop. Ivan beat him with the Russian sickle, which is a totally different move than Nikita's Russian sickle. Then Ivan cut another promo about how strong Paul Jones' army was. He ran down Dusty Rhodes and Steve Williams, including an order from the Kremlin that Williams defend the belt against him. That was that. The Flair and Garvin stuff was good. Nothing else was. This show was boring.

WWE Retro Raw 276 (9/12/98)

Jeff Jarrett vs. Edge. You know, if they had shaved Jarrett's head at SummerSlam, it probably would have grown out to its current length by now anyway. Twenty seconds in Southern Justice walked down the aisle. They announced that the main event of Breakdown would be Steve Austin defending the world title against Undertaker and Kane in a triple-threat match, teasing that it would really be a handicap match. Edge was still very green here, but you could see the talent he brought to the table. They did some highspots early, then Jarrett took over and hit a thousand moves in a row. Still better than two minutes and a run-in DQ finish. Edge did the Three Amigos years before I ever saw Eddie Guerrero do it. Edge made his comeback, then Jarrett hit him with the guitar for the DQ. Judging by the sound, Edge was killed here. It was SO loud breaking over his head. Southern Justice left their business card on his chest.

Bradshaw vs. Droz. Ross said Droz had a torn bicep and should not be competing tonight. I'm sure that's true. Droz sure was a gifted athlete. He was flying all over the place here. They said Hawk had checked into rehab. These guys went 100 miles an hour from start to finish. Just move move move move move with zero downtime in between. No time to sell or get any crowd reaction. Bradshaw got the win with a cradle in the corner and his feet on the ropes. He laid Droz out with the clothesline from Hell afterwards for good measure.

Austin-Taker-Kane video package. Not as good as most video packages they've done, but it got the point across that Austin could beat Taker OR Kane, but not both. This was emphasized by showing Taker and Kane kill Vader with ease.

Marc Mero vs. Miguel Perez. I am loving this show that is just a bunch of wrestling matches with a decent amount of time. Very easy to watch. Amazing how much better the show gets when the writers get out of the way. Mero won clean with a TKO out of nowhere. Short, but fun action.

Michael Cole interviewed the Oddities and ICP. Violent J cut the best promo on this show since, well, the Rock last week.

Oddities vs. DOA. Oh god. Golga went to hit the earthquake splash and broke the top rope. Stupid DOA threw his head into the turnbuckle. Then they smartened up and started choking him with the ropes. ICP hit the ring for the DQ and got their asses kicked. Well this did suck but at least it was interesting.

Rock came out for a promo. He talked about losing the ladder match to Triple H at SummerSlam, saying he would always be the People's Champ regardless. He said everyone in this company had forgotten their damn role, including Kane and Undertaker. He knew last week when he confronted Kane and Taker they would whip his ass, but he was fine with that. He promised to get revenge on Kane for chokeslamming him last week. Short, but, you know, he's the Rock, so it was awesome.

Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart in the Lion's Den match at SummerSlam. In hindsight, this may have been where YAMMA got the idea for their cage. This was a 12-sided cage. They pretty much did a basic pro wrestling match in there, including bouncing off the walls of the cage like they were ropes. Very unique with no pinfalls and few submission attempts. They were just trying to knock each other out. Ross noted the surface had no give whatsoever, but these two kept doing slams and powerbombs in there. Owen hooked the sharpshooter. Shamrock got the cage and pulled himself out of it and hit a DDT off the cage. Owen cut him off and hooked a dragon sleeper, but Shamrock walked up the cage to escape and hooked the ankle lock. Dan Severn considered throwing in the towel, but walked away in disgust, and Owen had to tap out. I'm sure they've got this thing in a warehouse somewhere still. It would be fun to see what Aleister Black and Kyle O'Reilly could do in there.

Too Much vs. Southern Justice. Ross plugged a house show by saying "Southern Justice will be there, among others. Lawler said -- and this is a quote -- "OH NO!" An odd heel-vs.-heel match that included Henry Godwinn and Brian Christopher taking turns playing face in peril. Broke down into a four-way and Henry pinned Taylor with the reverse DDT.

Dustin Runnels vs. Vader. Val Venis was walking through the crowd with a sign reading "I HAVE COME." Vader looked good for, oh, two minutes, and then was so blown up he couldn't even get whipped into the stairs. I guess Dustin stopped to pray and Vader wiped him out from behind. Dustin made his comeback, then stopped to confront Val. For like a minute. Vader started clapping his ears repeatedly, then hit a Vader bomb for the win. Boring and stupid.

They teased footage of Sable and Lawler told "Stacy" to set the VCR to record.

Al Snow hit the ring for a promo. He refused to leave until a WWF official came out. Patterson, Briscoe, and Slaughter came out. Al called them Stooges, maybe the first time they were called that on camera. Al did a bunch of game show jokes. All of them died. Eventually he hit Patterson in the balls and ran away. This was awful, but that stupid Head gimmick was getting over.

D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry vs. Headbangers. Headbangers did a promo about how they never got to wrestle on Raw, but they did this week because it was on Saturday, like Shotgun. That was funny. Then they undid that good will by saying they would distract Henry by feeding him bananas. These were the babyfaces. I lost interest in the match and zoned out for a few minutes. Headbangers hit Henry with a double suplex. Thrasher then danced like a monkey. Swear to God. WHAT A BORING FUCKING MATCH. Announcers were talking about Gladiator movies and quoting Airplane. Headbangers were making a horrible comeback when Chyna hit the ring and laid out Henry for the DQ. THANK GOD. Never been so happy to see a run-in. Chyna whipped his ass until DX arrived to pull her back.

DX vs. Kaientai. DX did a promo about how they all won their matches at SummerSlam. Total squash for DX until Road Dogg got cut off and double- and quadruple-teamed to death. That didn't last long. DX ran wild and X-Pac pinned Taka with an elevated X-Factor. Chyna laid out Yamaguchi-San afterwards for good measure. They got a girl to show her thong afterwards. This show ran out of steam and was a chore to get through.

WCW Monday Nitro 156 (9/7/98)

Cameras stormed into the nWo's locker room, where Warrior had tagged the wall and Hogan was screaming "He's invisible!" They stormed through backstage, where Vincent told them somebody had been laid out and were taken away in an ambulance. Vincent did not know who it was. Hogan said he knew. They stomped down to the ring and called Warrior out. Hogan said Warrior had attacked Scott Norton and Brian Adams from behind. How did he know that? He added that Bret Hart was off the WarGames team and the Giant was taking his place. He promised there was no way Warrior was getting through Disciple and Giant to get to him.

Konnan vs. Bull Pain. What? Why? Konnan seriously got blown up doing his prematch promo. Bull Pain hit a top rope splash for a nearfall. What the hell is going on? Then he walked across the middle rope to miss an elbowsmash. Konnan won with the leapfrog-spinkick-X-factor-tequila sunrise combo.

Recap of all of the Bret Hart-Hulk Hogan drama from last week.

Mean Gene interviewed JJ Dillon. He said the contracts were signed, and Hogan and Bischoff did not have the authority to replace Bret with Giant in WarGames.

Mean Gene brought out DDP for a promo. He asked if Page was going to join the Wolfpac and everyone cheered, because the Wolfpac is cool and WCW sucks. Page reminded us all that he had rejected Hall and Nash two years ago. Now Nash was threatening him to join again, but Page still didn't trust him. Out came Nash. He said the Wolpac was the "elitest." Like, elite, eliter, elitest. He warned Page that if they weren't friends in WarGames, they'd be enemies. Page said he didn't trush Nash, and Luger and Sting shouldn't trust him either. Out came Luger and Sting. Lex repeated an invitation to Page, but was pretty insulting about it. Page said if it came down to it, Nash would powerbomb Sting or Lex in a heartbeat. So Sting gave it a try. He said Nash had already powerbombed him once or twice already, so there was no problem there. What? What sense does that make? Sting said if Page wanted to fight, they didn't have to wait till WarGames, and challenged Page and Roddy Piper to face any two WolfPac dudes in a tag match tonight. Page immediately accepted, and challenged Nash to make himself part of the match.

Piper came out for a promo. He was pissed about Page putting him in a match tonight. Piper pointed out that he was the only one who got it, there were no teams in WarGames, only one man could win the title shot. He said he was on nobody's team in WarGames. He said he would team with Page one time tonight, but everyone was on their own at WarGames.

Nitro Girls hype video. Was this necessary? Aren't the dances they do basically a live hype video anyway?.

Lenny Lane vs. Wrath. Wrath squashed him for two minutes and won with the pumphandle powerslam.

Back in the locker room, Hogan and company found Disciple hung upside down from the ceiling.

Bret Hart came down to the ring, then the nWo music played, and Curt Hennig, Stevie Ray, and Vincent emerged. Then Sting came running out with his bat, and everyone except Bret cleared out. Bret went to high-five him, but Sting pushed him away with the bat. He handed the bat to Bret and turned his back, old school Sting style. Bret didn't hit him, so Sting walked away. But now Sting knew he could trust Bret.

Rick Steiner promo package. They were smart enough to have him cut a promo, then edit it to make sure it made sense. He was most sad Scott had changed on the inside, and for what he had done to their parents, Rick was going to hurt him. He hoped Scott and Buff were having fun making fun of him, but someday the nWo would get rid of Scott and kick him out, and when that happened, don't come crying to Rick. As a team, they had won every belt you could think of all over the world, and Scott had thrown it all away. He loved to watch all of Scott's awesome finishes, but now Scott would have to prove he was the better Steiner Brother. One of Rick's better promos, all in all.

Evan Karagias vs. Scott Steiner. Buff came out and joined the announce desk, saying this wasn't the originally scheduled opponent for Evan, but Scott wanted to show what he could do. Scott said he had won all the titles, Rick had just tagged along for the ride. He asked if Evan had what it takes to face Big Poppa Pump, then leveled him and the match began. Scott squashed him and won with the camel clutch.

Nitro party clips. It was a bunch of children at a YMCA. They still had graphics.

Hector Garza vs. Juventud Guerrera. This was Hector's first match back on Nitro after knee surgery. He wasn't holding anything back, even catching Juvy on a giant dive, but you could see he was a little tentative at times, and that he was still getting back into ring shape. He grabbed Juvy for a pedigree and then just stood there. Is this supposed to be a submission hold? Then he just let him go. That was weird. Then he went for a dropkick as Juvy was walking away so Garza just changed direction and drilled him in the back. OK, this has fallen off the rails. Juvy tried a top-rope rana. Hector tried to catch him, but they both just fell down. So Hector powerbombed him as hard as he could. Dude, it's not his fault. He missed a quebrada and Juvy immediately hit the michinoku driver for the win. As sloppy as this was, it was the best action the fans had seen all night and they popped big for the finish.

Mean Gene interviewed Rick Rude and Curt Hennig. Hennig said Arn Anderson was a coward for walking out on the Horsemen last week. Rude said Arn had been sent out to pasture. Hennig ran down Dean Malenko, who he was having a cage match with on this show. Wait, what? WHY?.

The Cat vs. Kaos. Oh, GOD. Cat would do a move, do a karate pose. Do a move, do a karate pose. Kaos did a horrible springboard clothesline and then a horrible, um, sitting abdominal stretch? I guess? This match sucks. Kaos missed a springboard and Cat pinned him with a spinning kick. Awful. Cat repeated that as a three-time karate champion he was greater than any wrestler. He dared anyone from the back to come fight him. Nobody did.

Chris Adams vs. Stevie Ray. Few men can pull off a shiny all-white bodysuit. Stevie Ray is not one of those men. He squashed Adams in a boring manner. Adams made a comeback, but Vincent distracted him, and Stevie hit a superkick and the pedigree for the win. Yes, he ripped off HBK's AND HHH's finishers.

Another Nitro Girls video. I think this is the first time that each woman was listed by name. The announcers had mentioned their names before, but if you weren't paying attention it was easy to miss. Spice was the hottest.

Saturn vs. Riggs. Raven was wearing a SAVATAGE t-shirt. Awesome. He cut a promo burying Saturn, who was still forced to be their lackey. All these guys came out sort of together, sort of not, and it was impossible to tell what the match was, and then Raven changed it anyway. So it's Saturn vs. Riggs, for some reason. Raven buried Saturn over the house mic during the match. Saturn sold forever, then made a big comeback, but Raven killed the heat by talking more. Now Raven was burying Riggs. So this went on for a while until Saturn won with a DVD. Raven ordered Saturn to break Riggs' fingers, let Raven break Saturn's fingers, or go back on his word to do what they said. Saturn offered up his fingers, and Raven obliged. So now Saturn had broken fingers going into his match with Raven at Fall Brawl in six days.

Chris Jericho vs. Jim Neidhart. Everyone stopped to watch a fight in the stands. Match exceeded my low expectations. Well, for a while. Jericho tried the Boston crab. Neidhart wasn't flexible enough to roll over. He tried and he tried and he tried. He rolled back over to his back. At this point the ref called for the bell. No bell rang. Jericho tried again and kind of got it, and Neidhart was reaching for the ropes, and the ref called for the bell, and Jericho released the hold, and the ref raised Jericho's hand and THEN the bell rang. My god what a disaster.

Eddie Guerrero came out for a promo in a "pencil-busters" t-shirt. He turned his back, showing "Fire me, free me, please me" on the back. He said he had suffered a back injury against Brian Adams last week, and per his contract, Eric Bischoff was responsible for his care. So he was going to do them both a favor and take the night off. This angle sucks.

Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko in a cage match for no good reason I can fathom. So apparently the nWo had interfered in several Hennig-Malenko matches on Thunder. So the cage is there for a reason. Now why did it have a roof? Schiavonie said the cage was primarily a weapon, and secondarily a way to keep interference out. Sigh. Curt, for no reason, climbed up to the ceiling, then Dean pulled him down. Rude was being very sneaky about locking or unlocking something on the cage. I think he was passing gloves or a weapon in to Hennig. He beat Dean up forever and it was boring. JESUS CHRIST HOW LONG IS THIS GOING? About three hours in Dean made a comeback. Ref got bumped. In a cage match. Dean hooked the cloverleaf. Bischoff ran out and unlocked the cage and Rude attacked Dean. Thunderous boos, and it wasn't good heel heat. Ref called the bell. Yes, a DQ in a cage match due to outside interference. Rude took out the ref and counted a pin on Malenko. They went to slam the door on his head like they had done to Ric Flair last year, but Arn Anderson ran out to the biggest non-Goldberg pop of 1998 and made the save. He hit the cage and whipped Stevie Ray's ass and knocked him out of the cage. Crowd was chanting for the Horsemen. This whole thing was just a setup for the angle at the end.

Scott Putski vs. Goldberg. This is the best thing they had for Goldberg to do on the PPV go-home show? When he doesn't even have a match at the PPV? Putski got one kick and one suplex and Goldberg responded by spearing him to death and hitting the jackhammer for the win. Everyone on their feet. Everyone going crazy. This guy was un-fuck-upable. Even when his hands slipped off the ropes and he fell backward like a goof he just rolled through up to his feet like it was what he had been trying to do.

Sting & Lex Luger vs. DDP & Roddy Piper. Nash backed out of Page's challenge. Piper and Page were arguing at first, but then took turns tearing into Luger. Sting was by far the crowd favorite here. Shocking, I know. He did a cool jumping DDT that I don't remember seeing anyone do quite like this. Soon broke into a four-way with everyone down or out of the ring. Then Nash ran out and attacked Piper. What a dick and a coward. Sting and Page fucked up whatever they were trying and Sting said "SHIT!" loudly, then Nash powerbombed Page for the DQ. Well this sucked.

Um, there's eight minutes of TV time left. nWo music played. Nobody came out. Eventually Hogan and Giant appeared. Hogan dared Warrior to come out, and called for the cage to be lowered. He offered Warrior a one-on-one fight with the Giant, inside the cage. The cage filled with smoke, and when it cleared Warrior had taken a seat in a chair, and Giant was laid out. Now Hogan realized he was caged in with Warrior. Bischoff came running out and did nothing. Hogan had said the door would be unlocked but was apparently wrong. Hogan hit a chairshot, Warrior no-sold it, and Hogan fled, locking the door of the cage behind him. The ring filled with smoke again, and this time he disappeared. Show ended. This magic show was the go-home segment for Fall Brawl. Lord.

WWE NXT (9/6/17)

Video package recapping Hideo Itami's failures and turning to the Dark Side.

Andrade Almas vs. Cezar Bononi. Zelena did commentary and said she had met Andrade seven years ago in Mexico and was there to help his career. She denied any other relationship with him. She did refer to herself as a manager at one point. This crowd was DEAD. Gonna be a long show. About three minutes in Andrade had the advantage and Zelena started screaming to finish him, and Almas hit his hammerlock DDT and won.

They recapped Team ROH laying out Drew McIntyre last week. William Regal then did a backstage promo announcing that there would be no more jumping people in the parking lot or performance center, they would be performing in the ring only.

Christie St. Cloud was trying to get into Asuka's locker room when Velveteen Dream interrupted. He let her know the ambiance was not right for him to speak, but he was compelled to speak after TakeOver: Brooklyn, because he had seen someone who needed the experience, and would get it soon.

Lars Sullivan vs. three dudes. They found the smallest dudes they could to make Lars look as big as possible. One of them may have been shorter than the top rope. Lars demanded to fight all three at once, and threw them around with ease and abandon. And then in the middle of it they cut to a recap of Team ROH's path of destruction last week. They aired a response from Sanity, saying the newcomers had made a huge mistake, and the only thing they cared about was chaos. And that was it, we never found out if Lars won his handicap match.

Zeda vs. Sonya Deville. Sonya's doing the MMA gimmick, and they said Zeda had been training with Anderson Silva, or at least people who trained with him, so maybe they'll just beat the hell out of each other here. No, they just did a squash. Sonya did a lot of waistlock takedowns, a sliding kick, and an armbar for the win. After the match, she stood there smiling, then got her cue and started mean-mugging and throwing shadow punches. Oops.

Earlier Today, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch were wrecking fools at the Performance Center. Regal was impressed and asked for a copy of the tape. Then Ruby Riot approached and demanded a handicap match against Billie and Peyton to shut them both up at once. Regal refused, but told her to find a partner and he would book a tag match.

Kassius Ohno vs. Hideo Itami in a no-DQ match. Itami caugth Ohno on the apron and threw him into the post, then the stairs for the heat. He proceeded to kick the hell out of Ohno in the ring. A chair got involved, and when Ohno tried an elbow Itami blocked it with a chair. Ohno made a comeback that included "axe bombers," according to Mauro. They teased finishers. Ohno hit a rolling elbow but Itami rolled outside. They brawled up to the stage. Itami hit a fisherman's suplex on the ramp. Back in the ring, Itami hit a chair-assisted hesitation dropkick. They went back and forth a bit, including a great spot where Itami's kick was blocked and he was panicking, then he just hit an eyepoke and tried a go to sleep. Ohno escaped and hit a blatant low blow, then the rolling elbow for the win. Itami's facials have gotten a lot better. He is SO much better as a heel, even against a giant like Ohno.

Regal called Asuka down to the ring. She came out in a suit, with the belt over her shoulder. He presented her with a microphone. Everyone cheered and chanted her name. She said she had been in NXT for almost two years. Crowd seemed to know where this was going and thanked her. She said she had fought many great superstars, and she loved NXT. She had grown so much, and she was grateful for NXT. Regal said she had done nothing but defend the title with honor, and was one of the greatest champions in WWE history. And everyone in NXT knew that, but others had noticed as well. Thus, he and Asuka were negotiating with both Raw and SmackDown, but that meant Asuka would be stepping down as NXT champion. Asuka, full of joy, screamed that nobody was ready for her. Crowd started thanking her, and then all the women came out on stage, many of whom had personally had there asses beaten by her. All the fellas soon came out too, and they all applauded. Then the refs, then various other geeks. Crowd was applauding, and Asuka was encouraging them and clearly having the time of her life. She promised that wherever she went, NXT would come with her. Her music started to play when Ember Moon strided down to the ring. Neither could stop smiling. Ember offered a handshake, pulled it back, then they hugged. Asuka's music played again when UNCLE PAUL appeared at ringside with two bouquets of roses. He hugged Asuka and traded her the flowers for her belt, then raised her arm. He congratulated her on her undefeated, 500-plus-day reign, and had everyone cheer her one more time. Asuka was SO DAMN HAPPY to get off this show. Well, that was awesome, and made the whole show worthwhile.

Lucha Underground Season 3: Career Opportunities

The announcers congratulated themselves on their 100th episode. Matt Striker -- MATT STRIKER -- told us to never settle for anything but the best.

Drago vs. Da Mack for an Aztec medallion. Striker and Vampiro's discussion about "hybrid styles" and how lucha libre hasn't changed in 100 years was among the most aggravating bits of commentary of 2017. The good news is the match was awesome. They did a bunch of cool lucha highspots early. Mack took over and slowed things down. Then Kobra Moon distracted the ref, and Drago his his incredibly convoluted cradle for the win. Mack hit Drago with a stunner afterwards and went to hit one on Kobra, but Pindar and Vibora made the save and laid him out with a chokeslam. Mack is awesome and I hope he gets more opportunities when this company dies.

Dario Cueto came out for a promo. He said next week was the 100th episode. He announced Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Pentagon Dark for an Aztec medallion on that show, along with Johnny Mundo & Taya & PJ Black & Ricky Mandel vs. Prince Puma and three partners of his choosing, but he must announce the team tonight. And in the main event, it would be Matanza vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. He then called Rey down to the ring. He said he was giving Matanza a warmup tonight, by booking him against the entire White Rabbit Tribe. And he was sending Rey home, to ensure he would not get involved in Matanza's match. Rey refused, so Dario said leave, or I will fire Dragon Azteca. Rey said OK, I can wait for a week, but next week I will end the Cueto Family legacy. And after he was done with Matanza, he was coming for Dario.

Joey Ryan vs. Cortez Castro in a 5-0 street fight for an Aztec medallion. Where to begin? I like that Castro's hometown is "the streets." Also, a 5-0 streetfight means there were cars at ringside with the lights flashing, and cops out there in riot gear to stop Joey from running away. Even though he had never run away before. They did spots with nightsticks, handcuffs, and riot shields. Joey wrapped the cuffs around his fist and cut open the top of Castro's head. Jesus Christ, dudes. Nobody's watching. You don't need to kill yourselves. Then Joey put on a rubber glove and some lotion. Crowd was chanting for a cavity search. He grabbed Castro's ass. Castro was wearing pants. It's not like he was straight fisted here or anything. Castro made a big comeback. They were fighting on the floor, surrounded by cops, then started flying into cops and knocking them down. They dodged bat and sledgehammer shots and the cop car got beat up. Um, they weren't missing by much. Joey hit a nutshot and a rock bottom on the car. Next were spots involving coffee and donuts. OK, pouring hot coffee down Joey's trunks was funny. Then he got a tazer to the nuts. They did a superplex off the announce desk to the floor. JESUS. STOP THAT. Back in the ring, Joey got maced, then Castro hit a running sitout DVD onto riot shields for the win. They worked hard and beat the hell out of each other and it was very creative, that's for sure.

Matanza vs. White Rabbit Tribe. Striker made reference to Matanza's "heaving gut" as the monster came to ringside. Hopefully word of that comment gets back to Matanza, and he kills Striker. Tribe presented Matanza with a top hat and tried to recruit him. This failed. Tribe ran wild a bit with some dives. There was some obvious editing here. They did some fun triple-team spots. They distracted him with confetti eggs and laid him out, and London hit a shooting star press for a nearfall. And finally Matanza had enough and began to throw geeks around with ease. He pinned Saltador with the reverse powerslam. Not much to this, really. I was hoping for more destruction and carnage.

Prince Puma came out to name his team. Before he could, Johnny Mundo interrupted and vowed to take Puma to Slamtown just like he had done on the very first episode. Puma said that was true, but then he had beaten Johnny to become the first Lucha Underground champion, and that was not the last time he had beaten Johnny. They went back and forth a bit, and Johnny challenged Puma to put his mask on the line at Ultima Lucha Tres. Puma accepted without hesitation. Dario interrupted and said they were already doing a mask match at Ultima Lucha Tres. Instead, he challenged Puma to put his career on the line. Now why on earth would the evil promoter who just wants to make money suggest that? Vampiro got to his feet and was adamant that Puma turn this down. Puma dropped Johnny with a kneestrike and sent him packing, then accepted the challenge. So it's title vs. career in the Ultima Lucha Tres main event. And we never learned who Puma's team will be. Show was OK. Drago and Mack was the best part and deserved more time.