Morning Mailbag: New Japan iPPV, UFC 20th special, WWE notes


rating--- Thumbs up
best match--- Forever Hooligans vs Young Bucks
worst match-- none really. I guess Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Captain New Japan & Kushida vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask

This was a good show. There wasn't a great match on the card, but the final 2 matches were both very good. I don't think there was really a bad match on the card, everything was passable.

Semi finals of the Super Jr Tag Tourny opened up the show.

Young Bucks vs Gedo/Jado was entertaining. 

Forever Hooligans vs Valiente/Ibushi was good, but had a flat finish. It looked like Kozlov may not have executed the final 2 spots properly and the crowd responded accordingly. The camera angles did a good job protecting the spots but that's the impression I got. 
There were 2 very dangerous dives. Bushi did some sort of corkscrew dive outside and didn't look like he got caught and hit the floor pretty hard. Valiente then took to the air to dive outside and crashed down hard on the guys, he's a big boy.

Kojima showed up with Tenzan and the crowd liked him. Tenzan was kept strong in booking. He did some selling, got in his 3 trademarks spots, then made Tiger Mask tap. Match was fine, but given the characters involved, probably worst match of the night. Captain New japan got a lot of time.

Yuji Nagata vs. Takashi Iizuka was a crazy brawl that ended with Toru Yano interfering. He tied Nagata to the ropes with some tape. Nagata did his eyes rolling back in head spot, while tied up, which made for a good visual. Sakuraba was nowhere to be found.
Iizuka is crazy. He stole a woman's chair right out from underneath her and threw it and Nagata. Nagata gave Iizuka some hard slaps during the match.

Bad Luck Fale vs Honma was better than I expected. Fale had Honma up in the razor's edge position and really tossed him in the air and dropped him down. Spot looked great. He went for it a 2nd time post match but Togi Makabe made the save.

Shinsuke Nakamura & Brian Kendrick & Trent Baretta vs. Minoru Suzuki & Taka Michinoku & Taichi kicked things off after the intermission. Suzuki was kept strong headed into the saturday show. He got the pin on Baretta. Post match, Shinsuke teased putting on Suzuki's shirt and joining his group, which got a really good reaction. Shinsuke ended up declining and their match for saturday is still on lol

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito & Togi Makabe & Kota Ibushi vs Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii & Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi. Match was basically just to advance the feuds. 

Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Karl Anderson & Prince Devitt. Crowd was very good for this match. They were big into Okada and Yoshi Hashi even got a good reaction. Yoshi got 2 late near falls which the crowd bought so give the guys credit. Good match, but logic dictated Yoshi was going to do the job (and he did) so it took away suspense. 

Young Bucks/Forever Hooligans was the main event in the Super Junior Tag Tourny finals. I didn't know which team was going to win, even late on the match, so the drama was pretty good. Less comedy than in most Hooligans matches and the guys put on a good show. Young Bucks got the win.

I will have to watch this show again, but those are my impressions after 1 watch this morning. 


Dan Petucci

Thumbs up
Best match: Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Masato Tanaka, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
Worst match: Yuji Nagata vs. Takashi Iizuka
They certainly turned this up a notch since the last show with the final four matches being some of the best “B” show contests of the year. I’d even say it was better than Road to Destruction and the Kizuna Road where Devitt-Gedo headlined.
Jado & Gedo vs. Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson: Jado and Gedo did a great job selling and made the Bucks look strong. Certainly not a classic, acceptable nonetheless.
BUSHI & Valiente vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov: Valiente and Romero had me laughing early on with their work. In general, Valiente has impressed me, I wasn’t overly familiar with him and it’s a joy to see a barrel chested guy like him doing high spots. The only downsides to the match were Koslov failing to take a flip bump off BUSHI’s Hurricanrana, which looked shoddy, and the finisher seemed botched.
KUSHIDA, Captain New Japan & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger & Manabu Nakanishi: Fairly average with a few cool spots. One thing I noticed was the Captain being more of a threat.
Yuji Nagata vs. Takashi Iizuka: Iizuka falling over as a woman fled in terror had me in stitches. I didn’t much care for the brawling. It got better when it got in the ring and to its credit, it didn’t go too long. The post-match beat down seemed odd. Taping Nagata to the ropes was a good visual, but Yano and Iizuka didn’t beat him up much. 
Tomoaki Honma vs. Bad Luck Fale: Despite being very simple, New Japan know how to book a big guy. I don’t think  Fale is as good as his position suggests, although he’s getting there. The Border Toss spot was incredible and the ten count finish was great. Fale’s match with Makabe doesn’t have me salivating. However, the potential ten man tag they set up was intriguing. The other funny highlight I failed to mention was the commentator saying “Oh shit!”
Shinsuke Nakamura, Brian Kendrick & Barreta vs. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & TAKA Michinoku: From the methodical mat-work to the high octane finish, this was stupendous. Shinsuke and Minoru could steal the show on Saturday and the post-match shenanigans were highly entertaining. Also, it looked like Kendrick injured his finger pretty badly. If he did, he showed great heart.
Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Masato Tanaka, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano: It started at a relentless pace and gained momentum. An absolutely breathtaking level of work-rate. The only negatives were Ibushi appearing like he missed the Pelé kick (thankfully the director saved it) and Tanahashi’s injury (if it’s legit).
YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada vs. Prince Devitt & Karl Anderson: A very good match that built to a nice crescendo. The ringside work was wild, YOSHI looks over, and I like Okada is giving as good as it gets with the Bullet Club
Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov: Not even a ref bump and outside interference could ruin this match. Full of spellbinding sequences that had me awestruck. And the false finish at the end had me hook, line and sinker. I’m ecstatic that we get to see more of the Bucks. As for Ibushi, he kind of looked like a geek getting shooed away so easily. Then the promos that followed were the stuff of legend. Whether it was the Bullet Club kidnapping the terrified journalist and taking him to the “Bullet Club Palace” or Matt Jackson asking if they take the big check to a normal bank, it was riotously hilarious. They look like they’re having a lot of fun and it translates to the viewer, because I had a blast watching it. I enjoyed it so much I’ll ignore the Bucks ripping off DX.
Jonny Clare

UFC 20th anniversary

Hey guys,

I thought the 20 year special was as good as it could be for a 90 minute history, but I also think it was symptomatic of the current problems with the organization. Did they ever even mention any current champs other than GSP by name? I don't recall hearing Cain, Jones, Weidman, Pettis, etc mentioned. It seems like after the Brock era they focus on global expansion and TV deals, forgetting that the stars are the ones who drive the sport.

They had one shot at promoting obscure names with the early TUFs and got lightening in a bottle, but it's 8 years later and have a problem getting anyone over. During the dark ages, people switched to Dish to get the PPVs. Even a handful of years ago when Time Warner dropped HDnet I switched cable so I could get Dream/K-1/Inside you have Machida an ex champ and multiple time PPV main eventer fighting on free cable and it can't even draw 200k?

I don't see this thing going in a good direction. I'd love to hear your opinions on this in a radio show if you get around to it. Sorry for the long winded email.

- name withheld


I, like many, have become disinterested or disillusioned with WWE's current direction and don't really feel a connection to it anymore as a wrestling fan.  It feels a lot like a parody of its old self, matches meaning nothing, on screen characters not played to strengths, like there's always one eye winking at you to remind you it all really means nothing.
It's obviously the case that WWE, and the WWF before it, position themselves as an entertainment company first and foremost, but I wondered, do you think there is a likelihood that their core programming could detach so much from "pro wrestling" to the point that the fan base is almost entirely "WWE" fans and not "wrestling" fans.  The concern with that is surely that "wrestling" is an infinite genre whereas WWE, much like any entertainment brand, if it detaches itself too far from that genre, will eventually have a shelf life?
Neill Harkiss

DM:  I think the fan base now is more WWE fans and not wrestling fans.  I say that because of almost the complete  lack of interest in other wrestling groups of the majority of modern fans compared to the past, when lots of different wrestling could get TV ratings and it was far easier to get people to arenas.  As far as long-term, popularity going forward will depend on TV exposure and the changes in TV, whatever they are, will play a big part in the future of any genre needing TV to survive.

I have 3 quick show questions. I appreciate your time and thank you for All the hard work you do to provide us with news and entertainment.
By having Cena do the breast cancer speech this past Monday night didn't they prove he is the face of the company and not Randy. Something like that is what a face of a company does. Randy could have done the speech "As the face of the company we are selling shirts all year long......" Or to avoid that had Lawler stand up with a mic and do it.
Do you think they could ever push Cody Rhodes as "face of the company type guy?"
He has the look and skill similar to Orton and Cena.
I'm also very interested on info on The Patriot. I have been watching GWF on espn classics and he was awesome. I read he was in wwe briefly and feud with Bret but can't find the match to watch.
DM:  Yes, they did prove Cena was the face of the company, and that Orton is just a storyline.  Randy in his current role would have been the wrong person to give that interview.  Lawler could have, but Cena is a bigger star, plus there are dual reasons they do this stuff and part is for their own benefit.  The guy they want that rub to is Cena.  I don't expect Rhodes to get to that level, but it's not impossible.


Hacksaw has recently been asking fans for $6,500 to pay for shoulder surgery.
Was he a high earner in WWF and WCW and does he have a history of bad investments?
I would assume he would have money to cover these costs.

Gregor Swanson

DM:  It was very sad in a lot of ways to see this.  Duggan earned a very good living from pro wrestling I'd think from 1982 on, and a great living from 1987 through early 2001.  Don't know his financial status or what led to this.  Getting insurance is difficult but $6,500 isn't that much money if you consider what he had to have made during his career.  Then again, it has been a long time since he probably had big money years and I'm sure he's had his share of physical problems given he wrestled for so long, and medical bills without good insurance can wipe you out.


Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?