This week in wrestling, the worlds went to war in the latest ROH PPV, the age-old discussion on what wrestlers should and shouldn't do and what wrestling should and shouldn't be continued on social media, and New Japan's Best of the Super Juniors tournament kicked off in spectacular fashion. Here are our favorite wrestlers this week. Who's yours?
This week's panel --
- Alan4L (Dr. Keith Presents host and Figure Four Weekly writer)
- Zach Dominello (Columnist)
- Jeremy Peeples (Lucha Underground reporter)
- Arya Witner (NXT reporter)
By Zach Dominello
Last week, news of Kairi Hojo heading to WWE led to her being my favorite wrestler (that week). This week, word is Io Shirai has finally accepted a WWE offer and she too is now on her way. Logically, that makes Io Shirai my favorite wrestler this week.
Most of what I said about Hojo last week also applies here to Shirai. She’s one of the best wrestlers in the world, and while signing with WWE is probably a good move career-wise, it hurts for us fans of Japanese wrestling. It’s especially going to hurt for Stardom, who’s quickly running out of top stars. I guess Mayu will just get all the belts now.
It’ll be interesting to see what the WWE versions of Hojo and Shirai will be like. It’s been reported that Hojo has been asked to come up with a new finisher as Bayley already does a top rope elbow drop. If you’ve ever seen Hojo's elbow, you’ll know why that is the most ridiculous request of any wrestler in pro wrestling history. Fortunately, Hojo's so good that I’m sure she’ll do just fine without it, but seriously, thanks for taking away one of the most beautiful sights in the world, WWE. Here’s a priceless Picasso you might like to hang up in the basement of the House of Horrors for zero to enjoy.
What are they going to ask of Shirai? “Hey Io, just a few things: We’d like you to not do your German anymore because Tozawa does that. And you can’t do a moonsault because that’s Charlotte’s move. Pretty sure she invented it herself, actually. Balor does the shotgun dropkick so I’m afraid that has to go. And no springboard moves or topes. Styles and Ambrose have those covered. Would you mind also being less Japanese? Nakamura already does that. And Asuka’s already quite female so maybe stop doing that too. Anyway, can’t wait to see you at Full Sail!”
What? I’m not bitter. Anyway, Io’s awesome.
By Arya Witner
My favorite wrestler this week is a man whose career never crossed my mind until a few days ago. After over a year of competing in mostly skippable matches in New Japan and ROH, Jay White jumped out of my television screen and into my heart with his match against Will Ospreay.
Following a disappointing three-way tag team match, I did not have my hopes up when I saw the graphic. Sure, Ospreay is one of the most exciting and acrobatic wrestlers in the world, but this isn't Ricochet on the other side of the ring. 15 minutes later I jumped to my feet in applause after a jaw-dropping battle that is one of my two favorite U.S. matches of the year.
White may not have won the match, but he gained at least one new fan in the meantime.
By Jeremy Peeples
Low Ki has struggled to find his footing since leaving WWE years ago. He bounced around the indies, did a little bit in Japan, but wound up being his own worst enemy at times. Now, he’s back in TNA with his biggest main event-level push yet. He was pushed in a main event stable with the BDC before, but he didn’t feel like a top guy there. Now, he’s main eventing shows and cutting fairly intense promos as well.
His work in the latest incarnation of Ultimate X was a fine example of how to make use of his skills without having to take needless damage. He, Trevor Lee, and Andrew Everett had a safe Ultimate X match without the usual crazy high spots that have come to define it for the past 13 years.
I finally had the time to get a DDT Universe subscription and have been digging into everything from this year. The standout revelation is one that I probably knew but had somewhat forgotten -- Konosuke Takeshita is an incredibly great professional wrestler.
Through his powerlifting training, Takeshita has become a true heavyweight but still has the athleticism and speed (he was a champion high school sprinter) that led to him being hailed as the new Kota Ibushi not long after his DDT debut. Now Takeshita is a total all-rounder. What really struck me was what a hard-hitter he’s become with his forearm smashes and chops looking particularly devastating.
Then there is that powerlifting strength, best displayed in his amazing match against KUDO at Korakuen on the Sweet Dreams show. KUDO went for a flying double knees and the youngster caught him, hurked him up, and powerbombed him into the corner.
Trust me, it’s more impressive on video than in text so get yourself a DDT Universe sub and watch one of the most exciting young wrestlers in the business today.