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My Favorite Wrestler (This Week): Hiromu, Strong, Suzuki, Sydal

This week in wrestling, New Japan was on a busy road to Wrestling Dontaku, Jinder Mahal is still a thing, and Vince McMahon is involved in a movie about Vince McMahon because Vince McMahon. Here's our favorite wrestlers this week. Who's yours?

This week's panel --

Hiromu Takahashi

By Zach Dominello

You know, I’ve always said wrestling needs more backstage interviews where wrestlers enact epic matches with artist’s dummies, pretend to be cats, and sing songs from The Lion King.

Well, it seems someone has finally listened, and that someone is New Japan’s IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Hiromu Takahashi.

New Japan’s Road to Wrestling Dontaku has been one of the more enjoyable Road To’s I’ve seen for a good while, with great title matches, fun clashes between LIJ and the New Japan All-Stars, and the latest breed of Young Lions getting some shine. But mostly, it’s been Hiromu Takahashi’s bizarre, yet captivating backstage interviews that seem to progressively become weirder each time.

The thing is, though, despite being in a foreign language on top of being completely absurd, he actually does a really great job of conveying his message and building up his title match with King Ricochet. If you haven’t seen them yet, click those links back at the top and prepare to be blessed.

Roderick Strong

By Joseph Currier

Following the excellent video on him that aired on Wednesday's episode of NXT, Roderick Strong is undoubtedly my favorite wrestler this week.

Strong opened up in a way that he never really has on TV before, talking about growing up with a mom who had a drug problem and a dad who was an alcoholic. Sharing the story of his mother shooting his father during an argument (with his father thankfully surviving) must have been difficult, and I have a totally new perception of who Roderick Strong is after watching it.

Aside from just being inspiring (which is ultimately what's most important), Strong being willing to open up and WWE showcasing his story will help him so much going forward. Strong's history is unique to him, but everyone in WWE has real-life stories that could shape who they are as characters and make them more identifiable.

I'm looking forward to part two, and hopefully we see more segments like this in the future.

Minoru Suzuki

By Chris Aiken

The body of work created by Minoru Suzuki over the years is a blend of violence and art. His violent art differs from almost anyone like him, if there is actually anyone else like him on the planet.

Even out of his combat gear dressed in a suit and fedora trying to look cosmopolitan, he can flash a maniacal smile and reveal that violent artist that lives within. Almost akin to both a gift and a curse, an aura follows him wherever he goes.

That aura was in Hiroshima this week as Suzuki captured the NEVER Openweight title in a thrilling match against Hirooki Goto. Critics of the match seemed to have concerns about strikes to the head only mere weeks after Katsuyori Shibata suffered a debilitating injury likely from a blow to the head. That is probably a valid criticism. Take out the head strikes and the drama in the match would still remain intact.

Nevertheless, the greatness on display as Suzuki and Goto battled is evident to anyone that loves a good fight. Likewise, all the titles in the promotion are supposedly going to be on the line during the July weekend shows in Long Beach. That means I will likely get to see the violent art of Suzuki in display in person. I am thrilled.

Matt Sydal

By Jeremy Peeples

Matt Sydal returned to Impact and managed to shine brightly despite being booked as the third most important part of a one-on-one match thanks to Shane Helms being positioned as a bigger star than him despite being a manager.

He had a good match with Trevor Lee that allowed both men to shine and made me salivate at the thought of them having what would no doubt be a better, more well-booked match in either PWG or CWF Mid-Atlantic, where they could be given time to shine, a storyline that fits the match, and actually be presented as modern-day stars.

With Sydal in the picture, we should get some outstanding matches against Low Ki, and that could be enough to reignite a flame for the X Division. It’s incredibly unlikely that it can regain the traction it had in 2002 and 2003 due to the industry changing, but with WWE watering down cruiserweights, it has a better chance, and if they make Sydal a top guy and run with it, they could have something.