New Japan’s Best of Super Juniors and World Tag League continued this weekend as well as the standard three shows we get every weekend. SmackDown was of lesser quality than recent episodes, while Rampage felt a little better than usual. Strong was its usual solid self.
What was the best match of the weekend?
Jonathan Gresham beat Alex Coughlin in a fantastic match to open this week’s New Japan Strong from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. Maybe this first question should’ve actually been “will there ever be anyone that graduates from the LA Dojo that isn’t a fantastic wrestler?”
The Code of Honor is followed as Jonathan Gresham and Alex Coughlin clash in the spirit of pure competition!
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) November 28, 2021
Coughlin is already so elite in the ring and he’s still in the plain black trunks. He’s one of my favorite guys to watch on a show that’s loaded with tons of great wrestlers fluent in many different styles. Gresham is one of the smoothest guys in the game, one of the best to watch if you’re a fan of the more pure wrestling. Go out of your way to check this one out.
Which show has the worst commentary booth and why was it Rampage?
Four is a crowd at the announce desk. You can get away with a permanent three with the right folks, but the optimal commentary setup is just the play-by-play and color announcers. Just two, and you get the occasional third who would be an in-ring talent.
Chris Jericho’s commentary can make Rampage difficult to enjoy. You’d think it was a Fozzy concert with the volume at which he screams and how much he steps on everyone else by doing so. Ricky Starks is a talent I love, but I’m not sure his being in this spot is necessary every single week, especially when you’ve already got three guys. Excalibur isn’t my go-to lead guy, but he is AEW’s, and he’s the most knowledgeable when it comes to this roster. Taz is a great announcer, probably the best color guy in the whole promotion.
It’s clear that Excalibur and Taz is the optimal booth for Rampage and potentially Dynamite with Jim Ross’ hopefully short absence. With all that being said, what’s Mauro Ranallo been up to outside of boxing these days?
What was the most frustrating segment on SmackDown?
This is like asking who should’ve won Best Picture at the 67th Academy Awards, these were all masterpieces of booking malpractice. You’ve got:
- Ridge Holland, a high-upside wrestler, lost in his television debut in 2:45 (Shawshank Redemption).
- Toni Storm, a massive-upside wrestler who is ten times as talented as is being let on, getting made to look like a total fool by the world champion Charlotte Flair (Pulp Fiction)
- Jeff Hardy, in his hometown, gets a great win in a tag match, only to take a counterproductive L in the main event (Forrest Gump, winner).
Ridge Holland might be fine, there’s a good chance Vince has already forgotten 75% of this past SmackDown. I have faith in Toni Storm, but in literally any other promotion on this planet, she’s the top star. The Jeff Hardy situation, however, takes the cake.
Jeff Hardy would be the second or third most over wrestler on SmackDown, which is astounding when you consider the level to which he’s figured in, and that’s on weeks where the show isn’t in North Carolina. When Hardy picked up the win over Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss in his tag match with Drew McIntyre, I don’t know how that wasn’t grounds to change the finish of the main event (if it’d even been decided yet). Sami Zayn instead won, with the most over-used battle royal finish in the history of mankind. I don’t even have to describe it, you know what it was.
Are my BOSJ/WTL picks still alive?
Yes. Guerrillas of Destiny are at 3–2 at about halfway through the tournament, while Hiromu Takahashi is 3–2–1.
There’s been plenty of good wrestling in these tournaments. Robbie Eagles’ match with El Desperado was a fun one from Saturday night. Hopefully, my fellow countryman can collect some more W’s as he currently holds a 2–4 record. YOH has also been impressive and I believe he could end up the beneficiary from the Roppongi 3k break-up.
The World Tag League has been fine but it sufferers from having a lot of teams made up of two primarily singles wrestlers. Here’s hoping that next year we can get some more international full-time duos in the League.