Ring Crew Reviews: Top 20 Matches from 2012, part II: 21-14
• ****1/4 Matches.
• 21. Fatal Four Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus (c). WWE Over the Limit 2012. All four guys get more or less a face pop for their introductions, though ADR and Jericho are obviously closer to heels. Lots of distrust at the bell before ADR and Sheamus pair off and Jericho and Orton slug it out. The faces take over and clear the ring. Orton-Sheamus ready to lock up. Book: “IF YOU CAN’T GET ALONG, LET’S GET IT ON!” ADR and Jericho slide back in to interrupt the lovefest and Jericho takes Orton to the floor. Sheamus also takes out Jericho and both heels get sent into the barricade, so that now we can REALLY have Sheamus-Orton. After a slugfest, Sheamus gives a knee to the breadbasket for 2. Sheamus goes for the ropes, but Jericho lowers the bridge and dumps him out and into the barricade to return the favor. ADR pounces Orton with an enzuigiri and he and Jericho team up to pummel Orton. King questions the strategy and Book sets him straight.
• Book: “Lemme tell you what that is, that’s Chris Jericho AT HIS FINEST! He’s trying to take advantage of the situation, right now, he’s trying to WORK that boy Alberto Del Rio.” On cue, like they can hear the commentary, ADR stink-eyes Jericho sinisterly but they hit a double suplex anyway. Nice little touch from all involved. Jericho slingshots Orton into the ropes and Orton is selling a throttled trachea. Berto rolls out to the floor to hit a DR FG HOMICIDA to Sheamus’ injured shoulder from Extreme Rules. Awesome stuff. Jericho joins him for more double-teaming and they wallop Sheamus into the announce table… SHOULDER-FIRST! Jericho and Berto pose to a mixed reaction. Orton fights back with a dropkick and suplex on both. He drops a knee but Berto breaks up the cover. ADR tries a cover but Jericho breaks it up and the MicroPowers implode. Book: “THERE GOES THE FRIENDSHIP!” They come to blows and Berto takes over with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, CABRON! Orton carpe diems and clotheslines Del Rio out to the floor. Jericho enzuigiris Orton and covers for 1, 2, only 2. Sheamus still can’t get going as Jericho baseball slides Sheamus back to the floor. Jericho: “C’MON ORTON! WHAT YOU GOT?!” That draws a minor Lionheart chant.
• Jericho heads up top but Orton cuts him off. Berto cuts Orton off. Looks to be the set-up for a Tower of Doom but Sheamus clubs everyone down. Sheamus hits a flying shoulderblock off the top on Berto for 1, 2, 2 ½. Sheamus just starts laying into Berto WITH AUTHORITY! Finlay Roll and Sheamus pauses to a mixed reaction but mostly cheers. Ricardo distracts long enough for Del Rio to hit the step up enzuigiri in the corner. HERE’S THE COVER for 1, 2, 2.7. ADR goes to a kimura to slow things down a bit. Jericho and Orton have been selling the dive off the apron way too long about now. Sheamus starts in with the CELTIC HAMMERS and a knee lift. Bulldog powerslam gets 1, 2, nearfall. ADR slides out of a Razor’s Edge and basement dropkicks Sheamus for another 2 count. ADR whiffs on a Bossman attack and Sheamus hits the CLUBBINGBLOWBARRAGE. Jericho in to break it up with the double-jump dropkick. Orton’s in as well with a powerslam on Jericho and another on Sheamus. Orton hits the apron DDT on Sheamus. He coils up the Viper but ADR jumps him and rolls him into the ARMBAR! Book: “HE BETTER TAP OR DEL RIO’S GOING TO BREAK HIS ARM!” TAP! TAP! TAP! Orton lunges but can’t make the ropes. Jericho breaks it up and takes down Del Rio. Lionsault but Jericho eats knee and Orton grabs him from behind for the neck/backbreaker. Del Rio breaks up the cover but runs into a half nelson backbreaker from Sheamus. RKO! NO! PUMP KICK! NO! School boy for 1, 2, 2.9999! Orton disposes of Sheamus and tosses him into the ringpost. Electric stuff through there. ADR tries to slide back in but Orton grabs him. RICARDO TO THE RESCUE! NO MAN LEFT BEHIND!
• Orton cuts him off and apron DDTs both of them. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.999. Jericho ducks an RKO attempt and Codebreaks Orton and he falls out to the floor. FLYING ARMBAR ON JERICHO! Jericho fights it off and rolls him into the WoJ. Sheamus in! Jericho ducks the Pump Kick and hits the Codebreaker on Sheamus! 1, 2, nearfall. Jericho: “STAY DOWN! STAY DOWN!” Sheamus catches Jericho but Jericho slides out and now rolls him into the WoJ. Jericho deep seats it but Orton breaks it up with an RKO! 1, 2, DEL RIO IN! RKO! PUMP KICK TO ORTON! Jericho school boys Sheamus! ONE, TWO , THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM! A schwein from Sheamus puts Jericho down for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 15:54. Outside of some onerously long selling to make it one-on-one in certain instances, this was red hot down the stretch with tons of believable finishes. Commentary was surprisingly good here to even tell the story better than the match at times. ****1/4
• 20. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (c). NOAH 09/05/2012. Lockup goes nowhere and that’s a theme of this match, so be prepared. Another lockup takes them into the ropes where NJ gives the shove break. They trade waistlocks a few times with Kane working a chicken wing and going for a slam but NJ blocks with a facelock. NJ blocks and now Kane blocks the slam. Kane wants a hiptoss but NJ blocks for his own and now HE blocks. Stalemate to start with neither even being able to get an effective hold going. Kane snapmares him down and wrenches the neck. Thinking that’s enough, Kane spins him over for a suplex but NJ again blocks. Kane now switches to trying to a slam but NJ STILL blocks. NJ’s all your master’s karate is shit and tries a snapmare but KANE BLOCKS! NJ boots him to the stomach and tries again but still no dice. NJ switches to a suplex. NO! NJ runs off the ropes but gets caught in a hiptoss from Kane that he really earned after about 5 minutes of blocks. Kane tries another but NJ counters with a hanging vertical suplex. Now, they fight over another headlock with Kane getting the advantage. NJ rolls him into a pinning combination so Kane floats over and they go through that a few times until Kane winds up on top. NJ sends him off but eats a shoulderblock. He tries a low bridge but Kane sniffs it out and jumps on him with a HEADLOCK! Sounds weak but he’s been fighting for that headlock the whole damn match and finally nailed it. NJ wants to bail out but Kane stays on the hold and folls him to the floor. Kane sends him into the guardrail where NJ tries a kick so Kane ducks and BACK TO THE HEADLOCK! Back in, Kane is still on the headlock before NJ reverses to his own. Kane tries punching his way free but can’t get a suplex to counter. Instead, he rides NJ down into the mat where he floats INTO THE HEADLOCK! WOOO!
• NJ slides out into his own so Kane reapplies before NJ gets a rope break. Now, they dump the chain and go to the strikes. NJ with a quick front kick and the spinning brainbuster. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2 but Kane is toast and rolls out to the floor. Kane recovers in time to eat a DR FG from the apron. NJ slams him down on the floor and stalks around for a bit. Back in, NJ heads up top for the missile dropkick and the yakuza kick in the corner. Half hatch suplex and a superkick fire up Kane who no sells only to eat another superkick for 1, 2, 2 ½. Kane rolls him up for 2 so NJ goes for another kick but gets caught in the deadly DSLW. Kane heads up top where NJ no sells to spinwheel kick him into a crotch spot. NJ now tries to beat some sense into his leg. NJ goes for a superplex but Kane blocks and rides him down into a DDT ON THE APRON! Back in, Kane’s fired up for a crossbody for 1, 2, only 2. NJ tries reverting to the old strategy and grabs a headlock but Kane’s HAD IT WITH THE RESTHOLDS and suplexes him down. Kane jumps off the top and catches NJ into another DDT for 1, 2, 2.7. They counter waistlocks with NJ winding up with the advantage and a GERMAN BUCKLEPLEX! NJ follows up with a Backdrop Driver for 1, 2, 2.7. NJ bridges a German for another nearfall. Kane blocks another for a BRAINBUSTER! Double KO spot. NJ up first to first to hit THREE superkicks in a row and a superkick enzuigiri. Arm-capture German gets 1, 2, 2.9. NJ now kicks the hell out of him and gets a BEAUTIFUL ROLLING DRAGON SUPLEX! 1, 2, 2.9999! NJ fires up again but Kane counters to TWO brainbusters. 1, 2, 2.999! NJ lands on his feet out of another. Backslide for 1, 2, 2.9999. BRAINBUSTER. 1, 2, 3 to crown a new champ at 15:26. The big appeal here is just how much of a change of pace it is to see guys fight for headlocks and hiptosses for almost 10 minutes. I love any match that can remind us of what it SHOULD be like and how hard you’d have to fight to grab a guy’s head or flip him over. I don’t want every match like that, but when some match remembers to show that, it’s a hidden gem. Though it does delve back into the NOAH slugfest and power-move for the finishing stretch. ****1/4
• 19. Street Fight: Bobby Roode vs. James Storm. TNA Bound for Glory 2012. King Mo is special guest enforcer. In 2011, Roode was chasing the belt but came up short at BFG. Storm subsequently won the belt with a fluke superkick over Angle. Roode was conflicted – happy for his tag partner and friend but distraught and greedy at the seeming betrayal for the belt. The next week, Roode hit him over the head with a beer bottle, won the belt, and never looked up. This is the blowoff to that initial bottle over the head.
• They slug it out to start. Storm wins with a burrito and another coming out of the corner and a backdrop. Storm shines early as he avoids a backdrop to the floor and then gives Roode a curb storm while he lays on the apron. Storm sends him into the guardrail and the apron and then stomps his hand just to be a dick. Roode tries coming back but Mo stares him down and that allows Storm to hit a clothesline. Storm sends Roode into a ringside chair but Roode counters and throws him into the guardrail. Storm no sells that to hit a Russian Legsweep into the guardrail. Storm preps Eye of the Storm on the announce table but Roode slides out and slingshots Storm into the ringpost. Storm blades. Roode now brings in the weapons and waffles Storm with a chair to the breadbasket and the lower back. Back in, Roode sets up a chair between the turnbuckle but Storm takes over with a Singapore cane to the back. Roode bails into the corner so Storm punts a trash can back into the stones. Roode sidesteps a charging Storm and shitcans him to the elevated NWA entrance way. That’s a bit too grievous no-sell of a groin shot. Storm has a nice gusher going. He gutshots Roode and DDTs him on the ramp.
• Pulling an old ECW trick, Storm grabs a weapon from the crowd in the form of a steel crutch and waffles Roode. They now slug it out with trash can lids. Storm wins that with aggressions and then blasts Roode with a trash can and Roode goes down in a heap. Storm’s head has been lacerated, his face quickly becoming a Crimson Mask. Roode comes back with the spine on the pine on the ramp. Storm refreshes with a beer bath and waffles Roode with a cookie sheet. They bring it over to the announce table where Storm preps a suplex but instead they slug it out and Roode Spears Storm through a nearby table. Back in, Roode covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Roode has it out with Mo and starts a shoving match. He loses that one and eats a Codebreaker from Storm. Storm fires up for the Last Call and hits it. 1, 2, 2.999999! Storm goes for another but Roode counters and sends him into the steel chair. Roode: “KISS MY ASS!” 1, 2, 2.9999! Roode puts Storm up top and comes from under the ring with some thumb tacks. That draws a mild ECW chant but no Abyss chant. Fair-weather jerks. They jockey for position and of course Roode gets shoved off and eats the thumb tacks. Storm fires up for the elbow drop. 1, 2, only 2. Roode recovers with the BLATANTLOWBLOW. Storm gets the Red Stripe and goes for the bottle smash again but Storm counters to his own BLATANTLOWBLOW. Storm fires up for some symmetry and BLASTS Roode with the bottle. Last Call into the tacks gets 1, 2, 3 at 17:33.
• A good match and one that I like better than their cage match at Lockdown because it has more storypoint callbacks and less idiotic face posturing of climbing back in to do more damage, but I still find it underwhelming give the ability of both guys. My favorite match between the two remains the title change where Roode turns heel as that’s a classic of a slow, eventual turn within a single match – a man losing his soul seconds at a time as he realizes he can’t beat his best friend. Again I appreciate, the bottle callback and the Crimson Mask, but the slowness of the TNA main event style drags a bit for me. ****1/4
• 18. TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode (c). TNA Destination X 2012. Aries was X-Division champ and gave up the belt to get this title shot. Excellent video package that puts over Aries’s journey to elevate himself. Tenay notes the lengthy 8-month title reign for Bobby Roode that never seemed possible back when it started. Chant for Aries at the bell. They trade shoves on the “clean” breaks. JB puts over Roode’s unparalleled work ethic and training regime since becoming world champ as Aries and Roode trade wristlocks. Roode sends off Aries and hits a shoulderblock. JB notes how Roode has a strict diet and trains 2 hours/day. Nice little NWA touch. Aries goes for a drop toe hold but whiffs and Roode facebumps anyway so Aries rolls him up for 2. Aries now does it again and ties up this time and goes for an STF. Roode floats over on top and paintbrushes Aries for some mind games. Aries now repays in kind with some amateur hoodwinks and some trash talk. Aries tries to relax on the top turnbuckle but Roode chases him down so Aries Stun Guns him and follows up with a slingshot senton for 2. Aries now works a headlock TD as Roode keeps countering to a headscissors. Aries finally handstands out and dropkicks Roode to the floor. Aries follows out with an STARR HAMMER!
• Back in, Aries goes for a missile dropkick but Roode avoids and takes over with the boots and a BLATANTCHOKE. Roode with a suplex and a knee drop for 2. Roode goes to a chinlock to slow things down. Aries elbows out and runs into an elbow. Roode to the crowd: “WHO SUCKS NOW!” Crowd: “YOU!” Always easy heat. Roode poses to go for a second rope kneedrop but the boasting costs him as he wipes out. Aries takes over with an inverted atomic drop and clipping the knee. Aries goes for the Last Chancery but Roode makes the ropes. Aries now showing a heel streak by raking the eyes down the top rope. Roode tries sniffing out a backdrop so Aries boots him out to the floor. Aries fires up for the suicide dive but Roode sidesteps and Aries EATS IT INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Brutal. Back in, Roode with a Spear for 1, 2, only 2. Roode with a stomp and grinds it in for a 1 count. Roode with a gordbuster for another 2 count. Roode now goes to a lying waistlock to still slow down things. Aries elbows out but runs into a knee. Roode works him over in the corner as the crowd rechristens Roode not as the It Factor but as the Shit Factor.
• Roode gathers up Aries for a TKO flapjack and goes back to the waistlock. Aries elbows out and rolls up Roode for 1, 2, only 2. Roode takes back over with a running clothesline. Mild dueling chant as Roode takes his time working over Aries. Roode smacks around Aries just long enough to fire him up for the required slug it out sequence. They now trade WICKED chops in the corner. Aries wins that one and follows up with a ROARING ELBOW! Aries slingshots in to clothesline Roode out and to the floor. SUICIDE DIVE! Alright, this is more like it. Aries feels it and hits a missile dropkick and goes the IED. Roode counters by catching him in the Bulldog powerslam. 1, 2, 2 ½. Roode goes for another Spear but Aries catches him and sprawls and rolls into the LAST CHANCERY! Roode knees his way out and hooks in a Crippler Crossface. Aries counters back to his own hold. Roode counters by GOING TO THE EYE! Some men take the low road and Bobby Roode is one of them. He drives Aries into the corner and preps a superplex but Aries knees his way free (love that) and knocks him off the top. Aries goes for the 450! Roode moves but Aries rolls through. Roode catches him in the Spinebuster, 1, 2, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM!
• Roode hooks the arm and drives Aries into the ropes. Back to the CC. Aries tries rolling through but Roode stays on the hold a few times. Aries struggles and finally makes the ropes. Roode bails out to get the belt. Hebner pulls the belt away and Roode is all I ONLY USE BEER BOTTLES and low blow punts Aries behind the ref’s back. Awesome. 1, 2, 2.99! Roode and the ref play patty cake trying to even up at 3 but always getting 2 until Roode shoves the ref, so the ref shoves Roode right into an IED! BRAINBUSTER! NO! Roode slides out and shoves Aries for the ref bump. Roode gets the belt and waffles Aries. He pulls the ref over for 1, 2, 2.999! Aries kicks out to a pop and Roode is in disbelief. Roode goes for a Perfectplex but Aries rolls him up for 1, 2, only 2. Aries rolls him into a PUNT TO THE HEAD! BRAINBUSTER! 1, 2, 3 to crown a new champ at 22:41. A dearth of psychology is made up for in storytelling by Roode’s dickish behavior and insistence that he’s the real technician in the early going only to show his true colors down the stretch with ref bumps and weapon waffles. Also, Aries missing some of his key spots only to hit them later was good. This was a solid Roode heat sequence away from being a classic. ****1/4
• 17. GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Atsushi Aoki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (c). NOAH 01/29/2012. Aoki’s music is some sped up remix of The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Some suits read off the rules and the contract pre-match to give it that official look. Ref asks them if they want to shake and both keep their distance. Crowd has a mild chant for Aoki going at the bell. Aoki is very patient going in for a lockup. They finally tie up but it takes them into the ropes. Clean break. Aoki grabs a wristlock but NJ quickly switches. Aoki rolls through. They go through that a couple times before NJ gets a headscissors and Aoki kips out and it’s the ECW STANDOFF. NJ catches him off guard with a quick superkick and a BEAUTIFUL BRIDGED GERMAN FOR A NARROW 2! NJ tosses him and puts the boots to him and sends him into the guardrail. He does it again and then yakuza kicks him into the crowd. Sweet. They lead each other around the crowd sweating before NJ gives him a vertical suplex on the cold floor. NJ makes it back to the ring and the crowd is getting antsy because Aoki may not beat the count back. He BARELY makes it back at 19 but NJ goes in for the kill with another yakuza kick and a Backdrop Driver for 2. Sensing he may lose it, Aoki rolls to the floor to regroup. Aoki works the count to gather his bearings. NJ has other ideas as he follows him to the floor. Aoki counters to a hammerlock and sends him shoulder-first into the ringpost. Aoki now wraps it around the guardrail and BOOTS THE ARM! YEAH!
• NJ takes a lap to try and shake the feeling back into his arm. He slides in but eats a dropkick and NOW WE GET TO SCHOOL, NOAH DOJO-STYLE! Aoki with a TD and works the Americana. Aoki drives him into the mat for 2. Aoki now works an armbar but NJ is able to get the ropes. They fight over a whip and Aoki says forget it and just torques the arm instead. Nice. NJ tries an elbow to come back but Aoki punches the arm and then hits an armbreaker. Aoki wraps it around the ropes a couple times to gain an advantage. NJ comes back with a snapmare and a DR FG to the back. They now slug it out with forearms before Aoki gets another armbreaker. Aoki now hammerlocks him in the ropes and breaks it across the ropes right in front of the ref blatantly exploiting the 5 count. Aoki now with a Northern Lights suplex for 2. Aoki tries an armbreaker off the second rope but NJ escapes and gives him a German suplex INTO THE TURNBUCKLE! They switch a reversal and NJ weakly sends him into the turnbuckle with a drop toe hold but makes up for it by kicking the hell out of him. NJ with a yakuza kick and a front chancery suplex. He follows it up with a missile dropkick for 2. He wants another suplex but Aoki blocks. NJ with a few elbows and tries again but Aoki blocks again. NJ tries another but THIS TIME Aoki avoids and catches him in the deadly DRAGON SCREW LW!
• NJ tries no selling so Aoki clips the knee with a dropkick. Aoki follows it up with one more DSLW. They trade standing reversals until Aoki suckers him in and dumps him with a dropkick. Aoki follows out with a suicide dive. Back in, Aoki with a missile dropkick that sends NJ into the corner. Aoki with a series of running forearms into the turnbuckle and a gamengiri for 2. They trade Backdrop Driver attempts for nothing. Aoki gets the elbow up in the corner and heads up top but NJ cuts him off with a SWEET spinwheel kick. NJ smacks him and tries a superkick but Aoki ducks and folds him up with the Backdrop Driver. NJ no sells and hits the superkick anyway. Aoki no sells that and gives him a headbutt. NJ comes back with a kick but eats a LARIATO from Aoki. Aoki clips the knee again and hits a back suplex. He heads up top and hits the Frog Splash for a close 2. He DESTROYS NJ with a leaping back kick right to the face. Aoki with an ARM CAPTURE BRAINBUSTER! Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½! Aoki wants a Regalplex but NJ fights him off. Aoki kicks the arm and tries the armbreaker but NJ counters and catches him with the DR FG RAMPAGE! Aoki no sells and gives him a headbutt. NJ gives him a karate combo and finishes off with a superkick. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ¾! NJ with a brainbuster and ANOTHER DR FG. Cover for another nearfall. NJ with a German suplex but Aoki hangs on and floats over into the KIMURA! SWEET! NJ fights the pain so Aoki rolls through and hooks in the armbar! NJ stacks him up for the 1, 2, 2.9! Aoki ducks a DR FG enzuigiri but eats a regular one that ends it at 18:20. After all that, I would have liked a bit more emphatic ending rather than just an enzuigiri. Awesome story though with Aoki getting his ass handed to him early and being overmatched and trying to resort to breaking the arm and/or the leg to pull out a victory. Nakajima was all ready to avoid all of it and just barely and secure the KO. Love the false with the kimura and armbar so that gets spot of the match. ****1/4
• 16. Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Championship: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk (c). WWE Extreme Rules 2012. This was set up by a challenge over who was the real best in the world shifting into Jericho trolling Punk’s over his family’s substance abuse problems. This led to such riveting TV as Punk pretending to be drunk and then retaining the belt via walking a straight line and saying the alphabet backwards correctly (almost). The same thing basically happened in that classic feud where Flair flanked by 20 women accused Steamboat of doing the dishes with the missus but then Steamboat one-upped Flair by pretending to get marriage counseling. Awesomely, the pre-match video package is brought to us by Jericholics Anonymous. BOTTOMS UP PUNK! Cole with a nice segue says that Jericho “hasn’t been able to get the taste out of his mouth for months” after losing the RR and his attempts to gain the WWE strap. We get a close-up of Punk’s sister in the front row thus assuring her involvement and a number of gratuitous cutaways. Raucous CM Punk chants since we’re in Chicago.
• They slug it out to start and Punk wins that with a series of forearms and then just boots Jericho to the floor. Punk shitcans him over the barricade and then starts rearranging the furniture by throwing some chairs in the ring. Back in, Punk breaks out the Singapore cane and waffles Jericho a couple times as the crowd chants for ECW. Punk goes for the baseball swing but Jericho takes a breather. Jericho tries to cut him off at the pass but Punk dropkicks him down and waffles him again with the cane. We have the first cutaway to Punk’s sister as Jericho senses the production crew getting bored and tremendously says THE HELL WITH THIS and tries to beg for mercy behind the ref’s back. Jericho is such a method heel that it’s a shame he’s not more appreciated and respected as one of the last true artists to pay his dues in the pre-Tough Enough, pre-WCW power plant, pre-WWE monopoly days. Jericho then uses the ref as a distraction to poke Punk in the eyes. Awesome, only a true bastard would use the ref and try to hide some chicanery in a street fight. Jericho waffles Punk with the cane now as Book declares him the new “dirtiest player in the game.” Jericho with the springboard dropkick and poses to boos. Jericho throws Punk into the barricade and Punk takes it like a man by leaping over the top and eating it to the floor in the front row.
• They jockey for position and Jericho headbutts Punk. Back in, Jericho removes the pad on the top turnbuckle and tries to rub Punk’s face in it. Punk with some chops and goes for the step-up knee in the corner but Jericho slides out of the way and Punk dumps out. On the floor, Jericho tries tearing apart the barricade near Punk’s sister and then taunts her by crossfacing Punk and berating both of them. Jericho is all I USED TO FUCK GUYS LIKE YOUR BROTHER IN PRISON! Being no fan of anal rap, Punk’s sister smacks Jericho and that allows Punk to take over. Punk loses his mind tearing apart the announce table and slamming Jericho through the awning and snapping it in half. Punk preps a powerbomb through the SAT but Jericho counters with a backdrop. Jericho waffles Punk with the monitor and then smashes the half awning across Punk’s back. Jericho covers for the first pinfall attempt of the match for a 2 count. Jericho goes to the chinlock as the crowd chants for Punk. Punk counters out with a back suplex called a side suplex by Cole. Punk tries flying off the top but Jericho catches him napping by waffling him with the cane about a dozen times. Jericho then talks trash and eyes his sister again. Punk with a small package for 1, 2, only 2. Jericho with a step-up enzuigiri to take back over for another 2 count. Jericho goes looking under the ring for his trusty brewskis which would explain some of the mystery GM’s questionable booking choices over the months. HERE’S TO YA, PUNK!
• Jericho pours some beer on Punk and boots him around. Jericho: “YOU PIECE OF TRASH!” Punk no sells Miller Time and waffles Jericho with the cane and then hits a leg lariat with the cane. Punk with the swinging neckbreaker and the step up knee in the corner. Punk with the bulldog. Rather than go for the G2S, he first low blows Jericho with the cane and then calls for the finisher. Jericho slides out but Punk counters the WoJ as well. Punk with a snap powerslam for 1, 2, only 2. Punk heads up top but Jericho crotches him. Jericho wants a superplex but Punk headbutts him off. Punk with the Macho elbow. He covers for 1, 2, 2.7. Crowd chants for Randy Savage in a nice moment. Jericho again counters out of the G2S and hits a bulldog of his own. Jericho wants the Lionsault but Punk gets him on his shoulders in a nice counter and then transitions to a G2S attempt. Jericho AGAIN slides out and shitcans Punk into a chair wedged between the turnbuckles. Jericho with a school boy and a handful of dungarees for 1, 2, 2.99. More slimy cheating from Jericho. Jericho hits the “partial Codebreaker” according to Lawler. Jericho like a boss now locks in the traditional LIONTAMER and then deep seats it. Punk struggles, almost taps, and then FINALLY grabs the ropes. But in an awesome moment that got everyone in the building including me, Cole informs us that’s meaningless because it’s a street fight and ANYTHING GOES! NO ROPE BREAKS!
• Punk scrambles under the ring from the apron using only his arms and comes up with a fire extinguisher. Crowd chants for Punk as he waffles Jericho with the C02 and the can itself. Punk hits the DR FG enzuigiri and Jericho collapses onto the SAT perfectly setting up a Macho elbow off the top THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE! And the fine Spanish announcers lose yet another table. Big chants for Punk. Back in, Punk covers for the academic 1, 2, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM! Punk transitions into the Anaconda Vice. Jericho is now the one scrambling and he comes up with the cane and BLASTS Punk across the face. YES! Nice callback to Punk doing the same with the fire extinguisher. Jericho goes for another waffle but Punk cuts him off with a chairshot. Jericho recovers with a Codebreaker ON THE CHAIR! Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9999. Jericho mocks the crowd’s taunt and then tells them to shove it. Jericho: “WHAT IS IT?!” Since he has two finishers stored, Jericho goes for the ultimate insult and wants the steal Punk’s G2S. Punk hits R1 at just the right time and counters by catapulting Jericho into the exposed turnbuckle. Nice payoff on that. Punk with the G2S and covers for the 1, 2, 3 to retain at 25:13.
• It took me a few viewings but this match has grown on me more and more each time, especially Jericho’s storytelling and the perfectly set-up and timed weapon grabs out of the submissions. ****1/4 upgraded over my original review.
• 15. Ladder Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy (c). TNA Turning Point 2012. The crew puts over how Hardy is battle-tested in ladder matches, so he has the experience edge. Hardy gets a cheap clap going with the Creatures of the Night, but Aries bails out. Aries: “WE GO ON MY TIME, NOT BECAUSE PEOPLE CLAP!” Aries wins the world. Aries slinks back in and then takes out Hardy with a quick shitcan. Aries makes a run for the ladder but Hardy is over there to meet him and it’s a stalemate as neither wants to make the first move. Aries slides back in and then Hardy follows only to get cut off at the pass like an idiot. Aries throws him into the ringpost and then tries to drop a boot off the top but mostly whiffs. Aries though like a true heel makes up for it by casually thrusting Hardy in the direction of the stairs and then getting a ladder without even looking in Hardy’s direction. Hardy though is like a wrestling cockroach and won’t stay down. He runs down Aries as they scuffle back in the ring. Hardy takes over with an anti-Newtonian rana and a slingshot dropkick and plancha to the floor. They come DANGEROUSLY close to landing on the ladder but don’t. They tug of war over the ladder so Hardy shoves Aries AND the ladder back into the guardrail and then Hardy hits the AIR HARDY off the steps. Nice. Hardy brings in the ladder and starts to climb but Aries climbs OVER him from behind and drops some elbows and hits a Russian legsweep off the ladder. Aries bridges the ladder between the apron and the guardrail and then puts Hardy on the bridge and drops a STARR HAMMER off the top. Back in, Aries starts the climb but Hardy is back in to pull him off the top. Hardy with a mule kick that sends Aries reeling. Unlike RVD, Hardy has those uneducated feet and decides to place the ladder UPSIDE-DOWN on the ropes and jump off the top only to eat Chekov’s metal ladder spreader and sandwich himself. Sick spot. Aries follows up with a slingshot senton ON THE LADDER! Never seen that before unless Eddie pulled it in his match with Edge several years ago.
• After destroying the first ladder, Aries brings in ladder number 2 and follows up with a suicide dive to the floor on Hardy. Aries now wedges Hardy in the ladder and drops the stairs on top to trap Hardy in the ladder’s grasp. LOVE IT! Aries poses but senses something is wrong so he ducks back to the outside only to see Hardy no sell incarceration and climb under the ring and up the ladder. Aries dives back in to dump the ladder and Hardy eats a tough bump and almost breaks his neck for the 40th time in his career. Aries climbs up and Hardy meets him at the apex. Aries knocks him off the top and reaches up. AND NEWWWWWWWWW! WAIT! The ladder is busted up and Aries can’t reach the belts. BOOOOOOO! Aries doesn’t panic or complain about the Gods conspiring against him. Instead, he throws Hardy into the ladder for the IED. He cues up the Brainbuster but they botch the spot. Hardy covers with a Japanese armdrag into the ladder and the alley oop. Hardy now stacks the ladder up in the corner for the OG HBK ladder ride spot that is still badass after 20 years. Hardy now has KO’ed ladder #2 and Taz fills us in: “That ladder is crappy and bent up. We need a new one.” Thanks for that. Hardy now pulls out ladder #3 and starts the climb. Hardy bounces the ladder into position… while on it… right into the path of a flying Aries with a missile dropkick. Sweet. Aries now traps Hardy between the ladder and the corner and hits the IED on both. Brainbuster follows and Hardy is trashed and gets thrown out to the floor. Aries tries climbing ladder #2 but Hardy cuts him off and hits a Diamond Cutter off the ladder. Hardy heads up for the Swanton and hits it and now Aries bails out to regroup. Hardy takes over with ladder #2 and climbs up. BUT WAIT! ARIES HAS COMMANDEERED THE CONTROLS AND RAISED THE BELTS!
• Hardy is fairly subdued about the whole thing but still seems annoyed at least. Aries: “FUCK YOU! YOU AINT NEVER GETTING THE BELTS!” I love Aries. Hardy fires up and chases Aries down and tosses him over the guardrail and back to ringside. Hardy pulls out ladder #4, the Tommy Dreamer Ladder. Aries climbs up with him and they slug it out and the ladder tips over and they both bail out onto a ladder in the corner. Hardy hits the Twist of HATE and Aries goes down. Hardy climbs up and claims both belts to retain at 21:00. Hardy was his usual reckless, spot-erific self, but Aries is my hero. After a respectable but unspectacular face turn, Aries goes back to twirling the mustache to elevate his persona and the match in the process in spectacular fashion. Some innovative spots, some golden oldies, and some personality go a long way. ****1/4
• 14. GHC Heavyweight Championship: Takeshi Morishima vs. Go Shiozaki (c). NOAH 01/22/2012. They come right out with the strikes and Morishima no sells a couple of STIFF forearms and LARIATOS Go into next week. Morishima with the running clothesline in the corner and a missile dropkick off the top. Morishima with another LARIATO. He tries the Backdrop Driver early but Go gets the ropes. Morishima tries it anyway but Go floats over into the cover. Morishima kicks out EMPHATICALLY and Go rolls to the floor to regroup. AWESOME! Go tries getting back in the ring and Morishima lets him know that WU TANG CLAN AINT NOTHIN’ TO FUCK WITH and clubs him back off the apron to the floor. Morishima sends him into the guardrail and sets up a chair for the RUNAWAY SAMOAN SEMI INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Go slides in and Morishima does the Andre spot of standing on his chest. Morishima chokes away in the corner and hits ANOTHER Samoan Semi. Go is trashed. ONE MORE SAMOAN SEMI! The ref wants to stop the match! Go tries to shake it loose and comes back with chops. Morishima clubs him a few times and does the standing choke in the corner. Morishima boxes him in the ears to be a dick and then hits the HANDSPRING STINGER SPLASH! Morishima wants a suplex but Go blocks and gives him a brainbuster. Morishima tries no selling so Go takes him down with a LARIATO. Morishima up and they slug it out and for those unaware, Go has some of the manliest chops in the business (just don’t ask Sasaki about that because he damn near killed Go last time they chopped it out).
• Morishima has had enough of that and dropkicks him to the floor. Morishima wants to follow out with the suicide dive but Go cuts him off with a haymaker and then he sends Morishima into the guardrail. Go now gets a chair like earlier and sets up Morishima for the running CHOP HOMICIDA! TWO OF THEM! Go now puts him on the apron and gives him a running high knee into the head. Go now goes to the deadly THROAT CHOPS! Go with another brainbuster for Morishima. He covers for 1, 2, 2.5! Morishima rolls to the floor to regroup now. Go preps a PILEDRIVER ON THE FLOOR AND DRIVES HIM INTO THE MAT! Go rolls in to work the count and is all, “Where the hell is Morishima? I thought we were men here. Get your ass in the ring.” Go decides to be a gentlemen and help him get to the apron by choking him. Go with a Bluechipper dropkick and a kneedrop for 2. Go goes to a standing guillotine and a DDT for 2. Go now with a chinlock. Morishima tries to power out but Go locks the hold back on. Morishima manages to get the ropes. They now slug it out again. Go with the deadly chops and tells Morishima to BRING IT ON!
• Morishima with another weak forearm and Go chops him into next week and tells him that won’t get the job done. Go goes to the sleeper and wants the uranage. Instead, Morishima blocks so Go turns it into an arm triagnle. Morishima staggers and everyone from the announcer to the ref thinks it’s over. Go releases the hold and covers for the academic 1, 2, 3—2.9! Back to the arm triangle, but Morishima has had enough of that crap and decides to throw Go down with ease. Go with a superkick but runs into a LARIATO! Morishima with a slam and heads up top but Go cuts him off. Go gives him a superplex but Morishima no sells. Go avoids the Morishima Juggernaut by giving him a bridged German suplex for another 2 count. Go with another throat chop and a LARIATO to the seated Morishima. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9! Go with a CHOP HOMICIDA but Morishima no sells and clubs him around and boxes the ears. Go ducks a LARIATO and hits one of his own. Cover for another nearfall. Go says it’s over and heads up top. Morishima up first and folds him up with a German suplex. Go no sells that and hits another LARIATO. Now both sell. They both stagger to their feet to slug it out. Morishima with a shoulderblock and Go with a dropkick. They both go for LARIATOS and both no sell. Go with a German suplex. Morishima with a uranage. Both no sell. Another LARIATO collision. Morishima no sells a superkick and clubs him down emphatically. Morishima with a dropkick and a body slam. Morishima heads up top and hits a top rope elbow drop. He covers for a very close 2. Morishima hits the Backdrop Driver! Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99! He wants another but Go counters with elbows and headbutts.
• Morishima fights back and Go gives him the BRAIN CHOP! Morishima goes down in a heap. Go now like a sociopath continues pounding the head. He goes to the MMA elbows and hits a brutal THROAT CHOP! Morishima kicks out at 2. Go with a DDT for 2. Go says that’s it. LARIATO! Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9! Go preps another brainbuster but Morishima blocks and gets the ropes. Go smacks the taste out of his mouth and pulls him back to the middle and hits the Go Flasher! Cover gets 2.9 again. Go wants an arm capture Backdrop Driver but Morishima gets the ropes again. Go puts him up top and instead gives him a BACKDROP DRIVER OFF THE TOP! MORISHIMA FLOATS OVER! Both took the brunt of that one. Another slug it out sequence of forearms and chops. Crowd is counting along. Go with a LARIATO but Morishima no sells. Morishima with one and now Go no sells. Go with another and Morishima with another. Go smacks him into next week and gets a head of steam. He ducks 3 Morishima lines only to run into a LARIATO and the LARIATO HOMICIDA and another. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.999! Morishima with the Backdrop Driver again! Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to crown a new champ at 23:31. This is all a matter of how you prefer your carnage: chaotic or ordered. The JR title match has more psychology and comes off tighter. This match has more mutually assured destruction and alternating sections of no selling and badassery. It’s a compliment to the match that I couldn’t tell who was going to win and completely changed my mind three times. Phenomenal war that I might rate a tad too high but I’m a big fan of both guys. ****1/4
The 411: *10.0 is a default rating for the best of the year.
|Final Score: 10.0 [ Virtually Perfect ] legend|