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Thread: The Bright Side: Match of the Year 2017 Countdown Spectacular!!

  1. #1
    The Brain
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    The Bright Side: Match of the Year 2017 Countdown Spectacular!!

    Greetings, mizfan fans! Yes itís back, back again, the Heenan Series will be taking a short hiatus as the award winning Match of the Year Countdown Spectacular makes its presence known for the third year running! If you want to take a gander at last year's list, you can find it right here. As before, I would not presume to tell anyone which wrestling matches are the best, but I can absolutely tell you which I have enjoyed the most. Over the next month I will spend a little time each day telling you just that, and who knows? I may even turn on a few more people to some quality material that has flown under their radar. Also, this year there will be lots of GIFS, so even if you canít watch the matches you will at least be forced to see little 15 second slices of what I like! Bwahaha! Feel free to watch along if you can and let me know what you think, and donít forget to tell me about some of your favorites as well so I can continue to expand my palate.

    Just like last year, I want this series to be a tool for people to discover what else is out there besides WWE. You donít need me to sit here and tell you that NXT is a lot of fun (at least it was before Bobby Roode lost the title!), so Iím going to focus on the top 30 non-WWE matches while still giving due mention to those WWE matches which made it into the top rankings. Got it? No? Well, itíll make sense as we go. Speaking of, LETíS GET TO IT!!!

    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 32nd favorite one.

    Trevor Lee vs. Chip Day Ė CWF: Mid Atlantic Championship
    CWF: Mid Atlantic Kernodle Brothers Tag Team Tournament Day 2, March 25th

    The Setup: When we talk about independent wrestling, weíre most likely talking about the New England area. At a stretch, we might talk about something in Florida or California. But there are independent promotions all over the country, many of which are rarely discussed among indy wrestling fans. There are a lot of reasons why this might be true, but the bottom line is these promotions are often putting out incredibly high quality work, and among these the Carolina Wrestling Federation: Mid Atlantic is among the best.

    This ace of this promotion is none other than Trevor Lee, whom you may recognize from his work with Impact Wrestling, or perhaps from PWG or one of the many other promotions heís appeared in since fighting his way onto the wrestling radar a few years ago. But Leeís history with CWF: Mid Atlantic goes back much farther than that, almost a decade he was worked tirelessly to build up this promotion, and now at long last he is champion. In fact, not only is he champion but he is currently the longest reigning champion in the 16 year history of the title. His possession of the title is nearing the 2 year mark, and not for lack of competition either. In addition to defending the belt tirelessly against the home grown talent of the promotion, he has also taken on big name outsiders such as Michael Elgin and Cedric Alexander, defeating the latter last year in a match that went nearly a full hour. He even defended the belt in a 30 man Rumble-style match, and still was able to hold onto it, and the fans of the area never seem to tire of him.

    But the fans also have an appreciation for his challenger in this match, the man known as Chip Day. Despite competing since 2005, starting at the age of 19, Chip is little known outside of certain circles due to his tendency to work outside of the commonly discussed circle of promotions. Will he be able to take the belt off the dominant champion? Letís find out!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, and I highly recommend you do, you can find this match here:


    There are matches that lend themselves well to gifs, matches that are based on big spots and cool offense and bumps. I love these matches, but there is another kind of great match, the kind that canít be reduced to a clip show, the kind that have to be witnessed to be appreciated. This is one of those. Itís all about the story, and about the long game. Trevor knows he can go long if needed, so he picks his spots and makes Chip fight for every sequence and pay for every mistake. Chip is incredibly sharp and on his game, knowing the mountain he has to climb, but every slip up and opening is one more place for Trevor to jump in and do damage.


    But Chip also learns from every mistake, adapting his strategy on the fly to keep up with the caveman and make sure Leeís reserves are being depleted at the same time, forcing him to expend his injury and attacking him in unexpected ways. He has prepared well, and he knows what Leeís attacks will look like and how he can do damage. Check out this sequence, Chip knows heís going to get stomped and takes the full brunt of the attack, BUT in order to make sure Lee canít follow up he puts up his knees to force Trevor to damage his back at the same time!


    I love strategic wrestling, I truly do. The match becomes a full on battle of attrition, both men tiring the other out and waiting for the final mistake that will decide the match. Chip Day pushes the champion to his absolute limit, and even looks like heís on the cusp of winning the belt at any moment!


    But Lee has proven himself over his reign to be a true iron man, able to credibly keep hidden reserves and strengths kept away until deep in the contest. In the final minutes, after more than 30 minutes have passed, Chip finally starts to falter, and the endurance champion of the Carolinas is able to finally put his challenger away and retain his title after an epic battle.

    The Winner: Trevor Lee in 32:05

    The Verdict: When I first watched this match, it was a true revelation. Trevor Lee is a guy who does good work in places like Impact or PWG, but in the end heís not one of the biggest standouts. I never would have guessed he has such an incredible talent for matches like this, but he conclusively proved to me that he has untapped depths that I never expected. You also have Chip Day, a guy I had literally never heard of, showing incredibly ability as well, wrestling a brilliantly strategic match and showing the kind of talent that should be talked about in every corner of the wrestling world. The whole match is full of struggle, of caution and opportunity, of building up over a long period until the crowd is in a true frenzy without falling into the independent traps of no selling or blowing off spots for an extra pop. This is a match that can change the way you think about what independent wrestling you might be missing just below the surface. I love that wrestling is so damn layered, thereís always something new you can discover!

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 30th least favorite match of 2017:

    Race Jaxon vs. Officer Bruno Meloni
    CHIKARA Parting of Ways, July 8th

    The Verdict: You guys might remember a little team with the unfortunate name of N_R_G, who were CHIKARA Campeones de Parejas (tag champs) for a long stretch in recent years. You might also remember that I didnít much care for them, particularly Race Jaxon. Fortunately for me, the team split up early this year. Unfortunately for me, it means a lot more Race Jaxon singles matches. After betraying his more talented partner Hype Rockwell, by dropping a piece of the WrestleFactory set on his head no less, he embarked on the rather tired gimmick of a guy who thinks heís really pretty and doesnít want to get hit in the face. CHIKARA has revitalized a lot of clichťd gimmicks over the years, but this one hasnít worked too well for me. Meloni, on the other side, is a very green wrestler with a policeman gimmick. This match isnít AWFUL, but it isnít that good either. I donít have a lot to say about it, just not anywhere near the typical CHIKARA standard I look for. Also Race won, which never really makes me too happy.

    The Winner: Race Jaxon in 6:22

    Enjoyment Rating: *ľ


    2017 Award For Funniest Wrestler:
    Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr)



    Hug REJECTED!!!

    Recommended Matches:
    El Hijo del Ice Cream, Juan Francisco de Coronado, Hallowicked, Frightmare, & Gran Akuma vs. UltraMantis Black, Ophidian, Icarus, Dasher Hatfield, & Mister ZERO 5/27/17 CHIKARA Aniversario: School Reunion
    El Hijo del Ice Cream, Chuck Taylor, Ice Cream Jr, & Chuck Taylor TM vs. Ophidian, Fire Ant, Travis Huckabee, & Solo Darling 6/10/17 CHIKARA Hide
    El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr vs. Silver & Fire Ant vs. Hallowicked & Frightmare vs. Travis Huckabee & Solo Darling, Elimination 4/1/17 CHIKARA Bad Wolf

    No surprise that a CHIKARA wrestler takes away the award for funniest performer of the year! Los Ice Creams are a very fun act in general, but Hijo is always my favorite. Between his faux Spanish outbursts, his phenomenal body language, and his overall creativity, he gets me time and time again. This year I have seen this team elbow drop a bag of Skittles, start a dodgeball game during a match, and be held hostage with a blow-dryer, just to name a few moments. If you get a chance to check out Los Ice Creams, always take it!

    Honorable Mention To: Chuck Taylor, Chuck Taylor TM, & Dez Peloton (Donald Kluger & Jasper Tippens)

    Question: What was your favorite wrestling discovery in 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  2. #2
    Senior Member kingzak13's Avatar
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    I am worried that my computer may not be able to handle all the GIFs for this series.

    I am surprised you only watched one Miz match this year, he was pretty on point all year.

  3. #3
    The Brain
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    King Zakington! There will be no shortage of gifs, so hopefully your machine can handle the pressure! As for WWE this year, I'm so glad the Miz is back to getting the credit he deserves, but all I really watched on that front were some of the Takeover specials and the Mae Young Classic. Beyond that, my viewing was very limited! Glad to have you along, my man.


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 31st favorite one.

    Aja Kong vs. Chihiro Hashimoto – Sendai Girls Championship
    Sendai Girls Event, April 6th

    The Setup: Yes, Aja Kong is not only still wrestling, but she is still kicking an spectacular amount of ass at the age of 47! This match takes place in Meiko Satomura’s promotion, Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling. Regular readers may remember Meiko Satomura as one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and Chihiro Hashimoto is both her protťgť and at 25 years old the face of the promotion. However, earlier in the year history reared its ugly head, and Aja Kong appeared and defeated Chihiro for the top title in the promotion. Chihiro fought hard to keep the belt, but in the end Kong’s win was dominant. Chihiro had no choice but to dig down deep and embark on a quest to find a way to defeat this legendary monster and bring the title back where it belongs.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, which I strongly recommend you do, you can find this match here:


    This is a match that is even more impressive and interesting if you watch it in conjunction with their previous match, where Kong won the title. It’s from January 9th, so if anyone is doing extra credit I recommend watching that one as well!

    At first, this match seems to be a close approximation of their first bout. Chihiro tries every tactic she can think of to storm Aja Kong’s seemingly impenetrable fortress, but nothing seems to work. She can’t overpower or out strike the monstrous Kong. Hashimoto is faster, but Kong’s impressive size makes it very hard to take advantage even when she does find a way to get a grip. Hash is able to take Kong down to the mat more than once, but on top of everything Kong is well versed in technique, and even from her back she is too dangerous for Chihiro to engage, knowing even one wrong move could mean the end of her redemption story. Unable to advance against the power of Kong, Hashimoto takes a chance and brings the fight to the floor, trying to overwhelm Kong by using her size and the environment itself against her.


    She pours everything she has into an offensive onslaught, and tries to bring it all home with Kong once again back in the ring.


    Alas, in addition to all her other incredible features, Kong is also incredibly savvy, and weathered a similar storm in their first match successfully. When Chihiro tries to go for one of her signatures, a German suplex maneuver, Kong counters by dropping down on her back. Hash has fiercely studied their first encounter and knows that Kong’s next move will be to swing a foot into the crown of her head, so she immediately holds up her hands to block. Kong feints with a kick, then suddenly grabs at Hashimoto’s knee! Fearing a submission attempt, Hashimoto panics and lowers her guard. But the knee grab was a double feint! Kong nails Hash with a kick anyway. Hashimoto sees her advantage slipping away, and attempts to rush in before she loses it entirely, but rushing in without a strategy only leaves her open to a devastating knee. In case you can’t tell, I LOVE this sequence.


    Back in control, Kong taunts Hash by showing her what is REALLY means to take the fight to the floor, dragging her into the crowd and abusing her right in front of her mentor.


    Not even fleeing crowd members are safe from Kong’s wrath!


    Kong lays in an incredible beating, and Hash is barely able to survive.


    But a victory in this scenario means everything to Hashimoto, and she has prepared herself to endure incredible punishment in the build up to this match. Like John Cena on his best day, Hashimoto keeps fighting back, keeps looking for ways to get past Kong’s seemingly unbeatable offense. Eventually, Kong has no choice but slow down her attacks, her age and size finally catching up to her nearly 20 minutes deep into the match, and Hashimoto has kept just enough in the tank to fight back one more time. As Kong struggles to find the kill shot that will finally take this challenger of practically half her age down for the count, Hash catches her off guard on the ropes and makes her move! With pure desperation and the fires of youth, Hashimoto lays into Kong and finally, finally puts her down for the count, regain the championship that she lost.


    The Winner: Chihiro Hashimoto in 19:17

    The Verdict: I love the story of this match, and I love how much it played on the history between them, and the history of Kong specifically. If you do watch the first match in their series, it’s very similar to this, with the difference being that Hashimoto trusts her natural talent to carry her through. She learned a hard lesson when she lost the title, and you can clearly see how she grew as she prepared for the rematch and approached things with a new strategy and a new capacity for endurance. I am convinced after watching this that not only is Kong still every bit the badass she always was, but also that Chihiro Hashimoto is one of the brightest stars in the future of women’s wrestling.

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 29th least favorite match of 2017:

    Nicole Savoy vs. Reina Gonzalez
    WWE Mae Young Classic, August 28th

    The Verdict: Nicole Savoy is a reasonably fine talent on the independent scene, but her opponent didn’t even have enough matches to crack double digits coming into this one, and it showed. Not the worst match I’ve ever seen by any stretch, but definitely way below the standard you would expect for something like this. The worst match of the tournament, easily.

    The Winner: Nicole Savoy in 4:25

    Enjoyment Rating: *ľ

    2017 Award For Wrestler I Most Want To See More Of:
    Brody King



    Seen here smashing Poison Ivy, apparently.

    One thing I love about wrestling is that is essentially infinite. There are always new people coming up to talk about, and the one I am itching to see more of in the coming year is a guy by the name of Brody King. A virtual unknown so far, I discovered him late in the year wrestling in under the radar places like WrestleCircus and Bar Wrestling, and let me tell you I am extremely impressed. A big man, covered with tattoos and sporting blue hair, he immediately stands out visually, and he backs it up in the ring as well. A heavy hitting but also highly agile, I feel his ceiling could be quite high in a world where good big men are rare and should be highly valued. Don’t be shocked if you see this man popping up on the countdown next year!

    Honorable Mention To: Super Panda, Black Dragon, Arik Royal

    Question: What was your favorite promotion to watch in 2017? If you only watched WWE, I’ll settle for your favorite brand!

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and I’ll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  4. #4
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    Haven't gotten a chance to fully read these yet. When I do I'll leave more detailed feedback. In the meantime happy to see this back and I plan on watching any matches you suggest.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
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    God damn that AJA kong match seems so brutal. Great selection.
    And Jacob wrestled with God.






  6. #6
    King of Stats zzzorf's Avatar
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    Gifs, Gifs everyhere, all I see know is blue and red flying everywhere. Great work as per usual Mizzie, the work you put in this every year is remarkable. I couldn't even think about rating every match I watch, I just don't pay enough close attention in most cases. Unfortunately I don't remember watching any 2017 non-WWE wrestling as yet, it just wasn't a year for me to be able to do so, hell I haven't watched any 2017 wrestling in like 3 months. I think the best part of this series though has been watching it from year to year as you delved further and further into the indies with even more promotions and you move further and further away from the Miz watching less and less of his matches.

    Anyway question time:
    favourite discovery: hmm don't know if I really learnt much new. I mean I saw a couple of new wrestlers but not any that have really stuck with me. The best thing I can come up with in terms of wrestling is in the movies, at least one movie in particular, Boone: The Bounty Hunter. If you haven't seen this John Hennigan written by and starred in movie then you are missing out, it was a fun ride.
    Favourite promotion: I guess Raw, in the 3 hours it has more time to offer something for everyone where Smackdown can be more taken up by one thing.

  7. #7
    Great story telling from Aja Kong and Chihiro Hashimoto and from yourself retelling it. Love a well done David vss Goliath match and this is nothing short of it. Man, that Kong is a beast. Good read, man.

  8. #8
    The Brain
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    Spinny! Glad to have you along for the ride! If you do watch the matches that are available (and I hope you do!), I would love to hear your thoughts!

    JWG, my man! The match is indeed brutal. If you get a chance to watch, I do highly recommend it!

    Wayne! I canít tell you how good it is to have you back around these parts. Yes, I am definitely going gif heavy this year, as I feel like the pictures are worth however many thousands of words I could pour into trying to describe the action. I too enjoy the fact that I seem to be diving deeper and deeper into the wrestling world! Itís a lot of fun. Good call on Boone, I havenít seen it but Iíve definitely seen Hennigan promoting it, and it looks like some extremely campy fun. Raw seems to be the preferred brand these days, so I get you there! Thanks for popping by!

    Benny Butts! Indeed, a fantastically done David vs. Goliath for sure. As I put this yearís list together, I discovered I must be a fan of those matches too because there are a couple of good examples coming up. Aja Kong is phenomenal!! Glad to have you stopping by again, Benny.


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 30th favorite one.

    Bobby Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards Ė Iron Man Match, TNA Championship
    TNA Impact, January 26th

    The Setup: As hard as it may be to believe, it was just earlier this year that I was actually quite enjoyed the promotion formerly known as TNA. The Broken Hardys were a weekly delight, Decay was running strong, guys like Lashley and EC3 were kicking ass and taking names, guys like Eli Drake were knocking on the door of bigger things, the Knockouts and the X Division had some promising talent involved, they had recently hired one of my all-time favorites in Eddie KingstonÖ my my, how things can change in a year. I have no doubt some of those positives are still in place, to be fair, and I know some people are quite fond of the new Impact. Iím not saying youíre wrong, I havenít watched since March. I will say that the March 9th episode of Impact, the first official Anthem episode with the rebrand, is the worst wrestling show I have ever seen. It was the most insulting possible thing for a loyal viewer like myself, and when they all but shouted in my face that if I had enjoyed anything from the past 5 years I was an idiot, I took it as my cue to leave and I havenít looked back.

    BUT, this match is from a time before all that. Eddie Edwards, who very unexpectedly won the TNA Championship from Bobby Lashley just following Bound For Glory í16, had been working overtime to keep his Cinderella run going against the monstrous former champion, Bobby Lashley. Although he held on to his title through multiple defenses, Lashley would not be deterred, and continuously took advantage of Edwardsí fighting champion attitude to force him to accept his challenges. Ultimately, in order to remove all doubt, the two were placed into a 30 minute Iron Man Match to conclusively settle their differences and establish who is the truly deserving champion.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match, I dunno, probably on that weird Impact version of the WWE Network? I am still too scarred by the Anthem changeover to check.

    By this point, these two know each other extremely well, and coupled with the guaranteed long run time these two start things out a bit on the cautious side. Lashley always acted extremely confident when presented with the challenge of Edwards, but considering this route had lead him to a loss more than once, it quickly becomes clear that his bravado is more a tactic to unnerve Edwards, rather than genuine overconfidence. In his late career renaissance Lashley has become an extremely dangerous man, but Edwards takes his time and looks carefully for a gap in his defenses. In the past Edwards has been able to exploit small vulnerabilities to maximum effect by simply charging in the moment he could gain an advantage and unleashing a high energy series of attacks to take away Lashleyís advantage. Edwards finally sees an opportunity and goes to rush in, but Lashley is too clever for him this time, and he makes Edwards pay for it in spectacular fashion.


    With Edwards now badly damaged, Lashley is able to not only secure the first victory, but he also follows it up with more incredible offense that puts him up two to zero thanks to a countout decision.


    Edwards tries to use his previous strategy and blast his way back to the advantage by picking his spots, but Lashleyís power appears to be simply overwhelming this time around, even more so than in the past. Lashley is clearly tired of being embarrassed by this little man, and is out to make him pay.


    Edwards is still able to get his shots in to remain competitive, but he doesnít seem to be able to get on the board, and Lashley just seems to get stronger as the match goes on.


    What can a guy like Edwards possibly do in the face of moves like this?


    He can wait for Lashley to make a mistake, thatís what! As Lashley remains strong on top of the match, his confidence becomes less of a tactic and more of a burden, and Edwards is able to summon the strength to start making his comeback in earnest. Through a tremendous effort, he manages to tie up the score 2 to 2 moving into the final 5 minutes. But Lashley is able to force a tapout victory with less than four minutes left, and is seemingly now happy to simply wait out the clock, rather than make a dominant statement. In fact, from the way heís acting he would consider running out the clock to be a dominant statement in and of itself. But his confidence once again gets in the way, and Edwards dives in with an incredible run of offense, trying desperately to even up the score before the time runs out!


    In the final minute, Lashley is forced to confront Edwards head on, and goes back to his original game plan of simply destroying Edwards once and for all. One last time though, his cocky attitude gets in the way and when he dives in for a spear, Edwards catches him in a guillotine!


    Lashley has nowhere to go! Heís unable to escape and in tremendous pain. It looks for all the world like he is on the verge of tapping out, but he keeps pushing just another few seconds forward, trying to last to the final buzzer without giving up. In the end he does indeed succeed in withstanding the pain, though he may not have even been conscious when the bell finally rang. And with that, Lashely is once again your TNA Champion!

    The Winner: Bobby Lashley (3-2) in 30:00

    The Verdict: Now, Iím not the biggest Eddie Edwards fan around, but he always seemed to have good chemistry with Lashley, and even though he had no earthly business beating him for the title, I was still engaged in the feud and wanted to see how it would come out, especially if it meant Lashley would get back on top. This match lived up to all my hopes, a great story told with Lashley being portrayed as the dominant power, but with Edwards still able to stay in the fight and believably push Lashleyís back against the wall. I especially adore the ending of this match, it simultaneously puts over Lashley as a badass AND as an undeserving champion, since it was clear at the end of the match that heíd been bested and in a normal match without a time limit he would have been the loser. Lashleyís post match reaction is priceless, when he realizes his plan has worked he starts laughing and celebrating like he just won the match 10 falls to none, and acts generally insufferable in that special way that Lashely has seemed to master in recent years. This one is well worth checking out if you can find it, doubly so because it is decisively the last great match under the official TNA banner.

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 28th least favorite match of 2017:

    Jeremy Leary vs. Lucas Calhoun Ė Hair vs. Hair
    CHIKARA Whatever Happened, Happened

    The Verdict: Oh, Jeremy Leary. His match at least yearís CHIKARA season finale was in my bottom 30 last year, so itís just my luck that he became a season regular. The fact is, Learyís character is actually pretty interesting, and steeped in the history of CHIKARA. However, in the ring he just does nothing for me. Heís sloppy, his offense is uninteresting and sometimes downright bad, he bring nothing to the table as a storytellerÖ honestly, Iím not sure what his positive points are, even after seeing him many times. This is a match that should have been a lot more exciting, Lucas Calhoun is a strong talent and one of the more fun guys in CHIKARA. They ran a solid story where Leary seemed to be trying to steal the identity of Calhoun, imitating his mannerisms and ring attire. However, when the match finally went down it just didnít do much for me, and I put that at Learyís doorstep. The match didnít feel as heated as it should have, and the stakes didnít feel that high despite the stipulation. Leary ends up losing the match, but after doing so he reveals that he has a connection to Calhounís past, a revelation which unbalances Calhoun to the point where he ends up shaving his own head instead. This actually made sense when you look at the larger storyline, which is more complex than I want to try to spell out in this space, but it was also a bit of a letdown that the stipulation wasnít really honored on top of everything else. Disappointing is what I can say about this one.

    The Winner: Lucas Calhoun in 8:42

    Enjoyment Rating: *

    2017 Award For Best Promotion:
    Lucha Underground



    The only place you can see actual murders like this one!

    This was the winner of this same award last year, and really nothing has changed, except an annoying long mid-season break messing up some of the fun. But on the whole, thereís still nothing out there that compares to Lucha Underground. What I love most about the promotion is the way they tell stories and build characters. Everything is meaningful in Lucha Underground. There is a history that is respected, honored, built on. The fact that the history is steeped in outside the box elements means nothing to me, because why would I want to limit the stories I enjoy by the boring constraints of whatís ďrealĒ? Lucha Underground shows genuine integrity in their storytelling, and is internally consistent to an extreme degree. And underneath all the Aztec gods and dark powers, the matches are built up in a very old school way that I just love. I canít wait for season 4 to start up in 2018, and I hope there are many more to follow.

    Honorable Mention To: CHIKARA, wXw, CMLL

    Question: Who was your favorite creative mind in wrestling in 2017? And, if you feel the urge to say Triple H, please let me know what great stories he was responsible for in WWE this year!

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  9. #9
    Senior Member kingzak13's Avatar
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    The release german suplex flip move is one of my favorite moves, always looks so cool.

    Favourite creative mind, whoever came up with the stuff for the Broken Hardys in TNA, I think it may have been Matt.

  10. #10
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    This looks like quite the high IMPACT match Mizfan. Seriously though some of those gifs are something else.

    Your questions make me wish I had more time in my life to watch outside WWE stuff. I don't want to cut them because I actually do enjoy it but I have to say this countdown well and truly intrigues me.
    Last edited by SirSam; 01-03-2018 at 04:13 PM.

  11. #11
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    Now here's a match I've already seen so I'll take the time to say a few words on it now. For years I thought Eddie Edwards was nothing but the generic white meat babyface with no distinguishing factors. Everything he did during the Wolves and the ROH/TNA singles runs was a combination of boring character and above average matches. He seemed destined to be a tag or mid carder for his entire career. Then something happened this year. He had his first match with Bobby Lashley and it was like everything just clicked for them and for him as a single. Since his feud with Bobby he's been a whole new man and I now believe his exit from Impact will be a huge loss for them and a gain for whatver promotion snatches him. He has finally stepped up to consistent greatness in the ring. However, if he wants to be a star in WWE he needs to work some more on charisma and character.

  12. #12
    The Brain
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    King Zakington! Iím so with you on the release flip german. If somebody lands on their face, I am onboard!! Love the Broken Hardy stuff, Matt definitely had a lot to do with it. Word is Jeremy Borash also had a hand in it, and if so good for him.

    Aha, I see what you did there Sir Samwell of Tarth! If I can persuade you to make room for some non-WWE stuff in your watching schedule, nobody will be happier than me. With your love of character and story, I can think of some promotions that would be SO up your alley!

    Spinny, my young partner! Iím sort of with you on Edwards. I like the guy decently, and thereís no doubt he has rare and unexpected chemistry with Lashley. Every time they matched up, starting in 2016, it turned out great, far better than you would think on paper, and this was the pinnacle of what they did together. However, outside of the Lashley feud Iím still not sure he ticks enough boxes. His follow up feud with Davey Richards wasnít much to look at, and I agree if he has any aspirations of WWE he probably needs more presence. Then again, they hired on guys like Cole and OíReilly, so who knows what they are looking for now?

    Thanks all for the read and feed, itís great to have you guys along!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 29th favorite one.

    Io Shirai vs. Shayna Baszler Ė World of Stardom Championship
    Stardom of Champions, February 23rd

    The Setup: Io Shirai is a bit of a marvel. For three years running sheís been named the womenís wrestler of the year by Tokyo Sports. She is the ace of the #1 female promotion in the world, Stardom. She has held the top championship of the promotion, the World of Stardom Title, for more than 1,000 days combined over the course of just two reigns. She is the leader of Queenís Quest, one of the top stables of Stardom, and perfectly walks the fine line of being a major crowd favorite while still keeping an attitude of cocky coolness about her at all times. She is one of the most accomplished and skilled wrestlers, not just among women but in all of Japan and even the world.

    In fact, sheís so good that challengers have started coming out of the woodwork just to try to take her down. When traditional Japanese female wrestlers failed to unseat her from her throne, Stardom broadened their search and found a name that is now known well to WWE fans. They found Shayna Baszler, accomplished MMA fighter turned wrestler. If Shirai is able to get past this challenger, she will break her own record for most successful defenses of her championship, but Baszler comes in with a good deal of hype and expectation. Can Io adapt and survive this outsider?

    The Match: If you want to watch along, and I highly recommend that you do, you can find this match here:


    Shayna comes into this match feeling very cocky, ready to ride a wave of momentum straight to the title, but it does not do well to underestimate the ability of Io Shirai. Attacks hard and fast, and Shayna quickly realizes the caliber of fight she has on her hands. Still, she hasnít gotten so far without preparing for every eventuality.


    However, the transition from MMA to wrestling is not as easy as some might think, and that goes for inside kayfabe as well as outside of it. Io draws upon this fact and attempts to use elements unique to pro wrestling in order to weaken Shayna and throw her off her game. You wonít see anything like this in the octagon!


    Shayna unexpectedly find herself on the defensive, and Io piles on the damage, hitting Baszler from unexpected angles to avoid being caught in her potentially deadly grasp. Ioís strategy of big strikes while creating distance in between attacks pays off!


    But whenever Shayna is able to line up a shot, it is devastating. She quickly adjusts her approach and executes a game plan centered around grounding Io with big attacks, then working over Ioís arm, which becomes more and more damaged as the fight goes on.


    The momentum swings Baszlerís way, but she struggles to put the finishing touch on her opponent. Io figures out a way to fight around the damaged arm, and counters by targeting Shaynaís back to even the playing field. When Shaynaís submission strategy starts to fail, she falls for the trap of being drawn into a back and forth sequence that favors pro wrestling over MMA. Drawn out of her strongest areas, she is just vulnerable enough for Io to take advantage and put away her challenger!


    The Winner: Io Shirai in 16:45

    The Verdict: Itís a pure pleasure to watch these two adjust to each other as they tell a great story over the course of the match. Io recognizes Shaynaís strongest abilities with piercing clarity, and does everything she can to draw her away from them. Even when Baszler zeroes in on her arm and almost removes it from her body, Io doesnít lose her cool and instead waits until she can shift things back to her advantage. Shayna is perfect as a challenger, showing me more here than she did during the MYC, perhaps due to having a proper main event run time to work in, perhaps due to being a little more free with her style than WWE tended to allow. The storytelling was excellent, the psychology was spot on, and the action was world class. Absolutely one to check out!

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ


    Not to be overlooked, here is my 28th favorite match of 2017, from the good olí WWE.

    Bobby Roode vs. Hideo Itami Ė WWE NXT Championship
    WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago, May 20th

    The Verdict: Plenty has been said about these WWE matches, so I wonít go on forever. Essentially, I thought Hideo looked the best he has in nearly a decade in this match. He was fired up, cocky, hard hitting, and really had Roode on the ropes. Roode, for his part, was positively on fire during his NXT title run. He works his character so well, and so subtly, into these matches that some donít even recognize what heís doing. He hung in there and told a great story with Itami before putting him away. Fantastic bout.

    The Winner: Bobby Roode in 17:43

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ

    And while weíre at it, here is my 27th favorite match of 2017, also from the good olí WWE.

    Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Ė WWE NXT Championship
    Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas
    WWE NXT Takeover: San Antonio, January 28th

    The Verdict: Just that tiny step better than the Itami match, this one still sits high in my memory as I picture Roode attacking Nakís knee like a madman in the final minutes. A modern classic, and my uncontested favorite WWE match of 2017. Itís no coincidence that my interest in NXT has waned badly now that these two are off on Smackdown.

    The Winner: Bobby Roode in 27:07

    Enjoyment Rating: ****ĺ


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 27th least favorite match of 2017:

    Britt Jackson vs. Hype Rockwell
    The WrestleFactory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    CHIKARA Hour of Power, September 17th

    The Verdict: Hey look, itís the other half of the now defunct N_R_G! I should actually say, Iím rather fond of Hype Rockwell and I think heíll do plenty of good on his own. Britt Jackson is a guest from Pro South Wrestling, a promotion out of Alabama. If left to their own devices these two probably would have had an ok match, but after a couple cool moves by Hype this match is interrupted by Race Jaxon, because the N_R_G breakup went on for a very, very long time. A DQ like that may advance the story, but it doesnít say much for the match itself. Not really a narrative misstep, but why not have Race attack before the match, or after? Ah well.

    The Winner: Hype Rockwell via DQ in 1:34

    Enjoyment Rating: *

    2017 Award For Best Booker:
    Chris DeJoseph (Lucha Underground)



    Heís the one who books the crazy murders like this one!

    So last year I gave this award to Mike Quackenbush, but while he still packs a lot of punch as a storyteller his abilities were somewhat hampered this year by some key talent departing the promotion, so his #1 competition for the title gets the win. Yes, itís Chris DeJoseph of Lucha Underground, along with the team he has to assist him in putting together the great stories they tell over there. LU booking is characterized by fundamentally sound and logical character arcs. Itís true, the stories are often dressed up with outlandish elements but at their core they downright old school in how effectively they get over characters and moments that transcend wrestling and become classic. The more you invest in the storytelling of Lucha Underground, the more rewarding it becomes, and DeJoseph and his team deserve major recognition for that.

    Honorable Mention To: Mike Quackenbush (CHIKARA), the creative teams of wXw and Dragon Gate

    Question: What was your favorite wrestling event of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  13. #13
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    Another three matches that I've already seen. I believe you are the one that showed me the first match listed here and for that I thank you. Io Shirai is an absolute bona fide star. She is the type of talent (man or woman) that just doesn't come around enough. I knew that before this match and the match didn't change it. What the match did do was show my the potential that is Shayna Baszler. At the current time I think she could be the best MMA fighter to turn wrestler. She's comfortable in the ring, knows how to build a story and seems to have her character figured out already. I look forward to her run in NXT.

    Roode and Itami... Hmm. I think you may have gotten more out of this than I did. For me it was an average title match that really didn't do anything special for me. I wouldn't say it was bad, I just couldn't call it top 30. Maybe with more story and history into the match it would have done more for me.

    Roode and Nakamura. Very happy to see this is the one that made your list instead of the rematch (at least I think haha). This was a masterclass of storytelling right down to the bitter end. I saw a lot of people complain about the ending being slow or boring. To those people I say that you missed the point. Roode was the opportunistic heel and Nakamura was the proud babyface. The match could have been stopped by Nakamura kept arguing to fight and defend. When he finally seemed to convince the ref, Roode jumped on the decision and attacked with everything he had. It built both characters up so brilliantly and it's what I want to see more of.

    Keep it up bud. Loving this.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    RIP forever Dante Fox.

    I think Roode and Nakamura might just be the latter's best WWE match. Don't tell Sami Zayn that, though.

    LOVE the way you dove into the split between Shirai and Baszler, dude, and how MMA vs wrestling can work if they book it to actually kind of be MMA vs wrestling, where one side triumphs at one thing and the other triumphs at the other. I think, quite genuinely, that's my favourite type of match in wrestling, where two guys are in completely opposite comfort zones and it actually plays out that if they stay in their comfort zones they benefit, but when they come out of them they struggle.

    Great work so far dude, as with last year!

  15. #15
    The Brain
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    Spinny! Iím so glad you watched the Stardom match, I forgot I recommended it to you but Iím very glad I did. Io Shirai is ABSOLUTELY an amazing star, and I agree Baszler has a ton of potential. The best MMA cross over star is Matt Riddle, for my money, but Baszler is next in line. I was a big fan of Roode/Itami and of Roode/Nakamura I (not so much II), and Iíd argue anyone who thought it was slow or boring did indeed miss the point! Thanks for coming on board Spinny, itís been great fun so far!

    Ollie! How Dante Fox was up and around so soon after that match, Iíll never know. I didnít have the stomach to gif that little chunk of meat he left behind out of his back. INTERESTING take on Roode/Nakamura I! Iím very torn on whether I agree or not. I think there could be a real argument for it though. Io Shirai taking on super different challengers and telling different stories with each was a true highlight of the year, and I am SO with you on loving matches where they actually play on the different strengths of each participant, rather than just smashing each other with moves until someone goes down for the count. That can be fun too, but thereís something about having that level of story. I do think MMA vs. wrestling can work, and this is a prime example. Thanks for the kind words and for the read!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 26th favorite one.

    Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr) vs. Dez Peloton (Donald Kluger & Jasper Tippens)
    CHIKARA Blink, March 4th

    The Setup: Dez Peloton is a team of bike enthusiasts, not in the vein of American Badass Undertaker but more like Lance Armstrong, plus a testicle and minus the steroids (maybe). Los Ice Creams are Mexican ice cream cones that wrestle. Do you really need to know more? This is CHIKARA!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on chikaratopia.com.

    Despite being the veteran team, Los Ice Creams have never been known for their cunning wit. Shortly after the contest begins, Peloton has tricked their tasty opponents into fighting amongst themselves! Things arenít looking too good for CHIKARAís perennial losing tag team if they canít get their act together.


    Theyíve done themselves no favors with the crowd either, antagonizing the children present during the early part of the match. Under the not so watchful eye of the referee, the kids take revenge! Which the crowd absolutely loves, of course. When I have kids, they are definitely attending some CHIKARA shows.


    But a horde of chopping children is not the only weapon Dez Peloton has brought to this dance. Because CHIKARA features master psychology, they next employ a hairdryer to torture their hapless opponents!


    Leaving Ice Cream Jr dripping on the floor, they take the fight to his partner and destroy the merchandise area in the meantime, probably annoying Yolanda the merch lady in the process.


    However, Hijo turns this situation to his advantage, and wraps up Jasper Tippens head in the tablecloth! Tippens is mysteriously unable to remove this simple wrapping, but does his best to continue regardless. The heart of a champion!


    A half blind Dez Peloton is not enough to contain El Hijo, and he escapes to rescue his melted partner. He reconstitutes Ice Cream Jr by loading him up with ice packs, and heís quickly back to full strength!


    El Hijo takes too much time helping his partner though, and Donald Kluger takes him out of the action with an Irish Whip. Ever wonder what would happen if there werenít any ropes to stop your momentum? Now you know!


    With one participant blinded and the other running infinitely into the distance, Kluger and Ice Cream Jr are left to their own devices. Much to Klugerís dismay, Jr gets his hands on the teamís bike helmet. He dons it the only way he can, and approaches Kluger THREATENINGLY!!


    Back in the ring (at last!), Kluger takes the brunt of the best offense a helmet-faced Ice Cream can muster, but when Jasper finally frees himself itís only a matter of time before Ice Cream Jr goes down for the final fall, with El Hijo returning just too late to save him.

    The Winner: Dez Peloton in 11:23

    The Verdict: Um, the verdict is hilarious. This match had me in stitches multiple times. If you canít appreciate a match like this, Iím pretty sure you have no soul.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 26th least favorite match of 2017:

    Sexy Star vs. Veneno
    Lucha Underground, August 23rd

    The Verdict: Oh, Sexy Star. This time last year I was only down on you because you had such a lame LU Championship reign. Now youíve gone around trying to injure people in the ring. Not a good look. As Iíve talked about many times before, by and large Lucha Underground does a great job with characters and stories. Iím not sure the same can be said about ďVenenoĒ. Viewers of LU will know that Veneno was in fact Cortez Castro in a match, attempting to once again infiltrate Darioís temple after being outed as an undercover cop by his dirty partner Joey Ryan. Thatís all well and good, but all Veneno ever did in the ring was get his ass kicked a few times, and then this match happened. Sexy Star had been receiving threatening messages with the sign of a spider, and assumed newcomer Veneno was behind them because his name means poison, and spiders are poisonousÖ sometimes. It wasnít Veneno anyway, but even in character Sexy Star is kind of a hot head apparently. This match was made into a mask vs. mask match, even though it was their first meeting, a stipulation made doubly confusing because less than a minute into the match Joey Ryan came out and unmasked Cortez anyway, who ran away and was counted out. For the 50 seconds or so that it ran, Star was actually doing a fine job laying in some fired up offense, butÖ Well, this one was a bit of a head scratcher no matter how you look at it.

    The Winner: Sexy Star via countout in 0:51

    Enjoyment Rating: *

    2017 Award For Best Show:
    Lucha Underground Ultima Lucha Tres Finale



    Iíve heard of outside the box, but this is ridiculous.

    There were a lot of great shows this year, but nothing quite tops this one for me. I dug the hell out of every match on the card, and a whole bunch of long term storytelling stuff was paid off. I wonít spoil it in case anyone is still planning to watch it, but holy crap, this is the kind of big season ending event that every promotion should strive to have!

    Honorable Mention To: CHIKARA King of Trios Night 2, Kyoko Kimura Retirement Produce Last Afro, WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago

    Question: What was your favorite title reign of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  16. #16
    I love the countdown of your least favorite matches, I'm more eagerly awaiting that top 10 than your FAVORITE matches

    Also, go build your Royal Rumble Game team, unless you're being a pro like me and waiting another week for things to shake out lol

  17. #17
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    Jesus do I ever love CHIKARA. That match killed me when it happened and I still find myself cracking up now. This is comedy and greatness mixed in the right way (unlike our TNA viewing which is utter comedy crap). I'd be hard pressed to find another promotion that can mix comedy with wrestling so seamlessly and still deliver phenomenal in ring action. It's the exact uniqueness that I've been on the search for the last couple years. When it comes to different promotions and styles I say give me more, give me more.

  18. #18
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Damn did I love that last match and your gifs are epic, melting the ice cream deserves a 'you sick fuck' chant if ever an action did. People hate cyclist here in Australia (I know because I am one) and I've always tight it would be an interesting heel move.

    Also from the previous posts I love the Nakamura and Roode match, the way Nakamura sold his leg was actually genuinely scary, the guy gets a lot of credit for his 'charisma' and moveset but it is things like this that really get people invested in a match.

    This is such a great countdown Mizzie, as I said I don't have a lot of time to explore outside the WWE so this is the perfect watch list for me. I imagine I'll be coming back to it for a bit.

  19. #19
    King of Stats zzzorf's Avatar
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    creative mind: can't really answer that due to just watching WWE. I guess whoever decided for Orton to set fire to Bray's shack?

    Roode/Nakamura didn't seem to click quite right for me. The matches just not what I expected them too be.

    Wrestling event: maybe Great Balls of Fire but I am not really sure without deep thought which I'm not in the mood to do.

    favourite title reign: The Miz's Intercontinental Reign

  20. #20
    The Brain
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    Burn! Donít worry, I have some doozies lined up for least favorite match, even some controversial choices! Sorry Iíve been remissi n picking my Rumble team, I will definitely get some picks in before long.

    Spinny!! I actually forgot that you follow CHIKARA! How do we not talk more about this? I promise, I will give you all the different options and styles you can handle!

    Samwell! I think the family friendly CHIKARA fans would chant something a little less edgy, though Iím not sure what would apply here. I actually love the idea of heelish cyclist team, and I think down the line thereís a lot of potential in that. YES, I love the Nak/Roode selling! Please come back to the list as much as possible, I tried to link all the free matches I could find and Iím always available to point out where stuff can be found!

    Wayne! Digging the answers to the questions, mate, and especially the love for my man The Miz!

    Thanks for the read and feed guys, you rock!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 25th favorite one.

    Ultramantis Black vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado Ė CHIKARA Grand Championship
    CHIKARA Bad Wolf, April 1st

    The Setup: Itís CHIKARA once again today, but this time the stakes are a little bit higher. After a long journey and coming back from a career threatening injury, 1st Generation WrestleFactory graduate Ultramantis Black finally captured the CHIKARA Grand Championship at the start of the year during CHIKARAís so-called ďsecret seasonĒ (more on that later). UMBís triumph was a long time coming and well deserved, but as always the champion moves with a target on your back. Or, in this, a target on the knee, the same weak knee that put Mantis in a wheelchair temporarily. Despite his current status as a babyface (or tecnico, if you prefer), Mantis has a long history of being devious, cunning, and even ruthless, so when he was set to face off against the only man who is perhaps fits those adjectives even better than he, the snooty Ecuadorian aristocrat Juan Francisco de Coronado. Juan made his strategy clear before the Wrestlemania weekend event, cutting a promo in front of the same wheelchair Mantis was forced to use during his injury, and confirmed he would do anything and everything to finally capture that championship.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on chikaratopia.com.

    One of the things I love most about the CHIKARA style is that you never quite know what youíre going to get. Thereís an element of American independent style there, of course, but youíve also got influences from Mexico, Europe, Japan, and some fresh stuff that you really wonít see anywhere else. For instance, this match is rolling along nicely, getting cooking with some good action, when it spills out into the crowd! They start brawling like itís the Attitude Era all over again, and Juan ends up taking a big bump and rolling down a million stairs!


    Mantis has taken great pains up to this point to demonstrate that his previously injured leg is very strong and no longer worth targeting, but Juan is too crafty to be fooled. Even though he was put at a disadvantage on the outside, he takes advantage of UMBís transition back into the ring to hit a huge chop block that will dictate the story of the match going forward. Mantis got caught up trying to have fun, and didnít anticipate Juan would attack with this level of vitriol.


    Juan viciously targets the weakened limb, but Mantis did not come fight for so many long years to drop his title easily, and he frustrates Juanís attempts to walk away with the victory time and time again. Eventually, Juan falls back on one of his favorite tactics: relentlessly and shamelessly! Taking advantage of a ref bump, Juan sinks low enough to assault Mantis with his own staff, and shatters it across his back!


    Normally that would be enough to put down any man, but Mantis refuses to lose. He rallies and fights back! Juan is caught off guard, thinking that his cheating tactics would be enough to solidify his victory, and Mantis catches him with a big run of offense!


    But Juan has one last trick to rely on when even his cheating fails, and thatís the fact that he is a world class counter wrestler. Just when UMB thinks he has the match finally sewn up, Juan surprises him and in seconds has him locked into his finishing submission, the Coronado Clutch.


    With nowhere to go, Mantis passes out, and the title shockingly falls into hands of Juan Francisco de Coronado!

    The Winner: Juan Francisco de Coronado in 14:18

    The Verdict: I am a big fan of both these guys so I always expected to love this match, but they surpassed even my expectations. The storytelling was beautifully on point, with Mantis holding the advantage and having a good time until Juan started to tear apart his leg in earnest. The staff breaking spot legitimately got me as a false finish, and then I was again convinced UMB would retain the title afterward, as I expected him to do in the first place. The title change was not expected at all, but it ended up being a great fit as CHIKARA spent much of this transitioning to focus on newer talent as opposed to first generation guys. Juan had a spectacular year, as we will talk about more than once before the series is over, and this was one of the biggest highlights.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 25th least favorite match of 2017:

    Race Jaxon vs. Oleg the Usurper
    CHIKARA Turn Left, March 31st

    The Verdict: Oh look, itís our old friend Race Jaxon again! The story is that Race doesnít want Oleg to smash his face into the turnbuckle because itís so pretty. In someone elseís hands maybe this works, but I just couldnít get much into it, despite the fact that I like Oleg quite a bit. At least the right man won!

    The Winner: Oleg the Usurper in 7:02

    Enjoyment Rating: *

    2017 Award For Best Title Reign:
    Juan Francisco de Coronado Ė CHIKARA Grand Championship (+269 Days)



    With his manager, Gigantic Ecuadoran Flag

    Recommended Matches:
    Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Obariyon, CHIKARA Grand Championship 6/10/17 CHIKARA Hide
    Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Mark Angelosetti, CHIKARA Grand Championship 9/30/17 CHIKARA Tooth & Claw
    Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Proletariat Boar of Moldova, CHIKARA Grand Championship 11/19/17 CHIKARA Kill the Moon

    Remember when I said Juan Francisco had an incredible year, and that weíd talk about it again? Well weíre doing it now! Since the first of April, heís been on top of the pack in CHIKARA and putting out matches of incredible quality, smart matches with well told stories, each match unique and interesting in its own way. It has been a great pleasure watching Juan move from the verge of greatness into being one of the best guys in the world. The man is the complete package, and if he werenít 5í7 youíd all have heard of him by now.

    Honorable Mention To:Io Shirai Ė Wonder of Stardom Championship, Johnny Mundo Ė LU Championship, Ultramantis Black Ė CHIKARA Grand Championship

    Question: Which championship did you think was hottest overall in 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  21. #21
    King of Stats zzzorf's Avatar
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    Hottest Championship: maybe The Raw Tag Team or the Intercontinental

    As to me showing love to The Miz well somebodies gotta, 1 match in 2017, thats disgraceful.

  22. #22
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    One of the biggest reasons I'm not a fan of the attitude era is the crowd brawls. I am not a fan of having to strain my eyes to see the action and only getting punches, kicks and wall slams when I do see it. It's very rare that I enjoy a match going into the crowd, as me and you discussed during our Rey series. With that being said, I was shocked when I enjoyed this match. There was just something about it that made it feel special and didn't get bogged down with pointless punching. It actually felt like the crowd brawl had a reason and it topped off with one of the best moments I saw this year, the over dramatic stair fall.

    I really don't know how we don't talk more about CHIKARA. I keep saying that I want multiple styles and options. The reason I love this promotion so much is that it gives me that every show. Each match is like unwrapping a surprise present, whereas in NJPW I know what I'm getting with almost every match (not that I dislike what I get). We will have to change this during the coming year. We will make sure to discuss the season as we go along.

  23. #23
    The Brain
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    Wayne! Donít try to shame me because I hardly watch WWE anymore, the onus is on them to do something that actually draws me back!

    Spinny! I quite appreciate a good crowd brawl, there are definitely good and bad versions of the trope but just like anything in wrestling, if you do it well you will get a good result. Very glad you liked this match, I had a blast with it! CHIKARA is indeed great at surprising you, and apparently so are you! I am always down to talk CHIKARA, so donít hesitate to chat me up anytime!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 24th favorite one.

    Brian Cage vs. Keith Lee vs. Sami Callihan
    PWG Nice Boys Donít Play Rock Ní Roll, March 18th

    The Setup: Brian Cage is a terrifyingly muscular machine of a man who can fly around like a cruiserweight. Keith Lee is 330 lbs of flab that has never heard of gravity. Sami Callihan is, well, mostly he makes weird faces and does pump kicks, but some people really like him. In true PWG tradition, they are about to enthusiastically smash into each other like action figures in the hands of a sugar-fueled child.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on highspots.com.

    The crazy-off starts with Keith Lee doing a leap frog, followed by a huge dropkick. This is what we call ďthe tip of the icebergĒ.


    Not to be outdone, Cage busts out a huge hurricanrana. Keith Lee LAUGHS at your hurricanrana, and improbably does one of his own.


    What is ďsuperheavyweightĒ? What is ďphysicsĒ?


    If you donít love large men doing improbably athletic things, I donít know what to tell you.


    How can you explain the exquisite pleasure of saying ďholy shitĒ and meaning it three separate times in less than 15 seconds?


    You might have noticed my commentary has degraded into a series of gasps. This is the appropriate reaction when watching this match.


    The Winner: Brian Cage in 16:00

    The Verdict: Sometimes a match is just insane things happening in defiance of all natural law, and there isnít a story except ďtry to win with the coolest moveĒ. I kind of stiffed Callihan on the gifs because I just donít find hima s impressive as the other two, but he does hold his own here as reality bends and screams around him. This is just a pure treasure trove of crazy moves, big spots, and impossible big man athleticism. Here there be flying monsters.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 24th least favorite match of 2017:

    The Sea Stars (Delmi Exo & Ashley Vox) vs. Xyberhawx2000 (Sylverhawk & Razerhawk)
    The WrestleFactory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    CHIKARA The Constant

    The Verdict: There was a BIG push this season for young guys in CHIKARA. Thatís not super surprising, considering the promotion is attached to a dedicated wrestling school, but this season in particular had a lot of brand new wrestlers being featured in a short amount of time. The Xyberhawx2000 are among those guys. Fast forward to the present day and theyíve actually gotten quite good in a short amount of time, but everyone has to start somewhere, and way back at the very start of the year they had a long way to go. Pair them up against the Sea Stars, a team I have criticized before for having a ridiculously light touch and being way too hesitant in the ring, and thereís only so much you can do. This wasnít a complete disaster, but it wasnít too pretty either. Everyone has to learn somehow though.

    The Winner: Xyberhawx2000 in 5:03

    Enjoyment Rating: *

    2017 Award For Best Championship:
    CHIKARA Grand Championship



    Iíve heard of grabbing the brass ring, but snatching it?

    Recommended Matches:
    Ultramantis Black vs. Max Smashmaster, CHIKARA Grand Championship 3/5/17 CHIKARA The Empty Child
    Hallowicked vs. Mr Touchdown, CHIKARA Grand Championship ??/17 CHIKARA Tabula Rasa
    Hallowicked vs. Icarus, CHIKARA Grand Championship ??/17 CHIKARA The Constant

    So, Iíve already praised the incredible reign of Juan Francisco, but this was a super strong year for the CHIKARA Grand Championship as a whole in all honesty, with Ultramantis having a great run through the start of the year and Hallowicked doing some great work in the ďsecret seasonĒ as well. I havenít seen another title have so many classic matches in one year in a long, long time, and thatís saying something!

    Honorable Mention To: LU Championship, World of Stardom Championship, ROH Tag Team Championships

    Question: What was your favorite promo of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  24. #24
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    Ahh. PWG. I enjoy watching the promotion but it takes so long for me to find the shows uploaded. Therefore, by the time I see a show it's been over for 5 months. Leaves me really behind on the promotion. This match is long enough ago that I have managed to track it down and watch it. I agree with everything you had to say so I'll focus on my opinions of the performers.

    First off, I don't understand any love for Sami Callihan at this point. I've seen him in Lucha Underground, PWG and many other promotions. However, I just can't figure out what he brings to a match that's special, unique or even above average.

    Second is Cage, an absolute beast in the ring and a pleasant surprise every time I see him. I feel he is able to adapt to any style needed for a particular promotion. He's able to be the power competitor while also being able to bust out incredible acts of athleticism. He's exactly the unique specimen I look forward to discovering when I want the indy's. Not just another cookie cutter wrestler.

    And then there's Keith Lee. I had no interest in him at all during his time in ROH. Then he became a fixture in EVOLVE and suddenly it clicked for me. He is a fun and athletic power wrestler. He doesn't have the versatility of Cage but he can tell a story with the very best of them and he isn't afraid to bump for people much smaller than him. He understands the finer points of wrestling and I see great things for him in the future.

    Keep it up Mizzie. Look forward to it every day and surprised I've seen so many of these matches this year.

  25. #25
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    Spinny! Following PWG full time is a foolís errand, unless you live in Reseda, because YES, their distribution is painfully, embarrassingly slow. I also donít get the hype for Callihan, as I implied, but he can sometimes keep up well enough if you put him in there with someone talented. And hey, I guess plenty of people like him? Cage and Lee are both outside the indy mold and much better for it, they both do some phenomenal work. Glad you are so well versed outside the WWE bubble, that is excellent man! Loving the read and feed, keep it up!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 23rd favorite one.

    Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Missile Assault Man Ė CHIKARA Grand Championship
    New Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium, Gibsonville, North Carolina
    CHIKARA Parting of Ways, July 8th

    The Setup: If youíve been paying attention, you already know a thing or two about Juan Francisco and his cunning ways to retain the CHIKARA Grand Championship after wresting it from the hands of Ultramantis Black. One of his toughest challengers would prove to be Missile Assault Man, one of the toughest men in the company. Riding a wave of momentum to a title shot, he even regained the use of his speech thanks to some hypnotic therapy from a mysterious wrestler known as The Whisper. Since coming to CHIKARA, Missile had only been able to speak his own name, traumatized and conditioned by his experiences as part of Condor Security and his time spent in The Flood, the massive group that attempted to end CHIKARA once and for all upon their return in 2014. Everything seemed to be in Missileís favor coming into the match, as his recovery allowed him greater focus and control over his actions than ever before. However, unbeknownst to Missile, the Juan Francisco had approached The Whisper and discussed with him a certain trick he might be able to use to retain the titleÖ Obviously I could talk a LOT more about the history, but for now letís get to this match!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on chikaratopia.com.

    When it comes to getting in that ring, these two are two of the best CHIKARA has to offer, so I expected something very good and I was not disappointed at all. The story of the match develops very quickly. Missile is always prepared for war, so he wastes very little time with the antics of Juan Francisco. He has a singular battle plan prepared and executes it immediately, and that plan turns out to be making Coronadoís hand into a bag of soupy meat with little broken sticks of bone floating around inside.


    Juan Francisco attempts to fall back on his considerable counter-wrestling ability, but Missile seems prepared for every contingency and has the champion on the ropes, both literally and figuratively.


    Missile is dead set on seizing this opportunity to reach the peak of his return to (relative) normalcy, and throws all caution to the wind in order to claim the title which will affirm that he is indeed well again, in mind as well as body. He starts pulling out major impact moves and even taking uncharacteristic risks as he pushes himself to new heights, bare concrete floors be damned!


    Juan attempts to slow the bout back down and regain the advantage by any means necessary, but Missile is on fire and nothing seems to go Juanís way.


    Juan, becoming desperate, starts taking uncharacteristic risks as well, but Missile is even prepared for that, which culminates in this incredible sequence!


    Missile is closing in on the victory, and Juan is finally forced to acknowledge that he cannot defeat Missile as he hoped to by using his normal tactics. Even his underhanded attempts to win the match are not successful! The tipping point comes when Juan realizes he cannot even apply his finishing hold anymore, the Coronado Clutch, because he can no longer use his damaged hand! But Juan is the undisputed master of having an extra trick up his sleeve. He manages to get in close, but instead of attacking he whispers something to Missile, and taps his arm three times. Missile suddenly becomes catatonic! Juan applies the Coronado Clutch as best he can with one hand, and as Missile is unable to respond to the referee, the match is called in favor of the champion!

    It becomes apparent that Coronado made an arrangement with The Whisper to leave some kind of post hypnotic suggestion trigger in Missile Assault Manís mind, a trick he is uniquely susceptible to due to his history with Condor Security and the Titor Conglomerate, and when Juan realized he would lose his title he decided to fall back on the ultimate cheat. Missile comes back to himself after the match and is horrified to know that he is still being manipulated and controlled by forces outside his control, dealing a terrible blow to his recovery as well as costing him the title.

    The Winner: Juan Francisco de Coronado in 24:03

    The Verdict: The ending of this match was very divisive amongst fans, but what everyone agrees upon is the action itself is great. Itís two of the best in the company going all out, one a relentless hard hitting aggressor with a battle plan in place and a driving passion to gain the title, the other a scheming tactician with tactics behind his tactics and seemingly infinite fallback plans. To some, the hypnosis ending was a cop out, but to me it was brilliant, something way outside the normal wrestling box but in this specific context a perfect fit. Brilliant psychology was the name of the game, both traditional with Missile going after the hand and disabling it so Juan couldnít use his hold, and with the unique resolution as well. This one was a real pleasure to watch, and I highly recommend it!

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 23rd least favorite match of 2017:

    Solo Darling vs. Proletariat Boar of Moldova
    The WrestleFactory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    CHIKARA Orientation

    The Verdict: Solo Darling is a female wrestler who became a CHIKARA regular this year, and while she has worked hard and improved a lot over the course of the year, when she first came in she seemed like a very poor substitute for the departing Heidi Lovelace and Princess Kimberlee, who of course are now better known as Ruby Riott and Abbey Laith. The Boar is another performer who has grown on me a bit with time but is not too notable as far as big(ish) indy guys go, and he doesnít do much shtick with his gimmick either, so the entertainment factor is always questionable. Pairing them together was fairly uninspiring, even more so as the match ended rather strangely with the referee disqualifying the Boar for what is known as ďcastigo de excesivoĒ, a lucha libre form of DQ used when the ref decides one competitor is not trying to win the match but only injure their opponent. Sure, the Boar pulled up Soloís shoulders a couple times, but the real purpose of this was so that the referee, Travis Huckabee, could get into a conflict with a wrestler so he could transition into a wrestler himself. Travis would go on later in the year to reveal himself as a very gifted young competitor, but it doesnít change the fact that this match felt awkward and somewhat convoluted at the time, and not boasting too much redeeming action either.

    The Winner: Solo Darling via DQ in 3:00 (est.)

    Enjoyment Rating: *

    2017 Award For Best Promo:
    Mike Quackenbush calls Johnny Kidd out of retirement (CHIKARA)



    Mike Quackenbush is known primarily for his ability on the mat and for his creativity in the booking of CHIKARA, but when he wants to be he can be quite an incredible promo as well. I strongly recommend checking out that promo linked above if you have a couple minutes, as itís a real doozy.

    For those who donít have time, the video is of Quack challenging one of his heroes, the recently retired original World of Sport competitor Johnny Kidd, to come out of retirement for one more match with him during CHIKARAís visit to the United Kingdom. Quack slowly reveals through the promo that underneath the suit he wears as CHIKARAís general manager (or Director of Fun, if you will), he is wearing his old wrestling gear, and he talks with great emotion about the effect wrestling has had on his life. He talks about having to move back in with his parents during his early career, and being pressured by his family to drop out of wrestling. He says he was never able to it because, if he were not a wrestler, the only other thing he could be is a failure. Itís a passionate and, in my view, a deeply moving promo where Quack really lays a part of himself bare as he tries to fight against time, which is running out for both Kidd and himself, and put them together one last time. Thankfully, the match would in fact take place and was one of the biggest highlights of this yearís UK trip. Seriously, listen to this one if you have time.


    Not the sexiest strip tease ever, but effective nonetheless.

    Honorable Mention To: Eddie Kingstonís love of wrestling has died (AAW), Dragon Azteca Jr now cares only for revenge (LU), Marty Martinez built a shrine (LU)

    Question: What was your favorite wrestling tournament of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  26. #26
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    My love for CHIKARA and all they do has been well stated up to now and I don't have a lot to add here besides agreeing with everything you said here.

    I will however point out how varied the company is. I think this is seen in your countdown since a lot of your best and a lot of your worst have come from the creative little promotion of greatness. When you're trying to be that creative and outside the box there are bound to be a good number of mistakes and blunders with booking and wrestling. However, the number of great ideas far outweighs the bad and everyone should check it out.

  27. #27
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Wow, now there is a company not afraid to go all in on the fiction of their wrestling world. I think we were talking about Wyatt on zzzorf's countdown and how the WWE try to present him as supernatural but don't commit to the consequences of that in ring. Not here and I love it even just for that. Is this kind of long term fictional arc CHIKARA's thing?

    That suplex spot is really a nice piece of work too, very athletic from both wrestlers.
    Last edited by SirSam; 01-08-2018 at 02:36 PM.

  28. #28
    Member 205 Clive's Avatar
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    Bit late to the party here but I'll chime in with matches that grabbed my attention.

    That Sendai Girls Championship match looks brutal from the GIFS. Will definitely need to check that out.

    I'll be honest, I haven't seen ANY of Bobby Lashley since he left TNA. I find it odd to hear who much he's improved over the years.

    I was very impressed with Shayna in the MYC, so am looking to find more of her work before she starts some proper programs in NXT. Thanks for the find!

    This is quite the project you undertake Mizfan. Some awesome GIF work as well (and here I sit struggling with basic JPGs!). It's a great idea for an article and good for me as I strive to find more wrestling content to sink my teeth into. Thanks.

  29. #29
    Ummm HOLY SHIT that chokeslam reversal by Cage. If you don't look too closely you can see a young Brock Lesnar instead.

    How is he not employed by WWE? Drug testing?

    There are too many great columns right now, this one included.

  30. #30
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    I watched that Io Shirai vs. Shayna Baszler match, first time seeing either. Entertainingly uncomfortable at times! Particularly the working of Shirai's arm. The way Baszler locked up Shirai's arm in her legs and twisted it had me physically cringe. Really impressive given the comparably raw, unpolished presentation - there's no hiding behind fancy camerawork or angles, the spot simply has to look good. That one looked chillingly believable! Really enjoyable match.

  31. #31
    The Brain
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    Spinny! I think there is something to the fact that CHIKARA is willing to commit to experimenting that yields a lot of classic stuff, and a few duds. But I think thereís also another big factor, specifically that far and away CHIKARA is the promotion I watch the most of. If I watched all the way down the card in WWE, TNA, New Japan, or basically anywhere, Iíd find lots of stuff to rank lowly, but I generally cherry pick the best stuff so I donít run across those matches, whereas in CHIKARA I watch basically every single thing they publish. Itís always interesting how that pans out!

    Samwell! It is ABSOLUTELY CHIKARAís thing to build a large, internally consistent mythology and then give real consequences to the rules of their ďuniverseĒ in the ring and in their stories. Itís one of the reasons I love the promotion so much. Thereís a multi-year saga involving a mysterious artifact called ďThe Eye of TyrĒ that is probably their greatest achievement. I think that one ran for almost a full decade, all told. Glad you enjoyed, hopefully you get a chance to check out the promotion at some point!

    Clive! Welcome to the party my man, good to have you. Iíd love to hear your thoughts on the Sendai Girls or on Lashley if you get a chance to see him. Lashley suddenly bloomed into a shockingly great wrestler around 2014, and yes, it was odd but very welcome! Finding more wrestling content for people to sink their teeth into is one of my favorite things! Thanks for coming along for the ride!

    Burn! I KNOW, that Cage reversal is incredible!! And yes, Iím pretty sure the only thing keeping Cage away from the WWE is their wellness policy. It would probably be better for him if he got off the juice I guess, but DAMN is he so entertaining in his current form, so right now Iím just enjoying the ride. Thanks for taking the time to include a read and feed for me, CF quality is indeed off the charts right now!

    Skul! My absolute favorite thing is when people actually watch the matches I post, so youíre kind of my favorite person right now!! Love your analysis here, completely agree that Baszlerís work on Shirai was painfully good, and thatís a great insight that when the camera angles are simple and the production is basic, you better make your stuff look good. Maybe thatís another reason many fans tend to gravitate towards indy graduates in WWE, even if theyíve never watched outside of it? Absolutely love this man, if you get a chance to watch any others please leave your comments!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 22nd favorite one.

    The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) Ė ROH Tag Team Championships
    ROH Best in the World, June 23rd

    The Setup: The Young Bucks are the tag team championships, because a Bullet Club membership card in Ring of Honor is essentially a ticket to any title you want. Plus itís the Young Bucks, and they are contractually obligated to hold every tag title at some point. War Machine is a hulking team that gained a non-title pinfall over the Bucks, and is now getting a shot at the belts. The match is scheduled to be just between these two teams, but unexpectedly as the match is about to start who should appear but Chuck Taylor and Trent, The Best Friends! They want in on the match too, and because the Bucks like things to be as chaotic as possible, they invite them to jump in! Before War Machine can object, the match begins in a rush of action!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on njpwworld.com, which is great because without New Japan to help them out Ring of Honor SUCKS at distribution!

    I should probably say up front, I absolutely love the Best Friends. I love their underdog vibe. I love how they walk the line between being world class performers and silly goofs. I love that they take the time to hug, because friendship is precious. I like them even more than War Machine, which is another fantastic team, though apparently they hate hugs.


    So youíve got the Best Friends being lovable, War Machine being huge monsters, and then last (and perhaps least) the Young Bucks poised to jump all over everything like spot monkeys with a crippling ADDEECTION.


    Itís a fun dynamic and itís handled with a lot of creativity, even if it means my favorite guys might spend some of the match getting murdered.


    But when a match has so many unique members and moments, itís only a matter of time before those same murdered guys return to the fray and get their chance to shine.


    Perhaps my love for the Best Friends is shining through too strong right now, but frankly I donít care because they do stuff like this!


    But then again, War Machine can do stuff like thisÖ man, itís hard to pick a favorite in this match (no, itís still the Best Friends).


    The match even features one of my all-time favorite moves in wrestling, the deadly Awful Waffle!!


    But in the end, neither the beloved Best Friends nor the incredibly threatening War Machine can overcome the indomitable hype of the Young Bucks, who manage to pick up the victory and retain their tag belts int his one.

    The Winner: The Young Bucks in 12:27

    The Verdict: Adding the Best Friends to this at the last minute was a true saving grace, Iím sure it would have been good without them but they bring such a unique feeling to a match and turned this one into a nonstop symphony of destruction. It might look more like a PWG match than an ROH bout, though thereís honestly less difference now than ever before, and itís true that the story was very bare bones, but I do want to say again that what puts this over the top beyond just the crazy spots is the fact that each team felt unique and brought their own dynamic and influence. The Bucks challenged the others to bust out the big offense early and often, War Machine served doubly as great bases for the rest while at the same time showing off their dominance, and the Best Friends have really perfected that loveable loser vibe, with the feeling that they are always just on the verge of turning their luck around. Couple that together with some world class action, and this was a major win for me.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 22nd least favorite match of 2017:

    James Storm vs. Jessie Godderz
    TNA Impact, March 2nd

    The Verdict: Unlike most, Iím actually a fan of Jessie Godderz. I think heís worked extremely hard and quietly become a really fun performer, a bit like a junior version of the Miz. James Storm is a guy I liked at one timeÖ like 10 years ago, maybe? Heís had some moments since then, but early in the year he was stuck in the dead on arrival DCC stable, who had a few very exciting hype videos before becoming a joke within weeks of appearing. The story of this could have been written by a five year old, Jessie beat the other two members of the DCC in singles matches so Storm decided to wrestle himself and guess what, he beat Jessie just to prove the stable wasnít a complete joke, which oh wait, yes it definitely was. Beyond being a poor fit for the gimmick, James Storm seriously hasnít done anything great since at least 2012, especially in the ring. Jessie was by far the better of the two in this encounter, but heís not so amazing that he can carry an out of shape boozehound to something watchable. A dumb ending to a dumb story. People periodically wonder about Storm going back to NXT, where he once spent about a day, but the guy who could really stand to benefit both himself and the brand with a trip to Full Sail is Godderz.

    The Winner: James Storm

    Enjoyment Rating: ĺ*

    2017 Award For Best Tournament:
    CHIKARA King of Trios



    Itís off the wall! Literally!

    CHIKARAís annual tournament is billed as the biggest in all of wrestling, in a very literal sense as it involves 48 wrestlers from all around the world, competing in teams of three for the unique chance to receive the honor of being named the best trio in the world. This year the tournament was held in the UK for the first time and featured some fantastic guest talent, including WWEís own Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, and Trent Seven, as well as other UK talents from the present and the past and also including teams from Japan, Spain, Finland, and other obscure locations. And of course there were a fair number of CHIKARA home grown talents as well! It was a blast of a weekend with tons of unique combinations. Thereís something uniquely wonderful about seeing Pete Dunne, WWE UK Championship in hand, squaring off against Meiko Satomura, one of the top womenís wrestlers from Japan! Every year KoT is a great weekend to check out even if youíre not a CHIKARA regular, so if youíre looking for a place to jump in thatís as good a place as any!

    Honorable Mention To: PWG Battle of Los Angeles, Lucha Underground Cueto Cup, WWE Mae Young Classic, WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup, wXw 16 Carat Gold

    Question: What was your favorite stable of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  32. #32
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    King of Trios is consistently the best, or close to the best, tournament every year.

    The match today is not something that stuck in my head at all so I'm surprised to see it here. Maybe I just need to have more love for the Best Friends in order to really get behind it. The three teams are great but none are at the top of my list as of yet.

    On the other side of the spectrum here, I'm glad and surprised to see that there is another Jesse Godderz fan. I think he's an extremely hard worker and has shown his passion and commitment throughout the years. Having seen him in Big Brother I also know how much he wants this and it makes me cheer for his success.

  33. #33
    King of Stats zzzorf's Avatar
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    Favourite Promo: The one that sticks in my mind the most was the John Cena/Roman Reign stuff. While not the best thought provoking stuff or anything it did it's job, made me so hyped for their match that I don't really remember any other promos doing for a long time.

    Favourite wrestling tournament: hmm don't say I've got to see many in 2017. Didn't watch the UK Title tournament and only got through the first round of the Mae Young Classic. Haven't got to see the King of Trios or Battle of LA like I try to do every year either. Don't think I can really answer this one.

    Favourite Stable: I'm guessing The Miz, Maryse and The Miztourage. Miz was on fire and seeing Bo Dallas on my screen every week gets a big thumbs up from me

  34. #34
    The Brain
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    Spinny! Youíll get no argument from me on KOT. If you have another chance to check that match, I would do it. Thereís a lot going on that might not be caught by a casual or a half-watch. Always love meeting another Jessie Godderz fan!

    Wayne! If that was the cheeky, 4th wall breaking promo where Cena talked about how Roman was ďsupposedĒ to be the face of the company or what not, that one wasnít for me. Memorable, perhaps, but seemingly for all the wrong reasons. Shoutout to the Miztourage is great in my book though!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 21st favorite one.

    Missile Assault Man vs. Mr Touchdown
    CHIKARA Silence in the Library, November 17th

    The Setup: We all know Missile Assault Man now, more or less, from the write up of his match with Juan a few days ago. After his loss to Juan, he struggled to maintain the personal progress with shaken confidence. On a three day November tour of New England, Missile sets himself up with three big singles matches. His first opponent is ďMr TouchdownĒ Mark Angelosetti. This football themed wrestler has gone through his own redemption arc in recent years, and there is no way his incredibly competitive nature is going to allow him to go easy on Missile. Two young bulls of the CHIKARA, going at it!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on chikaratopia.com.

    While both of these guys are hard hitting, highly athletic, and capable of high flying, this match develops in an interesting way as both guys decide to make the context extremely technical. In fact, for a good portion of the contest neither man is willing to even break contact at all, chaining one hold into the next and into the next and on and on, building the match from the ground up. Itís as if neither man is willing to take anything remotely resembling a back step, daring the other to break first, to admit they are outclassed scientifically and try a different tactic. The intensity builds brilliantly as these two struggle and grapple for every single exchange. I think this sequences embodies what I love about this match, not only do you have the perfectly mirrored bridge, but then on top of it youíve got Missile shouting at Touchdown with all his might, cords bunching up in his neck, face getting red, and Touchdown unwilling to be intimidated or back down in the slightest.


    At long last the mat sequences break up, but the great action hasnít stopped. Both men seemingly try to make up for time lost on the mat, and start uncorking big offense in an effort to take the other down. Missile is fighting especially hard, his whole psyche arguably hinging on getting a big win this weekend to reassure him he is still on the right path. He is even ready to counter some of Touchdownís most unique spots with creative application of his jaw rattling European uppercut.


    This one could have gone either way, but unfortunately for Missile, itís Touchdown who ends up picking up the victory, perhaps because Missile was a little too desperate to put him away and failed to plan for a key counter that put Touchdown over the edge with the victory!

    The Winner: Mr Touchdown in 13:44

    The Verdict: I loved this, a classic match coming out of nowhere. Both these guys are great talents, but just the way they went about this put it above and beyond for me. The incredibly technical yet highly intense nature of the bulk of the bout was really unique and made me want to see more within the style, and when they finally busted out for the finishing stretch it was a pure pleasure, and it felt like every move counted. The underlying story was strong too, with both guys really passionate for a big victory but Missile just a little too desperate as he tried to keep himself together. The loss would not be a great sign for poor Missile, who would go on to lose both of the other matches of the weekend as well before an unwelcome presence re-entered his life at the season finaleÖ but thatís a story for another time.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 21st least favorite match of 2017:

    Race Jaxon vs. Hammerlock Harry
    CHIKARA Hour of Power, November 5th

    The Verdict: Race Jaxon, whom we have established is not good, does a couple moves to a faceless jobber. I have no issue with jobber matches, but it helps if the guy doing the squashing is actually, you know, good.

    The Winner: Race Jaxon in 1:53

    Enjoyment Rating: ĺ*

    2017 Award For Best Stable:
    Ringkampf (WALTER, Axel Dieter Jr, Timothy Thatcher, Christian Michael Jakobi)



    How can you go wrong with a bunch of snooty Germans who think theyíre the shit, AND THEYíRE RIGHT?

    Recommended Matches:
    WALTER & Timothy Thatcher vs. Low Ki & Homicide 10/7/17 wXw World Tag Team League Day 2
    WALTER, Axel Dieter Jr, & Timothy Thatcher vs. Tyler Bate, Pete Dunne, & Trent Seven, PROGRESS Tag Team & PROGRESS Championships 4/23/17 PROGRESS Complicated Simplicity
    WALTER, Axel Dieter Jr, & Timothy Thatcher vs. Absolute Andy, Jurn Simmons & Marius Al-Ani 2/18/17 wXw Road to 16 Carat Gold

    Weíve already talked a bit about Ringkampf, but itís tough to get across just how awesome this group is. Iíd say they peaked earlier in the year at full strength, with WALTER, Axel Dieter Jr, and Timothy Thatcher dominating the promotion, with their manager Christian Michael Jakobi looking out for their interests and using his influence with the upper management of the promotion. Their name translates quite simply to ďRing StruggleĒ, and it exemplifies the highly physical technical style that all three members are proficient in. Both Thatcher and Dieter manipulate their opponents on the mat as if they were made of rubber, and WALTER is just as capable as they, though he prefers to mix up his matches with lots of thunderous striking and impressive power. The whole presentation of the group is fantastic. The way they carry themselves is downright haughty, which is not as easy as it sounds. Their signature pose, standing at attention with arms behind the back, gives off an extreme air of superiority. They are amazing, and they know it full well. They started the year as powerful heels but after essentially conquering the promotion they slowly transitioned into the keepers of keys to the kingdom, becoming targets for other heels looking to make a name for themselves. While Ringkampf is still primarily for Ringkampf, they are now willing to take up arms against disruptive members of the roster, such as the insufferable Bobby Gunns and the upstart group RISE. Even with the departure of Axel Dieter Jr, the group still sits strong on top of wXw and has made incursions in the UK as well. Donít ever try to tell them that someone is better than they are! They are as dangerous as ever, and it will take a great deal to dethrone them in 2018.

    Honorable Mention To: British Strong Style, VerserK, The Legion of Rot

    Question: What was your favorite angle or story moment of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  35. #35
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    Another I didn't think I would see on this list, but in this case one that I think really deserves it. I love the story of the match with the need to win causing both to go all out until one of them takes it a step too far. It's great to see desperation played as both an advantage and disadvantage at the same time.

    Favorite stable is going to come from WWE this year for me. Miztourage was fantastic throughout the whole year. Led by a man who may be the best current talker and consisting of three men who are out to cement their places in the annals of history. This is a time that desperation is paying off. They want to be the best, they want to be noticed and it sure is working.

  36. #36
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    I just watched that promo by the owner of CHIKARA and I'm edging more and more into wanting to check them out. I'm currently binging on New Japan, making the most out of my NJPW World Subscription and also watching a bunch of Wrestlemania matches but I think in Feb I will perhaps see what's up.

    As for best story moment, well i did a few columns about that and yes it is the Dean/Seth arc in the lead up to Summer Slam. Just some of the absolute best wrestling storytelling, the in ring segments leading up to it were incredibly well done and really showed how fully fleshed out these characters are and the actual match played off the actual story that was being told.

  37. #37
    The Brain
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    Spinny! I too agree that this match went above and beyond, matches with a story are big in my book. Showing love for the Miztourage is also great in my book my friend!

    Samwell! Iíll be very interested to hear your thoughts if you do check out some CHIKARA. Obviously, I think itís well worth the effort, their emphasis on character and story is absolutely top notch and I know you love that stuff. Seth and Dean is a great example!


    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 20th favorite one.

    Heidi Lovelace vs. Arik Cannon
    CHIKARA White Rabbit

    The Setup: For years, Arik Cannon has always been awkward when wrestling Heidi Lovelace, never willing to go all out. This may be because he pretty clearly has a huge crush on her, sometimes acting bashful and at least once sneaking a kiss during a match. Now that Heidi is about to depart for WWE, she has requested to face him one on one in her very last match.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on chikaratopia.com.

    The story underlying this match is very simple, established quickly and well told. Heidi is out to make Cannon finally confront her head on physically, to treat her as an equal and engage her as a wrestler. Cannon is once again reluctant, but Heidi pushes him, and pushes him, and soon he has no choice but to respond in kind if he doesnít want to be completely swept away by Heidiís attacks. So Cannon finally brings his A game!


    Though he still seem conflicted about what heís doing, he starts taking the fight to Heidi. Heidi, as always, bumps and sells spectacularly for it all. Iím not sure thereís anyone anywhere better at getting over with sheer selling than Heidi in the whole world right now.


    Naturally, Heidi is completely unwilling to give up, but instead digs in even harder now that she finally has the honest fight sheís wanted with Cannon for years. She hangs in there and looks for an opportunity to get her shots in, and she gets in some great ones!


    But the crowning moment, the thing that puts this match over the top, is when Heidi decides to turn the tables on Cannon and plants a big kiss on him for once, instead of the other way around!


    Cannon, who had finally gotten his head in a competitive place, is completely flummoxed and lets down his guard completely, leaving Heidi open to take advantage and get the hard fought win!

    The Winner: Heidi Lovelace in 12:13

    The Verdict: I just adore the story of this, the way it paid off years of subtle storytelling and character work between these two. Heidi got what she wanted, an Arik Cannon who was fighting with everything he had. But once she was satisfied she could take what he had physically and still come back fighting, she showed him that the mental game is just as important and fired the final shot right through his defenses. Itís a smart story and really, really well told, with some great action surrounding it to put it over the top. It also served as a wonderful farewell to Heidi, who spoke before the match and was very emotional about how CHIKARA had accepted her and made her feel part of a family. I know Ruby Riott will have great success in WWE, but just in case they are idiots I will always be happy to see her come home to CHIKARA.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 20th least favorite match of 2017:

    Jeremy Leary vs. Heidi Lovelace
    CHIKARA Happily Ever After

    The Verdict: Ah, poor Heidi! Weíve already talked a bit about Jeremy Leary and how heís not very good, and thatís perhaps nowhere more apparent than this. Leary can have his moments on rare occasion, but he seemed impossibly off his game on this one. Sloppy offense, lousy selling, a general lack of conditioning or athletic ability and nothing much to make up for it. It is really, really hard for me to dislike a Heidi Lovelace match, but somehow Leary managed it. And he even won, which was justÖ gross.

    The Winner: Jeremy Leary in 8:10

    Enjoyment Rating: ĺ*

    2017 Award For Best Angle:
    Dario Cueto Catches a Bullet



    Didnít see that one coming.

    Dario Cueto is, in many ways, the biggest star of Lucha Underground. Heís the only guy on just about every episode, appearing in multiple segments, having interactions with everyone on the roster. He was the one who opened the Temple doors and brought everything together. His family matters to the show, his history matters to the show. And, when the season ends, itís always something about Dario that brings us to a close. In season 1 we saw him flee the Temple to avoid a hostile takeover by Catrina and Mil Muertes, and last season he was being carted off to prison for straight up murdering a dude in his office. He almost escaped season 3 relatively unscathed, but in the biggest cliffhanger to date in the final scene of the season he was shot by Agent Winter, representative of the mysterious forces that Dario has shady dealings with. Normally Iíd say gun play has no place in pro wrestling, but context is everything and in the world of Lucha Underground it was a spectacular moment packed with meaning. The last shot of the season is a bloody Dario fumbling for the phone and calling for his father, whom we have heard about (nothing good, Iím afraid!) but never seen. Now THAT is how you get fans to tune in again for the next season!

    Honorable Mention To: Max Smashmaster forces Mike Quackenbush to return to the ring, Marty Martinez sticks a fork in Fenix, Proteus Wheel appears in CHIKARA, Braxton Sutter/Laurel Van Ness Wedding

    Question: Who was your favorite commentary team of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and Iíll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  38. #38
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    I love me some Heidi Lovelace (now known to WWE fans as Ruby Riot). She's shown me so much in recent years and my biggest wish for the new year is that the WWE doesn't completely screw her up. There is absolutely no reason that she shouldn't be champion in the coming year and a force in the division for years to come. A pure star who can mix styles and tell fantastic stories inside the ropes. Can't say enough good about her.

  39. #39
    The Brain
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    Spinny! Showing that kind of love to Ruby Riott is music to my ears, and I agree with absolutely everything you said! Thanks for the read!

    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 684 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2017 (only 1 of which involved The Miz). This is my 19th favorite one.

    Rey Mysterio vs. Will Ospreay
    WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup Day 1, August 23rd

    The Setup: Rey Mysterio is one of, if not THE, all-time great cruiserweights in wrestling history. Your mileage may vary, but it’s generally thought that Will Ospreay is one of the greatest high flyers of the present day. What Culture Pro Wrestling is a company with a surprising amount of money and a burning desire to smash wrestlers into each other in interesting combinations, and nowhere more so than in the very impressive lineup of the WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup. So, time to smash away!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, and I highly recommend that you do, you can find this match here:


    There’s a myth going around that Mysterio is broken down and not capable of performing on the top level anymore. That’s been disproven so thoroughly that it’s laughable at this point, but just in case anyone was still not aware, this match should serve as a perfect example of what a load of junk that is. Mysterio comes at this match with both guns blazing, confident that he can once again show that the new generation has not surpassed him just yet. Ospreay, ever a bit cocky, is just as eager to show a man who inspired him to become a wrestler everything that he can do. However, that eagerness can also be turned against him!


    Ospreay realizes quickly that Mysterio is more than capable of matching his traditional style, so he attempts to draw upon something Mysterio may not be familiar with, specifically his ties to Japan and the CHAOS stable. However, there’s very little Mysterio is not prepared for, and he keeps pace with Ospreay despite his best efforts.


    Eventually youth will win out, and Ospreay is able to gain some advantage against the veteran. However, at this point it starts to become clear just what a big Mysterio fan Will Ospreay actually is. He gets caught up in the moment and, in what must have been an incredible moment for the young man, he attempts to use some of Mysterio’s offense again him. Not only is Mysterio able to turn this tendency against him, but he also pulls out some creative modifications of his usual arsenal to take his well-studied opponent by surprise!


    As we close in on the end of the match, it becomes a real game of who can think the most steps ahead. Will Ospreay goes for a Splash Mountain bomb out of the corner, but Mysterio is able to counter it into a hurricanrana, as he did so many times in WCW it practically became his finisher. However! Ospreay is a student of Mysterio, and he knows full well that Mysterio will counter, so he is prepared and lands on his feet! Mysterio is finally truly caught off guard, and Ospreay is able to strike with the full force of his youth and energy!


    Mysterio is finally overcome once the big offense catches up with him, and Ospreay is able to claim the very hard-fought victory over one of his idols in an emotional moment.

    The Winner: Will Ospreay in 19:28

    The Verdict: Last year, Rey Mysterio vs. Prince Puma was in my top 5 matches of the year because it played so beautifully on the themes of the legends of the past against the legends of the future, and was essentially a spectacular homage to the entire career of Mysterio while still being relevant in the moment. This was not quite as picturesque as that match, but it was damn close! Just a hair less meaningful because there wasn’t the same level of clear cut story behind it, but it’s filled with spectacular action and tells a great story simply from bell to bell. Lots of great anticipation and imitation spots by Ospreay got over the narrative that the young man was essentially geeking out over facing a legend he had studied relentlessly, but he never stopped trying to win the match, at least insofar as the style allows. Ospreay let his Mysterio fandom dictate his strategy and in the end it paid off, as he was ready for a classic Mysterio counter and used his knowledge to pick up the victory. Classic match.

    Enjoyment Rating: *****


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 19th least favorite match of 2017:

    DCC (Bram & Eddie Kingston) vs. Reno Scum (Luster the Legend & Adam Thornstowe)
    TNA Impact, March 9th

    The Verdict: This is from the infamous first episode of the Anthem Era, which featured copious references to WWE, multiple authority figures debuting and taking a huge steaming shit on the last several years of the company, and commentary seemingly intentionally designed to feel like knives being inserted into your ears. Another hallmark of this episode was the debut of talent who were completely unknown to the audience, with no attempt whatsoever to introduce them. The team of Reno Scum, who presumably are not a bad team in and of themselves, were suddenly trotted out to the confusion of all. I watched this episode with my brother, and he asked me who these guys were. All I could do was shrug my shoulders and say, who indeed? I’ve also ranted before about the complete failure of the DCC, but let me illustrate another catastrophically poor point for the group. When Bram and Kingston came out, they were both wearing masks and suits, and my brother asked me which one was Kingston since we are both a big fan of the man and know him to be a world class talent. Once again all I could do was shrug and say when someone gets pinned, you’ll know it is Kingston. The pair unmasked before the match but sure enough, Kingston ate the pinfall just a couple minutes later. A complete and utter waste of one of the best talents the company had brought on in recent memory. Last and definitely not least, I cannot stress enough how incredibly bad the commentary on this show was. Think Michael Cole’s heel gimmick turned up to 1000. Literally unlistenable.

    The Winner: Reno Scum

    Enjoyment Rating: ĺ*

    2017 Award For Best Commentary:
    Matt Strike & Vampiro (Lucha Underground)



    How can you hate these guys? Lots of ways, but they do good work too!

    I’ve heard it all. Vampiro is limited, goes on tangents, says brother too much. Striker can be smug, meta, or make too many puns. There are legitimate concerns you can throw at these guys. And yet, each and every time I tune in to Lucha Underground, I swear they blow it away. They so obviously care about what’s going on, and they have real chemistry with each other. They are enjoying themselves, and it makes it that much easier to enjoy yourself at home. It’s intentionally rough around the edges, and the quirks that make them unique are not sanded away by micromanaging or corporate mandates. I love the way these guys call matches together, and think they are worth more than the sum of their parts in the right time and place. And that time and place is right now in Lucha Underground.

    Honorable Mention To: Kevin Condron & Louden Noxious (Bar Wrestling), Jeremy Graves & Rico Bushido (wXw), Chuck Taylor & Excalibur (PWG), Mike Quackenbush & Sidney Bakabella (CHIKARA)

    Question: Who is your most improved wrestler of 2017?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and I’ll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  40. #40
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    Rey Mysterio is one of my two favorite wrestlers of all time and Will Ospreay is the most athletically gifted man I have ever seen with my own eyes. The things he can do make no sense whatsoever. Therefore, I need to watch this match because I'm bound to love it!

    30 Minutes Later..... I was right!!! That match just rocked my world quite a bit. Everyone can see how great Will is and that he is the future of this style. What I want to focus on is how amazing it is that Rey can still have matches like this. When he left WWE it looked like his career was over but judging by this match (and others in Lucha Underground) he is still able to steal the show with the right opponent and given the right platform. I expect to see more 5 star matches from Rey before he ever retires (unless he returns to WWE).

    P.S- Bram! Blah!

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