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Daily Watchlist (10.23.19)



The Daily Watchlist is a new project I’ll be working on to highlight the matches I watch day to day. Sometimes the matches will be current and other times they’ll be from the past. The matches I recommend will be highlighted on the bottom of the page. Today I watched eleven matches from AEW, AJPW & NJPW.

AJPW 10/22
Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori vs Atsuki Aoyagi & Yusuke Okada

The youth had speed and quickness on their side but that disappeared when Akiyama bailed outside and baited Aoyagi to follow. Akiyama put an end to both Aoyagi and Okada’s explosion by slamming them on the floor. After that it became a battle of wills where Aoyagi can’t compete with the likes of Akiyama and Omori. This was a standard story done well by all its parts and Aoyagi was able to capture the heart of the fans. Not something to rush out and see but a successful match.

Hikaru Sato & Hokuto Omori vs Fuminori Abe & Koji Iwamoto – Recommended
Slow start to the match but well worth the watch on Sato and Iwamoto’s second exchange. The two move so fast and fluidly together, turning dragon screws and judo throws into armbars at a breakneck speed. The match feels like a video game at points because everything is so sharp and precise. If you enjoy the grappling style, these guys understand how to stay entertaining without sacrificing technique.

Dan Tamura & Dylan James vs Violent Giants
Tamura was put to the test against the Violent Giants. He took a great amount of abuse from Suwama in particular who made the rookie fight for every inch to make it back to his feet. James is said to have sustained a heel injury and will be out of tomorrow’s Korakuen. He had the standard encounter with a lot of chops and what have you. Tamura proved he could take a heck of a beating but his offense wasn’t anywhere near what it needed to be to match Suwama. A fine match with good power moves but little to sink your teeth into.

Jake Lee, Naoya Nomura & Zeus vs Kento Miyahara, Yuma Aoyagi & Joel Redman – Recommended
The go-home show for tomorrow’s Korakuen saw an encounter between Kento and Lee who’ll be facing off in a Triple Crown match as well as Zeus and Redman who’ll be competing for the World Tag titles. Really great stuff from all six guys. You had the sizzle of Redman’s British technique while Kento and Lee brawled in the background and the crowd were losing their minds the entire way through. Every movement from all six guys was compelling to watch as you also saw Aoyagi wanting to prove himself against Nomura. This was a big time go-home clash that succeeds in getting you excited for tomorrow’s title matches. The current and near future of AJPW was on full display.

NJPW 10/22
Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

You know to prepare yourself for the comedy, outside brawling and ref bumps before watching a match between these two teams. They have their acts down and the live fans react positively but they give you little worth remembering. You get a slingshot DDT from Romero and a springboard hip attack from Taguchi. Outside of that there’s very little wrestling to sink your teeth into.

AEW 10/23
Private Party vs Lucha Brothers – Recommended

Hot fourteen minute opener to kick off week 4 of Dynamite. A heavy dose of headscissors and hurricanranas from Private Party but it was Rey Fenix who stole the match with his innovation on full display. These guys didn’t have a story heading into the match so they had to rely on big moves to get the crowd invested and no one is better at big moves right now than Fenix. His springboard moonsault to the outside was a match stealer in a contest filled with match stealing moment. Big time spotfest to get the adrenaline pumping to kick off the show.

Dark Order vs SCU – Recommended
This was a more traditional style tag with Dark Order isolating Sky to little reaction from the fans. Their gimmick isn’t over with the fans yet. The fans came alive with Jericho and his Inner Circle came walking through the crowd holding tickets. They stole the crowd’s attention but the match wasn’t getting a great reaction before that anyway. The camera kept cutting to the Inner Circle during Kazarian’s hot tag although they did manage to get the fans back, likely thanks to Jericho’s presence waking them up. A “this is awesome” chant deservedly broke out in the finishing stretch and brought a great finish. An uneven match but Jericho’s appearance and the finishing stretch are worth seeing.

Joey Janela vs Kenny Omega – Recommended
Much, much better than their Lights Out match from last week’s AEW Dark. The story for that match made sense with Omega wanting to go through what Jon Moxley did while also helping him find his groove but this was much better in every facet. Great showcase for Janela who didn’t look nearly as out of Omega’s league as you’d expect. The guy did a Sasuke bump which Omega exploited into his favor and picked up the win. My only gripe with that is it’s too similar to Darby Allin’s Coffin Drop story. That said, this is Janela’s best AEW showing to date. Omega kept good control of the match and they kept it in the pocket, not once feeling out of control. Really strong match.

Best Friends vs Young Bucks
Before the match, Orange Cassidy comes in and taunts the Bucks with lazy superkicks which leads to the Bucks stereo superkicking Cassidy but Best Friends get the jump. The Bucks get a semblance of revenge by stealing Best Friends hug spot but get taken to suplex city soon thereafter. Excalibur and Chuck expressed exasperation over the kick out the Falcon Arrow which is always a pop. Nick broke up the Strong Zero, Matt flips through a follow up doomsday knee and they put Chuck away with More Bang for Your Buck. We lost too much of the match to commercial break to give this a recommendation. Nothing not to like in the ring, the problem being there wasn’t much we were able to see.

Jamie Hayter vs Britt Baker
Hayter looked strong in her AEW debut against Baker. She showcased the grossest spot in all of wrestling, the camel clutch wet willy. Commentary rightfully put over her great use of technique. Every movement she made had a purpose. Baker looked stiff in the back and wasn’t nearly as flexible for some of the bumps she was taking but handled herself reasonably well despite her opponent coming out looking better. Not a match to watch but with any luck Hayter made enough of an impression to come back.

Jon Moxley vs PAC – Recommended
Upset over causing last week’s tag team loss, PAC attacked Moxley from behind with a chair before the match. Moxley still decides to have the match despite the blindside attack and gets dominated by PAC but continues to ask for more. He catches PAC in a reverse DDT on the apron to open the match up for his comeback. You can make a case for these two being the best in AEW. Absolute top class performance from both guys. They know their positioning so well, everything is so exact from the top rope falcon arrow to the apron 450. It was a marvel to watch this match unfold.

Recommended Matches
Hikaru Sato & Hokuto Omori vs Fuminori Abe & Koji Iwamoto
Jake Lee, Naoya Nomura & Zeus vs Kento Miyahara, Yuma Aoyagi & Joel Redman
Private Party vs Lucha Brothers
Dark Order vs SCU
Joey Janela vs Kenny Omega
Jon Moxley vs PAC

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for WrestlingDesk.