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Wrestling Viewing Guide: Sept. 23 - 30, 2018

There’s a ton of wrestling content nowadays and unless you’re a hardcore pro-graps fan, you have to decide what to watch when and what to consider leaving out. That’s where we come in to help.

Every week, we are going to run down the big in-ring happenings for the easily accessible US wrestling. This won’t cover your indie needs, but ReverendClaire always has you covered in her weekly Sermon on the Mat for that.

Bear in mind, matches could be added after this posts that would definitely change how worth a show is to watch.


New Japan’s Destruction in Kobe (NJPW World)

The last of NJPW’s three big Destruction shows will be in the books by the time this publishes, but if didn’t get up at butt o’clock (shoutout to Rev. Claire) to watch it live, here’s what’s ahead of you:

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (Tanahashi’s G1 title shot is on the line)
  • KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI in an IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship tournament semi-final match
  • Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & SANADA vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taka Michinoku
  • Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Toa Henare vs. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI & Will Ospreay
  • Best Friends vs. Killer Elite Squad
  • Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi & Ayato Yoshida vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
  • Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  • Roppongi 3K vs. Shota Umino & Ren Narita
  • Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura

Verdict: Tana/Okada? Yes, please. The Los Ingobernables de Japon vs. Suzuki-gun stuff hasn’t done much for me, but Switchblade causing chaos in CHAOS is pretty interesting. Probably worth waiting for Rev’s recs and hunting and pecking around.


Raw (USA Network)

We’re on the road to Australia, and WWE is teasing advancement toward’s The Shield’s six-man against Braun Strowman and his Dogs of War at Super Show-Down. But then, they’re also teasing a feud between Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss when the Goddess is supposed to be injured, so...

We are supposed to get fallout from The Ascension’s attack on Chad Gable, and these matches:

  • Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. The Revival for the tag titles
  • Ruby Riott vs. Brie Bella
  • Elias vs. Lashley

Verdict: What? No Undertaker, Triple H or Shawn Michaels? Oh, alright, I’ll probably still watch. But mostly because I have to (and I’ll have most of my attention on hoping the stupid football team I’ve been irrationally emotionally attached to since birth doesn’t $#!+ the bed on Monday Night Football).


SmackDown Live (USA Network)

More Becky Lynch/Charlotte Flair for sure, and a contract signing for the next battle in AJ Styles and Samoa Joe’s war at The MCG. They’ll also be turning up the heat on New Day vs. The Bar for their Super Show-Down, uh, showdown. Lots of drama. You know - SmackDown!

Verdict: Again, it’s SmackDown. Watch it.

Mixed Match Challenge (Facebook Watch)

One match each from the red and blue divisions:

  • Team Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox) vs. Mickie James & Bobby Lashley
  • Team Awe-ska (Miz & Asuka) vs. The Fabulous Truth (Carmella & R-Truth)

Verdict: This show is not my cuppa, but even as a casual observer I’m happy to hype Mella’s work on it as money. I’ll be looking for highlights of her match with Truth on YouTube and Twitter, but that’s about all I can tell ya.


205 Live (WWE Network)

The Noam Dar vs. Lio Rush match we didn’t get last week is supposed to happen on this episode, along with Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali and build to Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy in Melbourne a week from Friday.

Verdict: If you like good wrestling, you should check this out. Rush’s heel gimmick is great, and he and the Scottish Supernova have been getting good heat for their feud across platforms. Itami and Ali’s first match was really good, and the injury angle with Mustafa’s been different and intriguing.

NXT (WWE Network)

The first episode from last Thursday’s taping. Lars Sullivan is getting the old “in action” tease, which means some jobber is gonna get got - but EC3’s return was teased last week, so their program could pick back up. NXT champ Tommaso Ciampa is supposed to face Heavy Machinery’s Otis Dozovic, which should be fun whether or not someone interferes. And there should be follow-up on last week’s killer main event.

Verdict: We’re in the middle of the longest stretch without a TakeOver on the NXT calendar, which makes for some slower than normal episodes. This looks like one of those on paper, but the start of a new batch of shows often has a surprise or two, so I wouldn’t skip it even if I was allowed to.

Lucha Underground

Wrestling meets telenovela continues.

Verdict: This is a generally fun show. It’s not really a show to pick and choose episodes though. Given the way they tell their stories, this show is more “Watch it all or don’t” than other wrestling programs.

Mae Young Classic (WWE Network)

The first round of the second Mae Young Classic concludes.

This week’s match ups:

  • Rachel Evers versus Hiroyo Matsumoto
  • Jessie Elaban versus Taynara Conti
  • Nicole Matthews versus Isla Dawn
  • Io Shirai versus Xia Brookside

Verdict: They had me at Nicole Matthews on WWE Network. The rest is just gravy.


Impact Wrestling (Pop TV)

This is the second of four episodes taped in Mexico and it leads off the final set of tapings prior to Bound for Glory.

Knockouts champ Tessa Blanchard will defend against Faby Apache in a match set up during the first episode from Mexico City, Gama Singh sends Desi Hit Squad into action against LAX (will the cease fire with the OGz stand!?!?), Brian Cage war with oVe leads to a singles match against Jake Crist, we see if the alliance of Johnny Impact & Eddie Edwards can shake Austin Aries hold over the show, and Scarlett Bordeaux maked an announcement.

Verdict: These are really important shows for Impact. If they can plant their flag in another market, get fans at home fired up for Bound for Glory and then deliver another critically acclaimed PPV in New York, maybe they can get a real U.S. television contract and really start to make some hay. If you’re pulling for that to happen, support these episodes - they should be fun, too.


Ring of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view (PPV)

ROH takes over Vegas with the usual cast of New Japan guest stars:

  • Jay Lethal (c) vs. Will Ospreay for the ROH World championship
  • Cody, Hangman Page, Marty Scurll & The Young Bucks vs. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero & Best Friends
  • Tenille Dashwood vs. Sumie Sakai (c) for the ROH Women’s title
  • The Briscoes (c) vs. The Addiction for the ROH Tag Team championship
  • Chris Sabin vs. Punishment Martinez (c) for the ROH TV title
  • Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Kenny King
  • Bully Ray & Silas Young vs. Flip Gordon & Colt Cabana in a tables match

Verdict: Look. I want to be excited. Several of these could be good-to-really good, but there’s not much suspense about the outcomes. I’m probably most interested in what’s essentially a NJPW warm-up multi-man between Bullet Club and CHAOS, and... that’s probably about it.

WWE’s only putting out nine hours of content this week. Luckily, the ROH/NJPW alliance is stepping up to make sure us diehards can never stop looking at wrestling if we don’t want to.

If I could only watch one thing this week, it’d be:

Does Kyle allow ties here? I’m just filling in, as you probably noticed by the cut & paste header. And the Lucha Underground section - but my man Manolo does such a good job with that, and he’ll have your preview on Wednesday as usual. Plus, it really is “Watch it all or don’t”. Anyway...

205 Live and the MYC

Which probably means you should just get comfortable and watch the whole three hour block on WWE Network Wednesday night. But if you can only pick two, make it the cruisers and the ladies.

Mustafa Ali has been my favorite pure babyface in WWE this year, and his exhaustion angle has made pulling for the Heart of 205 Live even more dramatic. I’m not missing his rematch with Itami, who had the best match of his WWE career against Ali in early August.

And I joke about episode four of season two of the Mae Young Classic hooking me with the Canadian NINJA, but throw in Io freakin’ Shirai on WWE Network? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Let us know what you’d choose below.

There’s a ton of other wrestling out there and we can’t cover it all on here. So if there’s something you’re particularly excited for this week, let your fellow wrestling fans know in the comments.

See ya next week!

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