Tag Archives: Trios

(02/02) Prince Devitt, Bad Luck Fale & the Young Bucks vs. Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi

New Japan Pro Wrestling
Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)

Taguchi returns after spending months on the shelf with a shoulder injury. You can see the juniors division starting to gain some momentum already this year with Taguchi back, the unresolved issue between Taguchi & Devitt coming back up (Devitt broke up his team with Taguchi to form the Bullet Club), El Desperado being pushed hard as a title contender, and the Young Bucks getting a big push in the junior tag team division. They could still use a couple more high-level guys for the junior divisions, but just the fact that the titles are both being chased while there is another non-title feud going on is a HUGE improvement over 2013.

On the whole this was much better than I anticipated. The Young Bucks were kept in check and were fine with what they did. Taguchi and Devitt was teased. Fale’s ring time was limited though he did lock up with Makabe for the first time since their match at the Toyko Dome. Makabe looked good, with a big lariat on Devitt being particularly nasty. Shelly and KUSHIDA pulled out a couple of cool double teams, including a spot where Shelley did a tope threw KUSHIDA’s legs while KUSHIDA was standing on the ring ropes (he followed up with a dive of his own in short order).

Devitt pinned Taguchi after double stomping him where you don’t want to be double stomped. The Devitt/Taguchi interaction was decent and it seems they are destined for a big show grudge match sometime in the future but Taguchi will probably have to wait a while to truly get his revenge. This exact eight-man runs again on the 2/9 show from Hiroshima. On 2/11 it is Taguchi/Makabe versus Fale/Devitt so at leats there will be less people standing in Taguchi’s way in between him and Devitt.

Not sure you have to go out of you way to watch this, but it was another fine match on the 2nd half of the card.

Trios | Worthwhile | Quality

(02/02) Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hirooki Goto, Tetsuya Naito & Hiroshi Tanahashi

New Japan Pro Wrestling
Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)

In some ways, I feel more confident that I’ll enjoy a big New Japan multi-man match on a setup show these days than I will a big New Japan singles match on a main show.

Tanahashi works better in multi-man settings where he doesn’t have to carry one-half of the offense in a 20+ minute singles bout. Here he came in, hit his spots, sold a bit, and was far better than if he were working over an opponent for an extended stretch with his offense. Due to time constraints and the fact that Ishii is less likely to wear himself out by throwing bombs on a small show six-man than he is in a big show singles match, I thought he was as enjoyable in this match as I’ve seen him recently. In particular, I really dug the spot where he ran Naito from guardrail to guardrail and back again (throwing him against the rail each time). It got just as big of a reaction as his normal trading forearm exchanges do, looked better, and was far less repetitive.

Naito got a few boos early on or just no reaction, but once again (like during the 12/23 tag match from Korakuen) he had the Korakuen faithful chanting his name by the end. He is sort of bland so I get why it has been an uphill battle for him to get over, but his work is good enough that he is usually able to get the crowd paying attention to him by the end. Pairing him with Ishii where the fans will see him as a tough guy should also help. Naito took a nasty looking neck bump on the apron off of an Ishii lariat late in this match.

This match was probably better than the eight-man the day after the Tokyo Dome that had many of the same wrestlers in it, but not by a huge margin or anything. I’d have to watch both matches again. In any event, I hope New Japan keeps rolling out big six-man main events like these on “minor” iPPV’s this year using the top level guys. They are a lot of fun.

Trios | Watch It | Quality

(01/31) Daniel Bryan, Sheamus & Rey Mysterio vs. the Shield

Daniel Bryan, Sheamus & Rey Mysterio vs. the Shield
January 31st (Taped: January 28th)
Huntington Center (Toledo, Ohio)

I would be interested in seeing research into how many trios television main events the Shield have worked in the 14-ish months they have been together as a unit. I am guessing it is quite a bit and makes up around 15% to 20% of the total RAW and Smackdown main events during that period. If we were to broaden the definition of “main event” to include the featured match of the show regardless of when it took place on the program, I would imagine that would increase the percentage a little bit more.

The Shield have been an extremely valuable act for the WWE because they can be slotted into a TV main event with the knowledge that they will deliver a strong match more times than not while allowing the promotion to put out a quality TV main without giving away a marketable singles match on no build. When the Shield breaks up, the WWE likely loses the crutch they have leaned on for quality television main events the past year plus.

This particular match is a good example of that. It is essentially a rematch from Monday night with Rey taking the place of Cena and a significant chunk of time chopped off. It is a good example of the Shield’s value because it was a really enjoyable match that – at the same time – I’d wager nobody will be talking about a few months or a year from now. Nor will anyone be discussing the RAW match a few days earlier. That’s because the Shield have knocked out so many quality six-man tags in 14 months that they largely blend together in your memory, even if you thought they were really great as you were watching them. The value in having an act that churn out quality six-man main events at will is through the roof.

There were elements of this match I like better than the RAW one and other elements I did not like as much. I thought Rey was a lot of fun. It’s a shame we never got see a healthier Rey lock it up with the Shield. The fact that this was a little shorter was a net positive. The RAW match was fine the entire time, but clearly kicked into another gear the stretch. It felt like 5 minutes could have been chopped off of the RAW match and the match would have benefited from it. This one felt like it ran the perfect time and left you wanting more. Danielson’s hot tags were more or less equal, but the post-hot tag stretch with Rollins beat the ending of this match.

Reigns picked up the pin fall on Rey after a spear. Rey took the spear like a champ.

Trios | Worthwhile | Quality

(01/18) Jimmy Susumu, Ryo “Jimmy” Saito, Mr. Quu Quu Tanizaki Naoki Toyonaka Dolphin (c) vs. CIMA, Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid

Dragon Gate
Bodymaker Colosseum #2 (Osaka, Japan)
Open the Triangle Gate Championship

Another good trios match in a month seemingly filled with them.

CIMA is turning himself into quite the fun submission wrestler. A substantial amount of his offense here consised of unique and painful-looking submission holds. The rest of his offense – particularly two nice sentons – were also not too shabby. Speaking of wrestlers that have changed their style, when did Dragon Kid decide to steal Jack Evans’ movements and mannerisms? His pre-match dancing routine and body language really had an Evans-like vibe to him.

I liked the layout of this match with quick tags and high spots peppered in throughout rather than saving everything for a big stretch run at the end. The action stayed largely grounded – only Dragon Kid’s moonsault the floor would really qualify as a big time flying spot – and that format worked well. CIMA was the standout but all six guys were good. Dragon Gate trios match have historically been stronger than their singles bout and watching these past few shows, that appears to be the case early on in 2014.

Trios | Worthwhile | Title Match

(01/27) Daniel Bryan, Sheamus & John Cena vs. the Shield

Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland, Ohio)
Winning Team Qualifies for Elimination Chamber Match

WWE is slow-burning the Shield breakup angle, which is nice because we get a pseudo “Shield Break Up” tour as they put on a last run of quality trios matches before their inevitable demise. Everything about this match felt like – including the buildup – felt like something right off of a The Shield’s Greatest Hits collection. The group interrupted Daniel Bryan and Triple H randomly during the opening segment. Of course that was something that they did all the time upon entering the WWE, but have done with far less frequency lately. Then you had Sheamus and John Cena run out for the save and it really felt like March 2013 again. Only thing missing was Kane and Dr. Shelby.

This match is also your class Shield six-man RAW main event. The faces start off strong before the body of the match shifted to an extended segment with Cena being worked over. The crowd was pretty quiet during the heat segment prompting Bryan to play cheerleader on the apron by leading claps and chants. I remember seeing in the WON that Vince hates those spots (thinks the baby face looks lame leading cheers) so Bryan is probably not doing himself any favors, but it did get the crowd into the match at least a bit.

As with any Shield/Bryan six-man, the highlight was the hot tag to Bryan who ran through his usual hot tag sequence with great fire and completely woke up the crowd. We then got a cool, extended near falls segment with Bryan and Rollins. The entire finishing stretch – everything after the hot tag – was longer than usual and really good.

The ending came off oddly. The Wyatt Family ran in as everyone no doubt expected them to, but the match was simply thrown out right away and the Chamber spots were awarded to the babyfaces via disqualification. If this doesn’t lead to Cena, Bryan & Sheamus needing to jump through additional hoops to enter the match and/or a Shield versus Wyatts mini-feud, then I don’t quite see the point in the non-conclusive finish.

Match was great, though, and up there with the best RAW main events the Shield has put out their during their stacked one year+ run. Hopefully we get a few more of these before all is said and done.

Trios | Watch It | Quality