Sunday, April 29, 2018

Looking back at April

Hello readers of the Wrestling Insomniac

Some of you may have noticed that I, Michael Labbe, have not posted anything this month on the blog and there's a good reason for it.  I had a minor surgery that developed a major infection that was followed by a second surgery and essentially took me out of action from almost everything in life for a month.

I want to thank Brandon for keeping the page running with some fantastic articles where he have his thoughts on Ring of Honor Supercard of Honor XII and Impact's Redemption PPV.  He also reviewed a couple books by Shawn Michaels and Bill Apter, gave us his thoughts on the excellent Magnum TA documentary, he took us back in time looking at wrestler and actor Luca Brasi, and shared his WrestleMania 27 Weekend experience.

The only thing I really could do was lay down so I got plenty of television and reading in and I'd like to share some of that with you:

I've been reading Bob Backlund's book and I'm loving it.  Growing up I didn't know very much about Mr. Backlund's first run as the WWF Champion.  The only footage I remember seeing is him winning and losing the championship.  The rest of his almost six year run was a mystery to me.  This book answers those questions and  I'll do a proper write up when I'm done.

Sadly we lost three wrestling in greats in April, "Mr. Number 1" Paul Jones, "Luscious" Johnny Valiant and the legendary Bruno Sammartino.  Ever since Bruno and the WWE settled their differences I have been waiting for a DVD release looking at Bruno's life and career and it never happened.

After his death the WWE released a special on the Network about Bruno and it is fantastic.  It's a shame it took him dying for it to happened, but nonetheless everyone who is a fan of wrestling should take the time to sit and watch this.  Coupled with the Bruno Sammartino collection on the network you can also take in some of his greatest matches.

The Andre the Giant documentary debuted on HBO and I can't say enough positive about it.  Sincerely go out of your way to watch this.  Interviews with wrestling legends, his family, and cast from The Princess Bride you won't regret it.  I was blown away by the footage they had of a teenage Andre who was quite thin where it appeared he was going through some wrestling drills.

WrestleMania weekend is in April and even in my uncomfortable condition I took in the showcase of the immortals.  The Hall of Fame was just okay for me.

NXT Takeover was excellent!  The show was bookended by two phenomenal matches in the North American Championship ladder match and the grudge match between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano.

Ciampa coming to the ring with no music allowed you to really be able to appreciate the amount of heat he had with the crowd, just fantastic.  This must see match saw these two go to war and tell an amazing story along the way earning the 5 star recognition that The Wrestling Observer gave it.

WrestleMania 34 was the best in Mania in years from beginning to end.  Fourteen matches total and a run time of seven hours with the pre-show it was a long day.  The pre-show matches were okay at best, however the main card itself was excellent.

I think what I liked the most was how it wasn't predictable.  Asuka lost her first match in the WWE system, Nakamura lost and turned heel, and Brock Lesnar retained his championship.  Also how The Undertaker squashing John Cena was exactly what needed to happen to make Taker look strong.  Finally I really dug Cena sitting in the crowd and his interactions with the fans.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about the Shinsuke Nakamura heel turn, but it has been amazing!  From his "clearly disingenuous" comments about AJ Styles to his "no speak English" and all his in ring antics have been spectacular.

On April 27th the WWE presented the Greatest Royal Rumble from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and love or hate the WWE you can't discount how unbelievable a feet it was to put on that show.  It was a hot crowd who was clearly up to date on the current storylines and wrestlers.  The opening match of John Cena vs. Triple H was basic but really really good.

Once again I was surprised when Brock Lesnar walked away with the championship after his cage match with Roman Reigns.  Daniel Bryans performance was unprecedented in the rumble match.  However what stands out as the moment of the night was Titus O'Neil falling on his way to the ring and sliding under the ring.  It was amazing!

New Japan Pro Wrestling opened the month with Sakura Genesis 2018 on April 1st in Tokyo headlined by IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada successfully defending his championship against New Japan Cup winner Zack Sabre Jr.

However the match of the night rated 5 stars by Dave Melzter was Will Osprey retaining his IWGP Jr. Junior Heavyweight Championship against Marty Scrull in a phenomenal match!

They closed the month on April 29th when they presented Wrestling Hi No Kuni in Kumamoto.  In the main event Tetsuya Naito defeated Minoru Suzuki to regain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship for his second reign.

It was another good month of wrestling, and I'm glad to be back to sharing my enjoyment with all of you. 

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast Podcast of 1,000 Holds on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!