welcome

wrestling fans!

LTM is where I'll be posting results and upcoming cards from around the pro wrestling world. Occasionally I'll offer an opinion, but no snowflakes here.

Also check out my other writing at nearzone.com!

PentagonDrago

THIS IS SMASH: 3rd Anniversary Show

THIS IS SMASH: 3rd ANNIVERSARY SHOW

7 November 2015
Franklin Horner Community Centre, Toronto

“Le Tabarnak de Team” of Mathieu St-Jacques & Thomas Dubois vs “Super Smash Bros” of Player Uno & Player Dos

Pepper Parks & Mike Rollins vs “The Overdogs” of Sebastian Suave & John Greed

Scotty O’Shea vs Kevin Bennett

Tarik vs Mark Andrews

Pentagon Jr vs Drago

Courtney Rush vs KC Spinelli

Brent Banks Invitational Gauntlet

Brent Banks vs ???

card subject to change
images and information retrieved from smash-wrestling.com

Kingdom vs reDRagon

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2015

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: NIGHT 1

13 November 2015 (Friday)
Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee

“The House of Truth” of Jay Lethal, Donovan Dijak, & Joey Daddiego vs. “Bullet Club” of AJ Styles, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson

The House of Truth accompanied by Truth Martini

ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

“The Kingdom” of Matt Taven & Michael Bennett (c) vs. “reDRagon” of Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly

The Kingdom accompanied by Maria Kanellis

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST 2015 QUALIFIERS

The winners advance to the six-person Survival of the Fittest tournament final the next night.

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Best of Five Series Finale

ACH vs. Matt Sydal

ACH has 2 wins; Matt Sydal has 2 wins

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Mark Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Hanson vs. Kenny King

“4 Corner Survival” rules

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Jay Briscoe vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Ray Rowe vs. Rhett Titus

“4 Corner Survival” rules

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole vs. Moose

Moose accompanied by Stokely Hathaway

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Dalton Castle vs. Silas Young vs. Adam Page

Adam Page accompanied by BJ Whitmer

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander

Cedric Alexander accompanied by Veda Scott


SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: NIGHT 2

14 November 2015 (Saturday)
Hopkins Eisenhower Community Center, Hopkins (Minnesota)

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST FINALS

?? vs. ?? vs. ?? vs. ?? vs. ?? vs. ??

Winner to receive an ROH World Championship match in the future

card correct as of posting date
images and information retrieved from rohwrestling.com

punk-walks-out

LTM Out Indefinitely

So I’ve been getting overwhelmed with other projects and LTM’s fallen by the wayside. It’s a shame, especially to me, but I’ve decided to focus my attention and simply put LTM on hiatus. Will it come back? If I get time, or if I need to write something that can’t quite go anywhere else.

Please follow my fiction work at nearzone.com, catch me on twitter at my depraved & longwinded personal account or my much more bearable and far less posty “business” account @_nearzone. I’ve got a new wrestling project coming up so keep an eye out for that.

Thanks for reading!
(Obinna) J Onwuka

Styles vs Okada

Review » Styles vs Okada at NJPW Dominion

Hey wrestling heads. I’ve been away a bit, focusing on getting more stuff on my fiction blog nearzone.com in order. Now I’ve got those ducks in a row, I hope to be posting here much more often. Let’s get it going.


Early in the American morning on that most American of days, an American was in Japan doing what Americans are most known for: being obnoxious and lording their greatness over everyone else. The man in question? AJ Styles, the reigning and defending IWGP Heavyweight Champion. As the holder of one of the (if not the definite) most prestigious championships in the world, Styles has a lot to brag about. This is his second run with the belt which proves to everyone who didn’t know that he’s not just a TV-boosted fluke, he is real as far as New Japan’s concerned and he’s looking ready to continue his dominance. He’s skilled in all manners of the game from mat wrestling to high flying, and he has one of the best counter weapons in the game, namely his Pele Kick. He has never expressed doubt about his ability to beat his opponent going into Dominion, a man he first got to know when the tables were turned as far as native and foreigner.

That man, the challenger, is none other than “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada. He cut his teeth in New Japan but then spent a long period in TNA, the American league which AJ Styles arguably built from the ground up. Unlike Styles, Okada went to TNA as an unknown and he left much the same, but on his return he was picked up by Gedo and refashioned, pushed into becoming the wrestling marvel he is today. Okada has had a long road back to this point after losing the title to Styles two years ago but he stands ready to reclaim what he feels is his. Where Styles is a king of all trades Okada is just a jack, but what puts Okada over the edge is his precision and fluidity, his absolute professional quality. His dropkick is perhaps the most feared in the sport for stopping power and versatility, and he’s used the tombstone piledriver to great effect as well. The question to be answered, of course, is will all that be enough to defeat “The Phenomenal One”?

NJPW Dominion • 5 July 2015
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
AJ Styles© vs Kazuchika Okada

From the word go we can see that not only are these two very confident competitors, they also know each other extremely well, a thread that runs throughout the match. They struggle for grappling advantage at the beginning before AJ, with the help of his Bullet Club buddies at ringside, manages to pull ahead. Okada stays competitive but it’s clear that AJ’s in full control of things. Things start to turn around when the referee Red Shoes (Hiroyoki Unno) finally gets fed up with the shenanigans and tells Bullet Club to “SUCK IT!”, which is Japanese for “You have to leave.” The change isn’t immediate as Styles immediately gets vicious in his frustration. However, a few choice dropkick counters — catching Styles coming off the top, then crotching him on the ropes and sending him to the floor — brought Okada right back into competitiveness. Both guys started to bring out their big guns, Styles landing a springboard 450 splash and Okada finally securing the tombstone piledriver, but both got near falls. Throughout the match Okada had been successful in defending against the dreaded Styles Clash, but now Styles went for it with gusto. A blistering sequence ensued as both men tried to score their finish while avoiding the other’s. Only after it seemed like every angle had been exhausted did Okada score a modified Rainmaker, and then another, earning his three count and the heavyweight title.

It is really difficult to overstate how good AJ Styles is. Throughout his career he’s managed to shine in whatever role given to him and in New Japan he seems to be relishing the chance to do what he perhaps wasn’t able to back stateside. Here in this match he was able to play the role of Bullet Club patriarch to its full, not only in how he reacted to the Biz Cliz but also in his handling of Okada. Of course, that relationship of veteran/youngster has been well established but, especially in matches of this magnitude with a star of Okada’s caliber, these aspects of the story can often get lost. Here it seemed very clear to me that AJ was the one working on wits and Okada was working on desperation and guts. Okada played his part perfectly, confident of course but always a half-step behind, always needing to invent a new trick in order to have one not in Styles’s bag.

The story arc was strong but, as per my usual drumbeat, I would have liked to see more of a sense of exploiting and working on weaknesses. Neither guy really made an effort to focus on an area that they’d hurt before or really seemed set on building up to a certain finish. The Styles Clash was definitely put over as the thing-you-avoid-at-all-costs (for good reason) but I never felt like Styles was doing anything really to try and get Okada weakened for it. Perhaps there’s some of this that would be sort of patched over if I could understand the commentary. I feel like if we’d had Styles gradually work on Okada’s leg, for example, it could have heightened the tension further; even if Okada is fairly good for most of the match, at the very end that weakness can flare up, making every little bit that Okada has to fight for that much more dangerous. However, as attrition matches go, this is certainly the way to execute it. Good work from everybody involved here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep running Styles/Okada on top.

Bottom Line: A great “new heavyweight” title match between two of the best going. Short on strategy but long on drama and extended on action.

Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks

Review » Banks vs Lynch at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable

It is unusual to see a thriving women’s division under a WWE banner but on their triple-A league NXT you’ll find some of the best women wrestling today. Since the beginning the division has been hot, first of all ruled by Charlotte Flair and then, after a strong ascendancy, by “The Boss” Sasha Banks. More than any other title in NXT, the NXT Women’s Championship comes close to equalling the prestige of its main show cousin. At NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, that quality of competition was proven again when Banks met the challenge of Becky Lynch.

As I’ve mentioned before (and will continue to as long as it’s true), I haven’t really watched the show in a while and that includes NXT. I know they’ve been lighting it up, and I know Sasha Banks, but Lynch got going after I stopped following closely. I know she worked SHIMMER and comes from Ireland but that’s about it. Seeing her come out, appearance-wise she seems like a modern-age “punk rock chick,” thrown in elements of sci-fi dorkiness on top of the usual aggressive distortion-pedal vibe. Not sure of how she works from that but she looks confident, not rattled by how much the crowd loves the champion.

Sasha Banks I have seen before and I always thought she was good. This was maybe a year back. The word on the street these days is that she got great. Definitely she’s oozing overconfidence, to a level that’s almost overcompensating, though you’d never know it by the crowd reaction. She’s got an incredibly nasty presence, like you’d want to ask for an autograph but you’d be afraid she’d get her entourage to beat you up… or, given it’s Banks, just do it herself. How the NXT crowd doesn’t hate her is a bit crazy to me. On the other hand, what people pay to see is good wrestling. If you’re the person who delivers that week in and week out then maybe the crowd doesn’t care what you’re like.

parva on sashaprobably the best ever summary of sasha banks, courtesy of parv

NXT Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks© vs Becky Lynch

We start things off with a fierce lockup. Banks sends Lynch into the corner, but after an exchange Lynch hooks Banks into a pin. Banks showed plenty of ring intuition in the opening portion but Lynch seemed to have enough tricks to keep Banks guessing. Banks gets Lynch into the corner and takes a cheap shot. They fight their way to the apron and Banks finally turns things 180 degrees by snapping Lynch down into the apron onto her shoulder. Before this, Becky Lynch had done some arm work to help set up her seated armbar finish, but it was Sasha Banks who upped the ante on limbwork. An extended series of ground holds pretty nearly ruined Lynch’s arm. Against all odds, Lynch fought to her feet despite an armlock and lifted Banks overhead into a suplex. Lynch rallied, putting pressure onto Banks’s arm and even managing to lock the seated armbar in, only for Banks to get the ropes. Banks played a ref screen to distract Lynch and sent her out to the floor. Her dive only half-worked as Lynch caught her and sent her into the steps. Lynch gets Banks back in the ring, then tries for a top rope dive to finish it but it’s countered into the Bank Statement hold. Lynch can’t hold on and she taps out.

To me one of the hallmarks of NXT is really solid execution and this was right in that echelon. Both Banks and Lynch displayed good knowledge of escapes and counters, to the point that they were basically even on that score. Banks played up her evil side a hell of a lot and to great effect persona-wise. I liked that it played into her attack; the cheap shot which seems to just be out of spite is actually what sets up her comeback. Plus, she wasn’t fazed by the crowd loving her: she didn’t reject them but didn’t become a fan favorite, either. Strategically it was very basic — both tried to set up their finishing maneuvers, which were arm holds — but they worked the formula very well.

The major issue I have with the match is really in its solid-ness, though that sounds contradictory. Both women have their quirks — Banks tends to use more of a ground and speed moveset, while Lynch likes to hit and throw — but largely they work a very similar style: active, mobile, technical, with a good bit of artillery. Both of them simply want to wear down their opponent enough to win the match. No one’s trying for a massive offensive onslaught, no one’s trying to slow the match so far down that their opponent can’t build momentum. They were both looking for the same finish, it’s true, but why? Banks didn’t really try and disrupt what she had to know was Lynch’s target. It’s true she did get more offense on the arm, but really she was just the winning ram in a headbutting contest. Plus, if Banks had really worked the arm that badly, how could Lynch have hit that series of suplexes? As they always say, wrestling is a game of chess. You can have an exciting game between two masters but that doesn’t make them grandmasters. Skill does.

Bottom Line: A very fun limb-work match, great attitude from Banks and a great gutsy performance from Lynch. Not top level but these two can certainly get to a higher rung.