Now as my taste in wrestling has matured and my knowledge of the industry has grown tenfold, I re-debut the Silver Report. Not just as an outlet for my thoughts and opinions, but to hopefully introduce newcomers to wacky world of pro wrestling while enriching the tastes of current fans.
One of the ways I hope to achieve that goal is through the brand new Must-See Matches section at the end of every Silver Report going forward. Must-See Matches will be my curated list of the best matches for the current month of discussion. So if you don't have the time to keep up with everything going on, these are the matches that will give you the most enjoyment for your time.
Naito! You Just Made the List!January 4th and 5th had tons of great moments for New Japan from Minoru Suzuki shaving his head to Jay White declining an offer to join the Bullet Club, but nothing was bigger than the closing moments of New Year's Dash.
After Tetsuya Naito and his stablemates in Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) dispatched Kazuchika Okada and Chaos in tag team action, Chris Jericho rushed the ring and attacked Naito. Although the attack was brief as Jericho was quickly pulled out of the ring, it was such a surprise to see Jericho since everybody thought his deal with New Japan was for just one match with Kenny Omega.
Starting this feud with Naito opens up the possibilities for Jericho to feud with more excellent New Japan talent like Ishii, Ibushi, Tanahashi, and even Okada! It's unbelievable to see the 47 year old Jericho on top of the wrestling world in 2018, but it is well deserved.
Almas and Gargano Steal Royal Rumble WeekendIt is rare to see any match in January eclipse the excellently crafted bouts of NJPW's WrestleKingdom supershow, but WWE did just that with the main event of NXT TakeOver: Philadephia. As the first WWE match in over six years to receive five stars from Dave Meltzer, Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship was nothing short of an instant classic.
Leading up to the match, it felt like such an unlikely main event. Almas had been dwelling in the obscurity of NXT's mid-card for most of his tenure, while Gargano seemed to be in a holding pattern as his feud with former partner Tommaso Ciampa was on hold until Ciampa had healed from injury.
Despite all the baggage these two had coming in, it all melted away when the match started. Almas and Gargano just work so well together as they chain their moves together like no one else in the business. The fast pace and smooth wrestling made the 32-minute long match fly by. When all was said and done, both Almas and Gargano solidified their positions as major players in the WWE for years to come.
Golden Lovers ReuniteEver since "The American Nightmare" Cody joined Bullet Club at the end of 2016, tensions between him and leader Kenny Omega have been building. Those tensions would come to a head at the end of NJPW's second New Beginning in Sapporo event.
After Omega lost the IWGP U.S. Championship to Jay White in the main event, Cody made his move by hitting a Cross Rhodes on Bullet Club's leader. But before Cody could hit the finishing chair shot on Omega, Kota Ibushi made the save. After dispersing Cody and his fellow Bullet Club usurpers, Ibushi and Omega embraced each other in a surprising reunion of former tag partners.
While many suspected a Bullet Club implosion sometime in 2018, nobody thought it would be this soon. Plus, nobody thought we'd see Omega and Ibushi reunite as the Golden Lovers. Most of the rumour and scuttlebutt surrounding these two centered around them feuding instead of reuniting.
Although the story may end up with them fighting in the end, Omega's current ousting from the Bullet Club and his reunion with Ibushi opens up plenty of intriguing possibilities. Could we see the Golden Lovers vs. the Young Bucks in the not-so-distant future?
Tale of Two RumblesThe 2018 Royal Rumble was an interesting show. It had arguably one of the best Royal Rumbles of all-time in the men's bout, one of the most disappointing in the first-ever women's bout, and a lot of disappointing finishes and average matches in between. While it was a better than average show, the position of the two Royal Rumble matches and their drastic difference in quality made for an uneven four plus hours.
First up, the men's bout was a high-octane affair with excellent storytelling, fun eliminations (especially Slater's elimination of Sheamus), nice surprise entrants, and an intense final 15 minutes. Its hour plus run time flew by because of how entertaining the match was. And to put the cherry on top, the right wrestler won in Shinsuke Nakamura.
On the flip side, the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble was another misfire in WWE's so-called "Women's Evolution." Although the right woman went over in Asuka, the match was full of sloppy wrestling, focused far too much on the nostalgic entrants, and criminally held its biggest surprise for the post-match theatrics.
Speaking of those post-match theatrics, what an awfully lame way to debut Ronda Rousey. Yes, it was done to protect both her and Asuka, but what was the point of her eclipsing Asuka's moment at the very end of the show? It undermined the preceding match while simultaneously teasing viewers of what we should've had.
In all honesty, I would take Asuka vs. Ronda Rousey as the final two in the Women's Royal Rumble over Rousey cartoonisly pointing at the WrestleMania sign any day.
Must-See Matches of January1/4/2018
Hiromu Takahashi vs. Kushida vs. Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay - Four Way Match
Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho - No DQ Match
Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream
NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia
Aleistar Black vs. Adam Cole - Extreme Rules
Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Johnny Gargano
New Beginning in Sapporo Night 2
Roppongi 3K vs. The Young Bucks
Men's 30-Man Royal Rumble
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate - No.1 Contender's Match for the UK Championship