Welcome, friends and fans, to another round of Geek Versus Pro Wrestling. We have a lot to celebrate this week, and were further rewarded with a 30 day vacation from Roman Reigns’ unnecessary chest protector and underwhelming mic work thanks to a(nother) wellness policy violation. Let’s kick our Roman holiday off with some high spots.
There’s no other place to start than Money in the Bank 2016 this past Sunday. The night will be remembered as one which saw Dean Ambrose win both the Money in the Bank briefcase and subsequently cashing it in on Seth Rollins to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship later in the evening. He’s my obvious King of the Week for myriad reasons so I’ll spare the superlatives for the moment, but it was a big night for him to say the least.
Rollins looked great in his first match back against Roman Reigns for the title, and worked more as a face than a heel which I think is the right direction to go with him. Even though I was happy to see him beat Reigns cleanly and briefly celebrate recapturing the title he never lost, seeing my guy Ambrose ultimately walk out with the belt made me even happier. I’m excited about the big Shield triple threat announced for Battleground, but I imagine it will be held back to SummerSlam considering Reigns’ recent suspension.
The actual MitB ladder match will probably go down as an all-time personal favorite. Honestly, any situation that involves Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn stacking up ladders is going to be met with some bias for my favor, but this one was unique in it’s conclusion. Generally, it’s pretty easy to see when the finish of a ladder match is coming by the ladder placement and the eventual winner ascending the side facing the hard camera.
This finish, however, involved a ladder construction requiring four ladders, two of which were bridged from the corners resulting in the main ladder being turned 22 degrees camera left. It’s a subtle difference, but one that gave this match some distinction from the previous multi-man affairs. The last two at the top were Owens and Ambrose (my two favorite guys not named Shinsuke Nakamura), and ended with Ambrose holding the briefcase high and Owens dead-like on the ladder bridge. This match is one worth seeing if you haven’t.
Lost in the glow of WWE’s mid-summer ladder-themed show, a ladder match with arguably greater historical significance went down on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. The first ladder match in NJPW’s 40+ year history took place at their Dominion event, which saw “Big Mike” Elgin
winning the IWGP Intercontinental Title from current Bullet Club front-man Kenny Omega. The match was originally supposed to feature Omega defending against NJPW’s Shawn Michaels-esque mega-star Hiroshi Tanahashi, but several injuries prevented him from competing in a match that’s inherently super dangerous. This opened up a huge opportunity for Michael Elgin, who is becoming incredibly popular in Japan since coming over to NJPW full time.
Elgin wasn’t the only Ring of Honor crossover star to earn gold at the event which saw every title defended change hands, the only exception being Kushida retaining the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship against the Best of the Super Juniors tournament winner Will Ospreay. The Briscoes, proving yet again that they’re still the baddest tag team on the planet, won the IWGP Heavyweight tag belts in only their third match in NJPW. The Young Bucks also became the IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag champs for the fifth time. It will be interesting to see what implications all of this NJPW gold has on this weekend’s Ring of Honor pay-per-view, Best In The World.
One of Ring of Honor’s greatest alumni, Daniel Bryan (who was synonymous with the “best in the world” moniker before CM Punk embraced it in the WWE), was announced as the “co-host” of the WWE’s upcoming Cruiserweight Classic with current Smackdown lead commentator, Mauro Ranallo. Bryan’s uber-extensive wrestling knowledge and insight paired with Ranallo’s superior grasp of the sport and astute match calling is going to make for a masterclass in pro-wrestling throughout this tournament. It’s a brilliant move that should earn us all college credit in Pro Wrestling 1101, provided we find an accredited program that will accept it.
King of the Week : Dean Ambrose – New WWE World Heavyweight Champion
If someone told me 5-6 years ago that the WWE would be willing to crown Jon Moxley their champion, I would have an easier time believing a time machine brought a magic oracle from the future to tell me about wrestling than accepting that the WWE would make such a beautiful decision. The wrestler now known as Dean Ambrose is one of the rare performers that make me believe the fiction.
It’s not insignificant that Ambrose is the first former CZW champion to hold the industry’s biggest prize. The hardcore promotion is the primary place where the lunatic was forged. Ambrose’s pre-WWE history is the stuff of legend, especially his promos which are worthy of day’s worth of YouTube research if you haven’t experienced the man before getting the WWE developmental polish.
It’s hard to argue that any other single performer has been as captivating in the past 5 years as Ambrose, and he’s still getting better. He’s the perfect mix of Roddy Piper, Stone Cold, and Mick Foley. Every time he’s on camera he gives us something new.
If I’m being honest, this is a trigger they probably should’ve pulled a year ago, but we probably wouldn’t get the fantastic feud with Kevin Owens over the Intercontinental title that highlighted the end of 2015 through the Royal Rumble. I’m happy it finally happened none the less. Congrats to the man for earning the crown. He deserves it.
Geek Versus Pro Wrestling is an esoteric weekly editorial column reviewing the vast world of professional wrestling. That’s right. The word “esoteric” was just used to describe a series of internet articles about wrestling. Hang that from your turnbuckle and chop it.
J. Aaron Poole is a 21st century writer, musician, and geeky thing liker. He is a member of the American Sociological Association with an academic interest in the relationship between media, technology, and modern culture. Currently residing in Fort Walton Beach, Florida by way of Atlanta, Georgia, he’s recently begun archiving his work at Station146.com. Aaron can be found making absurd comments on Twitter, PSN, and other social media platforms as @JAaronPoole.