Hello, readers of HMGW! My name is Tom, I am a brand new blogger for HMGW..
Now, first, a little bit about me: I'm a 21 year old punk from Scarborough with a passion for wrestling, music and videogames. Perfect fit, right? I was brought up with the original Playstation, Busted CDs and WWE so I've been around this stuff more or less all my life. Now, I've got a passion for the Xbox One, punk records and independent wrestling: I've matured, but I've not changed.
I'm going to jump straight in now with my Top 5 lists - games, songs, and matches, and I'm going to start off strong with...
These are in no particular order, because I love them all the same:
Jimmy Havoc vs Paul Robinson (No DQ) - PROGRESS Chapter 21
This was a difficult pick, because I can never just pick ONE Jimmy Havoc match. The guy's an artist, and his matches are masterclasses in the deathmatch wrestling style. The way he takes to weapons and brutality is like an overused metaphor with fish and water. This one in particular - the implosion of the Regression stable at the hands of Jim Smallman, the fact that he was made to fight the one person who had his back for almost two years in a move that can only be described as storytelling genius - is absolutely brutal. The first proper wrestling move of the match is a piledriver through a table on the outside, and it gets so much worse, with frying pans, Paul Robinson's teeth and light tubes. They hold absolutely nothing back in this all-out fight for the number one contender's spot to Will Ospreay's title (who beat Havoc to win it) and it really shows its colours as one off the greats through the wrestlers' ring psychology and the gratuitous amounts of blood. A curb stomp through light tubes marks a grizzly end to the match, and even though Havoc loses, I truly think it was one of his best.
Highlight of the match: Havoc gets his nuts stapled. Yes, seriously.
Watch the full show by clicking here.
Matt Riddle vs Marty Scurll - Over the Top Wrestling: Martina's Gaff Party
The story is pretty much the same with this one - choosing ONE Matt Riddle match is a monumental task for me. I'll be honest, Marty Scurll's inclusion tipped the scale for me, because now I get to gush about TWO of my favourite wrestlers beating the snot out of each other. Scurll is the surprise opponent in this match and the crowd absolutely lose it (it's always nice to see a well deserved pop for one of the greatest in the world, melts my heart) AND he was Ring of Honor TV Champion at this point, which only upped the celebrity factor of this match. Between their intense back-and-forth technical exchanges, Riddle's powerlifting moves and Scurll's theatrics, this is really one to watch.
Highlight of the match: The opening exchange, where Riddle shows he can get down and wrestle with the best of them. Technical exchanges are one of my favourite parts of wrestling for me, so to see two absolute pros go at it makes me giddy. Oh, and Riddle's reply to "Let me welcome you to OTT."
Watch the full match below:
Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki vs Moustache Mountain for the British Tag Team Championships - RevPro High Stakes
Another one of my favourite wrestlers (yes, I've got a few, I don't like being tied down) in Zack Sabre Jr, and it's really no surprise. He is, in a lot of peoples' opinions, the single greatest technical wrestler on the planet today. He is unparalleled in his throwback British style, and he's improving all the time. Being under the wing of Minoru Suzuki shows that he can still learn and adapt, and he's really adopted Suzuki's sadistic and vicious edge, and it makes him a much more formidable opponent - the edge that led him to both New Japan Cup and PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 tournament wins. This match in particular showcases how well ZSJ fits into the Suzuki-Gun mold, with the submission mastery of Sabre and the ferocity of Suzuki, they make a terrifying team. One of the most striking moments for me was the end sequence - the way Sabre held Trent in the Octopus Stretch while Suzuki picked up the win (and the tag titles) really shows how much Sabre has learnt from Suzuki. Old-school Zack wouldn't have cared about making Trent watch Bate get beaten. While I love Moustache Mountain and have for a long time, I was never really rooting for them. They do, however, make a great opposing force to showcase everyone's unique talents.
Highlight of the match: Suzuki's first chop on Seven - he fells him like a tree, and it is BEAUTIFUL.
Watch the full match below:
The Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong) vs Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch for the NXT Tag Team Championships - WWE NXT TakeOver Chicago II
I wasn't going to include a WWE match because I honestly believe the product is sub-par to promotions like NJPW and ROH, to name a few, but NXT constantly surprises me, and this match was the best I've seen to date. They were given the reins and they went with it, every wrestler performing at the peak of their abilities. If I couldn't see the WWE and NXT logos everywhere, I would swear that this was a New Japan match, the ferocity and speed at which they fought really enamoured me and made me fall back in love with the black and yellow rebellious step-sibling to WWE's main roster shows. Kyle O'Reilly really shone in this match, coming out of his shell for the first time in a long time, as he fought like he did when he held the Ring of Honor World Championship, or like Oney Lorcan when he surprised the NXT fans by being more than just the jobber he was originally hired to be. Oney Lorcan is the James Ellsworth of NXT except he can wrestle incredibly well and does great character work with the minimal amount he had to work with. Oney's rise from jobber to NXT Tag Team championship challenger fills me with a kind of second-hand pride, because the NXT audience recognised a real talent and cheered for him time and time again. Roderick Strong shone as he always does, reinvigorated by his membership of the Undisputed Era, I wasn't really rooting for him until he joined the faction, and he's now doing some of his best work. Danny Burch, while not exactly a stand-out character in his own right, has the perfect chemistry to make his team with Lorcan one of the most cohesive on the brand with minimal exposure. They look similar, they act similar, they fight similar - it's not hard to get invested when they join forces, and it's always a spectacle to see.
Highlight of the match: The fast and furious mat work at the beginning of the match, and the incredible striking sequences at the end, this match is golden from start to finish.
Here's a clip of the match
Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship - NJPW Dominion
Of course Omega vs Okada would make my list! The only real struggle was working out WHICH match to write about. That is, until Dominion. If you're not up to date with New Japan, I'd recommend skipping this bit. I really thought that watching the same match 4 times would get boring. 4 separate occasions, they've battled for the IWGP title, and 4 times I've been consistently blown away. They only improved every time, and by the time #4 came around... I kinda knew what to expect. It was 1 win a piece and 1 draw at the start of Dominion, so the 2 out of 3 falls match was really going to cement which one of these phenomenal wrestlers would carry the company from that night on. Boy, did they deliver. I really didn't think they could possibly hope to improve on the world-class matches they'd already had, after breaking Dave Meltzer's rating system 3 times already, and after 64 minutes and 30 seconds, they broke it some more with a whopping 7 star rated match. I don't rate Meltzer's ratings any higher than my own opinions, because that's what it is, it's just a nice point of reference. The back and forths, reversing each other's finishers, and general ferocity of the fight really blew me away, and I actually clapped when Omega finally won and claimed the IWGP Heavyweight championship, ending Okada's monumentous 2 year reign, as I watched it on my laptop.
Highlight of the match: The V-Triggers. All of them. Every single one. Nobody hits a running knee like Omega.
Watch highlights of the match below;
TOP 5 VIDEOGAMES
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
This is a game I've sunk thousands of hours into and I'm still going back for more. Bethesda really, REALLY knocked it out of the park with this release, and I honestly don't think they've come close since. I didn't play Oblivion, though I tried it (I made the mistake of playing Skyrim first though, and couldn't get behind the inferior graphics of Oblivion). Skyrim, however, stands alone as a masterpiece, with so many different possibilities and outcomes, so many factions, missions and side quests, not ALL of them fetch quests. I robbed everyone I met, became an Arch-Mage and assassinated an Emperor - all outside the main questline, which in itself is replayable, with certain missions being triggered or skipped depending on what you had or hadn't accomplished in the world by that point. And the mods! The mods feature is the ultimate liferaft for this game - graphics overhauls, special items, quests and creatures are all ready to be added into your world at the cost of a slightly longer loading screen. It's this feature that really turns hundreds of gameplay hours into thousands. All in all, I'm super stoked for ES6.