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RIPPA

March Madness isn't coming back.... HOWEVER....

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Right off the bat - MARCH MADNESS ISN'T BACK!

I was asked if there was something we could do to help promote/expose wrestlers than many folks wouldn't have watched if not for March Madness. And for many/some/one of you - this was the thing you liked about the tournament.

I have an idea and the beginnings of what I am going to do to facilitate this part of it. But I would like help

So I ask you to name names. Here are guidelines to think about

  • Think like the old nomination threads. Someone who would have been deserving of being in a tournament that some equated with the DVDVR version of Wrestler of the Year.
  • HOWEVER! And I can't stress this enough - don't both giving me WWE main roster names (Bryan, AJ, Rollins, etc..) or the top New Japan guys (Okada, Omega, Tanahashi, etc...). That really isn't the point of this. I will consider certain NXT folks (NXT UK is definitely fine). Everyone else is more than likely fair game. Lucha, Joshi, lesser known indie guys, etc are ideal. (Think like the years we had everyone fall in love with Barbaro Cavernario or Meiko Satomura).
  • OH! Just remembered. Tag teams/Groups are okay too. Forgot they were in the last Madness.
  • I will use a time period of March 1, 2017 through today (Feb 28, 2019). Basically since the last tournament. But please don't give me people that had a good three month period in 2017 but are really pedestrian now.
  • When you nominate - it is more helpful if you guide my hand in matches to feature but if not I will do what I do

I plan on revealing things on Monday but I am going to start working on it by the weekend.

I don't think I will regret this but y'all surprise me sometimes too

SELECTIONS

#1 - Bandido

#2 - Jordan Devlin

#3 - "Speedball" Mike Bailey

#4 - KRIS STATLANDER

#5 - KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA

#6 - STOKELY HATHAWAY

#7 - PCO

#8 - TESSA BLANCHARD

#9 - KENTO MIYAHARA

#10 - EL HIJO DEL VIKINGO

#11 - HIROYO MATSUMOTO

#12 - JONATHAN GRESHAM

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Would Mustafa Ali andBuddy Murphy be too on the point? I imagine most people here have seen there high end work, but Ali and Murphy are people who could could be a wrestler of the year candidate no matter who you include. Guess it’s a “is 205 Live applicable” question.

Same note for Jack Gallagher who feels must watch in NXT of US or UK stuff but isn’t given much to do on 205. 

I love this idea and am looking forward to discovering some guys and gals.

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I forgot about 205Live - they will fall into my "case by case" basis with NXT guys.

Ali is a little bit of a disadvantage now since he had that little main roster run before getting hurt.

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Where does the pimping of PCO fall into the scheme of rules and shit?  New and fresh gimmick, but definitely not a lesser known worker.

I'm looking forward to not talking about Jay White.

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I have seen very little 2018-2019 wrestling, so I welcome this. 

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6 minutes ago, J.T. said:

Where does the pimping of PCO fall into the scheme of rules and shit?  New and fresh gimmick, but definitely not a lesser known worker.

Yeah - like Matt said

I think ROH and tangentially someone like PCO has been talked about a lot but I don't think people regularly view him.

Lucha Bros are like this. They are talked about everywhere but I could see a lot of people never having watched any of their matches

Like would I pick Eli Drake? He is on a weekly TV show that I think less than 10 people on this board watch

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I'm certainly glad to see something like this happening.  Hopefully the board upgrade doesn't mess things up to the point we can't put stuff in.

I will say though that Lucha Bros might not count IMO.  I love them but they've been everywhere and have been on TV with LU and Impact.  It's one of those things where I feel that if people heard about them it's easier to check them out than others.  That and Pentagon's been in MM and I wouldn't be surprised is Fenix was in them also.  Now Eli might work as like you mentioned he's "on TV" but I don't know of his non-Impact stuff.

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Drake isn't on TV anywhere but Impact

And that is kind of my point - outside of the WWE (which at this point several people are clearly just hate watching) and big New Japan shows, there isn't much that the majority of the board is watching.

Another example - I have watched virtually no ROH the last 18 months so someone could be all about Jay Lethal and that many on this board would enjoy the match against Dalton Castle or the match against Jonathan Gresham.

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I have a few noms! He’s pretty well represented but anyone who hasn’t checked out what Drew Gulak has been doing recently really should (vs Riddle, vs Jordan Devlin, basically every time he’s on 205). I feel like LAX are having a break out year with matches against the Lucha Bros in Impact and a tour of the indies. And the New Katsuhiko Nakajima is a ton of fun, his title match with Kaito Kiyamiya being what brought a lot of people on board.

I’m woefully under educated about women on the indies these days so I’d be stoked to learn more about them. All the ones I used to follow got signed in some form or another.

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29 minutes ago, RIPPA said:

I forgot about 205Live - they will fall into my "case by case" basis with NXT guys.

Ali is a little bit of a disadvantage now since he had that little main roster run before getting hurt.

It was very little though, and basically all of his hyped stuff is from the 205 run. I don't begrudge not including him though since he is a bit of a hot guy right now.

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So 1-2 and EU would be valid nominations, no?

They have had matches on NXT and NXT UK, but aren't really top stars and are constantly involved in quality TV matches that rarely receive any recognition.

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What about Kylie Rae? She's signed her first contract with AEW, but how many people here have seen her work? The nomination period covers almost the entirety of her career, and she's worked more prominent names like Tessa Blanchard and Jordynn Grace.

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Gresham should probably be in this.  He’s gotten really hot this year, but I bet a lot of people haven’t seen much of him.

Does Ishii count as a top NJPW guy?  He had a great year.  He had his usual epic run in the G1, but he also had this out-of-nowhere, sneaky great Young Lion match with Henare earlier in the year that blew me away.  Like, so good, in any other promotion, they probably would’ve strapped a rocket to Henare off that performance.

I have no idea what type of year he’s had, but I always loved checking in on HECHICERO this time of year.

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1 hour ago, El Dragon said:

How has the Japanese feds in the non New Japan context been looking? Akiyama still performing at a high level?

For a moment I read that as Akiyama is still performing at a high level and I was like, shit, he is, I should check this out!

But instead it's just a question and now I guess it's my question. Is Akiyama still performing at a high level?

I also welcome whatever this project is especially for stuff overseas. I'll watch damn near everything on NJPW World, but I couldn't tell you a damn thing about what's going on with Dragongate outside of Pac. I'm also totally out of loop with Noah, AJPW, DDT, etc.

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Hijo del Vikingo is someone everyone needs to see.

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2 minutes ago, EVA said:

Gresham should probably be in this.  He’s gotten really hot this year, but I bet a lot of people haven’t seen much of him.

Does Ishii count as a top NJPW guy?  He had a great year.  He had his usual epic run in the G1, but he also had this out-of-nowhere, sneaky great Young Lion match with Henare earlier in the year that blew me away.  Like, so good, in any other promotion, they probably would’ve strapped a rocket to Henare off that performance.

I have no idea what type of year he’s had, but I always loved checking in on HECHICERO this time of year.

Yeah, I've barely watched anything with Gresham so when people sing his praises, I have no idea why.

Seconded on the Hechicero and even Cavanario. The only time I check these guys out is around March Madness season. Meltzer talking about AEW and about how they should really go after Cavanario got me excited because I'd love to see more of him on a regular basis and it tells me he's still doing pretty cool shit, but what that is, I have no idea.

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Akiyama hasn't done much, and he's not in the CC this year, so it seems he's probably done with high-profile singles matches.

I'll second the recommendation for Katsuhiko Nakajima. He turned heel, got a perm, a wolf pelt vest, and a weird smile. Nakamura discovering charisma after being a relatively generic not-quite-ace is the obvious comp, but that doesn't make it wrong.

Takashi Sugiura really carried NOAH this year, though. "Old man wins title, old man fights like hell to keep it, because this is his last best chance at a legacy," perfectly done.

It feels weird to suggest Kento Miyahara might be unheralded, but if you don't watch any puro but New Japan, he's must-see.

They're more well known now that AEW has partnered with with them, but STRONGHEARTS has been a recent highlight in Japan. It's been a while since we've had a good rampaging faction that can show up anywhere, and feud with anyone.

Takuya Nomura is further under the radar--only 25, wrestles for Big Japan--but has already demonstrated pretty premium "black trunks, kicks really hard" skill.

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Some other names to throw out,

WALTER: I have seen little but enjoyed what I have.

Eddie Kingston: Still really good, and about to retire. I love King, and he deserves all th praise possible.

Oney Lorcan: Another one that might feel iffy, but Oney is just a joy to watch work. Possibly one of the very best sub 5 minute match wrestlers to ever live.

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1 hour ago, El Dragon said:

Fuck throw in Tessa Blanchard too. I have seen her mega hyped but haven't watched any of the work yet.

Tessa is better than anyone in WWE save for Charlotte, Asuka, and Becky. That is high praise and she deserves every bit of it. I realize that WOW is hard to sit through with David McLane slimeing up everything, but it is worth watching for Tessa.

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1 hour ago, El Dragon said:

It was very little though, and basically all of his hyped stuff is from the 205 run. I don't begrudge not including him though since he is a bit of a hot guy right now.

Ali's pre-injury cup of coffee on the main roster shouldn't disqualify him. People need to see his work with Buddy Murphy, were it in front of  anything besides the sit-on-your-hands crowd at 205 LIVE, we'd be talking MOTYC.

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30 minutes ago, Dewar said:

Hijo del Vikingo is someone everyone needs to see.

Tell me more. Better yet, point me to some goodies.

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5 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Tell me more. Better yet, point me to some goodies.

He is in AAA, and has worked the Impact tapings in Mexico. Does some amazing flying spots.

Can't get to youtube at work, but I'll try and edit this later at home with some links.

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2 hours ago, Godfrey said:

I’m woefully under educated about women on the indies these days so I’d be stoked to learn more about them. All the ones I used to follow got signed in some form or another.

Check out Kris Statlander

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