Welcome to The Armpit wrestling quiz for the week of January 10, 2017.
The big news in pro wrestling last week was the historical IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega at New Japan’s WrestleKingdom 11 show. Many longtime wrestling fans are calling it the greatest match of all-time, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter broke protocol on its match rating system and rated it six stars (for decades the maximum has always been five stars).
If you haven’t seen it, it’s readily available on Dailymotion and probably YouTube as well. As of this writing, I’ve only seen it with Japanese commentary, but there’s an English version with Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino on commentary. And this week, if you have cable, it’ll air (hopefully unedited) on AXS TV with Jim Ross and Josh Barnett on commentary.
I didn’t see the match live, but did see it without knowing ahead of time who won and without reading any reviews of the match. When it was over, I felt it was an easy five stars and probably deserved more. Greatest match of all-time? It’s hard for any match to receive such honors because the standards are different for every era. Sure, they did more than any Flair-Steamboat match, but that’s unfair because in 1989 nobody even imagined such spots as moonsaults outside the ring or dragon suplexes off the top rope.
All things considered, I really can’t think of any match that topped Omega-Okada, even when taking into account the adjustments made for the era. I still need to see it one more time before I make that official determination, as my initial viewing had a choppy feed.
Over at The Armpit, we started a Greatest Matches Ever series, where we chronicled every ****+ match of 2016 in detail. We also released our Top 10 Matches of 2016 (and Omega was in a few of those too), so we know a thing or two about good matches. In honor of all the debate this week about it, this week’s quiz is on “Greatest Matches Ever.”
To make the quiz easier for most of you, we won’t include any Japanese matches in the quiz (except Omega-Okada).
Congratulations to last week’s winner: Eric Spiess
Last week’s answers:
1) AJ Styles made his WWE return at the Royal Rumble, and Shinsuke Nakamura debuted at NXT Takeover: Dallas.
2) The Ricochet vs Will Ospreay match from Tokyo received criticism on Twitter from Big Van Vader.
3) Charlotte and Sasha Banks became the first women wrestlers to headline a PPV and close the show. Unfortunately the match underdelivered due to a few unlucky mishaps in the ring, and the booking and finish were inexplicable. Hopefully the women competitors get another chance, but don’t hold your breath on Vince allowing it anytime soon.
4) Finn Balor injured his shoulder in a match with Seth Rollins, but finished it anyway before being forced to vacate the title the next night and have surgery. It’s always heartbreaking to see guys like Balor and Daniel Bryan, who worked their entire lives to be WWE champion, and then have it immediately taken from them due to injuries. It’s the price they pay for insisting on wrestling such physical styles. Wrestlers from the ‘70s and ‘80s (the ones still alive), who took nowhere near as many crazy bumps as today’s wrestlers, are the walking wounded. We can only imagine how broken down today’s guys will be 20 years from now.
5) Kenny Omega’s highlight accomplishment of 2016 was winning the G1 Climax, which ensured his title shot last week that will be talked about for decades to come as perhaps the greatest match of all-time.
6) At ROH Final Battle, Broken Matt Hardy showed up on the big screen to challenge the Young Bucks. The match takes place over WrestleMania weekend but unfortunately probably won’t air on TV for legal reasons given the Hardys are under contract to TNA.
7) New Japan was not ever considered as a possible owner of TNA. Many of you missed this question, thinking it was WWE who was never considered. This surprised me, as it was well reported online and discussed on podcasts that at one point WWE was in talks to buy TNA at one point.
8) TJ Perkins was chosen to win the Cruiserweight Classic because Gran Metalik still had several dates to finish up in Mexico, and also because neither Kota Ibushi nor Zack Sabre Jr would sign exclusive contracts. Not that it mattered anyway because TJP lost the title soon after to Brian Kendrick.
9) In the easiest question of the week, AJ Styles calls himself the Face that Runs the Place.
10) The unexpected big hit from the Jericho/Owens promos and angles has been the List of Jericho and his “You just made the list!” catchphrase.
This week’s questions:
Kazuchika Okada turned in a 6-star performance last week at WrestleKingdom 11.Last year, at WK10, he had a 5-star performance against Hiroshi Tanahashi, not to mention another 5-star affair with Tomohiro Ishii in the G1 Climax. Before he became one of the top workers in the world, he languished (not surprisingly) in which American promotion?
Everyone has his own favorite Ric Flair vs Rick Steamboat match.If you ask Ric, he says the house show matches they had in the ‘70s, when no cameras were filming, were their best. Personally I’d go with their WrestleWar ’89 classic, which capped off a trifecta of 5-star matches that year between the two (the other two being Chi-Town Rumble ’89 and Clash of the Champions VI) that are all available on the WWE Network. After the match, Jim Ross interviewed Flair in the ring. Terry Funk, one of the judges at ringside, interrupted them and politely challenged Flair. It led to one of wrestling’s all-time great angles in which Funk piledrove Flair on a table and “broke his neck.” What did Flair say that caused Funk to go so crazy?
a) Called him nasty names in a raging, heated promo.
b) Used a curse word that was bleeped out of the broadcast.
c) Whispered something in Funk’s ear that the microphone didn’t pick up.
d) Said derogatory things about Funk’s family.
e) Told Funk he had spent too much time in Hollywood recently and thus wasn’t a top 10 contender for his NWA title.
Flair and Funk then had a 5-star classic “I Quit” match at Clash of the Champions IX in November of ’89.For many years, this was my all-time favorite match. “You’re a Hell of a man, Ric Flair,” said Funk as he shook his hand after the match. Funk’s manager, however, didn’t take kindly to Funk shaking Flair’s hand. Who was managing Funk at the time?
The only tragedy of the Omega-Okada match last week is that some other excellent matches on the undercard got overlooked.The same thing happened at WrestleMania X when Shawn Michaels put ladder matches on the map. HBK put on a 5-star match with Razor Ramon that night, which we all remember. What’s less remembered is the ****3/4 match Bret Hart had that night as well. Whom did he wrestle (and lose to) in the opening match of that show?
Bret had another classic later that year, a 5-star match with his brother Owen at SummerSlam ’94.What kind of match was it? a) Steel cage
b) Falls count anywhere
e) Hell in a Cell
f) No DQ
g) 2 out of 3 falls
Yet another Bret masterpiece, and the one most highly regarded by modern WWE fans, was his 5-star battle with Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIII in 1997.What was notable about that match?
a) Shawn Michaels was the guest referee.
b) It went to a draw.
c) The finish didn’t go as planned, so they had to improvise.
d) Bret suffered a legit injury and had to take time off.
e) It led to a double turn, with Austin turning face and Bret turning heel.
Shawn Michaels has had tons of great matches, but for some reason his 2005 WrestleMania classic with Kurt Angle is often overlooked.Bobby Heenan, who was in town for the show, called it the greatest match he had ever seen. At the time I felt it was hard to disagree with him. The buildup leading up to the match was well done. Who from Shawn’s past was brought in to do angles with Kurt to build heat for the match?
The last WWE match to get a 5-star rating was CM Punk’s title win over John Cena at Money in the Bank in 2011.Why was the crowd so hot that night?
a) Cena had just done a controversial heel turn.
b) The match took place in the Chicago market, which is Punk’s hometown.
c) It took place the same night the local NBA team had just won the championship, and word got out during the match.
d) It was the night Osama bin Laden was killed, which Cena announced to the crowd to a huge pop before the match.
CM Punk is no stranger to 5-star matches, as he had one in 2004 in ROH.At the time, I did a Pick My Brain interview with Dave Meltzer for the Armpit website, and asked him when was the last time he had seen a 5-star match. He said “Saturday.” He was referring to this match, which was the second in a trilogy that year between two men who would go on to have much greater fame. Whom did Punk wrestle in that 5-star classic?
a) Bryan Danielson aka Daniel Bryan
b) Samoa Joe
c) Nigel McGuinness
d) Colt Cabana
e) Austin Aries
The Undertaker made his reputation at WrestleMania, with classics in particular with Shawn Michaels and HHH.What is true about those WrestleMania matches?
a) He had one Mania match with Shawn and one with HHH.
b) He had two Mania matches with Shawn and one with HHH.
c) He had one Mania match with Shawn and two with HHH.
d) He had two Mania matches with Shawn and two with HHH.
There are three ways to send us your answers to the quiz:
We will randomly generate a number to determine the winner. For example, if the number is 25 and you’re the 25th person to contact us with correct answers, you win. Winners receive a free copy of our brand new e-book, “The Armpit Wrestling Quiz Archives: Volume 1.” It features 128 quizzes we’ve written over the years and clocks in at 420 pages and a whopping 1,079 questions on pro wrestling history dating back to the 1980s. We’ll also announce your name here next week as the winner.
Answers will be posted next week. Have fun and good luck.