G5: John Cena, Anderson & Gallows, Cruiserweight Classic, more

John Cena will be back on Raw, and back in New Zealand, within the next couple of months. Has Cena been missed? What grade do we give Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows’ first month in WWE? Which tournament is more interesting: WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic, or NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors?

Join us as we answer these, and more, questions in this week’s Gimme Five.

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1. The stars of NJPW are coming to Auckland for Sakura Events On the Mat in November. Will you be there in person at The Trusts Arena?

Blake:
I definitely hope to be there, but it’s nice to know that for those who can’t make it, there will be a live stream.

Clint:
I hope so. There’s a chance I’ll be overseas when the event takes place, but if not I’ll definitely be at Trusts Arena. I’m a huge fan of NJPW (and puroresu in general) and wouldn’t miss a chance to see it live!

Mike:
That’s assuming that WWE doesn’t sign them all before then! I will almost certainly be there, providing the stars align and I’m free. Coming relatively soon after the WWE tour to Auckland means it’s a great time to be a wrestling fan in Aotearoa.

Grady:
I am interested in it, travel and money at the time of the event might be a factor that stops me, but I really want to be able to show up and see some of Japan’s best here in New Zealand. I find it really awesome that New Zealand is having another boom in wrestling. WWE Live is back here, NJPW is bringing some stars, and the Armageddon Expo has been solid with bringing wrestling stars over.

Richard:
Would love to be there. The chance to see Japan’s biggest stars here is an awesome opportunity that I think anyone who is a fan of wrestling should take advantage of. At this stage I’m far more likely to be there than the WWE live event just due to the timing of it all.

Peter:
As an Auckland resident and diehard NJPW fan, of course I’m going to be there. Can’t miss an opportunity to see my boy Okada in person. Really excited for this show.

David:
Absolutely. NJPW is on fire at the moment, and a who’s-who of its stars will be in action in Auckland. How can you not be in attendance?

 

2. John Cena returns to WWE at the end of May, and to New Zealand for WWE Live in August. Have you missed Cena in his injury-induced absence?

Blake:
Cena will definitely add some much-needed star power to the organisation. However, I can’t say I’ve missed his repetitive and vanilla promos; they just seem to have repurposed them into Roman Reigns’.

Clint:
No. I recognise that Cena is an important drawcard, especially for the young fans, but to me his act got stale a long time ago. I’m glad that he’s coming to New Zealand though, as it will help boost the buzz around the live show.

Mike:
To a degree. However I think in the long run it’ll have been beneficial to the WWE. It would have been tempting to them when the Reigns experiment wasn’t going brilliantly to give the title to someone who’s been there and done that. I’m looking forward to him coming back, though, and to seeing where he fits in the various title pictures.

Grady:
Nope.

Richard:
Surprisingly, yes, I have missed Cena. While I’ll agree he may not be the greatest technical wrestler ever he brings a star power that few others do. I’m hoping to see him do something similar to before he got injured with an open challenge every week, as they were some of the best matches of the night.

Peter:
Cena’s recent run before his injury was fantastic. He absolutely won me over and I’ll be happy to see him back on WWE TV and live in person in August.

David:
WWE’s done a good job of filling the void Cena left but I’m still itching for his return. Hopefully Cena slots right back into the world title picture and goes after Roman Reigns, or whoever’s holding the title, for a record-equalling 16th reign with the belt.

 

3. Anderson and Gallows have settled in to WWE, becoming heavily involved in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture. What grade do you give their first few weeks on television?

Blake:
Luke Gallows got pinned after a Superman Punch… I want to be excited, but it’s hard to maintain hope with the WWE. I give them a C.

Clint:
As support players in the Reigns-Styles feud they’ve done their job well. The six-man tag matches have been a good way to ease Anderson and Gallows into WWE, with solid in-ring work and DQs establishing that they’re no-nonsense guys that will do whatever it takes to punish opponents. I’d give their first few weeks a solid 6 out of 10.

Mike:
It’s a C+ grade from me. When you talk about wrestling, particularly on the internet, you can forget not everyone is a big fan and is up on the wrestlers in other companies. I was looking forward to their appearance, but compared to the welcome AJ Styles got, for example, their reception from the crowd has been pretty low key. I think once they’re past dealing with the Usos they will start to make their mark.

Grady:
I’ll abstain from giving grades until the month is up. Most people look great in their first month or feud, so I’ll see how they are used after the initial idea they are here for plays out. In saying that, I like what WWE is doing with them now.

Richard:
I haven’t been able to watch a lot of WWE TV recently but have been following the results. From what I can tell they are certainly adding to the drama and action in that main even title picture helping AJ put Roman’s title run in jeopardy early. A+.

Peter:
This whole Club vs. Family angle is very well done so far. There’s a lot of depth here and a lot of grey area between heel and face going on. I’m very interested to see what happens from here. A+ so far.

David:
When Sting first appeared at Survivor Series 2014, I though he was going to be the last guy to debut in WWE without going through NXT first. Then it turned out to be AJ Styles. Then it turned out to be Karl Anderson. That says a lot about the level of faith WWE management has in Anderson and Gallows and the importance of their roles. They’ve certainly captivated my attention thus-far, it’s hard to give them anything but an A.

 

4. Qualifying matches for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic are being held around the world, while NJPW recently released the blocks for its annual Best of the Super Juniors. Which tournament are you anticipating more?

Blake:
I’m sure that New Japan will probably have the better tournament, but I don’t follow them. It’s WWE for me.

Clint:
I always enjoy BOSJ, but I have to say I’m looking forward to the Cruiserweight Classic more, and for one reason: Zack Sabre Jr. He’s my favourite high-flyer/cruiserweight right now and I can’t wait to see what he does in the big time. If WWE handles this right and lets the cruiserweights wrestle their style (without any insistence on adapting to a more WWE style) the classic could be the best thing on WWE TV in forever.

Mike:
It’s the WWE tournament for me. This is something new for them that has the potential to change the path to the WWE for great wrestlers forever. The way NXT and the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura are received means this could end up being a game changer.

Grady:
It is likely because of my severe lack of independent scene knowledge, but I am looking forward to the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, to see a clash of WWE talents I know and the “best” of talent from other promotions. I’m hoping this gives me a peak in the window at some great new talent I don’t know about, but doesn’t overload me with a show where I know almost no one.

Richard:
Tough question. A couple months ago I would have easily said New Japan, however I have been looking at some recent matches of the announced participants for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic and can’t wait to see these guys on the network. Getting cruiserweights back into WWE is a fantastic move in my opinion.

Peter:
BOSJ is great every year but the Cruiserweight Classic is a brand new event for WWE so I’m looking at that a bit closer. The confirmed and rumoured talent for this tournament is going to make it a must-see. Hopefully it’s successful and WWE does more of these. Global Tag Series? Global Women’s Series? Yes please!

David:
The Cruiserweight Classic has piqued my interest because it’s something new. As good as BOSJ will be—and with a Ricochet-Will Ospreay rematch, it will be great—I honestly have no idea what to expect from the Cruiserweight Classic, and the anticipation is incredible!

 

5. Several WWE DVDs are set to be released in New Zealand over the next few months, including biographical sets on The Dudley Boyz and Eric Bischoff. Who’s the one person left you’re holding out to see given the WWE DVD treatment?

Blake:
I want a story on The Spirit Squad. And I don’t mean the wrestlers who portrayed the characters, I mean I want to know the story of how five cheerleaders got together and decided to become a championship wrestling tag team. That’s what I want to know.

Clint:
Off the top of my head I’d love to see are a WWE Kurt Angle career retrospective. I know TNA put one out, but obviously a WWE one would be more extensive. Maybe if Angle cleans up his act and goes back to WWE for one last run it’ll happen. I’d also love to see a Jim Cornette set, covering all of his work in Mid South, NWA and Smoky Mountain, through his runs in WWF/E. But Cornette’s burned so many bridges that’ll probably never happen.

Mike:
There are so many DVDs and sets my favourites are pretty much covered. I’d love a bad gimmicks set, a mea culpa of all the awful ideas. I’d put Papa Shango on the cover and have the first part all about his feud with Ultimate Warrior. Who can forget the black goop running down the Warrior’s face?

Grady:
Tough question… with WWE Network as it is know, I can almost view back people’s entire careers (in sequence match-by-match if a random guy on Reddit has his way). I am going to take a roundabout approach and go with a man I think should have been the first to receive the Warrior Award, Jim Johnston.

Richard:
I won’t say one person, rather, the women’s division. With the great resurgence of the women’s division I think now would be a great time to do a “History of Women’s Wrestling” DVD going back from Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah all the way through to the modern day, showing just how much that division has changed.

Peter:
Never been a big buyer of WWE DVDs but a few of their documentaries I’ve seen have been great. It’s probably unlikely but it would be amazing to see an in-depth look into the life of Vince McMahon.

David:
I’ll echo Clint’s call for a WWE-produced Kurt Angle DVD set. Champion, the TNA release, views like Angle was training for the Olympics, won a gold medal, and then showed up on Impact to headbutt Samoa Joe. It’d be great to get some more context on Angle’s transition from amateur to professional wrestler.