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The Smark Henry 2017 Midyear Report: #ThemeSongTuesday

The Smark Henry Midyear Report is a new series where we take a look at the wrestling we watch around the world and assess each show/brand/company's performance in the first six months of 2017.

Welcome to Theme Song Tuesday! I won't be reviewing a specific entrance theme this week, but what I will be doing is something in line with the Midyear Report series we've got. Instead of highlighting Superstars who deserve certain awards based on their performance for the year, I'll be using this week's column to present several frontrunners for this year's coveted Song of the Year Award on The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. In years past, that award has gone to songs like "The Rising Sun" and "#MMMGorgeous," with the latter being a real anomaly thanks to the fan vote we stupidly arranged in 2015. Welp.

So whose entrance theme will succeed Shinsuke Nakamura and Tyler Breeze's as a potential pick for Song of the Year? Let's look at your leading…
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The Grapevine (7/25/17): The Philly Fiasco

Good morning, and this is the Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the founded and unfounded rumors abound the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the evening.

If you're wondering about why a certain Battleground match went the way it did, here's an answer:

AJ Styles was apparently supposed to retain the United States Championship yesterday at Battleground. The finish was reportedly supposed to see Owens's pinfall reversed because Styles's shoulder was up, allowing AJ to win in some way. According to Rovert on Twitter, the referee counted the pinfall because AJ raised his shoulder up too late, perhaps because the referee was out of position for him to see. There were also no good camera angles that would show AJ undoubtedly getting his shoulder up, leaving WWE no way to justify restarting the match. The evidence further supporting this as an unplanned result is said to be the betting odds favoring Styles, a lack of replays after…

#MustWatchMonday: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Joe Doering, 2017 Champion Carnival Final

This year's edition of the NJPW G1 Climax tournament is ongoing. The G1 is widely considered to be the best annual tournament in wrestling, unless PWG's Battle of Los Angelesis more your thing. But in terms of the round robin tournaments, which is extremely prevalent in Japan, the G1 is usually considered the gold standard.

However, while the G1 is the most popular Japanese wrestling tournament, it isn't the only one, nor is it the best by a long shot. A couple of other Japanese companies do these round robin style tournaments pretty well, and the one that'll be highlighted today is AJPW's Champion Carnival.

The Champion Carnival has been held since 1973, and has had huge names win it such as Giant Baba, Kenta Kobashi, Stan Hansen, and Vader. Even some current NJPW wrestlers have won it as well, such as Yuji Nagata, Minoru Suzuki, and Satoshi Kojima. Its format is pretty much the same as the G1: two blocks, with the wrestlers going up against each other round robi…

The Smark Henry 2017 Midyear Report: New Japan Pro Wrestling

The Smark Henry Midyear Report is a new series where we take a look at the wrestling we watch around the world and assess each show/brand/company's performance in the first six months of 2017.

New Japan Pro Wrestling's first six months have been nothing short of impressive, to say the least. With a legendary championship run by Kazuchika Okada to a continued push for an international expansion, the company continues to legitimize itself on a grander stage, one no other Japanese promotion has been to before. And so far, so good, it seems.

Today, we look back at the crazy first six months and see where the company stands, and what tickled your fancies during an interesting year that is 2017.

Superstar of the Midyear: Kazuchika Okada Who else, right?

He isn't even in his prime, yet he's currently in the middle of one of the greatest IWGP Heavyweight Championship reigns in history, pitting out elite-tier matches with different wrestlers. From Minoru Suzuki to Kenny Omega, …

The Smark Henry 2017 Midyear Report: RAW

The Smark Henry Midyear Report is a new series where we take a look at the wrestling we watch around the world and assess each show/brand/company's performance in the first six months of 2017.

Over the last six months, I’m sure it’s no surprise to anybody when I say that Monday Night RAW has had its fair share of really unforgettable moments, and really, really unbearable ones, too. It’s like a box of chocolates, really: you never never know what you’re going to get (each week). Can I get a cookie for that Forrest Gump reference?

Anyway, the same problems that viewers constantly bring up and that WWE doesn’t seem to care enough to fix—it’s still way too long, weird separation of the cruiserweights, barely active champion, terrible celebrity guestings, repeated matches, repeated show formula—continue to occur.

With that said, it seems as though SmackDown Live has blossomed into the more entertaining show post-brand split, making RAW the second-rate show for most of us. While RAW st…

Good Lucha Things (7/19/17): The Darewolf Cometh

It's time for another edition of Good Lucha Things, so sit back down and kick off your week with a healthy dose of violence!

Puma vs. Darewolf
This week’s main event featured Prince Puma going at it against PJ Black for a spot in the quarterfinals of the Cueto Cup.

Let me get this out of the way–if you haven’t watched this match yet, please do so. This is one of the strongest Cueto Cup matches to date, largely because they allowed it the time to shine. PJ Black and Prince Puma put on a very competitive match, with the Darewolf looking like he would actually pull off the upset at several points. Given the two guys involved, you’d have expected this to be as flippy and frenetic as possible. However, they worked at a slower pace for the most part, which I like because it shows a different side to these two.

He’s fallen under the radar so far, but PJ Black has been one of the low-key MVPs of this season. Jack Evans’ unfortunate injury has given Black the room to step up, and he’s defin…

First AOW Champion Crowned At PWR Live: Bakbakan Sa Bayanihan

Don't look now, but the Philippine Wrestling Revolution is turning into a darker place.

Minutes after The Apocalypse dispatched of Trian Dela Torre in their All Out War match at PWR Live: Bakbakan Sa Bayanihan, PWR Senior Referee Matt Roxas stepped into the ring to announce that the promotion's management board has decided to create a new championship in his honor.

This new belt, dubbed the All Out War Championship legitimizes a new division dedicated to the Pinoy Nightmare's specialty match, in which he's undefeated in company canon.

The All Out War is one of PWR's trademark match types, which has seen such top-flight gladiators as Chris Panzer, Main Maxx, and Mayhem Brannigan all step into the ring in a lawless format that basically says anything goes. It's similar to WWE's old Hardcore Division, which has created some of the more creative and memorable spots we've seen in wrestling.

This is clearly not going to be a division contested by pretty boys…

[FULL RESULTS] PWR Live: Bakbakan sa Bayanihan

Goddamn! There's just no stopping the Philippine Wrestling Revolution as it kicks off Season 4 of its tumultuous existence. The country's top pro wrestling promotion makes its grand return to the Unilab Bayanihan Center on Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong with a red-hot card for the ages at PWR Live: Bakbakan sa Bayanihan.

Just in case you couldn't make it (and shame on you if you couldn't), we've got all of y'all covered with live results as they happen.

Here are the matches lined up for the show:

PWR Championship Match: "Beautiful" Billy Suede vs. Chris Panzer (c)PWR Tag Team Championship Match: The Network (James "Idol" Martinez & Alexander Belmonte III) vs. The YOLO Twins (Yohann & Logan Ollores, c)Matira Matibay Match: Jake De Leon vs. Ralph ImabayashiAll Out War: The Apocalypse vs. Trian Dela TorreTag Team Match: Fighters 4 Hire (Joey Bax & Miguel Rosales) vs. John Sebastian & Peter VersozaTag Team Match: The Punk Dolls (M…

The Six Biggest Questions Of Bakbakan Sa Bayanihan

What's juicy, mga ka-smarkada? The Philippine Wrestling Revolution just keeps swingin', and the Revo-Nation is positively frothy over this Sunday's Bakbakan sa Bayanihan, where new sagas will be written, old grudges will come to a resolution, and championships will be bouncing left and right.

With all the suspense that the Philippines' premier pro wrestling organization has been cooking up, we're pretty sure you're stiff with anticipation. Here's our expert look at the biggest questions that have been bugging us since the card was announced.
1. Who will fill the PHX Championship vacuum?
With "The Golden Boy" Chino Guinto possibly sidelined for the rest of 2017 with a complete ACL tear, the PHX Championship is suddenly up in limbo. Fortunately, there are quite a few competitors who can't wait to hear how PWR General Manager Mr. Sy is going to resolve the situation.

"The Senyorito" Jake De Leon put up a hell of a fight against Guinto a…

Smark Hen-XT (7/19/17): Cut the Fat Off

Remember when NXT was considered the most indy brand WWE puts on television? Remove the unnecessary drama of RAW and just focus on in-ring competition, and you had NXT at its best. While the main roster might be catching up with this formula (maybe aside from the occasional overtly telenovela-esque but still entertaining “illegitimate son” angles), the yellow brand’s still better at doing more with less.

Ember Moon and Ruby Riot both want a shot at Asuka, so let’s have a match to see who’s ready to face the NXT Women’s Champion. Simple, right? Both women are talented enough in the ring, but by giving them a simple story to anchor their match, it makes much more sense for them to start knocking each other out. Moon’s still one of the best workers in the company with her mix of agility and strength. She’ll fly with the best of them, but she’ll throw a mean right hook as well. Riot’s punk rock aesthetic meshes well with the frantic energy she has in the ring. It might not look polished,…