Rising Star of the Week
In order to start off this very difficult Most Valuable Elitist, I am going to give this award to probably the biggest standout of the entire weekend. Like if Aria Jaxon was white, Andrea Valentine would be the answer to it. In a match with so many favorites such as Tarah Nova, Savannah Sunshine or even our hometown girl, Stephanie Matsuda, I was pretty concerned about Andrea would be handled in this match. I was unsure of how these eliminations were going to go down, but I was happy to see her be one of the final two. I think she delivered some of the best promos in that match. In some sort of way, I thought we would relive a Sheridan Muller moment and see her win the Iconic Cup. Even in a loss, I think her performance in this Gauntlet is the best performance of the entire weekend. I have said this before, but if she continues to perform as well as she is and keep humble, I think the sky’s the limit for her. Like, I would not be shocked if she was Aria’s Pain for Pride opponent. It would be a match to steal the show.
Beef of the Week
Jamie O’Hara vs. Lars Grier/Chris Elite
From the entire weekend, I think the back and forth with Jamie, Lars and Chris was probably the best thing ever. For starters, I know how difficult it is to be double booked against opponents who are as hungry to win as you are. I totally sympathized with Jamie when it came to that, but I thought he carried himself fantastically while I probably would have lost my sanity on that Monday. Also, I loved the determination and activity from Lars and Chris. There was a 50/50 chance that they could win the match, but they did not focus on the losing part and focused on the fact that they could possibly win. This was handled like it was two separate title defenses (I know, it was), but I felt like each rivalry had something to differentiate the other. Even in the aftermath of the match, these three men will continue to achieve great things. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it came from the three of them. That can be debated or not, but these three put on a fantastic showing and they should applaud themselves for it.
Show of the Week
First of all, fuck you to whoever wrote the intro. Do you pride yourself on making grown men cry?
On a serious note, this was more of the sentimental and emotional supershows of the entire weekend and probably the entire year. From the introduction to the ending of the show, I thought this show was amazing. I thought this was a perfect start of the weekend in New York. From Sakuya Goto vs. Nicolette Lyons to the Iconic Gauntlet, I cannot find which match was weaker than the other. I felt as the show progressed, the matches got better. Each match had a purpose and reasoning for being on the card. The one downfall of the event was that it did not end until like almost one in the morning on the east coast. I do not think there was much anticipating for how long this would take. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of early shows. 3 PM EST seems like something I’d like to suggest and people will probably against it because apparently, people get up at 12 PM on the west coast, apparently. Same could have gone for Reasonable Doubt, but despite that, it did not take away from me enjoying the show. Terminus is next on the road to Pain for Pride and I cannot wait to see how things go with that.
Match of the Week
From the Specialists Championship to some people actually liking the Brooklyn Street Fight for the Womens Championship, I had quite a trouble time deciding for what match I wanted to give this award too. It was difficult from there. Then, you go the freaking Reckless Wiring and you get matches like Darkane vs. Jon McAdams and Nico Borg vs. Nasir Escobar and then, you go to fucking Voltage and the two fantastic World Heavyweight Championship matches and I are left with a freaking difficult decision.
The reason I gave it to the Iconic Gauntlet was that I thought this match had everything. It had the twist, turns and so much emotion. I loved how this match gave us a sneak peek to Stephanie vs. Tarah which I have no doubt that it will happen in the future. I loved how every single woman in this match had a moment to shine. Even in defeat, I think all of these women looked fantastic and it will be a reason to progress in their storylines. I was surprised to see some favorites like Tarah, Savannah, and Azumi being out in the first round. I thought they would have at least stuck until the second round. Still, I feel like the final two was the perfect final two of the entire event. I thought these were the two women that cut the best promos out of the entire week. It made sense to me. I loved the final match with Andrea vs. Stephanie. I was so divided in my heart. I thought the environment and fan involvement in the script could not have set the tone better about how either of these women could have won it. If you weren’t high on Andrea and her capabilities, you were after this match because she and Stephanie stole the fucking show.
Promoer of the Week
I have to give this to Scott Oasis. I thought he brought it this week and in a way, I thought this was Cameron Ella Ava’s biggest competition to date. Like this was one title defense I was freaking out about the result. I thought the match could have gone anyway. Man, I was pretty concerned about what path his character would go after this match. It was not until the main event, where I can see his path getting a little wider and I think there may be some clear direction. Personally, I would love to see him defeating Nasir for the title. It’s been since Pain for Pride 9 since he’s even held a title. That’s like ten years in board years. So someone needs to give this man a title at some point this year. I hated how his last title reign went and I would like a decent one for him. I think he is one of the most deserving people to get a title. He puts out good work and always has a positive attitude about things when others would have lost their shit about it. Honestly, I do believe things great things happen to those who wait and I just need to say that Scott needs to wait a little more, but I do see it paying off in the end.
Champion of the Week
From this past weekend, we have seen streaks finally come to an end, Aria Jaxon’s remains intact. If I can recall, minus Moongoose McQueen, all the champions that retained were women and with it being Women’s History Month, it just makes things great. We can all drop our titles on April 1st on Robbie’s birthday. With each title defense Aria goes through, I see the list of potential opponents get thinner and thinner. Is there anyone left that can compete with Aria? I saw that because we still have to look forward to Grand Rampage, Terminus and Pain for Pride almost marks a year since she won the title. I do sense that will be the place where she drops it. Also, there are factors like Stephanie Matsuda with the Iconic Cup and with her not being able to beat Aria at Bloodletter, I do see something like a cash in when Aria’s beaten up leading to something big. As of right now, I think Aria can continue on that Okada title reign and just wait for the next opponent to hit her.
Most Valuable Elitist
Stephanie Matsuda, Nasir Escobar and Chris Elite.
Look, I have never given three separate individuals this award and it’s something that I hate to do, but I was not able to decide who I wanted to put in this category. Each of these individuals did the unthinkable and I hate to be like “Chris ending Jamie’s streak was a bigger deal than Nasir ending Nico’s” or “Stephanie overcame seven other women to get the Iconic Cup and brought the cup home to Monica Vaughan”. I could not pick Nasir over Chris or vice versa or Stephanie over these two. You can make a compelling argument for any of these three.
Stephanie had made her intentions clear to bring the Iconic Cup home to Monica Vaughan, Brody’s cousin, and Stephanie’s girlfriend. To her, there was nothing more important bring than Cup home. The moment Stephanie announced that I was really rooting for her to win. Outside of the character, Cloud was the right person to win this award. He was probably one of the hardest working people in this community. He has taken Empire into this wing and I have appreciated everything he’s done for us girls. I was a little skeptical when he won the Specialists Championship from Cailin Dillon two years ago, but I look at him now and I see him evolve from that and become a worthy contender to be Womens Champion. Like, I can say now that this is more than a perfect time to become a champion. Can’t wait to see how that cash in goes!
Nasir Escobar was one of the two men this weekend that ended a streak. At Reckless Wiring, he broke the undefeated streak of Nico Borg, a man who has been a fantastic champion and had a great reign. For as long as I can remember, Nasir has scratched and clawed for this moment and for me, I am always a sucker for that one person to get their moment like that. These are the moments that I like to see live and happening. Probably one of the more deserving guys. Someone who has always put in the work and effort and it’s never paid off until now. People should look at him as some sort of inspiration of having to scratch and claw and the results finally paying off. If you thought it was tough to become Answers World Champion, it’s going to be fucking difficult to keep yourself as champion.
Chris Elite was the other man that ended the streak. At Voltage: Brooklyn Heights, he did the unthinkable and ended Jamie O’Hara’s 323 (I may be off with that number) day title reign. Like for you to have gained that much trust to be booked in that position must feel surreal. I think this may be the best year Chris has had in his entire career. Just like with Nasir, he is another example of hard work finally paying off. I know he was quite frustrated with how things were at Shock Value, but it all led him to his moment and I do not blame his frustration with having been doing this for so long and not getting the results he wanted. It blows my mind how he was in the New Breed Championship picture last year and now, he has a good chance of headlining Pain for Pride. Just think about that…Nasir Escobar and Chris Elite are ⅔ World Champions in 2018. This year will continue to get more interesting as it progresses.