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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Report! (12/12/17)

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All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Cedric Alexander VS Ariya Daivari w/ Drew Gulak; Alexander wins.
  • Kalisto VS Jack Gallagher w/ THE Brian Kendrick; Kalisto wins.
  • Enzo Amore w/ The ‘Zo Train VS Tony Nese; Nese wins, by disqualification.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Cruiserweight Championship Contender Series was given a “Second Chance” on Raw.

The Outlandish One lost his right to compete for the #1 Contender spot, but that gave four other members of the Cruiserweight Division another shot. Drew Gulak was confident that it wouldn’t matter who won the Fatal 4 Way, he would defeat them to then move on and defeat the champion, Enzo Amore! The Certified G didn’t take kindly to that assumption, but Gulak was still confident even as Cedric Alexander won that “second chance”. Can the Carolina Kid shatter that confidence and finally derail The ‘Zo Train once and for all?

 

Cedric Alexander VS Ariya Daivari w/ Drew Gulak!

“Gabba Gulak” faces Alexander on Monday to determine the new #1 Contender, but tonight he supports his ‘Zo Train comrade in “Daivari Dinero”, can they slow Alexander down just 24 hours after his major victory?

But first, Gulak speaks to the crowd. Since day one, it has been Gulak’s dream to create a #Better205Live. He takes one step closer when he defeats Alexander for the right to challenge his “mentor”, Enzo Amore, for that Cruiserweight Championship. Alexander won a “second chance” but his luck just ran out going up 1v1 with Ariya Daivari. Daivari is not in a holiday spirit after “Cedric the Grinch” stole that victory from him. Daivari will pound Alexander into the dirt! Please, no chanting! Gulak informs us that fellow ‘Zo Train member, Noam Dar, suffered a knee injury, and will need surgery. As a thoughtful gesture to their fallen friend, Gulak has a 93 point plan for a speedy recovery via hiiiiiiiiiis… POWERPOINT, PRESENTATION! Which is again interrupted by an entrance.

Cedric grins, he knows exactly what he is doing. He enters the ring and the match finally begins.

Alexander and Daivari circle, tie up, and Daivari powers Alexander to the ropes. He shoves Alexander and trash talks in Farsi, Alexander brushes it off. Fans chant, Gulak scolds them, the two circle and tie up again. Daivari gets Alexander’s arm, and wrenches with a wristlock while Gulak resorts to using his megaphone to quiet the fans. Alexander rolls and spins to trip up Daivari onto that sore back, fans duel with “Let’s go, Cedric!” “Power Point!” as Alexander speeds things up. He hits the handspring headscissors and dropkick, Daivari’s bad back bothers him again, cover, ONE. Gulak reprimands Alexander for flipping, another violation of #Drewtopia law. Alexander ignores him, bringing Daivari up for an arm wringer and wristlock. Gulak coaches Daivari as Alexander puts on an armlock, fans keep dueling with chants. Daivari gets up, pulls on Alexander’s hair, the ref breaks them up. Alexander ducks the sucker punch to give a chop, then another. Daivari kicks back and puts Alexander in a corner, but misses his chop, Alexander gives him another chop back. Alexander trash talks Gulak but runs in to be put on the apron. Alexander springboards, Daivari gets out of the ring, so Alexander speeds up, only for Gulak to get on the apron and in Alexander’s face.

Gulak orders Alexander to stop using the top rope, Alexander just lets him talk. But that gives Daivari an opening, he grabs Alexander to throw him right into buckles! Alexander hits face first, Gulak says that’s what he gets for being on the top rope. Daivari stomps away on Alexander now, the ref backs him off. Daivari grinds a knee into Alexander’s head now, then backs off again. He brings Alexander up for chops, “How do you like it?” Alexander is tossed out of the ring, the ref keeps Daivari from pursuing, so Gulak takes advantage by running Alexander over with a lariat!

The referee doesn’t see it at all, Daivari slips out to fetch Alexander, and even does the ‘Zo Train secret handshake with Gulak. Things return to the ring, cover, TWO. Daivari puts Alexander in a chinlock, fans rally and Alexander feeds off the energy. Alexander gets up, fights out with body shots, then forearms, he whips but is reversed, Daivari gives him a bulldog, TWO! Daivari goes right back to the chinlock to keep Alexander grounded, fans rally again. Alexander gets up, more body shots then a jawbreaker breaks him free. Alexander gives Daivari an uppercut, then dropkicks out a leg to send Daivari into a buckle. From the apron, Alexander gives Daivari a kick to the head!

Gulak frowns, but Alexander grins as he turns around, springboard lariat!

Cover, TWO! Alexander is getting a little frustrated but he isn’t done just yet. He fires up the fans, looks for the finish, but Daivari resists. Alexander throws a stiff right elbow to stun Daivari, but Daivari still counters the Lumbar Check into a headlock takeover pin, TWO! Daivari kicks, Alexander blocks then counters with the back elbow, handspring is caught into the spinebuster! Daivari powers through a bad back to go top rope, but Gulak disapproves. Gulak says to get down, Daivari doesn’t listen, Persian Lion Splash!

Direct hit, cover, TWO! Daivari is frustrated, Gulak is upset, but Alexander is still stirring. Daivari prepares his finish, but Alexander ducks the lariat to roll-up, TWO, handspring for the Neuralizer! Alexander brings Daivari up, Lumbar Check!

Alexander wins! He stares down Gulak as his hand is raised. Will Alexander become THE #1 Contender to the Cruiserweight Championship?

 

205 Live takes a look at the situations developing within the Cruiserweight Division.

Gulak feels he will not only defeat Alexander to become #1 Contender, he also feels he will defeat current Cruiserweight Champion, Enzo Amore, to become the new champion! Enzo keeps it real with Gulak by saying those PowerPoint presentations can be described by one word, and he was going to spell it out, but Gulak didn’t get the hint. At the same time, Nia Jax appeared. How You Doin’? Nia replied by saying she was doing fine, and was glad to see Enzo. She wants to talk with Enzo about something, but couldn’t speak in front of Gulak. What does the Brutal Beauty want from the Certified G?

 

The ‘Zo Train regroups backstage.

Daivari apologizes for the loss, his back is hurting. Gulak says that is all the more reason why he lost: Daivari went for a top rope move with an injury. “Well what do we got over here?” Enzo Amore has returned to 205 Live!

Enzo didn’t call a team meeting. Gulak says he was giving Daivari pointers. Who gave Gulak permission to give pointers? Enzo has an idea for Daivari: start bringing more to the table! Gulak reasons with Enzo, a lot has been going on, Nia Jax has been a distraction, but Gulak has been thinking on what Enzo said. Gulak knows it was wrong to joke about winning. Enzo sees “a foggy mind with a clear thought” for once. Gulak knows he’s meant to be behind Enzo, but it isn’t impossible for Gulak to win against Enzo and become champion. Gulak imagines that, but Enzo gets upset. Enzo says Gulak isn’t even worthy of holding his microphone, let alone hold the title. Tony Nese speaks up, saying Enzo shouldn’t talk to Gulak like that when Gulak is just trying to help. Enzo is surprised that “Tony Abs” has guts! Team PowerPoint, trying to undermine Enzo? No? Good, because that would be stupid considering they’re on the ‘Zo Train, which Enzo built with his own fists. Enzo rebuilt 205 Live, they sit at his table and enjoy the fruits of his labor. How ungrateful! Enzo takes a moment to calm down.

Enzo knows that sometimes you need to look in the mirror, recognize your faults, and work on yourself to be the best you. He needs to take a step back to be the best leader possible, and he will lead by example. Therefore, tonight, be ringside for Enzo’s match against Tony. What? Enzo VS Tony? Now who’s joking?

 

Kalisto VS Jack Gallagher w/ THE Brian Kendrick!

 

The Ungentlemanly Alliance beat down the Lucha Dragon, then talked trash while he was away, but now he’s back for revenge! Can the former Cruiserweight Champion get a 1v1 victory against the “cruel winter”?

The Man with a Plan speaks, saying that “over one year ago”, Kendrick’s own Cruiserweight Championship was taken from him. He worked tirelessly towards being champion in the WWE, but that dream was taken with it. Kendrick has yet to be granted an opportunity to win the title back, but all Kalisto had to do was show up in 205 Live to be “gifted opportunity after opportunity after opportunity”! What does Kalisto do with those opportunities? Squander them. Gallagher speaks, saying they gave Kalisto an easy way out: stay away. Kalisto is like the “lazy sods at ringside”, so he should do the smart thing and stay in the locker room. Otherwise, the “little Lucha Dragon” will only springboard into a spider’s web. Kalisto chooses… to appear!

Kalisto upset Gallagher & Kendrick, but his fighting spirit won’t allow him to run and hide, this match will happen.

Gallagher and Kalisto circle, tie up, Gallagher gets the headlock and takeover. Kendrick watches closely as Kalisto gets back on his feet, Gallagher wrenches the arm and puts on a wristlock. Gallagher brings Kalisto down to the mat, cover, ONE. Kalisto resists further attempts, but Gallagher goes to put his weight on Kalisto, Kalisto uses that to monkey flip Gallagher. Gallagher maintains the double wristlock, Kalisto rolls back but now Gallagher monkey flips Kalisto. Kalisto lands on hsi feet, standing switch to tilt-o-whirl headscissors. Gallagher gets in a corner and puts Kalisto on the apron. Kalisto knocks him away to climb up top, high-flying arm-drag throws Gallagher! Gallagher gets out of the ring, Kalisto starts the “Lucha! Lucha!” chants, but Gallagher gets out of the way as Kalisto tumbles over the top rope. Gallagher joins Kalisto on the apron, Kalisto rocks him with a roundhouse. Kalisto runs on the apron, Kendrick saves Gallagher but takes that Penalty Kick himself!

Kalisto looks for Gallagher and spots him crawling around the other corner. He runs at Gallagher again but his kick is blocked, Gallagher slings that leg into the post! Kalisto falls to the floor, writhing as he clutches that leg. Gallagher leaves Kalisto out there, letting the ring count climb past 7. Kalisto hops on one leg and barely makes it back in the ring. Gallagher grabs that leg, and puts Kalisto in half-surfboard to stomp his knees.

The referee checks on Kalisto, Kalisto refuses to quit, so Gallagher rains down right hands. Gallagher stalks Kalisto to ropes, brings him up, and knees him down when Kalisto fights back. Gallagher puts Kalisto in a Tree of Woe, climbs up and wrenches on the bad leg before yanking it down!

Kalisto drops out of the Tree, Gallagher covers, TWO. Gallagher goes back to the bad leg, but Kalisto uses the good leg to kick Gallagher away. Kalisto limps but is caught again, dragon screw twists that knee again. Gallagher tortures that bad leg with a deep toe-and-ankle wrench. Kalisto endures, Kendrick smiles, but Kalisto kicks Gallagher away again. Kalisto can only crawl as Gallagher kicks him down. Gallagher mocks the “Lucha” chant, then scrapes his shoes on Kalisto’s face. Gallagher wrenches Kalisto’s leg on the ropes, even as Kalisto fights back. The referee backs Gallagher off momentarily, Kalisto tires but fails to stop Gallagher from going after that leg again. Gallagher wants Kalisto to quit, but Kalisto won’t, so Gallagher lifts Kalisto in a modified Stretch Muffler meets Horse Collar.

Kalisto endures the bend and stretch caused by gravity, fans rally and Kalisto pulls himself up. Sunset flip to the Listo Kick! Kalisto gets to ropes, then dodges Gallagher to send him outside. Gallagher lands on his feet, and walks off his frustration, but Kalisto can only limp as Gallagher returns. Gallagher grabs Kalisto’s bad leg again, Kalisto rolls to send Gallagher into buckles! Kalisto and Gallagher are both down, but Kalisto manages a boot from the mat. Kalisto uses his one good leg to hop up and hit a quebrada from the corner!

TWO! Kalisto and Gallagher both down, but Kalisto uses that to his advantage for another rolling Listo Kick! Kalisto manages to run and hit a spike-rana! Kendrick coaches Gallagher to get up, Kalisto covers, TWO! Gallagher grabs Kalisto’s mask at the eyes to dig in fingers before giving a stiff headbutt! Gallagher staggers over to Kalisto, Kalisto springs up and gets him in a huricanrana pin! Kalisto wins!

Kendrick stops Kalisto from enjoying his moment by clobbering that bad leg with a chop block! The Ungentlemanly Alliance circles like vultures, ready to pick the bones of the wounded Kalisto. But Gran Metalik comes to the rescue!

The King of the Ropes shoulders and kicks Gallagher and Kendrick away in turn, then springboards for a 2-for-1 missile dropkick!

Metalik handsprings to arm-drag Kendrick out of the ring, SUPERKICKS Gallagher, and feeds him to Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol!

Kendrick & Gallagher are down as Metalik & Kalisto stand tall. Has the Ungentlemanly Alliance’s “cruel winter” just run into a sudden Lucha heatwave?

 

Drew Gulak finds Enzo Amore backstage.

Enzo asks Gulak “why the long face?” Gulak realizes things got heated, but he wants to call of the match and talk things out. Enzo is surprised, why is Gulak worried? Things are okay in the ‘Zo Train. Then why does he have to fight Tony? Fight? Who said this was a fight? Enzo is the best Cruiserweight in the world, like this generation’s Dean Malenko. Enzo promises he’s just going to show Tony some holds, put on a “technical spectacle” and give fans what they want. This is the ‘Zo Train. Look at this way: it’ll be a good learning experience for everyone. Gulak still looks worried about that. What is Enzo really planning for the Premier Athlete?

 

The Cruiserweight Division’s newest addition is Hideo Itami.

The fierce striker from Japan finally moves up from NXT, and he is coming to 205 Live. Who will be the first man forced to show Itami respect?

 

Enzo Amore w/ The ‘Zo Train VS Tony Nese!

The Cruiserweight Champion does not like his authority being questioned, least of all from those within his own group. Nese looks dejected, unsure as to why Enzo wants to have this match with him. He doesn’t even count his abs upon entering! The Certified G and Bonafide Stud recites his entrance as usual, “How You Doin’?” echoes out in Cincinnati. The ‘Zo Train is doing well, especially after hearing about the first ever WWE Cruiserweight Tour happening in 2018. The Realest Champ and his unit are an “unbreakable unit”. Therefore, anyone who thinks otherwise, there’s only one word to describe you, Enzo spells it out for you, S A W F T!

Gulak and Nese seem unsure, but the bell rings. Nese tries to reason with Enzo as Enzo takes off his extra gear. Enzo warms up with a roll, then asks if Nese wants to wrestle. Do the fans want to see a “technical spectacle?” Fans have a mixed reaction. Enzo asks if Nese wants to be in the ring with him. Enzo shows off his fast feet, and wonders if Nese even saw his shoes. He even offers Nese a free leg!

Nese is in the ring with the best (Cruiserweight) in the world, so give it a try. Instead, Nese asks Daivari what’s going on but Enzo says there’s no point in that. Nese wants to talk behind Enzo’s back, is that it? Enzo let Nese do what he does, because Nese can’t face first place. Fans chant for Nese to “Beat him up!” Nese asks Gulak for help on this, Enzo slaps Nese! “What are you thinking, huh?” Enzo trash talks Nese. “There ain’t no Uber to the top! If you want to get to the top, you ride The ‘Zo Train!” Nese contains his rage, Enzo says to think twice before doing something. The fans keep chanting to “Beat him up!” Enzo says that Nese is smarter than this, but Nese keeps stepping closer and closer to Enzo. Enzo takes steps back, he gets cornered. Daivari attacks Nese from behind!?

The match ends but the “lesson” doesn’t! Enzo “checks” on Nese as he and Daivari stomp Certified Mudholes into him. Gulak is confused, what is happening before his very eyes?

Enzo tells Nese to remember his place! He and Daivari stomp away more and more, Gulak is frozen in place. Fans boo and jeer, Daivari drags Nese to the center of the ring. Enzo asks Nese, “Do you know who I am?! I’m the best damn Cruiserweight in the world!” Enzo is the Conductor of the ‘Zo Train! Nese needs to know his place. Fans boo and referees tell Enzo to stop. Enzo acknowledges their disapproval, but he still puts his foot up against Nese’s head. Enzo notices Gulak is still outside the ring.

Gulak asks “What?” Enzo lets go of Nese and walks over to Gulak, telling him to “get in and prove your worth.” Gulak asks “Why?” Why? Because they’re The ‘Zo Train! Is Gulak on The ‘Zo Train or not? Gulak paces, conflicted on what to do. Enzo waits, Gulak gets on the apron. Good boy, Gulak. Enzo tells him to “use your head”, but Gulak is still conflicted. Gulak says this isn’t right, Nese doesn’t deserve this. Enzo asks what Gulak is going to do about it, then. Is Gulak gonna “pony up”? Is Gulak gonna man up? Gulak paces, still conflicted, Enzo dares him to do something. Fans also shout for Gulak to choose a side, but Enzo says not to listen to them. The referees insist things stop, but Enzo ignores them. Gulak and Enzo stare down, Gulak asks “You wanna get hard?”

He kicks Nese in the head!?

And Enzo says the kick is good.

Gulak betrays his Team PowerPoint pal, Daivari says he did what he had to. Enzo says he’s better than everyone, but doesn’t think Nese is alright. Make sure he’s “alright”. Gulak does, by punching and stomping Nese more. Enzo applauds, he has Daivari fetch his things. Gulak stomps a mudhole into Nese, Enzo cheers him on, but fans disapprove. Enzo asks if Nese is gonna run his mouth again. Daivari picks Nese up, and Enzo says things are alright. Enzo “shows mercy” by giving Nese a Jor-DONE-Zo.

The Certified G made an example of the Premier Athlete, Gulak and Daivari have fallen in line. Will Gulak do what Enzo wants him to by defeating Cedric Alexander this Monday? Or will the ‘Zo Train run itself into the ground?

 

My Thoughts:

This episode was really close to being something great, but perhaps timing was what limited its quality. The side story of the Division is still going strong, as Kalisto does great in toughing it out against Jack Gallagher. Naturally, Kendrick attacks Kalisto afterward to emphasize how the Ungentle Men are sore losers, but then just as logically, Gran Metalik rescues his fellow luchador. I really look forward to the tag team match between these four, it’ll be even more acrobatic than the Kendrick-Gallagher VS Swann-Alexander match, and I hope they add a stipulation to allow there to be even more aggression. Those two qualities combined should get great attention for the Cruiserweight Division.

The Cruiserweight Championship story was both the strongest yet weakest point of tonight. It built up strong with Gulak supporting Daivari in a losing effort to Alexander to give the True Face of the Division momentum towards the #1 Contender’s match next Monday. However, the real focus of the story was The ‘Zo Train, where Enzo makes his 205 Live return to see what has become of his stable while he was away. The tension between leader and followers is great, and even Nese felt on the brink of a Face Turn. And that is where the problem lies. Everyone played their roles perfectly to build that tension between Gulak and Enzo, and fans were practically begging Gulak turn on Enzo. Unfortunately, with the Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender match still to happen on Raw, Gulak couldn’t turn Face just yet, or else that would make for a Face VS Face match and WWE dislikes doing those. Gulak instead breaks and betrays his good pal so he can stay in Enzo’s good graces. He can still turn Face after defeating Alexander, but in the moment, it was a disappointment as fans turned on Gulak by chanting “This is Boring!” That chant is inaccurate, there was a lot of complexity going on, but “This is Disappointing” is too much to chant.

My Score: 7.5/10


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More From Japan

NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.187 ~ 29TH SEPTEMBER 2022

Keiji Mutoh continues his Retirement tour and bringing out faces from the past! NOAH has a new champion! Interesting inter-promotional battles on the horizon as well!

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Kaito Kiyomiya is the new GHC Heavyweight Champion, nominates Kazuyuki Fujita as challenger

Following provocation by Kenoh not only saying that he was going to be the one to inherit Keiji Mutoh’s Shining Wizard and the memory of Keiji Mutoh himself (and the outright claim that Kiyomiya would simply forget about Mutoh once Mutoh had retired, which Kiyomiya didn’t even bother responding to), Kenoh went one step further at their last pre match on the 19th September by pulling Keiji Mutoh’s pose, kissing his hand, putting it to Kiyomiya’s lips and then exploding it. Kiyomiya erupted in fury at this, it was far more than any verbal provocation of Kenoh’s, which I guess he has learned to ignore over the years. They fought for the GHC Heavyweight in Nagoya on September 25th, with Kiyomiya emerging victorious following a modified Shining Wizard. As Kenoh left it was like a spell was broken. Kenoh went backstage and muttered about Kiyomiya being the company favorite and in his interview the day after winning the title, Kiyomiya said nothing about Keiji Mutoh. Mutoh as we know had been a focus of both Kiyomiya and Kenoh leading up to the title match.

Back in the ring, Kiyomiya called out his next opponent. Kazuyuki Fujita. Fujita came to the ring, carrying a can of beer which he swigged from. Getting in the ring he circled Kiyomiya and took off his t-shirt. Kiyomiya said that he was expecting a fight, but Fujita did something that no other NOAH wrestler had (or perhaps would) do, and that was to throw himself at Kiyomiya and then make nuzzling motions against his head, while he licked the belt. Kiyomiya pushed him off, and Fujita retaliated by pouring beer over his head.

Kiyomiya screaming that he hated beer was met with Fujita toasting him from the ramp and yelling “Kampaiii” (“cheers”) after a fight had broken out, and Kiyomiya threw him from the ring.

 

Backstage, Kiyomiya said his reason for nominating Kazuyuki Fujita as his challenger was that he had never been defeated for the GHC Heavyweight. Fujita had to give up the belt due to Coronavirus. It has been a recurring theme of most of the GHC Heavyweight champions since Go Shiozaki, that Fujita has been the man to beat in order to cement yourself as champion. Kiyomiya was picking up that torch.

As for Fujita, he played it as if he was a Casanova and had been asked out on a date by warning Kiyomiya that when you experience Fujita, you can never go back because you were never going to be the same. He was going to “make it a night to remember”. He sipped his beer, and licked his lips afterwards.

Title match has been set for NOAH’s return to Ariake on the 30th October.

STINGER lose, NOAH Junior Regulars win, enter Tadasuke (with a chair)

Following a period of brutal attacks on Seiki Yoshioka (by the end of the match he could hardly use one side of his body) and a title challenge where Atsushi Kotoge was bloodied up, The NOAH Junior Regulars emerged victorious and bought the tag titles home to their unit. They had very little time to celebrate their win and put ice on their wounds, when Tadasuke burst in and attacked Atsushi Kotoge with a chair while Hi69 beat up on the already incapacitated Seiki Yoshioka. Tadasuke (wild grin on his face) got on the microphone and made a challenge for the tag titles. Then Tadasuke wiped the blood from Kotoge that had got on his hands on his hair, leaving red streaks in the peroxide. Tadasuke was even waving the bloodied seat of the chair, which had detached during the attack, around backstage.

Title match will be on the 30th October when NOAH return to the Ariake complex.

Takashi Sugiura and Satoshi Kojima, NOAH’s most dysfunctional tag team, win the GHC Heavyweight tag titles

It must be said that with the combined efforts of Satoshi Kojima and Hideki Suzuki, we almost have our Sugi back.

At the press conference/title match signing, Sugi and Kojima appeared dressed in suits and wearing dark glasses. They looked something between The Men In Black and “Dangerous Detectives” (as Tokyo Sports called them  which stems from a Japanese TV show). Hideki Suzuki was on form, not only mistranslating Timothy Thatcher and stating at one point that Thatcher said he came to Japan to “beat you up” and being rude to a journalist for being overfamiliar with his “punk mouth”, the highlight of the press conference was his long close up stare at Sugi, who was trying not to laugh.

The dysfunctional team won the titles in Nagoya on the 25th September, and despite their falling out during the match, Sugi actually gave Kojima a proper handshake. Then they went back to squabbling backstage over Kojima talking on the mic when it was Sugi who got the win. No challengers have come forward as of yet.

HAYATA retains the GHC Junior, Ninja Mack makes his long awaited challenge

It had been an emotional match for YO-HEY, and for fans. Cutting out the aerial techniques that had characterized their earlier matches, both he and HAYATA demonstrated how much they had both evolved by concentrating on a more NOAH based ground attack with submissions. YO-HEY might have failed in the challenge, but he had at least gotten one win over HAYATA in the pre-match. He knew the title match would be different and he would need to level up, and afterwards he reflected and said he would start from rock bottom in order to make his next challenge. What fans had noticed that while things had changed between them, some things were the same, such as YO-HEY coloring his hair, his tongue (and even his boxer shorts) purple, which is HAYATA’s color, and HAYATA not speaking as much as he has done in previous title challenges, as he is content to let YO-HEY talk. After the match, Ninja Mack came to challenge. HAYATA accepted by saying, that he was “finally interested in the belt” and acknowledging him as challenger. Title match will of course be on the 30th October. But HAYATA is not immediately going into a fallout match with Ninja Mack at NOAH’s next event on the 30th, but is having a tag match against YO-HEY.

Keiji Mutoh’s Retirement Road

Keiji Mutoh has been very busy.

– 23rd September: Great Muta appears in AEW

The Great Muta made a surprise appearance in AEW to rescue Sting, who had been tied to a chair by Darby Allen. Muta came to the ring, advanced on Sting and then turned and spat green mist into the face of Allen and then reunited with Sting. Keiji Mutoh announced that Sting would attend Muta’s retirement on the 22nd in Yokohama, but has not said in what capacity, although it is assumed that they will tag. Regarding any further appearances in America, Mutoh said he didn’t think it was likely, but did warn that The Great Muta may pop up somewhere as you never knew where he would turn up next.

– 25th September: Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road: Love Forever 2

Keiji Mutoh teamed with his junior Kazuyuki Fujita to take on Mutoh’s classmate, Masakatsu Funaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima, who Mutoh has known since he was a boy, and still calls affectionately “Katsuhiko”. Nakajima said he was going to break up this class reunion, and while Mutoh did get kicked (Nakajima smirked and said it was fun when Mutoh later complained his leg still hurt) but it was Fujita who got the worst of it. During the match, Nakajima pulled out Mutoh’s Space Rolling Elbow. Mutoh was initially not pleased, but then he became very happy to see it and said that he thought that “Katsuhiko” did it because he had some small measure of feeling for him. I think had Nakajima been a more acrobatic wrestler, Mutoh might have handed it to him. Mutoh won the match with The Shining Wizard, pinning Nakajima. This was Mutoh’s farewell to Nagoya, his classmate, his junior and Nakajima.

– 26th September: Hiroshi Tanahashi comes to the press conference and a tag match is announced

Hiroshi Tanahashi presented 38 roses to Mutoh when he came to the press conference. Each rose symbolizes a year of Mutoh’s career. Mutoh joked that he should have laid them at his feet, as had happened in boxing recently. Tanahashi said he wasn’t good at ad-libbing, and then introduced himself as “one of the greatest New Japan talents in the past one hundred years”. During the press conference, a tag match was announced. New Japan’s Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Honma Tomoaki will team together against the team of Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Mutoh and Keiji Mutoh. This will take place on the 30th October. Mutoh has not given up hope of appearing one final time in the New Japan ring.

– 16th October: A new match is announced

NOAH announced that due to fan demand, Keiji Mutoh will be appearing in Fukuoka. He will tag with Ninja Mack and Satoshi Kojima against Naomichi Marufuji, HAYATA and Jack Morris. Satoshi Kojima is of course connected to Mutoh through All Japan and New Japan, Naomichi Marufuji has wanted a match against Mutoh (he will be tagging with him as we know on the 30th October) and HAYATA has been a big fan of Mutoh for a while, as he has influenced a lot of his style and persona. HAYATA thinks of himself and The Great Muta as “The Phantom Team”. Muta doesn’t like to speak and HAYATA said, neither does he.

Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima head overseas

Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima will appear for Evolution Pro Wrestling in New York for their anniversary show on November 12th. Marufuji’s match is yet to be announced, but Nakajima will take on Josh Alexander. Alexander has said he wonders how Nakajima is going to kick after he snaps his ankle. They will also appear at King of Indies in San Francisco on November 19th.

NOSAWA vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (and Kenoh)

After being beaten up by Katsuhiko Nakajima who gave him some pretty stiff soccerball kicks outside the ring at Korakuen Hall recently, (although he would tell you that Nakajima tried to beat him up), NOSAWA Rongai has been on a quest to face Nakajima in a match. Then he threw in Kenoh, so it could be himself and Eita versus Kongoh. Hideki Suzuki told him that he was probably going to die, but NOSAWA has taken no notice and kept on with his demand. His demand has not been met because rather than facing Nakajima and Kenoh, NOAH have booked him against rookies Yasutaka Yano and Kai Fujimura. NOSAWA thinks he is having to go through some kind of trial.

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Hideki Suzuki has hinted that perhaps Takashi Sugiura might like to get back online.

– Yoshiki Inamura and YO-HEY continued their guild, despite the fact that YO-HEY said someone attacked and burned their castle down. A picture was taken of YO-HEY and Inamura playing the game, with YO-HEY seated cross legged on Inamura, who was doing a bridge in the ring. We have seen Inamura used as a weight, but is he now used as furniture?

– NOAH’s Director, Narihiro Takeda, wrote on a NOAH Note that he would like for Darby Allin to come to NOAH one day.

– Tadasuke got a match thrown out by ripping off Alejandro’s mask. Tadasuke did not care, and did not even respond when Alejandro asked if he wanted a mask for himself?

– Daiki Inaba had his long awaited singles match with Katsuhiko Nakajima, but failed to revenge himself for Nakajima’s behavior in W-1. Nakajima even went for the cocky pin by grinning and leaning on Inaba.

– There was usual chaos at the NOAH Junior Space sessions as Daisuke Harada is not there to take control. Atsushi Kotoge seems to be the main culprit, forgetting to invite Seiki Yoshioka in and at one time even failing to press record.

– It’s probably best that Daiki Inaba, who apparently likes to be in the nip backstage, was not present when NOAH was at Differ. It was bad enough that Sugi used to wander around naked…

– Mitsuharu Misawa wrote in a diary entry for 2006 about filming an advert for THE LEAVE, and having to sing first thing in the morning while they were filming. Probably due to the fact that he had a problem with his throat anyway, was a heavy smoker and had taken “so many chops and kicks” to it in his career, he said he sounded very hoarse.

EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH PROMOS

SUNNY VOYAGE – September 19th 

Event recap

Post match promos

N-INNOVATION – September 21st 

Event recap

Post match promos

GRAND SHIP 2022 IN NAGOYA/KEIJI MUTOH RETIREMENT ROAD – September 25th

Event recap

Post match promos

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
    Challenger: Kazuyuki Fujita, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: Ninja Mack, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: KojiSugi (Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura)
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: The NOAH Junior Regulars (Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka)
    Challengers: Kongoh Juniors (Tadasuke & Hi69), [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
    Challenger: Masa Kitamiya, SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Friday September 30th (Bandaijima Multi-Purpose Square Ogama)

(This event will not be broadcast live, but hopefully this match will be shown via Instagram)

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(October 2022 schedule)

– Friday, October 7th

STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse/ABEMA (live)

– Saturday, October 8th

STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (live)

Note about broadcasts

Unless you are living in Japan or have a VPN you know is compatible with ABEMA, please do not subscribe to the service. For fans living outside of Japan, a subscription to WrestleUniverse would be better as they show more NOAH shows than ABEMA, and usually the events get uploaded very quickly. ABEMA broadcasts are only in Japanese, you can only watch them live, and this is the only NOAH they show. They do not broadcast old shows as these belong to Samurai TV.

BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES

Wednesday, 5th October: Keiji Mutoh debut anniversary (38)

Wednesday, 5th October: Seiki Yoshioka debut anniversary (14)

LINKS

“I want to protect this belt for the rest of my life”, new GHC champion Kiyomiya holds morning press conference to establish a new NOAH landscape

Mutoh’s Retirement Road, tag match against Tanahashi in round three: “I want to grab the secret of secrets”, Tanahashi presents 38 roses

Great Muta teaming up with Sting for last match? “Agent” Mutoh’s opinion 

“I wonder if I can transmit more” YO-HEY aims to revitalize the junior ark with his first championship

AEW Shock! Great Muta appears in America! Rescues Sting and shake of hands

“Follow Me You Bastards” – Kenoh’s Weekly Pro Column

GHC Junior Match Signing: YO-HEY “Last Chance, I don’t think as my ex partner now”, HAYATA “I don’t feel anything”

“Taka & Satoshi” reveal a “dangerous detective” look, mischievous Suzuki is a reckless interpreter, the GHC tag signing ceremony is thrown into chaos by bizarre question and answer between the two teams

 A “Comrade” and an “Older Brother”, Masakatsu Funaki talks about his thoughts on Mutoh’s retirement, “I want to kick him mercilessly”

BOOK CORNER

“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

With thanks to: Metal NOAH

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube

Picture credit: YO-HEY & NOAH.co.jp


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Andrew’s IMPACT Wrestling Results & Match Ratings: 9.29.2022

Bound for Glory is 8 days away, but Victory Road just happened. What kind of show do we get with some fallout and penultimate hype?

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Victory Road just happened, but Bound for Glory is like 8 nights away? You know I forgot that it was such a quick turn around. That makes tonight weird, since there’s some fallout, but then there’s gonna be a lot of table setting for Bound for Glory.

This episode could be awful. The last week or so haven’t exactly set the world afire, so I’m curious if the highlight really is just gonna be the Monster’s Ball with Masha and Allie Katch.

*insert joke about possibly gagging and balls and Swinger’s Dungeon*

Ratings:

  • Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey w/Juice Robinson) vs Trey Miguel & Laredo Kid: Bullet Club win via Finesse & Fold – **
  • IMPACT Digital Media Championship: Brian Myers (c) vs Crazzy Steve: Myers retains via Roster Cut – ** 1/2
  • Delirious vs Black Taurus: Black Taurus wins via Destination Hellhole – ** 1/4
  • PCO & Vincent vs Rich Swann & Heath: Rich wins via Phoenix Splash – ** 1/4
  • Pick Your Poison: Monster’s Ball Match: Masha Slamovich vs Allie Katch: Masha wins via Russian Death Device – *** 1/2

Results:

Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey w/Juice Robinson) vs Trey Miguel & Laredo Kid

I don’t think I could care less about this match if I tried. Trey and Laredo are worthless. Laredo has eaten so many terrible losses and Trey is just bad. If the BC Juniors don’t win…I will really question the booking.

My biggest takeaway early is the commentary tries to put over Trey “turning heads”. No he doesn’t, he is legitimately hard to watch and everything that Will Ospreay did wrong in his early career; is basically Trey, but with less personality. Oh did you expect play by play? They isolate Laredo, decent tandem attacks, when Trey comes in it’s bad offense typical Cruiser garbage with laughable facials and body language.

Just typical crap with Trey. Were there some cool high spots? Sure. Do I care? NOPE.

IMPACT Digital Media Championship: Brian Myers (c) vs Crazzy Steve

Steve starts with some of his quirky mat wrestling, Arm Wringers into Drop Toe Holds and face biting. It shocked Myers early, but he takes a small shortcut and starts trying to slow down the psycho from Decay. Steve bounces off the ropes and Myers does his sliding trip move before commercial.

Back from commercial, Snapmare from Steve and the neck twister into some corner offense of Hip Attacks and Sentons for 2. Myers dodges King Kill 33, lands a few pot shots, Implant DDT for 2. Into the corner, face bite, Upside Down, after the rope break Myers grabs the referee to block Steve. Eye Poke, Roster Cut, AND STILL…

Simple, but entertaining. Plus it continues Myers’ arrogant, full of himself for absolutely no reason persona. Oh and he offers up an Open Challenge for Bound for Glory. Maybe Bobby Fish? Someone new? Could be interesting. 

Delirious vs Black Taurus

Delirious is between gibberish and Stone Cold early on while they’re just trading shots. Delirious twists the Nose Ring…in the mask…and Taurus sells it momentarily before stomping the foot and decking him. This is just a weird match. I mean we all know Delirious is weird, but he’s not all comedy; and Taurus is supposed to be legit-ish.

Admittedly, with the exception of Victory Road, it has been years since I’ve watched a Delirious match. So the level of ridiculousness has hit Toru Yano levels, especially after the 10 count Leg Drops. Taurus powders, comes back in, Shoulder Tackle, Blackhole Backbreaker into a Samoan Drop. As soon as Taurus looks in charge, Delirious throws together a combo, eats a Headbutt and then Destination Hellhole.

Sheesh okay after 2 interview segments we get to Honor No More’s victory celebration segment. Just a lot of talking and inaction, so this just goes to feed that weird feeling I had coming into the show because of the timing. Eddie does the usual thing where hates on PCO and accuses him of being the weak link, which is a smart story angle since the fans tend to like PCO’s gimmick and this makes him more sympathetic to casual observers. 

Oh good Taven is talking nowWait did I just say that? DAMN YOU IMPACT! Made me like Matt Taven. Maria stirs the pot a little saying that Eddie is a better wrestler than Josh and Moose…by the implications. 

Thank God, Josh Alexander finally breaks up the segment with…more talking. Okay never mind. Jesus since the end of the Delirious match it was like 15 minutes before Josh finally charged the ring and threw down a bit with Honor No More. Rich Swann and Heath make a bit of the babyface save for Josh, but the numbers are still on Honor No More’s side. Oh MCMG come down in a tracksuit and dress clothes! Someone wasn’t ready to be doing a run in.

PCO & Vincent vs Rich Swann & Heath

Well isn’t that convenient that four of the men in the donnybrook were supposed to be in a match anyway.

Rich uses his quickness to try and stay ahead of PCO, but PCO cuts him off in the corner into the Corner Hung Codebreaker, then the leaned against the ropes Leg Drop thing. Vincent throws together a T-Bone Suplex into a Flatliner and keeps the vibes flowing on Rich Swann.

PCO clears out Heath, but PCO’s hand gets stuck in the ropes. Vincent eats a flip kick and the Phoenix Splash while PCO and Heath are brawling on the outside after the rope issue with PCO.

Pick Your Poison: Monster’s Ball Match: Masha Slamovich vs Allie Katch

Haymakers and Headbutts start things off as they both hit the ropes and lay out one another with dual clotheslines. Trash can lid duel, Masha gets first contact, but Allie blocks and returns 3 shots. German Suplex from Masha into whipping her with a chain, some choking and then general pulling with the chain in Katch’s mouth or around her eyes. Katch claws at Masha’s eyes to try and get some space.

Headbutts and Biting from Masha as Allie tries to power out of a Bow and Arrow. More chain choking…I’m not sure if this is a wrestling match or BDSM prep at the moment. Ahh Masha needs more Cowbell but Allie cuts her off with a trash can lid. Allie tries a Piledriver through a door, but Masha turns it into an Air Raid Crash into the opposite corner.

Commercial break, and Allie is getting choked again. Spots get a little redundant, slams, chokes, and blood. OHHH – it’s a “Use the Door” chant. I thought it was – nah – I won’t say what I thought it was. Chairshot from Masha misses, but a Snap Suplex from Masha onto the chair gets some usefulness. Straight Right to the gut and an Axe Kick allows Masha to hit the Death Valley Driver onto the propped up chair. Masha goes back to biting after it was only 2. Allie cuts off Masha going to the top, Superplex onto the trash can lid, into a Death Valley Driver through the door – but Masha kicks out.

Allie tries a Piledriver on the apron a few times, but Masha blocks. Masha tries for the Release German to the floor but Allie holds on. Dazed strikes, bites and then a Russian Leg Sweep through the table lays both out for a short time. Masha grabs a black bag, it’s gotta be tacks for Monster’s Ball. Masha eats a few tacks for good show, picks up Allie but Allie fights. Piledriver into the tacks from Allie, only 2. Allie opens a trash can, and empties a bunch of cut up soda cans. Hits Masha with the can, Masha fires, Spinning Heel Kick and then Russian Death Device into the pile of tacks and cans.

Overall Score: 6.25/10

The main event was pretty good, maybe even a little better than I gave it credit for; I’m just sick of seeing some crazy hardcore match so often from Impact. It feels like its weekly, and that’s too damn much. Trey is terrible, and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on. He sells poorly, he doesn’t tell a story with his wrestling and he looks like an idiot pretending to be something he isn’t; and that’s talented.

Myers is fine with his classic delusional heel style, Delirious gave a bit of a rub to Taurus so I’m guessing he’s probably next up in the X Division. But a straight 15 minutes of interviews and talking is just too damn much especially when the surrounding wrestling isn’t very good or hearty enough to help people tolerate talking time.

I do however love Joe Hendry. So…yeah. There’s always some quirky gimmicks that just resonate well with me, and this is gorgeous.

All in all, decent enough; though next week could be a real banger of a Go Home.


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