All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service.
- First WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: Cedric Alexander VS Gran Metalik; Alexander wins and advances to the second round.
- Second WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: TJP VS Tyler Bate; TJP wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan is here!
But who is that walking out with him?
The fans cheer “YES! YES!” all the same, then shift to “Spud! Spud!” Bryan explains that he was so proud to be part of the Cruiserweight Classic back in 2016. Therefore, it is his privilege to introduce the first ever General Manager to 205 Live and the Cruiserweights. This new GM shall lead the Cruiserweight Division into a new phase as he allows the superstars of 205 Live to give us “the action they should’ve always given us” and the action that everyone wants! Bryan introduces the WWE Universe to “Rockstar Spud”, Drake Maverick!
The fans still want to think of him as “Spud” but Drake introduces himself, then tells us that he’s worked his entire career to stand here before us in the WWE! Drake is proud to be here and he thanks Bryan for making him the 205 GM. He is here to help 205 Live, and the first thing is: a new Cruiserweight Champion! Philly fires up for that, so Drake details his plan: “A 16 Man, Single-Elimination Tournament!” The winner naturally becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion, “on the biggest stage of them all,” Wrestlemania! But don’t worry, it won’t be all in one night, the tournament starts tonight! Two first round matches will be held tonight, “hit the graphics!” Yes, the Carolina Kid takes on the King of the Ropes, followed by the inaugural New Era Cruiserweight Champion to take on the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion! Yes, TJP VS Tyler Bate happens for the first time later tonight! “My lords, ladies and gentlemen,” Drake Maverick commences the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament!
First WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: Cedric Alexander VS Gran Metalik!
This momentous tournament opens with a major match, as the former #1 contender once again competes for a chance against a Cruiserweight Classic finalist. Which man will be a finalist in this Cruiserweight tournament?
While Alexander has only himself to rely on for encouragement, the King of the Ropes has his amigos in the Lucha Spirit trio there to rally for him. Even Spud comes by to shake Metalik’s hand and encourage him that this is his time to shine.
The bell rings, the two men circle and the fans build to a rally while they shake hands. Then they tie up, Metalik getting the waistlock but Alexander the reversal. Metalik slips around and reverses back, fans duel while Alexander spins and flips to reverse back. Alexander shifts to a headlock, Metalik powers out and things speed up. Alexander handsprings to the headscissors but Metalik rolls through, saying he won’t get the dropkick so easily. The fans applaud this exchange, and things speed up again, Alexander narrowly avoiding Metalik’s handspring. Metalik gets moving again, and hits a running headscissors, but now Alexander rolls through to say “not so fast.” They go again, Alexander getting a waistlock but Metalik reversing with an arm-drag takedown into the armlock. Alexander gets up and lifts but Metalik arm-drags Alexander back down again. The fans duel while Metalik wrenches but Alexander kicks him low. Alexander brings Metalik up for chops, then whips him corner to corner, but Metalik slips out to the apron. Metalik kicks Alexander away, then springboards for the missile dropkick!
Alexander gets out the far side while fans build to a rally. Metalik builds speed but Alexander flies in with the springboard lariat! Now Metalik bails out, so Alexander builds speed and FLIES!
Down goes Metalik, and Philly fires up for Alexander as he puts Metalik back in. Cover, TWO, but Alexander keeps his cool. He puts Metalik in a straitjacket hold and pulls back. Metalik endures while fans duel with chants. Metalik works his way out as fans build to a rally, but Alexander slams him down. Cover, TWO, but Alexander keeps his cool. He drags Metalik up and chops him to the ropes. He whips Metalik to ropes, Metalik comes back for headscissors, but Alexander blocks with pure strength! Alexander lifts Metalik up for the powerbomb, but Metalik reverses into a sunset flip powerbomb!
TWO, and Alexander handsprings for the Neuralizer! Cover, TWO, now Alexander grows a bit frustrated. Metalik gets to a corner while he takes the elbow pads off. Alexander runs corner to corner but into Metalik’s SUPERKICK! Metalik runs, Sling-Dog and then walks the ropes for another missile dropkick! Alexander rolls out while the fans rally for Metalik. Metalik builds speed and now HE FLIES!
He topples Alexander over and fans chant for “2 0 5! 2 0 5!” Metalik puts Alexander in the ring, then takes aim to springboard splash! TWO, but so close. Metalik drags Alexander up while fans rally again, but Alexander slips out of the fireman’s carry to rock him with a European Uppercut. Alexander runs, but into another SUPERKICK! Metalik runs but into the SPANISH FLY!
Cover, TWO, and Alexander can’t believe it. He and Metalik are both down but stirring. Alexander rolls to a corner and pulls himself up. Metalik comes over and overhand chops him down! Metalik drags Alexander up and hoists him to the top rope for another stiff chop. The fans fire up as Metalik climbs, but Alexander fights him off. Metalik rocks Alexander with a swing kick, then climbs up from the outside, springboard LUCHA Steiner!
Cover, TWO! Now Metalik cannot believe this isn’t done. He drags Alexander up again, and gives him elbow after elbow. Alexander blocks one to give back an elbow of his own, then throws him to ropes. Metalik handsprings, but Alexander catches him! He tosses Metalik up, but Metalik counters with a DDT!
Cover, TWO!! Metalik keeps his cool as he keeps going, dragging Alexander over to a corner. He then climbs up while the fans rally. Moonsault, but Alexander gets boots up! Alexander hurries, drags Metalik up, and hits the LUMBAR CHECK!
Alexander wins and advances! If this was just the first match of the tournament, imagine what all the others will be like! Not only that, but with this amazing performance, does Alexander have what it takes to reach the finals and finally become Cruiserweight Champion?
WWE and 205 Live take a look at the inaugural WWE UK Champion, Tyler Bate.
The young man from Dudley, and one half of Mustache Mountain, Bate won the first ever WWE UK Championship Tournament over one year ago. Bate stands out because of his maturity despite his young age, and he’s shown as much in amazing matches against the British Bruiserweight, Pete Dunne. Together, Dunne & Bate put on NXT’s Match of the Year award winner in last year’s TakeOver: Chicago UK Championship match. Bate also qualifies for the Crusierweight Division, and gets his first opportunity towards a Cruiserweight Championship match tonight. Can Bate make history again by being the first crossover champion?
“Gentleman” Jack Gallagher speaks.
So the 205 Live GM is a “fellow countryman” to the British superstar? Then hopefully Spud understands the importance of a gentleman making it through to the finals. Is Gallagher expecting special treatment on the Road to Wrestlemania?
Drake Maverick explains the importance of this tournament.
A 16-man tournament, single elimination, and the finals happen at Wrestlemania 34. However, Drew Gulak appears.
“On behalf of the entire 205 Live locker room”, Gulak must tell Drake how happy they all are to have him. Gulak also wants Drake to know that they “crave law and order”, and he is personally excited to see what changes Drake has to create a #Better205Live. He gives Drake his bouquet and bow, then takes his leave. Drake then gives that bouquet to the backstage employee. Is Gulak going to be pleased or disappointed in the Spud Administration?
Mustafa Ali speaks.
“Yo, last week was insane.” The Pakistani Prince took on his pal, Cedric Alexander and “tore the house down.” They showed the world what 205 Live is all about. The fans stood up, cheered and chanted “This is Awesome!” Then Ali lost. That wasn’t as awesome for him, but it’s okay. Because he has a wake-up call going into the tournament. Ali will steal the show and punch his ticket to Wrestlemania. Can the Prince rise up and finally take the throne on the Grandest Stage of Them All?
Backstage interview with TJP.
However, he wants everyone, especially Dasha Fuentes, to get it right. He is the “first-ever WWE Cruiserweight Champion, TJP.” Since his return to 205 Live, he’s had a string of losses, and now he faces the first ever WWE United Kingdom Champion. “The thing is,” everyone has a short memory. TJP won the first ever Cruiserweight Classic, which is how he became the first-ever (New Era) Cruiserweight Champion. But then the 205 Live GM walks in.
Spud formally introduces himself and hears how TJP talks about his CWC win. But that was a long time ago, and tonight is TJP VS Bate. Bate is hungry for gold, he wants to go to Wrestlemania and become champion. Which TJP shows up tonight? The TJP that won the CWC? Or the TJP that “whines and complains when he doesn’t get his way”? A good question, what will TJP’s answer be in tonight’s main event?
Akira Tozawa speaks.
“I’m disappointed.” The Stamina Monster wanted to be 205 Live GM, but he isn’t. That’s okay, because now he can win the tournament and become a two-time Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania! And then, “You’re FIRED!”
Will Tozawa make good on a golden opportunity? And who even is that that he’s “firing”?
Second WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: TJP VS Tyler Bate!
In this battle of first-ever champions, only one of them can advance towards being the next champion. Can the “Cruiser-Great” overcome the Mustache Mountain prodigy?
The bell rings and the Philly fans chant “Let’s go, Tyler!” They tie up, Tyler pushes TJP but TJP turns it around to put Tyler on the ropes. The ref calls for the break, and TJP honors it cleanly. They circle again, tie up, TJP gets the waistlock but Tyler gets the wristlock. TJP rolls and reverses to then hook Tyler’s nose. Tyler stands up and wrenches the wristlock again. TJP rolls and spins to then throw Bate with a spinning headscissors takedown. This becomes a cover, TWO as Tyler gets a shoulder up, so TJP dabs on ’em.
Philly boos his ego, but TJP doesn’t care. Tyler rolls around while fans continue to cheer him on. He reaches up to headscissor TJP now, and TJP flails as Tyler props himself up on his hands to wrench the neck. He also grabs one of TJP’s arms, but TJP uses his legs to help pop out of the hold. However, Tyler keeps hold of the arm to then bring TJP back down into the headscissors. TJP keeps resisting while fans duel, and rolls out to stand up. He works to pin Tyler but Tyler gets him with another headscissors takedown. TJP gets angry now, but the fans keep dueling. TJP pops out, Tyler kip-ups, TJP whips Tyler at the ropes. Tyler comes back with the rebound, but TJP ducks under. Tyler throws TJP to ropes, TJP goes Spider-Man to slip out to the apron. TJP says “not so fast” with the finger wag, then he slips under Tyler again to roll him up. TWO, but TJP rolls Tyler sideways now for a seated surfboard!
The fans applaud while Tyler endures the stretch. TJP pulls back more, but Tyler works to use his strong arms and legs to roll. The fans rally as Tyler reverses the surfboard into a surfboard of his own! With a lift!
Tyler has the full swinging surfboard, but TJP won’t give up. Tyler drops him, body scissors cover, TWO, Tyler runs TJP over with a shoulder. Things speed up, Tyler showing off his agility to then dropkick TJP down! While TJP rolls out, Tyler takes a moment to tweeze the mustache. Tyler then builds speed to DIVE!
TJP goes down, but Tyler kip-ups to again tweeze the mustache. He brings TJP up and into the ring, then takes aim from the apron. Tyler shoulders in then slingshots for the sunset flip, but TJP holds onto ropes. TJP spins around to DDT Tyler’s ankle into the mat. The fans duel with chants as TJP puts Tyler in a corner then rock Tyler with a EuroUpper. TJP grinds Tyler down with a boot to the chin, then backs off at the ref’s order. He comes back, however, to drag Tyler up and snap suplex him. He rolls through to then back suplex Tyler down, covers, TWO. TJP keeps his cool as he puts Tyler into a combination Deathlock and Butterfly Lock.
He bends Tyler from arms to spine to legs but Tyler endures. The fans build to a rally, and Tyler works his way out of the Deathlock. He stands up while TJP maintains the butterfly underhooks, but Tyler powers TJP into a corner. TJP goes after the arms again, so Tyler rams him into the corner again. Tyler gets space to then run back in, but TJP hops up and grabs a leg for a hanging Boston Crab!
The referee counts, this is illegal on virtue of the ropebreak. TJP holds on all the way until 4 then lets go. He brings Tyler out and scoop slams before hitting the slingshot senton. Cover, TWO, but TJP just keeps going. He ties up Tyler’s legs again and then stands on the left knee. TJP dares Tyler to do something, Tyler manages to push him away, then a second time. They both stand up, Tyler gives TJP a knee to the head, but the beat-up knee forces Tyler to stagger away. Even so, Tyler comes back to headbutt TJP in the stomach, then give him a EuroUpper. Tyler whips TJP, TJP reverses, but then runs into Tyler’s boot! TJP gets himself to a corner, Tyler comes running in for a big running EuroUpper. Tyler hops up, hits a flying knee strike, then a delayed German Suplex with the bridge! TWO, and Tyler is a bit surprised. He makes sure his leg is okay while TJP slowly stirs. The fans duel again while Tyler gets to his feet. He brings TJP up for the double underhook but TJP resists and fights back. TJP kicks the bad leg a couple times, then lifts in the fireman’s carry. Tyler slips out and staggers to a corner. TJP runs in but Tyler catches him, to TJP’s surprise! Tyler turns around and throws TJP overhead! Tyler kip-ups again but that bad leg slows him down, yet he still hits the shooting star!
TWO, but very close. The fans keep cheering and dueling while Tyler makes sure that leg gets moving again. He and TJP brawl on their knees, EuroUppers and haymakers back and forth. They stand up now, TJP ducks to forearm, but then Tyler ducks to EuroUpper, then they double boot! Tyler returns and boots TJP again, TJP sits down. Tyler brings him up, runs, but TJP dropkicks the bad leg out! The fans rally again as the two men stir. TJP crawls over for that leg, but Tyler shoves him away with the good one. TJP returns and unloads strikes onto Tyler. He throws Tyler, Tyler rebounds again, but TJP still ducks under to then trip him up and wrap on a Kneebar!
Tyler endures, as well as resists TJP’s attempts to add the figure four grapevine. Tyler drags himself to the ropes and gets the break! The hold is undone, and fans applaud Tyler’s grit. TJP gets up while Tyler drags himself up on the ropes. TJP lifts Tyler in the fireman’s carry but Tyler slips out to a waistlock. Standing switch and a shove, Tyler finally hits the rebound lariat!
Cover, TWO, and Tyler is shocked. That leg is still a problem but Tyler still stands up. He calls for the spin, and the fans fire up. Tyler lifts TJP into the fireman’s carry, and begins the airplane cyclone! Tyler goes around and around and the fans count it out to about 20. He dumps TJP down, then calls for the finish. He hobbles over and lifts TJP, but TJP trips him and gets the Kneebar again! Tyler drags himself, TJP drags him back, so Tyler rolls through to pin, TWO! Bop up, BANG out!
TJP goes down, Tyler crawls to drag him over to a corner. Tyler goes up top on one leg, and takes aim. He goes for the corkscrew senton, but flops as TJP evades! TJP gets on Tyler, Kneebar with figure four grapevine! The fans duel while Tyler endures! Tyler reaches, drags himself as best he can with TJP on his legs. Tyler rolls and gets the break again! TJP lets go and grows further frustrated while the fans applaud. He throws off his wristbands and then runs at Tyler, but into a EuroUpper! He tries again, Tyler sticks a boot out but TJP catches it. TJP pulls Tyler out to the middle, spins him around but gets another EuroUpper! Tyler then rebounds for the rolling kick! TJP goes down, Tyler hurries to bring him back up. Double underhook and full powerbomb lift, but TJP reaches for the corner and grabs on! Tyler lets go long enough to turn around, but TJP uses that to his advantage, sunset flip! TJP grabs trunks, TJP steals the win!! Tyler cannot believe he got cheated, but TJP is elated.
The FilAm Flash found a way to win tonight, but this is just the first round. Will the “Cruiser-Great” start a win-streak to again become Cruiserweight Champion?
Another great episode of 205 Live in this post-Enzo era. I’m pleased by having Rockstar Spud as the inaugural GM, though I agree with Philly that he should’ve been called Spud. Copyright likely gets in the way of that, but he still shows great personality in his WWE debut. I personally was hoping for a Cruiserweight Championship Elimination Chamber, but this 16 Man tournament is also a great idea. Tonight was a great indicator that, as Daniel Bryan put it, the matches really will give us that Cruiserweight experience WWE has been under-utilizing since 2016’s CWC tournament. Alexander VS Metalik was great, especially as an opener, as it sets the tone for the rest of the opening round. Alexander keeps in character, as well, where he shrugs off being delayed because at least he still has a shot. I expect him to go far since it felt like he was going to win against Enzo at the Rumble anyway.
Nice surprise to see Tyler Bate, a member of the UK Division, crossover into this division to try his hand. He and TJP also have a great match, though there were moments where the crowd drifted out. TJP and Tyler are both great with technical wrestling so I enjoyed their exchange of the holds, such as the surfboard reversal and TJP’s creative combination of Butterfly and Indian Deathlock. In the end, TJP wins because he’s a full-time member of the 205 Live roster and Cruiserweight Division and it helps move his story along. He’s broken his brief losing streak and his ego can balloon with every win, to then have it pop the moment he has his next loss. For that reason, I hope TJP goes far, maybe even to Wrestlemania, to then lose to (I assume) Cedric Alexander in the championship match. Alexander can have his crowning moment on the biggest PPV of the WWE calender, and TJP can throw the biggest #TJPissed tantrum ever on that same Grandest Stage of Them All.
My Score: 8.5/10
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Japan Cup 2019 Part 1!
The 2019 New Japan Cup begins!
NJPW begins the 2019 New Japan Cup! Who among Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr. and EVIL will move on to the second round?
Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV
Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL; ZSJ wins and advances to the second round.
- Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene to kickoff the 2019 New Japan Cup!
Spring brings the best in the world in this special single elimination tournament! Only one man will win the right to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden!
The first round has already seen a bit of action, with NJPW standards, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, advance, but others falling victim to upsets. Juice Robinson lost to Chase Owens while Sanada overcome Hirooki Goto. The biggest surprises perhaps came from the biggest men losing to the Junior Heavyweights when Bad Luck Fale and Hiroyoshi Tenzan lost to Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi respectively. But tonight, two of the most anticipated matches take the spotlight! The rivalry of the last year takes the stage again as EVIL and Zack Sabre Jr. face off once again! Plus, Kota Ibushi returns from injury to battle Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax rematch! The Golden Star looks to be the comeback kid while the Uncontrollable Charisma wants to be a historic dual champion! Only one can make their dream come true tonight!
Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL!
Taka Michinoku welcomes everyone to Zack Sabre Time, and asks who everyone thinks will win this year’s New Japan Cup. Well it’ll be the man who won last yer’s winner, the Submission Master and British Heavyweight Champion! So Evil, you’ll #JustTapOut! C’mon over here! The King of Darkness responds to being called out, and we begin the next chapter of this already storied rivalry!
The bell rings and fans cheer Evil on as he circles with ZSJ. They slowly approach and Evil knees low. Evil headlocks but ZSJ tries to power out, only for Evil to hold on tighter. Evil gets the headlock takeover but ZSJ works for a headscissor counter. He can’t get it so he stands up. ZSJ spins through and arm-drags Evil off, but Evil headscissors him. Evil squeezes and ZSJ endures. ZSJ finds his way up and pops free, then dares Evil to come on. ZSJ headbutts and headlocks but Evil powers out and runs him off! Fans cheer as Evil waits for ZSJ to return. Taka keeps ZSJ calm as he gets back up. ZSJ and Evil circle again, and Evil calls for a test of strength. ZSJ accepts and they grapple, and Evil gets the double knuckle locks.
Evil brings ZSJ to his knees but ZSJ reels him to reverse. ZSJ hammerlocks but Evil switches to his own, but ZSJ switches back, and so on. ZSJ spins and drops to get the takedown but Evil pushes him away. Evil avoids the Penalty Kick but ZSJ ducks the clothesline. Evil blocks ZSJ’s boot to chop and senton! But ZSJ gets his knees up and reels Evil into an armbar! Evil stacks for a cover, TWO! ZSJ still has the arm, but Evil gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go but comes back for more. He cranks Evil’s arm back then stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ also kicks Evil in the chest and stomps his legs. ZSJ ties the legs up in a figure four and pulls hair. The referee reprimands ZSJ but ZSJ stays on the arm with pulling fingers and twisting the arm.
ZSJ uses the hammerlock to turn Evil for a cover, TWO! Evil tries to get feeling in his arm but ZSJ kicks him in the back. ZSJ looms over Evil and gives his bad arm toying kicks. ZSJ kicks Evil again, but Evil grabs the kick! Evil hands the foot to Red Shoes before he mule kicks ZSJ down! The 2018 cup winner is down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Evil brings ZSJ up for forearms. Evil puts ZSJ in a corner then whips him corner to corner. ZSJ stops himself and comes back, but for a sidewalk slam! Fans fire up with Evil as he drags ZSJ back up. Evil suplexes ZSJ up and over then covers, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as he brings ZSJ up again. ZSJ blocks the fireman’s carry and goes after the arm with a double wristlock. Evil powers through but ZSJ slips out to a full nelson. Evil endures the hold and breaks free! He headlocks and knees ZSJ right down! Evil stalks ZSJ to a corner and headlocks, but ZSJ denies the bulldog into the abdominal stretch! They go around and around and Evil puts it on ZSJ! ZSJ endures and pries the arm off, to Pele it!
ZSJ gives Evil European Uppercuts in the corner! He goes corner to corner but Evil follows for a clothesline! Evil runs but ZSJ follows, only for Evil to see him coming and clothesline him again! Cover, TWO! Evil drags ZSJ right up, fireman’s carry, Darkness Falls! Cover, TWO! Sabre survives but Evil has more where that came from. Evil drags ZSJ up and slashes the throat. But ZSJ victory rolls! TWO and Evil has it on ZSJ, TWO!! ZSJ wants a backslide but Evil powers it around, backslide on ZSJ! TWO, Penalty Kick! Both men are down, and fans cheer for Evil while Taka coaches ZSJ. ZSJ goes right at Evil to keylock stomp the arm! ZSJ kicks at it but Evil only gets angry. Evil stands and ZSJ throws EuroUppers, but those only make Evil stronger. He CHOPS ZSJ off his feet!
Evil stands ZSJ up for another chop, but ZSJ stands on his feet. ZSJ gives Evil a shoulder breaker, but Evil gives one back! Evil spins but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs but Evil goes sideways, ZSJ catches the clothesline into an Octopus Stretch! He drags Evil down and he cranks back! Evil endures as ZSJ twists him all around! ZSJ has one arm trapped and the other arm back, but Evil uses a leg for the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but he comes back to dig his elbow into the back. He grabs Evil’s arm and twists it in his legs! ZSJ Penalty Kicks Evil down again! ZSJ catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Evil. Evil sits up but uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil mule kicks ZSJ again, then drags him up, to place on Red Shoes! Magic Killer!!
Evil catches his breath and grins while he, ZSJ and Red Shoes slowly get up. ZSJ gets to a corner as Taka coaches him up. Evil runs in for a big clothesline! Evil roars and fans fire up as Evil drags ZSJ up to the top rope. He climbs up to join ZSJ, for a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Sabre survives again but he clutches his own shoulder now. Evil stands and slashes the throat! He drags ZSJ up, spins him around but ZSJ slips through to scoop. Evil escapes but ZSJ standing switches. ZSJ rolls Evil back but the European Clutch is blocked! Evil wants a Half ‘n’ Half but ZSJ resists. ZSJ reaches for ropes but Evil shifts to a German Suplex! Evil takes aim, but ZSJ kicks the clotheslines away once, twice, but not the third time! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous after that close call!
Evil roars and drags ZSJ up again. He spins ZSJ around but ZSJ slips around and hops up! Sleeper to victory roll to EuroClutch, to EVERYTHING- Is Octopus! ZSJ drags Evil down, Napalm Death! Evil is stuck, Evil taps! ZSJ wins again!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission; advances to the second round
The 2018 New Japan Cup winner keeps on winning! ZSJ has a cup winning streak, will it continue all the way to the finals?
Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi!
This match feels almost too soon in the tournament! The leader of Los Ingobernables and the Golden Star could both have both made their way to the finals, but now only one of them will move on! Will Ibushi’s comeback lead him all the way to New York? Or will the IWGP Intercontinental Champion move towards being a historic dual champion in NJPW?
Fans love both stars so they’re naturally divided at the bell. Naito and Ibushi stare down as the cheers are thunderous. They start circling and then approach to tie up. Naito gets a headlock but Ibushi spins out for a keylock. Ibushi headlocks now but Naito punches out. Naito pulls hair and pushes Ibushi and things speed up. Ibushi hurdles Naito then again, but Naito ducks the kick and moonsault. Naito arm-drags but Ibushi headscissors, and the two break! Naito even hits Tranquilo. Fans cheer while Naito decides to roll out of the ring. Naito takes his time returning, telling Ibushi to relax. Ibushi doesn’t give Naito a choice, but then Naito escapes Ibushi to tease him about taking time. Ibushi returns but Naito is on him with kicks and elbows.
Naito whips but Ibushi reverses, but Naito grabs ropes. Naito dumps Ibushi out then sweeps the legs. He slingshots and dropkicks Ibushi down, a new take on his Cabron Combo. Naito has control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito whips Ibushi into railing. Naito drags Ibushi up and brings him around the way, to whip him into more railing! Fans cheer Naito but also show concern for Ibushi as Naito whips him into railing a third time! Naito brings Ibushi around the railing and bounces him off the desks. Red Shoes tells Naito to bring things back to the ring but Naito bounces Ibushi off wood again. Naito leaves Ibushi behind and rests in the ring. Ibushi crawls his way back as the ring count begins. The count passes 5 of 20 as Ibushi stands. Ibushi returns ringside at 10 and hops in at 11. Naito is on Ibushi with a whip and big elbow, then a swift basement dropkick! Naito poses more while Ibushi writhes.
Fans cheer for Ibushi and Naito spits at them. Naito stomps Ibushi and drags him up into a cravat neck wrench. Ibushi endures as Naito cranks hard. Ibushi fights out with body shots but Naito elbows him down. Naito then brings Ibushi around for a neckbreaker and casually covers, TWO! Ibushi’s bad neck is a target and Naito keeps on it. Naito brings Ibushi up but Ibushi breaks free. Ibushi throws forearms but Naito just smirks. Ibushi throws more but Naito elbows him around the side. Naito throws more elbows into the neck and Ibushi slumps against the ropes. Naito toys with Ibushi but Red Shoes reprimands him. He whips but Ibushi reverses and dodges to whip back. Ibushi dropkicks Naito right down! Both men fall into each other but Ibushi’s up first.
Ibushi drags Naito up for a strike fest! Naito blocks the kick to kick the knee, but still runs into a roundhouse! Ibushi standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as he drags Naito up again. Naito resists the German suplex and gets the standing switch. Ibushi throws elbows to break free. Ibushi runs in but Naito boots him from the corner. Naito runs out but into a huricanrana! Fans fire up while Naito bails out of the ring. Ibushi fires up with the fans and goes to the corner. Naito knows it’s coming and stops the Golden Triangle! Naito drags Ibushi out for a draping neckbreaker to the apron! Ibushi falls to the floor and Red Shoes checks on him. He’s somehow okay to continue and drags himself into the ring.
Naito is waiting again, and runs out from a corner, shotgun dropkick! Then he drags Ibushi up to the top rope and out for another draping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives and Naito is surprised, but we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito drags Ibushi back up. Naito ties Ibushi up but Ibushi fights out with his free arm. Naito clubs Ibushi in the neck then hits a German Suplex, but Ibushi lands on his feet! Ibushi kicks but Naito ducks to enziguri! Naito whips but Ibushi reverses only for Naito to come back with flying forearms, only to be caught into a snap German! Both men are down but the fans fire up! Naito and Ibushi stir as fans duel. Red Shoes checks and they’re both okay to continue. Ibushi and Naito grit their teeth as they sit up. They head for each other and start throwing forearms. Ibushi hits, Naito hits, repeat. They slowly stand but the brawling continues.
Ibushi hits but Naito comes back. The two stare down and Ibushi throws a forearm. Naito throws one back, so Ibushi gives another. They start picking up speed and now they’re just swinging wild! Ibushi fires off many palm strikes but Naito throws slaps. Ibushi runs but into Naito’s spinebuster! Naito drags Ibushi up and to the top rope again. Naito climbs up behind Ibushi and fans anticipate something dangerous. Ibushi holds on so Naito clubs away. Naito stands Ibushi up, but Ibushi grabs at Naito’s leg. Ibushi turns around and trips Naito up! Naito manages to stay on the apron, but Ibushi stalks him from above. Ibushi drags Naito up while standing on the ropes. Ibushi lifts but Naito fights out! Naito slaps away on Ibushi’s face, then brings Ibushi in, TOMBSTONE on the apron!!
Naito puts Ibushi in the ring then drags him up again. Hammerlock and underhook, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi still lives but Naito isn’t fazed. Naito drags Ibushi up again, arm wrench and tilt-o-whirl, but into Ibushi’s own PACKAGE TOMBSTONE!! Cover, TWO!? Now Naito survives and shocks everyone! Fans duel as Naito and Ibushi drag themselves to opposite corners. Naito runs at Ibushi but into a roundhouse! Ibushi brings Naito in but Naito spins out for a tornado DDT! Naito aims at Ibushi and runs in, into a clothesline!! Ibushi drags Naito up and to a lift, SIT-OUT LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives again but Ibushi is too tired to be frustrated. Ibushi drags Naito up and grabs both hands, but Naito dodges Kamigoye, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!?!
Fans are thunderous as this match continues! Naito staggers up and drags Ibushi to his feet. Wrench and tilt-o-whirl but Ibushi slips out to roundhouse! Ibushi gives a shout out to the King of Strong Style as he aims from a corner. Naito sits up, BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO?!? Ibushi can NOT believe Naito survived again! But Ibushi vows to finish this, double underhook, Butterfly Driver! But he’s not done there, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; advances to the second round
It took so much, but Ibushi makes it through the opening round! Naito’s dream is denied for now, what will it take for him to become the first-ever dual Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion in NJPW history? As for Ibushi, he advances only to take on Zack Sabre Jr. next! Will Ibushi break ZSJ’s streak in the New Japan Cup? Or will he #JustTapOut?
Ibushi takes the mic and thanks Naito for that amazing match. “In 2019, in NJPW, I’ll show you a new version of Kota Ibushi.” Ibushi vows to go all the way and win! Will everyone else in the tournament, let alone Jay White, take this to heart?
Wow, what a great opening to the tournament! At first, I thought it was a bit of a shame that this will be it for the first round, no Okada or Tanahashi, but seeing they had matches with slightly less important opponents (sorry, Mike Elgin), the two matches we got were much more worthy of airtime. Evil VS ZSJ is again an incredible match, and it makes a lot of sense for ZSJ to win. While Sanada is in the tournament, too, he and Evil are still strongly in the Heavyweight Tag Team Division. ZSJ has a great New Japan Cup win streak story to tell, and it’ll make a loss, should one come, all the more exciting if it’s in the later rounds. ZSJ going for back-to-back tournament wins on top of a huge title match is great, but I can’t be sure the chances of it happening.
Naito VS Ibushi was a really great match, and it’s not just kayfabe saying this match could’ve been a logical tournament finals choice. Naito’s story of becoming a dual champion could’ve propelled the tournament to some interesting places, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be told in the tournament. Ibushi is in NJPW to stay so it means a lot more that he gets a push in the tournament. He already has a hard road ahead of him if the second round pits him against ZSJ, but perhaps a Kota Ibushi that can get through such big names, much like ZSJ did in last year’s tournament, can be a Kota Ibushi that defeats Jay White in Madison Square Garden.
My Score: 8.8/10
Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (3/16/19)
Zack Sabre Jr. continues his journey in ROH!
Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, Episode 391
It’s ROH 17th Anniversary weekend, but the action keeps on rolling! The Submission Master returns, will he make Rocky Romero #JustTapOut?
- Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes; Young & The Briscoes win.
- The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys; The Bouncers win.
- Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead; Rayne wins.
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero; ZSJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes!
Cheeseburger leads Ryan Nova and Eli Isom into battle! Will their fighting spirits combined be enough to overcome the Last Real Man and #DemBoyz?
The bell rings and Isom begins against Jay Briscoe. Isom is no stranger to taking on former ROH World Champions, this could be his third upset on one already. They tie up and Jay waistlocks. Isom standing switches and throws Jay down but Jay reverses to a facelock, but Isom slips away. Fans applaud the Future of Honor keeping up with Jay. Jay and Isom circle again and Jay keeps Isom guessing on the grapple. Jay reels Isom in for a headlock, but Isom powers out, only for Jay to run him over. Things speed up and Isom kicks Jay. Isom runs but sees Jay follow. Jay fakes Isom out and kicks him down. Jay tags Mark and The Briscoes mug Isom. Mark suplexes but Isom slips out and shoves Mark. Mark turns around into Isom’s arm-drag!
Isom tags in Nova and Nova hops up for ax handles. Nova wrenches the arm but Mark rolls through. Mark breaks free but Nova dodges and fires off strikes. Nova wrenches and tags in Cheeseburger! Burger climbs up to drop his own ax handle. Burger wrenches but Mark pushes him away. Mark rushes at Burger but Burger crawls under and kicks him away. Burger speeds up but Jay stands in his way. Mark rocks Burger with a shotgun dropkick! Silas and the Briscoes take control as we go to break.
ROH returns and Silas taunts Burger to stand, only to stomp him down. Fans rally up for Burger and he throws body shots on Silas. Burger fires forearms but Silas shoves Burger for the backbreaker clothesline on the rebound! Silas drags Burger over and tags in Mark. Mark drops an elbow then drags Burger up. Mark suplexes and holds Burger up for a few seconds before dropping him down. Fans rally but Mark puts Burger in a camel clutch. Burger endures while Jay and Silas taunt him. Mark fish hooks Burger but lets up at 4. Mark blasts Nova but the ref keeps Isom from going after Mark. But he misses Mark biting Burger! Mark gets away with it then CHOPS Burger in a corner! Mark whips corner to corner but Burger dodges! Burger dodges Silas and Jay, too, hot tag to Isom!
Isom dropkicks Mark to his corner where Jay tags in. Silas runs at Isom but Isom puts him on the apron and dropkicks him down! Jay goes after Isom with a waistlock but is bucked off. Isom pops Jay up to a fireman’s carry! Nova intercepts Mark and DIVES on Silas! Air Raid Crash from Isom to Jay! Cover, TWO!! Isom almost had another former world champion caught! Isom keeps going but Jay blocks the suplex. Jay fights back but Isom throws his own forearms. Isom runs but into Jay’s fireman’s carry. Jay hits the Spicolli Driver while Mark climbs up! FROGGY-BOW! Jay covers, TWO!? Isom survives and The Briscoes are shocked!
The ref tells Mark to go to the corner but the Briscoes ignore him. #DemBoyz work together to finish this, double underhook but Isom fights out. Isom pushes Jay into Mark then kicks, suplex to brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! Another close call but Isom keeps his focus. Isom and Jay stand as fans rally up. Isom throws forearms and elbows then an enziguri. Jay staggers and Jay runs, but SUPERKICK for Jay! High-Low combo for The Briscoes! Mark keeps Burger out while Jay hits his Jay Driller! Cover, The Briscoes & Silas win!
Winners: Silas Young & The Briscoes, Jay Briscoe pinning
The Shinobi Shadow Squad struggles in the Six Man Tag Division against such accomplished opponents. Will it be the Last Real Man and Dem Boyz who move on towards the titles instead?
Rhett Titus speaks.
“Willie Mack, I heard you had plans to take the NWA National Title and defend it in every state across America.” Well Willie, plans change, because the Fittest is looking to take that belt and bring it with him on the Flex Express. Will Rhett’s own plans have to change after facing The Mack next episode?
The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys!
The literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division takes on two other Future of Honor stars. With physiques like theirs, JK and The Number One were hoping for sunny beaches and “beautiful baby dolls”, but instead got “busted up broads and their beer-swilling bozos”! Well that’s no way to talk about the fans or beer! The Bouncers make their way out with plenty of drinks, and Brian Milonas takes the mic. He and The Beer City Bruiser are here to kick ass and drink beer! Will they do just that against these rude rookies?
The Code of Honor is still upheld between the teams, and we start with Bruiser and Keys. Keys shows off his body while teasing Bruiser about the beer belly. Bruiser admits Keys wins the body building, but Bruiser has the fans as they chant “Beer! Beer!” along with him. Keys calls for a test of strength and Bruiser isn’t sure he’s serious. Keys shoves Bruiser and tells him to take it serious. Bruiser accepts the test, and SLAPS Keys off his feet! Keys gets up and kicks but Bruiser catches it. Bruiser spins Keys for an atomic drop. Keys gets to a corner but covers up from Bruiser’s punch. So Bruiser CHOPS instead! And CHOPS, and CHOPS! Fans cheer for more but Keys turns around to protect his chest. So Bruiser CHOPS his back! Keys scrambles to his corner and tags in Johnson.
Johnson fires off on Bruiser but Bruiser shoves him to run him over! Bruiser drags Johnson up but Johnson powers him to the corner. Keys anchors Bruiser’s feet and Johnson gets a sucker punch! Johnson stomps away in the corner then tags in Keys. Keys stomps Bruiser now but lets up at 4. Keys chops Bruiser back then goes to scoop. Bruiser’s too big for that, so Keys gives a European Uppercut. Johnson tags in and rams in his own uppercut. Johnson and Keys work together for a double scoop slam! Cover, ONE, and with power! Bruiser reaches for Milonas but Keys tags back in. Keys stomps Bruiser down then puts Bruiser back in the corner. Keys throws EuroUppers then gestures at Milonas. He runs in for a splash but Bruiser dodges! Keys hits buckles and both men are down!
Fans rally up as Bruiser crawls for his corner. Johnson shouts to Keys, and Keys tags him in. Johnson grabs Bruiser’s feet but Bruiser still gets to Milonas! The Mastodon rallies on both Future of Honor stars! Fans fire up as he pounces Keys out of the ring, then squashes Johson in a corner. Milonas whips Johnson corner to corner for another splash, then scoops. Johnson slips out and shoves Milonas away. Johnson dodges the clothesline but gets a pop-up spinebuster! Keys attacks Milonas from behind but Bruiser gets Keys. Bruiser whips Keys and Milonas gives Keys a pop-up spinebuster! The Bouncers say bottom’s up and grab Johnson. Milonas climbs and Bruiser holds Johnson up, draping leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers win!
Winners: The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning
They kicked ass, now they drink beer! Will the Bouncers find their way to the ROH World Tag Team Championships and drink to a title reign?
Madison Rayne speaks.
“Thunder Rosa, you think that you and Holidead can come into ROH and control the narrative and call the shots?” Here’s the reality: the Twisted Sisterz are the opposite of what the Women of Honor stand for. The Queen Bee vows to make a statement, but will it go the way she hopes?
Willie Mack speaks.
The inaugural NWA National Champion is all about making history, and he makes history with ROH next week. He’ll defend his title in all 50 states, and is already on number 5. If Rhett Titus wants to stay fit, then he better get ready for a fight!
Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead!
As The Queen Bee alluded to, The Twisted Sisterz have done what they want to who they want since joining the Women of Honor Division, including the Ray of Sunshine. Now Sumie stands beside Madison, will they put the trouble-makers in their place?
Madison doesn’t wait for the bell, she goes right at Thunder Rosa! She tackles Rosa down and the bell has to ring as she fires off right hands. Rayne puts Rosa in one corner then runs her all the way to the other. She bumps Rosa off a third then hits a sliding lariat. Rayne runs Rosa over with a shoulder and fires up while Rosa regroups with Holidead. Rayne doesn’t give Rosa much time to regain composure, she goes right out and rocks her with a right! She puts Rosa back in while Sumie keeps her eyes on Holidead. Rayne runs Rosa over with a clothesline but notices Holidead egging Sumie on. Rayne runs and wrecks Holidead with a dropkick! Sumie and the fans cheer Rayne on but Rosa hits Rayne back!
Rosa fetches Rayne and rams her into the apron. She then CHOPS Rayne against the apron, before shoving her into the ring. Rosa stomps Rayne then covers, TWO! Rosa drags Rayne up and bumps Rayne off the buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Rayne but backs off at 4. Rosa snapmares Rayne and kicks her sharp on the back. Holidead wants another so Rosa kicks Rayne again. Rosa runs and dropkicks Rayne in the back, covers, TWO! Sumie coaches Rayne up while Rosa mockingly applauds. Rayne throws body shots but Rosa clubs her down. Rosa scoops and slams Rayne down, then applauds herself. Rosa runs side to side for a BIG leg drop! Cover, TWO! The Queen Bee is in trouble while we go to break.
ROH returns and Rosa toys with Rayne. Rayne throws forearms back and enziguris! Rosa falls over and Rayne covers, TWO! Holidead is relieved but Rayne keeps on Rosa. Rosa throws Rayne down by her hair, then drags her up for chops. Rosa whips Rayne corner to corner then runs in for a big back elbow! She snapmares Rayne to a cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rayne but Rose wraps on a chinlock. Rayne endures and fights her way up, but Rosa throws her back down. Cover, TWO! Rosa grabs Rayne for more chops, then does a little salsa to show off. She whips but Rayne reverses and things speed up, Rayne SPEARS Rosa down! But Rayne is also down and a standing 10 count begins.
The count reaches 5 as both women sit up. Rosa grabs Rayne and brings her up but Rayne fires forearms! Rayne dodges Rosa and rallies with more forearms. Rayne fires up and goes corner to corner but Rose catches her! Rosa puts Rayne on the top rope but Rayne boots her back. Rayne leaps for the crossbody! Both women are back up, Rayne ducks a kick to give an enziguri! Cover, TWO! Rayne keeps on Rosa with a waistlock. She wrings Rosa out but Rosa goes to swing. Rayne adjusts and gets around Rosa again for a dragon sleeper. Rosa elbows out and brings Rayne up into the Gory Especial, and spins around for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Rayne survives and the Twisted Sisterz are shocked!
Rosa is furious as she drags Rayne right up onto her shoulder! Rosa spins but Rayne slips out for the Rayne Drop! Cover, Rayne wins!
Winner: Madison Rayne, by pinfall
The Queen Bee wins outta nowhere and gets revenge on behalf of Sumie Sakai! Will Rayne and others teach the Twisted Sisterz a lesson about being Women of Honor?
Team Coast2Coast speaks.
“We were gone for a very long time, but for good reason.” Shaheem Ali and Leon St. Giovanni were “rediscovering” themselves. But now C2C is better than ever and will take on the best in the world! Their return is next week against Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham, will Chocolate Man and the Human Rocket be ready for the Franchise and the Octopus?
Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero!
The partnership of ROH and NJPW is on display as the Submission Master returns! But not only that, the player-coach of Roppongi 3K makes his own return! Will Rocky make a run in ROH for gold? Or will he #JustTapOut?
ROH returns with the bell! Fans cheer Rocky on as he circles with ZSJ. Rocky keeps away from ZSJ’s grip and then they approach. ZSJ still gets Rocky down with a headlock but Rocky keeps up with his reversals. ZSJ gets free but both he and Rocky smirk as they circle again. They tie up again and ZSJ gets the arm. He cranks on it to get Rocky to the mat. Rocky endures the wristlock and ZSJ grinds a knee in. Rocky gets to his feet but ZSJ wrenches and arm-drags Rocky back down. Fans cheer ZSJ’s technique as he twists and pulls Rocky’s arm. Rocky spins through and gets up to dropkick ZSJ out of the ring! ZSJ is frustrated already as he kicks the railing. Rocky waits for ZSJ as he catches his breath.
ZSJ returns and circles with Rocky. They tie up and ZSJ gets a leg. He trips Rocky and stands on his feet. ZSJ twists the leg around and then ties the legs up so he can go after Rocky’s neck with a wrench. But he also hooks the face so the ref counts. ZSJ lets up at 4 to bring Rocky into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow. Rocky pops out to a cover, TWO! Fans applaud as Rocky and ZSJ circle again. Rocky and ZSJ approach and Rocky gets ZSJ’s leg now. Rocky waistlocks but ZSJ wrenches to a switch. ZSJ wrenches again and brings Rocky to his knees. ZSJ brings Rocky further down as he mounts the arm to pull back. Fans applaud while Rocky endures the pair of knuckle locks.
Rocky and ZSJ go shoulder to shoulder but ZSJ gets the cover. TWO so ZSJ tries again. TWO as Rocky brings up the shoulder, so ZSJ pushes it down. Rocky bridges this time, and then anticipates ZSJ hopping on with a monkey flip! It’s a double cover, but Rocky rolls back, only to get caught into ZSJ’s armbar! Rocky rolls and shifts but ZSJ slips out to a hammerlock. Fans applaud this continued exchange as Rocky reaches back for ZSJ. Rocky leaps and snapmares but ZSJ headbutts back. ZSJ snapmares but Rocky handsprings through to dropkick him down! Rocky brings ZSJ up for a chop then a cravat. ZSJ endures but Rocky snapmares. ZSJ responds with his own snapmare, but then Rocky snapmares back. They go snapmare for snapmare, but then ZSJ shoves Rocky down for a neck crank! Rocky writhes while we go to one last break.
ROH returns once again as Rocky manages a ropebreak while in a modified Bow ‘n’ Arrow. ZSJ reluctantly lets go, and waits for Rocky to sit up. ZSJ clamps on a half straitjacket, then digs in elbows and knuckles to get the full. Rocky endures as fans rally up. Rocky feeds off the energy but ZSJ does his best to keep Rocky down. The two struggle against each other, and ZSJ digs a knee in to keep the straitjacket. Rocky stands and spins the straitjacket around but ZSJ spins it back on. ZSJ brings Rocky back down then flips him over, but Rocky uses that to reverse the hold! Rocky has ZSJ but ZSJ breaks free to throw a EuroUpper. ZSJ whips but Rocky elbows back. Rocky springboards for a tornado DDT! Both men are down but fans rally up.
Another standing count begins and Rocky sits up at 3. ZSJ follows and grabs Rocky first. Rocky dodges and huricanranas! Things speed up, Rocky springboards again for a crossbody! Cover, TWO! Rocky toys with ZSJ, then starts slapping him around. ZSJ EuroUppers then grabs a leg. Rocky misses the first enziguri but not the rewind! Fans fire up with Rocky as he runs corner to corner to start the Forever Clotheslines! He gets one, then another, but runs into a boot! ZSJ runs but into Rocky’s leaping knee, only to make it an STF! Rocky is caught, and ZSJ shifts sides! Rocky drags himself around and manages a ropebreak! ZSJ lets Rocky go and catches his breath. Now ZSJ toys with Rocky as he stomps him around. ZSJ kicks but Rocky gets mad. ZSJ pie faces so Rocky SLAPS away!
Rocky knees and hauls ZSJ up to the top rope. Rocky runs corner to corner for a top shelf knee! ZSJ falls to the apron but Rocky checks his shoulder first. Rocky brings ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the suplex. ZSJ goes after the arm but Rocky throws forearms. Rocky shoulders in but gets caught into an Octopus through the ropes! ZSJ lets go at 4 then shoves Rocky away. Rocky dropkicks ZSJ on the return! Rocky throws forearms and CHOPS, then ties ZSJ up in the ropes. He goes to the side and springboards for a guillotine missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Rocky is exhausted. Fans build to a rally for Rocky as he brings ZSJ up. Rocky throws forearms on ZSJ then eggs him on. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper, but Rocky comes back for fast hands. Rocky kicks and runs for a Sliced Bread! Cover, TWO!
Rocky drags ZSJ up again and wants more, but ZSJ escapes Sliced Bread 2 for the standing abdominal stretch! Rocky reaches but ZSJ rolls him away, then around, Hurrah! The double wrist-clutch octopus is on and Rocky taps quickly! ZSJ wins!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission
The Submission Master brings in Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last. Will ZSJ’s first year in ROH be golden sooner rather than later?
Another ROH PPV, another disconnect between it and their television episodes. This episode, as all episodes are, was clearly recorded long before the PPV as nothing that happened at the PPV affects this episode’s events. For those who didn’t see the ROH 17th Anniversary, make sure to check here for the full card results. But for those who did, you know The Briscoes lost the the ROH World Tag Team Championships to Villain Enterprises, yet Jay & Mark still had the belts here. And all this makes it strange for commentary to vaguely reference the PPV when it hadn’t happened for them yet. The Six Man Tag they had was only okay, so I don’t see why it couldn’t have been three other Heels going against Shinobi Shadow Squad to get the spotlight instead.
In fact, seeing as how more Future of Honor stars were brought on for this episode, I’m starting to think that’s what episodes like this should be about. ROH Future of Honor stars can appear, get some television exposure, and take the card in place of literally anyone involved on the PPV card. And of course, facing Future of Honor stars meant an easy win for The Bouncers, who might finally be moving up now that they’re Faces. Meanwhile, Rhett Titus’ new gimmick is like if Lex Luger and Val Venis fused, but then the combination was slightly diluted. But Rhett VS Mack, even non-title, sounds fun. Pretty sure Mack wins that, but bringing NWA and its new championship into the fold of ROH’s many partnerships also sounds great.
Rayne VS Rosa was a good match, and I’m sensing this is building to something more. I’ve said before that having the Twisted Sisterz in WOH must mean Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the horizon, and it would be pretty big if Sumie Sakai joins Rayne in competing for those. I don’t think Rayne & Sumie would be the inaugural champions, that really should be the Twisted Sisterz given their resumes. But Sumie one day becoming a tag champ to be the first woman to have both the WOH World and Tag Team Championships would be a great thing for her own career. ZSJ VS Romero was a good match, and clearly ZSJ is set to dominate to at least a World Television Championship level. ZSJ VS Jeff Cobb would be great for the sheer difference in styles, but we know it’ll have to wait until after G1 Supercard.
My Score: 8/10