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Mitchell’s WWE NXT Report! (1/10/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Shayna Baszler VS Dakota Kai; Shayna wins, via referee stoppage.
  • Kassius Ohno VS Raul Mendoza; Ohno wins.
  • Lars Sullivan VS Lio Rush; Sullivan wins.
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS SAnitY; canceled.
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS Roderick Strong & Aleister Black; The Undisputed Era wins and retains the NXT Tag Team Championships.

PLAY BY PLAY

“Welcome to 2018, boys and girls.”

The is the Year of the Undisputed Era. They closed 2017 “in style” by obtaining the NXT Tag Team Championships, but as far as Bobby Fish is concerned, they’re just getting started. The Undisputed Era will show the world why they’re the “baddest team on the planet.” The Era of the Undisputed shall dominate 2018, starting with tonight’s NXT Tag Team Championship rematch. Kyle O’Reilly promises SAnitY will be dealt with “once and for all.” As for “yours truly”, Adam Cole, he promises to end anyone who gets in the way of him become the NXT Champion. Ca the Undisputed Era solidify their legacy’s beginning here in NXT?

 

Shayna Baszler VS Dakota Kai!

The Queen of Spades and one-fourth of the MMA Four Horsewomen finally makes her in-ring debut in NXT! She’s already made an impact after she blindsided the woman who defeated her in the Mae Young Classic, Kairi Sane, and then went a little too far with Performance Center trainee, Jessie Jay. If that’s what she’s done before this in-ring debut, what will she do to her opponent here tonight?

Dakota Kai herself competed in the MYC, but didn’t get as far. Can the Captain of Team Kick avenge Jessie Jay while ruining Shayna’s debut?

The bell rings, the two circle, fans know “Shayna’s gonna kill~ you.” Shayna backs Dakota to a corner and doesn’t break until 4. Even when she does let Dakota go, Shayna trips her with a swift leg sweep. Dakota gets up and shoves Shayna, then gets around for a waistlock. The Submission Magician breaks free and uses a Japanese arm-drag to bring Dakota to the mat, then wrenches that arm in a modified hammerlock. Dakota resists but Shayna still wrenches that wrist and elbow around all sorts of ways. Shayna drags Dakota up, and serves that shoulder some Sole Food.

Dakota scrambles to ropes, but Shayna doesn’t care, she kicks Dakota right in the ribs. Shayna stalks Dakota, and stands on that bad hand to grind it into the mat. Then she stomps right on the elbow!

Dakota screams and writhes in pain, Shayna just grins. The referee keeps her back while he checks on Dakota. Fans boo and jeer, but Shayna embraces the heat as this match ends in a Referee Stoppage! Shayna raises her own hand in victory while the ref calls for medics.

And she’s not done with Dakota, either! She puts on the Kirafuda rear-naked choke just because!

Dakota fades into unconsciousness, and the referees cannot pry Shayna off her. Ember Moon appears to make the save!

Shayna lets go, laughing and grinning as she signals to Ember that she’s coming for the belt. Ember first checks on Dakota Kai, then turns her attention to Shayna. The referee manages to keep them apart, and Shayna is taking her leave anyway. If the Queen of Spades was this merciless in a debut, what will she do to become NXT Women’s Champion?

 

The Authors of Pain speak.

The AoP, “the most brutal force in NXT”, are coming for SAnitY and the Undisputed Era. It doesn’t matter who, where or when, whoever holds the NXT Tag Team Championships “will suffer”.

 

Backstage interview with Shayna Baszler.

It looks like Shayna broke Dakota’s arm, then continued to attack her after the match was stopped. Why? GM William Regal came in to change this from interview to a meeting with the boss. Shayna knows Regal’s resume, so he knows the game she’s playing. Ambushes, injuring other wrestlers, those tactics won’t get her a championship match. Is that all he has to say? Shayna leaves, will Regal’s message be ignored?

 

Kassius Ohno VS Raul Mendoza!

The Knockout Artist is looking for a way back to the NXT Championship picture, but the Cruiserweight Classic competitor is still looking for his breakout moment. Which man will get a step closer to what they want here tonight?

The fans are strongly behind Ohno as the bell rings. The two circle, and shake hands respectfully. They tie up, Mendoza gets behind with a waistlock to headlock, but Ohno just stands up tall to lift Mendoza off the ground. Mendoza brings Ohno back down so both men can touch the ground, but Ohno powers him back up. Mendoza sunset flips, TWO, Ohno gets the high stack but Mendoza rolls through to sit for a pin, but then Ohno counters that with a roll. ONE, Mendoza runs in but Ohno trips him up for another cover, ONE. Ohno throws Mendoza to a corner, Mendoza hops up and over to the apron. Mendoza shoulders into Ohno’s stomach, then climbs up top. Ohno yanks him down, but Mendoza makes that into a swinging headscissors!

Oklahoma roll, TWO! Mendoza goes after Ohno with kicks, but Ohno blocks one to flip Mendoza, then boots him right into another corner! Fans fire up as Ohno stalks Mendoza. He drags Mendoza up, and gives him a sharp chop in the corner. Fans want “One more time!” so Ohno gives Mendoza a stiff elbow strike. Cover, TWO, but Ohno is not frustrated. He toys with Mendoza, then drags him up into a Gory Special!

Mendoza endures the stretch, and pops out! Victory roll, TWO, and Ohno is right on Mendoza with a flipping knee smash. Back senton added on, cover, TWO. Ohno looks a bit annoyed, but the fans are cheering him on. He yanks Mendoza up but Mendoza lands on his feet to arm-drag Ohno away. Mendoza gives Ohno a big forearm, Ohno responds with a chop. Ohno whips Mendoza, Mendoza slips to the apron and kicks Ohno away. Springboard flying arm-drag! Mendoza gets running, springboard enziguri!

Cover, TWO! Mendoza is shocked by how close he got. The fans rally for Ohno, who pops Mendoza up onto his shoulders, for an electric chair hotshot and then a boot! Ohno gets running, and leaps for the High Tension elbow!

Ohno wins! Mendoza’s moment will have to wait. Can Ohno’s NXT Championship dream still come true?

 

NXT Paparazzi interviewed Zelina Vega.

Andrade Almas and Vega are “more on the same page now than we’ve ever been before.” He understands now that while it takes a lot of work to become champion, it also takes a lot of work to stay champion. Vega vows that Almas will stay champion through TakeOver: Philadelphia.

They ask Vega about Johnny Gargano earning the right to challenge Almas, what are her thoughts? “Earned”? Is that what he did? No, Gargano got lucky. He is no fighter, he is an opportunist. Gargano let three other men beat the hell out of each other and then took advantage. Does that sound like a champion? Almas has beaten Gargano twice already, Philadelphia will be no different. Plus, in DIY, it was his tag team partner who was successful, not Gargano. Just like Cinderella stories and fairy tales, “Johnny Wrestling” is not real. But the reality is Andrade “Cien” Almas.

As Vega said, Almas beat Gargano twice before, but what will it take to win this third time? Vega would not be this successful if she gave secrets away. She will never give away her secrets, but she promises Almas is more prepared than ever. Almas will make sure Gargano understands there is no getting around him. Vega is confident, Almas is confident, but can Gargano shock them both?

 

Backstage interview with Johnny Gargano.

How is the #1 contender feeling this close to his TakeOver NXT Championship match? Winning that right in a Fatal 4 Way, when no one thought he would, “words can’t describe”. However, the Velveteen Dream appears!

“Say it.” Say what? Say “thank you”, for not being in the NXT Championship Contender Series. Gargano got lucky by beating “a guy” named Kassius Ohno; and he says “guy” because Ohno does NOT look like a superstar. And then it took Gargano 20 minutes to do it? Velveteen could’ve put Ohno away 30 seconds tops. They all know it. Gargano was also lucky to have pinned Aleister Black, which shouldn’t have happened. They all know it. And Gargano won’t beat Almas for the title. They all know it. Oh, and Gargano didn’t earn Velveteen Dream’s spot. Velveteen deserves his spot. They all know it. Will these mind-games affect Gargano this close to TakeOver?

 

The Street Profits bring Street Talk backstage to NXT.

As great as they feel, both Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford feel they need to “step the gold game up.”

Speaking of gold, they can just go right into William Regal’s office. Wait, no, they can’t just barge in, they’re better than that. They must have manners. They knock on his door, enter inside, and say hello. The Profits compliment him on his suit, and politely decline water bottles. Dawkins & Ford have been thinking that, given how they promised to bring “the gold to the streets” in 2018, and given how they’re undefeated as a team… When are the Street Profits getting their shot? Regal tells them that yes, they are undefeated, and they do need to start 2018 with a bang. Next week on NXT, they will compete in an NXT Tag Team Championship #1 contender’s match. It will be The Street Profits VS… The Authors of Pain. The Street Profits like the sound of that. They fire up with Regal, and promise not to disappoint. “Street Talk: we out!”

 

Lars Sullivan VS Lio Rush!

The Man of the Hour is back on NXT TV, but does he have a chance against the Leviathan?

The bell rings, Lio barely avoids Lars rushing in. Lars swings but Lio dodges, Lio kicks but Lars blocks. Lio slaps Lars, then evades his wrath, a big grin on his face. They cat ‘n’ mouse, Lio hits Lars with a handspring heel kick! But, Lars doesn’t fall! Lio keeps going, Lars grabs him with one hand and yanks him against the ropes. Lars gets in the ring while Lio gasps for air. Lars whips Lio corner to corner HARD!

The Leviathan roars as Lio crumples to the floor. He rushes in, Lio manages to jump up and over! Fans rally for Lio but Lars is upon him, and barrels him into a corner. Lio dodges again, Lars goes into the post! Lio runs, but gets clobbered with a clothesline! Lars drags Lio up, for the Freak Accident!

Lars wins! Lio shouldn’t feel too bad for losing, no one has slowed the Leviathan down. Though, will Lio feel much of anything after such domination?

Lars Sullivan takes to the mic.

“I faced opponent after opponent, sometimes two at once, and they’ve all fallen by my hands.” Lars keeps thinking back to that Fatal 4 Way, when he “dealt with a force” he’d never felt before. And he liked it. “Because it’s a force that I want to destroy!” The Leviathan calls out Killian Dain! When behemoths collide, who will survive? Not Lio! Lars hauls his limp body up to the top rope, for a SUPER FREAK ACCIDENT!

Lars Sullivan’s love of destruction will not be satisfied until he faces the Beast of Belfast. Who will come out the superior monster in NXT?

 

BREAKING: A Backstage Brawl Between SAnitY & Undisputed Era!

Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish put out Eric Young using the walls and spare fencing, Adam Cole clobbers Dain with a lead pipe! Alexander Wolfe has also been decimated nearby. “We make the rules, you follow the rules!” With SAnitY out, is the NXT Tag Team Championship match canceled?

 

NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS SAnitY!

After laying out their opponents, is there even a need for the duo known as reDRagon to come out here? O’Reilly, Fish and “Adam Cole, BAYBAY” took care of Young, Wolfe & Dain, there is no one to challenge for the NXT Tag Team Championships now. The UE take to the mic with mix reactions from the fans. “Hey, Champs, I kinda got a weird feeling that maybe we’re missing something right now.” Yeah, where is SAnitY? Bobby, weren’t they supposed to challenge for the titles? Maybe SAnitY forgot. No, they “kicked the chaos” out of them! And will do so to any team that thinks they– Speaking of chaos, Nikki Cross is rabid on the stage!

The UE taunt her and her fury as referees drag her away. Cole has a good laugh, even as Cross gets a second wind. The fans want her to get her hands on Cole and his team, but it doesn’t happen. “Now, before I was so rudely int”– another interruption from NXT GM, William Regal!

Regal will make Fish & O’Reilly defend those titles tonight. And Roderick Strong appears to add on. “I’ll fight these guys.”

In fact, Strong can go find a partner. He won’t have to, a partner finds him! It’s ALEISTER BLACK!

The Embodiment of the End has his own grudge against the Undisputed Era, and the fans are fired up to see him. Black volunteers to join the fight! He and Strong rush the ring, and brawl with reDRagon!

Strong gets O’Reilly out of the ring, Aleister kicks Fish out. The Undisputed Era regroups on the outside while this chaos calms down over a commercial break.

NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS Roderick Strong & Aleister Black!

NXT returns and the bell rings, with O’Reilly and Aleister starting for their teams. The two circle, Fish tries to swipe at Aleister. Aleister scares him off, but is still able to thwart Kyle’s sneak attack. Aleister kicks Kyle towards his corner, but Fish comes in and takes a back elbow. O’Reilly tries to counter attack but Aleister unleashes a strike fest! Cover, ONE, Aleister is back on Kyle right away. Kyle gets out and regroups with Fish, Strong comes in to wreck Fish with a wrecking ball dropkick!

Strong then feeds Kyle back into the ring, Aleister sweeps the legs! Oklahoma Roll, TWO, but Aleister brings Kyle down with an arm-drag. He puts on an armbar, Kyle endures the wrench. Tag to Strong, Strong and Aleister double whip Kyle, Kyle runs into Strong’s calf kick! Cover, TWO, but Strong stays on Kyle. Fans cheer on Roddy as he whips Kyle into the corner and gives him a stiff chop. Strong lifts Kyle up, and gives him a pendulum backbreaker, TWO! Strong keeps on Kyle with a half-clutch stretch. Kyle crawls around and works his way to his feet. Strong gives him a knee, then tags Aleister back in. Aleister whips Kyle, Kyle grabs ropes then dumps Aleister to the apron. Aleister knocks Kyle away, but that gives Fish an opening to sweep the legs, and Aleister crashes onto the apron edge!

Fans boo while Aleister slumps to the floor. Strong protests but reDRagon is back in control as we go to break.

NXT returns again, and fans rally for Aleister while Fish tags in Kyle. Kyle unloads strikes on Aleister until the referee backs him off. Tag back to Fish, and reDRagon mugs Aleister in their corner. Tag back to Kyle, he sweeps the leg then puts on a leg lock. Fish tags in, to then slingshot senton in!

Cover, TWO! Fish keeps focus as he brings Aleister up and unloads body shots. Tag to Kyle, Aleister fights back. Kyle takes him down and unloads palm strikes. Fans boo and jeer while Kyle taunts Strong. Kyle brings Aleister up and puts him in the reDRagon corner. Tag to Fish, then a cheap shot to Strong, Kyle runs in for a forearm smash, Fish follows up for a knee smash, then Kyle comes back around for the running roundhouse. Kyle feeds Aleister to Fish, Fish gives Aleister an exploder! Cover, Strong breaks the pin. Strong coaches Aleister up and fans rally, but Fish puts Aleister in a chinlock. Aleister feeds off the fans’ energy, and fights out of the hold. Fish clubs him and whips him, but Aleister sunset flips over, TWO! They get to opposite ends, Fish walks over but Aleister gives him a knee strike right to the head. The fans rally again, Aleister and Fish crawl for their corners, hot tags to Kyle and Strong! Strong rallies, corner Shining Wizard for Fish and a flurry of strikes for Kyle! He whips and dropkicks Kyle, then fires up! Strong bumps Kyle off Fish, chops Kyle, repeat! Another whip, but Kyle reverses, only to end up in a half-nelson backbreaker!

Fish returns, Strong throws him overhead and onto Kyle!

Strong is all fired up, as are the fans! He runs in at Kyle, corner Shining Wizard and running slam! Fish breaks the cover, then knocks Aleister back off the apron. Strong throws Fish out, but Kyle gets him with a low kick. Kyle hits the Axe, but Strong hits the Smash with that knee strike! Both men down, the fans are fired up. Fish is furious, but then Aleister blasts him into the steel steps with a boot!

The Dutch Destroyer isn’t done there. He puts Fish in the ring, but then Cole appears and attacks Aleister!

However, Aleister stays standing. He scares Cole back with a glare, then pursues up into the bleachers.

Cole asks Aleister calm down, even as Cole backpedals and Aleister stomps his way up the steps. However, without someone watching Strong’s back, reDRagon hits TOTAL ELIMINATION!

The Undisputed Era win and retain! Fish & O’Reilly are ecstatic, Aleister is flabbergasted!

Aleister will not stand for this, he storms down back to the ring. He strikes Fish with a roundhouse and then clobbers Kyle with one. Cole returns to throw Aleister right into a post! Cole has reDRagon drag Aleister out and add on knees before Cole gives Aleister right hands. “You’ll never be us! You’ll never beat us!” He then backs up and gives a bicycle boot right to Aleister’s face! Then, Cole mocks Aleister by lifting him up with his foot, and feeds him to TOTAL ELIMINATION!

The fans boo and jeer the Undisputed Era, but they don’t care. Cole has Kyle prepare something even worse. Kyle goes out, and grabs a chair. Fish drags Aleister up while Cole takes that chair and sets it up. Fish feeds Aleister to Cole’s fireman’s carry, Ushigoroshi to the chair!

The referee calls in help while Cole asks Aleister, “Have we made it clear?!” The Undisputed Era stands over Aleister and poses with the belts.

Fans continue to boo and jeer as the Undisputed Era sees themselves out. However, William Regal meets them at the stage.

“Philadelphia has an extreme history.” Regal tells Adam Cole that he’ll be facing Aleister Black at TakeOver: Philadelphia, in an Extreme Rules match!! Cole glares at Regal, but then he backs off, and grins. He already gave Aleister a taste tonight, will he finish the Embodiment of the End in the City of Brotherly Love?

 

My Thoughts:

This was a great night, and almost a full hour! I was shocked to see Shayna win from referee stoppage, but that actually goes a long way towards her character. She could be like the Samoa Joe of the Women’s Division with her lack of remorse, and I kinda felt bad for Dakota Kai being her victim. Dakota already hasn’t been used all that much in NXT, and now she’ll be kayfabe injured and off TV again. As for Shayna, she is coming out as a front-runner for Ember Moon’s #1 contender, despite what Regal said. And if Ember VS Shayna happens, it will make complete sense if Shayna takes that title from Ember the first try. Ohno-Mendoza was a great, competitive match (though it was technically filler) and builds Mendoza up a bit in the mid-card. Both men are just waiting for something, I’d think Ohno will go to main roster finally via the Royal Rumble. Mendoza can then rise up in a story similar to Tye Dillinger or Johnny Gargano, winning over fans over time and being a workhorse to help elevate others.

It was great to see Lio Rush back on NXT TV, too bad for him it was against Lars Sullivan. Lars-Lio was still a great match, like a not-squash squash match. Lars calling out Big Damo is great, their match is going to be great, and the winner will look exponentially stronger for it. The NXT Tag Team Championship #1 contender’s match of AoP VS Street Profits is going to be fun, and both teams did great promo work tonight. While the AoP is heavily favored, I anticipate the Street Profits surprising us. This will, at the very least, give the AoP their way out onto the main roster. The Undisputed Era attacking SAnitY to weasel their way out of the title defense was a nice surprise, and then the last-minute slapdash team of Strong & Black was incredible. Of course, Undisputed Era was going to retain, they need to lose those belts to an established tag team, but it was a masterful way of building to it. Cole-Black in Extreme Rules is going to be insane, but I can’t see them using it as a way to end Aleister’s singles undefeated streak, that’d just be cheap. It will also be the first time Aleister gets extreme in WWE/NXT, I want to see what he’s capable of.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Ja’Von’s IMPACT Redemption PPV Live Report! (4/22/18)

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Impact Wrestling Redemption PPV

IMPACT Wrestling presents Redemption tonight, live from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. A total of eight matches are announced, including the much anticipated triple threat (re)match between Impact World Champion Austin Aries, Pentagon Jr, and Fenix. The promotion has debuted new championships (Tag Team, Knockouts, X-Division, World), and a new stage/set.

Keep Refreshing For The Latest Results!


IMPACT Redemption Quick Results:

  • Impact World Championship
    Austin Aries (c) vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix: NEW Impact Wrestling World Champion Pentagon Jr. 
  • Impact Knockouts Championship
    Allie (c) vs. Su Yung: STILL Knockouts Champion Allie via pinfall
  • Impact X Division Championship
    Matt Sydal (c) vs. Petey Williams: STILL X-Division Champion Matt Sydal via pinfall
  • Impact World Tag Team Championship
    LAX (c) vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner: NEW Impact Tag Team Champions Eli Drake and Scott Steiner via pinfall
  • House Of Hardcore 6-Man Tag Match
    Tommy Dreamer, Moose, and Eddie Edwards vs. oVe: oVe via pinfall
  • Ishimori vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Brian Cage vs. DJZ vs. Trevor Lee: Brain Cage via pinfall
  • Aerostar vs. Drago: Aerostar via pinfall
  • Taya Valkyrie vs. Kiera Hogan: Taya Valykire via pinfall 

 


IMPACT Redemption Play-By-Play:

Redemption opens up with the cold opening.

Drago vs Aerostar:

Drago vs Aerostar kicks us off tonight as Drago makes his way to the ring. Aerostar makes his way to the ring next. Collar and elbow tie up with a go around and Aerostar gets the upper hand with a headlock but Drago turns it around into a wristlock hold on Star. The match starts to pick up the pace just a tad with back and fourth counters. Aerostar dodges Drago and connects with kick to the chest.

Aerostar kicks Drago in the face while he’s in the ropes. Fast forward a bit and Drago launches Aerostar with his feet from the corner and follows up with a kick to the head. Back and forth we go and Aerostar is driven out of the ring and Drago follows it up with twisting tope con hiro and throws Aerostar back in the ring for a two count. Drago stays on Aerostar and flips he over into the seated position and connects with a kick to the back of the head. Drago picks up Aerstar to follow but Aerostar counters and gains control of the March sending Drago out of the ring and hitting his signature move La Bonetia and gets a two count.

Back and forth ww go with multiple covers only getting two counts. Both guys have the same idea in their heads as they hit double clotheslines and both men are down. Aerostar comes charging in at Drago but he counters with a back breaker across the knee followed by a kick to the side of thehead. Drago then hits a hangman’s DDT for a two count. Drago hits multiple shots on Aerostar but Aerostar pushes Drago out of the ring and follows with a tope. Star rolls Drago back in the ring and covers him for a two count. Aerostar stays on Drago but comes up empty and Drago knocks down Aerostar for a two count. Drago puts Aerostar in the La Miestra cradle for a two count. Aerostar is planted with a powerbomb and looks to go for another but wastes time and allows Aerostar to counter and hit a springboard neckbreaker.  Aerostar hits Drago with a flying codebreaker for the pinfall victory.

Winner: Aerostar via pinfall 

Backstage segment showing Josh Mathews and Matt Sydal talking and Matthews saying that Sydal has fully blossom and doesn’t need him anymore. He also wishes him luck in his title match tonight against Petey Williams.

Eli Drake and Scott Steiner vs LAX (Impact Tag Team Championship Match):

LAX is shown in the clubhouse getting ready for their match. They get a call and apparently someone has taken out Konnan but they don’t know who. They now have to refocus and get ready to defend their titles. Eli Drake makes his way to the ring and debuts a new theme song. Scott Steiner makes his way to the ring for the match.

LAX make their way to the ring without Konnan. LAX is jumping at the bit to get at Eli Drake as the ref holds them back.

Collar and elbow tie up and Eli pushes Santana into the corner. Drake begins to trash talk Santana and regrets it immediately and finds himself in enemy territory. Ortiz tags in and they hit double team maneuvers for a two count. Drake fights back and hits a knee to the gut of Ortiz. Steiner and Eli hit a double team maneuver which knocks Ortiz out of the ring and Eli follows him out and knocks him down. Drake throws Ortiz back in and tags in Scott who gets a one count. Stiener hits a big move on Santana and then the same move on Ortiz. Drake tags in and hits his signature elbow for a two count.

Ortiz begins to fight back and Steiner tags himself in but gets pushed into a corner and eats a boot for his troubles. Both Ortiz and Steiner tag out and Santana fires off on Drake. LAX begins their double team maneuvers for maximum impact but Steiner stops them in their tracks and hit a overhead suplex on Santana. Steiner sets Santana up on the top rope and hits a frankensteiner. Scott tries to lock in the Steiner recliner but Ortiz comes back in and breaks it up. Down the stretch Scott Steiner was taken out but Santana and Drake hits the gravey train on Ortiz for the pinfall victory.

Winners: NEW Impact Tag Team Champions Eli Drake and Scott Steiner 

Dezmond Xavier vs Trevor Lee vs Taiji Ishimori vs El Hijo del Fantasma vs DJZ vs Brian Cage (Six Way Match):

Everyone makes their way to the ring for the match. DJZ and Dezmond Xavier start the match and DJZ gets a wristlock on Xavier. Dezmond counters and gets a side headlock on DJZ. DJZ counters and puts Xavier in a headlock of his own.

The match begins to pick up a bit and Dezmons hits a dropkick on DJZ which kicks him into a corner. DJZ knocks Ishimori off the apron with a flying senton flip. Since DJZ went to the outside Trevor Lee gets in the ring and thinks he tossed Xavier out of the ring. Xavier toss Lee out of the ring and Fantasma enters the ring. This match takes off and the two men that become legal are Ishimori and Fantasma. Ishimori hits a springboard senton. Ishimori gets taken to the outside and Trevor Lee comes in and gets a two count on Fantasma.

The match breaks down and Lee has now attacked Cage twice but he’s still on the apron while everyone is down. Cage finally gets in the ring and hits multiple clothesline to Trevor in the corner. Xavier enters the ring and almost gets thrown out of the ring for his troubles. Fantasma and Ishimori try to take out Cage who fights back and hits a springboard moonsault on Taji. Cage is eventually sent out of the ring and DJZ hits a DDT to the outside of the ring taking out Cage.

The match is fast and furious as Xavier and Fantasma work together to take out Brian Cage to no avail. Trevor Lee enters the ring and counters him for a two count. Down the stretch Cage takes out Lee, Fantasma and hits the Drill Claw on Dezmond Xavier for the win.

Winner: Brian Cage via pinfall

Taya Valykire vs Kiera Hogan:

Taya Valkyrie makes her way to the ring.

Kiera Hogan makes her way to the ring for the match. Taya pushes Hogan down to the mat. Hogan uses her speed against Taya but she knocks her down with an elbow. Kiera fights back and hits a hurricanrana on Valykire in the corner. Kiera keeps it up on Taya and hits a springboard move on Taya. The match spills to the outside but Taya eventually regains control.

TESSA BLANCHARD JOINS THE COMMENTARY TABLE MIDMATCH. Taya stays on Hogan but Kiera fights back for a bit but Taya counters and hits a big move for a two count. Taya then hits Kiera with a big knee for another two count. Kiera tries to fight back while Taya holds her hair with multiple elbows. Hogan breaks free and hits a huge double sledgehammer on Taya for a two count.

Taya rushes Hogan in the corner but Kiera counters and stomps down Valykire. Taya fights back and hits a big suplex for a two count. Taya has had enough of Kiera and clubs Hogan in the back of the neck with multiple elbows in the corner. Taya Valkyrie eventually hits the Road to Valhalla for the win.

Winner: Taya Valkyrie via pinfall

Matt Sydal vs Petey Williams (X-Division Championship Match):

Petey Williams makes his way to the ring for the championship match with his feast or fired briefcase.

Matt Sydal makes his way to the ring to defend his title. Collar and elbow tie up and Petey goes for the go behind Sydal counters and takes down William’s with a headlock then turns it into a head scissors. Sydal then puts a submission on Petey but Williams breaks it and gets Matt in the corner and hits a gut shot on Sydal. Matt counters but Petey then counters and sets up Sydal on the top rope and hits a hurricanrana. Petey sets Sydal in the tree of woe and steps on his no no area then a superkick on his knee.

Petey continues the aggression and attacking the lower body of Matt. Sydal eventually gets control of the match and wears down Petey. Sydal hits a standing moonsault on Petey for a two count. Petey is thrown into the corner and Sydal rushes in but eats an elbow for his troubles. Petey hits a big move and both men are down for a moment. The match picks back up a bit as Petey hits a big Russian Legsweep. Both guys go back and forth and Sydal gains control and knocks Petey in the corner and hits a sliding knee on Petey. Sydal tires to go for a hurricanrana but Petey counters and locks in a submission on Sydal. Matt breaks free and goes to the apron to recover but Petey meets him out their hitting a slingshot code breaker knocking Sydal to the floor. Williams throws Sydal back in the ringgit Sydal counters and hits a big knee then a hurricanrana. William’s fights back and hits the Canadian Destroyer but Matt rolls out of the ring. Petey follows and drags Sydal back in the ring and goes for a super Canadian Destroyer but Matt holds on and eventually hits a pumphandle slam for the pinfall victory.

Winner: STILL X-Division Champion Matt Sydal

Moose, Eddie Edwards, and Tommy Dreamer vs oVe (House of Hardcore Rules Match):

oVe makes their way to the ring for the match followed by Tommy Dreamer, Moose, and Eddie Edwards. What makes this a little interesting all the competitors are in street clothes. Jake Crist is caught mid dive and powerslammed into the apron.

Sami Callhian comes in to attack but taken down. The faces grab the toys and get started taking out oVe. Dreamer connects with a cookie sheet to Jake Crist and then sets him up in the tree of woe.

Dreamer was about to hit Crist with a chair but Sami comes in and hits a big boot taking out Tommy. Sami takes out Eddie and covers him for a two count. Moose comes in and hits a pop up powerbomb on Callihan. Moose goes for a tope con hilo but lands right on the ladder.

Dreamer and Eddie back inthering locks in submissions on the christ brothers. Sami gets back in the ring to make the save. Callihan instructs the Crist Brothers to get the the tables. They set up two tables on the outside. oVe have Eddie all alone inthe ring and go on the attack but Eddie fights back until Sami hits him in the head with a trashcan. The Crist Brothers hit the all seeing eye on Eddie on top of chairs and they cover him but Moose makes the save. Moose is on fire right here as he knocks Sami off the top rope with a dropkick. Moose then sets a trashcan in front of one of the Crist brothers and hits a dropkick. On the outside Dreamer puts Sami Callhian through a table via death valley driver.

Dave Crist introduces thumbtacks into the match but ends up going through them thanks to a knee from Eddie. Dave Crist is set up on a table and Moose looks to put him through a table but midjump eats a cutter from Jake Crist.

Back in the ring Eddie and Sami trade blows but Callihan hits the get out of here for a two count. Sami grabs his baseball bat but Dreamer makes the save with a barbed wire bat and hits a DDT. Sami hits a lowblow on Dremer to secure the win. Post match Eddie puts the barbed wire bat over Sami’s eye and busted him wide open. Eddie then tapes Sami to the ropes. Eddie then kicks Sami in the groin and follows up with multiple shots with a kendo stick. The ref tries to break it up but ears a kendo stick of his own. Dreamer tries to stop Eddie but eats a Kendo stick shot then Jake Crist. Eddie’s wife Alisha enters the ring to stop him and turns around and accidentally hits his wife with the kendo stick.

Winners: oVe via pinfall

Allie vs Su Yung (Knockouts Championship Match):

Braxton Sutter introduces Su Yung and she makes her way to the ring. Allie makes her way to the ring to defend her title. Su Yung gets the jump on Allie as Allie was trying to get Braxton to go to the back. Allie fights back and hits the thez press on Yung followed a hair toss. Allie gets distracted by Sutter and Su tries to take advantage but Allie is having nothing of it. Allie goes to the top but gets distracted by Braxton which drops her into the tree of woe postion and Su Yung goes on the attack. The match spills out of the ring and Yung removes her bloody dress and hits a rolling senton. Yung drags Allie back in the ring for multiple near falls. Su puts on a body rubber glove and tires to use it but Allie counters with a code breaker and both ladies down. Su props herself in the corner and Allie hits big elbows on Su but Allie gets caught by a big elbow from Yung. Allifights back and hits a russian legsweep for a two count. Allie goes for the BSE but misses and Su hits a tiger driver for a two count. Allie eventually hits the BSE but Sutter gets on the apron to stop the pin. Su Yung from behind tries to hit the paincswitch but Allie counters for the pinfall victory.

Post match Braxton says he can fix the situation and proposes to her. Su Yung answers with the red mist to his face then puts the mandible claw on him.

Winner: STILL Knockouts Champion Allie

Slammiversary just announced to take place in Toronto, Canada on July 22nd

Austin Aries vs Pentagon Jr. vs Fenix (Impact World Championship Match):

Pentagon Jr. makes his way to the ring for the main event.

Fenix makes his way to the ring second. The belt collector, the world champion Austin Aries makes his way to the ring last. McKenzie Mitchell makes formal introductions. The bell rings and Pentagon soaks in the crowd. A little bit mind games between the three then the match gets underway.

Aries knocks down both men and boxes both of their ears. Aries then scouts the move they used in New Orleans to knock him out of the ring last time and slides out of the ring to dodge it. The match picks up speed and Aries eventually locks in the last chancery but Fenix breaks it up by launching himself onto both men and Pentagon rolls out of the ring. Fenix stays on aries but Austin fights back and hits in elbow on Fenix for a two count. Pentagon gets back in the ring but gets blocked by Aries.

Fenix is knocked down and allowsfor Aries to lock in the last chancery again on Pentagon but Fenix rolls over Aries to break it up.

Aries boxes Pentagon’s ears and knocks him out ofthe ring Fenix tosse Aries out of the ring but Aries counters and hits a hurricanrana on Pentagon. Fenix hits a springboard triple axel to take out both men. The match is so fast and quick Pentagon finds himself with the opportunity of both men being down and goes for covers and gets a two count on both men. Pentagon then ends up on the outside leaving Aries and Fenix in the ring. Aries hits a big elbow then tosses Fenix over his head turning him inside out. Aries goes for a 450 but Pentagon breaks it upand knocks Aries to the floor. Pentagon then hits thelung lower. Fenix suckers Pentagon in and goes ont he hunt. With Pentagon on the top rope Fenix hits a spinning musclebuster for a two count. Pentagon comes back to life and hits the Pentagon driver but Aries breaks it up. The match eventually  spills to the outside and tosses Pentagon into the crowd. Both menget back in the ring and Aries hits the 450 on both men for a double pin but only for a two count. Down the stretch Pentagon hits a gory special and package piledriver on both Fenix and Aries. Pentagon then hits the Pentagon driver on Aries for the win.

Post match Pentagon Jr. and Fenix hug it out.

Winner: NEW Impact Wrestling World Champion Pentagon Jr.

My opinion this was an amazing show from top to bottom. I enjoyed every single match and got some shocking results as I thought we would get more new champions. Where does Impact go from here? Find out this Thursday on Pop TV for all the fallout. Welcome to the era of Zero Fear!

My Score: 8/10


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MLW Fusion Ratings & Review: 4/20/18

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Major League Wrestling, makes it’s television debut! Tony Schiavone is back everyone! Friday Nights at 8pm we get to toggle between Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross again. MLW and NJPW aren’t WCW and WWF, but it’s pretty close to 1998 again.

Either way, MLW makes it’s debut, and they decided to give us two long matches, with four well known wrestlers. Production value is like a combination of WrestleCircus and ROH, but the bright whites of the rope and mat really help the presentation pop.

So how about I shut up, and just get to the what happened?

 

Austin Aries vs ACH

Now to kick off, I never realized ACH says he hails from the Planet Vegeta, that popped me for the Dragon Ball reference.Either way, we have two very well known Cruiserweights, and this is the kick off match.

When the match starts we see ACH has the right side of his ribs and his right upper thigh taped up. Aries and ACH shake hands to kick things off, and honestly, Aries never really tries to exploit the injured areas.

This match was the longest match of the night, and the two put on a clinic. ACH was hampered slightly because of his injuries, but both men got all of this signature moves in. Schiavone kept jumping at the opportunity to call the 450 Splash, and when ACH finally did it, he was met with Aries’ knees.

After a Horns of Aries submission and the Discus Fivearm, Aries finally puts away ACH with the Brainbuster.

If this is a precursor for how they’re going to pace out their shows, anyone who loves quality wrestling, will enjoy this program.

Winner: Austin Aries via Brainbuster

Rating: *** 3/4

 

Jimmy Havoc promo, basically talking about how fans love blood, referencing Dusty Rhodes and Steve Corino. Informs everyone that he will bring the violence.

 

Chico Adams vs Barrington Hughes

Aside from learning his nickname is Caramel Colossus, we’re not given enough time for much. Hughes dispatches of this wannabe Chico, immediately with an Urange.

His outfit is bright and flashy, and he’s like a more well spoken Sexual Chocolate. Barrington will probably makes some big waves in the near future.

Winner: Barrington Hughes via Urange

Rating: N/A (Squash Match)

 

#1 Contender Match: Rey Fenix vs Pentagon w/ Salina de la Renta

We’ve seen both of these men go at it a few times, and we’ll see it again on Sunday. Funnily enough, the 3 competitors in Redemption, were on this show.

This match is almost as long at the Aries match, but a much different feel. They move to the outside fairly early, and spend a lot of time out there. Multiple crowd interaction spots, Pentagon getting them to chant ‘Uno Mas’ and he even borrowed a fans’ hat.

However, even though the fan interaction helped to keep everyone on their feet, it started a few awkward spots. A Frankensteiner into the crowd was slow and awkward because they fell into a bunch of fans and chairs. Shortly there after, Fenix tried to spring up and do a Spanish Fly, but that looked bad.

Yes, yes, I’m nit picking, but those couple small things close to each other, and a commercial break, kinda hurt the flow of a match that has two of the best in the world.

Pentagon ends up putting it together following a Powerbomb Backbreaker, his Bone Collector maneuver, capped off with the Fear Factor. Which gives Pentagon the opportunity against Shane Strickland for a rematch from WrestleCircus: Raise the Curtain.

Winner: Pentagon via Fear Factor

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Even though Tony Schiavone gave us the “we’re out of time”, from the WCW days, there was more if you stayed tuned in. The show technically ended with a video package hyping the Jimmy Havoc vs Shane Strickland match next week.

All in all, it was an impressive debut. Two very good matches, a few intriguing video packages and an up and coming beast in Barrington Hughes. MLW is off to a good start, and of course, I’m a huge fan of hearing Schiavone again.


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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: New Japan Cup 2018 Quarterfinals!

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AXS TV begins a three week coverage event of the 2018 New Japan Cup! NJPW’s finest fight for the right to face a champion of their choice for his title! This first week is for the quarterfinals, with matches such as Michael Elgin VS Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Bad Luck Fale and Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr!

 

This review of The New Japan Cup 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Michael Elgin VS Juice Robinson; Robinson wins and advances to the semifinals.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Back Luck Fale; Tanahashi wins and advances to the semifinals.
  • Toru Yano VS Sanada; Sanada wins and advances to the semifinals.
  • Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins and advances to the semifinals.

PLAY BY PLAY

AXS TV and NJPW recap the New Japan Cup’s opening round!

Sixteen of NJPW’s best Heavyweight wrestlers started this year’s tournament in eight spectacular matches over the first four days! And all for a shot of the winner’s choice in titles: the IWGP Heavyweight Championship; IWGP Intercontinental Championship; or the NEVER Openweight Championship.

The Flamboyant Juice Robinson defeated Tokyo Pimp, Yujiro Takahashi and Big Mike Elgin overcame the Stone Pitbull, Tomohiro Ishii. The Underboss, Bad Luck Fale, battled it out with Killer Elite Squad’s Lance Archer and came out on top while Hiroshi Tanahashi returned to eliminate the newly-minted Heavyweight in Taichi. The Golden Star and former Cup winner took care of the Head Hunter, Yoshi-Hashi, while the Technical Wizard known as Zack Sabre Jr. made the 2016 winner, Tetsuya Naito, tap out. In quite the surprise victory, the Sublime Master Thief, Toru Yano beat Killer Elite Squad’s Davey Boy Smith with a count out. But the Kentucky Gentleman, Chuck Taylor, could not keep even with his Chaos ally against the Cold Skull, as Sanada would powerbomb him through a table, and out of the tournament.

Our field of eight is set! The quarterfinals begin, who will win to become the Final Four in the next round?

 

Michael Elgin VS Juice Robinson!

The Juice is loose and thirsty for gold, but so is the Unbreakable Canadian. Elgin broke through the Stone Pitbull while the Flamboyant Robinson outdid Bullet Club’s playboy, who will have what it takes to get to the semifinals?

No time wasted in this No Time Limit match as AXS TV gives us more of a montage of the solid shoulder collisions between Juice & Elgin. Elgin dominates Juice with suplexes, back elbows and slams, but Juice soldiers on. Elgin slingshots but Juice dodges, letting Elgin hit hard on the mat. Then Juice slingshots onto Elgin on the outside! At one point, Juice gets Elgin on his shoulders for the Electric Chair facebuster!

Cover, TWO, and the frustration grows for Juice. Later, Juice and Elgin stand on the top rope, and Elgin hits Juice with a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO, but close. Elgin clobbers Juice with another lariat and fires up while Juice’s eyes glaze over. Elgin picks Juice up, prepares the powerbomb and hits the buckle bomb, to then move right into another, but Juice small package counters, Juice wins!

Winner: Juice, by pinfall

The Flamboyant One surprises the Unbreakable to move forward, and the elation is clear on Juice’s face. Can he surprise everyone again in the next round?

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Back Luck Fale!

The Bullet Club’s Underboss is already one-third of the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Champions, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting more. Meanwhile, the Once in a Century Talent returns from being sidelined by the menacing Minoru Suzuki in their IWGP Intercontinental Championship encounter back in January. Will Fale move to add more titles to his collection? Or will The Ace take one step closer to revenge?

Another montage shows us Tanahashi hit Fale with a baseball slide dropkick but then Fale using Tanahashi as the ball in a game of bowling-for-chairs! Fale continues the outside action as he disassembles the railings to then use them all to flatten Tanahashi! Or, he would, if they weren’t mostly plastic… Fale keeps piling the railings on, then leaves Tanahashi behind. The 20 count rises up to 14 before Tanahashi makes it back to ringside, then 17 before Tanahashi gets back in the ring. Fale keeps on Tanahashi with a scoop slam then sitting pin, putting his full weight on Tanahashi’s chest! TWO, but Fale keeps his cool.

Tanahashi turns things around with a drop toehold that sends Fale into the corner pad. Tanahashi throws body shots, and manages his own scoop slam of the massive Underboss! Fans fire up with Tanahashi as he runs and hits the slingblade! Tanahashi clotheslines Fale out of the ring, then climbs up for a SUPER Crossbody!

Both men would climb up onto the apron at about 8 in the count, but Fale would clothesline Tanahashi down onto the apron! Fale drags Tanahashi off to then prepare a Razor’s Edge! But Tanahashi would push off the post to send Fale into the railings! The count reaches 18 and Tanahashi gets in the ring! Fale can’t get back, he’s counted out! Tanahashi wins!

Winner: Tanahashi, by count out

The Ace survives the Underboss, but after he clears his head, Fale comes back to the ring.

Fale pushes past the referee and goes after Tanahashi, but Tanahashi blocks his boot to dragon screw him down. Tanahashi stands tall as Fale retreats, then Tanahashi takes to the mic. “New Japan Pro Wrestling has returned to Fuji City!” He thanks the fans for their support, and vows to “keep building up New Japan”, so please continue to support him now. “Thank you for everything.” Tanahashi then celebrates by playing his air guitar! Will the Ace of NJPW rock and roll all the way to the finals?

 

Toru Yano VS Sanada!

Chaos’ Binwan Producer survived Bulldog The Second with a count out victory while Cold Skull decisively dealt with the Kentucky Gentleman. Can the former three-time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion keep one half of the current Heavyweight Tag Team Champions out of the semifinals? Or will Sanada put Chaos’ comedian to sleep?

Yano tries to get Sanada before the bell but Sanada is ready for him and counters by putting Yano’s shirt over his face. Sanada then gets Yano in an Oklahoma roll! They roll and roll and roll and roll, then Sanada finally stops, TWO. Sanada keeps his cool while Yano struggles to figure out where he is in the ring. He’s by the ropes, so Sanada goes over and includes the rope in the Paradise Lock! However, the referee backs him off before he can finish it, so Sanada settles for hitting Yano with a baseball slide dropkick. Yano falls to the floor, and Sanada goes out to fetch him. Sanada rocks Yano with a haymaker, and they go around the outside of the ring as the ring count begins. Yano pushes Sanada back then whips him, but Sanada reverses and whips Yano into railings.

Sanada then goes after Yano, wanting to use camera cables to hog tie Yano, but Yano shoves him away and into the crowd! The count reaches and Yano hurries into the ring. Sanada hurries, too, and narrowly beats the count at 19! Fans applaud and chant as Yano goes after Sanada with stomps. Yano takes off his shirt to choke Sanada, but the referee counts. Yano lets go at 4, then goes back to stomping Sanada. He whips but Sanada reverses again, Yano holds onto ropes. He baits Sanada in then dodges, but runs into Sanada’s headscissors. Yano ends up outside the ring again and Sanada goes over. Sanada slingshots over and knocks Yano down. Fans applaud again while Sanada brings Yano up to rake the back.

Sanada searches for something under the ring but Yano pounces and pushes him into a post. Yano grabs his “director’s chair” and swings, but Sanada ducks to let the chair hit post. Then Sanada kicks the chair into Yano’s face!

Sanada leaves Yano out for the count now, and it reaches 17! Yano stirs but beats the count at 19, too. Sanada argues with the referee but Yano did make it in. Sanada takes his frustrations out by stomping Yano. He then drags Yano up for a haymaker, and more stomps. Sanada brings Yano up again but Yano fights back! They brawl with forearms back and forth, but Sanada knees low. He goes to run but Yano grabs him by the hair and brings him down to a pin! TWO, but Yano hurries to untie a corner pad. Sanada runs at Yano but Yano gets away, corner pad in hand. Yano runs back in but Sanada dodges, and Yano hits the buckles he himself exposed!

Sanada runs in but Yano dodges, and Sanada runs into the buckles, too. Yano drags Sanada, in the dragon sleeper! He lifts Sanada but Sanada slips out into his own dragon sleeper. But then Yano reverses into the Urakasumi fisherman cradle! TWO, but very close! Yano and Sanada slowly stand, and Sanada kicks Yano. Sanada runs but into an atomic drop, and then Yano catapults Sanada at those exposed buckles! Yano grabs Sanada and lifts for a powerbomb, but Sanada sunset flips out. TWO, and Sanada goes after Yano, but Yano grabs for the ref! It’s a distraction so Yano can low blow Sanada with a mule kick!

Then back to the Urakasumi! But Sanada blocks the count! He pushes the referee away and gets out of the cover. Fans applaud while both men stand. Yano argues with the ref, but Sanada low blows Yano with a kick! Then Sanada puts Yano in the Skull End!

Yano taps, Sanada wins!

Winner: Sanada, by submission

Los Ingobernables’ Cold Skull takes care of #YTR in quick fashion, but he’s not done with him. Sanada puts Yano in the Paradise Lock, and stands over him as the conqueror. Then when the referee protests, Sanada does the same to him! A young lion tries to undo the lock, but Sanada catches him into one! Another young lion protests, but Sanada scares him off with the threat of being the fourth victim. Sanada leaves Yano, the referee and the random trainee in the ring like this. Will he leave his semifinals opponent the same way?

 

Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku!

It’s The Golden Star and the Technical Wizard in a highly anticipated match that’s already amazing just because it’s happening! Will the former New Japan Cup winner make his way to a possible repeat? Or will he #JustTapOut to ZSJ’s arsenal of sinister submissions?

But before the match, fellow Suzuki-Gun member Taka speaks. “The 2018 New Japan Cup. Who do you think will take it?” He wants to know what fans think the result of this match will be. And he asks again, who will win the New Japan Cup? It’s “the man who can finish an opponent with a joint lock anytime, anywhere, the man with unlimited submission holds, the man who beat Tetsuya Naito in the first round.” That man is “the master of submissions”, Zack Sabre Jr! Some fans cheer and some boo while Taka finishes with a message “to anyone who stands in his way: Just Tap Out!” And with that, Taka shouts for Ibushi to “come on over here” so this match can begin!

Fans cheer for Ibushi as he enters the ring. The bell rings, and the chants fire up already. Ibushi and ZSJ circle, feeling each other out. ZSJ reaches in but Ibushi slips away, but they circle again. ZSJ gets the headlock and wrangles Ibushi down to go after arms. Ibushi sits up but ZSJ gets a chinlock, then brings Ibushi back to an armlock and a cover, ONE. The fans applaud this great opening exchange while the two men get up and circle again. Ibushi is wary of ZSJ as they tie up, ZSJ pushes him to ropes. ZSJ honors the break, but still pie-faces Ibushi. Ibushi shrugs that off, and the two circle again. They reach in at each other and now Ibushi pushes ZSJ to the ropes. ZSJ calls for the break, as does Red Shoes, and Ibushi honors it, to then swing a roundhouse!

ZSJ narrowly avoids the hit, and keeps between the ropes for safety. Ibushi backs up so ZSJ can come out, and the two circle again. The two tie up again and ZSJ gets a barbed wire armlock and pushes Ibushi over to a cover, but Ibushi keeps shoulders up. ZSJ makes it a mount then a headscissors hold. Ibushi works his way around to get the ropebreak, and ZSJ lets Ibushi go. The two stand once again and circle to tie up once again. ZSJ gets the wristlock and bends Ibushi’s arm back into a top lock. He sits Ibushi down, and adds on a chinlock for a modified crossface. Ibushi endures the bend and reaches for ropes but ZSJ shifts right to a half-surfboard. ZSJ turns Ibushi away and digs his forehead into Ibushi’s back for more torque.

Ibushi works and turns the hold around to put ZSJ in that hold! ZSJ stands up and breaks out to hit Ibushi with a European Uppercut! Ibushi hits back with a forearm and ZSJ falls down. Ibushi hits him again and then kicks him down. ZSJ gets up but Ibushi just kicks his leg out again. Ibushi targets that thigh with more kicks while ZSJ is down. ZSJ stands and catches that kick into a heel hook! Ibushi drags himself to ropes and gets the break just as ZSJ shifts to include one of Ibushi’s arms in the hold. ZSJ has to let Ibushi go, but he’s still got control while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and ZSJ stands on Ibushi’s leg while twisting the other. ZSJ tortures both Ibushi’s legs at the same time, then stomps the back of a thigh. Fans cheer for Ibushi but ZSJ is on him again, grinding his wrist tape and forearm into Ibushi’s eyes. ZSJ then grinds a knee into Ibushi’s face while going after the leg again. ZSJ suddenly shirts to a standing knee wrench! He even adds a bridge!

ZSJ doesn’t hold it long, he goes right back to the heel hook. Ibushi tries to use his free leg, so ZSJ grabs it to twist its ankle. Ibushi uses his hands to fight now, and gets that leg free to kick with it! ZSJ tries to bend that leg back again, but Ibushi still fights back, and gets another kick. The kicks are too much for ZSJ, he lets Ibushi free of the knee wrench. Fans rally for Ibushi and he kicks ZSJ again. Ibushi snapmares and kicks ZSJ in the back, then dares ZSJ to get up. ZSJ does, and snapmares Ibushi down to scrape his heels on Ibushi’s face. ZSJ then traps the arm and spins around to twist it! Ibushi writhes and clutches his arm, but ZSJ takes a moment to catch his breath.

ZSJ goes back to Ibushi to grind his knuckles into various points. Ibushi gets the ropebreak but ZSJ doesn’t care, he just puts an arm in a figure four scissors. The referee counts so ZSJ lets go, but he then goes back to Ibushi to continue torturing that arm all the way to the wrist. ZSJ uses his chin to dig in and bend the arm more, then rocks Ibushi with another EuroUpper. Fans rally for Ibushi while he and ZSJ glare at each other. ZSJ gives another EuroUpper, then a running one, and then runs corner to corner. Ibushi goes up and over, and he throws ZSJ with a huricanrana! Ibushi kicks ZSJ down, and the fans chant for him while both he and ZSJ are down on the mat.

That leg bothers him, though, so he’s slow to standing up. ZSJ also stands, but Ibushi gives a strike fest and another swift roundhouse. ZSJ falls down, Ibushi adds a standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Ibushi again as he stands up. Ibushi drags ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the Half ‘n’ Half. ZSJ gets the standing switch but Ibushi prevents the full nelson to standing switch back. ZSJ switches again and puts Ibushi in a modified abdominal stretch!

Ibushi endures the bend, stretch and digging elbows as ZSJ shifts through all sorts of minor changes. ZSJ settles on a chinlock variant, but Ibushi wills himself to walk towards ropes. Ibushi reaches but ZSJ shifts to a crossface variant! Ibushi still gets the ropebreak, and ZSJ lets go in frustration. Taka coaches ZSJ to keep going, so ZSJ stands and brings Ibushi up. ZSJ rocks Ibushi with another EuroUpper but Ibushi hits back with a forearm. ZSJ hits another EuroUpper, but Ibushi comes back with another elbow! Fans rally while ZSJ gives more and more EuroUppers, but then Ibushi slips around to hit the Half ‘n’ Half Suplex! Cover, TWO!

Fans are fired up for Ibushi and he fires up with them. Taka coaches ZSJ to get up but Ibushi is upon him. Ibushi goes to lift ZSJ but ZSJ slips under and trips Ibushi up. ZSJ then rolls Ibushi for a bridging cover, TWO, but into an STF! ZSJ then changes it up again to be combination STF and chickenwing crossface. Ibushi reaches but then ZSJ grabs that arm to shift things into a partial straitjacket. Ibushi moves the other arm to reach forward, but ZSJ grabs it to complete the straitjacket.

ZSJ and Ibushi struggle against each other, and somehow Ibushi gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets him go and fans rally for Ibushi all over again. The two slowly stand, but ZSJ grabs Ibushi first. Ibushi arm-drags ZSJ away, runs into ZSJ’s EuroUpper, but retaliates with the Pele! Both men are down, ZSJ reeling while fans will Ibushi on. Ibushi brings ZSJ up in the powerbomb position, but ZSJ makes it into a triangle hold. Ibushi endures the hold, drags ZSJ around, then deadlifts him for a sit-out powerbomb!

Cover, TWO! Ibushi has turned the tides while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns to Ibushi slowly standing. That leg still bothers him, but he still signals he’ll end this with that knee. He walks over to ZSJ and Taka panics, but ZSJ rolls to pop Ibushi into a sunset cover, TWO and Ibushi covers ZSJ, TWO back ZSJ’s way! TWO but it was so close! Fans are thunderous for Ibushi as the two crawl over to each other. ZSJ kicks Ibushi’s bad knee then his chest, but Ibushi kicks back. Ibushi reaches for ZSJ but ZSJ kicks him near the face, so Ibushi dares him to do more. ZSJ slaps Ibushi so Ibushi slaps back! Another slap for a slap, so ZSJ goes back to a kick. Ibushi kicks back, then shifts things to forearms.

They hit each other back and forth, Ibushi continuing to egg ZSJ on. ZSJ stands up and stomps Ibushi right in the neck! He drags Ibushi up for another EuroUpper, but Ibushi wants more. ZSJ gives him more, so Ibushi gives back. They go EuroUpper for forearm, and Ibushi gets the edge. Ibushi reels back for another but ZSJ kicks that away to then Pele Ibushi’s arm! Ibushi roundhouses and clotheslines ZSJ down! Both men fall and the fans rally for Ibushi while Taka coaches ZSJ.

Ibushi is up first, but he’s sore and exhausted. ZSJ sits up, Ibushi goes for the buzzsaw but ZSJ catches it! ZSJ then yanks Ibushi down and catches him with the Penalty Kick! Taka wants him to keep going, so ZSJ stands up. ZSJ kicks again, but Ibushi blocks it! Ibushi stands up, ZSJ slaps him again and again, but Ibushi holds on to slap back! Fans are thunderous again while ZSJ flounders. Ibushi waits for ZSJ to run at him, and catches him with a powerslam! Ibushi immediately moonsaults, but into ZSJ’s triangle!!

The hold is in, both arms trapped inside! ZSJ shifts it around to a one arm with the figure four headscissors, and then he grabs the trapped arm. Ibushi clasps hands to prevent the extension, but ZSJ drives elbows into Ibushi’s head. Red Shoes checks on Ibushi, but Ibushi is still conscious. Ibushi fires up again, he gets another deadlift! He tries the Last Ride but ZSJ pops out to put on the Octopus stretch! Ibushi endures, pops out and swings ZSJ around onto his shoulder. He aims for a corner but ZSJ slips out the back. Ibushi runs at ZSJ but ZSJ back elbows him away. ZSJ slaps Ibushi again, then runs, but the back elbow is turned into a backslide! ZSJ rolls through, and sees Kamigoye coming, to duck under and cross Ibushi’s arms.

Ibushi resists and pulls ZSJ back around, for the straitjacket suplex pin! TWO!! But Ibushi keeps hold of the wrists! Kamigoye misses and ZSJ puts the Octopus back on!! He even shifts it to be part motorcycle stretch, using his foot to push Ibushi’s head down. ZSJ kicks and kicks Ibushi in the head, and fully bends the arms back! Red Shoes asks Ibushi, but Ibushi shakes his head “No”, even as ZSJ gives stomps and elbows. ZSJ cranks on the hold as hard as he can but Ibushi won’t quit. Fans are at a fever pitch as ZSJ turns Ibushi around. Ibushi is stuck, Red Shoes calls it! ZSJ wins!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by referee stoppage

Ibushi didn’t tap but he couldn’t defend himself anymore, so Red Shoes had no choice but to spare Ibushi more suffering. In the end, the submission machine of Suzuki-Gun still moves on to the next round.

Taka takes to the mic again. “Kota Ibushi versus Zack Sabre Jr, who won?” And who will Zack face in the semifinals? Sanada, this is your chance. Come out and say something! “Come on over!” But he’s not coming out. Not that he’d say anything anyway. Taka says Sanada is next, because “anyone who stands in Zack’s way, you just tap out!” So Taka will ask again: “Who will take the 2018 New Japan Cup?” Zack! Who? Zack!! Yes, the winner will be the man with unlimited holds and now defeated both Naito and Ibushi, the Submission Mater, Zack Sabre Jr! He has two belts already, will ZSJ win it all to add a third?

 

Backstage interviews.

Kota Ibushi admits defeat, his New Japan Cup run is over. He had lots of support from the fans who felt he could win it all, but he let them down. Ibushi apologizes and hopes they forgive him.

As for ZSJ, he knows he’ll wake up the next morning as if he spent a “fortnight in a bad moon.” He admits Ibushi is strong, powerful and fights with a lot of heart. That’s admirable, but stupid. ZSJ doesn’t fight with his heart, he fights with his brain. “And an underlying hatred of the British Conservative Party,” but mostly his superior brain. He’s the dark horse, right? Not favored? What’s wrong with these people? Just look outside! He’s won titles everywhere he’s been! “This cup is mine!” But he’s gonna go ice now, so he leaves Taka to finish.

Taka knows everyone saw what just happened. Ibushi had the whole crowd while ZSJ only had Taka while “fighting in a foreign land.” ZSJ’s heart, mind and skill, but the best is yet to come. There are no flukes here. Naito, Ibushi, and next will be Sanada. Sanada, bring it on! Because as always, fighting ZSJ means “You Just Tap Out!” The semifinals will feature Cold Skull’s Skull End going against ZSJ’s limitless list of holds, which one will get the job done?

 


 

My Thoughts:

This was a pretty good way to cover the quarterfinals in one night. The summarized coverage of Elgin VS Juice and Tanahashi VS Fale were well done to give us the best moments. Juice has been doing great so it made sense he went over, even if it was a bit of a surprise when against a veteran like Elgin. Fale obviously gets upset over losing in only a count-out but it still makes him pretty strong, as the returning Tanahashi couldn’t put him away with a pin or submission. Seeing Juice VS Tanahashi in the semifinals makes for a great young vs old story.

Then seeing the entirety of the rather short Sanada VS Yano match was fun, because it still hit all the finest points of a Yano match: buckle pad, low blow, and a touch of comedy. Yano loses because Sanada has been on his own roll in singles competition. All the members of LIJ are strong, so if Sanada and EVIL were to drop those IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, Sanada would be just fine if he were to try for a singles title. And the entirety of Ibushi VS ZSJ was the perfect choice for the match of the show, because it was amazing. Great story and contrast in style, and ZSJ wins out because he’s been on the best roll of all these winners. By this time, we already know [Highlight for spoilers] Sabre wins it all, but it was booked so well that it feels natural as opposed to inevitable.

My Score: 8.5/10


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