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Mitchell’s WWE NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia Report! (1/27/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering; Undisputed Era win and and retain the NXT Tag Team Champoins.
  • Kassius Ohno VS Velveteen Dream; Dream wins.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler; Ember wins and retains the NXT Women’s Championship.
  • Extreme Rules Match: Aleister Black VS Adam Cole; Black wins.
  • NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Johnny Gargano; Almas wins and retains the NXT Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

The NXT Preshow panel is joined by Samoa Joe!

The former NXT Champion, though out with a foot injury, is here in Philadelphia to watch and analyze all the action of his Alma mater in the WWE. He looks forward to everything tonight, and updates us that he’s “feeling strong and healing quickly.” The main roster should consider this a silver lining, since Joe won’t be in the Royal Rumble.

 

Corey Graves & Renee Young present the NXT Year End Awards for 2017!

Both alumni of NXT are back to honor the highlights and superstars of last year, as decided by the fans via social media and WWE’s official website.

The first award of the night is the Rivalry of the Year. The winner is: Aleister Black VS Velveteen Dream! The Patrick Clark Experience wanted the Embodiment of the End to acknowledge his enigmatic brilliance, and to #SayMyName! Aleister would refuse to do so, as Dream came off as “a child throwing a tantrum”, but in the end, both men would come to respect the other. Aleister made Dream #FadetoBlack, but still said his name. To accept the Golden Ring Bell is Velveteen Dream himself! He takes the bell and thanks God. Why? Because Velveteen Dream is the closest thing to the Light that NXT will ever have. However, tonight is not about the Light and the Darkness. Tonight is about a Velveteen Dream “guaranteed” 30 second KO of Kassius Ohno. Doubters can doubt but you’ll all still #SayMyName.

The second award of the night is “a very, very big one”, it is the Male Competitor of the Year. The winner is: Aleister Black! The Dutch Destroyer is still undefeated in 1v1 competition, so how does it feel to get the Golden Bell? “I set out to do something different.” Something unique and unconventional. The Golden Ring Bell validates that mission, so he thanks the fans for their support. And while he’s here, Renee lets Aleister know he’s also the Breakout Superstar of the Year, so he can expect a second golden bell soon for himself. The Embodiment has already dominated in three categories, will he dominate in tonight’s Extreme Rules match?

 

The Year End Awards continue after a break.

The third award is for Female Competitor of the Year. The winner is: Asuka! The Empress of Tomorrow was the natural choice after being an undefeated NXT Women’s Champion for 523 days and against many different opponents. Asuka accepts the Golden Ring Bell and reminds everyone that “No one is ready for Asuka!” She’s definitely Corey’s pick.

The fourth award is for Match of the Year. The winner is: Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne in TakeOver Chicago’s WWE UK Championship match! Tyler Bate appears to accept, and recounts his 2017. “I’m absolutely honored and I’m really grateful for everyone that voted.” Bate even gives props to his rival, Pete Dunne, who is himself a great wrestler. What’s next for Bate? Another match of the year candidate, for sure.

 

Meanwhile, Pete Dunne joins the panel.

The British Bruiserweight also had quite a great 2017, such as when he won the UK Championship. What does this mean to him? Dunne had two objectives last year: become WWE UKC, and establish the WWE UK Division. His TakeOver: Chicago match accomplished both. Why does Pete Dunne think he and Tyler Bate were standouts from the UK Tournament? Because he and Bate both wrestled with chips on their shoulders as two men who were often overlooked. Joe acknowledges that Dunne and Bate are like wrestling ambassadors. Dunne agrees, because the WWE UKC is the end all, be all to him in wrestling.

What does Dunne have planned next? He wishes to further raise the prestige of the UK Championship and Division. Who would he love to face from outside the UK Division? “Anyone and everyone”, from NXT Champion to Universal Champion. If he had one thing to say to Bate right now, what is it? Dunne would tell Bate that he’s had his turn, “who’s next?”

 

The Year End Awards resume on stage.

“This is it,” the final award of 2017. The final category is the biggest of all, it is for THE Overall Competitor of the Year! Aleister was Male Superstar of the Year, Asuka was Female Superstar of the Year, but the winner here is: ASUKA!

The Empress claims her second Golden Bell of the night! Can Asuka continue her incredible domination in the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match?

 

Zelina Vega appears on the Preshow panel.

She asks them “Do you guys see what’s wrong with the picture here?” They were talking about the NXT Year End Awards, but they forgot about “the only man that matters.” Andrade “Cien” Almas didn’t win a single category! But the fans decided who won those awards. Oh so it was losers voting for losers? Did anyone here count the votes? No? Then Zelina demands a recount! But, Almas only became champion at the end of 2017. Zelina takes a seat to properly represent her client. Almas went from zero to 100 in that little a time! He and Zelina “are this brand”! Then why didn’t fans choose him? “Because teh fans are losers.” More importantly, Almas will still have the championship after tonight. JOe says it’s easy to reach the top but harder to stay there. Gargano has momentum, and maybe if Almas stays “tranquilo” he can win. Zelina says Almas is the greatest star in NXT ever, even bigger than Joe! Joe doesn’t believe that, but will let Zelina have her opinion.

Sam Roberts brings up Almas needs to keep his championship and have more defenses to establish himself, but Zelina is confident that’s how it’ll happen tonight. Zelina ignores Gargano’s parallels to Almas, because Almas has won twice already and will win the third. But that’s a difficult thing to do, and Joe says it’ll be difficult for Almas. This is also a different Gargano he’s up against. Zelina still doesn’t care. She explains that “we are the NXT Champion”. Her guidance and his focus, they will win again. Joe uses his experience to make sure Zelina understands it is tougher than anyone can imagine to stay on top. Zelina says Almas will show rather than tell. Is Zelina being defensive? Zelina has no time left, but promises Almas will win and retain. She takes her leave, will her words carry through the night?

 

The Road to Wrestlemania starts tonight!

Philadelphia has always been the land of extreme. “But this isn’t about dwelling in the past. This is about creating the future.” The revolution is growing, and the revolution is N X T!

 

NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering!

Akam & Rezar want those titles back and they want them NOW! Does the duo known as reDRagon stand a chance of surviving?

Perhaps Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish don’t, as Akam & Rezar are upon them the moment they hit the ring!

O’Reilly & Fish manage to escape the ring, but the AoP are rabidly waiting. The champions regroup and prepare themselves while Ellering calms his pair of behemoths. The bell rings, Fish starts with Rezar, Fish runs but gets run over! He bails out of the ring again to walk it off, but Akam keeps him from going too far. Fans chant “Shock the System!” while Fish slowly reenters. He stays by the ropes then tags in O’Reilly. O’Reilly circles, and manages to stick ‘n’ move with kicks to Rezar. He goes for a leg, but Rezar uses power to push him off. They each dare the other to bring the fight, Kyle kicks Rezar’s legs. Rezar grabs those feet and rolls O’Reilly but misses the clubbing ax handle. The two men get up, Rezar tackles O’Reilly right down!

Fist after fist hammer O’Reilly but O’Reilly grabs the triangle hold! He rolls Rezar but can’t extend the arm so he hammers away with palm strikes. Rezar shoves him off, O’Reilly narrowly avoids the boot and escapes the ring. The champions regroup again while Philly applauds and the referee counts. O’Reilly walks up the steps and takes his time reentering. He backs up and tags Fish back in. Fish evades Rezar and kicks at the leg. Rezar catches one kick and brings Fish to the AoP corner to tag in Akam. Akam & Rezar drive knees into Fish, then a fireman’s carry takeover before a big stomp. Akam glares at O’Reilly before going back to Fish. Fish drives in a knee then tags in O’Reilly, O’Reilly comes in but gets thrown to the mat. Akam runs him over with a shoulder, reDRagon has to regroup again. The champions want to walk out on this match, but they get run over around the corner instead!

Akam & Rezar coordinate, and throw Fish right into steel steps. They go after Kyle with haymakers from all sides. Kyle tries to get away but flops right off the apron and back to the floor. AoP put Fish in the ring, Fish tries to run away again, but Akam grabs him in a wheelbarrow to slam him into the barriers!

Fish slumps to the floor while Akam grabs O’Reilly. Akam tags in Rezar, they mug Kyle in their territory. Another tag, and they give O’Reilly the side slam stomp. Akam’s knee bothers him, so the referee checks on him. He’s good to go, he whips Kyle, but Kyle dumps Akam to the apron. Akam fights back, Fish sweeps that bad leg! Rezar runs Kyle over, but then Fish tackles Rezar right out of the ring!

They topple to the floor hard, and O’Reilly goes over to Akam. Akam fights back but O’Reilly unloads various strikes before sweeping that bad leg. Fish returns, tags in, and they both go after Akam with sharp kicks. Fish tags O’Reilly back in, they keep Akam offbalance by going after those legs. Akam tries to fight back but Fish tags back in to hold that leg open. O’Reilly runs in, but Akam elbows him away. Fish tries but Akam puts him on the apron. O’Reilly returns but gets thrown down, Fish yanks that bad leg to also crotch-shot Akam on the ropes. Akam can’t defend himself from Fish’s kicks, or the body splash to the bad knee. Fish wrenches the knee, then drags Akam up and around. He gives body shots and tags in Kyle, Akam tries to fight back but Kyle chop blocks the leg. Kyle then pulls on that leg to turn Akam over, but Akam kicks him away. The fans duel while the two men crawl, Kyle gets the bad leg in a kneebar!

Akam endures while Kyle adds on an Achilles lock, and even clubs at Kyle’s back, but it doesn’t get Kyle to let go. Akam drags himself to ropes and gets the break, Kyle is forced to let go. Kyle tags in Fish, Fish stomps that bad knee. Fish tags Kyle back in, they both go after Akam with knee strikes, and even a table top trip back into the kneebar. Akam grabs the ropes again, but Fish tags back in, slingshot senton! Cover, TWO, reDRagon is frustrated. Fish drags Akam up for forearm strikes and kicks to that bad knee. He gives a cheap shot to Rezar, but that only pisses Rezar off. Akam gets a big body drop on Fish! Hot tags to Rezar and O’Reilly, Rezar rallies on reDRagon! He slams Fish with a trophy slam, then slams O’Reilly with a spinebuster! Rezar won’t slow down, and the Philly fans love it! Rezar scoops O’Reilly but Fish hops on with a sleeper. This doesn’t stop Rezar, he just slams them both!

Cover on O’Reilly, TWO! Ellering looks worried, but Rezar gets up and goes after O’Reilly again. He brings O’Reilly up for a powerbomb but O’Reilly counters with a guillotine. Rezar tosses him off all the same, but then takes knees to the stomach and shoulders! He staggers to the Unidsputed corner, Fish tags in. O’Reilly and Fish run a corner strike train! Fish goes for an overhead suplex but Rezar reists. O’Reilly kicks out Rezar’s leg and Fish gets the suplex!

Cover, TWO! Fish is shocked, but he doesn’t stop. He drags Rezar over then tags O’Reilly in. O’Reilly grabs Rezar in a sleeper but Rezar fights out to boot Fish down and clobber O’Reilly with a clothesline! AKam returns to the apron, even with his bad leg. The fans rally while Rezar tags in Akam. Akam walks over and drags O’Reilly up. Rezar gets running, but runs into Fish’s leaping knee strike! O’Reilly rolls Akam into the kneebar! Fish subdues Rezar with a sleeper hold!

Rezar gets up while Akam endures, Rezar throws Fish onto O’Reilly! The two holds break at the same time and all four men are down while the fans applaud. The fans rally and duel while the competitors stir. Rezar rolls out one side of the ring while Fish rolls out the other. O’Reilly and Akam stand up in the ring, and O’Reilly kicks away at the bad leg. Akam gets up each time, despite the pain. O’Reilly shifts to hitting Akam in the head but that only fires Akam up. He catches O’Reilly in a one-leg overhead suplex!

Akam rams knees into O’Reilly, then clobbers Fish off the apron! He lifts O’Reilly and gives him a buckle bomb before returning to those massive knees. Rezar returns to boot Fish right down, and now they hit their favorite, the Super Collider!

However, O’Reilly reverses and throws Akam at Rezar with a huricanrana! Then he rolls Akam up in a school boy, Undisputed Era win!! The champions retain by the skin of their teeth and once again #ShockTheSystem!

 

Kassius Ohno VS Velveteen Dream!

This match was made because the Knockout Artist said “I told you so” to the Patrick Clark Experience after he failed to defeat Johnny Wrestling on last Wednesday’s NXT. Dream promises to not only defeat Ohno, but do it in 30 seconds or less. Will Dream get to say “I told you so” back to his opponent tonight?

Dream is ready for Ohno to the point that he even has a special mouth guard to protect against Ohno’s devastating elbow strikes. Meanwhile, Ohno represents the Pittsburgh Pirates with the black and yellow.

The fans are already fired up before the bell rings. They count those 30 seconds to keep Dream to his word, but Dream struggles as Ohno gets him against the ropes. Dream turns it around to throw body shots in a corner, but the referee backs him down. Dream gets the haymaker, and he wants the ten count! The referee checks on him, the fans count for Dream, but Ohno gets up to knock that mouth piece out!
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The fans boo and jeer, they thought Dream was gonna do it. Dream picks up his mouth piece, but Ohno kicks him right in the face! Then boots him out of the ring! Ohno goes out to fetch Dream, bringing him up and into the ring. Dream hits Ohno with a sucker punch back elbow, then runs, only to run into Ohno’s boot! Ohno runs, into Dream’s spinebuster!

Both men are down but Dream springs up to pose for a second. The fans are loving this match already as they cheer for “Vel-ve-teen!” Dream stomps and punches Ohno, Ohno staggers to a corner and Dream keeps up the boxing. Dream whips OHno corner to corner while the fans keep up the chanting. He toys with Ohno, then drags him up for a big suplex. Cover, ONE, so Dream kicks Ohno in the back and clubs him in the head. Ohno is down, so Dream swivels his hips over him. Dream drops knees into ribs then kicks Ohno while he’s down. The referee reprimands Dream, but that doesn’t stop Dream from choking Ohno on the ropes. Dream stomps Ohno and demands he quit already. Ohno stands up and chops Dream back, so Dream rocks him with an uppercut. Dream snapmares Ohno down and into a modified abdominal stretch. The fans rally while Dream puts pressure on the ribs. The fans duel while Dream shifts to a camel clutch, but Ohno uses power to get up and carry Dream into a corner. Dream turns it around, then takes off his arm band before unloading on Ohno in the corner. The referee has him back down, but Dream shouts that tonight is “Dream Over!” He kicks Ohno in the face, but that only fuels the fire. Dream climbs up and hits a double ax handle, TWO. He keeps on Ohno with more ax handles and frustrated kicks to the ribs. Dream wants Ohno to quit, or #SayMyName. Ohno refuses to do either, he endures the clutch to power up again. Dream keeps him down and on the ropes, then lifts Ohno with a fireman’s carry. Ohno elbows his way out, but Dream boots him in the face. Dream tries a suplex but it is Ohno countering with a suplex toss! The fans applaud while both men are down again. A ten count begins, and the two men stir. The count climbs past 6 before Dream stands up. He clubs Ohno, Ohno rock shim with a forearm. Dream gives Ohno a European Uppercut, Ohno retaliates with an elbow. Ohno then chops Dream, boots him, and runs for a lariat. Ohno keeps moving with another boot, then the back senton! He isn’t done there, either. He takes aim, spins and boots Dream down!

Cover, TWO! Ohno grows frustrated, but he keeps his focus. He calls for his killer elbow, and fans rally as he stands up. Ohno brings Dream up, brings him around, but Dream counters with a backslide, TWO. Dream’s kick is blocked, Ohno spins around, but Dream gets him with the second SUPERKICK! Dream then drives Ohno down with the sidewinder DDT!

Cover, TWO! Now Dream is the one surprised. The two men stand up, Dream climbs up top. He jumps, into Ohno’s boot! Ohno keeps going with a stiff elbow, then runs for the high– Rolling Death Valley!

Dream rolls Ohno to a cover, TWO! The frustration grows in Dream, but he stands up and calls for the end. OHno gets him in the wristlock, ripcord, roaring elbow! TWO! Ohno doesn’t know how Dream survived, but Philly loves it all the same. They’re thunderous as Ohno brings Dream up. He spins him around, but Dream evades the elbow for another fireman’s carry, and another Rolling Death Valley!

Dream hurries to the top rope, and from the post he hits the Purple Rain Maker elbow!

Dream wins!! It wasn’t in 30 seconds, but it was still a win. Can Dream use this momentum to rise to the top?

 

NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler!

The Prophecy of Flame fought for so long and finally achieved her dream. However, the Queen of Spades quite literally bullied her way onto the scene. Will the underdog reign already come to an end?

The bell rings and the two tie up, Shayna gets the waistlock and slam. Ember gets up and gets the standing switch but Shayna puts her in a corner. She grinds a forearm in Ember’s face before honoring the break, then trips Ember anyway. Ember goes after Shayna, but Shayna uses the ref as a shield. Shayna then takes Ember down and grinds her palm into Ember. Ember shoves Shayna away, Shayna just grins at Ember. Ember ducks under Shayna’s kick then kip-ups. Shayna blocks a kick and goes for her signature Kirafuda but Ember throws her off and sweeps the legs! Shayna stands up with a frustrated grimace, but Ember dropkicks her down! She does it a second time! And a third time! Shayna gets out of the ring and walks off her frustration, but Ember runs and DIVES!

The champion knocks her challenger over and Philly fires up. Ember drags Shayna up and into the ring, then stalks the Queen of Spades from behind. Shayna gets to a corner, Ember handsprings but into Shayna’s takedown, where she repeatedly knees Ember in the face! Shayna lets her hair down and then gives Ember one last big kick before the cover, TWO! The fans cheer Ember on while she slowly gets up, but Shayna shoves her back down. Shayna stands on Ember’s hand before stomping on her arm!

Ember’s arm bent just like Dakota Kai’s did weeks ago on NXT! Shayna just laughs it off while Ember writhes. She goes after that arm with a seated keylock that shifts to a torturous wristlock. Shayna drops a knee on it, and Ember continues to writhe. Cover, ONE, but Shayna is still all smiles. She toys with Ember while she stomps on the injured arm. Ember endures the kicks and the wrenching while the fans continue to support her. Shayna bends and twists the arm again, then pulls it as hard as she can while she keeps Ember down. Ember rolls and escapes the hold but Shayna just kicks her down. Shayna uses the ropes now, and only the referee’s count gets her to let go. Shayna keeps toying with Ember, daring the champion to try something. Ember uses her good arm to slap Shayna, then she evades Shayna’s strike to slap her again. Ember keeps retaliating with kicks and that one good arm. The fans fire up while Ember springboards for the crossbody!

TWO! Ember and Shayna stand up, Ember runs in for a forearm smash on Shayna. The champion climbs up with one arm, wanting her finish. She takes aim, jumps and hits the Eclipse!!

That bad arm hurts Ember, she can’t make the cover. Shayna is out cold but Ember can’t do a thing about it from the pain! The referee checks on her, and asks for medics to come out. The fans boo, they don’t want it to end this way. Ember doesn’t want that either, but she can barely do anything with that arm. The fans call “Bullshit!” Ember stands up, she drags Shayna up, but SHayna catches her in a modified armbar!

Ember resists while she reaches with her legs, but Shayna has that bad arm locked. Ropebreak! Shayna lets go, then staggers to her feet. She drags Ember but Ember’s good arm holds the ropes. The grip lets go, Shayna puts the lock back on! Ember claws at Shayna, but she cant’ get free. Shayna keeps the lock, even as Ember flails and rolls! Ember runs out of steam, Shayna keeps wrenching the bad arm. Shayna goes to hook a leg but Ember keeps flailing. Ember endures another wrenching of the arm, rolls but cannot escape! Ember doesn’t need to escape, she just rolls and covers, SHE WINS!! No one can believe this, least of all Shayna! Ember’s savvy helped her survive, but what is teh state of that arm?

Forget the arm, Shayna goes after Ember’s throat with her Kirafuda Lock!

She brings Ember down on the ramp and chokes her out! The Queen of Spades is a sore loser to say the least. She lets go when more referees appear, only to put the back on! Shayna wants Ember to pay for escaping defeat, but what will the consequences of this attack be?

 

Extreme Rules Match: Aleister Black VS Adam Cole!

It is an understatement to say that this grudge has grown as intense as possible. The Embodiment of the End transforms into the Embodiment of Extreme, will he make the Undisputed Leader #FadetoBlack?

Anyone unfamiliar with Extreme Rules should know, that there is only one rule: win! The bell rings, the two men stare at each other from across the way. Cole trash talks while fans already declare “This is awesome!” The two run at each other and trade off forearms! Cole gets an advantage but then gets kicked right out of the ring. Aleister runs, but fakes Cole out to then sit down. Cole doesn’t hesitate to grab a chair! He paces while fans chant “E C Dub!” but Aleister calmly watches. Cole gets on the apron and says Aleister should be afraid. Instead, Aleister ducks the strike, kicks Cole low and takes the chair from him. Cole bails out of the ring again, so Aleister simply sits and waits for him to reenter.

Cole gets up and in, but Aleister throws the chair out to then throw Cole out. Aleister pursues and rocks Cole with a right hand! He keeps up on Cole, but Cole hits back and bumps Aleister off the apron. Cole brings chairs out from under the ring, kicks Aleister and bounces him off the barriers, then brings out a trash can. The can is tossed into the ring while Cole boots Aleister down again. Cole puts more chairs in the ring, but Aleister comes back with strikes. Cole knees low again to throw Aleister into a barrier! The fans love it while Cole looks for something. He fetches a kendo stick! However, Aleister grabs one for himself. The two men get in the ring, armed with the bamboo swords. Aleister then reconsiders, he wants Cole to come at him! Cole laughs, and says Aleister is stupid for this. However, Aleister dodges each of Cole’s swings to then swing away with forearms and kicks! Aleister runs and springboards but Cole SMACKS the Quebrada out of the air!

Aleister writhes while Cole catches his breath and the fans lose their minds with “Holy Shit!” Cole stands up, still armed with the kendo stick. He walks over and SMACKS Aleister across the back. “You don’t know how you’re dealing with!” Cole uses the stick to bend Aleister back. Aleister stands up but Cole brings him down with a backstabber!

Cover, TWO! Cole grows frustrated, but he keeps on Aleister with a rain of right hands and stomps. The fans wants Cole to “Get the Tables!” Cole rolls out of the ring and obliges! He drags out a table and Philly goes wild! Cole brings the table around while Aleister flounders in the ring. Cole sets the table up while fans cheer “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” The table is placed at an angle near a post while fans serenade themselves with “Oh~ We Want Some Tables~.” Cole lets them know they’re gonna get tables while he drags Aleister over. They go up to the top rope, but Aleister resists. Aleister fights back and crocks Cole with rights, to then throw him down onto the trash can!

Now Cole writhes while Aleister recovers. The Dutch Destroyer stands up and runs in for a running knee! TWO! Aleister does not lose focus, he just formulates a new plan. He goes outside and brings out a second table! The fans love what they see as Aleister sets his table up next to Cole’s. Aleister thinks about it, and it seems if two tables are better than one, then a ladder will only make it that much better! However, Cole dropkicks that ladder into Aleister, and Aleister hits the announce desk. Cole takes that ladder and sets it up in a corner. He then fetches Aleister and brings him back into the ring. Cole drags Aleister up and over to the ladder, but Aleister resists the suplex. He turns thigns around on Cole but COle resists. Aleister evades a punch but Cole gives him an enziguri! A dazed Aleister ends up in a corner, Cole stomps and punches away on him. COle climbs up to give corner punches, but he stops at about 6 to hit his “BAYBAY” pose. He continues but Aleister turns it around to an Electric Chair, to fling him at the ladder!

Both men are down but the fans are fired up as they lose their minds again. The referee checks on both men, but they’re somehow still okay to compete. The fans rally and Aleister starts to stir. He crawls over to Cole, Cole clutches his own hand. The medics must check on him, which upsets the fans a bit. Aleister manages a cover, TWO, but that doesn’t deter Aleister. He stands up again, and picks up one of those chairs. Aleister stands it up, then brings Cole over to place his head there. Aleister runs, but Cole revives to bring that chair up and ram it into Aleister’s stomach! Cole catches his breath before grabbing another chair and standing it up. He hobbles over to Aleister and brings him over now. Cole wants a repeat of NXT from weeks ago but his back gives out in the fireman’s carry. ALeister tries to grab Cole but Cole elbows him away. Cole goes for the Shining Wizard but Aleister ducks under to roll him up. Cole dodges a kick, but not the double stomps!

Aleister drags Cole over to that chair, sets his head down and gets to the apron. He climbs up top, but Cole gets up and throws the chair at Aleister. SUPERKICK knocks the chair into Aleister’s face, and then Aleister falls back to fall through the tables!!

Philadelphia loses their minds harder than ever with that crash landing! Cole recovers in the ring while the referee checks on Aleister. The fans chant for “NXT! NXT!” while Cole slowly makes his way out and over. He drags Aleister’s limp body up and around the wreckage before putting him in the ring. Cover, TWO!? Cole has no idea how Aleister survived, but fans know “This is awesome!” Cole brings a chair back over and sets it up again. He then brings a second chair over and sets it up with the first. Cole thinks for a moment, and decides to invert the chairs. He grins an evil grin before bringing Aleister up, but Aleister reverses and throws Cole onto the chair edge!!

Cole clutches his break as he writhes in pain and the fans hit an all time high. They even tell Cole “You deserve it!” Cole crawls his way around to the chairs and makes one into a crutch. Aleister knees that chair into Cole!

Cover, but then the rest of the Undisputed Era appear to disrupt it!

Kyle and Fish drag Aleister out, and hit an unfortunately legal Total Elimination!

Aleister goes down at the hands of the banged-up reDRagon, but there’s nothing the referee can do to stop them. Philly calls “Bullshit!” on this as reDRagon drag Aleister over and around the ring. They coordinate to take the announce desk apart, as well as position Aleister on spare production trunks. SAnitY appears to make the save!

They clobber the NXT Tag Team Champions mostly for what they owe the Undisputed Era from weeks ago. They throw reDRagon all around ringside, and Big Damo is in the ring with Cole. He wants Cole to watch as he DIVES onto everyone!

Damo takes out reDRagon AND SAnitY, and though Cole is frightened, the fans eat it up. HOwever, Aleister is still prone on the trunks, and Cole takes advantage! He goes over and brings Aleister up, but Aleister blocks. Aleister knocks Cole away, then takes aim, to double knee drop Cole through the announce desk!

The fans again chant for “NXT! NXT!” while Aleister drags himself over to Cole. He brings Cole up and into the ring, and fans chant “MAMA MIA!” Cole SUPERKICKS Aleister outta nowhere! Cole crawls back to a chair, and he vows to use it to end this. He brings that chair up but BLACK MASS outta nowhere!!

Aleister wins!! This match went to the extreme, but it is still Aleister’s win! Can anyone hope to stop the Embodiment of the End?

 

NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Johnny Gargano!

El Idolo does not believe Johnny Wrestling is a match for him, but Johnny FREAKING Wrestling refuses to be doubted ever again. Can Gargano dethrone El Campeon this soon into his reign?

The fans are already thunderous for Johnny Wrestling before the bell. The bell rings and the two men stare down while they slowly circle. The tension builds and then they tie up. Almas powers Gargano aruond and into a waistlock, but Gargano keeps up with Almas in technical back and forth. Gargano gets the facelock but ALmas gets loose, fans applaud. They circle again, the cheers continue, Almas gets the waistlock again. Gargano gets a wristlock and then the arm wrench, bringing Almas ot his knees. Almas stands up and tries to pry hsi way out, but instead slips around to another waistlock. Gargano feels his way through the hold to reapply the wristlock and into a hammerlock. Gargano gets the headlock takeover, Almas headscissors but Gargano pops out. Almas turns the tables but cannot pop out of Gargano’s headscissors. He still finds a way out and the two go seated switch for seated switch. Almas stands up and the fans applaud again. Mrs. Wrestling, Candice LaRae, watches from the front row as Gargano and Almas go again. Almas brings Gargano in for a headlock but Gargano powers out, only for Almas to rum him over with a shoulder. Things speed up, but Almas fakes Gargano out. Almas grabs Gargano and has the hammerlock but Gargano denies the DDT. Gargano goes for his submission but Almas slips out, he goes for the hammerlock again but Gargano reverses. Gargano still wants his submission hold but Almas continues to resist. The two separate once more, and the fans are loving it. Both men grin, Gargano because he knows he’s always close but Almas because he is still ahead. The two walk and circle again while the fans cheer “This is Wrestling”. The two go again but Almas kicks low, then drives Gargano to a corner. He whips corner to corner but Gargano goes up and over and side steps the hit a running headscissors and dropkick!

Gargano arm-drags Almas to an armlock, and fans applaud again. Zelina doesn’t like what she sees. Almas keeps from being caught in a cover, but Gargano puts more and more of his weight on Almas. Gargano keeps on an arm, but ALmas pulls on hair to put Gargano in a corner. Almas whips Gargano corner to corner again and fakes Gargano out, for a STIFF chop!

The chop gets Gargano across the face and chest, but Almas keeps on him with stomps. He drags Gargano up and around to a corner for another stiff chop. Almas whips Gargano back into the corner but Gargano boots back. Gargano hops up and throws ALmas with a flying huricanrana! He clotheslines Almas out then slingshots, but Almas evades. Gargano alley-oops Almas up but Almas lands on the apron. Almas asais but Gargano evades, Gargano hops onto the apron. Gargano jumps to evade Almas’ leg sweeps, then mule kicks Almas away. Gargano takes aim and jumps for the cannonball, but Almas side-steps!

Johnny Wrestling hits nothing but floor! Candice is concerned but Almas drags him up and into the ring. Cover, TWO, and Almas grows frustrated. Zelina keeps him focused as he stomps on Gargano. The fans continue to cheer for “Johnny Wrestling!” while Almas brings him up. Gargano revives to give southpaw forearms, but Almas shoves him away. Gargano turns that around to throw Almas at ropes, but Almas goes Spider-Man on the ropes. He then shifts and blocks Gargano’s forearms to then put Gargano in a dragon sleeper on the ropes!

The referee counts, Almas lets go at 4. He then sits Gargano up for a dropkick right to the head! Cover, TWO, and Almas grows further frustrated with Gargano. He puts Gargano in the chinlock. The fans rally, which upsets Zelina. Gargano endures the squeeze, but he starts to fade just a bit. The fans keep cheering while Zelina calls Gargano a loser. Almas shifts to put Gargano into a deeper chinlock stretch, but Gargano does not quit. The fans rally stronger now, and Gargano feeds off the energy. He wills himself up and fights back to free himself. Almas slips out of the scoop but Gargano denies the dragon sleeper. Gargano tries to suplex but his back won’t let him. He slips out of Almas’ suplex and rolls him for the schoolboy kick! Almas crawls to a corner, Gargano gets up and gives him a running chop. They go corner to corner, Almas reverses but Gargano puts him on the apron. Gargano kicks but Almas blocks and hangs him up in a Tree of Woe! Almas climbs up, takes aim, but Gargano leans back to avoid the draping stomps! Gargano gets out and throws Almas into the buckles!

Both men are down, but Zelina is the most concerned. The champion and challenger stir, and then they brawl with sharp elbows back and forth. Fans cheer for Gargano but boo Almas. Gargano gets an edge with short lariats. Almas shoves Gargano, he returns with a big forearm! Gargano rallies with forearms from both arms and then rocks Almas with an enziguri. Almas staggers to a corner, Gargano runs in for a forearm smash. Gargano hops up, takes aim, and hits a tornado downward spiral!

Cover, TWO! Zelina breathes easier, but she still wants her man to get back into this. Gargano brings Almas up. Almas revives, misses, but elbows his way out of Gargano’s move. Gargano kicks back and throws Almas to the ropes. Gargano knows he’ll Spider-Man so he slips under to the outside. Almas knocks Gargano back with a forearm then gets running, but into Gargano’s slingshot spear!

Cover, TWO! Zelina panics but Gargano keeps his cool. Gargano gets space before standing back up. He runs at Almas in a corner for a big kick, then runs for the tilt-o-whirl, but Almas makes it a facebuster! TWO, and Almas again grows frustrated. Zelina coaches her man, he rams a right forearm into Gargano’s head. Almas then climbs up to the top, moonsault but Gargano evades, Almas lands on his feet to immediately moonsault again! Cover, TWO! Zelina is furious and Almas is shocked. Almas drags Gargano up and gives him more stiff elbows. Gargano responds with his own elbows, then runs but into a big back elbow! Cover, TWO and three quarters! Almas runs, but into Gargano’s SUPERKICK!

Cover, TWO! Gargano and Almas get moving again, going lariat for lariat and slap for slap! The two fall down but the fans applaud this instant classic. The two men stir and get to opposite ends of the ring. The fans hope they “Fight forever!” while Almas gets to a corner. Gargano runs in but into a boot. Almas hops up, Gargano grabs a leg, so Almas enziguris him with the other leg! He brings Gargano up and onto the top rope. Almas climbs up to join him, hammerlock and facelock, but Gargano resists. Gargano slips out but Almas denies the powerbomb with punches. Gargan slips outs and SUPERKICKS Almas upside-down!

Almas is stuck up there, and Zelina panics all over again. Gargano climbs up again, and goes to sunset flip Almas but Almas springs out and lands on his feet! CIEN KNEES!

Almas goes corner to corner, but Gargano evades and Almas hits buckles! Gargano gets to the apron, slingshots in, but Almas catches him for a draping facebuster and clubbing forearm! Almas keeps going, inverted tornado DDT!

Cover, TWO! Zelina looks this close to ripping her hair out over this but Philly gives a standing ovation! Gargano and Almas drag themselves to the apron while the fans are thunderously cheering. Almas brings Gargano up, wants the DDT but Gargano hooks a leg on the ropes. Almas clubs Gargano and lifts with a fireman’s but Gargano slips out. Gargano rocks Almas with a forearm, Almas forearms back. They brawl like this, Gargano enziguri Almas but he stays on. Gargano sees his opening, slingshot DDT to the apron!!

Both men slump to the ground, the referee checks on Almas. They’re both okay to continue, so the referee starts a ring count. Gargano drags Almas up and over at about 4, and they both get in at 7. Cover, TWO! Zelina keeps coaching, but Gargano slips around and slowly applies his hold. Almas revives just in time to resist the final phase. The two struggle and stand up, jawbreaker from Almas. He then wrenches Gargano’s arm but gets a forearm for it. Almas swings but Gargano spins him, the back elbow comes in from the other end. Zelina shouts orders, Almas runs, but into Gargano’s lariat! Gargano keeps moving, scooping Almas for the long dart! Gargano isn’t done there, and the fans know it. He takes aim, Zelina swipes at him, Almas dropkicks in the distraction! Almas hurries to do anything, but Gargano counters with a small package! TWO!! super feint to mule kick, then killer mule kick! TWO!! The fans still applaud this insanity and want them to “Fight Forever!” while repeating that “This is awesome!” Gargano gets up and crawls over to a corner. Almas chases at a crawl while Gargano climbs up. Almas anchors a foot but Gargano punches him away, but Almas sweeps the legs. Gargano hangs on as Almas climbs up now and keeps up those elbows. Almas reaches the top, draping stomps to the apron!

Gargano topples down and his eyes glaze over. Almas drags him up to shove him back into the LED board! He won’t let up, he keeps bouncing him off the board. The referee backs him off but Almas wont’ stay back. Almas drags Gargano up and in, then watches him in the corner. CIEN KNEES again!!

TWO!? No one can believe Gargano survived, but this is how much winning the NXT Championship means to him! Gargano’s eyes still look dazed, but fans still hope they “Fight Forever!” Almas and Gargano fight as best they can on the ground. Almas slaps Gargano, and fans boo the disrespect. He does it again, but Gargano keeps moving. They stand up, Gargano revives to throw a left haymaker. Then another, and another. Gargano keeps going, slapping Almas back. Almas chops Gargano, Gargano SUPERKICKS, then POISONED RANA!!

The fans fire up all over again, as does Gargano! Almas is the one dazed, Gargano gets running, tilt-o-hwirl into GargaNO Escape!!

Almas crawls and reaches, but fans chant “TAP! TAP!” The champ rolls but Gargano keeps a hold of him! Zelina reaches out for Almas and keeps him from tapping. The referee goes over to her, and in that time, Almas scratches Gargano’s eyes and gets him to let go! Almas goes over to Gargano, wants the hammerlock but Gargano power shim to a corner. Gargano shoves Almas over and out of the ring, then runs to DIVE!

He puts Almas in the ring, but then Zelina finds an opening to get on the apron and hit Gargano with a flying headscissors! Gargano is sent into steel steps!

Zelina shouts for Almas to fetch Gargano and he does. They return into the ring, Almas brings Gargano up, and hits the Hammerlock DDT!!

Almas covers, TWO!?!? Gargano lives!? Philly chants “YES! YES!” for the unofficial heir to Daniel Bryan’s legacy! The fans will not give up on “Johnny Wrestling!” but Zelina has hit her limit. She gets on the apron and shouts at the referee. Gargano rolls away in the meantime. Zelina storms her away around the ring, headed right for him, but in comes Candice to defend HER man!

Mrs. Wrestling unloads on La Gerente, then throws her right into the barriers!

The assault continues but Zelina retreats through the crowd! Candice gives chase, and now Almas is alone against Gargano. The fans say “Thank you, Candice!” while Gargano gets himself onto the apron. Almas comes over but Gargano kicks him away, to hit another slingshot DDT!!

TWO!? Even so, Gargano puts his GargaNO Escape back on! He bends Almas back and Almas endures, his legs get a ropebreak. Gargano lets go and Almas gets to the apron. Gargano goes out to join him, Almas shoves him into the post! The referee checks on Gargano as he slumps down, but Almas gets to the opposite ends. CIEN KNEES NUMERO TRES, and into the ring post!!

Almas leaves Gargano down and out on the outside. The referee checks on Gargano again, but Almas comes back over. Gargano somehow pulls himself up but Almas brings him the rest of the way. The fans keep cheering for Gargano as Almas drags him over the top rope, for a SUPER DRAPING HAMMERLOCK DDT!!

Almas covers, Almas finally wins. As Mauro Ranello puts it, “You could not ask for more out of an NXT Championship match.” Whether by hook or by crook, El Idolo inches out a win against Johnny Wrestling to remain NXT Champion. Zelina even returns to celebrate with her man. Has Almas earned a place in the conversation of top superstar in NXT?

As for Gargano, his wife, Candice, returns to check on him.

Mrs. Wrestling consoles Mr. Wrestling, he did nothing wrong in this match. Philadelphia also cheers for him and his superhuman effort. The chant of “Thank you, Johnny!” mixes with the others while Candice helps Gargano up the ramp. He turns around to give Philly one last look.

But then Tommaso Ciampa attacks from behind!!

The Psycho Killer returns to make Gargano’s loss even worse! Gargano writhes on the ground, and his former friend simply stares at him. Philly calls Ciampa an “Asshole!” but he doesn’t care what they think. Ciampa simply wants to make good on his promise to bring Gargano down with him. When will he strike again?

 

My Thoughts:

NXT just raised the bar on everything else in WWE with this special alone. Everything was brilliant from start to finish, and with no complaints from me. The NXT Year End Awards were fun to see presented in the preshow, and they truly went to the most deserving nominees. The NXT Tag Team Championships opening was a great surprise and completely works within story given the attitudes of the Authors of Pain. Obviously reDRagon were the underdogs despite being champions, and they played it up well. That said, they managed to exploit the one weakness all humans have, and that is the joints. There was great storytelling with going after Akam’s leg, and though it technically didn’t lose AoP the match, the leg came into play enough to help reDRagon come away with a win and those NXT Tag Team titles. This defeat likely means AoP could show up on the main roster as soon as Monday to do whatever they want to the main roster’s tag team divisions. Likewise, Ohno losing in a stellar match with Velveteen Dream could mean he’ll finally make his way to the main roster and perhaps freshen up the mid-card. If I had to choose, I’d put Ohno on SmackDown to challenge Bobby Roode for the US Championship.

The NXT Women’s Championship match was also incredible, and it felt like Philly legitimately disliked Shayna Baszler. Shayna played up her Heel persona perfectly, and there was again great storytelling through Ember’s arm injury. Ember’s character may not have gone the way it should have but she still impresses with how she persevered and found a way to win. Of course, Shayna ups the ante with a Sore Loser Heel move, she is not through with the Women’s Championship scene just yet. Aleister-Cole was the first Extreme Rules match for NXT, and probably the best one of those in the history of WWE as a whole. There was innovation in the destruction as well as legitimacy in the storytelling, such as reDRagon coming out to legally interfere on Cole’s behalf only to be thwarted by SAnitY. SAnitY are still owed NXT Tag Team Championship rematches, but Wrestlemania Weekend is so far away that the rematch will likely happen long before then. Either team could come away champions, but both teams will definitely give an amazing match. And probably the most amazing match ever was properly saved for last as Almas and Gargano tear it up and tear it down for the NXT Championship. I still can’t believe they went as long and as hard as they did even after it’s all said and done. I was also glad to see Candice get involved to stop Zelina from interfering, as she’s super close to making her own NXT debut. Almas still wins in this microscopically close match-up, so that he isn’t a transitional champion. While it means Gargano is swept 0-3, that in itself feeds his ultimate underdog story, and allows him and the returning Ciampa to feud over personal pride and disdain rather than the gold. And in which case, Ciampa VS Gargano in the feud we’ve been waiting for is going to be full of instant classics itself.

My Score: 9/10


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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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