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Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (2/3/18)

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ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 333

All images courtesy of the Fite.TV app and streaming service.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • ROH World Tag Team Championships: The Motor City Machine Guns VS Best Friends; Best Friends win by disqualification, the MCMG retain the ROH World Tag Team Championships.
  • Shane Taylor VS Marty Scurll; Scurll wins.
  • Matt Taven w/ The Kingdom VS Cody; Cody wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

The challengers for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship are lining up.

Matt Taven told The American Nightmare to his face that he’s beaten everyone there is to beat, yet he keeps “getting looked over for people like you.” Cody was handed the ROH WHC and every opportunity to keep it, and yet, “bye-bye.” Taven summarized Cody’s career as “a little, undeserving, ungrateful, spoiled brat has become nothing more than a little bleach-blonde bitch!” He then gave the former champ a mic drop and a low blow. Before fighting for gold, who will win a fight over pride and personal animosity?

 

ROH World Tag Team Championships: The Motor City Machine Guns VS Best Friends!

Chuckie T & Trent Baretta have been circling the tag title scene, but seeing as how the MCMG just got the newest edition of those title belts, don’t expect Sabin & Shelley to let go without a fight.

The Code of Honor is upheld, and we start with Sabin and the Kentucky Gentleman. The two circle, Chuckie marching on his knees and Sabin copying. They tie up, Chuckie gets the waistlock but Sabin reverses to a wristlock. Chuck rolls to reverse but Sabin rolls and handsprings to reverse back. Sabin puts on the headlock but Chuckie powers out and things speed up. Chuckie arm-drags but Sabin arm-drags back and the two stand off. The fans applaud and Sabin offers a handshake, to then bring Chuckie into a hug.

Chuckie no likey so he pushes Sabin away. He backs off to his corner, and uses a handshake to tag Baretta in, Sabin tags Shelley in, as well. Shelley and Sabin hug before Shelley circles with Baretta. The fans start a duel, “Alex Shelley!” “Let’s go, Trent!” while the two men tie up. Shelley knees low then chops high but Baretta chops back. We have ourselves a chop fight! They go back and forth but Shelley gets the edge. Baretta gasps for air but then pokes Shelley in the eyes. Baretta has Chuckie come in without a tag, and Best Friends double whip Shelley for double back elbows. They want to hug but Sabin comes in to fight them both. Fans boo while Sabin stomps a mudhole into Chuckie and Shelley goes after Baretta. Sabin declares “No Hugs!”, then MCMG coordinate to whip Best Friends at each other. Best Friends reverse, MCMG do-si-do but Best Friends dodge. Best Friends run in but now MCMG dodges, but then Best Friends dodge again, to finally hit double forearm smashes!

Then they hit forearm smashes the other way. And they hug!

The fans applaud while the contenders have control and we go to break.

 

ROH returns, and the champions are back in control after diving on each of the Best Friends from the apron, as well as hitting some of their signature double team moves. Shelley has Baretta down as he tags in Sabin. He then bumps Baretta off a buckle before MCMG double whips Baretta corner to corner. However, Chuckie gets up and onto the top rope to be a stopper for Baretta in that corner.

Baretta counter attacks the MCMG with double clotheslines! Chuckie returns to his corner and rallies the fans. Baretta tags and Chuckie rallies on Sabin. Sabin reverses a whip but Chuckie hops up and over. Sabin jumps up but his idea is countered into a sit-out powerbomb!

TWO, but so close! Chuckie fires up and drags Sabin into position. He climbs up to the top and moonsaults, but flops when Sabin rolls out of the way! Sabin kicks and facelock, tries to go around the world when Baretta comes in but Baretta ducks. Shelley slips in while Sabin catches Baretta, and Shelley’s SUPERKICK stuns Baretta so that Sabin can go around the world for the DDT on Chuckie T!

The fans fire up while Chuckie ends up outside. They duel while MCMG takes aim at Baretta. Baretta stands up, and boots Shelley and Sabin away in turn. He comes out but Shelley catches him in a waistlock, and Sabin rocks him with an enziguri. Shelley rocks Baretta with a forearm smash, then MCMG sandwich Baretta inside a discus lariat SUPERKICK combo!

Shelley goes for Sliced Bread but Baretta denies it, then evades Sabin to send his corner clothesline into Shelley. Baretta kicks Sabin low then uses Shelley to go around the world but Sabin denies the DDT. Baretta still gives Sabin a chop, then gives Shelley a chop. He runs but Shelley is ready, Baretta runs into an atomic drop and that starts the Dream Sequence: Low dropkick to running Chancery to another low dropkick! Chuckie returns, but Shelley is the step for Sabin to hit Chuckie with the flying calf kick. The MCMG take aim at Chuckie while the fans fire up. Shelley slingshots to open the way, but Baretta trips up Sabin. Chuckie trips up Shelley to bounce him off the apron, then hops into the ring to slingshot back out. Shelley evades and grabs Chuckie, but he sees Baretta coming, so he gets out of the way to let Baretta wreck Chuckie with the dropkick!

Shelley then kicks Baretta, and he grabs both Best Friends to run at the post. Double Sliced Bread denied, and Shelley instead runs into a long dart cutter!

The fans applaud while the Best Friends fire up. Sabin comes over and slingshots but changes plans when Best Friends evade. Baretta ducks the kick but Chuckie takes the forarm, then Baretta takes that kick! Chuckie forearms Sabin down then builds speed to FLY onto the MCMG!

The Best Friends hug at the top of the ramp, but then Jay & Mark Briscoe appear and attack! #DemBoyz knock the Best Friends down, and this match is disqualified!

But they’re not satisfied with that. Jay goes right after the MCMG himself! Mark joins in while the referee has the bell ring more, but now the champions are put in the ring by the Briscoes. The beat down continues while the fans boo and jeer. The referee tries to stop this but the Briscoes keep going. Jay pulls out zip-ties!?

Mark takes some and while beating the MCMG down more, they tie Shelley to the ropes! The Briscoes make Shelley, the referee and the fans watch as they bring in a chair. Mark holds Shelley while Jay brings Sabin up, Jay Driller on the chair!!

The fans boo and jeer while the Briscoes stand over their victims. They want to be ROH World Tag Team Champions again, but is this going too far?

 

The Beer City Bruiser, Brian Milonas & Silas Young speak.

The Bruiser wants ROH to “belly up to the bar”, because the “two largest drinks” in the tag team division “start knocking heads together” next week. The Kingpin promises he and BCB are gonna start bouncing people, and the Last Real Man–sporting the brand new ROH World Television Championship belt–can’t wait to see it. Who will be the first team to fall before the Big Bad Bruisers?

 

Punishment Martinez speaks.

“My entire life has been about violence and anger.” He wasn’t raised in a “good area”, and earned the name Punishment on the streets “by breaking bones and cracking skulls.” Martinez is a two-time full-contact martial arts champion. ROH has given him “a platform to showcase my violence to the world.” Martinez’s time in ROH has been about speaking through actions. Those actions include “torturing” Jay White, truly beating Frankie Kazarian, as well as Will Ospreay, Jay Lethal, and everyone in the 2017 Survival of the Fittest. Martinez has established himself at the top of ROH’s food chain, and is guaranteed a match for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship whenever he wants. “Castle. Since Final Battle, you’ve received nothing but congratulations from your peers.” Martinez wishes to be the first to give his condolences. “Because your time as world champion is dead.” Will the Reincarnation of the Purple Mist be the one to rise from the Peacock’s ashes?

 

Shane Taylor VS Marty Scurll!

The Notorious Hitman went after The Villain as part of SoCal Uncensored’s request he keep Bullet Club members from helping The Young Bucks out weeks ago. Now Scurll wants to cause Taylor a #SpotofBother as payback! Taylor welcomes him to try, but can Scurll defeat a man armed with a killer right hand?

The Code of Honor is skipped, and the two circle at the bell. Scurll throws opening forearms but Taylor shoves him away. Scurll comes back with more forearms, but Taylor throws him into a corner. Taylor runs in but Scurll dodges, and then grabs that strong right hand to stomp on it! Scurll chops Taylor, then tries but fails to suplex the bigger man up and over. Taylor knees Scurll low, then throws Scurll to ropes. Scurll holds on to then dump Taylor out, Scurll gets to the apron to say “You’re Dead!” with a SUPERKICK!

The fans applaud but Taylor stays standing. Scurll tries again but Taylor catches the second kick. Scurll fights with haymakers but then resorts to a thumb digging right into Taylor’s eye! Taylor lets go, the referee reprimands Scurll, but the fans applaud the Villain’s tactics. Scurll leaps for a flying headscissors, but Taylor stops him with pure power. Taylor swings Scurll back up to try a powerbomb but Scurll slips out. Taylor grabs Scurll around the neck, Scurll breaks free and spins around but gets grabbed at the neck again, to be thrown into barriers!

The fans applaud while Taylor walks off his frustration. He then picks Scurll up, and throws him into more barriers! Scurll is stuck upside down while Taylor walks around again. Taylor rocks Scurll with a forearm, then choke slams him onto the apron edge while we go to break!

ROH returns to find Taylor still in control. He whips Scurll but Scurll evades to sunset flip. Taylor stays standing, then jumps up but Scurll rolls out of the way, letting Taylor slam himself down onto the mat! Scurll gets to a corner and back to his feet while the fans fire up. Taylor runs in but Scurll gives him a European Uppercut. Scurll runs and clothelines but Taylor stays standing. The fans duel while Scurll climbs to the top rope. Scurll jumps and his missile dropkick knocks Taylor down! Taylor rolls out of the ring, and Scurll gets the fans going again. Scurll builds speed and DIVES!

But Taylor catches him, and lifts him for a slam, but Scurll slips out. Scurll mule kicks Taylor, then uses the apron to help in a tornado DDT to the ground!

The fans are thunderous for The Villain as he crawls away from the crash. Scurll gets to his feet with the help of the barriers. The ten count gets past 7 as he drags Taylor up and into the ring. Scurll covers, TWO, but Scurll keeps his cool. He tries another suplex but Taylor is still too big and strong. Taylor rocks Scurll with a heavy right forearm, then gets running. Scurll fakes him out with the feint, then goes for the real kick, but Taylor catches that to rock Scurll with a knee! Taylor hits a running splash!

TWO! Taylor can’t believe it, but the fans start chanting “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” for Scurll. Scurll gets to the apron and Taylor walks over, but Scurll grabs Taylor’s arm over the top rope. Scurll gives Taylor a shoulder breaker hotshot and he staggers back. But Taylor sees Scurll’s shoulder coming and counters with a big knee lift and discus forearm smash! Taylor drags Scurll out of the ropes for a two-handed sit-out choke slam!

TWO!! Scurll shocks Taylor again, but the fans keep chanting. Taylor mocks Scurll’s song and dance, which the fans boot. Scurll staggers to his feet as Taylor calls for his Knockout right. Taylor swings but Scurll ducks, Taylor tries a full nelson but Scurll counters with elbows and forearms. Scurll then takes the left hand by the fingers! He bends them back and asks for silence, but Taylor hits with his right hand! But Scurll stays up, to counter with an open hand slap! Scurll goes for another but Taylor catches him with a short range headbutt! Taylor goes to suplex Scurll but Scurll manages the suplex on Taylor!

TWO!! Scurll can’t believe he didn’t get it, but there’s a huge difference between the brainbuster he got and the one he wanted. The fans still cheer him on with “Woop Woop!” Taylor staggers while Scurll gets the fans going with his song and dance! They all shout “Chicken wing!” but Taylor hits a left jab! Taylor picks Scurll up, spins him around, but Scurll slips out to get the chicken wing! Scurll can’t bring Taylor down before Taylor rams him into buckles. Taylor gets free while Scurll exits the ring to regroup. Scurll grabs his umbrella but Taylor steps on it. Taylor takes the umbrella and threatens Scurll with it. The referee tells Taylor to put it down and even Scurll asks for mercy. The referee grabs the umbrella and struggles with Taylor while Scurll slips under the ring. Scurll pulls out a bag, and from that bag… chalk powder!!

Taylor takes a handful of it right to the face, and more importantly his eyes! Scurll rolls Taylor up, and Scurll wins! The Villain gets his revenge his way!

Marty Scurll speaks.

“I’m not done tonight.” Scurll calls out Punishment Martinez to get his “numpty ass out here right now!” However, while Marty expects the monster to come out from the stage, Martinez appears from the crowd and from behind!

The Villain turns around to see him, then quickly explains he isn’t trying to pick a fight. Scurll instead wants Martinez to know that when he faces Dalton Castle for the ROH WHC, Scurll is sure Martinez will win. The fans may not agree, but they can all agree that they want to see The Villain as the next ROH WHC! And indeed they do, with “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” Therefore, Scurll says that when Martinez becomes WHC, Scurll wants to be first up to challenge him. “What do you say, big man?” Martinez nods! Is the deal set? Scurll turns to leave, but then Martinez turns him around for a South of Heaven Choke Slam!

Deal or no deal, Martinez is confident he’ll be ROH WHC after next week. Is Scurll asking for too much from the merciless monster?

 

Next week, ROH Wrestling Television presents: The WOH Championship tournament!

The 16 woman tournament to crown the inaugural Women of Honor Champion begins with episode 334! Who will make it through the five-round bracket to be the first woman to hold the WOH title belt?

 

Matt Taven w/ The Kingdom VS Cody!

Whether it is a conspiracy, bias or just plain unpopularity, Taven and The Kingdom are upset they aren’t getting the title opportunities everyone else does. Especially when Taven sees The American Nightmare being given them without even trying. Can Taven get over his grudge with a win here tonight?

The bell rings but there’s no Code of Honor or any respect between these two. Taven pie-faces Cody, Cody throws Taven into a corner! Cody chops Taven in that corner, then in another corner, then whips Taven to ropes. Taven holds on then bails out, not wanting Cody to have control. The Kingdom vouches for him, this is all strategy and mind-games. Cody pursues and Taven runs back into the ring. Taven slides under Cody’s kick to kick back, then wraps the arm for the Climax, but Cody denies. Taven holds ropes again to boot Cody away, but Cody catches Taven in the dragon sleeper! He wants Cross Rhodes but Taven slips around. Taven swings but Cody dodges, Cody tries for Beautiful Disaster but misses. Taven tries to copy the Beautiful Disaster but Cody dodges. The two stand off and the fans applaud. Cody and Taven are evenly matched while we go to break.

ROH returns and we find Cody and Taven brawling, forearm for forearm! Taven gets the edge and knees low, then trash talks before running. Cody goes to throw him out but Taven counters to throw him out instead. Taven mocks the literal Ring of Honor then builds speed, but Cody ducks the wrecking ball dropkick. Cody blocks and deflects Taven’s strikes to then ram Taven into the apron face first with a complete shot!

The Kingdom regroup with Taven and want a time out while Cody rallies the fans. Cody runs, springboards and FLIES!

Taven gets out of the way and leaves Vinnie & TK to take the hit! Cody gets up and Taven rakes his eyes to then throw him into a post. Taven keeps going, throwing Cody into barriers and then into the ring. He slams Cody’s arm against the apron edge, then gives a cocky grin at the camera. Taven reenters the ring and stands over Cody. Cody gets to a corner and Taven trash talks him as he toys with him. Cody kicks back, so Taven throws him into a post again. Taven wrenches the arm and drops him with the armbar DDT. Cover, TWO, and The Kingdom grows frustrated. Cody tries to get feeling into that left arm but Taven goes after the arm. Taven jumps to give the arm a code breaker, then lets Cody roll out of the ring for The Kingdom to go after him! TK blows a kiss to the camera after he and Vinnie finish mugging Cody. Vinnie feeds Cody to Taven, and Taven digs a heel into Cody’s chin while pulling on the arms. Taven goes after the beat up left arm again with a seated keylock. The fans rally for Cody and Cody wills himself up to his feet. Cody fights out and throws Taven, but Taven comes back to throw Cody out again. Vinnie throws Cody into barriers on one side, then gets him moving again so TK can throw Cody into the barriers on the other side!

The Kingdom embraces the heat while Cody writhes on the ground. Taven comes out to fetch Cody, mocking the injury before wrapping Cody’s arm around a post. Cody fights back with his good arm, jabbing Taven in the ribs. Taven slings that arm into the post, and they return into the ring. Taven drags Cody up and then throws him into buckles. He whips Cody corner to corner, but Cody stops himself short to then collide with Taven. Both men go down, but get to their feet. They both run at the ropes and springboard, double Beautiful Disasters!

Taven and Cody go down, we go to break.

ROH returns once again, and Taven has regained control. He walks around over the downed Cody with a heat-embracing grin on his face. He runs, springboards but has to land on his feet when Cody rolls out of the way. Cody rolls back and hits Taven with the uppercut! Taven staggers while Cody gets up, but Taven comes back with the spinning heel kick! Then Taven runs and springboards again to hit the lionsault!

TWO and The Kingdom is frustrated again. Taven rolls Cody into position then climbs up top. Cody stands back up and ducks the missile dropkick. Taven runs back in but then Cody catches him in the “shout out to Uncle Bob”, the Alabama Slama!

Cover, TWO! Cody feels frustration now, but the fans keep cheering him on. Taven gets up but then Cody walks over, Taven boots that bad shoulder. Taven hits a Moonlight Drive!

He keeps moving, he goes back to the top rope. Taven frog splashes, but into Cody’s knees! The fans applaud Cody’s resilience, and a ten count begins as both men slowly stir. They get up before 5, Cody sunset flips but Taven rolls through for a stiff knee to the face! “Because I’m Matt Taven.” Both men are down again, but Vinnie grabs that hatchet of his.

The referee takes notice of the Horror King creeping closer, but it’s a distraction so that the Sassy Wild Horse can slip in on the other side. However, the referee sees that, too! He ejects The Kingdom from ringside! Vinnie & TK freak out but the referee exits the ring to make sure they leave. However, Taven grabs his walking stick. Taven raises it to take a swing at Cody, but Cody kicks him right in his family jewels!

Cody gets payback for a couple weeks ago, then rolls Taven up in a small package, Cody wins for ultimate revenge! The American Nightmare still has his Ring of Honor, when will he get a chance to regain the ROH WHC?

But then TK O’Ryan attacks Cody from behind!

TK embraces the heat while Vinnie brings a chair over. Cody’s hand is vulnerable on the apron edge, TK smashes it with the chair!!

Cody writhes and flails in pain but that’s still not the end of it. Vinnie & TK stomp and club Cody down more while Taven stands up. The fans chant for “Young Bucks!” in hopes of summoning Matt & Nick Jackson. However, neither they nor anyone else in Bullet Club comes running. TK & Vinnie get Cody up for Taven, and Taven kicks Cody’s jewels even harder!

Then, Taven finally hits Climax!

As if that wasn’t enough, Taven picks up Cody’s busted ring hand, and then takes that Ring of Honor for his own, and makes Cody kiss it!

Taven says that “He who laughs last, laughs longest.” But will The Kingdom really have the last laugh against The American Nightmare and The Bullet Club as a whole?

 

My Thoughts:

A really good episode of ROH that also sets the stage for an incredible episode next time. We open with a great ROH WTTC match that turns out to only set up more of the Briscoes’ story with the MCMG. It was a bit disappointing that the Briscoes didn’t wait until the match ended, like commentary helped selling, but perhaps the Briscoes were making sure the only ones to beat Sabin & Shelley were them. Though, with that chair Jay Driller, the tag titles could be vacated due to an injury to Sabin and then The Briscoes would have to take the long way back to the titles. The ROH Tag Team Division is still very competitive and deep, especially with the creation of Bruiser & Milonas as a team. They’re set to face Coast 2 Coast, Ali & LSG, next week and that could be a really great match, something on a PPV quality level given how well C2C did in their “Do or Die” with War Machine. If Bruiser & Milonas aren’t meant to win, then I expect it to end dirty so that they don’t look weak in their tag team debut.

There was a lot of quality continuity between everything revolving around the ROH WHC scene as well as the angles shared between ROH and NJPW. First, Scurll VS Taylor was great, lots of good story telling. Then him trying to jump the line by going to Martinez was great, especially for Martinez’s response of a choke slam. Getting the ROH WHC match on free television is nice of ROH, and that match could go either way. Then, Cody being out there alone in his match with Taven is a great way to demonstrate the rift within The Bullet Club given the events of New Beginning in Sapporo, aka Cody betraying Kenny Omega. The fans expected the Young Bucks, and probably by association, Scurll and Hangman, but no one came and now Cody may have a busted hand (in kayfabe). At the same time, ROH canon established that the “Hung Bucks” are busy with SoCal Uncensored and that in itself is reason they couldn’t/chose not to help Cody here. I hope this Bullet Club Civil War angle bleeds over into ROH more, such as matches between the two sides, to give it plenty of build and action before it all wraps up.

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
  • Impact Knockouts Championship
    Allie (c) vs. Su Yung
  • Impact X Division Championship
    Matt Sydal (c) vs. Petey Williams
  • Impact World Tag Team Championship
    LAX (c) vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner
  • House Of Hardcore 6-Man Tag Match
    Tommy Dreamer, Moose, and Eddie Edwards vs. oVe
  • Ishimori vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Brian Cage vs. DJZ vs. Trevor Lee
  • Aerostar vs. Drago
  • Taya Valkyrie vs. Kiera Hogan

 


IMPACT Redemption Play-By-Play:

 

 


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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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