All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service.
- Fifth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Akira Tozawa VS Mark Andrews; Andrews wins and advances to the second round.
- Sixth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Tony Nese VS Drew Gulak; Gulak wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Cruiserweight Championship tournament’s opening round hits the halfway point.
Cedric Alexander, TJP, Kalisto and the shocking entry of Roderick Strong have all advanced to the second round. Now we begin the second half to see which other four superstars will join them. Another former Cruiserweight Champion will battle a member of the WWE’s United Kingdom Division, and PowerPoint pals will be forced to put their friendship aside. But in the end, they all want one thing: to win the vacated Cruiserweight Championship as a Wrestlemania Moment!
Fifth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Akira Tozawa VS Mark Andrews!
The Stamina Monster once dethroned the King of the Cruiserweights to become champion, while the High-Fiving, Stage-Diving Welshman would like his first taste of WWE gold period. Will Tozawa keep out the crossover competitor on this Road to Wrestlemania?
Quick backstage interview with Mark Andrews.
What does it mean to him to come all the way from the UK to compete for this opportunity tonight? He’s really excited because everyone from around the world, from the UK to Japan, have been talking about 205 Live. Andrews is psyched to be part of it now, to high-five and stage-dive all the way to the Grandest Stage of Them All: Wrestlemania! Especially if it means he can become the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
Andrews makes his entrance and we have our match.
The two circle with the bell, and Tozawa starts up the “HAH! HAH!” battle cry. He and Andrews tie up, Tozawa gets the waistlock. They circle around, Andrews gets the headlock takeover but Tozawa gets the headscissors. Andrews holds onto the headlock and the two stand up, but then Tozawa rolls and floats over to a cover, TWO. The two stand off, and the fans applaud. Tozawa and Andrews circle again, Andrews getting the single leg takedown into a knee wrench toehold. Andrews deepens the bend and twist with a toe ‘n’ ankle while keeping the other leg down. 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick watches backstage as Tozawa works to free that trapped leg.
Andrews keeps twisting and Tozawa keeps enduring. Tozawa crawls for ropes but Andrews drags him away to add on another twist. Andrews keeps Tozawa grounded, but Tozawa gets free, so Andrews stands up to wrench the arm and wrist. Tozawa rolls and reverses the hold, starting up the “HAH! HAH!” at the same time. Tozawa spins Andrews to a waistlock, but Andrews spins out to reverse the armlock. Andrews grounds Tozawa again, and then wraps Tozawa up in an Octopus Stretch!
He bends the free arm back and back, looking up at the Wrestlemania sign for motivation. Tozawa starts working his way out, but Andrews easily shifts into a sunset flip, TWO! They get up, Andrews arm-drags Tozawa a couple times, but Tozawa blocks the third with pure strength. Tozawa brings Andrews back up, Andrews slips around him and gets that arm-drag hat trick! They both get back up, Tozawa kicks in low. He runs, Andrews ducks and Tozawa jumps over for the sunset flip, but Andrews back-flips out of it into a low dropkick! Cover, ONE, but Andrews keeps his cool. He stomps Tozawa, then drags him back up. Tozawa frees himself and chops Andrews stiff in the chest. Andrews chops back, and we have a chop fight. They go back and forth, Tozawa fakes a chop to get the jab!
Andrews staggers to a corner and Tozawa comes over to stomp a “HAH! HAH!” mudhole into him. The fans join in, even as Tozawa backs off at the ref’s count. He brings Andrews up and out for a snapmare, then runs for the Penalty Kick and back senton! Cover, TWO, but Tozawa keeps his cool. He goes after Andrews in a seated abdominal stretch, giving Andrews a taste of his own medicine. Andrews slips out but is brought back down, and Tozawa stomps on Andrews. They go to a corner and Tozawa brings Andrews up for more chops. Tozawa ax handles Andrews a couple times, then snapmares him into another form of the seated abdominal stretch. Fans slowly build to a rally and Andrews pries himself free again. Andrews fights back with forearms, one after another, and Tozawa sits down. Andrews brings him back up for a European Uppercut, but Tozawa knees low. Tozawa throws Andrews, but Andrews responds with a surprise 619!
Andrews takes aim while Tozawa staggers away, and springboards for a big flying crossbody!
Cover, TWO, and now Andrews feels some frustration. He kicks Tozawa while he’s down, then puts Tozawa’s leg back in the spinning toehold. Andrews now puts Tozawa in the Indian Deathlock to go right after the knees.
Tozawa endures, then chops Andrews in the chest. Andrews chops back while maintaining the hold. When Tozawa refuses to tap, Andrews stands up and pulls him out of the hold to go back after the arms. Andrews moves back into the Octopus Stretch but Tozawa resists stronger this time, letting out the “HAH! HAH!” Tozawa gets free, fights back with back elbows, but Andrews backs him down with kicks to the leg. Andrews whips but Tozawa reverses, Tozawa gets Andrews in the huricanrana! Then he hits Andrews with a screaming Shining Wizard!
Tozawa doesn’t stop there, he puts Andrews in position and with fans echoing “HAH! HAH!”, Tozawa climbs up up top. He takes aim, but Andrews slips out of the ring. Tozawa doesn’t complain, he just hops down and builds speed to DIVE!
The Tozawa Torpedo downs Andrews and the fans fire up. Tozawa puts Andrews back in the ring, covers, TWO! Frustration won’t stop Tozawa, he gets up and drags Andrews back over to a corner. The fans “HAH! HAH!” again as Tozawa climbs back up top. Tozawa takes aim again but Andrews stands up. Andrews runs over, Tozawa jumps over, and they both go corner to corner for Andrews to hit double knees in a corner! Then he brings Tozawa out for the Northern Lights suplex, and Andrews rolls through for a standing corkscrew moonsault!
TWO, and Andrews feels frustration growing. He catches his breath and cools off before bringing Tozawa back up. Andrews grabs Tozawa in a full nelson, but Tozawa arm-drags out of it. Tozawa back kicks, swings, slips under, blocks and hits the saido suplex! He crawls to a cover, TWO! Tozawa gets up again and brings Andrews up for big forearms. He “HAH! HAH!” with each one as he drops Andrews to a knee, then roars before running into Andrews’ mule kick. Andrews kicks Tozawa again, then runs only to run into Tozawa’s boot! Tozawa runs, Andrews slips past him, comes back to tilt-o-whirl into Stun Dog Millionaire! Cover, TWO! Both men are down from exhaustion, but Tozawa rolls himself away slowly. Andrews sits up and sees Tozawa in the corner. He walks over to hoist Tozawa up, keeping him there with a chop. Andrews climbs up, goes for the Super Steiner, but Tozawa blocks with more of that strength! Tozawa lifts Andrews up powerbomb style, but Andrews hits SUPER STEINER after all!
He crawls to the cover, TWO!! The frustration boils over, Andrews can’t believe that didn’t work. But he sees Tozawa in position, and hurries to the corner again. Andrews climbs up and takes aim at Tozawa. Shooting Star, but he has to bail out as Tozawa evades! Tozawa hits the spinning roundhouse! Tozawa goes for La Mahistrol, but Andrews counters with his own cover! ANDREWS WINS!!
And Tozawa’s face says it all, this is a major surprise!
It was fast and it was fair, there’s no way around it. Andrews points to Tozawa to give props and respect, but he also points to the Wrestlemania sign. Can Andrews make it all the way to the end and become a crossover Cruiserweight Champion?
Backstage interview with Jack Gallagher.
Gentleman Jack will face the Pakistani Prince, Mustafa Ali, next week as part of the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament’s opening round. And he’s absolutely delighted to hear it. However, before he can continue, 205 Live GM Drake Maverick enters.
Spud says hello to Dasha then compliments Gallagher’s suit. “John Phillips, London. I have two myself.” That aside, Spud questions Gallagher thinking that’s “appropriate attire in a WWE ring.” Because Maverick doesn’t. As he told others before, this is a new 205 Live. Next week, Gallagher better be here in proper wrestling attire. Spud does say Gallagher is one of the best in the Cruiserweight Division today, and perhaps even in the entire WWE. “So sort yourself out, mate.” Spud says bye to Dasha before taking his leave, leaving Gallagher with much to consider. Will Gallagher be seen back in his old trunks again starting next week?
205 Live announces next week Cruiserweight Championship Tournament matches.
The Privileged Persian Lion will take on “NXT’s Best Kept Secret”, Buddy Murphy!
A former NXT Tag Team Champion as well as fiance to the Goddess of Raw, Murphy does admit that losing the tag titles brought him crashing down in the ranks. However, he pulled himself up and looked himself in the mirror to say, “That’s who I was. Now it’s time to create who I’m going to be.” Spud gave him the call and that sparked a fire in Murphy to get back in championship shape. Training to get under 205 has been “the hardest thing I’ve possibly ever done in my life”, especially since he’s normally competed over that weight. Spud even went to the Performance Center to hold Murphy’s official 205 Live Cruiserweight Division weigh-in. Murphy stepped up to the scale, and his official weight…
At 204.4 lbs, Murphy narrowly makes it in! But that was just step one. Murphy vows that in step two, the Cruiserweight Championship tournament itself, he will step over everyone else to “walk down the ramp at Wrestlemania.” Can the Best Kept Secret break out into the best spotlight of them all?
Sixth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Tony Nese VS Drew Gulak!
Though friends under “Team PowerPoint” and a certain certified train, the Philly Fury and the Premier Athlete were each cut to the heart with comments from the 205 Live GM. Tonight they battle to not only see who is the better, but who is more deserving of the Cruiserweight Championship. Will their friendship become stronger, or crumble apart, with gold on the line?
The bell rings and the two circle with intensity in their eyes. Gulak offers a handshake of respect, but Nese kicks it away. Nese is too focused on the title for there to be friendship and respect, so Gulak just comes at him to grapple. Nese powers Gulak down to the mat, then flexes to show off the peaks. Gulak gets up and they circle again. Nese lunges but Gulak catches him with a shoulder to the abs, then a takedown. Gulak floats over to an armlock, then a chinlock that grinds and thrashes Nese to the mat. Nese rolls and covers, Gulak bridges at ONE. Gulak brings Nese back up to a deep neck wrench then a forearm grinding on the face. Nese gets up, takes Gulak down and goes for a toehold but Gulak quickly counters and shifts to an armbar, which Nese quickly blocks by clasping hands. The referee gets down low to check shoulders while Nese tries to power Gulak to a cover. Gulak counteracts with a palm on Nese’s face. Nese gets to his feet and grabs a leg but Gulak uses the other leg to sweep and then get the mount. He pushes Nese back to a cover, ONE, and Nese stands up to go after Gulak’s leg again. Nese drags Gulak and goes for a half-crab, but Gulak kicks him away with his free leg.
Nese staggers to a corner while Gulak gets up. Gulak runs in for a big running haymaker, then he whips Nese corner to corner. Nese stops himself short and back elbows Gulak away, to then jump up and jump back! Gulak gets under the corner moonsault, but Nese lands on his feet. Gulak runs at Nese but Nese Matrix handsprings to evade. Nese mule kicks Gulak then kene lifts, roundhouses and sweeps, cover, TWO! The fans applaud this exchange even as Nese stomps and kicks Gualk while he’s down. Gulak stares up at him defiantly so Nese keeps kicking. Nese brings Gulak up and goes for a suplex but Gulak body shots back. Gulak goes to hip toss, but Nese blocks and rolls Gulak to the mat. Nese puts Gulak’s legs in a sort of Figure Four while also trapping an arm in a unique combination of holds.
Gulak endures this unique submission, and fans actually rally for him! Nese rolls him to a cover, TWO, but Nese keeps on him by throwing him out of the ring. Nese takes aim, slingshots over, but Gulak moves so Nese lands on the apron. Gulak rushes Nese to sweep the legs but Nese cartwheels over to land on the ground and rock Gulak with a left forearm!
Gulak falls down and Nese leaves him out there, but then Gulak gets right back up to drag Nese right back out. Nese ducks the clothesline to throw in a kick, but Gulak blocks to put the leg on the apron to back suplex Nese to the ground!
Nese hits with a thud as the ref starts a ring count. Gulak gets in but Nese only writhes as the count gets to 5. The count climbs and Gulak seems satisfied to accept this, but then he sees Nese get up. Nese beats that count but Gulak is right on him, covers, ONE. Gulak clubs Nese then springboard stomps on him from both sides. Gulak grabs Nese’s leg and DDT’s the foot into the mat to jam the ankle. Cover, TWO, but Gulak shifts right into an armlock on Nese’s dominant left arm. Nese endures, and wills his way back up. He fights back with body shots, but Gulak rams a knee into his head. Gulak runs, but Nese blasts him with a running back elbow! Both men are down, but Nese drags himself to ropes. Gulak walks over but Nese blocks the punches to counter punches. Gulak keeps trying, but now Nese hits him with a cravat knee strike, then runs for a boot to the mouth! Nese keeps going, getting the staggered Gulak with the windmill kick! Gulak goes down but fans fire up with Nese. Nese runs into the corner and hits Gulak with a spinning back elbow! He keeps going, and brings Gulak down with a leaping lariat!
Cover, TWO! The frustration builds but Nese brings Gulak up and around. He wants a pumphandle but Gulak elbows out. Gulak whips but Nese slips under to pumphandle after all! But Gulak slips out and shoves Nese to ropes, then jumps but Nese shoves him down! Cover, TWO! The two men are exhausted but still stirring. Fans build to a rally for both men, Gulak hits Nese with a body shot but then Nese lifts Gulak in a fireman’s carry, for a gutbuster drop!
Cover, TWO, and the frustration grows. Nese glares down at Gulak, then drags him up again. Gulak fights back with body shots and a shove, but Nese rocks him with another left forearm. Nese runs but Gulak follows and responds with a dropkick! Gulak grabs Nese for a wicked single-leg suplex!
Cover, TWO! Gulak is surprised, but he actually grins. He dares Nese to get up for more, but Nese fights back with lefts and rights. Nese staggers Gulak again, then kicks him while he’s down. Now Nese dares Gulak get up as he keeps kicking and kicking. Nese roars, but Gulak grabs him by the beard! Gulak slaps Nese across the face again and again! Then Gulak shovels Nese up onto his shoulders, for the Electric Chair Drop!
Bridging cover, TWO!! Nese crawls to the ropes, but Gulak stalks him from behind. Gulak grabs Nese into the guillotine, with body scissors!
Nese endures the squeeze, tries to power out and reach ropes, but Gulak grabs that reaching hand to bring it back in. However, Nese turns that wristlock around into his own, so that he can suplex Gulak up. Gulak resists and brings himself down to land on the apron. The ref calls for a ropebreak, but instead, Gulak tries to suplex Nese to the outside! Nese lands, and breaks free. He swings a kick but Gulak blocks, so Nese sweeps the legs, falling Gulak to the apron! Gulak tumbles down, Nese builds speed, to FLY!
The Premier Athlete brings Gulak down in clear defiance of #Drewtopia rules. Not only that, but Nese puts Gulak in the ring to climb to the top rope! Nese jumps for the 450, but flops when Gulak rolls away! Gulak hurries up to his feet, goes for the dragon sleeper, but Nese slips out and under, pumphandle into the Michinoku Driver!
TWO!! Somehow Gulak survives, and Nese’s frustration builds again. Both men slowly stir as the fans build to a rally. Nese stands up but Gulak hits first with headbutts to the ribs. Gulak rushes in but into Nese’s knee. Nese brings Gulak over to a corner, and gives him a reverse powerbomb into the top buckle. Gulak is dazed as Nese waits down below. Nese rolls Gulak, but Gulak has that arm, so Nese deadlifts Gulak to powerbomb him all the way into the adjacent corner’s buckles!
Gulak is down, but Nese gets himself up. He wills himself to stand up while Gulak is still dazed. The knee pad comes down, Nese runs to the other corner and back, but Gulak avoids the Premier Kneese by rolling out of the ring. Nese goes out to fetch Gulak, but Gulak springs to life to resist. Nese still slaps Gulak across the face, then puts him into the ring. Gulak grits his teeth and his eyes fill with fire as he blasts Nese off the apron and to the announce desk! Now Nese is dazed as he falls to the floor. The referee has to check on Nese, which gives Gulak time to recover in the ring. Gulak won’t let Nese get off easy, shouting at him, “We finish what we start!” He throws Nese into the side of the announce desk! The referee reprimands Gulak but Gulak keeps going, throwing Nese even harder into the announce desk!
He puts Nese into the ring, then glares up at the Wrestlemania sign before reentering the ring. Gulak runs, to flip Nese upside-down with a lariat! The referee tells Gulak to stay back as he checks on Nese, but Gulak refuses! He picks Nese right up to throw him right back down with a powerbomb!
And then deadlifts him for another! The referee checks on Nese again as Gulak roars. Gulak drags Nese up, for the Gu-Lock Dragon Sleeper, complete with body scissors!
The referee calls it, Nese is out cold! Gulak wins, but he’s still burning with rage aimed at the Premier Athlete.
Perhaps Nese regrets not accepting the handshake at the start now, because it might have gained him so mercy here tonight. With this new fire lit inside him, can Gulak rip his way through the tournament and become the new Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania?
A damn good episode right here. The opening package was great and the quick interview with Andrews just before going out was also great. The best thing about the tournament these last couple weeks has been the surprise factor, where the win goes to the unexpected choice. I was pleasantly surprised last week when still-NXT-superstar Roderick Strong won, and I am again pleasantly surprised when WWE UK superstar Mark Andrews won tonight. The Cruiserweight Division has been needing a bit of crossover with other Divisions, so starting small like this is actually a very big thing. The best Andrews could do, in my estimation, is get to the semi-finals, but depending on how the bracket works out (still haven’t seen one from WWE) he might be used to help bolster one of the other favorites. He might even face the winner of the other match from tonight, in the incredible rough and tumble main event. Before that, I also enjoyed Spud now getting on Gallagher’s case in terms of his misuse of character. If it means Gallagher returns to his rainbow-striped trunks, I’m actually kinda for this continued reprimanding of the Heel Cruiserweights. Then, that main event, WOW. Great in-ring stuff with even greater character development. Commentary did a great job reminding us of the back story here without mentioning Enzo. I loved it when Gulak slapped Nese again and again, very much like what Oney Lorcan in NXT would do. There was a great visual aesthetic with Nese and Gulak, too, with the red vs blue, a classic trope of opposites that still parallel and rival each other (just look at Raw and SmackDown). I imagine this might’ve been what their blow-off would’ve been like had the ‘Zo Train finished the way it was meant to. Either way, Gulak himself might not make it to the semifinals but he and whoever he’s up against will put on great matches in the coming rounds.
My Score: 8.5/10
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Japan Cup 2019 Part 1!
The 2019 New Japan Cup begins!
NJPW begins the 2019 New Japan Cup! Who among Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr. and EVIL will move on to the second round?
Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV
Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL; ZSJ wins and advances to the second round.
- Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene to kickoff the 2019 New Japan Cup!
Spring brings the best in the world in this special single elimination tournament! Only one man will win the right to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden!
The first round has already seen a bit of action, with NJPW standards, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, advance, but others falling victim to upsets. Juice Robinson lost to Chase Owens while Sanada overcome Hirooki Goto. The biggest surprises perhaps came from the biggest men losing to the Junior Heavyweights when Bad Luck Fale and Hiroyoshi Tenzan lost to Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi respectively. But tonight, two of the most anticipated matches take the spotlight! The rivalry of the last year takes the stage again as EVIL and Zack Sabre Jr. face off once again! Plus, Kota Ibushi returns from injury to battle Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax rematch! The Golden Star looks to be the comeback kid while the Uncontrollable Charisma wants to be a historic dual champion! Only one can make their dream come true tonight!
Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL!
Taka Michinoku welcomes everyone to Zack Sabre Time, and asks who everyone thinks will win this year’s New Japan Cup. Well it’ll be the man who won last yer’s winner, the Submission Master and British Heavyweight Champion! So Evil, you’ll #JustTapOut! C’mon over here! The King of Darkness responds to being called out, and we begin the next chapter of this already storied rivalry!
The bell rings and fans cheer Evil on as he circles with ZSJ. They slowly approach and Evil knees low. Evil headlocks but ZSJ tries to power out, only for Evil to hold on tighter. Evil gets the headlock takeover but ZSJ works for a headscissor counter. He can’t get it so he stands up. ZSJ spins through and arm-drags Evil off, but Evil headscissors him. Evil squeezes and ZSJ endures. ZSJ finds his way up and pops free, then dares Evil to come on. ZSJ headbutts and headlocks but Evil powers out and runs him off! Fans cheer as Evil waits for ZSJ to return. Taka keeps ZSJ calm as he gets back up. ZSJ and Evil circle again, and Evil calls for a test of strength. ZSJ accepts and they grapple, and Evil gets the double knuckle locks.
Evil brings ZSJ to his knees but ZSJ reels him to reverse. ZSJ hammerlocks but Evil switches to his own, but ZSJ switches back, and so on. ZSJ spins and drops to get the takedown but Evil pushes him away. Evil avoids the Penalty Kick but ZSJ ducks the clothesline. Evil blocks ZSJ’s boot to chop and senton! But ZSJ gets his knees up and reels Evil into an armbar! Evil stacks for a cover, TWO! ZSJ still has the arm, but Evil gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go but comes back for more. He cranks Evil’s arm back then stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ also kicks Evil in the chest and stomps his legs. ZSJ ties the legs up in a figure four and pulls hair. The referee reprimands ZSJ but ZSJ stays on the arm with pulling fingers and twisting the arm.
ZSJ uses the hammerlock to turn Evil for a cover, TWO! Evil tries to get feeling in his arm but ZSJ kicks him in the back. ZSJ looms over Evil and gives his bad arm toying kicks. ZSJ kicks Evil again, but Evil grabs the kick! Evil hands the foot to Red Shoes before he mule kicks ZSJ down! The 2018 cup winner is down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Evil brings ZSJ up for forearms. Evil puts ZSJ in a corner then whips him corner to corner. ZSJ stops himself and comes back, but for a sidewalk slam! Fans fire up with Evil as he drags ZSJ back up. Evil suplexes ZSJ up and over then covers, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as he brings ZSJ up again. ZSJ blocks the fireman’s carry and goes after the arm with a double wristlock. Evil powers through but ZSJ slips out to a full nelson. Evil endures the hold and breaks free! He headlocks and knees ZSJ right down! Evil stalks ZSJ to a corner and headlocks, but ZSJ denies the bulldog into the abdominal stretch! They go around and around and Evil puts it on ZSJ! ZSJ endures and pries the arm off, to Pele it!
ZSJ gives Evil European Uppercuts in the corner! He goes corner to corner but Evil follows for a clothesline! Evil runs but ZSJ follows, only for Evil to see him coming and clothesline him again! Cover, TWO! Evil drags ZSJ right up, fireman’s carry, Darkness Falls! Cover, TWO! Sabre survives but Evil has more where that came from. Evil drags ZSJ up and slashes the throat. But ZSJ victory rolls! TWO and Evil has it on ZSJ, TWO!! ZSJ wants a backslide but Evil powers it around, backslide on ZSJ! TWO, Penalty Kick! Both men are down, and fans cheer for Evil while Taka coaches ZSJ. ZSJ goes right at Evil to keylock stomp the arm! ZSJ kicks at it but Evil only gets angry. Evil stands and ZSJ throws EuroUppers, but those only make Evil stronger. He CHOPS ZSJ off his feet!
Evil stands ZSJ up for another chop, but ZSJ stands on his feet. ZSJ gives Evil a shoulder breaker, but Evil gives one back! Evil spins but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs but Evil goes sideways, ZSJ catches the clothesline into an Octopus Stretch! He drags Evil down and he cranks back! Evil endures as ZSJ twists him all around! ZSJ has one arm trapped and the other arm back, but Evil uses a leg for the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but he comes back to dig his elbow into the back. He grabs Evil’s arm and twists it in his legs! ZSJ Penalty Kicks Evil down again! ZSJ catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Evil. Evil sits up but uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil mule kicks ZSJ again, then drags him up, to place on Red Shoes! Magic Killer!!
Evil catches his breath and grins while he, ZSJ and Red Shoes slowly get up. ZSJ gets to a corner as Taka coaches him up. Evil runs in for a big clothesline! Evil roars and fans fire up as Evil drags ZSJ up to the top rope. He climbs up to join ZSJ, for a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Sabre survives again but he clutches his own shoulder now. Evil stands and slashes the throat! He drags ZSJ up, spins him around but ZSJ slips through to scoop. Evil escapes but ZSJ standing switches. ZSJ rolls Evil back but the European Clutch is blocked! Evil wants a Half ‘n’ Half but ZSJ resists. ZSJ reaches for ropes but Evil shifts to a German Suplex! Evil takes aim, but ZSJ kicks the clotheslines away once, twice, but not the third time! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous after that close call!
Evil roars and drags ZSJ up again. He spins ZSJ around but ZSJ slips around and hops up! Sleeper to victory roll to EuroClutch, to EVERYTHING- Is Octopus! ZSJ drags Evil down, Napalm Death! Evil is stuck, Evil taps! ZSJ wins again!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission; advances to the second round
The 2018 New Japan Cup winner keeps on winning! ZSJ has a cup winning streak, will it continue all the way to the finals?
Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi!
This match feels almost too soon in the tournament! The leader of Los Ingobernables and the Golden Star could both have both made their way to the finals, but now only one of them will move on! Will Ibushi’s comeback lead him all the way to New York? Or will the IWGP Intercontinental Champion move towards being a historic dual champion in NJPW?
Fans love both stars so they’re naturally divided at the bell. Naito and Ibushi stare down as the cheers are thunderous. They start circling and then approach to tie up. Naito gets a headlock but Ibushi spins out for a keylock. Ibushi headlocks now but Naito punches out. Naito pulls hair and pushes Ibushi and things speed up. Ibushi hurdles Naito then again, but Naito ducks the kick and moonsault. Naito arm-drags but Ibushi headscissors, and the two break! Naito even hits Tranquilo. Fans cheer while Naito decides to roll out of the ring. Naito takes his time returning, telling Ibushi to relax. Ibushi doesn’t give Naito a choice, but then Naito escapes Ibushi to tease him about taking time. Ibushi returns but Naito is on him with kicks and elbows.
Naito whips but Ibushi reverses, but Naito grabs ropes. Naito dumps Ibushi out then sweeps the legs. He slingshots and dropkicks Ibushi down, a new take on his Cabron Combo. Naito has control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito whips Ibushi into railing. Naito drags Ibushi up and brings him around the way, to whip him into more railing! Fans cheer Naito but also show concern for Ibushi as Naito whips him into railing a third time! Naito brings Ibushi around the railing and bounces him off the desks. Red Shoes tells Naito to bring things back to the ring but Naito bounces Ibushi off wood again. Naito leaves Ibushi behind and rests in the ring. Ibushi crawls his way back as the ring count begins. The count passes 5 of 20 as Ibushi stands. Ibushi returns ringside at 10 and hops in at 11. Naito is on Ibushi with a whip and big elbow, then a swift basement dropkick! Naito poses more while Ibushi writhes.
Fans cheer for Ibushi and Naito spits at them. Naito stomps Ibushi and drags him up into a cravat neck wrench. Ibushi endures as Naito cranks hard. Ibushi fights out with body shots but Naito elbows him down. Naito then brings Ibushi around for a neckbreaker and casually covers, TWO! Ibushi’s bad neck is a target and Naito keeps on it. Naito brings Ibushi up but Ibushi breaks free. Ibushi throws forearms but Naito just smirks. Ibushi throws more but Naito elbows him around the side. Naito throws more elbows into the neck and Ibushi slumps against the ropes. Naito toys with Ibushi but Red Shoes reprimands him. He whips but Ibushi reverses and dodges to whip back. Ibushi dropkicks Naito right down! Both men fall into each other but Ibushi’s up first.
Ibushi drags Naito up for a strike fest! Naito blocks the kick to kick the knee, but still runs into a roundhouse! Ibushi standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as he drags Naito up again. Naito resists the German suplex and gets the standing switch. Ibushi throws elbows to break free. Ibushi runs in but Naito boots him from the corner. Naito runs out but into a huricanrana! Fans fire up while Naito bails out of the ring. Ibushi fires up with the fans and goes to the corner. Naito knows it’s coming and stops the Golden Triangle! Naito drags Ibushi out for a draping neckbreaker to the apron! Ibushi falls to the floor and Red Shoes checks on him. He’s somehow okay to continue and drags himself into the ring.
Naito is waiting again, and runs out from a corner, shotgun dropkick! Then he drags Ibushi up to the top rope and out for another draping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives and Naito is surprised, but we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito drags Ibushi back up. Naito ties Ibushi up but Ibushi fights out with his free arm. Naito clubs Ibushi in the neck then hits a German Suplex, but Ibushi lands on his feet! Ibushi kicks but Naito ducks to enziguri! Naito whips but Ibushi reverses only for Naito to come back with flying forearms, only to be caught into a snap German! Both men are down but the fans fire up! Naito and Ibushi stir as fans duel. Red Shoes checks and they’re both okay to continue. Ibushi and Naito grit their teeth as they sit up. They head for each other and start throwing forearms. Ibushi hits, Naito hits, repeat. They slowly stand but the brawling continues.
Ibushi hits but Naito comes back. The two stare down and Ibushi throws a forearm. Naito throws one back, so Ibushi gives another. They start picking up speed and now they’re just swinging wild! Ibushi fires off many palm strikes but Naito throws slaps. Ibushi runs but into Naito’s spinebuster! Naito drags Ibushi up and to the top rope again. Naito climbs up behind Ibushi and fans anticipate something dangerous. Ibushi holds on so Naito clubs away. Naito stands Ibushi up, but Ibushi grabs at Naito’s leg. Ibushi turns around and trips Naito up! Naito manages to stay on the apron, but Ibushi stalks him from above. Ibushi drags Naito up while standing on the ropes. Ibushi lifts but Naito fights out! Naito slaps away on Ibushi’s face, then brings Ibushi in, TOMBSTONE on the apron!!
Naito puts Ibushi in the ring then drags him up again. Hammerlock and underhook, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi still lives but Naito isn’t fazed. Naito drags Ibushi up again, arm wrench and tilt-o-whirl, but into Ibushi’s own PACKAGE TOMBSTONE!! Cover, TWO!? Now Naito survives and shocks everyone! Fans duel as Naito and Ibushi drag themselves to opposite corners. Naito runs at Ibushi but into a roundhouse! Ibushi brings Naito in but Naito spins out for a tornado DDT! Naito aims at Ibushi and runs in, into a clothesline!! Ibushi drags Naito up and to a lift, SIT-OUT LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives again but Ibushi is too tired to be frustrated. Ibushi drags Naito up and grabs both hands, but Naito dodges Kamigoye, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!?!
Fans are thunderous as this match continues! Naito staggers up and drags Ibushi to his feet. Wrench and tilt-o-whirl but Ibushi slips out to roundhouse! Ibushi gives a shout out to the King of Strong Style as he aims from a corner. Naito sits up, BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO?!? Ibushi can NOT believe Naito survived again! But Ibushi vows to finish this, double underhook, Butterfly Driver! But he’s not done there, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; advances to the second round
It took so much, but Ibushi makes it through the opening round! Naito’s dream is denied for now, what will it take for him to become the first-ever dual Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion in NJPW history? As for Ibushi, he advances only to take on Zack Sabre Jr. next! Will Ibushi break ZSJ’s streak in the New Japan Cup? Or will he #JustTapOut?
Ibushi takes the mic and thanks Naito for that amazing match. “In 2019, in NJPW, I’ll show you a new version of Kota Ibushi.” Ibushi vows to go all the way and win! Will everyone else in the tournament, let alone Jay White, take this to heart?
Wow, what a great opening to the tournament! At first, I thought it was a bit of a shame that this will be it for the first round, no Okada or Tanahashi, but seeing they had matches with slightly less important opponents (sorry, Mike Elgin), the two matches we got were much more worthy of airtime. Evil VS ZSJ is again an incredible match, and it makes a lot of sense for ZSJ to win. While Sanada is in the tournament, too, he and Evil are still strongly in the Heavyweight Tag Team Division. ZSJ has a great New Japan Cup win streak story to tell, and it’ll make a loss, should one come, all the more exciting if it’s in the later rounds. ZSJ going for back-to-back tournament wins on top of a huge title match is great, but I can’t be sure the chances of it happening.
Naito VS Ibushi was a really great match, and it’s not just kayfabe saying this match could’ve been a logical tournament finals choice. Naito’s story of becoming a dual champion could’ve propelled the tournament to some interesting places, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be told in the tournament. Ibushi is in NJPW to stay so it means a lot more that he gets a push in the tournament. He already has a hard road ahead of him if the second round pits him against ZSJ, but perhaps a Kota Ibushi that can get through such big names, much like ZSJ did in last year’s tournament, can be a Kota Ibushi that defeats Jay White in Madison Square Garden.
My Score: 8.8/10
Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (3/16/19)
Zack Sabre Jr. continues his journey in ROH!
Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, Episode 391
It’s ROH 17th Anniversary weekend, but the action keeps on rolling! The Submission Master returns, will he make Rocky Romero #JustTapOut?
- Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes; Young & The Briscoes win.
- The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys; The Bouncers win.
- Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead; Rayne wins.
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero; ZSJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes!
Cheeseburger leads Ryan Nova and Eli Isom into battle! Will their fighting spirits combined be enough to overcome the Last Real Man and #DemBoyz?
The bell rings and Isom begins against Jay Briscoe. Isom is no stranger to taking on former ROH World Champions, this could be his third upset on one already. They tie up and Jay waistlocks. Isom standing switches and throws Jay down but Jay reverses to a facelock, but Isom slips away. Fans applaud the Future of Honor keeping up with Jay. Jay and Isom circle again and Jay keeps Isom guessing on the grapple. Jay reels Isom in for a headlock, but Isom powers out, only for Jay to run him over. Things speed up and Isom kicks Jay. Isom runs but sees Jay follow. Jay fakes Isom out and kicks him down. Jay tags Mark and The Briscoes mug Isom. Mark suplexes but Isom slips out and shoves Mark. Mark turns around into Isom’s arm-drag!
Isom tags in Nova and Nova hops up for ax handles. Nova wrenches the arm but Mark rolls through. Mark breaks free but Nova dodges and fires off strikes. Nova wrenches and tags in Cheeseburger! Burger climbs up to drop his own ax handle. Burger wrenches but Mark pushes him away. Mark rushes at Burger but Burger crawls under and kicks him away. Burger speeds up but Jay stands in his way. Mark rocks Burger with a shotgun dropkick! Silas and the Briscoes take control as we go to break.
ROH returns and Silas taunts Burger to stand, only to stomp him down. Fans rally up for Burger and he throws body shots on Silas. Burger fires forearms but Silas shoves Burger for the backbreaker clothesline on the rebound! Silas drags Burger over and tags in Mark. Mark drops an elbow then drags Burger up. Mark suplexes and holds Burger up for a few seconds before dropping him down. Fans rally but Mark puts Burger in a camel clutch. Burger endures while Jay and Silas taunt him. Mark fish hooks Burger but lets up at 4. Mark blasts Nova but the ref keeps Isom from going after Mark. But he misses Mark biting Burger! Mark gets away with it then CHOPS Burger in a corner! Mark whips corner to corner but Burger dodges! Burger dodges Silas and Jay, too, hot tag to Isom!
Isom dropkicks Mark to his corner where Jay tags in. Silas runs at Isom but Isom puts him on the apron and dropkicks him down! Jay goes after Isom with a waistlock but is bucked off. Isom pops Jay up to a fireman’s carry! Nova intercepts Mark and DIVES on Silas! Air Raid Crash from Isom to Jay! Cover, TWO!! Isom almost had another former world champion caught! Isom keeps going but Jay blocks the suplex. Jay fights back but Isom throws his own forearms. Isom runs but into Jay’s fireman’s carry. Jay hits the Spicolli Driver while Mark climbs up! FROGGY-BOW! Jay covers, TWO!? Isom survives and The Briscoes are shocked!
The ref tells Mark to go to the corner but the Briscoes ignore him. #DemBoyz work together to finish this, double underhook but Isom fights out. Isom pushes Jay into Mark then kicks, suplex to brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! Another close call but Isom keeps his focus. Isom and Jay stand as fans rally up. Isom throws forearms and elbows then an enziguri. Jay staggers and Jay runs, but SUPERKICK for Jay! High-Low combo for The Briscoes! Mark keeps Burger out while Jay hits his Jay Driller! Cover, The Briscoes & Silas win!
Winners: Silas Young & The Briscoes, Jay Briscoe pinning
The Shinobi Shadow Squad struggles in the Six Man Tag Division against such accomplished opponents. Will it be the Last Real Man and Dem Boyz who move on towards the titles instead?
Rhett Titus speaks.
“Willie Mack, I heard you had plans to take the NWA National Title and defend it in every state across America.” Well Willie, plans change, because the Fittest is looking to take that belt and bring it with him on the Flex Express. Will Rhett’s own plans have to change after facing The Mack next episode?
The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys!
The literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division takes on two other Future of Honor stars. With physiques like theirs, JK and The Number One were hoping for sunny beaches and “beautiful baby dolls”, but instead got “busted up broads and their beer-swilling bozos”! Well that’s no way to talk about the fans or beer! The Bouncers make their way out with plenty of drinks, and Brian Milonas takes the mic. He and The Beer City Bruiser are here to kick ass and drink beer! Will they do just that against these rude rookies?
The Code of Honor is still upheld between the teams, and we start with Bruiser and Keys. Keys shows off his body while teasing Bruiser about the beer belly. Bruiser admits Keys wins the body building, but Bruiser has the fans as they chant “Beer! Beer!” along with him. Keys calls for a test of strength and Bruiser isn’t sure he’s serious. Keys shoves Bruiser and tells him to take it serious. Bruiser accepts the test, and SLAPS Keys off his feet! Keys gets up and kicks but Bruiser catches it. Bruiser spins Keys for an atomic drop. Keys gets to a corner but covers up from Bruiser’s punch. So Bruiser CHOPS instead! And CHOPS, and CHOPS! Fans cheer for more but Keys turns around to protect his chest. So Bruiser CHOPS his back! Keys scrambles to his corner and tags in Johnson.
Johnson fires off on Bruiser but Bruiser shoves him to run him over! Bruiser drags Johnson up but Johnson powers him to the corner. Keys anchors Bruiser’s feet and Johnson gets a sucker punch! Johnson stomps away in the corner then tags in Keys. Keys stomps Bruiser now but lets up at 4. Keys chops Bruiser back then goes to scoop. Bruiser’s too big for that, so Keys gives a European Uppercut. Johnson tags in and rams in his own uppercut. Johnson and Keys work together for a double scoop slam! Cover, ONE, and with power! Bruiser reaches for Milonas but Keys tags back in. Keys stomps Bruiser down then puts Bruiser back in the corner. Keys throws EuroUppers then gestures at Milonas. He runs in for a splash but Bruiser dodges! Keys hits buckles and both men are down!
Fans rally up as Bruiser crawls for his corner. Johnson shouts to Keys, and Keys tags him in. Johnson grabs Bruiser’s feet but Bruiser still gets to Milonas! The Mastodon rallies on both Future of Honor stars! Fans fire up as he pounces Keys out of the ring, then squashes Johson in a corner. Milonas whips Johnson corner to corner for another splash, then scoops. Johnson slips out and shoves Milonas away. Johnson dodges the clothesline but gets a pop-up spinebuster! Keys attacks Milonas from behind but Bruiser gets Keys. Bruiser whips Keys and Milonas gives Keys a pop-up spinebuster! The Bouncers say bottom’s up and grab Johnson. Milonas climbs and Bruiser holds Johnson up, draping leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers win!
Winners: The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning
They kicked ass, now they drink beer! Will the Bouncers find their way to the ROH World Tag Team Championships and drink to a title reign?
Madison Rayne speaks.
“Thunder Rosa, you think that you and Holidead can come into ROH and control the narrative and call the shots?” Here’s the reality: the Twisted Sisterz are the opposite of what the Women of Honor stand for. The Queen Bee vows to make a statement, but will it go the way she hopes?
Willie Mack speaks.
The inaugural NWA National Champion is all about making history, and he makes history with ROH next week. He’ll defend his title in all 50 states, and is already on number 5. If Rhett Titus wants to stay fit, then he better get ready for a fight!
Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead!
As The Queen Bee alluded to, The Twisted Sisterz have done what they want to who they want since joining the Women of Honor Division, including the Ray of Sunshine. Now Sumie stands beside Madison, will they put the trouble-makers in their place?
Madison doesn’t wait for the bell, she goes right at Thunder Rosa! She tackles Rosa down and the bell has to ring as she fires off right hands. Rayne puts Rosa in one corner then runs her all the way to the other. She bumps Rosa off a third then hits a sliding lariat. Rayne runs Rosa over with a shoulder and fires up while Rosa regroups with Holidead. Rayne doesn’t give Rosa much time to regain composure, she goes right out and rocks her with a right! She puts Rosa back in while Sumie keeps her eyes on Holidead. Rayne runs Rosa over with a clothesline but notices Holidead egging Sumie on. Rayne runs and wrecks Holidead with a dropkick! Sumie and the fans cheer Rayne on but Rosa hits Rayne back!
Rosa fetches Rayne and rams her into the apron. She then CHOPS Rayne against the apron, before shoving her into the ring. Rosa stomps Rayne then covers, TWO! Rosa drags Rayne up and bumps Rayne off the buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Rayne but backs off at 4. Rosa snapmares Rayne and kicks her sharp on the back. Holidead wants another so Rosa kicks Rayne again. Rosa runs and dropkicks Rayne in the back, covers, TWO! Sumie coaches Rayne up while Rosa mockingly applauds. Rayne throws body shots but Rosa clubs her down. Rosa scoops and slams Rayne down, then applauds herself. Rosa runs side to side for a BIG leg drop! Cover, TWO! The Queen Bee is in trouble while we go to break.
ROH returns and Rosa toys with Rayne. Rayne throws forearms back and enziguris! Rosa falls over and Rayne covers, TWO! Holidead is relieved but Rayne keeps on Rosa. Rosa throws Rayne down by her hair, then drags her up for chops. Rosa whips Rayne corner to corner then runs in for a big back elbow! She snapmares Rayne to a cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rayne but Rose wraps on a chinlock. Rayne endures and fights her way up, but Rosa throws her back down. Cover, TWO! Rosa grabs Rayne for more chops, then does a little salsa to show off. She whips but Rayne reverses and things speed up, Rayne SPEARS Rosa down! But Rayne is also down and a standing 10 count begins.
The count reaches 5 as both women sit up. Rosa grabs Rayne and brings her up but Rayne fires forearms! Rayne dodges Rosa and rallies with more forearms. Rayne fires up and goes corner to corner but Rose catches her! Rosa puts Rayne on the top rope but Rayne boots her back. Rayne leaps for the crossbody! Both women are back up, Rayne ducks a kick to give an enziguri! Cover, TWO! Rayne keeps on Rosa with a waistlock. She wrings Rosa out but Rosa goes to swing. Rayne adjusts and gets around Rosa again for a dragon sleeper. Rosa elbows out and brings Rayne up into the Gory Especial, and spins around for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Rayne survives and the Twisted Sisterz are shocked!
Rosa is furious as she drags Rayne right up onto her shoulder! Rosa spins but Rayne slips out for the Rayne Drop! Cover, Rayne wins!
Winner: Madison Rayne, by pinfall
The Queen Bee wins outta nowhere and gets revenge on behalf of Sumie Sakai! Will Rayne and others teach the Twisted Sisterz a lesson about being Women of Honor?
Team Coast2Coast speaks.
“We were gone for a very long time, but for good reason.” Shaheem Ali and Leon St. Giovanni were “rediscovering” themselves. But now C2C is better than ever and will take on the best in the world! Their return is next week against Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham, will Chocolate Man and the Human Rocket be ready for the Franchise and the Octopus?
Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero!
The partnership of ROH and NJPW is on display as the Submission Master returns! But not only that, the player-coach of Roppongi 3K makes his own return! Will Rocky make a run in ROH for gold? Or will he #JustTapOut?
ROH returns with the bell! Fans cheer Rocky on as he circles with ZSJ. Rocky keeps away from ZSJ’s grip and then they approach. ZSJ still gets Rocky down with a headlock but Rocky keeps up with his reversals. ZSJ gets free but both he and Rocky smirk as they circle again. They tie up again and ZSJ gets the arm. He cranks on it to get Rocky to the mat. Rocky endures the wristlock and ZSJ grinds a knee in. Rocky gets to his feet but ZSJ wrenches and arm-drags Rocky back down. Fans cheer ZSJ’s technique as he twists and pulls Rocky’s arm. Rocky spins through and gets up to dropkick ZSJ out of the ring! ZSJ is frustrated already as he kicks the railing. Rocky waits for ZSJ as he catches his breath.
ZSJ returns and circles with Rocky. They tie up and ZSJ gets a leg. He trips Rocky and stands on his feet. ZSJ twists the leg around and then ties the legs up so he can go after Rocky’s neck with a wrench. But he also hooks the face so the ref counts. ZSJ lets up at 4 to bring Rocky into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow. Rocky pops out to a cover, TWO! Fans applaud as Rocky and ZSJ circle again. Rocky and ZSJ approach and Rocky gets ZSJ’s leg now. Rocky waistlocks but ZSJ wrenches to a switch. ZSJ wrenches again and brings Rocky to his knees. ZSJ brings Rocky further down as he mounts the arm to pull back. Fans applaud while Rocky endures the pair of knuckle locks.
Rocky and ZSJ go shoulder to shoulder but ZSJ gets the cover. TWO so ZSJ tries again. TWO as Rocky brings up the shoulder, so ZSJ pushes it down. Rocky bridges this time, and then anticipates ZSJ hopping on with a monkey flip! It’s a double cover, but Rocky rolls back, only to get caught into ZSJ’s armbar! Rocky rolls and shifts but ZSJ slips out to a hammerlock. Fans applaud this continued exchange as Rocky reaches back for ZSJ. Rocky leaps and snapmares but ZSJ headbutts back. ZSJ snapmares but Rocky handsprings through to dropkick him down! Rocky brings ZSJ up for a chop then a cravat. ZSJ endures but Rocky snapmares. ZSJ responds with his own snapmare, but then Rocky snapmares back. They go snapmare for snapmare, but then ZSJ shoves Rocky down for a neck crank! Rocky writhes while we go to one last break.
ROH returns once again as Rocky manages a ropebreak while in a modified Bow ‘n’ Arrow. ZSJ reluctantly lets go, and waits for Rocky to sit up. ZSJ clamps on a half straitjacket, then digs in elbows and knuckles to get the full. Rocky endures as fans rally up. Rocky feeds off the energy but ZSJ does his best to keep Rocky down. The two struggle against each other, and ZSJ digs a knee in to keep the straitjacket. Rocky stands and spins the straitjacket around but ZSJ spins it back on. ZSJ brings Rocky back down then flips him over, but Rocky uses that to reverse the hold! Rocky has ZSJ but ZSJ breaks free to throw a EuroUpper. ZSJ whips but Rocky elbows back. Rocky springboards for a tornado DDT! Both men are down but fans rally up.
Another standing count begins and Rocky sits up at 3. ZSJ follows and grabs Rocky first. Rocky dodges and huricanranas! Things speed up, Rocky springboards again for a crossbody! Cover, TWO! Rocky toys with ZSJ, then starts slapping him around. ZSJ EuroUppers then grabs a leg. Rocky misses the first enziguri but not the rewind! Fans fire up with Rocky as he runs corner to corner to start the Forever Clotheslines! He gets one, then another, but runs into a boot! ZSJ runs but into Rocky’s leaping knee, only to make it an STF! Rocky is caught, and ZSJ shifts sides! Rocky drags himself around and manages a ropebreak! ZSJ lets Rocky go and catches his breath. Now ZSJ toys with Rocky as he stomps him around. ZSJ kicks but Rocky gets mad. ZSJ pie faces so Rocky SLAPS away!
Rocky knees and hauls ZSJ up to the top rope. Rocky runs corner to corner for a top shelf knee! ZSJ falls to the apron but Rocky checks his shoulder first. Rocky brings ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the suplex. ZSJ goes after the arm but Rocky throws forearms. Rocky shoulders in but gets caught into an Octopus through the ropes! ZSJ lets go at 4 then shoves Rocky away. Rocky dropkicks ZSJ on the return! Rocky throws forearms and CHOPS, then ties ZSJ up in the ropes. He goes to the side and springboards for a guillotine missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Rocky is exhausted. Fans build to a rally for Rocky as he brings ZSJ up. Rocky throws forearms on ZSJ then eggs him on. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper, but Rocky comes back for fast hands. Rocky kicks and runs for a Sliced Bread! Cover, TWO!
Rocky drags ZSJ up again and wants more, but ZSJ escapes Sliced Bread 2 for the standing abdominal stretch! Rocky reaches but ZSJ rolls him away, then around, Hurrah! The double wrist-clutch octopus is on and Rocky taps quickly! ZSJ wins!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission
The Submission Master brings in Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last. Will ZSJ’s first year in ROH be golden sooner rather than later?
Another ROH PPV, another disconnect between it and their television episodes. This episode, as all episodes are, was clearly recorded long before the PPV as nothing that happened at the PPV affects this episode’s events. For those who didn’t see the ROH 17th Anniversary, make sure to check here for the full card results. But for those who did, you know The Briscoes lost the the ROH World Tag Team Championships to Villain Enterprises, yet Jay & Mark still had the belts here. And all this makes it strange for commentary to vaguely reference the PPV when it hadn’t happened for them yet. The Six Man Tag they had was only okay, so I don’t see why it couldn’t have been three other Heels going against Shinobi Shadow Squad to get the spotlight instead.
In fact, seeing as how more Future of Honor stars were brought on for this episode, I’m starting to think that’s what episodes like this should be about. ROH Future of Honor stars can appear, get some television exposure, and take the card in place of literally anyone involved on the PPV card. And of course, facing Future of Honor stars meant an easy win for The Bouncers, who might finally be moving up now that they’re Faces. Meanwhile, Rhett Titus’ new gimmick is like if Lex Luger and Val Venis fused, but then the combination was slightly diluted. But Rhett VS Mack, even non-title, sounds fun. Pretty sure Mack wins that, but bringing NWA and its new championship into the fold of ROH’s many partnerships also sounds great.
Rayne VS Rosa was a good match, and I’m sensing this is building to something more. I’ve said before that having the Twisted Sisterz in WOH must mean Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the horizon, and it would be pretty big if Sumie Sakai joins Rayne in competing for those. I don’t think Rayne & Sumie would be the inaugural champions, that really should be the Twisted Sisterz given their resumes. But Sumie one day becoming a tag champ to be the first woman to have both the WOH World and Tag Team Championships would be a great thing for her own career. ZSJ VS Romero was a good match, and clearly ZSJ is set to dominate to at least a World Television Championship level. ZSJ VS Jeff Cobb would be great for the sheer difference in styles, but we know it’ll have to wait until after G1 Supercard.
My Score: 8/10