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Mitchell’s NJPW Report: AXS TV New Beginnings in Osaka Part 2!

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This review of NJPW: New Beginnings in Osaka Part 2 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • From February 10th – Yoshi-Hashi VS Tetsuya Naito; Naito wins.
  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA; Okada wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

AXS TV and NJPW review what led to tonight’s championship match!

While The Rainmaker has successfully defended his IWGP Heavyweight Championship time and again, the faction feud between Los Ingobernables de Japon and Chaos has been heating up. Kazuchika Okada dared Sanada to use his “real voice”, then told him to “shut up for the rest of your life.” Will Okada regret treating Sanada like a “punk”? Or will Sanada just be added to the list of names Okada has overcome?

 

From February 10th – Yoshi-Hashi VS Tetsuya Naito!

We join this grudge match between the Head Hunter and The Ungovernable while in progress.

Hashi drags Naito up, then prepares the pumphandle, but Naito fights out. Hashi haymakers Naito and goes for it again, but Naito slips out, slaps Hashi and German Suplexes him over! Both men are down while the fans applaud. Naito gets to a corner and stands up, Hashi runs in but misses, Naito’s enziguri sits him down. Naito hoists Hashi up to the top rope, and hits a SUPER Steiner!

But somehow Hashi stands up. Naito rocks him with a rolling kick and throws him with a Dragon Suplex, but Hashi still stands up! Hashi comes over, Naito blocks the first kick but takes the heel kick. Naito staggers but ducks under to tilt-o-whirl for the inverted DDT. He brings Hashi up again for another tilt-o-whirl for DESTINO!

Cover, Naito wins!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito

The Uncontrollable Charisma is tranquilo as always, even in victory. Though, Naito isn’t all that respectful about it as he fakes offering his hat to Hashi, but then spits on him instead. Respectful or not, will Naito climb back up the mountain towards the IWGP Heavyweight Championship?

But wait! Taichi attacks Naito!

The World’s Sliest Wrestler and member of Suzuki-gun not only clobbers Naito with that walking stick, but chokes him with it! The bells ring but Taichi drags Naito backstage with him! Taichi stands over Naito and says, “Your words created a new threat to New Japan, and to you.” Taichi is “reborn as a menace”, and his first target is Naito! Got that, “you damn fool”?

Naito recovers after Taichi leaves and says his challengers are popping up all over. “Facing me is a golden opportunity” for Taichi, it’d be a shame not to take it. Did you see Taichi’s face? He hasn’t been that amped in years. Not since their time in Mexico together, six or seven years ago. Naito is too busy for Taichi, so if he wants to have a match, “he needs to make bigger waves.” Then Naito will consider it. Right now, he’s just on a different stage. From Hashi to Chris Jericho to Taichi, Naito has a lot of possibilities. Will he be able to stay tranquilo through it all?

 

Rey Mysterio appears on the titantron!

The King of Lucha says “konichiwa” to the NJPW audience in Osaka to announce his first-ever match for NJPW! Mysterio challenges “one of the greatest Junior Heavyweights of all time”, Jushin Thunder Liger! Mysterio wants to see Liger at Strong Style Evolved, March 25th at the Walter Pyramid, Long Beach, California! What does Liger have to say to Mr. 619? He is currently on NJPW commentary, so he can readily answer.

Liger is honored to be challenged, and the fans chant for Liger. Mysterio is a legend, truly, and being called out like that fires him up. Liger accepts! A major match is made for the American event, which living legend will leave Long Beach the victor?

 

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA!

The Osaka record-setting sell-out main event begins! Will the stoic Cold Skull conquer the reigning Rainmaker? Or will he fall like all the rest and add to Okada’s own pursuit of record-setting?

Red Shoes shoes Sanada the title, and Sanada gives a nod.

The belt is put away, and we begin.

The fans cheer, chanting for Okada, but Sanada simply shrugs it off. They circle, slowly approaching and feeling out the grapples. Sanada lunges, Okada gets on top, but Sanada flips him to a grounded keylock. Sanada shifts it to a headlock, which Okada rolls to a cover, but Sanada doesn’t even give Red Shoes time. He wrenches Okada’s head, but Okada rolls again, ONE, back to Sanada’s control. Okada works back to the cover, ONE, then Okada slips out on the return to have Sanada in a hammerlock. Okada tweaks the arm, then works to get the other arm involved. It’s a cover, ONE, and the two separate.

The fans applaud while Sanada gets his arms working again. He and Okada tie up again, Okada gets armlock control. Sanada reverses the hold and wrenches Okada’s wrist. Okada spins around to reverse it back, but Sanada rolls and handsprings to cartwheel and handspring, arm-wringer but Okada shoves him away. The fans applaud this second stand-off, each man in a corner to formulate strategy.

Okada and Sanada circle again, tie up, and Okada rolls to use the keylock. Sanada resists being pushed back, but Okada gets a foot hooked for leverage. Okada pushes and Sanada bridges to avoid being put on the mat. Sanada stands up but Okada shifts around to a headlock. Sanada powers out, but Okada runs him over. The fans applaud while Okada gets moving again. Sanada stands up, but his hip-toss is blocked and countered with a hip-toss. Okada watches Sanada roll to the apron before coming over. He brings Sanada up but Sanada rocks him with a right. Sanada goes to springboard but Okada rocks him right back. Okada joins Sanada on the apron now, bringing him up, but Sanada resists, powering him into a post! Sanada then grabs Okada, and they LEAP to the barriers!

Okada goes down, clutching his face, while we go to break.

NJPW on AX returns as Sanada takes his time going back into the ring. Red Shoes counts and Okada stirs at about 5. He beats the 20 count at 14, but Sanada is right upon him, throwing him right back out. Sanada goes out and brings Okada up the ramp, for a piledriver!

Sanada leaves Okada behind while Red Shoes comes to check on the champ. Okada is okay to continue, despite clutching neck and shoulders. Red Shoes returns to the ring and counts while Okada gets up. Okada walks back to the ring, his sore spine slowing him down, but manages to make it in before 20. Sanada is relaxed as he drags Okada back up for the cravat neck wrench. He wrenches Okada but Okada fights out. Okada runs but into a back elbow, standing moonsault on top! TWO, but Sanada is tranquilo per the LIJ lifestyle. Sanada puts Okada in a chinlock, digging a knee into the back. Sanada shifts to a standard chinlock, but Okada stands up and fights out. Okada runs again, but again into a back elbow. He avoids the moonsault this time, but not the dropkick! Cover, TWO, but Sanada stands on Okada before stomping him.

The fans rally for Okada, but Sanada keeps control with another piledriver! Cover, TWO, and Sanada feels less tranquilo now. He puts Okada back in a chinlock, grinding Okada down again. Okada stands up and fights out again, runs but dodges the elbow this time to throw forearms. Sanada knees low and runs, but into a big flapjack! Both men are down, but after catching his breath, Okada mananges a kip-up! He takes aim at Sanada and starts rallying with running elbows. Sanada reverses a whip, misses his chops, and gets run over by Okada’s back elbow! Okada drags Sanada up, forearms him into a corner, then whips him corner to corner. He back elbows and DDTs Sanada, then covers, TWO.

Okada keeps going as he climbs up top. Sanada stands and stops Okada with a body shot, then dumps him off the top rope to the mat. Sanada drags Okada up and haymakers him to a corner. He whips Okada corner to corner but Okada reverses. Sanada tumbles to the apron, but Okada triangle dropkicks him down! Sanada hits the barriers, then Okada comes out to fetch him. Okada whips Sanada at more barriers, then boots him over! Okada goes through the gateway to drag Sanada up by his hair. He drags Sanada out over the railing, to hit a draping DDT!

Sanada writhes from the impact. Red Shoes checks on him and Sanada is okay to continue. Okada goes back into the ring, but then comes back out to fetch Sanada. They go back into the ring, Okada stalking Sanada this time. He toyingly kicks and stomps Sanada, which some boo. Sanada stands up, and with Okada grinning at him, starts throwing forearm after forearm. Okada gives one back, then another, then lifts Sanada up for the reverse neckbreaker! Sanada writhes again while the fans cheer for Okada. Okada climbs up again, takes aim at Sanada, and leaps for the elbow drop!

But that’s not enough, Okada calls for his signature move! He brings Sanada up, wristlock swing-out, but Sanada ducks under to slam Okada with a strong back suplex! Both men are down again while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns to the two men slowly stirring. Okada sits up first, but Sanada heads for the ropes. The fans rally as Okada runs in, but Sanada boots him away. Sanada runs out, Okada scoops him, but Sanada slips down. Okada elbows Sanada away, Sanada blocks the boot, but Okada still rocks him with a forearm. Okada runs, Sanada leaps over twice to then dropkick Okada all the way out! Sanada aims as Okada rebounds off barriers, to then slingshot plancha!

He topples Okada down and the fans fire up. Sanada encourages them, then builds speed to FLY once again! The crossbody takes Okada down again, but Sanada stands up again. The fans cheer while Sanada puts Okada back in the ring. Sanada takes aim, and hits a springboard missile dropkick! Cover, TWO! Sanada returns to tranquilo as he stands over Okada. Okada throws a forearm, so Sanada responds. Another from Okada, another from Sanada. They go back and forth, Sanada gets the edge, but Okada blocks to counter with a boot.

Okada lifts Sanada but Sanada slips out, Sanada has the waistlock but Okada gets the standing switch. Okada German Suplexes but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada sees Okada coming, side-steps and rolls Okada up, into the dragon sleeper! Okada drops out, rolls Sanada to a cover, TWO! The two stand up, Sanada kicks low and whips but Okada reverses. Sanada fakes out Okada’s dropkick, and drags the champion up into the dragon sleeper! Okada fights but Sanada holds on, so Okada sticks a foot out and gets the ropebreak. Sanada lets go, but he walks off his frustration to then return those taunting stomps from earlier.

Okada looks up at Sanada and Sanada kicks him in the chest. Okada stands up and throws forearms, to which Sanada responds with his own stiff forearm. Sanada drags Okada up but Okada resists the fireman’s carry. Okada clubs Sanada, then gives him a European Uppercut, to which Sanada responds with a stiffer EuroUpper. Fans applaud Sanada’s striking strength while Okada stands up. Okada runs over, Sanada lifts him in the fireman’s carry, but Okada slips out to the wristlock! He swings Sanada out, but Sanada counters with another fireman’s carry, and the TKO!

Sanada crawls to the cover, TWO! The fans fire up as Sanada stands over the dazed Okada. Sanada drags Okada back into the dragon sleeper, but Okada slips out to arm-drag Sanada away. Sanada runs back in, but Okada catches him into a cobra clutch! Now Sanada arm-drags Okada, then runs but misses in the corner. Okada hoists him up, Sanada kicks him away. Sanada elbows Okada back then hops up, moonsault into the dragon sleeper! Sanada drops down for the bodyscissors to complete Skull End!

Okada reaches with his free arm, but Sanada has him down. Sanada’s bodyscissors are loose, so Okada uses that to move around. Okada reaches with his legs again, but Sanada wrenches back to clamp the bodyscissors on nice and tight! Red Shoes asks Okada if he wants to quit, but there is no quit in the Rainmaker. Sanada’s legs lose grip again and Okada rolls around, only for Sanada to bring him right back. Sanada thinks he has him, but Okada suddenly pops out to get the ropebreak! The fans applaud while Sanada lets go in frustration. Sanada stands up and drags Okada. He scoops and drops Okada, then climbs up and moonsaults back! But he has to land on his feet when Okada rolls away! Sanada’s leg jams a bit, and Okada drags himself up.

Sanada runs into Okada’s boot, but tries again, only for another boot. Okada runs out but into Sanada’s full nelson. Okada breaks free, but Sanada just gets him in the double butterfly, for the tiger suplex! Bridge for the cover, TWO! Sanada can’t believe it, but Okada gets himself to a corner again. Sanada hoists him up to the top rope backwards, then climbs up to join him. Cold Skull puts on the dragon sleeper even up there, but submissions won’t matter when they’re on the ropes. Sanada lets go, then turns around to bring Okada in for a SUPER backbreaker!

Cover, TWO! Somehow Okada survives, but Sanada brings him back into Skull End! But Okada rolls through! Rain- No, Sanada steals The Rainmaker!!

Cover, TWO!! Okada survives his own move, and Sanada can’t believe it! However, Okada is still dazed and in danger while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns once more, and Sanada draggs Okada up once more, only for Okada to reverse and steal the dragon sleeper! Okada wrenches Sanada, and Sanada looks to be fading! He holds out as Okada wrenches deeper, but then Okada suddenly stands him up for a dropkick to the back! Sanada staggers, Okada whips him, and dropkicks him in the front to drop him down. Okada keeps going, bringing Sanada back up, then scoops, for the Tombstone!

Okada isn’t done there. He drags Sanada up, wristlock and swing, but Sanada once again ducks and tilt-o-whirls over–rather Naito like, even–and brings Okada back into the Skull End! The fans are thunderous while Okada endures the hold. He fades, but Red Shoes needs confirmation. Red Shoes lifts Okada’s arm and drops it, and it falls. He does it again, but Okada comes back to life. Sanada decides to leave Okada down and out while he climbs up top, and hits the moonsault! Sanada’s leg slows him to the cover, TWO!? Sanada moonsaults again, but Okada upts up his knees! Okada brings Sanada up, and reels him in for The Rainmaker!

But Okada can’t make the cover, he’s exhausted. The fans are thunderous as Okada sits back up. Okada drags Sanada up again, for a second Rainmaker! He keeps going, bringing Sanada up for the wristlock and a third- No, Sanada slips under again, but runs into the scoop! Sanada powers through but then Okada slips out, to hit a German Suplex! Okada rolls Sanada while holding that waistlock, to then make it the wristlock swing-out, for that third Rain- No, Sanada again avoids it for another tilt-o-whirl, but Okada blocks that into a second, jump-spin Tombstone! Yet Okada still won’t end it. He brings Sanada up one more time, wristlock swing-out for the third Rainmaker!! Okada covers, Okada wins!!

Winner: Kazuchika Okada

This makes TEN successful title defenses for the champion! It took the Rainmaker quite a bit to defeat the Cold Skull, but now he’s just one win away from tying the defense record set by the Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Red Shoes has the honor of helping Okada put the title belt back on, and fans applaud the conquering champion. Young lions help Sanada to the back while Okada watches. The fans chant for Okada, and he takes a mic to speak.

“I’ll go home in a minute. Just let me talk first. I wanna say three things!” First, Sanada is damn tough. EVIL and Naito are really good, no doubt, but Okada is still “miles ahead of any of you” in LIJ. Second, he knows the New Japan Cup is coming, and though he’s already beaten a lot of those guys, they all get a chance to lose to him again. He doesn’t care who, so long as someone steps up to challenge him! Third, well, actually there isn’t a third. Okada would throw it over to Gedo but he’s not here, so Okada decides to keep going.

The New Japan Cup is coming, but there’s a certain anniversary show. Who should Okada face? The heavyweights will be in the New Japan Cup, and it has been awhile, so how about Heavyweight Champion VS Junior Heavyweight Champion? In other words, Okada wants Will Ospreay! The fans like the sound of that. “For the 46th anniversary, and the next one after that and so on”, as long as Okada is champion, “I’m gonna make it rain!” The IWGP Heavyweight Champion is ready for anyone and everyone, but will he really be ready for his own Chaos teammate in the Aerial Assassin?

 

Backstage press conference with Sanada.

Cold Skull is on the floor as he says, “Going after that belt was the right decision.” He then wills himself to his feet and walks to the locker room. Can this half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions sort himself out to rise up again?

 

Kazuchika Okada holds his press conference.

He again admits that was a tough match. Every defense always takes a lot out of him, and Sanada was “so incredibly strong”, Okada isn’t really sure how he won. He wants to make the belt synonymous with his name, “Okada”, but things don’t always go as planned. He has it now, though, and the reporters let him know they look forward to his next defense. And Will Ospreay is here, in response to Okada’s comments after the match. Ospreay steps forward to speak.

“The first time I ever met you, October 2015, and I challenged you.” Ospreay knows he was so close to winning. Two years have passed, under Okada’s tutelage, and Ospreay has seen Okada defeat challenger after challenger. If this is a test to see Ospreay be his own person, Ospreay accepts it. But just fair warning, unlike all the challengers Okada has dominated, Ospreay’s gonna win. Okada knows they’ve only faced each other once before, back in October of 2015 as Ospreay said. Ospreay was impressive, and it’d be a shame if he stayed in England. Okada knew that bringing Ospreay to NJPW would make him into something special. “Once, there was Antonio Inoki VS Karl Gotch.” Now, there will be Okada VS Ospreay. When these two step into the ring for a Champion VS Champion instant classic, who will prove themselves truly the best in all of NJPW?

 

My Thoughts:

Great, great stuff once again. We didn’t get as much of Hashi VS Naito as I expected, though I was surprised to see it at all. The main focus was Taichi’s attack to try and start something with Naito. I like how Naito brushed it off, barely even concerned that Taichi wanted after him so badly. He also makes it as a sign of how truly talented and popular he is, a great bit of Heel attitude for the leader of probably the hottest Tweener faction in wrestling today. Naito VS Taichi already happened at “Takataichimania”, which was really just the 46th Anniversary Show. Naito went over because he’s on a roll and is ready to move on to any number of things.

The Mysterio VS Liger match was set here, but we know in the present that Mysterio ended up injured, so he won’t get to keep the challenge he issued. Ospreay will take his place as the next best substitute to Mysterio’s speed, or maybe a superior, not sure who is faster. A bit of a shame, but maybe Mysterio can try again when he’s healthy. Okada VS Sanada was top tier, and it really builds Sanada’s power level that he endured so much from Okada while coming close to where even Okada admits to it. All the members of LIJ are rising up in the ranks, they’ll be the group to keep your eyes on. Okada VS Ospreay also already happened at the 46th Anniversary, definitely top tier stuff. Okada is right that Ospreay is something special thanks to being in NJPW, but so is Okada.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Andrew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Red Stars Ratings & Review: Day 7 & 8

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We get another combined article because of the way Stardom likes to stagger matches in this tournament.

Day 7 actually didn’t have any Blue Star matches at all, so now the articles will be titled a little differently. I need that Rick and Morty clip about getting your shit together and direct it at Stardom booking. Oh wait, I can!

via GIPHY

 

So with that established, I guess we should look at the matches to come. Tam is eliminated but still has 3 matches to go. So she can go from a measly 2 to a respectable 8 if she can put a few wins together. Utami and Rachael however are still very much in the thick of things, and even face one another on Day 8.

Let’s find if anyone else gets eliminated, or if we continue to have the top half stay alive.

 

Day 7

Rachael Ellering vs Tam Nakano

Rachael’s promo is fake and over enthusiastic, whereas Tam’s was realistic and a little bubbleheaded. So it’s really hard for me to ever connect to Ellering’s promos, cause she’s not convincing and her matches thus far have been…umm…shall we say, sub par. So sadly Tam seems to be in the plucky underdog role this year and always getting close with not much of a pay off. So let’s she if she picks up a win to play spoiler, or continues to come up short.

I have no clue what it is about most of Rachael’s matches, but they are hard to watch. Rachael’s Pump Kick that she over uses never looks impactful, she doesn’t take or sell offense well, and it’s just a schlog. This match was no different.

Tam’s kicks are usually crisp, but they hit awkwardly and slowly. Tam even went for a bottom rope assisted Back Body Drop, but Rachael’s foot cause the middle rope and it just looked sloppy. Tam still sold her back, while Rachael focused it, so that was good.

We also see a decent barrage at the end of the match with some false finish rollups, Rachael’s Bossman Slam and then Ellering finally finishes this with the Fallaway Powerbomb.

Winner: Ellering via Fallaway Powerbomb

Rating: * 1/2

 

Kagetsu vs Kimber Lee

Kimber always has this oddly endearing way of cutting a promo. She talks fairly slowly (the way people do when you’re speaking a language people might not understand), which I find ridiculous, but she says all the correct babyface things. Kagetsu however has a skull mask on her head, pops up into frame and just starts talking casually about things. She just wants to end the match, eat some good food and head to Osaka. It’s casually dismissive of Kimber, but not cruel, perfect tweener kind of temperature.

Kagetsu takes the early advantage and does the cocky heel thing by throwing Kimber to the outside. Hazuki and Sumire get in a few cheap shots before rolling her back in. Kagetsu takes a drink of water and then we get her water spit/mist spot. Which I’m still not sure why that isn’t a disqualification, but I like it, so I’m not questioning it.

After the initial cockiness, Kimber takes advantage of Kagetsu taking her foot of the gas and puts together some offense. A few well placed kicks and suplexes lead to the Swanton Bomb attempt, but Kimber misses. After a little more struggle, Kagetsu eventually hits a Chokeslam and then enough of the Oedo Coaster to get the pinfall.

Not Kagetsu’s best work, but it was a fairly short match and Kimber isn’t positioned as a threat in this tournament.

Winner: Kagetsu via Oedo Coaster

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Day 8

Kimber Lee vs Tam Nakano

The opening promos are pretty low energy for both women. Kimber talks about being eliminated but fighting for herself and Tam tries her best to psych herself up. The lack of points is effecting both of these women. Who will get the ball moving to end on a high note?

Not a bad match, just fairly short. Given that all of the Grand Prix matches have a 15 minute time limit, even the longer ones are a little short. Both women utilize a fair amount of kicks and flexibility in their offense, so the mirror aspect was on full display.

Kimber does her split spot, Tam goes for a Buzzsaw Kick, but Kimber blocks it and tries to sweep the leg, but Tam does a split and they both start throwing forearms from the split position. Kimber hits a kick combination first, which drops Tam but only for two. In her opening promo Tam put some emphasis on not wanting to lose to kicks, since those are kinda her thing.

Maintaining advantage, Kimber goes to the top rope but Tam shows some fight. Eventually hitting the Avalanche Snapmare and going up for her Diving Idol Knee, for only a near fall. After a few more close calls, Kimber catches Tam coming off the ropes for a Brain Buster, pulls her to a corner and lands the Swanton Bomb for the pinfall.

Valiant efforts in all her matches, but Tam really can’t catch a break.

Winner: Kimber via Swanton Bomb

Rating: ** 1/4

 

Rachael Ellering vs Utami Hayayshishita

Well, ya know I’m usually overly disinterested in whatever Rachael’s been doing, but this match was a little different. She basically got to play the heel since she was being very tough on Utami and showing some personality while arguing with the referee. So when it comes down to Rachael’s involvement, it wasn’t the thing that brought the match down, for a change.

However, after the initial burst from Rachael and the playing up a few strikes on the outside, the match never kick it into another gear. It basically was treading water for the last half. Signature moves were hit, Utami landed her Sleeper Hold takeover into the Coquina Clutch, but Rachael got out of it. I’m guess the high point was supposed to be Rachael hitting a Superplex, but nothing felt important, desperate or impressive.

The match ends just as Utami cinches in an Inside Cradle, but the time expires. All of the draws in this tournament are a little off putting.

Winner: Time Limit Draw

Rating: ***

 

Red Stars Standings:

Kagetsu 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Rachael Ellering 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Jungle Kyona 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Utami Hayashishita 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Konami 3-3 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Kimber Lee 2-4 (4 Points) – Eliminated
Tam Nakano 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated
Natsuko Tora 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated

 

Thoughts:

You know Stardom, you know what happens when you make Tam look good but don’t give her wins? Nothing happens, it’s actually decent story telling and could set up for a big upset of Kagetsu on the Finals day. So as much as the fan in me hates watching Tam come up short (Naito fans around the world know that feel), her determination and the storyline wrinkles could pay off later.

As for the two days…meh? Nothing stood out and these really just felt like matches to set up for the final swerve. These kind of days happen in all tournaments, it just hit really hard in these four matches. I just really really hope Rachael doesn’t win Red Stars.


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Mathew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Blue Stars Results & Review: Day 8

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So tomorrow is the last day of the Five Star Grand Prix where we will have our final four matches and the final match on the same day but we got two matches left to cover before we go to the final day.

This show is for people that didn’t have their six matches before the final day and we’re using this to make sure they’re all caught up to speed and we can see who has a chance to make it and who doesn’t. I know it says day 8 in my headline but I had no matches on the seventh day, so I decided to just skip it and go where I have my actual matches. So who wins these two matches?

Let’s find out and…dive right in.

 

Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Kelly Klein vs. Natsu Sumire

Review: It’s pretty clear that Sumire is pretty much eliminated and even if she does win this match and her last one, the fact that Mayu would hold the tiebreaker over her if she lost today and won tomorrow, but would still be out if Momo won on the final day since she’d have nine points while Sumire would still have eight if she won both and wouldn’t matter, but she has been one of the highlights of this tournament due to her personality flourishing a lot more here and the fans loving her more and more. Sumire in her pre-match interview seems to be more focused on her bust size and even talked about the supplements she’s been taking for a couple weeks now and is disappointed that there’s been no change in her results just yet and hopes to provide progress updates. Kelly is her opponent tonight and if Kelly does win here, she’ll be in the top spot of the standings and would have a strong chance of winning. Can Kelly win again or will Sumire ruin it for her?

Once again, Sumire made the match fun when it was needed due to it not being the best bout in the tournament here but they did work with what they got, even if it was as pretty standard as they come. Kelly did an okay job in the match as well and probably my least favorite outing of her in the Grand Prix and she just wanted to dominate Sumire. Sumire was mostly doing her antics that you would see in her matches with the false handshakes, cradling them up when they least expect it, and just whipping them. It looked like Kelly was going to go for the win here and when she ran the ropes, Kagetsu kicked her in the back to stun her long enough for Sumire to grab the Oedo Tai sign so she could hit Kelly with it, but Kelly moved out of the way causing the sign to bounce off the ropes and hit Sumire instead in which it gets turned around for Kelly to hit the Fireman’s Carry Slam for the victory and she’s now in first place.

Rating: Tony Schiavone

 

Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

Review: A win here is very crucial for Mayu Iwatani if she wants to tie it up with Kelly, otherwise she would be eliminated from the tournament and her opponent, Hazuki would take the top spot with nine points and potentially win the whole thing if things work out in her favor. The last time the both of them fought one on one was around February during the ROH Women of Honor tournament and Mayu would come out the winner of that match and Mayu wants to beat her again to show she’s on a whole different level now. Who will take the top spot of the standings, Mayu or Hazuki?

Hazuki is in my top 5 wrestlers of Stardom right now and this match here with Mayu just solidified my statement for this claim. This whole tournament, she has been one of the most consistent wrestlers in her matches with her sequences being on point, her moves are crisp, and how to handle a match lately has been outstanding that she should be under peoples radar. Hazuki right away was being aggressive with Mayu before the bell even rang when she attacked her from behind and kept rolling her up which failed, but she kept on the attack by throwing her around into chairs on the outside and even destroyed Mayu’s arm during the whole match and not holding back on her, I love this side of Hazuki.

This match is one of my favorites in my block next to Hazuki/Momo still being my favorite one, but this one was still pretty damn close with their chemistry in the ring together gave us a special match and it’s not even their last one for their block. They told a great story in the ring, executed everything almost flawlessly, seeing a more aggressive side of Hazuki in her previous two matches, and Mayu selling it all to make it look more dangerous than it probably is, but they were just on point with everything together. Hazuki was pulling out all the stops with having her in the Crossface, working on her arm, stiff Dropkicks and a Codebreaker, but it still wasn’t enough to take Mayu out as she hits the Dragon Suplex Hold and gets the victory to tie first place with Kelly Klein. After the match, she told the crowd that she was now in first place and hopes the crowd will still support her as she looks to win it all at the final.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Overall: Can’t really give it a fair assessment due to only having two matches with one being average and the other one being great, but the average of it was solid enough. I’m glad to see that all three of my picks are in the top 4 of potential winners and excited for the last day since it’s stacked.

Favorite Match: Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

Score: 6/10

Blue Stars Standings:
Mayu Iwatani: 4-2 (8 Points)
Kelly Klein: 4-2 (8 Points)
Momo Watanabe: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Hazuki: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Nicole Savoy: 3-3 (6 Points)
Jamie Hayter: 2-4 (4 Points)
Saki Kashima: 2-4 (2 Points)
Natsu Sumire: 2-4 (4 Points)

Now that we have our final standings before the final show tomorrow, we see that our top 4 people that could still win this are Mayu Iwatani, Kelly Klein, Momo Watanabe, and Hazuki. We’re gonna break down the final card for tomorrow and see who has a real chance and how can it be done.

  • Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Hazuki vs. Natsu Sumire
  • Kelly Klein vs. Nicole Savoy
  • Saki Kashima vs. Jamie Hayter

Here is how these four can win.

Mayu Iwatani: Defeat Momo Watanabe and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.

Momo Watanabe: Defeat Mayu Iwatani and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.

Kelly Klein: Defeat Nicole Savoy

Hazuki: Defeat Nicole Savoy, Momo Watanabe defeats Mayu Iwatani, and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein

If Momo and Hazuki do win their matches and Kelly loses, these two will be in a tie and it’ll be interesting to see who gets the final spot since they did tie it up in their outing, interesting direction if that’s the case.


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Joe’s CMLL Results & Review (9/17/2018)

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CMLL Arena Puebla Show Monday

El Asturiano and Black Tiger vs Espiritu Maligno and Fuerza Chicana

Maligno and Asturiano start out the match exchanging arm drags. Maligno is bare foot so Asturiano while having him in a hold bites his feet. Not very hygienical. Tiger and Chicana make their way in trading holds. Tags are made briefly and they pick up the pace but Chicana and Tiger come back in soon after to continue the faster pace. Maligno misses a splash and Tiger gets him in a surfboard stretch for the submission, then Asturiano pins Chicana with a hurricanrana pin combo. First Fall: El Asturiano pins Fuerza Chicana with a hurricanrana.

Black Tiger hits a monkey flip on Maligno to start the round and then hits a pose. Asturiano and Chicana are in to follow. He ends up feigning a dive to the outside. Maligno and Chicana start to get heat on the other team by double teaming both guys when they get the chance. Malingo hits a baseball slide to Asturiano in the corner and then they get both of them in submissions. Some elaborate stretches. Second Fall: Espiritu Maligno submits El Asturiano with a submission hold.

Third round starts with Asturiano being double teamed. Maligno hits a drop kick on him sending him out bringing in Black Tiger to get doubled. All four are in the ring now exchanging chops. Maligno gets Asturiano in a Gory Guerrero special into a pinning combination for the pin. The Chicana gets Black Tiger in a single leg boston crab for the win. Third Fall: Fuerza Chicana submits Black Tiger with a single leg boston crab.

Winners: Espiritu Maligno and Fuerza Chicana

Oro Jr, Super Astro Jr, and Tigre Rojo Jr vs King Rocker Jr, El Malayo, and King Jaguar

King Jaguar and Oro Jr start off with some chain wrestling, exchanging holds. They meet a stale mate and King Rocker come in and continue to exchange holds and chain wrestle. Tigre Rojo and Malayo come in and pick up the pace. Malayo gets Rojo in the corner to get an advantage on him, but it doesn’t work out. Oro Jr and Rojo hit a combo neck breaker on Malayo. Super Astro hits him with a dive for a pin. Tigre Rojo gets King Jaguar in an arm bar for the first fall. First Fall: Tigre Rojo Jr submits King Jaguar with an arm bar.

King Rocker starts the second fall with Oro jr and Oro gets him to the outside and then hits a pose. Astro comes in there next with Malayo. Astro gets him to the outside and then feigns a dive and hits an elaborate pose. After that Rojo and Jaguar come in and he too gets Jaguar to the outside and feigns a dive. Finally Rocker and Malayo are working over Tigre Rojo. Once they dispose of him they start to triple team Astro Jr. Jaguar hits a big baseball slide dive on Astro. Oro Jr gets hit with a basement drop kick to the hit by King Rocker for the second fall. Second Fall: King Rocker pins Oro Jr with a basement drop kick.

Oro and Rocker start out in the third round. This becomes a triple team attack soon. It doesn’t last for long and Oro Jr, Astro, and Rojo go for dives but they get dodged and then it becomes a brawl. They exchange spots and go for pins that get broken up. Astro hits a top rope headbutt on Malayo and pins him. Oro hits a power slam on Rocker and then Tigre and him do a double team move where Rojo flips Oro onto Rocker for the pin. Third Fall: Oro pins Rocker while being flipped by Tigre Rojo.

Winners: Oro Jr, Super Astro Jr, and Tigre Rojo Jr

Guerrero Maya, Fuego, and Stigma vs El Sagrado, Misterioso, and Tiger

Interesting note, the Arena Puebla is called Temple of Pain in translation. They should do Lucha Underground out of here. Maya and Misterioso start out in the match, and as they exchange holds and perform some mat wrestling, I’d like to point out how hype Fuego’s entrance is. After they go to a stale mate Sagrado and Stigma come in. They don’t last long and Fuego and Tiger get in there and pick up the pace.

Tiger irish whips Fuego into his corner and this causes his teammates to come in and triple team Fuego for a moment. Fuego’s teammates come in to confront. Fuego makes a come back and gets Tiger to the outside and then a brawl breaks out on the outside. After that Maya starts to get triple teamed. Misterioso hits a weak drop kick bringing Maya to the outside then hits a pose, but Fuego rolls him up. First Fall: Fuego rolls up Misterioso.

The second round is started with Stigma getting triple teamed. After they dispose of Stigma to the outside, Maya comes in to try his hand but the numbers are too much. El Sagrado hits an elbow drop for the second fall. Second Fall: El Sagrado hits an elbow drop on Guerrero Maya for the pin.

Maya starts the fall getting triple teamed but made a come back by hitting everyone with a tilt-a-Whirl back breaker. After that Stigma and Fuego came and hit middle rope dives. They all start to exchange spots now, one at a time. Fuego hits his matrix bridge spot and then hits a dive. Stigma hits a big hurricanrana on Misterioso. Tiger and Stigma start to exchange chops.

Eventually Tiger hits a big power bomb. Fuego hits a big victory roll on Misterioso and the ref takes forever to go for the count and Sagrado breaks it up. Misterioso hits a reverse power slam and Fuego breaks up the pin and then he hits a big dive. Stigma hits a pinning combination on on Sagrado and Maya hits a spring board, shoulder block on Tiger for the win. Third Fall: Guerrero Maya hits a shoulder block on Tiger for the win.

Winners: Guerrero Maya, Fuego, and Stigma

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