All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Akira Tozawa & Hideo Itami VS Lucha House Party w/ Kalisto; Tozawa & Itami win.
- Jack Gallagher VS Murphy Myers; Gallagher wins.
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Semifinal Match: Cedric Alexander VS Roderick Strong; Alexander wins and moves on to the finals at Wrestlemania.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Cruiserweight Championship Tournament is nearing its end!
While Mark Andrews was flying high, he came crashing down against the ground game gladiator, Drew Gulak. Then, Buddy Murphy was bigger, stronger and faster, but all of that was not enough to stop the hungrier Mustafa Ali. Ali was cunning enough to find a weak spot in the Best Kept Secret’s armor, and overcame those disadvantages to win. Now the semifinals will have a storied rivalry reigniting their animosity, but that’s next week. Tonight, it will be the Carolina Kid, who was so close to the title yet so far, and NXT’s Messiah of the Backbreaker who wants his own first taste of gold. One man’s heart, and possibly back, will be broken by the end of tonight. Who will be the first man to qualify for the tournament finals at Wrestlemania?
Akira Tozawa & Hideo Itami VS Lucha House Party w/ Kalisto!
The Stamina Monster & Innovator of the GTS are the newest tag team on the block, but already called out the team of luchadors for a match. 205 Live GM Drake Maverick liked the idea, and made it reality! Will the Strong Style super duo defeat Dorado & Metalik to foil the fiesta?
Te bell rings, and Tozawa starts against Dorado, also starting up the “AH! AH!” chant. Tozawa and Dorado circle but Dorado gets the single leg pick and facelock. Dorado wrenches and whips but Tozawa reverses. Dorado sunset flips over, Tozawa rolls through, but Dorado narrowly avoids the Penalty Kick. Fans applaud the stand-off, and the two circle again. They tie up but Tozawa gets the arm. He wrenches and gets the wristlock, but Dorado flips and reverses to a headlock. Tozawa powers out but Dorado runs him over, then Dorado gets going and handsprings over. Tozawa arm-drags, Dorado arm-drags back, Tozawa trips him and covers, ONE. Dorado trips up and covers, ONE, double dropkicks deflect each other, and fans applaud this second stand-off.
Tozawa and Dorado both go for boots but also block, so they both set the feet down, then Dorado surprises Tozawa with a dropkick! He drags Tozawa up for an arm wrench then tags Metalik. Lucha House Party double whips and double hip tosses to then double kick! Metalik covers, TWO, but Metalik keeps on Tozawa with stomps. He lifts Tozawa into the fireman’s carry, but Tozawa slips out. Tozawa waistlocks but Metalik elbows out. Metalik runs, but into Tozawa’s headscissors! Tozawa crawls and tags Itami, and Itami swings kick after kick. Metalik dodges them to then kick back, and whips but Itami reverses. Itami dodges the handspring attack, then they both speed up, Metalik hits a handspring arm-drag! He then dropkicks Itami down, and tags in Dorado. Double dropkicks now, and Dorado turns Itami over for the standing moonsault. TWO, but Dorado keeps Itami grounded with an armlock.
Itami gets up and goes to a corner, but Dorado chops him. Dorado whips but Itami reverses, Dorado goes up and over then runs to slide under a kick. He dares Itami to bring it, they speed up again, and he headscissors Itami now. Another whip but Itami reverses again to hit the big kitchen sink knee! Itami waits for Dorado to stand up, to roundhouse him down. He whips Dorado, then boots him down. Tag to Tozawa, and the former champion chops Dorado. He chops again, then fakes a chop to hit the jab! Dorado sits down and Tozawa stomps a “AH! AH!” mudhole. He brings Dorado up, then over to tag Itami. Itami stomps and whips, then runs Dorado over with a back elbow. Cover, TWO, so Itami drops knees right into Dorado’s head. He takes down the pad, then hops over for the heel scrape.
Itami brings Dorado up, whips him into his corner, then tags Tozawa. They double whip corner to corner, Tozawa runs in for the back elbow, then hustles to the apron, he and Itami hit a knee strike swing kick combo! Tozawa climbs up, then hits Dorado with a screaming missile dropkick! Cover, TWO, and Tozawa is a bit surprised. He keeps on Dorado with a chinlock, but Kalisto rallies with “Lucha! Lucha!” chants. Dorado gets up and fights out, but Tozawa rocks him back. Dorado chops, Tozawa chops, and Tozawa keeps Dorado away from his corner. Tozawa swings, Dorado ducks under, and they double boot each other down!
Both men go down, and both sides rally for their teammate. Dorado and Tozawa crawl, hot tags to Itami and Metalik! Metalik springboards to crossbody, then scoops for a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! He loudly chops Itami, then whips corner to corner, but Itami reverses. Itami runs in but into the SUPERKICK! Metalik runs to Sling-Dog Itami down! He keeps moving, running the ropes for a springboard missile dropkick! The King of the Ropes fires up and climbs but Tozawa tries to stop him. Metalik kicks him away, then acts as Dorado’s springboard for a HUGE FLYING TACKLE!
Itami runs in again but into another kick. Metalik climbs up, walks the tightrope and springboards, but Itami rolls and Metalik lands on his feet. The landing is rough on his leg, and Itami goes right at it with a kick. Then Itami brings Metalik into the dragon sleeper, and swings him into the GTS Mark II!
Cover, Itami & Tozawa win! Strong Style trumps lucha libre tonight, can this duo of the Rising Sun conquer the Cruiserweight Division?
However, Dorado doesn’t appreciate how Itami stands over Metalik, and pushes him away. Itami gets in Dorado’s face now, but Kalisto and Tozawa come in to keep them from fighting after the fact. Everyone keeps their cool, but there’s tension growing between these two teams of international flavor. Will there be any respect to be found should these two teams tangle again?
WWE and 205 Live take a look at Roderick Strong.
After opening his heart to the WWE & NXT Universes, showing us how rough his life was before wrestling, and the fans embraced him. He thrives on going up against varying styles and finding answers to them. He’s ready for any and every situation, and has proven as much in both his NXT and 205 Live careers. Strong looks at the bracket, and feels none of the remaining superstars can match up to him. He hasn’t had it easy, and he doesn’t want it that way. “To become Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania would mean everything” to him. For his family, for himself, “when it’s all said and done” he can look back and say he did it. Strong promises “you’re looking at your next Cruiserweight Champion.” Can he earn his spot? Or will he get a Lumbar Check?
205 Live General Manager, Drake Maverick, heads to the ring.
The man formerly known as Rockstar Spud comes out to join commentary for the upcoming match.
Jack Gallagher VS Murphy Myers!
The Ungentle Gentleman has returned to a more proper wrestling attire, prompted by stern words from Drake Maverick. Will combining that with his sinister edge help him “sort himself out” and move towards the top of the Division?
The bell rings, and Gallagher circles with Myers. They tie up but Gallagher pie-faces Myers. The fans are on Myers’ side as he circles with Gallagher again, but Gallagher puts him up against the ropes. Gallagher honors the break, but isn’t very respectful with that stoic gaze. He then grabs Myers’ hand, puts it on the mat, and stomps it! Gallagher snapmares Myers then runs him over. They speed up, Gallagher catches Myers and then hotshots him on the top rope. Gallagher keeps going to run him over again! Gallagher scoop slams Myers quick, then scrapes his soles on Myers’ face. He won’t stop, he wrenches the hand and fingers, then wrings Myers to the mat. Gallagher clubs and stomps Myers, then brings him to the apron to slam his chest on the edge. The Ungentle Gentleman glares at Maverick, and Maverick likes what he sees.
However, Myers attacks Gallagher upon reentry! He throws furious forearms and then an enziguri! Gallagher tumbles off the apron while Myers builds speed, but Myers’ sliding dropkick gets caught in the apron skirt, and Gallagher tees off! Gallagher clubs away with forearms, then kicks Myers in the back again and again. He finally puts Myers back into the ring, then finishes him with the Extraordinary Headbutt!
Cover, Gallagher wins! The Ungentle Gentleman continues his streak of cruelty, but will have to wait for a later chance at the Cruiserweight Championship. Will a harsh reality be awaiting the tournament winner on the other side of Wrestlemania?
WWE and 205 Live take a look at Cedric Alexander.
Alexander was part of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament in 2016, but only made it as far as the second round after running into Kota Ibushi. He still earned the respect of the WWE Universe, and he was able to fight his way through the Division to get to this point. Many say Alexander “can’t win the big one”, but he’ll show them all he’s not a choke artist. “No one on 205 Live has been hotter than me,” and he won’t stop until he finally wins. He knows he has an unorthodox style but he did start his career as a heavyweight. He’ll hit hard, fast and from everywhere, “no one else on the roster can touch what I do.” Alexander vows to go to Wrestlemania, no matter what, but will he only end up on the wrong end of the End of Heartache?
Mustafa Ali speaks.
“We all have that one mistake from our past that seems to follow us no matter where we go.” When Ali was younger, a friend and him ran into a bully. The bully knocked his friend down, but Ali stepped down. He feels like that’s happening all over again. Andrews not only got beat by Gulak, but he got bullied by Gulak, too. Ali will make things right when he gets back at a bully. He will take Gulak head on and fight back! Can Ali come out of this rematch of a very personal feud the victor? Or will he crash and burn in the No Fly Zone?
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Semifinal Match: Cedric Alexander VS Roderick Strong!
The tournament is still far from over, but one Cruiserweight’s dream could be after tonight. Both men love to hit hard, hit fast and prove doubters wrong, but only one can prove himself worthy of Wrestlemania!
The bell rings and the fans duel while the two circle. Alexander and Strong tie up, pretty even in strength, but Strong swings around to roll Alexander up, TWO. Alexander goes after Strong with a waistlock, getting a facelock. They go around and Strong gets the switch, but Alexander switches back to roll Strong up, ONE, and the two break off. Fans applaud the stalemate, then the two circle again. The dueling chants continue while Strong gets a headlock. Alexander puts Strong in a corner, and honors the break while Gulak watches backstage.
Gulak, perhaps looking ahead to the finals already, watches as Alexander whips Strong corner to corner. Strong goes up and over and keeps moving, to then shove Alexander to ropes. Alexander comes back and rolls under to handspring back, and headscissors Strong to then dropkick him down! Cover, TWO, but Alexander grabs Strong in the facelock. Now we see that Mustafa Ali is also watching this match closely.
The fans duel while Strong powers his way up and out, then knees and clubs Alexander. He chops Alexander in a corner, but Alexander forearms back. Strong kicks and whips but Alexander reverses to launch Strong with a body drop! Alexander runs in but is put on the apron. He hits back then jumps up, but Strong disrupts the springboard to send Alexander into buckles! Alexander crashes and burns while Strong staggers back.
Strong stomps away on Alexander at the ropes, but backs off at the ref’s count. He waits for the dazed Alexander to stand up, then chops him before more stomps. Strong won’t let up, he brings Alexander up for the butterfly suplex. Cover, ONE, another try, ONE, so Strong puts on a chinlock. He keeps Alexander grounded as he shifts to a seated abdominal stretch. Strong even grabs an ear to tweak Alexander further. Fans rally and Alexander stands up, to fight out. Strong forearms and whips Alexander, but Alexander ducks to handspring, only to jump into Strong’s dropkick!
Cover, TWO, and Strong grows frustrated. He hammers away with rights, then stomps again. The referee backs him off to check on Alexander, so Strong taunts Alexander. He goes after Alexander, and Alexander tries to fight back, but Strong just clubs and stomps him down again. The fans keep dueling while Strong stretches Alexander in a half clutch. Strong taunts Alexander, shouting “How bad do you want it?!” The fans rally for Alexander and Alexander works his way out. Alexander fights back but Strong hits back each time. Strong whips but Alexander reverses and Strong hits buckles hard, Alexander catches his breath and slowly fires up while Strong stirs.
Alexander and Strong get to their feet, Strong runs in to Alexander’s boot. Alexander uppercuts, ends up in a corner, but dropkicks Strong’s knees out to send him face first into buckles again. He then gets to the apron, and says “Good night!” with a kick to Strong’s face! Strong staggers back, and Alexander gets him with the springboard complete shot! Strong rolls out of the ring but Alexander kip-up. Alexander builds speed, and FLIES!
He wipes out Strong, then hurries to put him back in the ring. Alexander takes aim from the corner, springboard clothesline! Cover, TWO, and Alexander grows frustrated. He drags Strong up, but Strong elbows him away. Alexander runs into the boot, but ducks the enziguri, so Strong kicks him away. Strong runs, Alexander scoops and hits Strong with a sudden Michinoku Driver! Cover, TWO! Alexander is again in disbelief, but he won’t slow down. He gets up, grabs Strong, but Strong blocks the Check. Strong fights Alexander off then throws him out, but Alexander shoulders him away. Alexander again gets to a corner, springboards, but Strong catches him! Strong lifts Alexander up, but Alexander counters with a crucifix roll, TWO! Alexande runs into that boot again, and the enziguri connects this time, and Strong follows up with a half-nelson backbreaker!
Cover, TWO! Strong is too sore to be frustrated, he just stands up and drags Alexander up again. He lifts in a fireman’s carry but Alexander slips out, so Strong throws in a knee. Strong tries again, but Alexander counters the Olympic Slam with an arm-drag! Strong runs, Alexander handsprings, Neuralizer! LUMBAR CHECK!
Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Strong survives by a foot on the bottom rope! And Alexander can’t believe it. Strong gets to the apron, Alexander takes off his elbow pads and walks over. They both end up on the apron, Strong kicks out a leg, then kicks Alexander’s face. Strong lifts Alexander into a torture rack, to then toss him at the post!
Alexander tumbles to the ground, and the referee checks on him. Strong shouts for the ring count while Alexander spasms, eyes glazed over. The count begins, and Strong waits it out. Alexander stirs at 5, and crawls up to the apron, and seeing Alexander will beat it, Strong runs in! But into Alexander’s kick! Alexander climbs up, but Strong jumps to rock him with a knee! Strong climbs up to join him, and hits the SUPERPLEX!
Strong covers, TWO!! He can’t believe that Alexander is somehow still going, but the fans declare “This is Awesome!” Strong gets up, goes over to Alexander, and brings him up. Alexander is mostly dead weight, and Strong clubs him. Alexander fights back and they throw heavy hands. Strong gives several elbows but Alexander gives a mule kick. Alexander blocks the boot, but misses the back elbow, Strong rocks Alexander with a jumping knee! They both stagger, but Strong brings Alexander in for END OF HEARTACHE!
Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Now they’re even, and fans are loving it! They chant “YES! YES!” while Strong shakes his head “No.” Alexander drags himself to the apron but Strong drags him back in. Strong drags Alexander up, but Alexander elbows him down! Both men down again, but Alexander’s eyes are still pretty spacey. They both struggle to stand up while fans rally. They’re back to back, miss swinging haymakers, but Strong lands a chop. Alexander uppercuts, they stagger, and then they both glare at each other. They throw furious hands at the same time! Strong gets the edge, but then Alexander lifts for Lumbar, but Strong slips right out. Alexander runs, but into a takedown, so he twists, only for Strong to sit on it for a cover, TWO!!
They both scramble to their feet, BIG knee strike from Strong! Alexander is out, Strong grabs him, but then small package surprise, ALEXANDER WINS!! And neither man can believe it!
Somehow Alexander pulled it out, and is headed to the Show of Shows for a Cruiserweight Championship match! Alexander’s smiling, but Strong’s heart is breaking. He put his all into the match but came up short. Even so, Strong gives a nod of respect to Alexander and lets him have the ring.
In-ring interview with Alexander.
He is headed to Wrestlemania, how does that feel? The fans know “You Deserve It!” But Alexander says he earned it! “This is the single most important match of my life”, because now he’s going to Wrestlemania. He has a four year old daughter who already calls him champion, so now he wants to become THE Cruiserweight Champion! Alexander won this big match, but must still win THE Big One. Will it be his friend in Mustafa Ali, or old foe in Drew Gulak, that meets him on the Grandest Stage of Them All?
I don’t care what anyone else says, 205 Live is quite possibly some of the best wrestling WWE is putting on today. While it isn’t “developmental” like NXT and it isn’t considered quite the same as Raw or SmackDown, the Cruiserweight Division’s 51 minutes of programming far out-shined SmackDown’s 2 hours. There may not be a lot of promos to propel story, but that’s because the matches did more than enough to do that. Itami-Tozawa VS Dorado-Metalik was some great tag team wrestling, and really impressed with the chemistry already between the two Japanese superstars as well as the creativity of the luchadors. I’ve never seen a springboard quite like the one Metalik helped Dorado achieve. Plus, the story comes out from the tense stand-off afterwards, and could easily build into a more involved story in the rematch.
Jack Gallagher does a great job in making a squash match feel like it actually matters for his character. He wasn’t as technically torturous as he usually is, but his aggressive striking did more than enough to remind us of his new found edge from teaming with THE Brian Kendrick. I sense something between him and Maverick starting up once we’re past Wrestlemania, as a way to tide Gallagher over until Kendrick returns. Once Kendrick returns, he and Gallagher can go back to being a tag team and joining in what is clearly growing into a Cruiserweight Tag Team Division, and as rumored, complete with Cruiserweight Tag Team Championships. That’s three teams easily established, but perhaps more will pop up now that 205 Live is gaining some ground.
Mustafa Ali gave us another great video promo, he’s really coming into his own with this somewhat edgy Face angle. His match with Gulak promises to be a really great one worthy of the Road to Wrestlemania. The Alexander and Strong video packages were also great, and helped refresh the memories of the audience. I don’t think they got the date right on when the CWC happened and where Alexander finished in it, though. But then Alexander VS Strong was some top level action and story telling, worthy of any PPV. The parallels in their styles and especially their finishers were clear, so it was great that the way they survived the finishers were the same. Alexander’s story is the stronger one, so naturally he goes over. Strong still has NXT he can fall back on, and Alexander VS either Ali or Gulak will be ‘Mania worthy.
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