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AJPW Champion Carnival B Block Ratings & Results: Part 2

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So a couple points to hit here, Marufuji finally joins the Carnival since his participation in NOAH’s Global Tag League is over. His team finished 1 point out of making it to the finals, so it saved him a little wear and tear.

The second point is that it seems like All Japan TV isn’t delivering their Video On Demand for the Carnival until around 10 pm Eastern Time. So it makes me even happier that Mathew and I split these up, since it’s hard enough educating ourselves on the company, but with less time and day jobs, only having to focus on half is great.

Speaking of Mathew’s A Block coverage, if you haven’t checked it out, do it. He’s got a great passion for Puroresu in general, and adds a nice element to all of his coverage. Now let’s get to the next few B Block matches.

 

B Block (4/10)

Dylan James vs Yukata Yoshie

Yutaka Yoshie’s first match of the Carnival, and it’s a power struggle.

This was hard hitting, paced fairly well and not a bad match. Nothing flashy and  was basically what you’d expect looking at the two participants, but good to start off the Carnival matches for the day. It was nice to see the crowd get behind Yoshie. Not sure if that was for enjoyment or bias, since he’s facing a gaijin, but nice regardless.

Dylan gets the better of a lariat exchange, and finally lands his Chokeslam that was blocked a few times this match and Akiyama countered in his first match.

Winner: James via Chokeslam

Rating: ** 1/4

 

Naomichi Marufuji vs Yoshitatsu

Marufuji is NOAH’s Genius for a reason, so let’s just enjoy what kind of tournament he puts together.

Yoshitatsu is still on his relevance tour, and it’s getting better and better. He really took it to Marufuji in this match. He lands a few big moves and gets a near fall with his Koji Clutch. But as soon as Marufuji hits his blitz from the corner, Yoshi sells it like he got shot, and the match stars to turn.

I’m not sure if Marufuji’s struggle in this is because Yoshitatsu has gotten better, or if Marufuji is still tired from the Tag League. Either way, not a bad match, but nowhere near the best match Marufuji can put together.

Winner: Marufuji via Sliced Bread

Rating: *** 1/2

 

Jun Akiyama vs KAI

Still looking to establish himself in All Japan, KAI comes into this match behind the eight ball, against a legend.

Given the types of matches Jun has put on lately, this really floored me. He seemed more determined to hurt KAI. Took a big spill into the guardrail and in general, pulled off moves with much more velocity than I’m accustomed to seeing him do.

They traded multiple pinfalls , changed the pace a few times and made both men look fantastic. Akiyama still proves himself to be the crafty veteran with the way he wins, but damn this was the best match of B Block so far.

Winner: Akiyama via Crucifix pin

Rating: ****

 

B Block (4/11)

Yoshitatsu vs Kai

Well damn, which one of these men have more to prove?

This match was wrestled like two men with nothing to lose, but a lot to prove. KAI and Yoshi both continue to impress, and really came off as anyone’s match.

There were dives, hard strikes and a little bit of everything. The crowd really seemed to appreciate how hard both men were working. After KAI doesn’t submit to the Koji Clutch and kicks out of a pinfall, Yoshitatsu unveils his new move, the Codebreaker!

Winner: Yoshitatsu via Codebreaker

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Yukata Yoshie vs Suwama

Well we’ve got the one who seems like the underdog in Yoshie and the former ace Suwama.

This match really proves that the crowd is much more active than the previous day. They made a lot of noise all match, and especially when Suwama made some comebacks.

Again, this was a power match, where Yoshie comes up just short. He seems to be doing enough to gain sympathy from the crowd and always leaves the opponent winded. So he’s falling just short, but it seems to be resonating well.

Winner: Suwama via high angle backdrop

Rating: ***

 

Zeus vs Dylan James

Here we have another match that rides on power, but James is trying to build momentum, where Zeus is trying to keep his.

Since Zeus picked up the pinfall in the tag match the previous day, I had my feelings he’d lose here. But the James started hot out of the gate, and it really seemed like Zeus never got comfortable. He tried to comeback a little here or there, but the onslaught from James just took him by surprise.

Another small thread is the James’ tag team defeated Zeus and Bodyguard for the Tag Team Titles at the end of March, so maybe Dylan just has Zeus’ number.

Winner: Dylan James via Short Range Clothesline

Rating: ** 1/4

Current B-Block Standings:

Jun Akiyama: 2-0 (4 Points)
Suwama: 2-1 (4 Points)
Zeus: 2-1 (4 Points)
Dylan James: 2-1 (4 Points)
Naomichi Marufuji: 1-0 (2 Points)
Yoshitatsu: 1-2 (2 Points)
Yutaka Yoshie: 0-2 (0 Points)
KAI: 0-3 (0 Points)

The next few days will be odd since they don’t balance the break out between groups. So A Block will be up in a day or so, or whenever they deliver the show…soo…maybe Saturday?


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Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (4/14/18)

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ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 343

ROH brings a whole lot of tag team action this week! The main event is a Tag Team Championship Contenders Gauntlet match, where the last team standing will challenge The Briscoes for the titles, and it includes The Kingdom and The Young Bucks! Plus, Frankie Kazarian VS Hiromu Takahashi to settle a long-standing grudge!

 

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

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Frankie Kazarian VS Hiromu Takahashi; wins.
  • ROH World Tag Team Championship Contenders Gauntlet: wins and will challenge The Briscoes for the titles.

PLAY BY PLAY

Frankie Kazarian VS Hiromu Takahashi!

SoCal Uncensored’s Heavy Metal Rebel remembers the days when “Kamaitachi” was on the Addiction’s side. He also remembers when the Ticking Timebomb ditched The Addiction. After so much time has passed, will Kaz get back at Hiromu for leaving him and Daniels high and dry?

While making his way out to the ring, Hiromu takes notice of a fan’s Daryl the cat plushie and brings it to the ring with him. Kaz is annoyed as he has to make room for Hiromu to place the stuffed animal in the middle of the ring. Hiromu praises Daryl!

Daryl aside, fans are chanting for “Takahashi! Takahashi!” as Kazarian returns inside the ring. The bell rings without the Code of Honor and the two circle. They tie up and Kaz gets the waistlock but Hiromu gets the standing switch. Kaz breaks out to put on a wristlock but Hiromu reverses to his own wristlock. Kaz uses ropes to flip out of the hold then whip Hiromu, but Hiromu reverses. Things speed up as Kaz hurdles Hiromu, then he reverses the hip toss into a fireman’s carry bridge cover, ONE! Kaz goes for the legs but Hiromu pushes him away, Hiromu lies down as Kaz kips-up. Fans applaud as the two circle again.

Kaz talks trash to the fans, but Hiromu takes a time-out to again retrieve the Daryl doppelganger. Hiromu looks into the camera as he pretends to be a cat, cleaning its ears, but then he hurries into the ring as Kaz comes rushing out. Kaz swipes at Daryl, bane of his existence, but gets blasted by Hiromu’s running dropkick! Hiromu goes to the apron and leaps but Kaz gets clear. Hiromu turns around and ducks Kaz’s clothesline, only to run into his boot. Kaz grabs Hiromu and snap suplexes him into the barriers! Hiromu writhes while Kaz gets into the ring to embrace the heat. Hiromu clutches his ankles while we go to break.

 


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Ja’von’s Impact Wrestling Report! (4/19/18)

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Impact On Pop Redemption

Impact Wrestling continues the road to Redemption tonight, the final show before the new PPV makes its debut!

All images and tweets courtesy of Impact Wrestling’s twitter page

QUICK RESULTS

Braxton Sutter and Su Yung vs Fallah Bahh and Kiera Hogan: Braxton and Su Yung via pinfall

KM Open Challenge: Brain Cage via pinfall

Johnny Impact vs Kongo Kong: No Contest

Austin Aries vs Pentagon Jr. vs Fenix: Pentagon Jr. via pinfall

PLAY-BY-PLAY

Braxton Sutter and Su Yung vs Fallah Bahh and Kiera Hogan: 

This match kicks off Impact this week and Sutter comes out to introduce his partner Su Yung. The commentators hype up Yung as a HUGE threat to Allie and her Knockouts Championship. Kiera Hogan and Fallah Bahh make their way to the ring together doing the signature Fallah bahh head hit. Sutter and Yung get the jump on both Hogan and Bahh but Kiera and Fallah counter with Sutter thrown in the corner. Bahh goes for the splash but Braxton counters with an elbow. Fallah hits a belly to belly suplex on Sutter.

Hogan tags in and meets Su Yung. Hogan is the upper hand a bit and Yung tags out leaving Hogan to deal with Sutter. The action is fast paced and Bahh and Sutter are now the legal men and Braxton knocks Bahh out of the ring and Su Yung does a barrel roll onto Bahh taking him out. Sutter brings him back in the ring and stays in control but Bahh eventually counters and they both tag in their partners as Hogan takes it to Su Yung and gets a two count. Yung fights back and attempts her finisher but Kiera fights back and hits a butterfly suplex. Sutter gets involved but Hogan gets a big shot on him sending him into the corner. Bahh comes in for the save but Su grabs the kendo stick and hits Fallah but it doesn’t faze him.

While distracted with Su Braxton takes out Bahh and Su Yung hits the paincswitch on Kiera Hogan for the pinball victory. Post match Allie comes down the ramp and attacks Yung but Sutter breaks them apart and Yung takes advantage. It takes Sutter and a couple of refs to hold both these ladies back.

Winners: Braxton Sutter and Su Yung (Pinfall) This match allowed for everyone to shine and we got to see how the partnership Sutter and Yung would work together during a match. Yung looked strong here and loved the post match brawl between Allie and Su Yung.

LAX are in their clubhouse and worried about Scott Steiner being Eli’s partner for the title at Redemption. Conan reminds them that Stiener is a wildcard and hyped them up for the match.

Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong are interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell backstage and says that pretty people like her and Johnny are in a bubble and don’t have to work for anything cause it’s hand to them. Jacobs says after tonight he wants Impact to see a monster staring back at him when he looks in a mirror.

A video package plays showcasing a deeper look into the House of Hardcore Match:

In my opinion this should be a fun match for the Impact crowd on Sunday. Bodies will be put on the line and tables will be broken but when it’s all said and done Eddie, Moose, and Dreamer will be victorious.

KM’s Open Challenge:

KM makes his way to the ring and knocks a fan’s hat off his head. KM calls himself an innovator and will create a one of a kind match. He calls out the locker room and saying he will make history with them. Brian Cage answers the challenge and makes his way to the ring. KM tries to weseal his way out of the match and claim to be friends with Cage.

KM tries to leave the ring but eats a back body drop for his troubles as the match begins. Cage hits a basement dropkick and multiple clothesline on KM in the corner. Cage hits a deadlift duplex and an elbow drop from the top followed by the discus clothesline and an F5 type maneuver for the pinfall victory.

Winner: Brian Cage via pinfall This match was basically a squash match to keep Brain Cage looking strong heading into his six way match on Sunday.

Johnny Impact vs Kongo Kong:

A video package is played showcasing Kong Kongo becoming the new big monster of Impact and how we get to Johnny Impact vs Kongo Kong tonight. The video package is narrated by Jimmy Jacobs. This is a first time ever match between the two.

Kongo Kong and Jimmy Jacons make their way to the ring for the match. Johnny Impact makes his way to the ring for this first time ever match. Impact starts with a big shot to Kong’s chest and doubles him over but Kong fights back and knocks him out of the ring. Impact comes in the ring very cautiously and tries to use his speed against the monster but to no avail as Kongo Kong catches him and knocks him down. Kong stands on the back of Impact’s head then tosses him in the corner for a big splash and knocks Johnny to the ground for a two count. Impact fights back and hits Kong with a big knee to the face then a standing shooting star press for a two count. Kong regains control and chokes Impact on the middle rope. Impact begins to rally with jabs and punches on Kong but they have no effect on Kong. Johnny goes for a springboard maneuver but Kong catches him and tries toss him but Impact lands on his feet. Kong drives Johnny to the outside of the ring. Impact then goes for a running attack off the steel steps but is swatted midair. Kong then hits a rolling Denton to Impact up against the steps. The ref comes out to check on Impact but Kongo Kong tosses him into the steel barricade. Jacobs and Kong set up the steps on the ring apron and Kong launches him like a lawndart face first into the steps.

Winner: No Contest 

A video package showcasing a deeper look into Allie vs Su Yung for the Knockouts Championship this Sunday.

Video package showcasing a deeper look into the X-Division Championship match this Sunday.

A video package showcasing a deeper look into the Tag Team Championship match this Sunday.

Eli Drake is interviewed backstage by McKenzie Mitchell and Drake says he’s the only one to ever hold TWO briefcases and that he’s not down and out since losing the world title. Stiener shows up and says he will deliver the tag titles to Drake.

Impact Wrestling World Champion Austin Aries vs Pentagon Jr. vs Fenix (Non-Title):

Pentagon Jr. makes his way to the ring first followed by Fenix then the world champion Austin Aries. The match begins with a staredown and a game of one-upsmanship between the three men. Aries gets caught with a superkick from Fenix followed up by Pentagon Jr. hitting Fenix with a superkick of his own. Pentagon Jr. grabs Fenix with a wristlock and goes for a springboard maneuver but Fenix counters and sends Pentagon Jr. outside the ring. Austin comes back into the ring and takes it to Fenix hitting a diving elbow to the back of the neck from the corner to get a two count. Pentagon Jr. eventually finds his way back into the ring and takes it to both men. This match is fast pace as both Aries and Pentagon Jr. spill yo the outside and Fenix comes off the ropes with a springboard corkscrew.  Fenix bring Pentagon back in for a near fall. Fenix goes for a package piledriver on Pentagon back Aries breaks it up by boxing Fenix’s ears and tries to lock in the last chancery but Pentagon breaks it up with a kick to the chest. As we go to break Aries attempts a suplex from the top rope.

Back from break and Fenix hits a running elbow to Aries in the corner. Aries then attempts to lock inthe last chancery but Pentagon breaks it up. Pentagon and Fenix are known in some worlds as the Lucha Brothers and they hit a few double team maneuvers on Aries. Fenix and Pentagon Jr.  exchange chips to each other as they argue who should pin Aries. Aries comes back to break them up but eats a double superkicks and sends him out of the ring for the rest of the match.

Pentagon then hits a pop powerbomb for a two count then follows with the Pentagon Driver for the win.

Winner: Pentagon Jr. via pinfall


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Mitchell’s WWE NXT Report! (4/18/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Ricochet VS Fabian Aichner; Ricochet wins.
  • War Raiders VS The Metro Brothers; War Raiders win.
  • No Disqualifications: Lars Sullivan VS Killian Dain; Sullivan wins.
  • Candice LeRae VS Zelina Vega; Candice wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE and NXT dedicate tonight to Bruno Sammartino.

The Living Legend, the Italian Superman, and the longest reigning champion in WWE history, truly one of the greats will be remembered for all time.

 

Johnny Gargano returns to NXT!

Yes, Johnny Wrestling won his job back by defeating Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: New Orleans! And of course, he brings Mrs. Wrestling, Candice LeRae, with him. The two head to the ring together while fans chant for “Johnny Wrestling!” and “Welcome Back! Welcome Back!” Gargano grabs a mic to say, “Going into TakeOver: New Orleans, I dreamt of this moment.” And now that he’s here covered in goosebumps, he doesn’t have the words. “It’s just really good to be home.”

Gargano was defined by two words for too long, and those words were “Tommaso Ciampa”. His best friend broke his heart while costing him both NXT title and career. For the longest time, Gargano couldn’t even say his name. “But after 37 of the most intense minutes I have ever spent inside a professional wrestling ring”, Gargano stands here proudly, and he has his life back! Fans agree with that as they again chant, “Johnny Wrestling!” Gargano confirms, Johnny Wrestling is back in NXT.

Gargano admits these have been some of the toughest months in his life, but he loves the fans for shoving the Gargano emojis in Ciampa’s face while chanting his name. The fans chant again, and Gargano thanks each and every person in the NXT Universe that had his back. He also directs thanks to his wife, Candice. Fans chant for Candice, and she gets a bit bashful, as he knows this was as tough on her as it was on him. But Gargano would not have made it through without her. They hug, but then move on from the “mushy crap”. Gargano is back, and both Johnny and Candice Wrestling have some unfinished business.

Candice takes the mic herself, because tonight, she’s handling her business with Zelina Vega! And if Almas tries anything, Gargano will drop Almas like he’s Ciampa. Then, once they get past Almas & Vega, there’s still one more thing. There’s a NEW NXT Champion, “and you’re looking at his first challenger!” Gargano is ready to go for gold again, will he and Candice put their grudges behind them to start fresh?

 

SAnitY’s Killian Dain speaks.

“New Orleans. Lars Sullivan took something from me. He took my chance to write history.” But tonight, Big Damo will use No Disqualification to take everything from Lars! It won’t be Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe or Nikki Cross bring the chaos, but just Big Damo alone! Will the Leviathan survive the wrath of the Beast of Belfast?

 

Ricochet VS Fabian Aichner!

The #OneAndOnly was also part of TakeOver’s historic ladder match, but was also unsuccessful in winning NXT’s newest title. However, he is here now for his Full Sail in-ring debut to carve his path to the top! How will he fair against the man who wants to go to the #NXTLVL in his own right?

The bell rings and the two circle while fans chant for Ricochet. They tie up, Ricochet gets the waistlock then headlock. Aichner hits back and powers out but Ricochet rolls off his back, under the clothesline, then backwards to headscissor Aichner down. Ricochet kip-up and dropkicks Aichner and fans are fired up. Aichner chops Ricochet back, then whips him to a corner. Ricochet goes up and over then handsprings and jumps, but Aichner catches him into a fireman’s carry! Aichner tosses Ricochet up to bring him down into a gutbuster! Ricochet flounders from the big knee to stomach, but Aichner keeps on him with a mudhole stomp in the corner.

Aichner backs off at the ref’s count, but comes back to stand Ricochet up. Ricochet turns things around and gives back a sharp chop of his own! Ricochet chops again, then whips Aichner at the ropes. Aichner reverses the whip and catches Ricochet into a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! Cover, TWO, but Aichner keeps his cool. Aichner sits Ricochet up for a rear bearhug. Ricochet endures while fans rally. Ricochet stands up and fights out but Aichner rams a knee into Ricochet’s ribs. Aichner brings Ricochet up into bomb position, and shouts, “Next Level!” He lifts Ricochet but Ricochet slips out the back.

Ricochet rocks Aichner with a back elbow, then goes to boot, but Aichner blocks. Aichner retaliates with a hard European Uppercut, then whips Ricochet corner to corner. Ricochet manages to boot Aichner this time, then somersaults for a dropkick! Aichner goes down and fans fire up for Ricochet again. Ricochet drags himself up while Aichner stands. Ricochet blocks punches to give punches then rallies with forearms. He runs in at a corner for a big uppercut, then whips corner to corner. Aichner reverses but Ricochet dodges, corner 619 and springboard EuroUpper!

But Ricochet isn’t done there! He hits a standing shooting star, cover, TWO! Ricochet is surprised but keeps his cool. He goes to a corner and climbs up top. Aichner revives and trips Ricochet up, then climbs up to join him. Aichner tries but Ricochet resists the superplex. Ricochet fights Aichner off with body shots then a sharp uppercut. Ricochet adjusts, and hits the 630 senton!!

Cover, Ricochet wins!

Winner: Ricochet, by pinfall

The King of Speed wins his first 1v1 match in NXT! With speed, strength and style, can Ricochet reach the highest heights imaginable?

Ringside interview with Ricochet.

An incredible start to his NXT career, so how does it feel to get his first 1v1 win? It feels great, and fans agree. He likes hearing the chants, and he has watched a lot of today’s top stars in WWE make their start here at Full Sail. Stars like Bayley, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins to name a few, “but now it’s my turn.” Ricochet came to NXT to turn things up and make a name for himself. He will prove to everyone why there is #OneAndOnly Ricochet. The King of Speed is ready to be a star, who will he encounter on his path to the top?

 

Lars Sullivan speaks.

“Tonight, I get Killian Dain in a No Disqualification match.” Which means Lars gets to do whatever he wants to Dain. Whatever comes to mind will happen. Everyone will see exactly why Lars Sullivan is “a real-life Freak of Nature!” Will the Beast of Belfast be able to even leave Full Sail to make a main roster debut after tonight?

 

War Raiders VS The Metro Brothers!

Ray Rowe & “War Beard” Hanson made a riotous debut last week when they wrecked the match between Heavy Machinery and the Blue Chip Boys. They look to continue on that warpath tonight, do JC & Chris stand a chance?

Rowe starts against JC and the bell rings, Rowe immediately hits JC with shotgun knees!

Chris can’t believe what happened to his brother right before his eyes. He tags in and tries but Rowe throws him right down. Rowe drags Chris up, Hanson tags in, and the Raiders mug Chris with knees. Hanson gives another big knee, then drags Chris up. Chris chops back but hurts his hand! He runs but Hanson cartwheels and lariats Chris down! Hanson roars and the fans fire up. Tag to Rowe, and Hanson feeds Rowe for Rowe to toss Chris up for the pop-up powerslam, Thor’s Hammer! JC returns but Roew gives him Ace Ten Mao! Rowe tags Hanson in before dragging Chris up. Hanson climbs as Rowe lifts Chris, and War Raiders hit FALLOUT!

Hanson covers, Raiders win!

Winners: War Raiders (Rowe & Hanson), Hanson pinning

These bearded behemoths will not be stopped now that they’re in NXT, are the Undisputed Era’s days as tag team champions numbered?

 

Shayna Baszler speaks.

The new NXT Women’s Champion knows a meeting is going on and she’s late to it. But she doesn’t care, she plays by her own rules. Shayna walks into the locker room to interrupt that meeting, as well as Serena Deeb’s pep talk to the other women of the NXT roster. The Queen of Spades lets them all know she runs the locker room now, and makes it even clearer by ripping down Ember Moon’s locker label. Shayna uses a playing card for her label, and tells everyone that there’s no one who can stop the change. She suggests they either get in line or get out of the division. But when Dakota Kai wants to go out and refill her thermos, Shayna gets in her face. Bully Baszler reigns over NXT with an iron fist, who will rise up to lead a revolution?

 

NXT, meet NXT’s Finest.

“The Finest Smile, the Finest Jewelry, the Finest Hair.” He’s on his way back, so get ready, for The Finest Kona Reeves. Reinvented and returning, can Kona Reeves reignite his NXT career?

 

NXT & WWE Media caught up with Pete Dunne.

The reporters ask the British Bruiserweight about the betrayal suffered at TakeOver: New Orleans. Dunne promises to return in a few weeks, and will show us what he thinks of Roderick Strong the moment he gets his hansd on him. “I’m gonna rip his head off.” The WWE UK Champion kept it short but not so sweet, will he get sweet revenge on the Undisputed Era’s newest recruit?

 

No Disqualifications: Lars Sullivan VS Killian Dain!

King Kong VS Godzilla? All the destruction in Rampage the movie? None of that will compare to what’s about to happen between the Leviathan and the Beast of Belfast when there are no rules but to win! With SAnitY headed to SmackDown, will Big Damo’s good-bye match be a violent victory? Or a decimating defeat?

The bell rings and the fans chant, “Hoss Fight! Hoss Fight!” Damo and Lars step to each other, Damo being very vocal, then he suddenly headbutts Lars! Lars staggers but Damo keeps on him with forearms. Lars powers Damo to a corner and rams in a shoulder, but Damo hits back with another forearm. Damo keeps Lars on the ropes, then clotheslines him out of the ring. Lars stays on his feet, he drags Damo out to join him. They brawl at ringside and around corners, all the way to the ramp-side of the ring, with the referee following at a safe distance. Lars knees low and whips but Damo reverses to send Lars into steel steps! The referee checks on Lars and determines he’s okay to continue. Damo goes back into the ring, takes aim, and DIVES!

But Lars catches him, to then ram Damo into a post! Lars continues by suplexing Damo to the ground! It takes a bit out of both monsters, but Lars is first to stand up. He drags Damo up and into the ring, then rolls him over for clubbing crossface forearms! Lars throws hammering hand after hand into Damo’s face, but Damo still stirs. Lars deadlifts Damo up for a German Suplex! Damo rolls out of the ring and slumps to the floor. Lars exits the ring to climb up to the top! The Leviathan LEAPS for a lethal lariat!

The monsters crash and burn, and fans chant “NXT! NXT!” while the referee checks on them both. Both men are somehow okay to continue, though Lars has given Damo a bloody nose. Lars stands up first again, and he puts Damo back in the ring. Lars hops up again, for the monster diving headbutt! Cover, TWO! Lars grows frustrated, so he goes outside the ring to fetch something from underneath: a chair! Then another chair, and another chair. Fans want tables, but Lars settles for these. He picks up one chair, aims at Damo, and jams it into Damo’s ribs. Damo staggers into a corner and Lars goes after him, trying to press the chair into Damo’s head like a vice. Damo fights him off, but Lars runs corner to corner, only to run into Damo’s dropkick!

Both behemoths are down, but the fans rally for “Killian! Killian!” With blood dripping from his nose, Damo stands, followed by Lars. Damo throws a forearm, but Lars gives one back. The behemoths brawl, Damo gets the edge but dares Lars to give it back. Lars swings but Damo ducks under to then lift Lars up in a fireman’s carry. Slam and back senton, the Belfast Blitz! But Damo keeps moving, and climbs up the ropes for a Belfast Vader Bomb!

Cover, TWO! Frustration grows for Damo, he goes out to search for something under the ring. Fans want a table, so Damo gives them a table! Damo picks the table up and puts it in the ring. Lars stirs while Damo picks up a chair. Damo drives that chair into Lars’ back! Damo then takes the table and props it up in a corner. Lars crawls over, but Damo SMACKS him with that third chair. Damo brings him up and prepares to throw Lars at the table, but Lars fights back. Lars picks Damo up and drops him with a side slam! Lars grabs a chair and presses it into Damo’s chest, then goes to a corner. The Leviathan climbs up again, but Damo moves, and Lars falls on only the chair!

Damo fires himself up while Lars writhes and flounders, then lines up the shot. He waits for Lars to stand, then runs out, but Lars catches the Divide crossbody to turn it into a powerslam! Cover, ONE!? Lars is shocked! But he keeps going, bringing Damo up for a scoop. Damo slips out and bicycle boots Lars. Lars staggers and Damo goes back to the corner. Damo runs out again, and the Divide brings them both crashing through the table!

Fans chant “NXT! NXT!” while Damo rolls out of the wreckage, leaving Lars amidst the debris. Damo isn’t done, he picks up a chair while the referee digs Lars out. Damo puts the chair on Lars’ chest before stomping a mudhole into him! He then wedges it in front of Lars’ face, and fans anticipate what’s coming. Damo goes to the adjacent corner and climbs up to the top. But Lars revives and goes after Damo with a chair, only for Damo to punch that chair into Lars’ face! Lars staggers around again and Damo adjusts. Damo leaps but Lars thrusts the chair into his ribs! Then Lars SMACKS Damo across the back! Lars stacks chairs and drags Damo up, for a FREAK ACCIDENT!

Cover, Lars wins!

Winner: Lars, by pinfall

Destructive and dominant, the Leviathan beats the Beast of Belfast! Lars made Damo bleed and he made him fall before Damo leaves for SmackDown. Now that Lars is THE Monster of NXT, is there any hope of stopping him?

 

NXT looks back on the grudge between Andrade Almas, Zelina Vega, and Mr. & Mrs. Wrestling.

Johnny Gargano thought 2018 was going to be his year after his wife joined him at Full Sail and the Performance Center. He was so proud to have his favorite wrestler finally make it “where she rightfully belongs” after years of hard work. However, we know things didn’t go Gargano’s way, as Zelina Vega would interfere during his matches with El Idolo. Candice LeRae would get her own shots in on Vega, but in the end, Almas would go 4-0 against Johnny Wrestling. Gargano’s grudge with Tommaso Ciampa aside, Mrs. Wrestling “is just getting started” with La Gerente. They settle things here tonight, will Candice finish it with a win or a loss?

 

The Undisputed Era arrives for their photo shoot.

While Bobby Fish is out with his ACL injury, Roderick Strong steps up to be one of the NXT Tag Team Champions. Adam Cole has his own belt now that he’s the inaugural NXT North American Champion, so one thing that is undisputed, is that the Undisputed Era is golden. Will Cole, Fish, O’Reilly and Strong continue to #ShockTheSystem and gather up championships?

 

Candice LeRae VS Zelina Vega!

Finally, after a handful of fights that accompanied other superstars’ matches, Mrs. Wrestling and La Gerente del Idolo will fight in their own match! Vega will join Andrade Almas in joining SmackDown, will her good-bye match go her way? Or will karma catch up to her for all she did to Johnny and Candice?

The fans are on the side of “Candice Wrestling” even before the bell. Zelina talks trash at the bell and shoves Candice, so Candice shoves back! Zelina runs but Candice blocks her kick. Candice reels Zelina in for a pendulum gutbuster! Candice then goes to the top rope already, but Almas appears out from the crowd!

Almas’ distraction repays Zelina for all of hers as Zelina throws Candice to the mat by her hair! Candice flounders while Almas grins and applauds Zelina. But as he promised at the start, Gargano appears! Zelina throws Candice out right as Gargano approaches, so Mr. Wrestling checks on Mrs. Wrestling first.

Zelina hops out of the ring to taunt Gargano while she bounces Candice off the apron. Almas applauds while Zelina puts Candice in the ring and covers, TWO. Zelina keeps on Candice with a dragon sleeper, but Gargano and the fans rally. Candice fights up and backs Zelina into a corner and buckles. Candice breaks free but runs into buckles as Zelina side-steps. Zelina jump kicks Candice down, then a la Almas, she runs in for Cien Knees!

Cover, TWO! Gargano applauds but Zelina and Almas are frustrated. Zelina brings Candice up for another page from Almas’ book, but Candice counters the hammerlock DDT into a small package! TWO, and Zelina swings on Candice, but Candice blocks and counters. Candice chops and haymakers Zelina into a corner then fast and furious! The referee backs Candice off but Candice runs in for the back elbow. She lets Zelina fall to then climb up, for the missile dropkick! Cover, TWO! Candice keeps her cool as Gargano and teh fans rally. Zelina throws a forearm then whips, but Candice ducks to tilt-o-whirl Zelina into a takedown! Candice borrows something from Johnny, it’s the GargaNO Escape! Almas runs into the ring, but Gargano intercepts, and now it’s double GargaNO Escapes!!

Zelina taps, Candice wins!

Winner: Candice, by submission

A triumphant return for Mr. Wrestling and a triumphant debut for Mrs. Wrestling, Johnny & Candice are here to stay! They send Almas & Vega packing with that loss, will El Idolo & La Gerente be able to move past it with their fresh start on SmackDown?

Gargano speaks.

“First of all, that was awesome!” Fans agree, “That was Awesome!” Second of all, Gargano says that with Almas & Vega taken care of once and for all, “Aleister Black, I am challenging you!” Gargano wants Aleister and the NXT Championship! Speak of the devil, the Embodiment of the End appears.

Aleister stands on stage with the title in one hand and a microphone in the other. Gargano is excited but Candice is a bit worried. Aleister speaks, “You want it? Then next week, you shall have it.” An NXT Championship match, already!? The Dutch Destroyer and Johnny Wrestling are already going 1v1 over the title! Will Gargano achieve his dream so soon after being hired back? Or will he simply #FadeToBlack?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A solid episode here tonight. After knowing who is going and who is staying from this recent round of call-ups, this was a great way to shift things to fit the new landscape. Gargano even frames it as much as he promotes Candice VS Zelina for the first time ever as the last time, too. Ricochet and Aichner have a great opening match, and I personally feel a competitive match was better for Ricochet to showcase himself than squashing a jobber. On the other hand, War Raiders squashing the Metro Brothers was actually pretty fun. With SAnitY and Authors of Pain both out, Hanson & Rowe will move right in as the powerhouse team. The Undisputed Era is riding high, but with Pete Dunne preparing his revenge and the War Raiders easily a choice for contenders, they’ve got their hands full.

Shayna Baszler continues great character work, setting the new ground rules for her vision of the NXT Women’s Division. Something to note is that Nikki Cross is not yet included in SAnitY’s call-up, perhaps she will hang back long enough to challenge Shayna for the title. Meanwhile, it is interesting to see Kona Reeves gets a repackaging as a new superficial and narcissist character. I’m just not sure that’ll be enough to get him going, though. Damo VS Lars was great, and with Damo on his way out, it makes sense for Lars to win. Candice VS Zelina felt like it could have used more time, the spots that happened all felt rushed. But even so, great to see side-by-side submissions as Candice gets her first victory in NXT. And what a great closing moment! Aleister VS Gargano 1v1 will be another instant classic, no matter who wins.

My Score: 8/10


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