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AJPW Champion Carnival Ratings & B Block Results: Part 1

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So the Champion Carnival just had to start during the busiest weekend in professional wrestling. I can’t completely complain since it is on it’s own time schedule, so it doesn’t interfere, just adds to the excitement of the week. Full disclosure, this will be the first Carnival I follow live since it is the first year they have a streaming service and I don’t live in Japan.

In case you’re reading this and you didn’t see the previous article with The Chairshot picks, this article is specifically B Block. If you want A Block, look up Mathew Sarpraicone article. Much easier to cut this tournament in half, cause sleep is a nice thing. Now let’s see what the first few B Block matches gave us.

 

B-Block Matches:

 

Jun Akiyama vs Dylan James (April 7th)

Both of these men are halves of two different tag team championships. Jun the crafty vet and Dylan the returning gaijin.

Now this is a type of match All Japan likes to do on occasion, and by that I mean a sub 5 minute match, that is still pretty damn entertaining. We saw both men get in a good bit of their offense, so it seemed to be a balanced affair. James looked like he was going to pick up the win, with a Chokeslam, but Akiyama counters that into a cradle that barely gets the 3 count.

Winner: Akiyama wins via countering a Chokeslam into a cradle.

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Zeus vs Suwama (April 7th)

Zeus comes in with his entire left thigh wrapped in tape after Miyahara did some damage in a previous tag match. Suwama doesn’t look nearly as banged up, so the former Ace trying to regain his prominence should be interesting.

This match really showcased Zeus’ selling ability. As Suwama stepped on the wrapped thigh, or worked him over in the corner, Zeus looked like he was in such pain. Aside from feeling bad for him, you get to watch him slowly fight back and builds nice sympathy in the match.

Zeus is an up and coming wrestler who seems to be about a half step away from being a real force. Suwama hits a Last Ride powerbomb, and Zeus kicks out. Powering through his injuries and working from underneath all match, you see Zeus pick up the win, with his Jackhammer.

Winner: Zeus wins via pinfall after Jackhammer

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Zeus vs Yoshitatsu (April 8th)

Hey Hey! We get to hear Zeus’ theme song this time (rights issues make themes inconsistent). His theme is pretty fantastic, and Yoshitatsu makes his Carnival debut.

Zeus still has the obvious target on his thigh, and this was really a solid match that helps showcase Yoshitatsu. This venue is basically a high school gym, and there’s no commentary on the feed, which makes viewing a little odd. It’s nice to not get distracted, but hearing all of the little odd things some wrestlers do, is off putting (Zeus has this gruff chuckle he does while he’s on top during the match).

Like I already said, solid showing from both men, Yoshi has been slowly establishing himself as less of a joke. Even though Yoshitatsu has a speed advantage, Zeus rarely seems like he loses control of this match. So it’s not a complete surprise when Zeus wins.

Winner: Zeus win via pinfall after Jackhammer

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Suwama vs KAI (April 8th)

Suwama coming off a loss, puts him in a spot where he can’t afford to drop matches against the opponents he’s expected to beat. KAI however gets his first match of the Carnival, he’s a freelancer who hasn’t had much heavyweight luck in All Japan.

We get a decent match match here. KAI shows that he’s not to far behind the former Ace in ability, but since Suwama lost his first match, this felt a little obvious. Nothing was completely terrible, but given the preceding matches, as well as Miyahara’s match for A block headlining the show…we didn’t get a classic. Suwama wins with his Last Ride powerbomb to finally get on the board.

Winner: Suwama via Pinfall

Rating: ** 1/2

 

Current B-Block Standings:

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

Now my pick to win B Block is Naomichi Marufuji, who’s been involved in Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Global Tag League. Officially, his team finished 1 point outside of making the finals, so he’ll finally get a day here or there to breathe. The late start will either give him an advantage, or he’ll be exhausted from the Global Tag League.

Should be interesting to see how the standings start to shake out once everyone gets moving.


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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; Takahashi wins.
  • ROH World Tag Team Championship Contenders Gauntlet: The Young Bucks win 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.

ROH returns as Kaz chokes Hiromu against the ropes. The referee counts and Kaz backs off, but then slingshots over to give Hiromu an uppercut. Kaz taunts the fans before returning to the ring. He drags Hiromu up but Hiromu fires off chops. Kaz knees low then suplexes Hiromu up, but Hiromu slips out and lands on the apron. Hiromu punches Kaz a couple times, then shoulders in, but Kaz hits him with a guillotine leg drop! Hiromu hangs from the ropes, so Kaz springboards to give him another guillotine leg drop!

Cover, TWO, but Kaz keeps his cool. He talks trash and toys with Hiromu before bringing him up for a back suplex to backbreaker! Hiromu writhes again, but Kaz toys with him more. Kaz brings Hiromu up again for haymakers, then whips him corner to corner. Hiromu boots Kaz back then runs, but into Kaz’s kick. Kaz runs, but Hiromu follows to rally with forearms and elbows. Hiromu kicks, kicks and kicks Kaz down, then covers, TWO! The fans rally for Hiromu and Hiromu fires up. He whips and reels Kaz in, but Kaz dodges the lariat. Hiromu gets him with a back elbow instead, then runs, dodging Kaz to throw him with a huricanrana!

Kaz gets to a corner and Hiromu hits him with a clothesline. Hiromu rolls Kaz out then runs for a low dropkick. Kaz rolls out of the ring but Hiromu gets to the apron. Hiromu runs for the leaping dropkick! Down goes Kaz and Hiromu fires up! Hiromu drags Kaz up and into the ring, cover, TWO. Kaz slowly stands but Hiromu shouts “Timebomb!” Hiromu lifts Kaz in a fireman’s carry, but Kaz fights his way off. Kaz gets the waistlock but Hiromu bucks him off. Kaz runs back in but Hiromu puts him on the apron. Hiromu swings but Kaz ducks and shoulders back in. Kaz slingshots in for the DDT! Cover, TWO!

The fans chant for Hiromu, but Kaz drags him up and whips. Hiromu reverses and runs in, but Kaz slips out to the apron and hotshots Hiromu back! Kaz climbs up to springboard but Hiromu ducks under. Hiromu runs at him but Kaz puts him back on the apron. Hiromu slingshots in, but Kaz gets him with a cutter!

Cover, TWO! Kaz can’t belive it, and gets mad at the referee. Hiromu stirs while Kaz pushes the referee, and the referee pushes back and Hiromu rolls Kaz up! TWO, but Hiromu is right on Kaz with haymakers. Hiromu whips Kaz corner to corner but Kaz boots him down. Cover but Kaz puts his feet on the ropes, TWO! Kaz really can’t believe that, but he drags Hiromu up by his hair. He slaps Hiromu, then goes to run but Hiromu rolls him up again! TWO, into small package, TWO! Kaz swings but Hiromu ducks, SUPERKICK! Hiromu runs and takes Kaz off his feet with a fiery lariat! Fans fire up while Kaz staggers. Hiromu lifts him into the fireman’s carry, then swings him out for the Timebomb driver!

Cover, Hiromu wins!

Winner: Takahashi, by pinfall

The Timebomb shows the Heavy Metal Rebel that he’s more than just eccentric. With wins like this, can Hiromu find himself in contention for a singles title in ROH?

 

The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas are attacking Team Coast 2 Coast!

Specifically, the Keg Man and the Kingpin are clubbing and clobbering Leon St. Giovanni! Bruiser stands LSG up against a wall to then flatten him with a body splash, then keeps him up so Milonas can do the same! They leave LSG writhing on the ground, having eliminated one team even before tonight’s Tag Team Gauntlet. Will the other teams be able to win once the bullying behemoths enter the match?

 

Caprice Coleman joins commentary.

The Most Versatile Man in Sports Today joins Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana to watch this massive tag team main event!

 

ROH World Tag Team Championship Contenders Gauntlet!

And speaking of massive, the first team out is literally the biggest team in all of ROH, Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas!

Normally being first out in such a match is a disadvantage, but this duo doesn’t seem bothered by it at all. They used the Human Rocket, Leon St. Giovanni, as an appetizer, will they feast on the other five- Well, four teams? But wait, Shaheem Ali still comes out for Team Coast 2 Coast!

He also has a microphone in hand. Ali looks at Bruiser & Milonas, and tells them, “You two think it’s a joke.” He saw what they did, jumping LSG backstage before this match, and they just assume Ali is going to back out. “You gotta be out your mind.” But he knows The Bruiser & Milonas only took Team C2C out because they’re scared! Ali isn’t afraid, he’ll take them both on! This Tag Team Gauntlet is starting out as a handicap!? That suits the big boys just fine, they exit the ring to flank Ali. Ali slips into the ring, the bell rings, and it begins!

The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS Shaheem Ali!

Bruiser pursues Ali but Ali punches him away. Bruiser tumbles into Milonas, and Ali builds speed and FLIES!

Ali wipes Bruiser out but Milonas gets into the ring. Ali hops up and shoulders into the Kingpin, then slingshots over to run. He jumps but Milonas catches the crossbody, but Ali fights out with elbows. Fans rally with the endless elbows Ali gives Milonas, and Milonas falls back on his butt! Ali fires up and runs, and basement dropkick from the side. Milonas flounders but Bruiser is back. Ali sees him coming and counters with a low spinning backhand. Ali uppercuts and has both big men in the corners. He runs in but only gets Milonas as Bruiser gets clear. Bruiser runs at Ali but Ali gets around to a waistlock. Bruiser gets the standing switch and feeds Ali to Milonas’ boot. Ali staggers, and is sandwiched by Bruiser & Milonas! Ali flops to the mat, and Bruiser finally stands in his team’s corner.

Milonas brings Ali up and whips him hard corner to corner, then brings Ali back over for the first actual tag of this match. Bruiser comes in and throws haymakers, then tags Milonas back in. Bruiser whips Ali to a corner but Ali boots him back. Ali runs out but Bruiser back drops him onto Milonas’ shoulder, and Milonas brings Ali up for a sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO, and neither Bruiser nor Milonas can believe it. Milonas argues with the ref but then goes back to stomp Ali at the ropes. Without a partner, Ali is all alone while we go to break.

ROH returns to Ali fighting back but being kept down in Bruiser’s & Milonas’ corner. Milonas runs in but Ali dodges and kicks back. Bruiser tags in but Ali sees him coming. Ali gives him forearms and elbows, then a leaping heel kick. Milonas comes back but Ali rocks him with a headbutt! Milonas staggers back and sits down in a corner but Bruiser gets up and runs at Ali. Ali baits him into another corner, and Bruiser bounces off buckles, then Ali adds a complete shot! Cover, TWO! Ali keeps going, climbing up top, but Milonas clubs him with a forearm. Milonas climbs up to join Ali while Bruiser climbs up another corner. Milonas SUPERPLEXES Ali, Bruiser FROG SPLASHES! The Last Call combination!

Cover, three count, Bruiser & Milonas eliminate Ali.

Elimination: Coast 2 Coast

They took out LSG before the match and finish up by taking out Ali here. The next team up in the Gauntlet is… “OH! HELL! YEAH!!” It’s Big Rhett & Little Willie!

The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS The Dawgs!

They may not have gotten anything for the 16th Anniversary Show, given how wasted they were, but Bruiser & Milonas are “two guys just as drunk as us!” Why have a match when they can have a beer? The Dawgs offer a drink to Bruiser & Milonas, and the big beer belly boys accept. They also down those drinks in about two seconds and then throw hands on The Dawgs! Bruiser & Milonas whip Ferrara & Rhett, respectively, but The Dawgs dodge the haymakers to spit beer in their faces! Rhett knocks Bruiser’s & Milonas’ heads together, then so does Ferrara. Then Rhett knocks Milonas’ & Ferrara’s heads together. Milonas stays standing, and runs at The Dawgs, but the Dawgs dump Milonas out. The Dawgs shove each other, then Rhett launches Ferrara at Bruiser. Bruiser catches Ferrara easily, but Rhett dropkicks Bruiser in the face! Cover, ONE, and things sort out to the teams’ corners.

Rhett tags Ferrara in, and The Dawgs cross Bruiser’s arms before whipping him backwards into buckles. Ferrara wants to whip Rhett in, but Rhett stops that. Rhett slaps some sense into Ferrara before whipping Ferrara in for the shoulder tackle. Ferrara runs at Rhett but Rhett redirects him in for another shoulder tackle. Ferrara wants to try again, Rhett spins him around an extra time, but Bruiser gets out of the way, sending Ferrara into buckles! Bruiser rocks Rhett with a right but Ferrara boots Bruiser. Rhett rocks Bruiser back while Ferrara hops up, Ferrara leaps for a flying huricanrana!

However, it sends Bruiser all the way to his corner and Milonas tags in. Ferrara doesn’t know that and Bruiser yanks him into buckles. Milonas steps up to Ferrara and gives him repeated hip attacks! He tags Bruiser back in, Bruiser knocks Rhett off the apron before giving Ferrara the cannonball!

Cover, TWO! Fans chant for “Little Willie”, and he starts slapping Bruiser. But Bruiser only has to slap Willie once to knock him down. Ferrara keeps trying but Bruiser chops him back into the corner. Milonas tags in and stomps Ferrara. Milonas brings Ferrara up and taunts Rhett before throwing Ferrara overhead! The Dawgs are in trouble while we go to break.

ROH returns to fans rallying for Ferrara. Milonas toys with him, so Ferrara bites Milonas’ fingers! Ferrara then crawls under, but Milonas brings him up. Ferrara sunset flips over, but there’s no way Little Willie can bring down Mastadon Milonas. Milonas jumps but Ferrara gets clear of his rear, hot tag to Rhett! Big Rhett rallies, big forearm to Bruiser and big enziguri to Milonas. Rhett gets around and knees Milonas low, then runs to boot him high. Milonas stays standing so Rhett unloads haymakers and chops. Milonas shoves but Rhett dodges to rock him with another right. Bruiser returns as Rhett runs again, and rocks Rhett with a right of his own! Bruiser whips Rhett corner to corner but Rhett goes up and over to then monkey flip Bruiser! Ferrara returns to leap from the apron, and tornado DDT Bruiser to the ground!

Fans fire up for The Dawgs as Milonas stands up. Milonas runs at Rhett but misses, Ferrara runs in to hit Milonas with a big back elbow. Rhett runs in to add on a helluva kick. Ferrara becomes the step stool, for Rhett’s bicycle kick to table top Milonas down! The Dawgs fire up while Milonas stirs. Rhett tags in Ferrara and Ferrara climbs while Rhett fetches Milonas. But Rhett can’t suplex Milonas up for the finisher! Milonas back drops Rhett then rocks Ferrara. Milonas climbs up to join him, SUPERPLEX! He covers while Bruiser keeps Rhett away, three count, Bruiser & Milonas eliminate The Dawgs.

Elimination: The Dawgs

That’s two teams in a row for ROH’s biggest tag team, and we’re now halfway through this gauntlet. But there’s no rest for the wicked, out come… The Motor City Machine Guns!

The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS The Motor City Machine Guns!

And the former ROH World Tag Team Champions bring the fight to the exhausted hosses!

Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley throw hands on Bruiser & Milonas, but Milonas knocks Shelley down with one body shot. Sabin runs but Bruiser follows, to then flatten Sabin with a crossbody! Milonas adds the spinning back senton! Shelley stands up but Milonas is right on him. Milonas picks Shelley up and Bruiser runs in for a dropkick-started sidewalk slam! The MCMG are down while Bruiser & Milonas somehow have energy to spare. Milonas gets Sabin with those hip attacks, then Bruiser runs in, but Sabin dodges the cannonball! Milonas sees that and runs at Sabin, but Sabin dumps him out. Shelley returns and Bruiser goes after both MCMG, but then he runs into a drop toehold. Bruiser stays standing just on sturdiness, so Sabin runs to give him a bulldog! Then they hit Bruiser with double basement dropkicks.

The fans fire up while MCMG aim at Milonas. Shelley slingshots out, but Milonas catches him. Milonas puts Shelley on his shoulders but Sabin gets to the apron. Sabin gives Milonas a Penalty Kick, but then Bruiser rocks Sabin with a right hand! Bruiser goes out to the apron while Milonas holds the MCMG. Bruiser gets moving, but the MCMG get clear, that cannonball goes into Milonas!

The big men go down and MCMG take aim again. Bruiser stands up, but gets double SUPERKICKS! He still stands so they put him in the ring. Sabin puts Bruiser in a corner, and the MCMG give him the boot-kick combo. Shelley climbs while Sabin turns Bruiser around, for Skull & Bones!

Cover, MCMG eliminate Bruiser & Milonas!

Elimination: Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas

The former ROH World Tag Team Champions are the ones to finally eliminate the behemoth bullies, but now they’ll face… Matt & Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks!

The penultimate match-up is of two former ROH World Tag Team Champions! Fans erupt with excitement while we go to break.

The Motor City Machine Guns VS The Young Bucks!

ROH returns and these two teams are face to face in the ring with streamers everywhere. The ring is cleared while the fans start up the Terminator drums. Both teams are very familiar with each other, so they skip the formalities and go right to brawling! All four men throw hands fast and furious, and the Bucks get MCMG in opposite corners. The Bucks whip Sabin & Shelley at each other, but MCMG do-si-do and run back at the Bucks. The Bucks dodge but so do the MCMG, and back again, it’s the Bucks who get the double corner clotheslines! Fans applaud while the Bucks high-five, and then the fans chant “The! Elite! The the Elite!” as Matt helps Nick acrobatically crossbody onto Shelley.

Sabin runs at the Bucks but gets double kicks for it. Nick sweeps the legs while Matt runs and comes in with the basement dropkick. Matt’s back bothers him, though, he still hasn’t been able to let his body recover. But that doesn’t matter right now, he whips Nick at Shelly in a corner. Shelley boots Nick back, then boots Matt. Nick tries again but gets caught, Sabin returns and Shelley helps him to the apron. Shelley gives Nick a buckle complete shot, then Sabin climbs up to hit Matt with a missile dropkick. Fans are mixed over cheering and jeering the MCMG. Shelley keeps Nick in a corner while Sabin whips Matt in, Shelley drop toeholds Matt into Nick’s groin! Then Shelley’s boot grinds Matt’s head deeper in! Shelley even blows snot on the Bucks to add insult to injury.

Sabin drags Matt up and hoists him onto Nick’s shoulders for a Tree of Woe. Both Bucks are stuck in the corner, both MCMG run in, Sabin boots Nick while Shelley basement dropkicks Matt!

The Bucks tumble down, Nick slumping all the way out of the ring. Shelley puts some stank on his right hand, then brings Matt over to Sabin for the tag. Shelley swings on Nick but Nick hits him first. Sabin uses Shelley as a step stool to dropkick Nick down before he can enter. Matt revives and throws hands on the MCMG! Matt runs but into the Dream Sequence: atomic drop to dropkick to half-Muda and another dropkick! Fans are fired up, Sabin covers, TWO! Sabin keeps on Matt with a chinlock, but Nick rallies the fans. Matt feeds off that energy and fights his way out. Matt runs but Shelley trips him up. Shelley drags Matt out of the ring, but Matt SUPERKICKS him away!

Matt gets up and shoulders into Sabin, then slides under. Sabin goes after Matt, Matt standing switches but Sabin elbows Matt away to then elbow Nick down. Matt dodges Sabin and wheelbarrow, victory roll facebuster! Nick returns to his corner and Matt crawls that way, but Shelley goes after Nick! He yanks Nick off the apron, but gets a SUPERKICK like earlier! Nick gets back up, Matt gets the hot tag! Sabin runs at Nick but Nick shoulders in, then slingshots over for the facebuster.

Nick cartwheels to asai moonsault Shelley down, then runs back in to give Sabin a corner shining wizard. He keeps moving, and DIVES on Shelley. Matt is back and grabs Sabin, Nick helps him out with the Sliced Break, Sabin’s move! Nick adds another shining wizard, then both go out to Shelley to give him double SUPERKICKS! The Bucks have the fans all fired up, “The! Elite! The the Elite!” Nick tags in Matt and Matt drags Sabin up. Nick waits on the apron, but between Matt’s bad back and Sabin’s flailing, Sabin slips out to a facelock. Sabin tries to use Nick for the tornado DDT but Nick ducks, to then SUPERKICK Sabin off Matt. Matt SPEARS Sabin, and the Bucks combine for the springboard splash and standing moonsault combo!

Cover, TWO! The Bucks are surprised, but they don’t slow down. Nick rallies the fans again, and the two double whip Sabin. Sabin reverses but Matt goes up and over. Sabin blocks Nick’s kick and sends it at Matt, but Matt dodges, only for Sabin to SUPERKICK Matt! Nick SUPERKICKS Sabin back, then rushes at the returning Shelley. Shelley puts him on the apron and knocks him off with an elbow. Matt runs in but into Shelley’s cravat. Shelley runs for Sliced Bread, but Matt catches him into Tombstone position!

Nick hurries to the apron but Sabin quickly anchors his feet. Shelley slips out of the Tombstone but Matt gets him in the fireman’s carry! Nick kicks Sabin away then climbs up, More Bang for Your- No! Shelley’s knees catch Nick’s 450! And then Matt’s moonsault is tripped up by Sabin’s SUPER German Suplex! The fans fire up as Sabin and Shelley hurry to bring Matt up. MCMG want the same finish, but Nick trips Shelley up. Matt backslides Sabin, three count! The Bucks eliminate MCMG!

Elimination: Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)

One team of former ROH World Tag Team Champions advance while the other is gone! We know who the last team left is, but we go to break before their introductions.

The Young Bucks VS The Kingdom!

ROH returns, and yes, it is TK O’Ryan & Vinnie Marseglia who were lucky last place in this Gauntlet. The Sassy Wild Horse & Horror King made their way out while ROH was on commercial break, but they’re already in control of Matt Jackson. Replay shows it was thanks to Matt Taven distracting the Bucks while TK & Vinnie entered from the crowd and attacked from behind.

In the present, someone tosses in a chair? It’s Nick Jackson, of course, but the referee isn’t going to allow this match to get extreme. However, this does give the Kingdom an opening to stomp and choke Matt behind the referee’s back. Vinnie tags in and chokes Matt against the ropes, then bends him backwards. The referee counts and Vinnie lets go at 4, but TK gives Matt a cheap shot boot. Nick rallies the fans and TK mocks it all while Vinnie clubs Matt in the back. Vinnie trash talks Matt, then clubs him more before standing on that bad back. He bends Matt back then throws him down before giving Nick a cheap shot. Matt runs in but Vinnie knees him away. Vinnie runs and tilt-o-whirls, but Matt denies the leg sweep. Vinnie rolls Matt forward instead, then bends him back with a chinlock.

TK talks trash to the fans while Vinnie drives in knees to Matt’s spine. Fans chant for “The! Elite! The the Elite!” but Vinnie tags TK in. TK turns Matt around to drive in forearms, then tags in Vinnie. Vinnie runs side to side for the forearm smash, then another, then throws Matt into the corner, but Matt uses that to knock TK down! Vinnie still gives Matt another forearm, then hoists Matt up top. Nick rallies the fans again while Vinnie climbs up. Matt fights back, but TK has crawled under the ring, all the way to the Bucks’ corner. Matt fires off hands and sends Vinnie down, then adjusts to hit the Macho Elbow! He can’t cover, so he crawls for his corner instead. TK lurks and trips Nick up just as Matt leaps over!

The Sassy Wild Horse mockingnly reaches to tag Matt, but mocks the fans a little too long, Matt SUPERKICKS TK down! Vinnie stands up and runs in, but into Matt’s boots. Matt hops up, and gives Vinnie a corkscrew stunner! Nick returns and Matt fires himself up. Matt crawls, as does Vinnie, hot tags to TK and Nick! Nick rallies on The Kingdom with kicks and elbows, then a Shining Wizard into the bulldog and clothesline! Fans fire up while The Kingdom regroup. Nick sees them, runs, and JUMPS!

He takes The Kingdom down, then puts TK back into the ring. Nick climbs up and takes aim, but TK rolls out of the ring. Nick hops down, and decides to go out to the apron, where he roundhouses TK! But that’s not all, he gives TK an apron German suplex! Nick puts TK back in the ring and fires up, but Vinnie grabs his feet. Nick stomps on Vinnie’s hands then hits the tornado DDT to the floor! He keeps going, shoulders in on TK and slingshots over for the sunset flip and Cease Sharpshooter!

TK endures the hold, Vinnie comes in and throws furious right hands. But Nick holds on! He glares Vinnie down, so Vinnie goes and gets his hatchet! The referee stops him from using the weapon, and even confiscates it. However, that still leaves the baseball bat! Vinnie jabs Nick in the ribs with the slugger, and TK rolls Nick up, TWO!? The screw job didn’t work! TK wants his bat and Vinnie tosses it to him, but Nick ducks the swing to tag in Matt! Matt rallies on the Kingdom with right hands back and forth between Vinnie & TK. TK clubs Matt in the back and that stops that. The Kingdom double whip Matt but Matt breaks the line to double clothesline them down!

Matt is all fired up but still very stiff. He goes to lift TK but that back limits him. The fans rally for him, but Matt still can’t get TK all the way up. When Matt finally does, Vinnie chop blocks his legs out! The Kingdom drag Matt up and throw him out. TK drags Nick in to watch Vinnie pull pads off the floor! But Vinnie takes too long enjoying the moment, because Nick breaks free and SUPERKICKS TK! Nick then goes to the apron and Penalty Kicks Vinnie down. Nick puts Matt back in the ring and the fans chant “Young Bucks! Young Bucks!” Matt goes after TK, but that bad back slows him down again. Nick helps Matt with the Tombstone scoop then hurries back to the apron. Nick springboards, Five Star Meltzer Driver!!

Cover, The Young Bucks win!!

Winners: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Matt pinning

The Bucks are victorious! They overcome the Horror King & Sassy Wild Horse to earn themselves an ROH World Tag Team Championship match! They will challenge #DemBoyz, Jay & Mark Briscoe, in the near future. Will the Bucks end the Briscoe’s historic ninth title reign to begin their fourth? Or will the Briscoes continue to prevail in their war of Sandy Fork VS Everybody?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A really great night of action for ROH, even with just two matches and nothing else. The opening match of Kaz and Hiromu was great, even though I’m surprised it took this long for them to do something with that story. “Kamaitachi” leaving The Addiction was a long time ago, but I suppose with Hiromu hitting it so big upon returning to NJPW, there just wasn’t room in his schedule for a blow-off with either Kaz or Daniels. Hiromu going over here is great for his ROH career, and I think it’d be great if he got at least an ROH World Television Championship run within the next few months.

Then the Tag Team Gauntlet was of course incredible. It elevated all the regularly featured teams within the division, and not just for their in-ring abilities. Bruiser & Milonas are rising as a Heel team, and showed their endurance. Shaheem Ali showed grit as he toughed it out in a handicap against those two, while the Dawgs even established themselves as favorable Tweeners compared to Bruiser & Milonas. The MCMG VS Bucks was great as always, but The Kingdom are still top Heels in ROH with that sneak attack. I was surprised Taven didn’t stick around to interfere, but that’s been overdone so it actually turned out better that he didn’t. The Bucks go over in the end because they’re The Young Bucks, the best tag team across multiple promotions. Plus, now that they’re going Heavyweight in NJPW, they and The Briscoes could end up feuding over both ROH & NJPW belts.

My Score: 8.5/10


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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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