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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: New Japan Cup 2018 Semifinals!

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AXS TV’s coverage of the 2018 New Japan Cup continues! Juice Robinson will take on Hiroshi Tanahashi while Zack Sabre Jr. takes on Sanada. Will The Ace of NJPW continue his triumphant return from injury over the Flamboyant up and comer? Will it be the Cold Skull or the Technical Wizard who will #JustTapOut?

 

This review of The New Japan Cup 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Juice Robinson VS Hiroshi Tanahashi; Tanahashi wins and advances to the finals.
  • Zack Sabre Jr. VS Sanada; ZSJ wins and advances to the finals.

PLAY BY PLAY

AXS TV and NJPW review the action to this point.

Juice Robinson upsets Unbreakable Big Mike while the Once in a Century Talent survives Bullet Club’s Underboss. Meanwhile, Sanada silenced the Sublime Master Thief, and ZJS did as Taka Michinoku said: he made Kota Ibushi #JustTapOut. They are the final four, who will overcome who in order to fight for THE New Japan Cup’s title shot opportunity?

 

Juice Robinson VS Hiroshi Tanahashi!

It’s Taguchi Japan VS Taguchi Japan as young and old battle to take that last step to the finals. Will The Flamboyant or the Ace be the first to qualify for the coveted title opportunity?

We cut to both Juice and Tanahashi down on the ground outside the ring. Juice drags himself up to his feet with the help of barriers. He rallies the fans while he goes over to Tanahashi. Juice puts Tanahashi in the ring at the count of 9, then fires up before climbing to the top rope. Juice takes aim, but Tanahashi hits the ropes to trip him up! Tanahashi catches his breath under the bottom rope while Juice tumbles down to the mat. Now Tanahashi climbs, but Juice returns the favor, barreling into Red Shoes and the ropes to trip Tanahashi up! Tanahashi tumbles down now, and fans rally while they recover from crotch damage. They stir while Red Shoes checks on them. Tanahashi stands, followed by Juice.

Tanahashi throws a forearm, but Juice shakes it off to give one back. They trade more forearms, each daring the other to hit harder. The pace quickens as they continue back and forth. Tanahashi adds a European Uppercut, but Juice gives a chop! Tanahashi teeters so Juice chops him again. Juice gives a third, then fireman’s carry, but Tanahashi blocks the gutbuster to go after the leg! Grounded dragon screw! Fans rally for Tanahashi as he goes after the legs again. Juice crawls to ropes and gets the break. Tanahashi lets go, but then stomps the legs. He drags Juice up and whips, but Juice reverses. Tanahashi blocks the leg lariat to hit another dragon screw! Tanahashi goes back to the legs, and turns Juice over for the Texas Cloverleaf!

Juice endures the bending and pulling, and reaches for ropes. Tanahashi looses a bit of his grip, and Juice gets the ropebreak! Fans applaud Juice’s heart, but Tanahashi is still in control. He stomps the legs more, then dares Juice to stand. Juice starts, Tanahashi runs, but Juice gets Tanahashi with the full nelson slam! Cover, TWO! Juice has evened the playing field while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Juice stands and fires up. He runs, and clotheslines Tanahashi down! Cover, TWO! Juice keeps his cool but the fans are on Tanahashi’s side. Tanahashi stirs but Juice is up again. Juice waits for Tanahashi, then prepares the chicken wings. He turns Tanahashi but Tanahashi shoves Juice, then dodges a clothesline to hit a slingblade! Cover, TWO, but so close! Tanahashi keeps going, climbing up top again. Juice stands and rocks Tanahashi with a left hook! Tanahashi teeters on top while Juice catches his breath. Juice slowly climbs up to join Tanahashi, and prepares the superplex, but Tanahashi resists. Tanahashi hits back and headbutts Juice down.

Tanahashi fires up while Juice stands back up, flying crossbody! But a roll through from Juice, TWO!! Juice can’t believe how close he was. Both men are down, tired from this no-time-limit match. They crawl to each other, Juice gets the facelock. He lifts Tanahashi in the suplex, but Tanahashi comes down and hits a swinging neckbreaker! Tanahashi doesn’t end it there, he brings Juice back up for a second! Then a– No, Juice blocks the third neckbreaker by hitting a suplex gutbuster!

Cover, TWO!! Even closer, but still not enough. Fans duel now between Juice and Tanahashi. Juice thinks on what to do, and he goes to a corner. He slowly makes his way up while Tanahashi stands, Juice hits a flying crossbody of his own! Juice is all fired up as he goes back to the corner and up again. Juice hits a frog splash! Cover, TWO!? But how?! Juice argues with Red Shoes, that couldn’t have been two! Fans are thunderous for Tanahashi while Juice grows frustrated.

Juice drags Tanahashi up, chicken wings, and the turn, but Tanahashi uses all his strength and turns it back around! But then Juice turns it further around! Tanahashi slips his arms out to go for a full nelson, but Juice breaks free. Juice elbows Tanahashi, but Tanahashi catches him with a left hand. Juice gives a left hand back, but Tanahashi gives another. Tanahashi grabs Juice in the full nelson, for the Dragon Suplex!

Tanahashi climbs up top again. He hits High Fly Flow to Juice’s back!

But that’s not all, Tanahashi goes back up again! High Fly Flow to Juice’s front! Cover, Tanahashi wins!

Winner: Tanahashi, by pinfall

The Ace stays alive in the tournament! Juice gave it his all, but it wasn’t enough to stop this Once in a Century Talent. Who will meet Tanahashi in the finals?

 

Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Taka Michinoku VS Sanada!

One of NJPW’s best submission wrestlers, if not already THE best, has an arsenal of holds with which he can torture his opponents. However, the Cold Skull of Los Ingobernables de Japon only needs one. Who will make who #JustTapOut to then meet The Ace in the New Japan Cup Finals?

Taka Michinoku again speaks before the match. “The New Japan Cup Tournament 2018 semifinals…” Zack Sabre Jr. VS Sanada, who wins? Fans cheer “Zack!” And who wins it all? “Zack!” Who takes the New Japan Cup? The man who can finish anyone with any lock anywhere. The man with unlimited submission holds. And the man who already beat Naito and Ibushi, the Submission Master, ZSJ, Zack Sabre Jr! And anyone who gets in his way, will give up and #JustTapOut! Let’s begin this semifinal match. Sanada, “C’mon over here!”

The bell rings, and we begin this no-time-limit match. Sanada and ZSJ circle, feeling each other out. They tie up, but ZSJ gets away from Sanada’s grip. They go again, and ZSJ gets the armlock takedown. He wrenches the wrist but Sanada stands up. ZSJ spins around to keep that wrist control, and brings Sanada back down. He shifts to a headlock and wants the armlock but Sanada reaches with his legs to get the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go and Sanada stands back up. They circle again, tie up, but now Sanada gets wrist control. Sanada wrenches ZSJ but ZSJ rolls, only to be brought down. Sanada shifts to a keylock but ZSJ rolls around to stand up. ZSJ grabs Sanada’s head but Sanada brings ZSJ back down to the mat.

ZSJ rolls around and stands up while grinding a forearm into Sanada’s face. He rolls and bends to reverse the wristlock back onto Sanada. Sanada rolls and spins and even cartwheels to then throw ZSJ with an arm-wringer. Fans applaud this impressive exchange while both men go to corners. Both Sanada and ZSJ work to get feeling back into their arms as they circle again. Sanada calls for a test of strength and ZSJ accepts. Sanada brings ZSJ to his knees with the knuckle lock, but ZSJ turns it around on him. ZSJ brings Sanada to his knees but Sanada turns it back. It becomes a double knuckle lock, but ZSJ uses that to stand back up. He and Sanada go shoulder to shoulder, both trying to find a point of leverage.

Sanada brings ZSJ down to the mat and it’s a cover, TWO as ZSJ bridges. ZSJ moves around and pries himself out of the knuckle locks to then trap one of Sanada’s arms and wrench the other. ZSJ shifts that into a double armlock, and even uses his chin to keep the top arm back.

Sanada endures but ZSJ rolls him over to a cover, TWO as Sanada manages to sit back up. ZSJ again shifts around for a seated motorcycle stretch, and digs his forehead between Sanada’s shoulders. Sanada works to stand up but ZSJ holds on. Sanada uses his power to turn the hold onto ZSJ! ZSJ endures the stretch and stands up, but he doesn’t have the pure strength to turn Sanada. Sanada adds a boot into it and pulls back on ZSJ. ZSJ stands to try the rotation again, but Sanada still powers him down. ZSJ works at it a third time, and manages the turn, only for Sanada to turn it all the way back. With power not working, ZSJ uses agility as he flips and kicks Sanada off the hold. Sanada kip-ups, then throws ZSJ out of the ring.

Sanada builds speed, but tumbles to the apron when ZSJ gets clear. Now Sanada shows off his agility as he tumbles back into the ring. ZSJ grows frustrated, and even threatens a young lion at ringside. Michinoku calms ZSJ down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and ZSJ takes a good part of the 20-count to compose himself. He gets back in at 18, and circles with Sanada again. ZSJ won’t tie up with Sanada yet, he needs a few more seconds. When they do tie up, Sanada uses another double knuckle lock to bring ZSJ to his knees. Sanada even brings ZSJ down to his elbows. ZSJ rolls back and reverses the knuckle locks, then wraps Sanada up in a straitjacket. ZSJ brings Sanada down to his knees, but Sanada reverses the hold with a double arm-drag. Sanada bends ZSJ back with the straitjacket, but ZSJ stands up. He reverses the hold but Sanada uses another arm-drag to reverse it back. ZSJ uses a foot to pry out of the straitjacket, but Sanada pulls ZSJ right back into it.

ZSJ ducks under and uses the arms in a pumphandle flip and he puts Sanada back, but Sanada still flips the hold back onto ZSJ! Michinoku coaches ZSJ, ZSJ stands and bends back to spin and put Sanada back, but Sanada uses yet another arm-drag to put ZSJ back in it. Fans applaud this back and forth while ZSJ stands. ZSJ shimmies the arms down, thereby slipping out of the straitjacket entirely. He then hits Sanada with a EuroUpper, but runs into Sanada’s headscissors! ZSJ gets out of the ring, but Sanada slingshots onto him!

They both go down with the slingshot dive, but Sanada is up first. He checks his wrists while ZSJ rests against the barriers. Sanada fetches ZSJ and puts him in the ring. Fans applaud while Sanada enters from the other side. He goes back to ZSJ and rocks him with a right forearm. He stands ZSJ up for another, and waits while ZSJ checks his face. ZSJ stands up and hits back with a EuroUpper and a kick, but Sanada blocks to then go for the Paradise Lock. ZSJ resists at every turn, and brings Sanada down into an armbar! Sanada rolls it and goes for the dragon sleeper! ZSJ scrambles out of that to then Pele kick Sanada’s arm, then Pele kick the other arm! Sanada gets to a corner for safety, but ZSJ walks over. ZSJ simply stands on Sanada’s shoulders and face to toy with him.

Red Shoes has ZSJ back off, and Sanada slips out of the ring. Sanada takes time to recover his arms. He returns at 10, but ZSJ is on him and those arms in a seated hammerlock. ZSJ goes after the free arm and bends it from fingers to wrist. He shifts it to a crucifix cover, TWO, but ZSJ maintains the almost Rings of Saturn style hold. Sanada endures as ZSJ rolls him around more, into a cradle-like cover, but Sanada gets the ropebreak thanks to his legs. ZSJ is annoyed, but he backs off while Sanada rests in the corner. Fans rally while Sanada stands. Sanada chops ZSJ over and over, but ZSJ kicks the arm. ZSJ runs, Sanada jumps, but ZSJ catches his leg and brings him down a la flapjack. ZSJ then slips right into a grapevine leg and arm lock.

Now ZSJ shifts to a Disarmer, and bends the fingers and wrist before standing up for a hammerlock twist. Sanada writhes while ZSJ walks around. Red Shoes determines Sanada is okay to continue, so ZSJ goes right after the arms again. He twists the wrist and even the elbow. Fans rally while Sanada resists, and Sanada gives ZSJ a forearm. ZSJ wrenches the arm but Sanada hits him again. Sanada keeps hitting ZSJ then whips corner to corner, but ZSJ ducks the boot. ZSJ headbutts the stomach and gives another EuroUpper before running again. Sanada jumps over a couple times then dropkicks ZSJ down! Sanada puts the dazed ZSJ into the Paradise Lock! ZSJ protests being humiliated, but that doesn’t stop Sanada from dropkicking him out of Paradise!

Sanada stands again while ZSJ clutches his bottom. ZSJ resists the saido suplex, and gets the arm before giving another EuroUpper. Sanada staggers, but still lifts ZSJ in the fireman’s carry, only for ZSJ to bring him down with an armbar. ZSJ keeps going, but Sanada gets the ropebreak. This submission showcase continues after we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns one more time as ZSJ stands back up. He walks around while fans rally for Sanada. ZSJ kicks Sanada’s arms, and even toys with him, but Sanada makes him pay with big forearm shots. Sanada whips but ZSJ blocks the hip toss, right into the abdominal stretch! Sanada endures while the fans rally for him, and he reverses the hold onto ZSJ! ZSJ pries his way out to then put the hold back on to Sanada. Sanada turns it back, but ZSJ turns it back again, and they go around and around until Sanada shoves ZSJ away. Sanada then grabs ZSJ for a big back suplex! Cover, TWO! Sanada hurries to a corner, MOONSAULT, but he lands on his feet as ZSJ evades. They run at each other, but ZSJ knocks Sanada over with the EuroUpper.

ZSJ runs again, Penalty Kick! Both men are down from exhaustion, but ZSJ gets himself moving again. ZSJ doesn’t cover, he bends Sanada’s arm back for the hammerlock stomp! Sanada clutches that arm, but ZSJ goes after the other for another hammerlock stomp. ZSJ catches his breath while Sanada writhes in pain. ZSJ toys with Sanada as he kicks the shoulders. He goes after one arm in another Disarmer, then gives it another hammerlock stomp. Sanada gets to a corner, but ZSJ dares him to fight. Sanada throws a forearm, then another, but ZSJ gives back EuroUppers. ZSJ whips but Sanada tumbles to the apron to then springboard for a missile dropkick!

Both men are down again. Michinoku coaches ZSJ up while fans rally for Sanada. Both men get to opposite corners. They run at each other again, ZSJ gives another EuroUpper. Sanada lifts ZSJ in a fireman’s carry, but ZSJ slips into a guillotine! Then the hoverboard armlock! But Sanada uses more power to work out of the hold, and spins ZSJ to the dragon sleeper! He swings ZSJ around, but ZSJ spins back around to give Sanada the arm snap! ZSJ stands, then runs, but into the roll-up and the dragon sleeper. Sanada lifts with the inverted suplex, but ZSJ slips out and under for the double leg takedown. ZSJ hops forward for the chicken wing roll and bridge back! TWO, into Skull End!

Michinoku shouts for ZSJ to resists. Sanada goes to completely lock it in, but ZSJ slips out and around to get that bridge again! TWO!! ZSJ can’t believe he didn’t get it. Sanada gets him with a EuroUpper of his own! Fans rally again while ZSJ is reeling. Sanada brings him up, fireman’s carry, but ZSJ slips to a backpack sleeper, then climbs around to the front, for a triangle hold! He brings Sanada down to the mat, and grabs the free arm for an armbar. Sanada endures, but he’s fading. He uses a last gas to deadlift ZSJ up, powerbomb position to fireman’s carry to the TKO!

Cover, TWO!! Sanada grows frustrated with ZSJ but the fans are thunderous. Sanada stands and feeds off the crowd. ZSJ stands but Sanada has the double chicken wing, and hits tiger suplex! TWO, but he keeps going. Sanada hits ZSJ with a backbreaker, then hurries to a corner, for the MOONSAULT! But into ZSJ’s knees! Then the triangle! ZSJ drives his elbows into Sanada’s head then adds a keylock to the triangle. Sanada reaches but fades. He tries once more to deadlift, but ZSJ just shifts things to the coil lock. ZSJ wants the Rings but Sanada reaches. Sanada can’t, and ZSJ puts him in a hold very much like what he used on Kota Ibushi!

Sanada endures, reaches with his legs, but now ZSJ grabs those for a Bow ‘n’ Arrow modification. ZSJ headbutts Sanada’s ribs, then pulls back. Sanada verbally quits, ZSJ wins!

Winner: ZSJ, by submission

The only reason Sanada didn’t tap out was because the Technical Wizard had both arms trapped. And again, Michinoku asks, “Zack Sabre Jr. VS Sanada, who won?” And he knows everyone knows who ZSJ’s opponent in the finals will be. It may be Hiroshi Tanahashi, but it doesn’t matter who it would be. You step to ZSJ, “Just Tap Out!” So who will win between Tanahashi and Zack Sabre Jr? Who will win the New Japan Cup 2018? You’re already looking at the 2018 New Japan Cup Champion, the man who can finish anyone with any lock, anytime, anywhere. The man who knows unlimited holds. And the man who defeated Naito, Ibushi and now Sanada, the Submission Master, ZSJ: Zack Sabre Jr! Will Michinoku’s predictions come true again in the final round?

 

Backstage interviews.

ZSJ admits Sanada’s Skull End is a “good submission”, but not against the Submission Master’s 7822 different submissions. By ZSJ’s count, he only used about five or six in that match. And for Tanahashi, a living legend, ZSJ makes sure he knows “all legends must die.” Tanahashi is held together by hair spray and athletic tape. ZSJ wants to put the Ace out of his misery. The cup will be ZSJ’s, as will Okada’s IWGP Heavyweight title. Confident as ever, will the Technical Wizard force Tanahashi to #JustTapOut?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Another great pair of matches. I thought there’d be more of Juice VS Tanahashi, but since both matches went pretty long, there probably wasn’t a way to fit them both into one hour, with commercials. What we did see of Juice VS Tanahashi was still really good, and Juice is slowly making gains in the heavyweight division. But as Juice is not there yet, Tanahashi goes over to be one of this year’s finalists.

Then ZSJ VS Sanada, from start to finish, was so great with the submission holds as the way to tell the story. ZSJ is touted as the Submission Master, the best of all submission users, but Sanada gave him quite the challenge. But because Sanada played ZSJ’s game, he ends up losing. ZSJ builds a lot of momentum defeating Ibushi and two members of LIJ on the way to the finals, and we get a great story going into the finals: Tanahashi has a grudge against Suzuki-Gun, especially Minoru Suzuki, and now tries to get to Minoru through his protege.

My Score: 8/10


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Coverage

Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Japan Cup 2019 Part 1!

The 2019 New Japan Cup begins!

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NJPW New Japan Cup 2019

NJPW begins the 2019 New Japan Cup! Who among Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr. and EVIL will move on to the second round?

 

Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV

Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL; ZSJ wins and advances to the second round.
  • Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins and advances to the second round.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS set the scene to kickoff the 2019 New Japan Cup!

Spring brings the best in the world in this special single elimination tournament! Only one man will win the right to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden!

The first round has already seen a bit of action, with NJPW standards, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, advance, but others falling victim to upsets. Juice Robinson lost to Chase Owens while Sanada overcome Hirooki Goto. The biggest surprises perhaps came from the biggest men losing to the Junior Heavyweights when Bad Luck Fale and Hiroyoshi Tenzan lost to Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi respectively. But tonight, two of the most anticipated matches take the spotlight! The rivalry of the last year takes the stage again as EVIL and Zack Sabre Jr. face off once again! Plus, Kota Ibushi returns from injury to battle Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax rematch! The Golden Star looks to be the comeback kid while the Uncontrollable Charisma wants to be a historic dual champion! Only one can make their dream come true tonight!

 

Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL!

Taka Michinoku welcomes everyone to Zack Sabre Time, and asks who everyone thinks will win this year’s New Japan Cup. Well it’ll be the man who won last yer’s winner, the Submission Master and British Heavyweight Champion! So Evil, you’ll #JustTapOut! C’mon over here! The King of Darkness responds to being called out, and we begin the next chapter of this already storied rivalry!

The bell rings and fans cheer Evil on as he circles with ZSJ. They slowly approach and Evil knees low. Evil headlocks but ZSJ tries to power out, only for Evil to hold on tighter. Evil gets the headlock takeover but ZSJ works for a headscissor counter. He can’t get it so he stands up. ZSJ spins through and arm-drags Evil off, but Evil headscissors him. Evil squeezes and ZSJ endures. ZSJ finds his way up and pops free, then dares Evil to come on. ZSJ headbutts and headlocks but Evil powers out and runs him off! Fans cheer as Evil waits for ZSJ to return. Taka keeps ZSJ calm as he gets back up. ZSJ and Evil circle again, and Evil calls for a test of strength. ZSJ accepts and they grapple, and Evil gets the double knuckle locks.

Evil brings ZSJ to his knees but ZSJ reels him to reverse. ZSJ hammerlocks but Evil switches to his own, but ZSJ switches back, and so on. ZSJ spins and drops to get the takedown but Evil pushes him away. Evil avoids the Penalty Kick but ZSJ ducks the clothesline. Evil blocks ZSJ’s boot to chop and senton! But ZSJ gets his knees up and reels Evil into an armbar! Evil stacks for a cover, TWO! ZSJ still has the arm, but Evil gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go but comes back for more. He cranks Evil’s arm back then stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ also kicks Evil in the chest and stomps his legs. ZSJ ties the legs up in a figure four and pulls hair. The referee reprimands ZSJ but ZSJ stays on the arm with pulling fingers and twisting the arm.

ZSJ uses the hammerlock to turn Evil for a cover, TWO! Evil tries to get feeling in his arm but ZSJ kicks him in the back. ZSJ looms over Evil and gives his bad arm toying kicks. ZSJ kicks Evil again, but Evil grabs the kick! Evil hands the foot to Red Shoes before he mule kicks ZSJ down! The 2018 cup winner is down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Evil brings ZSJ up for forearms. Evil puts ZSJ in a corner then whips him corner to corner. ZSJ stops himself and comes back, but for a sidewalk slam! Fans fire up with Evil as he drags ZSJ back up. Evil suplexes ZSJ up and over then covers, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as he brings ZSJ up again. ZSJ blocks the fireman’s carry and goes after the arm with a double wristlock. Evil powers through but ZSJ slips out to a full nelson. Evil endures the hold and breaks free! He headlocks and knees ZSJ right down! Evil stalks ZSJ to a corner and headlocks, but ZSJ denies the bulldog into the abdominal stretch! They go around and around and Evil puts it on ZSJ! ZSJ endures and pries the arm off, to Pele it!

ZSJ gives Evil European Uppercuts in the corner! He goes corner to corner but Evil follows for a clothesline! Evil runs but ZSJ follows, only for Evil to see him coming and clothesline him again! Cover, TWO! Evil drags ZSJ right up, fireman’s carry, Darkness Falls! Cover, TWO! Sabre survives but Evil has more where that came from. Evil drags ZSJ up and slashes the throat. But ZSJ victory rolls! TWO and Evil has it on ZSJ, TWO!! ZSJ wants a backslide but Evil powers it around, backslide on ZSJ! TWO, Penalty Kick! Both men are down, and fans cheer for Evil while Taka coaches ZSJ. ZSJ goes right at Evil to keylock stomp the arm! ZSJ kicks at it but Evil only gets angry. Evil stands and ZSJ throws EuroUppers, but those only make Evil stronger. He CHOPS ZSJ off his feet!

Evil stands ZSJ up for another chop, but ZSJ stands on his feet. ZSJ gives Evil a shoulder breaker, but Evil gives one back! Evil spins but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs but Evil goes sideways, ZSJ catches the clothesline into an Octopus Stretch! He drags Evil down and he cranks back! Evil endures as ZSJ twists him all around! ZSJ has one arm trapped and the other arm back, but Evil uses a leg for the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but he comes back to dig his elbow into the back. He grabs Evil’s arm and twists it in his legs! ZSJ Penalty Kicks Evil down again! ZSJ catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Evil. Evil sits up but uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil mule kicks ZSJ again, then drags him up, to place on Red Shoes! Magic Killer!!

Evil catches his breath and grins while he, ZSJ and Red Shoes slowly get up. ZSJ gets to a corner as Taka coaches him up. Evil runs in for a big clothesline! Evil roars and fans fire up as Evil drags ZSJ up to the top rope. He climbs up to join ZSJ, for a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Sabre survives again but he clutches his own shoulder now. Evil stands and slashes the throat! He drags ZSJ up, spins him around but ZSJ slips through to scoop. Evil escapes but ZSJ standing switches. ZSJ rolls Evil back but the European Clutch is blocked! Evil wants a Half ‘n’ Half but ZSJ resists. ZSJ reaches for ropes but Evil shifts to a German Suplex! Evil takes aim, but ZSJ kicks the clotheslines away once, twice, but not the third time! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous after that close call!

Evil roars and drags ZSJ up again. He spins ZSJ around but ZSJ slips around and hops up! Sleeper to victory roll to EuroClutch, to EVERYTHING- Is Octopus! ZSJ drags Evil down, Napalm Death! Evil is stuck, Evil taps! ZSJ wins again!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission; advances to the second round

The 2018 New Japan Cup winner keeps on winning! ZSJ has a cup winning streak, will it continue all the way to the finals?

 

Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi!

This match feels almost too soon in the tournament! The leader of Los Ingobernables and the Golden Star could both have both made their way to the finals, but now only one of them will move on! Will Ibushi’s comeback lead him all the way to New York? Or will the IWGP Intercontinental Champion move towards being a historic dual champion in NJPW?

Fans love both stars so they’re naturally divided at the bell. Naito and Ibushi stare down as the cheers are thunderous. They start circling and then approach to tie up. Naito gets a headlock but Ibushi spins out for a keylock. Ibushi headlocks now but Naito punches out. Naito pulls hair and pushes Ibushi and things speed up. Ibushi hurdles Naito then again, but Naito ducks the kick and moonsault. Naito arm-drags but Ibushi headscissors, and the two break! Naito even hits Tranquilo. Fans cheer while Naito decides to roll out of the ring. Naito takes his time returning, telling Ibushi to relax. Ibushi doesn’t give Naito a choice, but then Naito escapes Ibushi to tease him about taking time. Ibushi returns but Naito is on him with kicks and elbows.

Naito whips but Ibushi reverses, but Naito grabs ropes. Naito dumps Ibushi out then sweeps the legs. He slingshots and dropkicks Ibushi down, a new take on his Cabron Combo. Naito has control while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Naito whips Ibushi into railing. Naito drags Ibushi up and brings him around the way, to whip him into more railing! Fans cheer Naito but also show concern for Ibushi as Naito whips him into railing a third time! Naito brings Ibushi around the railing and bounces him off the desks. Red Shoes tells Naito to bring things back to the ring but Naito bounces Ibushi off wood again. Naito leaves Ibushi behind and rests in the ring. Ibushi crawls his way back as the ring count begins. The count passes 5 of 20 as Ibushi stands. Ibushi returns ringside at 10 and hops in at 11. Naito is on Ibushi with a whip and big elbow, then a swift basement dropkick! Naito poses more while Ibushi writhes.

Fans cheer for Ibushi and Naito spits at them. Naito stomps Ibushi and drags him up into a cravat neck wrench. Ibushi endures as Naito cranks hard. Ibushi fights out with body shots but Naito elbows him down. Naito then brings Ibushi around for a neckbreaker and casually covers, TWO! Ibushi’s bad neck is a target and Naito keeps on it. Naito brings Ibushi up but Ibushi breaks free. Ibushi throws forearms but Naito just smirks. Ibushi throws more but Naito elbows him around the side. Naito throws more elbows into the neck and Ibushi slumps against the ropes. Naito toys with Ibushi but Red Shoes reprimands him. He whips but Ibushi reverses and dodges to whip back. Ibushi dropkicks Naito right down! Both men fall into each other but Ibushi’s up first.

Ibushi drags Naito up for a strike fest! Naito blocks the kick to kick the knee, but still runs into a roundhouse! Ibushi standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as he drags Naito up again. Naito resists the German suplex and gets the standing switch. Ibushi throws elbows to break free. Ibushi runs in but Naito boots him from the corner. Naito runs out but into a huricanrana! Fans fire up while Naito bails out of the ring. Ibushi fires up with the fans and goes to the corner. Naito knows it’s coming and stops the Golden Triangle! Naito drags Ibushi out for a draping neckbreaker to the apron! Ibushi falls to the floor and Red Shoes checks on him. He’s somehow okay to continue and drags himself into the ring.

Naito is waiting again, and runs out from a corner, shotgun dropkick! Then he drags Ibushi up to the top rope and out for another draping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives and Naito is surprised, but we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Naito drags Ibushi back up. Naito ties Ibushi up but Ibushi fights out with his free arm. Naito clubs Ibushi in the neck then hits a German Suplex, but Ibushi lands on his feet! Ibushi kicks but Naito ducks to enziguri! Naito whips but Ibushi reverses only for Naito to come back with flying forearms, only to be caught into a snap German! Both men are down but the fans fire up! Naito and Ibushi stir as fans duel. Red Shoes checks and they’re both okay to continue. Ibushi and Naito grit their teeth as they sit up. They head for each other and start throwing forearms. Ibushi hits, Naito hits, repeat. They slowly stand but the brawling continues.

Ibushi hits but Naito comes back. The two stare down and Ibushi throws a forearm. Naito throws one back, so Ibushi gives another. They start picking up speed and now they’re just swinging wild! Ibushi fires off many palm strikes but Naito throws slaps. Ibushi runs but into Naito’s spinebuster! Naito drags Ibushi up and to the top rope again. Naito climbs up behind Ibushi and fans anticipate something dangerous. Ibushi holds on so Naito clubs away. Naito stands Ibushi up, but Ibushi grabs at Naito’s leg. Ibushi turns around and trips Naito up! Naito manages to stay on the apron, but Ibushi stalks him from above. Ibushi drags Naito up while standing on the ropes. Ibushi lifts but Naito fights out! Naito slaps away on Ibushi’s face, then brings Ibushi in, TOMBSTONE on the apron!!

Naito puts Ibushi in the ring then drags him up again. Hammerlock and underhook, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi still lives but Naito isn’t fazed. Naito drags Ibushi up again, arm wrench and tilt-o-whirl, but into Ibushi’s own PACKAGE TOMBSTONE!! Cover, TWO!? Now Naito survives and shocks everyone! Fans duel as Naito and Ibushi drag themselves to opposite corners. Naito runs at Ibushi but into a roundhouse! Ibushi brings Naito in but Naito spins out for a tornado DDT! Naito aims at Ibushi and runs in, into a clothesline!! Ibushi drags Naito up and to a lift, SIT-OUT LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives again but Ibushi is too tired to be frustrated. Ibushi drags Naito up and grabs both hands, but Naito dodges Kamigoye, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!?!

Fans are thunderous as this match continues! Naito staggers up and drags Ibushi to his feet. Wrench and tilt-o-whirl but Ibushi slips out to roundhouse! Ibushi gives a shout out to the King of Strong Style as he aims from a corner. Naito sits up, BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO?!? Ibushi can NOT believe Naito survived again! But Ibushi vows to finish this, double underhook, Butterfly Driver! But he’s not done there, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!

Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; advances to the second round

It took so much, but Ibushi makes it through the opening round! Naito’s dream is denied for now, what will it take for him to become the first-ever dual Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion in NJPW history? As for Ibushi, he advances only to take on Zack Sabre Jr. next! Will Ibushi break ZSJ’s streak in the New Japan Cup? Or will he #JustTapOut?

Ibushi takes the mic and thanks Naito for that amazing match. “In 2019, in NJPW, I’ll show you a new version of Kota Ibushi.” Ibushi vows to go all the way and win! Will everyone else in the tournament, let alone Jay White, take this to heart?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Wow, what a great opening to the tournament! At first, I thought it was a bit of a shame that this will be it for the first round, no Okada or Tanahashi, but seeing they had matches with slightly less important opponents (sorry, Mike Elgin), the two matches we got were much more worthy of airtime. Evil VS ZSJ is again an incredible match, and it makes a lot of sense for ZSJ to win. While Sanada is in the tournament, too, he and Evil are still strongly in the Heavyweight Tag Team Division. ZSJ has a great New Japan Cup win streak story to tell, and it’ll make a loss, should one come, all the more exciting if it’s in the later rounds. ZSJ going for back-to-back tournament wins on top of a huge title match is great, but I can’t be sure the chances of it happening.

Naito VS Ibushi was a really great match, and it’s not just kayfabe saying this match could’ve been a logical tournament finals choice. Naito’s story of becoming a dual champion could’ve propelled the tournament to some interesting places, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be told in the tournament. Ibushi is in NJPW to stay so it means a lot more that he gets a push in the tournament. He already has a hard road ahead of him if the second round pits him against ZSJ, but perhaps a Kota Ibushi that can get through such big names, much like ZSJ did in last year’s tournament, can be a Kota Ibushi that defeats Jay White in Madison Square Garden.

My Score: 8.8/10


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (3/16/19)

Zack Sabre Jr. continues his journey in ROH!

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ROH cover image

Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, Episode 391

It’s ROH 17th Anniversary weekend, but the action keeps on rolling! The Submission Master returns, will he make Rocky Romero #JustTapOut?

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes; Young & The Briscoes win.
  • The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys; The Bouncers win.
  • Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead; Rayne wins.
  • Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero; ZSJ wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes!

Cheeseburger leads Ryan Nova and Eli Isom into battle! Will their fighting spirits combined be enough to overcome the Last Real Man and #DemBoyz?

The bell rings and Isom begins against Jay Briscoe. Isom is no stranger to taking on former ROH World Champions, this could be his third upset on one already. They tie up and Jay waistlocks. Isom standing switches and throws Jay down but Jay reverses to a facelock, but Isom slips away. Fans applaud the Future of Honor keeping up with Jay. Jay and Isom circle again and Jay keeps Isom guessing on the grapple. Jay reels Isom in for a headlock, but Isom powers out, only for Jay to run him over. Things speed up and Isom kicks Jay. Isom runs but sees Jay follow. Jay fakes Isom out and kicks him down. Jay tags Mark and The Briscoes mug Isom. Mark suplexes but Isom slips out and shoves Mark. Mark turns around into Isom’s arm-drag!

Isom tags in Nova and Nova hops up for ax handles. Nova wrenches the arm but Mark rolls through. Mark breaks free but Nova dodges and fires off strikes. Nova wrenches and tags in Cheeseburger! Burger climbs up to drop his own ax handle. Burger wrenches but Mark pushes him away. Mark rushes at Burger but Burger crawls under and kicks him away. Burger speeds up but Jay stands in his way. Mark rocks Burger with a shotgun dropkick! Silas and the Briscoes take control as we go to break.

ROH returns and Silas taunts Burger to stand, only to stomp him down. Fans rally up for Burger and he throws body shots on Silas. Burger fires forearms but Silas shoves Burger for the backbreaker clothesline on the rebound! Silas drags Burger over and tags in Mark. Mark drops an elbow then drags Burger up. Mark suplexes and holds Burger up for a few seconds before dropping him down. Fans rally but Mark puts Burger in a camel clutch. Burger endures while Jay and Silas taunt him. Mark fish hooks Burger but lets up at 4. Mark blasts Nova but the ref keeps Isom from going after Mark. But he misses Mark biting Burger! Mark gets away with it then CHOPS Burger in a corner! Mark whips corner to corner but Burger dodges! Burger dodges Silas and Jay, too, hot tag to Isom!

Isom dropkicks Mark to his corner where Jay tags in. Silas runs at Isom but Isom puts him on the apron and dropkicks him down! Jay goes after Isom with a waistlock but is bucked off. Isom pops Jay up to a fireman’s carry! Nova intercepts Mark and DIVES on Silas! Air Raid Crash from Isom to Jay! Cover, TWO!! Isom almost had another former world champion caught! Isom keeps going but Jay blocks the suplex. Jay fights back but Isom throws his own forearms. Isom runs but into Jay’s fireman’s carry. Jay hits the Spicolli Driver while Mark climbs up! FROGGY-BOW! Jay covers, TWO!? Isom survives and The Briscoes are shocked!

The ref tells Mark to go to the corner but the Briscoes ignore him. #DemBoyz work together to finish this, double underhook but Isom fights out. Isom pushes Jay into Mark then kicks, suplex to brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! Another close call but Isom keeps his focus. Isom and Jay stand as fans rally up. Isom throws forearms and elbows then an enziguri. Jay staggers and Jay runs, but SUPERKICK for Jay! High-Low combo for The Briscoes! Mark keeps Burger out while Jay hits his Jay Driller! Cover, The Briscoes & Silas win!

Winners: Silas Young & The Briscoes, Jay Briscoe pinning

The Shinobi Shadow Squad struggles in the Six Man Tag Division against such accomplished opponents. Will it be the Last Real Man and Dem Boyz who move on towards the titles instead?

 

Rhett Titus speaks.

“Willie Mack, I heard you had plans to take the NWA National Title and defend it in every state across America.” Well Willie, plans change, because the Fittest is looking to take that belt and bring it with him on the Flex Express. Will Rhett’s own plans have to change after facing The Mack next episode?

 

The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys!

The literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division takes on two other Future of Honor stars. With physiques like theirs, JK and The Number One were hoping for sunny beaches and “beautiful baby dolls”, but instead got “busted up broads and their beer-swilling bozos”! Well that’s no way to talk about the fans or beer! The Bouncers make their way out with plenty of drinks, and Brian Milonas takes the mic. He and The Beer City Bruiser are here to kick ass and drink beer! Will they do just that against these rude rookies?

The Code of Honor is still upheld between the teams, and we start with Bruiser and Keys. Keys shows off his body while teasing Bruiser about the beer belly. Bruiser admits Keys wins the body building, but Bruiser has the fans as they chant “Beer! Beer!” along with him. Keys calls for a test of strength and Bruiser isn’t sure he’s serious. Keys shoves Bruiser and tells him to take it serious. Bruiser accepts the test, and SLAPS Keys off his feet! Keys gets up and kicks but Bruiser catches it. Bruiser spins Keys for an atomic drop. Keys gets to a corner but covers up from Bruiser’s punch. So Bruiser CHOPS instead! And CHOPS, and CHOPS! Fans cheer for more but Keys turns around to protect his chest. So Bruiser CHOPS his back! Keys scrambles to his corner and tags in Johnson.

Johnson fires off on Bruiser but Bruiser shoves him to run him over! Bruiser drags Johnson up but Johnson powers him to the corner. Keys anchors Bruiser’s feet and Johnson gets a sucker punch! Johnson stomps away in the corner then tags in Keys. Keys stomps Bruiser now but lets up at 4. Keys chops Bruiser back then goes to scoop. Bruiser’s too big for that, so Keys gives a European Uppercut. Johnson tags in and rams in his own uppercut. Johnson and Keys work together for a double scoop slam! Cover, ONE, and with power! Bruiser reaches for Milonas but Keys tags back in. Keys stomps Bruiser down then puts Bruiser back in the corner. Keys throws EuroUppers then gestures at Milonas. He runs in for a splash but Bruiser dodges! Keys hits buckles and both men are down!

Fans rally up as Bruiser crawls for his corner. Johnson shouts to Keys, and Keys tags him in. Johnson grabs Bruiser’s feet but Bruiser still gets to Milonas! The Mastodon rallies on both Future of Honor stars! Fans fire up as he pounces Keys out of the ring, then squashes Johson in a corner. Milonas whips Johnson corner to corner for another splash, then scoops. Johnson slips out and shoves Milonas away. Johnson dodges the clothesline but gets a pop-up spinebuster! Keys attacks Milonas from behind but Bruiser gets Keys. Bruiser whips Keys and Milonas gives Keys a pop-up spinebuster! The Bouncers say bottom’s up and grab Johnson. Milonas climbs and Bruiser holds Johnson up, draping leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers win!

Winners: The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning

They kicked ass, now they drink beer! Will the Bouncers find their way to the ROH World Tag Team Championships and drink to a title reign?

 

Madison Rayne speaks.

“Thunder Rosa, you think that you and Holidead can come into ROH and control the narrative and call the shots?” Here’s the reality: the Twisted Sisterz are the opposite of what the Women of Honor stand for. The Queen Bee vows to make a statement, but will it go the way she hopes?

 

Willie Mack speaks.

The inaugural NWA National Champion is all about making history, and he makes history with ROH next week. He’ll defend his title in all 50 states, and is already on number 5. If Rhett Titus wants to stay fit, then he better get ready for a fight!

 

Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead!

As The Queen Bee alluded to, The Twisted Sisterz have done what they want to who they want since joining the Women of Honor Division, including the Ray of Sunshine. Now Sumie stands beside Madison, will they put the trouble-makers in their place?

Madison doesn’t wait for the bell, she goes right at Thunder Rosa! She tackles Rosa down and the bell has to ring as she fires off right hands. Rayne puts Rosa in one corner then runs her all the way to the other. She bumps Rosa off a third then hits a sliding lariat. Rayne runs Rosa over with a shoulder and fires up while Rosa regroups with Holidead. Rayne doesn’t give Rosa much time to regain composure, she goes right out and rocks her with a right! She puts Rosa back in while Sumie keeps her eyes on Holidead. Rayne runs Rosa over with a clothesline but notices Holidead egging Sumie on. Rayne runs and wrecks Holidead with a dropkick! Sumie and the fans cheer Rayne on but Rosa hits Rayne back!

Rosa fetches Rayne and rams her into the apron. She then CHOPS Rayne against the apron, before shoving her into the ring. Rosa stomps Rayne then covers, TWO! Rosa drags Rayne up and bumps Rayne off the buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Rayne but backs off at 4. Rosa snapmares Rayne and kicks her sharp on the back. Holidead wants another so Rosa kicks Rayne again. Rosa runs and dropkicks Rayne in the back, covers, TWO! Sumie coaches Rayne up while Rosa mockingly applauds. Rayne throws body shots but Rosa clubs her down. Rosa scoops and slams Rayne down, then applauds herself. Rosa runs side to side for a BIG leg drop! Cover, TWO! The Queen Bee is in trouble while we go to break.

ROH returns and Rosa toys with Rayne. Rayne throws forearms back and enziguris! Rosa falls over and Rayne covers, TWO! Holidead is relieved but Rayne keeps on Rosa. Rosa throws Rayne down by her hair, then drags her up for chops. Rosa whips Rayne corner to corner then runs in for a big back elbow! She snapmares Rayne to a cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rayne but Rose wraps on a chinlock. Rayne endures and fights her way up, but Rosa throws her back down. Cover, TWO! Rosa grabs Rayne for more chops, then does a little salsa to show off. She whips but Rayne reverses and things speed up, Rayne SPEARS Rosa down! But Rayne is also down and a standing 10 count begins.

The count reaches 5 as both women sit up. Rosa grabs Rayne and brings her up but Rayne fires forearms! Rayne dodges Rosa and rallies with more forearms. Rayne fires up and goes corner to corner but Rose catches her! Rosa puts Rayne on the top rope but Rayne boots her back. Rayne leaps for the crossbody! Both women are back up, Rayne ducks a kick to give an enziguri! Cover, TWO! Rayne keeps on Rosa with a waistlock. She wrings Rosa out but Rosa goes to swing. Rayne adjusts and gets around Rosa again for a dragon sleeper. Rosa elbows out and brings Rayne up into the Gory Especial, and spins around for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Rayne survives and the Twisted Sisterz are shocked!

Rosa is furious as she drags Rayne right up onto her shoulder! Rosa spins but Rayne slips out for the Rayne Drop! Cover, Rayne wins!

Winner: Madison Rayne, by pinfall

The Queen Bee wins outta nowhere and gets revenge on behalf of Sumie Sakai! Will Rayne and others teach the Twisted Sisterz a lesson about being Women of Honor?

 

Team Coast2Coast speaks.

“We were gone for a very long time, but for good reason.” Shaheem Ali and Leon St. Giovanni were “rediscovering” themselves. But now C2C is better than ever and will take on the best in the world! Their return is next week against Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham, will Chocolate Man and the Human Rocket be ready for the Franchise and the Octopus?

 

Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero!

The partnership of ROH and NJPW is on display as the Submission Master returns! But not only that, the player-coach of Roppongi 3K makes his own return! Will Rocky make a run in ROH for gold? Or will he #JustTapOut?

ROH returns with the bell! Fans cheer Rocky on as he circles with ZSJ. Rocky keeps away from ZSJ’s grip and then they approach. ZSJ still gets Rocky down with a headlock but Rocky keeps up with his reversals. ZSJ gets free but both he and Rocky smirk as they circle again. They tie up again and ZSJ gets the arm. He cranks on it to get Rocky to the mat. Rocky endures the wristlock and ZSJ grinds a knee in. Rocky gets to his feet but ZSJ wrenches and arm-drags Rocky back down. Fans cheer ZSJ’s technique as he twists and pulls Rocky’s arm. Rocky spins through and gets up to dropkick ZSJ out of the ring! ZSJ is frustrated already as he kicks the railing. Rocky waits for ZSJ as he catches his breath.

ZSJ returns and circles with Rocky. They tie up and ZSJ gets a leg. He trips Rocky and stands on his feet. ZSJ twists the leg around and then ties the legs up so he can go after Rocky’s neck with a wrench. But he also hooks the face so the ref counts. ZSJ lets up at 4 to bring Rocky into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow. Rocky pops out to a cover, TWO! Fans applaud as Rocky and ZSJ circle again. Rocky and ZSJ approach and Rocky gets ZSJ’s leg now. Rocky waistlocks but ZSJ wrenches to a switch. ZSJ wrenches again and brings Rocky to his knees. ZSJ brings Rocky further down as he mounts the arm to pull back. Fans applaud while Rocky endures the pair of knuckle locks.

Rocky and ZSJ go shoulder to shoulder but ZSJ gets the cover. TWO so ZSJ tries again. TWO as Rocky brings up the shoulder, so ZSJ pushes it down. Rocky bridges this time, and then anticipates ZSJ hopping on with a monkey flip! It’s a double cover, but Rocky rolls back, only to get caught into ZSJ’s armbar! Rocky rolls and shifts but ZSJ slips out to a hammerlock. Fans applaud this continued exchange as Rocky reaches back for ZSJ. Rocky leaps and snapmares but ZSJ headbutts back. ZSJ snapmares but Rocky handsprings through to dropkick him down! Rocky brings ZSJ up for a chop then a cravat. ZSJ endures but Rocky snapmares. ZSJ responds with his own snapmare, but then Rocky snapmares back. They go snapmare for snapmare, but then ZSJ shoves Rocky down for a neck crank! Rocky writhes while we go to one last break.

ROH returns once again as Rocky manages a ropebreak while in a modified Bow ‘n’ Arrow. ZSJ reluctantly lets go, and waits for Rocky to sit up. ZSJ clamps on a half straitjacket, then digs in elbows and knuckles to get the full. Rocky endures as fans rally up. Rocky feeds off the energy but ZSJ does his best to keep Rocky down. The two struggle against each other, and ZSJ digs a knee in to keep the straitjacket. Rocky stands and spins the straitjacket around but ZSJ spins it back on. ZSJ brings Rocky back down then flips him over, but Rocky uses that to reverse the hold! Rocky has ZSJ but ZSJ breaks free to throw a EuroUpper. ZSJ whips but Rocky elbows back. Rocky springboards for a tornado DDT! Both men are down but fans rally up.

Another standing count begins and Rocky sits up at 3. ZSJ follows and grabs Rocky first. Rocky dodges and huricanranas! Things speed up, Rocky springboards again for a crossbody! Cover, TWO! Rocky toys with ZSJ, then starts slapping him around. ZSJ EuroUppers then grabs a leg. Rocky misses the first enziguri but not the rewind! Fans fire up with Rocky as he runs corner to corner to start the Forever Clotheslines! He gets one, then another, but runs into a boot! ZSJ runs but into Rocky’s leaping knee, only to make it an STF! Rocky is caught, and ZSJ shifts sides! Rocky drags himself around and manages a ropebreak! ZSJ lets Rocky go and catches his breath. Now ZSJ toys with Rocky as he stomps him around. ZSJ kicks but Rocky gets mad. ZSJ pie faces so Rocky SLAPS away!

Rocky knees and hauls ZSJ up to the top rope. Rocky runs corner to corner for a top shelf knee! ZSJ falls to the apron but Rocky checks his shoulder first. Rocky brings ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the suplex. ZSJ goes after the arm but Rocky throws forearms. Rocky shoulders in but gets caught into an Octopus through the ropes! ZSJ lets go at 4 then shoves Rocky away. Rocky dropkicks ZSJ on the return! Rocky throws forearms and CHOPS, then ties ZSJ up in the ropes. He goes to the side and springboards for a guillotine missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Rocky is exhausted. Fans build to a rally for Rocky as he brings ZSJ up. Rocky throws forearms on ZSJ then eggs him on. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper, but Rocky comes back for fast hands. Rocky kicks and runs for a Sliced Bread! Cover, TWO!

Rocky drags ZSJ up again and wants more, but ZSJ escapes Sliced Bread 2 for the standing abdominal stretch! Rocky reaches but ZSJ rolls him away, then around, Hurrah! The double wrist-clutch octopus is on and Rocky taps quickly! ZSJ wins!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission

The Submission Master brings in Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last. Will ZSJ’s first year in ROH be golden sooner rather than later?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Another ROH PPV, another disconnect between it and their television episodes. This episode, as all episodes are, was clearly recorded long before the PPV as nothing that happened at the PPV affects this episode’s events. For those who didn’t see the ROH 17th Anniversary, make sure to check here for the full card results. But for those who did, you know The Briscoes lost the the ROH World Tag Team Championships to Villain Enterprises, yet Jay & Mark still had the belts here. And all this makes it strange for commentary to vaguely reference the PPV when it hadn’t happened for them yet. The Six Man Tag they had was only okay, so I don’t see why it couldn’t have been three other Heels going against Shinobi Shadow Squad to get the spotlight instead.

In fact, seeing as how more Future of Honor stars were brought on for this episode, I’m starting to think that’s what episodes like this should be about. ROH Future of Honor stars can appear, get some television exposure, and take the card in place of literally anyone involved on the PPV card. And of course, facing Future of Honor stars meant an easy win for The Bouncers, who might finally be moving up now that they’re Faces. Meanwhile, Rhett Titus’ new gimmick is like if Lex Luger and Val Venis fused, but then the combination was slightly diluted. But Rhett VS Mack, even non-title, sounds fun. Pretty sure Mack wins that, but bringing NWA and its new championship into the fold of ROH’s many partnerships also sounds great.

Rayne VS Rosa was a good match, and I’m sensing this is building to something more. I’ve said before that having the Twisted Sisterz in WOH must mean Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the horizon, and it would be pretty big if Sumie Sakai joins Rayne in competing for those. I don’t think Rayne & Sumie would be the inaugural champions, that really should be the Twisted Sisterz given their resumes. But Sumie one day becoming a tag champ to be the first woman to have both the WOH World and Tag Team Championships would be a great thing for her own career. ZSJ VS Romero was a good match, and clearly ZSJ is set to dominate to at least a World Television Championship level. ZSJ VS Jeff Cobb would be great for the sheer difference in styles, but we know it’ll have to wait until after G1 Supercard.

My Score: 8/10


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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