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.
- 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?
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?
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
Mitchell’s WWE NXT UK Results & Report! (12/12/18)
NXT UK has another double dose! British Strong Style’s Trent Seven will battle Gallus’ Joe Coffey as part of the war that’s brewing in the brand!
- Episode 15 – Flash Morgan Webster VS Fabian Aichner; Webster wins.
- Episode 15 – Isla Dawn VS Killer Kelly; Dawn wins.
- Episode 15 – Amir Jordan & Kenny Williams VS The Grizzled Young Veterans; win.
- Episode 15 – Trent Seven VS Joe Coffey; wins.
- Episode 16 – Eddie Dennis VS Dave Mastiff; wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
“As a kingdom rises, so do its royals.”
The Bruiserweight is king as THE WWE United Kingdom Champion. The Mosh Pit Kid is queen as THE NXT United Kingdom Women’s Champion. “And now a new reign awaits.” It is time for the NXT UK Tag Team Champions to be crowned! Teams will form, wars will be waged, but only one duo will dominate as the inaugural champions!
Flash Morgan Webster VS Fabian Aichner!
The Modfather wants to get back at the Italian Tank for what he did to good pal, Mark Andrews. Andrews gave Flash fair warning before the match to be careful against such a strong and fast opponent. Can Flash bring Aichner down? Or will Aichner reach that #NXTLVL he’s after?
The bell rings and Flash circles with Aichner. Aichner offers a handshake, but Flash denies it with a kick! Flash rolls Aichner, TWO! Aichner gets to a corner and runs back out to power Flash to the other! Aichner swings but Flash ducks to fire back! Flash keeps on Aichner but Aichner shoves him away. Flash gets moving, and arm-drags Aichner down! Aichner blocks the whip with power, but Flash puts up boots. Aichner deflects but then Flash comes back with another arm-drag! Flash stands up as Aichner runs in, but Flash dumps him out! Fans fire up for Flash as he takes aim, and he slingshots out. Aichner dodges to then shove Flash into steel steps! Just like Mark Andrews last time! Fans boo and jeer but Andrews appears to support Flash.
The ring count climbs past 5 but Flash gets up. Flash gets in at 8, but Aichner is right on him. Aichner punches and stomps away in a corner, but stops at 4, only to come back for more! The ref backs Aichner off and Flash gets to the apron, but Aichner goes right at him with clubbing forearms. Aichner gives Flash a European Uppercut to the back! Andrews rallies the fans behind Flash as Aichner clamps on double nerve holds. Fans sing and Flash feeds off the energy. Flash fights his way up to fight out, and he whips Aichner. Aichner reverses hard and Flash bounces off buckles. Cover, TWO! Aichner toys with Flash now as he kicks and slaps him around. Aichner drags Flash up for a big back suplex! Cover, TWO! Aichner returns to the double nerve holds, but fans rally again.
Flash gets up and fights Aichner off. Flash whips but Aichner reverses, only for Flash to kick him away! Aichner runs and misses in the corner! Aichner tumbles all the way out, and clutches his knee as he gets back up. Flash gets to a corner while Aichner returns. Aichner runs in, Flash goes up and over and dropkicks him around! Flash dropkicks again, and again, and then hits the Modern Knee! Cover, TWO! Aichner survives and crawls to a corner but the fans keep cheering for Flash. Flash runs in at Aichner, but Aichner puts him on the apron. Aichner turns around into the kick, and Flash slingshots to springboard for the Rude Boy Block! Cover, TWO! Aichner survives but both men are tired.
Flash and Aichner slowly stand up. Flash runs and tilt-o-whirls but Aichner makes it a snake eyes to clobber Flash with a clothesline! Aichner crawls over, covers, TWO!! Flash lives, to Aichner’s surprise. Flash drags himself to a corner and Aichner runs in, but into an enziguri! Aichner staggers but trips Flash up on the ropes! Aichner suplexes, brain buster! Cover, TWO!! Flash still lives! Andrews and the fans rally up for Flash, but Aichner stands first. Aichner drags Flash back up, and tells him to “Stay down!” Flash instead gives Aichner a headbutt! And another! Aichner slumps down, and fans fire up as Flash gets to a corner. Flash climbs up top, takes aim at Aichner, but Aichner rolls away.
Aichner rolls all the way out, but Flash heads over. Aichner trips Flash up to drag him out! And throw him into barriers! Aichner presses Flash against the steel steps, then prepares the knee. But Andrews comes near to get Aichner to stop short. Aichner puts Flash in the ring, wanting Andrews to watch this. Aichner prepares a bomb, but Flash jackknifes! Flash wins!!
Winner: Flash Morgan Webster, by pinfall
Aichner is furious as the high-flying friends get the better of him! But a win is a win, will this win skyrocket the rockstar and Modfather towards those newly minted NXT UK Tag Team Championships?
Backstage interview with Amir Jordan.
The Bhangra Badboy is all smiles, because he’s on NXT. Jordan and his brother from another mother, Kenny Williams, have a chance at revenge against Zack Gibson & James Drake. And it’s also a chance to get in the running for those tag titles! Everyone should be excited! Jordan wants to see Radzy get in on the bollywood! Radzy is reluctant, but then Kenny comes over. There’s a time for dancing and there’s a time for fighting. These two deserve to be contenders. So that means be serious and get lucky. As for Radzy, he should be ashamed of himself. Fingers crossed, will Jordan & Williams even the score between them and the Grizzled Young Veterans?
Gallus talks backstage.
Wolfgang and Mark Coffey have faith in Joe Coffey against Trent Seven. There won’t be any Big Strong Boys today. Joe will get rid of Seven, and then they can squash Travis Banks. Then they’ll easily get those NXT UK Tag Team Championships. “Gallus is as Gallus does.” But will Gallus make this brand their kingdom?
Isla Dawn VS Killer Kelly!
The White Witch wants her shot at the NXT UK Women’s Championship, whether Rhea Ripley sees her as worthy or not. But she first has to get past the Portugal pitbull! Who will take that next step towards challenging the Riptide?
The bell rings and fans fire up for both women. Isla swings a kick at Kelly, but Kelly takes it in stride. Kelly catches the next kick and goes for a facelock, but Isla counters to a takedown and toehold. Isla wrenches while covering, ONE, so Isla drops a knee. She keeps wrenching but Kelly keeps her shoulders up. Isla stomps the leg then throws it down. Kelly clutches her knee but doesn’t back down. The two circle again and Kelly avoids Isla’s lunge. Kelly catches Isla the second time and clubs away. Kelly suplexes Isla into a corner! Isla sits up, Kelly gives her a basement dropkick! Kelly drags Isla to a cover, TWO! Kelly grits her teeth as she puts Isla in a cravat.
Isla endures now and manages to stand. Isla kicks the bad leg and pries Kelly’s fingers apart. Fans fire up as Isla kicks Kelly more. Kelly hobbles away but still comse back for more. Isla counter punches Kelly, then kicks the leg out! Kelly’s up but gets a snap back suplex! Isla summons her powers as Kelly stares her down, running knee! Then, half hatch suplex, Call of the Quarters! Cover, Isla wins!
Winner: Isla Dawn, by pinfall
With powers of purity and spirit, the Glasgow Goddess graces Isla with another victory!
In-ring interview with Isla Dawn.
Her winning streak grows, but one question: “What’s next?” Isla says her eyes and her desires are set on that NXT UK Women’s Championship. Fans like the sound of that. But here comes the champion, Rhea Ripley! The Aussie with attitude mockingly applauds Isla, but Isla tells Rhea that she may be so confident, “but why don’t you step inside this ring with me, with that championship on the line?” Fans like the sound of that, too! Isla vows Rhea will walk away empty handed. Rhea holds up her title, because it’s still her title. Will Rhea accept Isla’s challenge? Will the White Witch be the first to survive the Riptide?
Dragon Gate Fantastic Gate 2018 Results & Review (12/4/2018)
Mathew brings us more coverage with…Dragon Gate? Well I suppose something big did happen, even though King of Gate was still horrid. But hey, let’s see if PAC’s involvement helps things out.
We now return to Dragon Gate to take a small break from the AJPW Real World Tag League, which you should check out if you haven’t just yet since it’s been a great tournament.
As of right now, this will be my last Dragon Gate coverage for the year due to scheduling with the holidays and work, plus I need to get ready for matches of the year at the end of the month. We got a big show today since we got Open the Dream Gate Championship defended against PAC.
So let us see how things will turn out as we…dive right in.
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Dragon Dia & Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk, Kagetora & YAMATO) vs. Don Fujii, Gamma, Ryo Saito & Super Shisa
Review: Our opening contest is an eight-man tag match with Don Fujii, Gamma, Ryo Saito, and Super Shisa taking on three members of Tribe Vanguard, Kagetora and the Open the Twin Gate Champions, BxB Hulk and YAMATO along with Dragon Dia. Dragon Dia is a new wrestler in Dragon Gate as he is also considered to be Dragon Kid’s new apprentice whenever he decides to hang it up. Let’s see how Dragon Dia does and will he help Tribe Vanguard get the victory or will it be the other team?
The match was short and incredibly basic with nothing really too much to make the crowd seem overly invested in it in my opinion. Half of the match is pretty much Dia paying his dues in the ring while also getting a bit of offense into the match, so how did he do? From what I saw out of him, I thought he does have potential to be how Dragon Kid was but he has a long way to go if he wants to reach that level eventually. Dia did take a beating from the other team and even had Gamma kinda waterboard him while he was taking a Mexican Stretch. Tribe Vanguard would do stuff for a little bit into the match and they worked well with each other and not with Dia since he’s not really apart of their unit. Dia would get to have Fujii for a pinfall but he kicked out and hits Dia with a Lariat to end his momentum. Fujii would hit a Chokeslam onto Dia as Ryo would do his SaiRyo Rocket to get the pinfall victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a quarter
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura, Masaaki Mochizuki & Yuki Yoshioka vs. Hiroshi Yamato & MaxiMuM (Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida & Naruki Doi)
Review: We get another eight-man tag match to continue this show as Masaaki Mochizuki is in action with Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura, and Yuki Yoshioka as the four take on Hiroshi Yamato and three MaxiMuM members, Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida, and Naruki Doi. While the opening match wasn’t really something that was memorable, I’m sure we’ll get some action in this one to pick stuff up. Which one of these four will win?
I’m still new to Hiroshi Yamato, but I’m still digging his singing type of gimmick and think it’s pretty funny. This one was a much better match than the opening contest since all of the competitors were more involved in this We had another small encounter with Mochizuki and Lee, and I still wanna see that match happen but I know we probably won’t get a singles match with them any time soon. Yuki is someone that keeps growing on me whenever I see him involved in these tag matches as he does show signs of progress and I hope to see big things from him in 2019. Jason Lee would try to do his taunt in the ring when he’s in his meditative state and rolled up Mochizuki for a two count and when Mochizuki would try to do the same taunt, Jason would just kick his head. Yuki would block Naruki’s Bakatare Sliding Kick but takes a German from Yamato, a Facebuster from Naruki, and a kick along with a German from Lee as they break the hold. Yuki would attempt a flash pin onto Kaito but Kaito would quickly maneuver out of it until Yuki pinned him back down as he gets the surprise victory!
Rating: Eric Bischoff
Shun Skywalker vs. U-T
Review: We only have two singles matches in this show and it’s time to get our first one underway as we have Shun Skywalker taking on U-T. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Shun in a singles match since the King of Gate Tournament and this might be the first time I’ve seen U-T in a singles match, so this is definitely a nice surprise since both men can go. Which one of these two will get the win?
If you were expecting a highflying type of match between these two, you don’t get that type of match here and while it did throw me off, I was honestly okay with it since they still did give us a technical match. For my first time seeing U-T in one on one action, I gotta say that seeing him more ground-based in this match was very surprising in a good way too since he’s very crisp in his ability. Shun Skywalker still continues to impress me every time I see him in the ring, so seeing both of these men deliver in this match made me feel very satisfied.
The match was also very even here and it looked like Shun was going to get him, but U-T would catch him with the Skayde to try and make him tap out to the hold until Shun would roll out of the hold and hits the Moonsault Press for a two count. Shun would hit a Reverse Suplex and goes to the top rope to go for another Moonsault as U-T puts his knees up before Shun could land. U-T would apply the Skayde once again but Shun would refuse to tap out of the hold once again and the bell rings to show that there’s a time limit draw. Huge ovation for these two in this match and I hope this isn’t the end for them.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Six Man Tag Team Match
Dragon Kid, Bandido, & Flamita vs. DAGA & R.E.D. (Eita & Ben-K)
Review: Our next match is a six-man tag team match with Dragon Kid teaming up with Flamita and Bandido is they take on R.E.D. We found out that Dragon Kid and Eita are going to have one final match at Final Gate in a hair vs mask match, but I’m not sure if the Open the Brave Gate Championship is on the line yet. But this is sure to be an exciting tag bout and let’s see if R.E.D wins or the luchadors take it.
R.E.D starting the attack on their opponents before the match started in their typical heel fashion. The face team would start to make a comeback with Bandido and Flamita diving to the outside onto their opponents. Seeing Kid, Flamita, and Bandido team up worked out very well here with their Luchador agility with Bandido once again being on fire in this match and if he’s someone you follow, what the hell is wrong with you? Get on that shit right away if you like Lucha Libre. It’s a shame Ben didn’t win the belt but I know he’ll bounce back into something soon, maybe going back to the Open the Twin Gate picture with Big R. Eita and Dragon Kid going back at it develops more fuel into their story and I actually can’t wait for it to end and not because it felt like it went on for too long, but with the new stipulation they added to their match, it just adds a lot more involved for their eventual conclusion. After Flamita and Bandido did their tag team combo with Bandido hitting a Phoenix Splash after being flipped over, Eita and Kid are alone in the ring again. Dragon jumped off the ropes and got caught for a Super Kick and would go to finish off Kid but he hits the Bible onto Eita to get the surprise victory!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka & YASSHI) vs. R.E.D. (Big R Shimizu, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Takashi Yoshida & Yasushi Kanda)
Review: Our next match is another eight-man tag team match with R.E.D members, Big R Shimizu, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Takashi Yoshida, and Yasushi Kanda taking on Natural Vibes members, Genki Horiguchi, Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka, and Brother YASSHI. Recently, Natural Vibes broke the record for most title defenses with the Open the Triangle Gate Championships and they still look to hold onto the titles for a long time to keep the record around more. Will Natural Vibes get the win or will it be R.E.D?
R.E.D once again attacking Natural Vibes before the bell would ring and both teams would start fighting to the outside of the ring and into the crowd near the bleachers until they got back into the ring as we get the match started now. The match felt a little too short for this type of match but I thought it was still solid enough for a quick little exhibition type of match. We had a little encounter with Takashi and Kzy during the middle of it where they would go back and forth and it did seem like Takashi was gonna win this little back and forth until Kzy hits his running Elbow Smash onto him. Natural Vibes started to get the shine in the match when Susumu hits an Exploder Suplex onto Kanda off the middle rope and Kzy tops it off with an Elbow Drop while YASSHI hits a Diving Headbutt for a two count. Members were taking each other out left and right until it was Genki and Takashi in the match now as he does his Backslide From Heaven to go for the pin but Big R picked him up in a Wheel Barrel position for a German Suplex. Big R would quickly pick him up for him and Takashi to hit a Doomsday Device and KAZMA topped it off with a Package Piledriver to give R.E.D the win.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Open the Dream Gate Championship
Masato Yoshino (c) vs. PAC
Review: We now have our main event of the evening as Masato Yoshino defends his Open the Dream Gate Championship against PAC. This will be PAC’s second singles match in Dragon Gate ever since he made his return to the company and while his match was disappointing, he still wanted to make the challenge to prove himself. Only one gaijin won the Open the Dream Gate Championship and that man was Ricochet, so if PAC wins then he will be the second one to win it. Masato though won’t go down without a fight here as he defends Dragon Gate against this man. Will Masato retain once again or will we have a new champion?
While both R.E.D and MaxiMuM are surrounding the ring, none of them interfere in the match and I’m glad too because it would’ve been a little bit too much in this match, plus PAC needs to prove himself that he can defeat Masato on his own without any help. I thought this match was a great title defense and definitely PAC’s better match compared to his one with Flamita since this one had a nicer pace that didn’t make it drag out a bit at all and he played the heel persona well like how he did in WWE when he was considered the King of the Cruiserweights, but he’s now known as the Bastard Child in Dragon Gate. I think I liked Masato’s match against Ben-K a little bit better, this one was almost as good in my opinion. One spot I really did like was when Masato went for the Slingblade off the top rope and PAC just flipped out of it and it just looked more smooth. Also, the Corkscrew PAC did to the outside looks great despite him shooting himself a little bit too far since most of the people were a bit too close.
PAC pulled off a lot of power moves like the Pop-up Powerbomb and it looked like he had Masato right where he wanted him as he went to the top rope to go for the Black Arrow but he was able to catch himself once Masato moved out of the way and hits the Another Space and then would hit the first Torbellino as he calls for the submission finish to apply the Sol Naciente, but he wouldn’t hold it for long this time as PAC picked him up for the Powerbomb for a two count. PAC seems to be getting back control now as he would try to go for the Black Arrow once more time but Masato picked his knees up to make PAC land on it and rolled him up for a two count. Masato wouldn’t give PAC time to rest as he hits a second Torbellino and applies the Sol Naciente once again but PAC was unable to power out of it this time around as he falls onto the mat unable to move for a bit until his foot landed on the rope to break the hold. Both men would have bursts of energy in the last stand as Masato lands another Torbellino and PAC gets up quickly to hit Masato with a German Suplex and gets him up for a Powerbomb but Masato would Sunset Flip over him for a two count. PAC would hit a Lariat onto Masato to knock him down before hitting the German Suplex Hold for a two count, and it appears PAC has him right where he wants him as he went to the top rope to the Black Arrow and he connects this time for a three count and we have a new champion!
You heard right, PAC is the new Open the Dream Gate Champion. Part of me feels like it’s a bit too soon to win the belt since he just came back a couple of months ago but at the same time, they wanna capitalize on this while he’s still red hot since leaving WWE and it could potentially open new eyes to the product since most fans knew him as Neville. So in a business aspect, it’s a good idea and hopefully, it can lead to what the company is looking for. Let’s see how things turn out.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half
Overall: Aside from the two singles matches being the highlight of the show, nothing else really stood out with the multi-man tag matches throughout the night. U-T and Shun did great work together and PAC had a much better match than he did with Flamita and we got a new champion out of it to bring in a new era for Dragon Gate.
Favorite Match: Masato Yoshino vs. PAC
Least Favorite Match: Dragon Dia & Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk, Kagetora & YAMATO) vs. Don Fujii, Gamma, Ryo Saito & Super Shisa