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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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Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (7/13/19)

The Kingdom, Jay Lethal and The Bouncers in a big Six Man main event!

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ROH cover image

ROH Wrestling Television, Episode 408

Manhattan Mayhem is on the horizon, and so is a major ROH World Championship match! But before Matt Taven and Jay Lethal face off 1v1, they bring allies to the ring for a truly massive Six Man Tag match!

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Proving Ground: Rhett Titus VS Shane Taylor; Taylor wins.
  • WOH World Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival: Stella Grey VS Jenny Rose VS Angelina Love VS Tasha Steelz; Steelz wins and will challenge Kelly Klein for the title at Summer Supercard.
  • Six Man Tag: The Kingdom VS Jay Lethal & The Bouncers; Lethal & The Bouncers win.

PLAY BY PLAY

ROH looks back to Best in the World.

The Peacock faced Rush’s brother, Dragon Lee, and beat him using Rush’s moves! The Best of 3 Series’ third match saw the K I N G topple the Franchise Player! And the Villain Enterprises expanded to include an army! A FLIP Army! The Allure used every trick up their sleeves to beat the Pretty Badass and American Joshi, but were confronted by Maria Manic! Manic didn’t get her hands on Mandy Leon or the Beautiful People, so she ran roughshod over security! And most shocking of all, Matt Taven didn’t need to resort to anything underhanded to down the Hawaiian Juggernaut!! How can anyone hope to stop Taven’s #PurpleReign now?

 

Kenny King joins ROH commentary for this opening contest.

Coming off a big victory over THE Jay Lethal, the K I N G wants to see what his old friends are up to.

 

Proving Ground: Rhett Titus VS Shane Taylor!

The Fittest returns to in-ring action to show that Strong Beach physique. But will physique be enough to survive the Notorious Hitman and ROH World Television Champion?

Rhett wants to shake hands with his former Rebellion brother, but Taylor SPITS on the Code of Honor! Rhett just uses it as body oil. The bell rings and the 10 minute time limit starts counting down. All Rhett has to do is survive the 10 minutes, and he gets a future shot at the title!

Fans rally as the two circle. Taylor shoves Rhett down and taunts him as he stands up. Rhett comes back to waistlock, but Taylor standing switches. Rhett powers his way out, but gets caught in a full nelson! Taylor grins but Rhett powers out of the nelson! Taylor headlocks but Rhett powers out to headlock back. Rhett grinds but Taylor powers out and runs Rhett over! Taylor wants Rhett to stop playing, and scoops him up. Rhett slips out and dropkicks Taylor back! Rhett grins and flexes, but then he tries to fireman’s carry, and Taylor is too much. Taylor spins Rhett, misses one way but hits the clothesline on the other! ROH goes to break as Taylor dares Rhett to get up.

ROH returns and Rhett wrecks Taylor with a dropkick. Rhett shows off his core strength with leg raises, but Taylor pulls him down to ROCK him with that One Hitter Quitter! Taylor drags Rhett up and into the ring to put him on the apron. Taylor climbs up, to drop the leg! He laughs and taunts Rhett as he CHOPS the chest! Rhett gasps for air while he crawls to a corner. Taylor climbs in and throws another big right! Rhett forearms Taylor back! Rhett backs Taylor down but Taylor blocks and reverses the whip to rock him again! Taylor yanks Rhett up but Rhett lands on his feet! Rhett rocks Taylor back with a JAB!

Rhett is in the corner again, and dodges Taylor as he runs in, to give him back a splash! And a BOOT! Then side to side for another! Rhett keeps moving to boot again! Fans fire up with The Fittest as he fireman’s carries Taylor again! For a Samoan Drop! Cover, TWO! Rhett keeps his cool as Taylor goes to a corner. Rhett runs corner to corner but his boot is blocked! Taylor shoves Rhett back to KNEE him in the face! Cover, TWO!! Rhett survives and now Taylor is frustrated. Taylor toys with Rhett but Rhett SLAPS him back! Taylor pie faces but Rhett CHOPS and forearms away! Rhett fires off forearm after forearm but Taylor bobs ‘n’ weaves to HEADBUTT! Cover, Taylor wins!

Winner: Shane Taylor, by pinfall

Rhett fell short of proving himself worthy, and the ROH World TV Champion continues rolling on. Kenny gives Taylor his due props, but goes to check on Rhett in the ring.

“I’m searching for the words, man, to describe what I just saw out of you right now.” The word is, “disgusting.” King is disgusted by Rhett. What happened to him? ROH stuck them together and they fought, they scratched and they clawed and became one of the best teams ever, the All Night Express. They beat The Briscoes, the Young Bucks, Roderick Strong, Tyler Black, you name them. “What the hell happened to you?!” Rhett fails a Proving Ground match because he only proved that while he has the body of a god, he has the “heart of a b*tch.” There’s no fight left in Rhett! If Kenny was Joe Koff, he’d rip up Rhett’s contract on the spot!

Rhett’s family and pregnant wife are here, yet he embarrasses them!? Does Rhett think it’s okay that the reason his son won’t look him in the eyes is because daddy’s a coward?! Rhett gets mad, and that’s what Kenny wants to see! Show him something! But when Rhett doesn’t, Kenny is the one who gets mad. Is the Titus family really proud of that?! Because the Rhett Kenny King knew was a man, not this “punk ass b*tch.” Will these fighting words light a fire in the Fittest? Or does the K I N G have a point?

 

ROH hears from Kelly Klein.

“Women of Honor has some of the best women wrestling has to offer right now, and I love it.” That means the Gatekeeper will defend her title against some of the best women around. Maria Manic has Kelly’s attention, and Kelly is ready for that match. Kelly’s even excited to fight Tasha Steelz, the Allure, Stella Grey or Jenny Rose as she defends her world title. Who makes it out of the contender’s match first in line for a fight with the Pretty Badass?

 

ROH looks back to June 29th.

Jay Lethal vowed to work twice as hard as before, “whip the crap out of Matt Taven,” and become a THREE-TIME ROH World Champion! But Taven told him that in New York City, July 20th, we will all finally see that we are living in “The Time of Matt Taven.” Taven is the King of ROH, because heee’s Matt Taven, and he was #BorntoRule! But then, Alex Shelley returned!

Shelley was careful not to say he retired from ROH. Let’s pretend he has a card in his hand that is known as the “veteran’s card.” And let’s say there’s a hole punched for every year he’s contributed to the industry. That’s 17 holes. Shelley’s fingerprints are all over the world of wrestling, so now he plays his card. Shelley expects to be respected! And it won’t matter who walks out of Manhattan, Shelley just wants his shot to prove to them, him, and the world that he still has #TalentonLoanfromGod! Who will the returning revolutionary meet after mayhem goes down in Manhattan?

 

WOH World Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival: Stella Grey VS Jenny Rose VS Angelina Love w/ The Allure VS Tasha Steelz!

While only one of the Beautiful People is in this match, it is no surprise that she still has her friends by her side. Angelina Love leads the way as Velvet Sky helps Mandy Leon and their fluffy mascot, Foxxy, into the ring. But the spotlight quickly moves to the Garden State Goddess, little gritty Grey, and the American Joshi. With Kelly Klein watching on commentary, who grabs a huge victory and earns a Summer Supercard showdown?

But before the bell rings, Velvet grabs a mic to tell Jenny she doesn’t belong here, that Stella doesn’t belong here, and Tasha- She doesn’t even know who Tasha is, actually, but she doesn’t belong here, either. The only woman in the ring that matters is the Allure’s Bada$$, Angelina Love, the TRUE #1 Contender! Angelina proved herself already when she pinned Kelly at Best in the World. Win-loss records leave out a lot, and Kelly knows Angelina didn’t need to cheat that night to win. But talking aside, the other three competitors uphold the Code of Honor, but don’t even worry about Angelina. The bell finally rings, and Jenny goes right at her!

Stella and Tasha fight while Jenny rains down rights on Angelina! Angelina and Jenny roll out of the ring and Angelina kicks back. Jenny forearms but Angelina kicks again. Stella whips Tasha but Tasha runs Stella over. Tasha brushes herself off and runs, but Stella keeps up. Tasha and Stella trade hip toss blocks while Angelina and Jenny trade apron bumps. Stella rolls Tasha but Tasha arm-drags back. Stella arm-drags Tasha now, but Angelina kicks Jenny away. Angelina is on Stella with a sleeper, but Stella kicks Tasha away. Angelina throws Stella down by her hair, and The Allure cheers her on as she whips Stella into a corner. Stella runs into Tasha, then Angelina dropkicks them into each other. Angelina throws Stella out and runs, but into Jenny’s SPEAR! Cover, TWO!

Tasha throws Jenny out fast and stares down with Angelina. Tasha flexes but it doesn’t impress Angelina. Angelina ties up with Tasha to a headlock. Tasha powers out but Angelina runs her over. Things speed up and Tasha shows agility to hip toss Angelina down! Fans fire up as Tasha whips. Angelina reverses and scoops to a spinning sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Tasha fires forearms back and whips, but Angelina reverses. Tasha goes up and over and rolls, to drop toehold Angelina down. Angelina gets clear of the basement dropkick but Tasha gets clear of the elbow drop. The two stare down as fans cheer.

Tasha eggs Angelina on, and the two start trading forearms. Tasha gets an edge and fires off! She runs but Mandy trips her up! A Fatal 4 Way means no disqualifications, but the referee tells the Allure they’re EJECTED! Mandy is upset and Velvet just shrugs it off as they take Foxxy with them. Angelina is a bit more concerned now that she’s all alone as ROH goes to break.

ROH returns and Tasha waistlocks Angelina. They roll to a cover, TWO! Stella throws Tasha out to roll Angelina, but Jenny breaks it. Jenny kicks Stella out to then La Magistrol Angelina, TWO! Jenny stays on Angelina in a corner for a back elbow and whip. Angelina reverses but Jenny dodges to send Angelina into the post! Jenny dropkicks Stella back out and goes out to join her. They start trading hands, but Tasha slingshots out to take them both down! Fans fire up but now Angelina climbs up top. Angelina LEAPS to crossbody them all down! This is the top tier talent Kelly has wanted to see. But speaking of, Angelina dares Kelly to come closer. Kelly heads closer to the ring, and stares Angelina down the whole way. But this keeps Angelina seeing Jenny, Stella and Tasha all get back in the ring.

Jenny clubs Angelina, and has help from Stella! They DOUBLE POWERBOMB Angelina down! But then Tasha double clotheslines Jenny and Stella down! Fans fire up behind the Boricua Badass as she fireman’s carries Stella. Stella fights out and drags Tasha into a sleeper hold clutch! Angelina kicks Jenny then hits a complete shot, to the Koji Klutch! Side-by-side submissions, but which one puts their victim out first!? Jenny and Tasha endures, and Jenny reaches for a ropebreak! The ref counts and Angelina lets her go. Meanwhile, Tasha sits up, and Angelina kicks Stella off her! Jenny kicks Angelina down, then goes to Tasha for a German Suplex! Jenny kicks Stella for a snap suplex! She runs at Angelina but gets the Botox Injection! Angelina covers, but Stella breaks it!

Stella scoops but Angelina slips out and shoves, Botox Injection for Stella! Tasha throws Angelina out to get Stella with a CUTTER! Cover, Tasha wins!!

Winner: Tasha Steelz, by pinfall; NEW #1 Contender to the WOH World Championship

Angelina ain’t happy about it, but the Boricua Badass got the better of her fair and square, okurrr? Can Tasha make it a one and done when it comes to title matches? Or will Kelly still be the champion when she leaves Toronto?

But wait, the lights drop down. And a rather creepy little video plays. Dolls sit in a line, but a hand reaches out to take the man. To chew him up and spit him out! Because the MANEATER is here! And Maria Manic has appeared behind Tasha and Angelina! Angelina saw this once before, she gets away again. But Tasha shows no fear! Security hurries to keep this fight from happening, but Maria just manhandles them like she did at Best in the World! She takes one and tosses him from the ring, then clotheslines another! But she slaps the third around to then put him in the torture rack! And then she dumps him out onto the other two! The fourth man gets the double hand choke slam! Maria Manic made mince meat of five grown men, but is she going to devour the entire WOH Division?

 

ROH hears from Rush.

El Toro Blanco is “sick and tired” of Dalton Castle. Rush whooped The Peacock in 15 seconds. But if Castle wants to mess with his familia, well perro, the bull is going to end him for good! Rush didn’t come to ROH to play, he came to become the best! “Nothing happens unless I say so.” When and where will this grudge match happen? Mass Hyteria on July 21st! A wild weekend is coming for ROH, who survives the mayhem and hysteria on the way to the Summer Supercard?

 

Six Man Tag: The Kingdom VS Jay Lethal & The Bouncers!

Matt Taven vows to prove he’s the king, while TK O’Ryan and Vinnie Marseglia vow to show who are the real elite tag team wrestlers in ROH. But they’ll have to prove it with actions, not words, as they take on their rivals all at once! Will the Franchise Player gain major momentum towards Manhattan when he sides with former foes in Brian Milonas & The Beer City Bruiser?

But given the apparent collusion involving Kenny King and timekeeper Amy Rose, Jay Lethal asks that she take her leave. Amy obliges, not wanting to be a source of controversy for this main event. The Kingdom then make their entrance, and ROH takes another break.

ROH returns and Lethal starts against the Horror King. The bell rings and they tie up right away! Vinnie powers Lethal to a corner but the ref backs him off. Vinnie throws a forearm but Lethal gives it back and we have a brawl! Lethal starts backing Vinnie down but Vinnie knees low and puts Lethal in a corner. Vinnie chops but Lethal CHOPS right back. They trade more CHOPS, and Vinnie wants Lethal to give him more. Lethal CHOPS Vinnie like he wants, but Vinnie just trash talks and knees low. Vinnie runs but misses in the corner, Lethal hip tosses and cartwheels to dropkick! Vinnie hurries to the Kingdom’s corner and tags to TK. Brian “Brawler” Milonas tags in and ties up with the Sassy Wild Horse.

Milonas shoves TK all the way back to his corner! TK runs back out but skids to a stop as Milonas towers over him. TK says he wants Lethal? Milonas gives TK what he wants, but he does tag Lethal a bit hard. Lethal shakes it off and ties up with TK. TK headlocks but Lethal powers out, only for TK to run him over. TK runs and runs Lethal over again, but things speed up. Lethal hurdles but his hip toss is blocked to TK’s own hip toss. Lethal boots TK back but runs into an elbow. TK runs but into that hip toss and cartwheel dropkick! Lethal has gotten two Kingdom members with that, and then tags in Bruiser. Taven tags in and Bruiser dares him to bring the fight. Taven has Bruiser calm down, and fans chant “Melvin! Melvin!” But again, The Kingdom wants Lethal.

Taven wants Lethal and even offers a free shot. Bruiser says Taven’s too scared to fight a real man. Taven just wants Lethal, and again gives a free shot. Lethal tags in but he sees the sucker punch coming. The two fire off haymakers and CHOPS on each other! Lethal whips but Taven reverses, but Lethal gets under TK at the ropes. Vinnie rushes at Lethal on the outside but Lethal dodges to CHOP! TK jumps but Lethal punches him out of the air, only for Taven to wreck Lethal with a dropkick! Taven drags Lethal up and throws him into railing, then The Kingdom attacks like piranha! The Bouncers protest but The Kingdom put Lethal in. Taven stomps and chokes Lethal to then tag in Vinnie. The Kingdom mugs Lethal with stomps then Vinnie rains rights down. Fans duel as ROH goes to one more break.

ROH returns once again, and The Kingdom continues to mug Lethal. Taven stomps Lethal down then drags him up to put in the Kingdom’s corner. Taven CHOPS Lethal then tags in Vinnie. Vinnie tags in TK, and the two whip Lethal. Lethal reverses to whip Vinnie, but TK waistlocks him. Lethal boots Vinnie then slips out of TK’s suplex. He ducks them both to tag in Bruiser! Bruiser rallies with the power of “BEER! BEER!” He punches Taven, uppercuts Vinnie, and uppercuts TK! Bruiser brings TK in for the sidewinder DDT! Cover but Vinnie breaks it! Vinnie fish hooks Bruiser but Bruiser bites the fingers. Oh but wait, Bruiser can’t bite, “I ain’t got no teef!” Bruiser brings TK up but TK CHOPS! TK kicks low and DDT’s Bruiser! But Milonas tags in to rally on The Kingdom! He even back drops Taven!

Milonas falls back to senton on Taven! Vinnie runs but gets flattened with a crossbody! Cover, but Taven breaks it! Taven fires off strikes on Milonas, but Milonas powers Taven to a fireman’s carry. TK leaps but into Milonas’ arms! Milonas gives them a Fall Away Samoan Drop combo! Fans fire up with the Mastodon, but also for Lethal as he DIVES onto Vinnie! Lethal gets back in to DIVE onto TK! And of course, he runs and DIVES onto Taven! The trifecta has been completed! Vinnie runs in to fight with the Bouncers, and whips Bruiser, but Bruiser reverses. TK tags in before Vinnie gets fed to the Scrapbuster! TK climbs and leaps, but into Bruiser’s arms. Milonas sandwiches TK with Bruiser, and it even sends Bruiser stumbling. But Bruiser comes back while Milonas climbs, and it’s the Last Call leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers and Lethal win!

Winners: Jay Lethal & The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning

The winner of Guerrillas of Destiny VS The Briscoes in the ROH World Tag Team Championship match at Manhattan Mayhem better watch out, because some big competition is meeting them at Mass Hysteria. Who will The Bouncers get to toast with on the 21st?

But wait, Taven doesn’t let Lethal go, and gives him CLIMAX to the floor!! The Bouncers hurry to Lethal’s side as The Kingdom retreats. Taven raises the title, but will he still be holding onto the gold after Manhattan Mayhem?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A pretty good go-home with major developments for a busy weekend coming up for ROH. Not only is Manhattan Mayhem on Saturday, July 20th, but now there’s another event on July 21st with this “Mass Hysteria” in Lowell, Massachusetts. Of course, this is all on top of ROH TV finally referencing Best in the World, but the usual mess was mostly ironed out. Rush has a solid promo, and his grudge match with Castle will surely be longer and better than the shocking 15 second squash at G1 Supercard. What’s odd is that while Kenny King beat Lethal at BitW in their Best of 3, he’s doing a story with Rhett Titus next? Lethal’s using his contractual rematch, sure, but is this story with Rhett going to delay Kenny’s shot at Taven more? Is Rhett going to turn so that we more or less get an All Night Express reunion? It is both intriguing yet confusing as to what is going on here.

The Women’s Fatal 4 was a great match, and what a great surprise to see the younger Tasha Steelz getting this chance. I thought it was going to be Angelina Love, but at the same time, even Angelina Love seems like an odd choice from out of The Allure. But I suppose with now women’s tag titles in ROH (yet?) all three could try going after Kelly in turn. And then we got to see Maria Manic at the same time tonight, that was a great way to debut! The Maneater will surely be a contender, and a monster for the Allure to worry about while they’re each taking turns against Kelly Klein. Kelly’s promo is obviously to put the company over, but for just the WOH Division in a vacuum, it is definitely heating up now with an addition like Manic.

And to end the show, we get a really good Six Man Tag, and obviously the goal for The Kingdom was to do as much as they could to Lethal so it’ll be easier for Taven in Manhattan. I am still disappointed the timing kept Jeff Cobb from becoming ROH’s top guy, but I again reference that the G1 Climax and Cobb going back and forth just wouldn’t be good for him or ROH. Lethal might as well dethrone Taven, joining Adam Cole as the only other three-time champ. Then we could get Lethal VS King 4 within a span of a few months, and maybe that story (which has an interesting twist with how it involves timekeeper Amy Rose) is what gives King his first world title reign, and makes him an ROH Triple Crown winner. Then we can circle back to King VS K I N G, Grand Slam Taven VS Triple Crown Kenny for the One True King of Honor!

My Score: 8.2/10


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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 5 A Block

KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?

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KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?

Shmoxley in the opening tag team match means we should start off fun. Tanahashi and Sabre are in the battle of, well, someone needs to get at least a point out of that.

Then we’ve got Ospreay and Ibushi who are banged up but most likely still going to be psychopaths in the ring. Let’s get ready for the carnage, I mean, no…I meant carnage.

Ratings:

  • Shota Umino & Jon Moxley vs Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura: Shooter wins via Fisherman Suplex Hold @5:45 – ***
  • Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb & YOSHI-HASHI vs Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson: YOSHI wins via Butterfly Lock @9:30 – ** 1/4
  • Tomoaki Honma, Ren Narita & Toru Yano vs Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @8:50 – ** 1/2
  • BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi vs Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @8:35 – ** 1/2
  • A Block: KENTA vs Lance Archer: Kenta wins via Game Over @12:00 – *** 
  • A Block: SANADA vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @18:10 – **** 1/4
  • A Block: Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Double Legged Cradle @10:15 – ** 1/2
  • A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Triangle Counter Pin @13:55 – *** 3/4
  • A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye Knee @27:15 – **** 3/4

 

Analysis:

Moxley and Ishii start off trying to kill one another. This is a great opener and the respective Young Lions have to pull their veteran off as to not incur a disqualification. The Young Lions then take the bulk of the match and Shota has definitely picked up a few mannerisms from Moxley that we slowly see him unlocking. This may be our evolution of Shooter, but for an opening match this was very fun and the fact Moxley and Ishii just want to fight added for a neat dynamic.

Juice and Cobb are both respectful Gaijin faces, so not a lot of heat for this match. Plus YOSHI-HASHI was in it, so I could’ve downed a few Valium and been more invested in staring at a wall. Pork Chop Sandwiches later, and YOSHI-HASHI wins with that awful Butterfly Lock. Great…I can now taste colors.

So Yano wanted to get him a piece of the Jay White on the down turn, but Jay tried to still play the calculating heel. Honma put in a bit of decent work but Narita was obviously the one sent out to eat the pin. Narita held his own against Yujiro and Chase, but Chase eventually stopped playing with his feud and hit the Package Piledriver to tie things up in a nice little bow.

Shingo took a hell of a beating in this match. Kanemaru played random interference and Taichi took Shingo to the woodshed. Naito also continued his distaste of Taichi and Suzuki while being a little protective of Shingo at points. Now being the unabashed fanboy of Shingo, yet also a subscriber to Holy Emperor weekly, I’m very torn about this whole thing. The match played up the G1 tensions and the LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun tensions very well, but my heart knows not which to root for.

Lance is a good foot taller than KENTA and that was the story of the first 75% of this match. Lance was shrugging off the strikes of our returning striker. KENTA was getting effectively crushed, until Lance pushed the anime comeback button and said “You’re fucking Hideo! That’s who you are! HIDEO!” – which prompted the anime comeback in KENTA. KENTA managed to even lift Lance for a few things, but relied heavily on the dropkicks and strikes. He couldn’t quite pull off the Go 2 Sleep, so he went to his Crossface submission, Game Over. And boy howdy, it was game over! (I will see myself out after that)

EVIL and SANADA have this brotherly rivalry in LIJ. Being former 2 time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions, familiarity is obvious. SANADA starts off the match quickly and this is definitely a match of quick bursts when the one gets an advantage. I guess they are transitioning SANADA away from the Paradise Lock since this is the second match where he had it mostly on, but “something happened” and the opponent gets out of the move. We get a bunch of great back and forth, but something that continues to plague SANADA is his limited moveset when it gets down to crunch time. EVIL pulled out a plethora of tricks, including using the referee as an anchor for the Magic Killer. Whereas, SANADA sticks to Dragon Sleeper variants, into Skull End attempt or a Moonsault. With how over SANADA is, I really expect him to start getting more crunch time maneuvers. EVIL wins and quickly wants to bury the hatchet by extending the LIJ fist bump. SANADA bumps fists, and all is fine in our ungovernable world.

Fale tends to have Okada’s number in tournaments, and he starts off by attacking him in the back and dragging him out. So we get a typical Bullet Club brawl with heel tactics and ref bumps, but Okada perseveres. Okada is able to lift Fale a few times, but can’t hit the Rainmaker, and wins via the wrestling move he tends to fall back on, the Double Legged Cradle.

Well both Tanahashi and Sabre come into this match 0-2, so there’s a level of desperation that both bring to the table. Sabre wrestled circles around Tanahashi, and Tanahashi just tried to keep up for most of the match. After countering the High Fly Flow, Sabre locks in a Triangle Arm Bar, but Tanahashi floats over for the bridging pin counter. The Ace finally has 2 points!

There have been well known injuries for both of these men, and they played into the story of the match well. Focusing on each other’s injuries, calling back to their Wrestle Kingdom match and just a generally high energy and high impact match. Watching this match, you have to assume one of them will die with their style, but it is damn entertaining. Everyone expected this to be a great match and it delivered.

Overall Score: 8/10

Well we had a lot of good storylines and matches that mostly paid off. Lance Archer has been doing great work, Fale and Okada was at least somewhat entertaining and the cripple fight in the main event was fantastic. The inner faction turmoil was now squashed, so we can have a nice tournament while The Ace gets a few points over the petulant British child.

So great show, great entertainment, and generally a good time. I can only hope the B Block carries equal weight.

Block A Standings:

  • Kazuchika Okada: 3-0 (6 Points)
  • KENTA: 3-0 (6 Points)
  • Lance Archer: 2-1 (4 Points)
  • EVIL: 2-1 (4 Points)
  • SANADA: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Will Ospreay: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Bad Luck Fale: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Kota Ibushi: 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Zack Sabre Jr: 0-3 (0 Points)


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