ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 343
ROH brings a whole lot of tag team action this week! The main event is a Tag Team Championship Contenders Gauntlet match, where the last team standing will challenge The Briscoes for the titles, and it includes The Kingdom and The Young Bucks! Plus, Frankie Kazarian VS Hiromu Takahashi to settle a long-standing grudge!
All images courtesy of the Fite.TV app and streaming service
- Frankie Kazarian VS Hiromu Takahashi; Takahashi wins.
- ROH World Tag Team Championship Contenders Gauntlet: The Young Bucks win and will challenge The Briscoes for the titles.
PLAY BY PLAY
Frankie Kazarian VS Hiromu Takahashi!
SoCal Uncensored’s Heavy Metal Rebel remembers the days when “Kamaitachi” was on the Addiction’s side. He also remembers when the Ticking Timebomb ditched The Addiction. After so much time has passed, will Kaz get back at Hiromu for leaving him and Daniels high and dry?
While making his way out to the ring, Hiromu takes notice of a fan’s Daryl the cat plushie and brings it to the ring with him. Kaz is annoyed as he has to make room for Hiromu to place the stuffed animal in the middle of the ring. Hiromu praises Daryl!
Daryl aside, fans are chanting for “Takahashi! Takahashi!” as Kazarian returns inside the ring. The bell rings without the Code of Honor and the two circle. They tie up and Kaz gets the waistlock but Hiromu gets the standing switch. Kaz breaks out to put on a wristlock but Hiromu reverses to his own wristlock. Kaz uses ropes to flip out of the hold then whip Hiromu, but Hiromu reverses. Things speed up as Kaz hurdles Hiromu, then he reverses the hip toss into a fireman’s carry bridge cover, ONE! Kaz goes for the legs but Hiromu pushes him away, Hiromu lies down as Kaz kips-up. Fans applaud as the two circle again.
Kaz talks trash to the fans, but Hiromu takes a time-out to again retrieve the Daryl doppelganger. Hiromu looks into the camera as he pretends to be a cat, cleaning its ears, but then he hurries into the ring as Kaz comes rushing out. Kaz swipes at Daryl, bane of his existence, but gets blasted by Hiromu’s running dropkick! Hiromu goes to the apron and leaps but Kaz gets clear. Hiromu turns around and ducks Kaz’s clothesline, only to run into his boot. Kaz grabs Hiromu and snap suplexes him into the barriers! Hiromu writhes while Kaz gets into the ring to embrace the heat. Hiromu clutches his ankles while we go to break.
ROH returns as Kaz chokes Hiromu against the ropes. The referee counts and Kaz backs off, but then slingshots over to give Hiromu an uppercut. Kaz taunts the fans before returning to the ring. He drags Hiromu up but Hiromu fires off chops. Kaz knees low then suplexes Hiromu up, but Hiromu slips out and lands on the apron. Hiromu punches Kaz a couple times, then shoulders in, but Kaz hits him with a guillotine leg drop! Hiromu hangs from the ropes, so Kaz springboards to give him another guillotine leg drop!
Cover, TWO, but Kaz keeps his cool. He talks trash and toys with Hiromu before bringing him up for a back suplex to backbreaker! Hiromu writhes again, but Kaz toys with him more. Kaz brings Hiromu up again for haymakers, then whips him corner to corner. Hiromu boots Kaz back then runs, but into Kaz’s kick. Kaz runs, but Hiromu follows to rally with forearms and elbows. Hiromu kicks, kicks and kicks Kaz down, then covers, TWO! The fans rally for Hiromu and Hiromu fires up. He whips and reels Kaz in, but Kaz dodges the lariat. Hiromu gets him with a back elbow instead, then runs, dodging Kaz to throw him with a huricanrana!
Kaz gets to a corner and Hiromu hits him with a clothesline. Hiromu rolls Kaz out then runs for a low dropkick. Kaz rolls out of the ring but Hiromu gets to the apron. Hiromu runs for the leaping dropkick! Down goes Kaz and Hiromu fires up! Hiromu drags Kaz up and into the ring, cover, TWO. Kaz slowly stands but Hiromu shouts “Timebomb!” Hiromu lifts Kaz in a fireman’s carry, but Kaz fights his way off. Kaz gets the waistlock but Hiromu bucks him off. Kaz runs back in but Hiromu puts him on the apron. Hiromu swings but Kaz ducks and shoulders back in. Kaz slingshots in for the DDT! Cover, TWO!
The fans chant for Hiromu, but Kaz drags him up and whips. Hiromu reverses and runs in, but Kaz slips out to the apron and hotshots Hiromu back! Kaz climbs up to springboard but Hiromu ducks under. Hiromu runs at him but Kaz puts him back on the apron. Hiromu slingshots in, but Kaz gets him with a cutter!
Cover, TWO! Kaz can’t belive it, and gets mad at the referee. Hiromu stirs while Kaz pushes the referee, and the referee pushes back and Hiromu rolls Kaz up! TWO, but Hiromu is right on Kaz with haymakers. Hiromu whips Kaz corner to corner but Kaz boots him down. Cover but Kaz puts his feet on the ropes, TWO! Kaz really can’t believe that, but he drags Hiromu up by his hair. He slaps Hiromu, then goes to run but Hiromu rolls him up again! TWO, into small package, TWO! Kaz swings but Hiromu ducks, SUPERKICK! Hiromu runs and takes Kaz off his feet with a fiery lariat! Fans fire up while Kaz staggers. Hiromu lifts him into the fireman’s carry, then swings him out for the Timebomb driver!
Cover, Hiromu wins!
Winner: Takahashi, by pinfall
The Timebomb shows the Heavy Metal Rebel that he’s more than just eccentric. With wins like this, can Hiromu find himself in contention for a singles title in ROH?
The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas are attacking Team Coast 2 Coast!
Specifically, the Keg Man and the Kingpin are clubbing and clobbering Leon St. Giovanni! Bruiser stands LSG up against a wall to then flatten him with a body splash, then keeps him up so Milonas can do the same! They leave LSG writhing on the ground, having eliminated one team even before tonight’s Tag Team Gauntlet. Will the other teams be able to win once the bullying behemoths enter the match?
Caprice Coleman joins commentary.
The Most Versatile Man in Sports Today joins Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana to watch this massive tag team main event!
ROH World Tag Team Championship Contenders Gauntlet!
And speaking of massive, the first team out is literally the biggest team in all of ROH, Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas!
Normally being first out in such a match is a disadvantage, but this duo doesn’t seem bothered by it at all. They used the Human Rocket, Leon St. Giovanni, as an appetizer, will they feast on the other five- Well, four teams? But wait, Shaheem Ali still comes out for Team Coast 2 Coast!
He also has a microphone in hand. Ali looks at Bruiser & Milonas, and tells them, “You two think it’s a joke.” He saw what they did, jumping LSG backstage before this match, and they just assume Ali is going to back out. “You gotta be out your mind.” But he knows The Bruiser & Milonas only took Team C2C out because they’re scared! Ali isn’t afraid, he’ll take them both on! This Tag Team Gauntlet is starting out as a handicap!? That suits the big boys just fine, they exit the ring to flank Ali. Ali slips into the ring, the bell rings, and it begins!
The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS Shaheem Ali!
Bruiser pursues Ali but Ali punches him away. Bruiser tumbles into Milonas, and Ali builds speed and FLIES!
Ali wipes Bruiser out but Milonas gets into the ring. Ali hops up and shoulders into the Kingpin, then slingshots over to run. He jumps but Milonas catches the crossbody, but Ali fights out with elbows. Fans rally with the endless elbows Ali gives Milonas, and Milonas falls back on his butt! Ali fires up and runs, and basement dropkick from the side. Milonas flounders but Bruiser is back. Ali sees him coming and counters with a low spinning backhand. Ali uppercuts and has both big men in the corners. He runs in but only gets Milonas as Bruiser gets clear. Bruiser runs at Ali but Ali gets around to a waistlock. Bruiser gets the standing switch and feeds Ali to Milonas’ boot. Ali staggers, and is sandwiched by Bruiser & Milonas! Ali flops to the mat, and Bruiser finally stands in his team’s corner.
Milonas brings Ali up and whips him hard corner to corner, then brings Ali back over for the first actual tag of this match. Bruiser comes in and throws haymakers, then tags Milonas back in. Bruiser whips Ali to a corner but Ali boots him back. Ali runs out but Bruiser back drops him onto Milonas’ shoulder, and Milonas brings Ali up for a sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO, and neither Bruiser nor Milonas can believe it. Milonas argues with the ref but then goes back to stomp Ali at the ropes. Without a partner, Ali is all alone while we go to break.
ROH returns to Ali fighting back but being kept down in Bruiser’s & Milonas’ corner. Milonas runs in but Ali dodges and kicks back. Bruiser tags in but Ali sees him coming. Ali gives him forearms and elbows, then a leaping heel kick. Milonas comes back but Ali rocks him with a headbutt! Milonas staggers back and sits down in a corner but Bruiser gets up and runs at Ali. Ali baits him into another corner, and Bruiser bounces off buckles, then Ali adds a complete shot! Cover, TWO! Ali keeps going, climbing up top, but Milonas clubs him with a forearm. Milonas climbs up to join Ali while Bruiser climbs up another corner. Milonas SUPERPLEXES Ali, Bruiser FROG SPLASHES! The Last Call combination!
Cover, three count, Bruiser & Milonas eliminate Ali.
Elimination: Coast 2 Coast
They took out LSG before the match and finish up by taking out Ali here. The next team up in the Gauntlet is… “OH! HELL! YEAH!!” It’s Big Rhett & Little Willie!
The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS The Dawgs!
They may not have gotten anything for the 16th Anniversary Show, given how wasted they were, but Bruiser & Milonas are “two guys just as drunk as us!” Why have a match when they can have a beer? The Dawgs offer a drink to Bruiser & Milonas, and the big beer belly boys accept. They also down those drinks in about two seconds and then throw hands on The Dawgs! Bruiser & Milonas whip Ferrara & Rhett, respectively, but The Dawgs dodge the haymakers to spit beer in their faces! Rhett knocks Bruiser’s & Milonas’ heads together, then so does Ferrara. Then Rhett knocks Milonas’ & Ferrara’s heads together. Milonas stays standing, and runs at The Dawgs, but the Dawgs dump Milonas out. The Dawgs shove each other, then Rhett launches Ferrara at Bruiser. Bruiser catches Ferrara easily, but Rhett dropkicks Bruiser in the face! Cover, ONE, and things sort out to the teams’ corners.
Rhett tags Ferrara in, and The Dawgs cross Bruiser’s arms before whipping him backwards into buckles. Ferrara wants to whip Rhett in, but Rhett stops that. Rhett slaps some sense into Ferrara before whipping Ferrara in for the shoulder tackle. Ferrara runs at Rhett but Rhett redirects him in for another shoulder tackle. Ferrara wants to try again, Rhett spins him around an extra time, but Bruiser gets out of the way, sending Ferrara into buckles! Bruiser rocks Rhett with a right but Ferrara boots Bruiser. Rhett rocks Bruiser back while Ferrara hops up, Ferrara leaps for a flying huricanrana!
However, it sends Bruiser all the way to his corner and Milonas tags in. Ferrara doesn’t know that and Bruiser yanks him into buckles. Milonas steps up to Ferrara and gives him repeated hip attacks! He tags Bruiser back in, Bruiser knocks Rhett off the apron before giving Ferrara the cannonball!
Cover, TWO! Fans chant for “Little Willie”, and he starts slapping Bruiser. But Bruiser only has to slap Willie once to knock him down. Ferrara keeps trying but Bruiser chops him back into the corner. Milonas tags in and stomps Ferrara. Milonas brings Ferrara up and taunts Rhett before throwing Ferrara overhead! The Dawgs are in trouble while we go to break.
ROH returns to fans rallying for Ferrara. Milonas toys with him, so Ferrara bites Milonas’ fingers! Ferrara then crawls under, but Milonas brings him up. Ferrara sunset flips over, but there’s no way Little Willie can bring down Mastadon Milonas. Milonas jumps but Ferrara gets clear of his rear, hot tag to Rhett! Big Rhett rallies, big forearm to Bruiser and big enziguri to Milonas. Rhett gets around and knees Milonas low, then runs to boot him high. Milonas stays standing so Rhett unloads haymakers and chops. Milonas shoves but Rhett dodges to rock him with another right. Bruiser returns as Rhett runs again, and rocks Rhett with a right of his own! Bruiser whips Rhett corner to corner but Rhett goes up and over to then monkey flip Bruiser! Ferrara returns to leap from the apron, and tornado DDT Bruiser to the ground!
Fans fire up for The Dawgs as Milonas stands up. Milonas runs at Rhett but misses, Ferrara runs in to hit Milonas with a big back elbow. Rhett runs in to add on a helluva kick. Ferrara becomes the step stool, for Rhett’s bicycle kick to table top Milonas down! The Dawgs fire up while Milonas stirs. Rhett tags in Ferrara and Ferrara climbs while Rhett fetches Milonas. But Rhett can’t suplex Milonas up for the finisher! Milonas back drops Rhett then rocks Ferrara. Milonas climbs up to join him, SUPERPLEX! He covers while Bruiser keeps Rhett away, three count, Bruiser & Milonas eliminate The Dawgs.
Elimination: The Dawgs
That’s two teams in a row for ROH’s biggest tag team, and we’re now halfway through this gauntlet. But there’s no rest for the wicked, out come… The Motor City Machine Guns!
The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS The Motor City Machine Guns!
And the former ROH World Tag Team Champions bring the fight to the exhausted hosses!
Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley throw hands on Bruiser & Milonas, but Milonas knocks Shelley down with one body shot. Sabin runs but Bruiser follows, to then flatten Sabin with a crossbody! Milonas adds the spinning back senton! Shelley stands up but Milonas is right on him. Milonas picks Shelley up and Bruiser runs in for a dropkick-started sidewalk slam! The MCMG are down while Bruiser & Milonas somehow have energy to spare. Milonas gets Sabin with those hip attacks, then Bruiser runs in, but Sabin dodges the cannonball! Milonas sees that and runs at Sabin, but Sabin dumps him out. Shelley returns and Bruiser goes after both MCMG, but then he runs into a drop toehold. Bruiser stays standing just on sturdiness, so Sabin runs to give him a bulldog! Then they hit Bruiser with double basement dropkicks.
The fans fire up while MCMG aim at Milonas. Shelley slingshots out, but Milonas catches him. Milonas puts Shelley on his shoulders but Sabin gets to the apron. Sabin gives Milonas a Penalty Kick, but then Bruiser rocks Sabin with a right hand! Bruiser goes out to the apron while Milonas holds the MCMG. Bruiser gets moving, but the MCMG get clear, that cannonball goes into Milonas!
The big men go down and MCMG take aim again. Bruiser stands up, but gets double SUPERKICKS! He still stands so they put him in the ring. Sabin puts Bruiser in a corner, and the MCMG give him the boot-kick combo. Shelley climbs while Sabin turns Bruiser around, for Skull & Bones!
Cover, MCMG eliminate Bruiser & Milonas!
Elimination: Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas
The former ROH World Tag Team Champions are the ones to finally eliminate the behemoth bullies, but now they’ll face… Matt & Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks!
The penultimate match-up is of two former ROH World Tag Team Champions! Fans erupt with excitement while we go to break.
The Motor City Machine Guns VS The Young Bucks!
ROH returns and these two teams are face to face in the ring with streamers everywhere. The ring is cleared while the fans start up the Terminator drums. Both teams are very familiar with each other, so they skip the formalities and go right to brawling! All four men throw hands fast and furious, and the Bucks get MCMG in opposite corners. The Bucks whip Sabin & Shelley at each other, but MCMG do-si-do and run back at the Bucks. The Bucks dodge but so do the MCMG, and back again, it’s the Bucks who get the double corner clotheslines! Fans applaud while the Bucks high-five, and then the fans chant “The! Elite! The the Elite!” as Matt helps Nick acrobatically crossbody onto Shelley.
Sabin runs at the Bucks but gets double kicks for it. Nick sweeps the legs while Matt runs and comes in with the basement dropkick. Matt’s back bothers him, though, he still hasn’t been able to let his body recover. But that doesn’t matter right now, he whips Nick at Shelly in a corner. Shelley boots Nick back, then boots Matt. Nick tries again but gets caught, Sabin returns and Shelley helps him to the apron. Shelley gives Nick a buckle complete shot, then Sabin climbs up to hit Matt with a missile dropkick. Fans are mixed over cheering and jeering the MCMG. Shelley keeps Nick in a corner while Sabin whips Matt in, Shelley drop toeholds Matt into Nick’s groin! Then Shelley’s boot grinds Matt’s head deeper in! Shelley even blows snot on the Bucks to add insult to injury.
Sabin drags Matt up and hoists him onto Nick’s shoulders for a Tree of Woe. Both Bucks are stuck in the corner, both MCMG run in, Sabin boots Nick while Shelley basement dropkicks Matt!
The Bucks tumble down, Nick slumping all the way out of the ring. Shelley puts some stank on his right hand, then brings Matt over to Sabin for the tag. Shelley swings on Nick but Nick hits him first. Sabin uses Shelley as a step stool to dropkick Nick down before he can enter. Matt revives and throws hands on the MCMG! Matt runs but into the Dream Sequence: atomic drop to dropkick to half-Muda and another dropkick! Fans are fired up, Sabin covers, TWO! Sabin keeps on Matt with a chinlock, but Nick rallies the fans. Matt feeds off that energy and fights his way out. Matt runs but Shelley trips him up. Shelley drags Matt out of the ring, but Matt SUPERKICKS him away!
Matt gets up and shoulders into Sabin, then slides under. Sabin goes after Matt, Matt standing switches but Sabin elbows Matt away to then elbow Nick down. Matt dodges Sabin and wheelbarrow, victory roll facebuster! Nick returns to his corner and Matt crawls that way, but Shelley goes after Nick! He yanks Nick off the apron, but gets a SUPERKICK like earlier! Nick gets back up, Matt gets the hot tag! Sabin runs at Nick but Nick shoulders in, then slingshots over for the facebuster.
Nick cartwheels to asai moonsault Shelley down, then runs back in to give Sabin a corner shining wizard. He keeps moving, and DIVES on Shelley. Matt is back and grabs Sabin, Nick helps him out with the Sliced Break, Sabin’s move! Nick adds another shining wizard, then both go out to Shelley to give him double SUPERKICKS! The Bucks have the fans all fired up, “The! Elite! The the Elite!” Nick tags in Matt and Matt drags Sabin up. Nick waits on the apron, but between Matt’s bad back and Sabin’s flailing, Sabin slips out to a facelock. Sabin tries to use Nick for the tornado DDT but Nick ducks, to then SUPERKICK Sabin off Matt. Matt SPEARS Sabin, and the Bucks combine for the springboard splash and standing moonsault combo!
Cover, TWO! The Bucks are surprised, but they don’t slow down. Nick rallies the fans again, and the two double whip Sabin. Sabin reverses but Matt goes up and over. Sabin blocks Nick’s kick and sends it at Matt, but Matt dodges, only for Sabin to SUPERKICK Matt! Nick SUPERKICKS Sabin back, then rushes at the returning Shelley. Shelley puts him on the apron and knocks him off with an elbow. Matt runs in but into Shelley’s cravat. Shelley runs for Sliced Bread, but Matt catches him into Tombstone position!
Nick hurries to the apron but Sabin quickly anchors his feet. Shelley slips out of the Tombstone but Matt gets him in the fireman’s carry! Nick kicks Sabin away then climbs up, More Bang for Your- No! Shelley’s knees catch Nick’s 450! And then Matt’s moonsault is tripped up by Sabin’s SUPER German Suplex! The fans fire up as Sabin and Shelley hurry to bring Matt up. MCMG want the same finish, but Nick trips Shelley up. Matt backslides Sabin, three count! The Bucks eliminate MCMG!
Elimination: Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)
One team of former ROH World Tag Team Champions advance while the other is gone! We know who the last team left is, but we go to break before their introductions.
The Young Bucks VS The Kingdom!
ROH returns, and yes, it is TK O’Ryan & Vinnie Marseglia who were lucky last place in this Gauntlet. The Sassy Wild Horse & Horror King made their way out while ROH was on commercial break, but they’re already in control of Matt Jackson. Replay shows it was thanks to Matt Taven distracting the Bucks while TK & Vinnie entered from the crowd and attacked from behind.
In the present, someone tosses in a chair? It’s Nick Jackson, of course, but the referee isn’t going to allow this match to get extreme. However, this does give the Kingdom an opening to stomp and choke Matt behind the referee’s back. Vinnie tags in and chokes Matt against the ropes, then bends him backwards. The referee counts and Vinnie lets go at 4, but TK gives Matt a cheap shot boot. Nick rallies the fans and TK mocks it all while Vinnie clubs Matt in the back. Vinnie trash talks Matt, then clubs him more before standing on that bad back. He bends Matt back then throws him down before giving Nick a cheap shot. Matt runs in but Vinnie knees him away. Vinnie runs and tilt-o-whirls, but Matt denies the leg sweep. Vinnie rolls Matt forward instead, then bends him back with a chinlock.
TK talks trash to the fans while Vinnie drives in knees to Matt’s spine. Fans chant for “The! Elite! The the Elite!” but Vinnie tags TK in. TK turns Matt around to drive in forearms, then tags in Vinnie. Vinnie runs side to side for the forearm smash, then another, then throws Matt into the corner, but Matt uses that to knock TK down! Vinnie still gives Matt another forearm, then hoists Matt up top. Nick rallies the fans again while Vinnie climbs up. Matt fights back, but TK has crawled under the ring, all the way to the Bucks’ corner. Matt fires off hands and sends Vinnie down, then adjusts to hit the Macho Elbow! He can’t cover, so he crawls for his corner instead. TK lurks and trips Nick up just as Matt leaps over!
The Sassy Wild Horse mockingnly reaches to tag Matt, but mocks the fans a little too long, Matt SUPERKICKS TK down! Vinnie stands up and runs in, but into Matt’s boots. Matt hops up, and gives Vinnie a corkscrew stunner! Nick returns and Matt fires himself up. Matt crawls, as does Vinnie, hot tags to TK and Nick! Nick rallies on The Kingdom with kicks and elbows, then a Shining Wizard into the bulldog and clothesline! Fans fire up while The Kingdom regroup. Nick sees them, runs, and JUMPS!
He takes The Kingdom down, then puts TK back into the ring. Nick climbs up and takes aim, but TK rolls out of the ring. Nick hops down, and decides to go out to the apron, where he roundhouses TK! But that’s not all, he gives TK an apron German suplex! Nick puts TK back in the ring and fires up, but Vinnie grabs his feet. Nick stomps on Vinnie’s hands then hits the tornado DDT to the floor! He keeps going, shoulders in on TK and slingshots over for the sunset flip and Cease Sharpshooter!
TK endures the hold, Vinnie comes in and throws furious right hands. But Nick holds on! He glares Vinnie down, so Vinnie goes and gets his hatchet! The referee stops him from using the weapon, and even confiscates it. However, that still leaves the baseball bat! Vinnie jabs Nick in the ribs with the slugger, and TK rolls Nick up, TWO!? The screw job didn’t work! TK wants his bat and Vinnie tosses it to him, but Nick ducks the swing to tag in Matt! Matt rallies on the Kingdom with right hands back and forth between Vinnie & TK. TK clubs Matt in the back and that stops that. The Kingdom double whip Matt but Matt breaks the line to double clothesline them down!
Matt is all fired up but still very stiff. He goes to lift TK but that back limits him. The fans rally for him, but Matt still can’t get TK all the way up. When Matt finally does, Vinnie chop blocks his legs out! The Kingdom drag Matt up and throw him out. TK drags Nick in to watch Vinnie pull pads off the floor! But Vinnie takes too long enjoying the moment, because Nick breaks free and SUPERKICKS TK! Nick then goes to the apron and Penalty Kicks Vinnie down. Nick puts Matt back in the ring and the fans chant “Young Bucks! Young Bucks!” Matt goes after TK, but that bad back slows him down again. Nick helps Matt with the Tombstone scoop then hurries back to the apron. Nick springboards, Five Star Meltzer Driver!!
Cover, The Young Bucks win!!
Winners: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Matt pinning
The Bucks are victorious! They overcome the Horror King & Sassy Wild Horse to earn themselves an ROH World Tag Team Championship match! They will challenge #DemBoyz, Jay & Mark Briscoe, in the near future. Will the Bucks end the Briscoe’s historic ninth title reign to begin their fourth? Or will the Briscoes continue to prevail in their war of Sandy Fork VS Everybody?
A really great night of action for ROH, even with just two matches and nothing else. The opening match of Kaz and Hiromu was great, even though I’m surprised it took this long for them to do something with that story. “Kamaitachi” leaving The Addiction was a long time ago, but I suppose with Hiromu hitting it so big upon returning to NJPW, there just wasn’t room in his schedule for a blow-off with either Kaz or Daniels. Hiromu going over here is great for his ROH career, and I think it’d be great if he got at least an ROH World Television Championship run within the next few months.
Then the Tag Team Gauntlet was of course incredible. It elevated all the regularly featured teams within the division, and not just for their in-ring abilities. Bruiser & Milonas are rising as a Heel team, and showed their endurance. Shaheem Ali showed grit as he toughed it out in a handicap against those two, while the Dawgs even established themselves as favorable Tweeners compared to Bruiser & Milonas. The MCMG VS Bucks was great as always, but The Kingdom are still top Heels in ROH with that sneak attack. I was surprised Taven didn’t stick around to interfere, but that’s been overdone so it actually turned out better that he didn’t. The Bucks go over in the end because they’re The Young Bucks, the best tag team across multiple promotions. Plus, now that they’re going Heavyweight in NJPW, they and The Briscoes could end up feuding over both ROH & NJPW belts.
My Score: 8.5/10
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.10 ~16TH NOVEMBER 2018
Another wonderfully in depth recap of this week in Pro Wrestling NOAH. How is the Global League going? Let’s see what else has been going on in NOAH.
CURRENT TOUR RECAP
NOAH were in Hiroshima on the 12th November; Hiroshima is a city of mixed emotion for NOAH, for some it is home, but for the promotion as a whole it has sad associations, as Mitsuharu Misawa died there in 2009.
Hitoshi Kumano, (a local bear), took charge of fundraising for the Heavy Rain Fund (Hiroshima was hit badly earlier in the year by floods, and the mascot got yelled at by Mitsuya Nagai). Nagai was wound up by Naomichi Marufuji as well, who held the ropes open for him, a tactic which served to wind Kenoh up too. It was also the event where Kotaro Suzuki got his win over HAYATA, and sat on the ropes holding the belt up to both Daisuke Harada and HAYATA. Kotaro Suzuki later said that HAYATA bought out his trump card in the previous match (“the Headache”), and so he bought out his too, and that he would be no match for him with his own number of various maneuvers which he would bring out in the title match. They had their final match before the championship match on the 17th in Osaka, and they will both go into the match with one victory each over the other in the build up for the challenge.
Fan support is very much on the side of HAYATA (who is not NOAH born unlike Suzuki who is seen as an outsider, despite being NOAH born) to bring the championship home.
Mitsuya Nagai clashed with Naomichi Marufuji, and was chopped to shreds. Marufuji said he looked like a “boiled octopus” afterwards. Katsuhiko Nakajima would dismiss Nagai as “small fish” on the 14th, but Nagai would break through the dark cloud on the 16th when he ended the winning streak of Kohei Sato.
Despite his fluke win and spazz out victory celebration against Takashi Sugiura, Kaito Kiyomiya suffered two defeats in a row; the first being against Atsushi Kotoge on the 14th and Cody Hall on the 16th. Kotoge, however, has been on a roll and defeated Go Shiozaki on the 16th.
In a rare moment on the 14th, Masa Kitamiya and Kenoh shook hands. Kitamiya said that he did it to acknowledge that he and Kenoh (who lost to him) had practically fought to the death for the win, and that he didn’t trust wrestlers who had no ambition. Speaking of Kenoh, during the huge tag on the 16th November, his victory over
Marufuji seemingly wasn’t enough, and he decided to get his face again.
Marufuji (now with both shoulders needing athletic support) just looked tired and like he’d had enough.
The show on the 16th November was a shift in the league; Kohei Sato, Kazusada Higuchi and Go Shiozaki had their perfect records beaten by Mitsuya Nagai, Mohammed Yone and Atsushi Kotoge, and Nakajima avenged his loss against Quiet Storm in Global League 2017.
As Global League is beginning to heat up, everyone is talking about not letting anymore victories slip through their fingers, but of course, not all matches can go to a draw, and someone has to lose. There can only be two finalists, and ultimately one winner.
Full recap of Global League 2018 so far, can be found here.
Noah will be back on Saturday 17th November at the Edion Arena in Osaka, (gong sounds at 18.30).
THE EVOLUTION OF KENOH
The upcoming “Wrestlers Directory” 2018 (basically a guide to who is who, what, and where in 2018) was previewed and Naomichi Marufuji and Kenoh were profiled with their changing looks over the years.
Kenoh made the following comments about his entry:
- His 2009 picture is ugly
- Like all trainees, he debuted with a shaved head. Says he didn’t used to cut it, and its awkward to look at it, says he didn’t think he had any money to cut it.
- It doesn’t really translate well, but Kenoh says he cut his hair in 2012 because it had been long for long enough. In another rough translation he says that he looks like a child of badboy parents, who has been forced to pose.
- Kenoh said about his expression that it doesn’t change, because in his every day life, he does not laugh a lot.
- In 2015, Kenoh says that “I admired him and went blonde, but I can no longer say I have the aspiration to be like him” (he is talking about Morishima, who very sadly, has let a lot of people down, including Kenoh).
YOSHIKI INAMURA ADDED TO THE NOAH ROSTER PAGE
At the moment there is not too much information on him apart from his birthday (November 18th 1992), his height and weight, blood type and birthplace (Otawara City in Tochigi Prefecture), date of debut and finisher. His finisher isn’t anything special at the moment, and doesn’t have a special name, being listed only as a “tackle”.
He doesn’t have a Twitter account yet.
CHRISTMAS AT MUSCLE GRILL
Naomichi Marufuji’s current restaurant MUSCLE GRILL in Tokyo will be having a Christmas party on the 22nd December. Naomichi Marufuji, Hi69, Tadasuke, Atsushi Kotoge and Junta Miyawaki will be attending, but obviously this depends on whether or not they manage to stay injury free.
Event is now full.
HAJIME OHARA IN CHINA
Hajime Ohara has missed some Noah dates as he is training the Eastern Hero Athletes in Shanghai, and also when they visit the Noah dojo in Saitama. Ohara is known to be a very strict trainer with a lot of emphasis on health and well-being, which goes further than working out as he is a big advocate for healthy eating and avoiding alcohol (although he does seem to have a weakness for cake); he has banned smoking during training sessions, forbidding his students to smoke while on breaks.
NOAH IN 2019
Noah have announced the dates for “Navigation for The Future 2019”. The tour will run from January 6th to Friday, February 1st. They have also announced their (provisional) Korakuen Hall schedule for 2019.
TAKESHI MORISHIMA UPDATE
There has been no real news following Morishima’s arrest earlier in the month, but further sad details have come to light about his behavior prior to the arrest and his living circumstances.
Morishima it seems was (and is) homeless and without any form of income, and was begging for drinks, even using the tactic of asking to drink with the bar staff as it meant he would be given free drinks.
The management company who were sponsoring his return had originally put him up in an apartment, which they paid the rent for. The deal was that Morishima would concentrate on his return, however, Morishima didn’t do this, and preferred alcohol to training. The President of the company, seeing that Morishima wasn’t giving anything in return despite repeated requests for him to change his ways, eventually lost his patience and told Morishima to pack up and leave.
Morishima, seemingly unconcerned about this, told him flippantly that he was drinking in Shinjuku, and if he wanted the keys, he should come and get them.
GHC BELT NEWS
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
- GHC Junior Champion: Kotaro Suzuki
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69
The winner of Global League 2018 will earn the right to challenge Takashi Sugiura for the GHC Heavyweight title, if he himself wins, Sugiura says that he will nominate Masato Tanaka as his challenger.
Kotaro Suzuki will defend the GHC Junior Heavyweight title against HAYATA on the 17th November at Edion Arena, Osaka.
The GHC Heavyweight Tag titles have not had a challenger as of yet, and probably won’t until after Global League wraps up. Mitsuya Nagai has hinted that he may challenge, but Saito said that he will not be granted a title shot. Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he was going to challenge after the Global League match with Saito, and said cryptically, he was “in the mood for shopping” (i.e., shopping around to see what deal is best).
The GHC Junior Tag Championship will be challenged for by Koji Kanemoto and Hiroshi Yamato on the 25th November at Korakuen Hall. Seiya Morohashi has also challenged for them, his partner at this time is as yet unknown, but it is thought it will either be TAMURA or Kouki Iwasaki.
- Atsushi Kotoge drinks “Revolutionary Coffee”
- Naomichi Marufuji sat on a wet bench wearing thin grey pants…
- There was a cat at the hotel in Ehime, much to YO-HEY’s delight
- Kaito Kiyomiya appears to be being fitted for tailored suits (long gone are the days of the oversize one thank god)
- Daisuke Harada celebrated his 32nd birthday on the 13th November (President Uchida did not even know it was his birthday!), and Yoshiki Inamura will celebrate his 26th birthday on November 18th, Takashi Sugiura bought him an early birthday cake and a small party was held at a restaurant Inamura had been taken out to by his seniors.
- Shu Nishinaga said Ally (the ring announcer) “whined like a child” for udon noodles.
- Naomichi Marufuji says he was disturbed by mosquitoes, in November, which woke him up at 2.30am
- Kenoh apparently went jogging in the Imperial Palace Gardens in Kyoto (a fan who saw him, thought he was a blonde delinquent fleeing the law before it was discovered it was Kenoh)
KING SHAMELESS CORNER
After weeks of silence. Takashi Sugiura is back, posting a picture of Masao Inoue holding an ice cream cone with white foam in it and labeling it “mood” and photographing erotic looking food.
I’ll leave it to your (and his) dirty imagination as to what exactly he meant by oysters being “erotic”…
The final night of Global League, 25th November, will be broadcast at 6pm on Saturday 8th December
The event on the 12th December, will be broadcast on the 15th December
The event on the 16th December, will be broadcast on the 22nd December
This is more than usual, and all seem to be going out on a weekly basis. This makes me wonder if the network are trying something out.
K-FORCE: music inspired by Katsuhiko Nakajima
ARTICLE: “Traces to Nowhere: the tragic story behind the Takeshi Morishima arrest”
News article on Takeshi Morishima’s drunken and chaotic life
Enjoy what I do? Help me do it full time.
IPW are the official vendors of Noah merchandise, please click here for shop
English translation of “Heir to the Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography) ~ work in progress
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Part 3!
NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling continues with an epic Triple Threat for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship! Can Kenny Omega defeat both Kota Ibushi AND Cody?
This coverage of King of Pro Wrestling will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found at http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody; Omega wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!
The Golden Lovers reunited and it feels so good. But Kenny Omega felt even better after finally becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! Omega promised his best friend a shot at the title. Omega and Kota Ibushi battled in the G1 Climax 28, and it would be the Golden Star who shined bright. However, The American Nightmare suggested something even more epic than just Golden Lover VS Golden Lover. Cody interjects himself into this match for a Triple Threat for the top title in NJPW. Will this match make the Golden Elite stronger? Or only serve to tear them apart all over again?
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody!
The Best Bout Machine, the Golden Star and the American Nightmare have all had their differences, but now they’re all on the same side. Or are they? Cody already has the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, on top of the NWA Worlds Championship and even a part in the ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championships. Perhaps Cody is just adding to his collection. Of course, he’ll have to get through both Golden Lovers to do it. Who will come out of this epic match as the best heavyweight in all of NJPW?
The three men make their entrances, the introductions are made and the belt is presented. Red Shoes does his check, and the match begins after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns as the three friends shake hands and hug to prove this is respectful. The bell rings and the three circle. They keep their eyes on each other, and Omega ties up with Cody first. Cody ties up with Ibushi at the same time, but he fights both Golden Lovers. Cody throws Ibushi out hard and focuses on Omega. He gets a headlock and Omega powers out. Cody runs Omega over, then things speed up. Cody slides under, kicks and drops for the uppercut. Omega bails out as Ibushi comes in. Ibushi and Cody tie up, and Cody gets a headlock. Ibushi powers out, Cody runs him over but Ibushi kips right up. Things speed up again and Ibushi dropkicks Cody down. Cody bails out and Ibushi builds up with the fans. Ibushi runs but Omega stands in his way.
The Golden Lovers talk but Cody goes after them both! Cody throws hands on Ibushi, then whips. Ibushi reverses and the Golden Lovers work together, roundhouse to Kotaro Krusher. Ibushi covers but Omega yanks him off. Omega covers but Ibushi yanks him off. Omega apologizes and says “Dozo (go ahead)”. Ibushi covers, TWO! Omega knew that would happen. He and Ibushi stand up but Cody knocks them into each other! Cody suplexes Omega and tosses him! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up while Cody fetches Ibushi on the outside. Cody suplexes Ibushi for the gordbuster! Cody goes back to Omega in the ring but Omega throws body shots. Omega runs but into the kitchen sink knee! Cody covers, ONE! Cody goes back to Ibushi, and suplexes Ibushi. Ibushi slips out and fires forearms. Ibushi whips Cody into railing, then runs in, only to be tossed up and over!
Cody leaves Ibushi behind, but Omega is ready with a kick and haymakers. Omega backs Cody to a corner, then chops. Omega whips corner to corner but Cody reverses and back drops Omega. Cover, TWO! Cody keeps his cool while fans rally up. Ibushi stirs in among the chairs while Cody springboards at Omega. Omega ducks under then huricanranas Cody on the return! Cody bails out and Omega fires up. The Terminator Drums begin, and Omega builds speed, to FLY! Omega gets just enough of Cody, and then puts him back in the ring. Fans rally for everyone as Ibushi returns. The Golden Lovers work together again. Omega says Cody, “You Can’t Escape!” Rolling senton, Ibushi shooting star, Omega moonsault, but then Omega grabs Ibushi for an electric chair! Ibushi slips out, and is just disappointed in his friend.
Cody watches as Omega apologizes, but this time Ibushi is ready. Ibushi elbows Cody away, but then Omega kicks Ibushi low. Omega whips Ibushi but Ibushi reverses. Ibushi runs in, but Omega goes up and over. Omega runs at Cody but Cody goes up and over, to then get Omega in the spinning powerslam! Cody runs at Ibushi but Ibushi goes up and over to hit Cody with a powerslam! Then the moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, focusing on Ibushi. All three men slowly sit up, and Ibushi brings Cody up. Cody pokes Ibushi’s eyes, then kicks Omega. Cody wants to work together with Omega, “We’re friends, too!” Omega admits that’s true, and they double suplex Ibushi. But then Cody rolls Omega up, TWO! Omega gets mad and the two start shoving. Then they start brawling! Cody SUPERKICKS, but runs into a chop!
Omega wants a snap dragon but Cody breaks free. Cody trips Omega and puts on a Figure Four! Omega slaps Cody, so Cody punches back. It’s a brawl inside the Figure Four, but Cody gets an edge. Omega gives it back, but here comes Ibushi! He kicks Omega, but Omega makes it an ankle lock! The submissions are linked, but Ibushi gets free. Ibushi then kicks Cody. He kicks at Omega, Omega ducks but Ibushi moonsaults! Cover, Cody breaks it while breaking his lock. The three men are still very even while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Ibushi is the first to stand. Cody is next so Ibushi goes after him. Ibushi whips Cody corner to corner but Cody goes up and over to roll up. Ibushi rolls through, misses the kick but moonsaults, onto knees! But then Cody walks into a Snap Dragon Suplex! OMega brings Ibushi up, Aoi Shoudou! Cody comes back but misses the Beautiful Disaster. Omega gives Cody another Snap Dragon, then he takes aim. BANG, Omega runs, but Ibushi intercepts with a missile dropkick! Cody hits Ibushi with one of his own, then he drags Ibushi up. Cody gives Ibushi an arm wrench and DDT, covers, TWO! Fans rally up again but Cody keeps his cool. Cody shows off his stamina by doing push-ups and flexing. He then drags Ibushi up again and clubs away on the arm.
Cody whips but Ibushi counters. Cody dodges to DIVE onto Omega! But then Ibushi runs, Golden Triangle stopped by Cody’s clubbing forearm. Cody drags Ibushi out, but Omega stops the Cross Rhodes. Cody shoves Omega away, then goes back to Ibushi. Ibushi kicks Cody away, Omega grabs Cody to powerbomb through the announce desk! Cody writhes amid the wreckage, but Ibushi jumps on Omega with a corkscrew moonsault! All three men are down on the outside! Ibushi is up first and he brings Omega up with him. Cody crawls out of the wreckage but Ibushi puts Omega in the ring. Ibushi takes aim, but he sees his friend can barely stand. He ditches the springboard, to look Omega in the eyes. Ibushi dares Omega to bring it on, and Omega fires himself up. The Golden Lovers tie up!
They break, they tie up again, then it’s a brawl of forearms! Omega hits, Ibushi hits, repeat. Omega staggers a bit but he still hits back. Ibushi staggers a bit but he hits back. Omega boots back, and Ibushi takes a moment to wipe his mouth. Ibushi boots, and Omega boots back. Ibushi boots again, and Omega checks his ear. Omega runs in but gets a boot, then a strike fest! Ibushi kicks but Omega blocks to CHOP. Omega then hits a Snap Dragon! Ibushi sits up but Omega is on him. BANG, but Ibushi is ready, only for Omega to kick away his clothesline. Omega wants another Kotaro Krusher but Ibushi slips out the back. Ibushi wants a German Suplex but Omega lands on his feet! V-Trigger blocked, but it comes back!
Ibushi still swings on Omega but Omega dodges. Ibushi dodges back, only to run into another V-Trigger! POISON-RANA! But Ibushi pops right up! To CLOBBER Omega! Both Golden Lovers are down, sore and dazed. Cody has returned to the apron while The Young Bucks can only watch on with intense focus. Ibushi stirs, and fans rally up. He says he’ll end it, and he climbs up top. Cody comes over to shove Ibushi down! Cody climbs up now but has to kick Omega away. Omega staggers, Cody hops, and hits a Destroyer! Cover, TWO!! Omega survives, and now Cody grows frustrated. Cody stands again, and waits for Omega to stand. Omega does, and Cody wants Dinn’s Fire. Omega slips out of it, heel kick tot he back of Cody’s head! Cody slumps in a corner, and Omega runs in, V-Trigger to the back!
Cody is hurting but Omega doesn’t stop. Omega hauls Cody up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Omega wants a full nelson, but Ibushi can be seen crawling in. Cody resists and fights back, but Omega clubs him back. Ibushi gets in and creeps over. Cody sends Omega down, but Ibushi’s right up! Omega pulls Ibushi down, climbs up, but Ibushi kicks Omega in the back! Ibushi drags Omega up, scoops, and goes to lawn dart, but Omega slips out. Omega kicks, powerbomb lift, and buckle bumps him into Cody’s back! Cody ends up in a Tree of Woe now, as Omega gives Ibushi a Death Valley Driver! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives, but Cody’s still stuck. Omega says BANG, and gives Ibushi a V-Trigger. Then electric chair, but Ibushi slips out to inverted suplex, Lawn Dart into Cody! Everyone’s down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again as the three men finally stir. Cody gets to the apron while Ibushi stands. Ibushi goes after Cody, wanting to German Suplex him back in. Omega sees this, hops up the other side, to then springboard to add a powerbomb to Ibushi’s German Suplex! Omega gets up while the other two are down, and he has two targets now. Fans rally up as he double guns, double BANG! He goes for Ibushi first, V-Trigger hits! Then to Cody, V-Trigger hits! Omega keeps on Cody with the electric chair, but Cody spins around and out, and he powerbomb lifts Omega. Cody throws Omega, and Ibushi uses that for his German Suplex! That’s usually a Golden Lovers move! Ibushi covers, but Cody breaks. Omega rolls away while Cody keeps on Ibushi with right hands. Cody then hits Omega with the Beautiful Disaster!
Cody fires up, and he goes outside to search under the ring. He doesn’t find what he wants on that end, though. He goes around the other side, and he finds a table! Cody brings it out and sets it up, but Omega has come after him. Omega clubs Cody but Cody bounces him off the wood. Cody goes back to Ibushi in the ring, and brings Ibushi up. He clubs away on Ibushi, and prepares a powerbomb. Ibushi resists, so Cody clubs him more. Cody gets Ibushi up for a Canadian rack, but Ibushi slips out. Omega returns to springboard, but Cody shoves him down! Omega falls through the table! At least it broke…
As for Cody, he just grins. He goes to a corner and climbs up. Cody aims at Ibushi, but Ibushi stops him with a forearm. Ibushi climbs up and has fans on his side. Ibushi hits the SUPERPLEX! But small cradle from Cody! TWO, and Cody springboards, only to get Ibushi’s kick! Ibushi brings Cody up, powerbomb lift, Golden Star sit-out! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his focus, but now Omega emerges from the wreckage. Cody resists as Ibushi brings up his wrists, then he dodges Kamigoye! Cody reels Ibushi in, but ends up in a straitjacket suplex! Bridging cover, but Cody keeps one shoulder off. Ibushi rolls around and brings Cody up, Kamigoye!! Cover, but Omega blocks Red Shoes’ hand! Omega keeps this match going, to Ibushi’s frustration. Omega tries to reason with him, but Ibushi just tunes him out. And then chops him!
Ibushi fires off palm strikes from all sides, so Omega has no choice but to hit back. Cody returns, but his chop doesn’t bother Ibushi at all. Ibushi CHOPS Cody and he’s down and out again! Omega fires off on Ibushi, but Ibushi just needs one strike to get back. They go back and forth with those palm strikes, but Ibushi kicks. Omega grabs the other leg, but Ibushi brings Omega around for a mount. Ibushi makes it a cover but Omega keeps his shoulders up. So Ibushi just starts the ground ‘n’ pound! Omega does his best to cover up but Ibushi finds openings. Omega hits back but Ibushi keeps hitting harder. Now Ibushi uses closed fists, Red Shoes reprimands that. Ibushi keeps going but Red Shoes brings Ibushi away. Red Shoes tries to talk sense into Ibushi, but Ibushi just gives Omega a knee! Ibushi covers, TWO!!
Omega survives, and Ibushi grows frustrated. Ibushi drags Omega up, but Cody drags Ibushi out! Cody goes after Omega now, Cross Rhodes! Cover, TWO as Cody gets out the way of those flying double stomps! Ibushi crushes Omega, and Cody throws Ibushi out. Cody goes back to Omega, waiting for him to stand. Omega does, Cody hits another Cross Rhodes!! Cover, TWO?! Omega survives by some sheer force of will! Ibushi slowly return, but Cody stands first. Cody kicks Ibushi down, then drags him up and in. Cody lifts Ibushi, and hits Dinn’s Fire!! Cover, but Omega breaks it just in time! Cody’s infuriated now, and he decides to “borrow” a chair! He realizes what he’s doing, and drops the chair. Fans applaud that, but then Omega decides to use his IWGP US title belt! But then he reconsiders it again.
Cody tosses the belt to Nick Jackson, and picks up the chair again! He brings the chair in and aims at Ibushi, but Omega shields his friend. Cody stomps Omega instead, and prepares the chair! Ibushi grabs it and takes it away. Then he roundhouses Cody down! Omega gives Ibushi a POISON-RANA! And the Butterfly Wings!! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi survives and flounders about, but Omega reloads. BANG, V-Trigger! Electric chair lift, ONE-WINGED ANGEL!! Cover, Cody is too late, Omega wins!!
Winner: Kenny Omega, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion
Omega apologizes profusely to his friend he did the most damage to. The Best Bout Machine still has his belt, but what of his best friends? We’ll see after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns…
Matt & Nick Jackson help check on Ibushi. Omega signals for water while ice packs are brought in. Matt fetches the water and helps refresh Ibushi. Omega holds Ibushi’s hand, in hopes Ibushi is okay. Ibushi finally stirs, which is a huge relief to Omega. Cody helps Omega bring Ibushi up slowly and carefully. Omega also signals for the mic. He receives the mic and his belt, and Red Shoes raises his hand to make the victory official. Cody leaves the ring for the moment while Omega speaks. “Just a moment. I’ll wait until Ibushi can stand up.” Fans applaud such honor, respect and compassion from the champion. Omega tells Cody that he should be in here, too. They’re all a team, so stand with them.
Cody, though reluctant, knows Omega won’t “talk on the mic until all the Elite members can stand together,” so he joins them again. “Okay, Ibushi, whenever you’re ready, we’ll stand up and close it out.” Ibushi sits up, and Omega takes that to mean he’s good. “Everyone, let’s all stand, not as the Bullet Club, but as The Elite.” Was this the first time the fans here have seen a triple threat? Perhaps for some. Well he won’t ask individually, but did they like it? Were they entertained? Yes, they were. It is thanks to the fans that this match became a reality. And thanks to NJPW, for that matter.
Of course, any other organization could try, but they can’t do it like them, in Elite Style. So he again expresses his appreciation. And finally, the Tokyo Dome main event is set, huh? There’ll be a press conference soon enough, so there isn’t much else to say. Therefore, “I must bid you adieu.” Omega hugs Ibushi, who now stands on his feet. Omega hugs Cody, because he also loves Cody and his dog. And of course, Omega hugs the Bucks, he loves them, too. And not to forget the Elite who aren’t here, he loves them, too. So good bye, and good night- Wait, Hiroshi Tanahashi is here?! The Ace and his Wrestle Kingdom 13 contract now stand ringside. Tanahashi joins Omega in the ring.
Omega tells Tanahashi, “we’re both pretty tired. So if you have something to say, this is your chance.” Omega hands Tanahashi the mic as fans chant “Go Ace!” Tanahashi tells Omega, “Kenny-kun, I’m angry.” About what? “Everyone was clapping, but don’t forget this is NJPW.” Guess he’ll be the one to tell Kenny, “your time is up.” This will be settled at the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi drops the mic but Omega picks it up. Omega is sure that the Tokyo Dome would chant “Go Ace”, but this is still Ryogoku. And here, it’s good bye and good night, BANG! Omega shrugs off Tanahashi’s cryptic ultimatum, but will he be able to shrug off Tanahashi’s wrestling? Or is Tanahashi predicting an end to start the New Year?
Cody notes that last year, Cody surprised Ibushi with a challenge for the Dome. No one likes to lose, but Cody swallowed his pride for friendship. It still leaves a bad taste, but Cody is excited for the future. You’re not supposed to make friends in wrestling, but here they are. Is Ibushi okay? Yeah, just sore. They’ll get him ice. Ibushi shakes Cody’s hand then the Bucks’. The Elite will support their leader. “Then after that, buckle up.” No one in the Elite knows what the future holds, but they know they’ll face it together. Omega has his match for Wrestle Kingdom, but where will the rest of The Elite end up?
An incredible hour for NJPW and AXS, and it’s great that it was just the Triple Threat. There is so much of wrestling today where The Bullet Club’s Elite are the center of it, from what stories they all have in NJPW and ROH to who WWE eagerly wants to have for themselves. It was very fitting for Cody after all the action to say that 2019 could be a wild ride that still isn’t 100% certain, and we’re seeing that now in real-time with talks of all the contracts for The Elite. Whatever this insanely over collection of wrestlers chooses, I know their fans will follow, regardless of reaction.
As for the match in question tonight, it truly was epic. This probably gives whatever was the best triple threat ever a run for its money. It went the distance of 43 minutes, and it made everything count. The Golden Lovers working together, Cody using them against each other physically, and then eventually Omega and Ibushi having no choice but to fight each other, just brilliant stuff. And what makes it all even better is that at the end of the match, they’re all still friends. They remember the point of the match, they understand each other’s positions, and they know to stick together because they’re stronger together. Omega wins and now Omega VS Tanahashi is pretty much finalized. If Tanahashi ends up winning, then his line tonight will be true because it likely means Omega is going elsewhere. Only time will tell.
My Score: 8.8/10