NJPW’s 2018 New Japan Cup has reached the finals! It will either be The Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi, or the Submission Master, Zack Sabre Jr, that will win the cup and earn the right to challenge a top champion of their choosing! Will Tanahashi win to challenge Minoru Suzuki? Or will ZSJ make him #JustTapOut?
This review of The New Japan Cup 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins and will challenge Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Sakura Genesis.
PLAY BY PLAY
AXS TV and NJPW review the finalists’ paths to this moment.
The Once in a Century Talent’s participation in this year’s New Japan Cup was unsure, given his injury at the hands of the Man with the Worst Personality, THE Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki won and now has the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Hiroshi Tanahashi got through Taichi, Bad Luck Fale and even his teammate in Juice Robinson to get here. Should Tanahashi win, it’s almost certain his target would be Suzuki for sweet revenge. Meanwhile, Suzuki’s own protege, Zack Sabre Jr, proved he is both a Technical Wizard and a brutal brawler in his own right. ZSJ defeated Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi and Sanada all through use of his unlimited arsenal of submissions.
ZSJ already has a victory over Tanahashi from the G-1 Climax last year, but Tanahashi also has a win over him in their own IWGP Intercontinental Championship match. This will be the rubber match between the two, who will win it all and call out the champion of their choice?
Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku!
As always, Taka Michinoku speaks before the match. “The finals of the 2018 New Japan Cup. Zack Sabre Jr. VS Hiroshi Tanahashi. Who wins?!” Fans choose Zack. “And who will take the cup?” Fans again choose Zack. Because the winner will be the man who can finish anyone anywhere with any hold, the man who has unlimited submissions, the man who defeated Naito, Ibushi and Sanada. That man is the Submission Master, ZSJ, Zack Sabre Jr! “To anyone who stands in Zack’s way, when he gets a submission”, you #JustTapOut! So Hiroshi Tanahashi, “C’mon over here!”
One of NJPW’s fastest rising stars takes on one of NJPW’s most decorated of all time. Tanahashi wants his IWGP Intercontinental Championship back while ZSJ wants to take the Rainmaker’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Who will win the cup to grant their wish?
NJPW on AXS takes a quick break, but comes back with the ring of the bell. This match has no time limit, so it can go as quick or as long as it takes. The fans already rally behind Tanahashi while he circles with ZSJ. ZSJ reaches at Tanahashi who keeps a safe distance. They tie up, ZSJ gets around to a waistlock but Tanahashi resists any other kind of hold. Tanahashi turns things around but ZSJ switches back. Tanahashi gets to the ropes, so ZSJ backs off. Fans rally again as the two circle. Tanahashi ties up with ZSJ but ZSJ spins and goes for the top wristlock. Tanahashi turns that back on him with strength and leverage, but ZSJ spins around to wrench Tanahashi’s arm. ZSJ wrenches more and brings Tanahashi down to the mat. Tanahashi sits up but ZSJ is all over his arm again.
ZSJ has Tanahashi on his hand and knees while torturing the other arm. Tanahashi stands and resists, and gets ZSJ in a drop toehold. Fans applaud while ZSJ reaches back for a chinlock. Tanahashi fights that off, then floats over to a facelock, but ZSJ slips out of that to put Tanahashi in a modified crossface. ZSJ grinds in elbows and fists while also going from chinlock to chinbar. He flips Tanahashi over to a cover, ONE. Tanahashi stands up while ZSJ backs off. They circle again while fans rally. Tanahashi is ready for ZSJ, and gets a leg. ZSJ leans back to slip out, but Tanahashi follows. Tanahashi grabs an arm but ZSJ resists the wristlock by clasping hands. Tanahashi rolls ZSJ and keeps on that arm.
ZSJ keeps his grip while Tanahashi sits on him, then ZSJ hooks around to bring Tanahashi to the mat. ZSJ wants an armbar but now Tanahashi clasps his hands together to resist. Tanahashi rolls towards ropes, but ZSJ traps a leg in a calf killer style hold. Tanahashi rolls over to get the ropebreak, so ZSJ has to let go, and Tanahashi rolls out of the ring. ZSJ waits for Tanahashi to return. Tanahashi makes sure his legs are good, as well as his arms, then he enters the ring. He and ZSJ circle again, then tie up, and Tanahashi shifts smoothly from wristlock to hammerlock to headlock. ZSJ fights back and tries to power out, but Tanahashi keeps a hold of him. Fans applaud as Tanahashi forces ZSJ to the mat.
ZSJ grinds his forearms into Tanahashi’s face but Tanahashi swats those away. They both stand up, but Tanahashi brings ZSJ back down with a headlock takeover. Only for ZSJ to get the headscissors! ZSJ squeezes Tanahashi’s head and neck with his figure-four knot. Tanahashi rolls around but ZSJ grinds in knuckles and elbows into Tanahashi’s back. Tanahashi powers out and goes for a cover, only for ZSJ to wrap him right back up in the headscissors! ZSJ props himself up to wrench Tanahashi’s neck, but Tanahashi works to roll ZSJ. Tanahashi pops out and floats over to a chinlock on ZSJ! Fans applaud this incredible exchange of technical skill.
ZSJ grabs at Tanahashi’s hair, then rolls around. ZSJ pushes against Tanahashi, then fights out. He powers out but Tanahashi runs him over. Tanahashi runs, ZSJ drops, so Tanahashi drops on him to get that headlock back! ZSJ resists again, hooking with his leg. Tanahashi swats the leg away and wrenches back. ZSJ tries again but can’t get Tanahashi’s head to go back. ZSJ tries with his hands now, getting them across Tanahashi’s face and nose. They battle with holds but Tanahashi pries free to keep his. ZSJ works again and gets the legs up, it’s headlock versus headscissors!
Tanahashi holds on to his hold and pops his head out of ZSJ’s. ZSJ rolls and sits up, then stands up. ZSJ looks for an opening but Tanahashi just switches sides of the headlock. Tanahashi switches back, then back again, keeping ZSJ guessing. ZSJ keeps trying, so Tanahashi hooks a leg to hit a headlock Russian leg sweep!
The Ace is in control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns to fans rallying while Tanahashi stands up. Tanahashi drops an elbow, but is caught into ZSJ’s armbar! ZSJ can’t get the extension before Tanahashi scrambles and uses his legs for the ropebreak. ZSJ keeps on Tanahashi anyway, but lets go at the referee’s count of 4. Referee Red Shoes reprimands ZSJ but ZSJ catches his breath before going back for more. He grinds knees into Tanahashi while going after the arm. Tanahashi is still under the ropes, so Red Shoes tells ZSJ to break, but ZSJ keeps going. Tanahashi grabs the ropes, so ZSJ lets go this time. ZSJ watches Tanahashi check his arm. Tanahashi stands up, ZSJ gives him a European Uppercut. ZSJ gives Tanahashi another, so Tanahashi gives one back.
ZSJ picks the leg and brings Tanahashi down. He traps an arm, and pulls Tanahashi with a headlock. Tanahashi gets another ropebreak, and ZSJ is frustrated. ZSJ stomps Tanahashi, then toys with him with those kicks to the arm. ZSJ goes after the arm, and bends it from elbow to wrist. Tanahashi grits his teeth as he resists, and it forces ZSJ to use even his chin to force the bend. Tanahashi gives it one more go, but ZSJ Pele kicks the arm! ZSJ catches his breath while fans rally for Tanahashi. ZSJ stands on Tanahashi while pulling at limbs. Red Shoes backs ZSJ off and checks on Tanahashi. Tanahashi is good to continue, so ZSJ gives him another EuroUpper. Tanahashi retaliates with a body shot, so ZSJ picks a leg again and goes after that arm. ZSJ pulls Tanahashi in to the coil lock, then the other arm!
ZSJ has his foot on Tanahashi’s head as he pulls back on the arm. Tanahashi endures as he reaches with his legs agan, and gets another ropebreak. Fans applaud while ZSJ lets go. ZSJ keeps his cool while fans rally for Tanahashi again. ZSJ thinks on what to do next. He goes back after the arm and wrenches it, then wrenches the wrist. ZSJ goes left and right with the wrist, but Tanahashi fights back with body shots. Tanahashi fires off strikes on ZSJ, then whips ZSJ corner to corner. ZSJ reverses the whip but runs into Tanahashi’s boots. Tanahashi runs into a kick from ZSJ, then ZSJ whips, but Tanahashi comes back with a forearm smash.
Both men are down but the fans are applauding. The fans rally again while Tanahashi makes sure his arm is good. Tanahashi stands up and rocks ZSJ with forearms and body shots. Tanahashi scoop slams ZSJ, then climbs up, and hits a second rope senton!
Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps focus while fans chant “Go Ace! Go Ace!” Tanahashi fires off more body shots to ZSJ, then whips him corner to corner. ZSJ sticks out a boot but Tanahashi catches it, only for ZSJ to wrap him up in the Octopus Stretch!
ZSJ even pulls off Tanahashi’s sleeve to expose the athletic tape. He digs in elbows on Tanahashi’s ribs, then pulls back on fingers. Tanahashi endures it all, then uses power to get free and dragon screw ZSJ’s leg! Both men are down again, and fans rally for Tanahashi. Tanahashi stands up, and pulls his sleeve back down to cover his athletic tape wrap. Tanahashi runs but ZSJ is ready, and wrangles Tanahashi back into the hold, only for Tanahashi to reverse it onto him. ZSJ switches it right back, but Tanahashi switches it again. They move around in a circle, chasing the abdominal stretch, and it’s Tanahashi who gets the hold first. Tanahashi turns the hold into a pumphandle for a slam! Tanahashi can’t make the cover with his arms hurting him, but fans rally for him as he stands back up.
ZSJ slips out of the facelock to hop on for a sleeper hold! ZSJ then climbs around the front to get the triangle hold! Tanahashi holds on as ZSJ weighs him down and pulls him in. ZSJ is also careful not to end up in a cover. Tanahashi gets a second wind and he starts pushing ZSJ, but ZSJ hooks a leg to bring Tanahashi in deeper. Tanahashi won’t give in, he keeps pushing ZSJ. ZSJ keeps his shoulders up, but Tanahashi turns him enough to stomp him on the head. ZSJ starts to go limp, and Tanahashi breaks free, to go after the Cloverleaf!
Tanahashi turns ZSJ over, bending him sideways, but ZSJ works on an escape. ZSJ slips between the legs and drags himself to ropes, but Tanahashi drags him away! Fans are thunderous as Tanahashi sits down, but ZSJ slips around to pry his legs out. ZSJ hooks Tanahashi into the takedown, but Tanahashi clasps hands to resist the armbar. ZSJ slaps those hands, then pulls back. Tanahashi holds on, but ZSJ pries a single finger and undoes the grip! Tanahashi tries to roll so ZSJ quickly yanks on the arm, but Tanahashi stands up! He stands up for another dragon screw! ZSJ escapes the ring, clutching his leg. Michinoku coaches him up but the fans are on Tanahashi’s side as they rally. Tanahashi gets to a corner and climbs up, to FLY!
High Fly Flow Crossbody connects! Both men go down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again, and fans are thunderous while Red Shoes checks on Tanahashi and ZSJ. Both men are able to continue, so a ring count begins. It reaches 7 before Tanahashi stands. Tanahashi brings ZSJ up and puts him in the ring. Tanahashi waits for ZSJ to stand, then he runs, but into ZSJ’s EuroUpper. ZSJ throws Tanahashi to ropes but Tanahashi tumbles to the apron. Tanahashi brings himself back in, but ZSJ is ready, and goes after the legs. ZSJ drags Tanahashi into a kneebar, but Tanahashi drags himself to ropes for another ropebreak. ZSJ lets go and fans rally for Tanahashi again.
Michinoku coaches ZSJ to keep going, ZSJ stands and stomps on Tanahashi’s knee. He also kicks Tanahashi’s arm. ZSJ stands on the knee, pulls at the ankle, then stomps them both. Tanahashi writhes, but then fires himself up. ZSJ gives more toying kicks, but those only anger Tanahashi. Tanahashi blocks another kick, but ZSJ hops up into a guillotine. ZSJ gets body scissors, too, but Tanahashi endures to power ZSJ out into a swinging neckbreaker! Tanahashi holds on to ZSJ and gives him a second swinging neckbreaker, then stands him up for the third!
Tanahashi gets the cradle cover, TWO! Fans rally again while ZSJ flounders. Tanahashi fires up, gets to the apron, then climbs up, but ZSJ catches this second High Fly Flow Crossbody into a kneebar! ZSJ grapevines and twists Tanahashi’s ankle. Tanahashi endures, even as ZSJ sits up to add a heel hook. Tanahashi still gets the ropebreak, and ZSJ is further frustrated. Red Shoes checks on Tanahashi while ZSJ checks his own neck and shoulders. Tanahashi keeps going, but ZSJ stands up first. ZSJ gives a EuroUpper, Tanahashi gives back a forearm. ZSJ gives another EuroUpper, so Tanahashi gives one of his own. That shot sits ZSJ down, but he comes back for a flurry of EuroUppers. Tanahashi ducks the roundhouse but ZSJ sweeps the legs.
ZSJ stands up and takes aim from a corner. Tanahashi sits up, and blocks the Penalty Kick! Tanahashi dragon screws but ZSJ slips out to roll Tanahashi for the European Clutch bridging pin! TWO!! And Zack can’t believe it! Fans rally again while ZSJ catches his breath. ZSJ keeps his eyes on Tanahashi, and gives him more EuroUppers. Tanahashi stays standing to give a EuroUpper of his own. ZSJ falls but drags himself back up while Tanahashi hobbles over. ZSJ gives EuroUppers, Tanahashi gives one back that rocks ZSJ again. Tanahashi drags ZSJ up but his EuroUpper is blocked to a backslide attempt.
Both men fight the other, but ZSJ flips over to flip Tanahashi into the double wristlock back into the EuroClutch! TWO!! Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO, and ZSJ is furious. The fans are loving this match, though. They rally again while ZSJ waits for Tanahashi. Both men stand, and ZSJ goes after the leg. He wants the kneebar but Tanahashi sits down on the rolling takedown. Tanahashi pries ZSJ off the leg and goes for a full nelson. ZSJ uses his own leg to prevent it, then mule kicks Tanahashi away. ZSJ runs but into the slingblade! Cover, TWO, but Tanahashi gets the full nelson and Dragon Suplex!
Tanahashi bridges for the cover, TWO! But Tanahashi keeps going, getting himself to a corner and to the top rope. Fans are thunderous, Tanahashi hits THE High Fly Flow to ZSJ’s back. Then Tanahashi flips ZSJ over, and climbs back up. His leg slows him down but he still goes for High Fly Flow, only for it to flop! Michinoku coaches ZSJ up while the fans rally for Tanahashi one more time. Tanahashi’s leg bothers him again, but he still forces himself up. ZSJ also stands up, and goes after that very leg. Tanahashi slaps ZSJ away from a dragon screw, then rolls ZSJ back, to copy the EuroClutch! TWO, and ZSJ grabs Tanahashi into a sleeper, but then shifts to the calf killer!
Tanahashi writhes and flails, then rolls over only for ZSJ to roll him back. ZSJ moves Tanahashi all around to get back to the calf killer. ZSJ grabs both legs, keeping his leg hooked on, and drags Tanahashi away from the ropes. Tanahashi endures, uses the free leg to scrape ZSJ’s face, but ZSJ grabs that for a stretch muffler! Or as ZSJ calls it, Orienteering with Napalm Death!
Both of Tanahashi’s legs are being tortured now, with fans rallying, but Tanahashi taps! ZSJ wins!!
Winner: ZSJ, by submission
He did it! Zack Sabre Jr. does as Michinoku predicted, and wins the New Japan Cup with a submission. ZSJ denies Tanahashi his third career New Japan Cup victory, and we take a break as the young lions help Tanahashi to the back.
NJPW returns as Zack Sabre Jr. is presented the New Japan Cup trophy.
Michinoku also holds up ZSJ’s Revolution Pro Wrestling Undisputed British Tag Team and British Heavyweight Championships for the Technical Wizard. Michinoku then takes up the mic again to review, “The 2018 New Japan Cup, who is the champion?!” Congratulations, Zack, because you now have the right to challenge a champion for the April 1st event in Ryogoku, Sakura Genesis. Michinoku has a question, then. “What do you want next?!” ZSJ thinks on that a moment. “No question,” he says, “I want Okada.” Fans applaud that idea. Michinoku confirms, “The IWGP Heavyweight Champion, you have been chosen. Okada Kazuchika, c’mon over here!” And Okada appears!
The Rainmaker walks down to the ring, with Gedo in two. Fans chant “Okada! Okada!” as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion enters the ring. Michinoku knows Okada is a strong champion, but “faced with Zack Sabre Jr.’s submission holds… You JUST–” Gedo interrupts Michinoku!
Gedo takes that mic, and admits ZSJ has made a lot of guys tap out. ZSJ has incredible holds. But, they’re not gonna work on the Rainmaker. ZSJ can NOT make Okada tap out, and do you know why? Because Okada– Michinoku interrupts Gedo back!
Michinoku tells Gedo that ZSJ’s holds are on that “whole ‘nother level”, so he WILL take Okada out. As for Okada and ZSJ themselves, Okada simply holds up his title, while ZSJ holds up the middle finger. ZSJ it’s only going to be two weeks until Okada taps out. Okada says it’ll be two weeks until ZSJ goes down. Michinoku gives Okada some advice: when you get caught in one of ZSJ’s holds, “You JUST! TAP! OUT!”
As Okada and Gedo take their leave, Michinoku again reviews with the fans. “Who won the 2018 New Japan Cup tournament?” The man who can finish anyone anywhere with any hold, the man who has unlimited submissions, the man who defeated Naito, Ibushi, Sanada and now Tanahashi. And now he’s the man who will beat Okada, that man is the Submission Master, ZSJ, Zack Sabre Jr! Will Michinoku’s prediction come to fruition again at Sakura Genesis? Or will there be a Rainmaker lariat in his future?
Hiroshi Tanahashi, exhausted as he is, manages to say, “It was in my reach, and then it wasn’t.” The Ace was about to catch up to the champion, but he’s still far away.
As for Zack Sabre Jr, a first-time New Japan Cup winner, ends it the way he started it: Orienteering with Napalm Death. Tanahashi was the old ace, ZSJ is the New Ace of NJPW. And Okada had a good run, but it’s time for a new, English champion. Michinoku points out ZSJ is already a champion in Revolution Pro, so all that’s left is Japan’s IWGP Heavyweight belt. Okada is powerful, no doubt, but now he will “experience a whole new kind of submission hold.” Okada can preapre all he wants, but he saw what happened to Tanahashi. The new era begins, it is the ZSJ Era. And those who stand in his way, #JustTapOut.
But Okada has something to say, too. “So, Zack Sabre Jr.” Congratulations on the win to be the best wrestler of the Spring. But ZSJ isn’t the best, Okada is the best. You aren’t the best until you beat Okada. “This is not a good matchup for you.” Ever since Okada became the Rainmaker, he’s only tapped out once. Only one man made him submit, so Okada looks forward to seeing what ZSJ tries. “Maybe I’ll give up. Or maybe I won’t.” Which means ZSJ either becomes the best, or he doesn’t. We’ll see at Ryogoku.
And incredible episode, and all with just one incredible match. Two of NJPW’s best today and this one match shows everything as to why they are two of the best. There was so much story focusing on how both men played the submission game. However, playing the submission game that ZSJ knows so well may have been Tanahashi’s downfall. Tanahashi had the size and strength advantage and should’ve tried harder to make this about strikes or slams, but he couldn’t get away from ZSJ’s holds. That is likely the point Gedo and Okada make with their promos. Okada can play the striking and power games better than ZSJ and those will be what helps the champion win. But win or lose, ZSJ is making great strides towards the top of NJPW, so he’ll surely be a top champion in the future.
My Score: 8.5/10
Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (12/12/18)
The Cruiserweight Champion and challenger are set to face off at TLC, but first warm-up in Vegas! Will Buddy Murphy or Cedric Alexander come out ahead?
- Buddy Murphy VS
Noam DarGran Metalik; Murphy wins.
- Cedric Alexander VS Tony Nese; Alexander wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Drake Maverick sets the scene for tonight!
TLC will see Buddy Murphy defend the Cruiserweight Championship against Cedric Alexander in a long awaited rematch from Super Show-Down! The champion and challenger both have something to prove to the other, and allowed Maverick himself to choose their opponents for tonight. The Scottish Supernova was eager to step up and get back at Murphy for screwing him in a match with Tony Nese. But Noam Dar is unfortunately not cleared to compete. Therefore, it will be the Juggernaut taking on the King of the Ropes, Gran Metalik! Metalik himself is eager to show he can hang with the champion.
As for the Soul of 205 Live, he still gets his match with The Premier Athlete. Alexander and Nese have gone back and forth in their own rivalry that dates back to the beginning of this brand. Nese gave Alexander a defeat the 205 Live after Alexander lost the title, and wants to be a major road block to Alexander’s rematch. “With such a small margin for error between Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy”, who will make it to TLC riding high on a wave of momentum?
Buddy Murphy VS Gran Metalik!
The Juggernaut wants to show the tag team victory the Heart & Soul of 205 Live have over him means nothing by taking on anyone tonight. The King of the Ropes wants to ride the high his Lucha House Party amigos reached in their Tornado Tag victory last week. Murphy taking on this match is a huge gamble, but it is Las Vegas, after all. Will Murphy hit the jackpot or bust this close to TLC?
The bell rings and Murphy circles with Metalik. They tie up and Murphy powers Metalik to a corner. Murphy backs off but then pie faces Metalik. Metalik shoves Murphy then dodges to egg Murphy on. They circle again and Murphy waistlocks. Metalik standing switches but Murphy pries his way out to a wristlock. Fans chant “Lucha! Lucha!” for Metalik as Murphy yanks on his arm. Murphy brings Metalik to the mat and grinds an elbow into the shoulder. Metalik flips through and reverses, but Murphy reverses back, only for Metalik to reverse again, but Murphy wrangles him back to the mat. Metalik kips up but Murphy drives him back down, so Metalik headscissors. Murphy pops out but Metalik sweeps and covers. ONE and Murphy sweeps to cover, ONE. Metalik handsprings again and fans fire up.
The “Lucha! Lucha!” chants return but Murphy keeps his cool. Murphy and Metalik tie up again and Murphy kicks low. Murphy clubs Metalik then wrenches into a back suplex. Metalik slips out and speeds up to handspring past Murphy. Metalik headscissors and throws Murphy out. Now Metalik builds speed and FLIES! Direct hit on Murphy and the champ goes down! Fans chant for Metalik as he gets up and goes after Murphy. Murphy shoves him away then knees low, but Metalik sends him into barriers. Metalik stalks Murphy from the barrier’s edge, to leap for another headscissor! The fans fire up as Metalik puts Murphy in the ring. Cover, TWO! Metalik keeps the fans going as he goes to Murphy. Murphy yanks Metalik into buckles!
Murphy gets up and puts Metalik on the top rope. He climbs up to join Metalik but Metalik fights back. Metalik shoves Murphy down but Murphy’s right back up! Metalik shoves him away again, and boots him back. Murphy staggers, but catches Metalik’s leap into a suplex! Both men are down but fans fire up. Murphy crawls to a cover, TWO! Metalik shows his toughness but Murphy keeps his cool. Murphy drags Metalik up to throw him out. He leaves Metalik for dead as the count climbs. Metalik crawls back at 6, and gets in at 8! Murphy stomps Metalik out, then throws a heavy right hand! Cover, TWO! Murphy grows frustrated but he puts Metalik in a grounded stretch.
Fans rally as Metalik endures the forearm in the face. Metalik pries his way out but Murphy drives in elbows to the chest! Cover, TWO! Murphy wraps Metalik up in a chinlock, but Metalik fights his way up. Metalik rams Murphy into buckles while throwing in body shots. Metalik gets free but walks into a boot! Murphy drags Metalik up and throws him out, but Metalik stays on the apron. Murphy is annoyed as he goes back over to Metalik. He brings Metalik up but Metalik swing kicks him away! Metalik aims and springboards, big crossbody! Cover, TWO! Metalik kicks Murphy’s legs but Murphy shoves Metalik. Metalik springboards for the back elbow! He CHOPS Murphy then whips, but Murphy reverses. Metalik walks the ropes, and springboards for the missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!
Metalik keeps his cool, and starts up another “Lucha! Lucha!” He lifts Murphy in a fireman’s carry, but Murphy slips out. Murphy fires off his strike fest, but misses the knee to get a SUPERKICK! Metalik gets another fireman’s carry but Murphy slips out and shoves Metalik to the ropes, KNEE TRIGGER! Murphy runs, but into a fireman’s carry, Metalik Driver!! TWO!! Metalik almost had the Cruiserweight Champion, but Murphy’s tougher than that. Metalik drags Murphy to a drop zone, then climbs up top. Murphy revives and rolls out to the apron. Murphy goes for Metalik but Metalik shoves him down. Metalik goes after Murphy but Murphy drop toeholds him into the desk! Murphy then back suplexes Metalik right on the apron! Murphy puts Metalik in and climbs up top, for a flying meteora! Cover, TWO! Metalik shows he’s tough, too, and Murphy can’t believe it.
Both men slowly stir with the 10 count. Fans rally up as Murphy stands first. Murphy drags Metalik up but Metalik inside cradles! TWO and Metalik boots Murphy down! Metalik climbs but Murphy tucks him in, only for Metalik to pop out and mule kick Murphy away! Metalik finishes climbing, and moonsaults, onto boots! Murphy deadlifts to a sit-out bomb! TWO!? Metalik lives and Murphy is furious. But fans love this and bring back the “Lucha! Lucha!” Metalik gets to the ropes but Murphy grits his teeth. Murphy drags Metalik up and around, for the point blank knee trigger! Then, pumphandle to victory roll!? TWO! Metalik springboards, but into Murphy’s Law! Cover, Murphy wins!
Winner: Buddy Murphy, by pinfall
The Cruiserweight Champion finally finishes it off and moves on to his title defense this Sunday! If the King of the Ropes put up such a great fight, how much more will the Age of Alexander do? And what shape will Alexander be after his match later tonight?
Akira Tozawa & THE Brian Kendrick meet with Drake Maverick.
The Stamina Monster helps The Man with a Plan with his collar as the GM walks in. Maverick approves their match with Drew Gulak & Jack Gallagher, under Street Fight rules. How ironic, really. How? Well, their Street Fight match against each other. And now they’re working together in a Street Fight tag match. Yes, true. Kendrick admits he’s changed since then. When he returned to the WWE, he manipulated and cheated because he was desperate. Kendrick was doing whatever he had to in order to keep his dream, and Tozawa was one of the main targets. So Kendrick should thank Gallager & Gulak for beating that out of him. What Kendrick needs to do now is lift this Division up. Kendrick’s a changed man.
Tozawa agrees and supports Kendrick. But the problem now is that Kendrick still looks the same. Tozawa has an idea. Well, okay… What kind of makeover will Tozawa give Kendrick? And Tozawa thanks Maverick for his time, but reminds Maverick he lost those Raw Tag Team Championships. “So, you’re FIRED!” Tozawa can’t fire people, he’s not the GM or anything. But can he and Kendrick fire up and melt the cruel winter?
Drew Gulak & Jack Gallagher respond.
“A Street Fight is the perfect place to end the career of THE Brian Kendrick.” And what Kendrick needs to understand that the beating they gave him wasn’t to humiliate but to redeem Kendrick. Kendrick was fired once, twice, so maybe this isn’t for him. Gallagher & Gulak didn’t go far enough, because if they had, the team of Tozawa & Kendrick wouldn’t have existed. And that’s why a Street Fight Tag is perfect: they can go as far as they want, and anything is legal. So when they face off for the final time, you WILL tap out. Who will survive this gritty grudge match?
Backstage interview with Ariya Daivari.
The Persian Lion has beaten down local competitors two weeks in a row, what is the reason behind that? Wrestling used to be simple: find two of the toughest men, put them in a ring, and let them battle it out until only one was left standing. It was never meant to be flashy or pretty. “What’s happened to this business?” All anyone seems to care about is dressing up like their favorite superheroes or retweeting compliments. Daivari was out with an injured neck, and he watched 205 Live have a lot of flash, but no fight.
Hideo Itami walks over, and says he was watching last week. “Good job.” The two shake hands, and there seems to be mutual respect for their mean streaks. Daivari says Itami is one of the last true men in the Cruiserweight Division, and the only one worthy of respect. Will Daivari and Itami bring 205 Live back to a rougher and more “respectful” time of wrestling?
Cedric Alexander VS Tony Nese!
The Soul of 205 Live wants to rebuild his legacy starting with TLC, but the Premier Athlete says he’s not worthy. The Juggernaut already goes in tired but victorious, will Alexander be able to do the same?
The bell rings and Nese flexes on Alexander. Alexander ignores it as he circles with Nese. Fans rally up as the two tie up. Alexander pushes Nese back to a corner but backs off at 4. Alexander flexes back and circles with him again. Vegas is on Alexander’s side and that annoys Nese. Nese and Alexander tie up and Nese gets a waistlock. Alexander tries to break out but Nese rolls him. Nese flexes again but Alexander shrugs it off. Alexander and Nese tie up again and Alexander gets the wristlock. Nese pulls hair and gets the reversal. Alexander rolls and handsprings to reverse back then get a takedown. Nese shoves Alexander back and gets his own takedown, but Alexander pushes him away. Alexander rolls, handsprings and headscissors but Nese handsprings through!
Alexander runs into Nese’s back elbow, but Alexander gets under Nese’s moonsault! Nese goes Matrix to dodge Alexander, but Alexander hits the dropkick! Fans fire up as Alexander covers, TWO! Alexander checks his teeth while catching his breath before going back to Nese. He bumps Nese off buckles and then CHOPS. Alexander CHOPS again, then follows Nese to ropes. Nese mule kicks and then goes to backslide, but Alexander hooks ropes to stay grounded. Alexander reels Nese in to toss him out! Fans fire up as Alexander builds speed, but Nese slides in! Alexander barely grabs the rope in time to stop himself, and he manages to shoulder Nese back. Nese rolls as Alexander springboards to SHORYUKEN! Cover, TWO!
Nese keeps on Alexander with stomps, then he flexes again. Fans boo as Nese clubs Alexander. Alexander chops back, but Nese kciks him to a corner. Nese whips corner to corner hard, then covers, TWO! Nese keeps his cool as fans duel. Alexander chops back again, then boots from a corner. Alexander runs into a throat chop! Nese runs and hotshots Alexander down! Then triangle jump moonsault! Cover, TWO! Nese argues the count but the ref says it was two. Nese stomps away on Alexander then brings him up for a scoop slam. Cover, TWO! Nese sits Alexander up for the body scissor squeeze. Fans rally while Alexander endures. Nese grabs for an arm but Alexander resists, so Nese clubs him. Nese gets the arm and CHOPS Alexander. Alexander punches back and breaks free!
Alexander throws more hands, then runs, but into a big clothesline! Cover, TWO! Alexander survives and Nese is surprised, but Nese keeps his cool. Nese wraps on a chinlock and drives a knee into Alexander’s back. Fans rally and Alexander feeds off the energy. Alexander gets up but Nese throws him to the apron. Alexander boots Nese back, then springboards. He fakes out the uppercut to step-springboard for a complete shot! Nese gets to a corner and fans rally up. Alexander takes off the elbow pads and rallies on Nese. He gives Nese an uppercut now, but msises in the corner. Nese runs into the dropkick and hits buckles. Alexander goes to the apron to kick Nese back in! Nese staggers, Alexander springboards, flying lariat hits! Cover, TWO! Nese is dazed but he survives.
Alexander fires up with the fans as he stalks Nese. He brings Nese up but Nese mule kicks and knee lifts. Nese roundhouses but misses the sweep to get a buzzsaw! Cover, TWO! Alexander grows frustrated and gets a wild look in his eyes. Alexander goes back to Nese and brings him up. Nese clutches ropes and Alexander has no choice but to let go. Alexander walks into a gutbuster! Cover, TWO! Nese keeps on Alexander with a shove and a back elbow. Then Nese runs for big forearms! Cover, TWO!! Alexander barely gets out and Nese grows frustrated. Nese drags Alexander up, saying “I’m better than you!” He slaps Alexander as he repeats that, but Alexander slaps back!
Alexander blocks the kick to give an elbow, then runs to handspring. Nese catches the Neuralizer into a Samoan Drop! But Nese can’t cover, he’s too exhausted. Nese forces himself to stand and bring Alexander up. He whips but Alexander reverses. Nese grabs ropes then dumps Alexander out. Nese runs to FLY! Direct hit folds Alexander up! The referee checks on both men, but they’re both okay to continue. Nese drags Alexander up and in, then goes to a corner. Nese climbs up, leaps, but his 450 flops! Alexander goes to cradle but Nese blocks it, TWO!! Michinoku Driver outta nowhere! TWO!! Alexander can’t believe Nese survives, but fans are fired up!
Vegas cheers Alexander on as he stalks Nese. Alexander brings Nese up but Nese sprawls to block. Nese elbows Alexander but walks into a roundhouse. Alexander lifts but Nese slips out to a cover, TWO! Neuralizer! Then Lumbar Check!! Cover, Alexander wins!!
Winner: Cedric Alexander, by pinfall
The Premier Athlete pushed Alexander to his limits but it wasn’t enough, the challenger keeps pace with the champion. Speaking of, Buddy Murphy returns to stare Alexander down. Alexander dares Murphy to bring the fight, there’s nothing but “space and opportunity” between them! Murphy takes a look at his belt, and puts it down so he can rush the ring! Murphy gets in but Alexander gets him down! The champion and challenger brawl on the mat, but then Murphy bails out. Alexander doesn’t let him go as he FLIES out! Fans fire up as Alexander gets back in the ring. Alexander dares Murphy to keep the fight going, but Murphy reconsiders. The Soul of 205 Live is fired up, but will he be able to reclaim his throne? Or will he be stopped by the unstoppable?
A great go-home for 205 Live that also feeds a bit into next week’s episode. I do like the full circle Kendrick is going through having another Street Fight based match for a blow-off. I just hope Tozawa’s new wardrobe ideas don’t make Kendrick reconsider the partnership. We still need more teams for the potential Cruiserweight Tag Team Division. And in which case, Daivari’s promo about joining forces with Itami started to sound more like a reason he’d join up with Gulak & Gallagher. But I suppose more than one Heel team can have the motivation of wanting a more brutal and less flashy style of wrestling to prevail. But where Gulak & Gallagher love ground game and grapples, Itami & Daivari can be about strikes and drivers. A match between those four might be pretty good, too.
The two matches we got tonight were the only matches we needed. It’s a shame Noam Dar didn’t get to go against Buddy Murphy, but Murphy VS Metalik was still an incredible opener. The styles went well together, and Metalik still looks really strong in losing. Alexander VS Nese was incredible again, even after the many other times we’ve seen it. I was curious as to why it wasn’t Alexander VS Ali, but not only would it be too soon, we know now Ali VS Bryan was in the works. I was surprised Murphy agreed to brawl against Alexander for even that little bit. As the Heel, he should’ve just stayed back rather than fight to retreat. It still got the fans fired up, but maybe this is so Alexander can stand tall and give the math to Murphy.
My Score: 8.8/10
Mitchell’s WWE NXT Results & Report! (12/12/18)
Ricochet puts up his NXT North American Championship on the line, but against who? Plus, EC3 wants payback on Bobby Fish for that vicious chair attack!
- EC3 VS Bobby Fish w/ The Undisputed Era; EC3 wins.
- Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS The Mighty; Lorcan & Burch win.
- NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Fatal 4 Way Qualifier: Mia Yim VS Reina Gonzalez; Yim wins and joins the NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Fatal 4 Way.
- NXT North American Championship: Ricochet VS ???; Ricochet wins and retains the NXT North American Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
EC3 VS Bobby Fish w/ The Undisputed Era!
The Top One Percent looks to keep it 100 as he goes for payback against the Infamous One for what he did weeks before TakeOver: WarGames II. But Fish has his friends by his side as always, will EC3 be able to win with Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong and Adam Cole lurking?
Adam Cole says the holidays have come early because now Fish gets to humiliate the “Top One Percent of Morons”. EC3 was dumb enough to think he’d elevate his career to new heights. But with the help of a chair, Fish showed EC3 that NXT is their world! The Undisputed Era is the center of the NXT Universe, and everything revolves around her. This has been a career year and is just the beginning of an entire decade! And in 2019, the four of them will be “draped in gold”. That’s not a threat, “that is Undisputed.” But EC3 makes his entrance and we begin this grudge match!
Fish and EC3 are ready to go with the bell. Fish moves around but EC3 corners him, so Fish bails out. The Undisputed Era cheer Fish’s mind games on, and so do some fans. Fish returns but wants EC3 to stay back. EC3 doesn’t and he hip tosses Fish in! Fish scrambles to a corner and EC3 fires off hands and stomps! EC3 whips corner to corner but Fish ducks down to go after the leg. EC3 powers Fish off and hits a BIG powerbomb! Fish staggers about and EC3 clotheslines him right out! EC3 goes out with him, but gets back in the ring, all fired up! Fish is reeling and the Era coach him up, but EC3 comes out. EC3 fetches Fish into the ring and puts on a half nelson. Fish gets up but EC3 makes it a nerve hold to keep him down.
Fish gets up and powers EC3 to a corner, but EC3 turns it around. EC3 CHOPS Fish, and again! Then he biels Fish across the way. Roddy and Kyle distract, and Fish chop blocks the bad leg! Fish rains down rights but EC3 pushes him off. Fish stomps EC3, then kicks him. The Era is rabid as Fish throws hands and puts EC3 in a corner. Fish throws body shots and forearms, then kicks away at the back leg. Dragon screw throws EC3 for a loop! Fish grabs the bad leg and pulls on it, standing on the other leg to keep him down. Fans rally and EC3 pushes Fish off! EC3 runs in but misses, and then turns around into an exploder! Cover, TWO! Fish is furious, but he goes back for more.
Fish brings EC3 up but it’s EC3 who hits the suplex! EC3 grits his teeth as he gets up, and he counter punches Fish. He fires off lefts and rights then whips, but Fish snaps against the ropes awkwardly. EC3 takes advantage with a scoop slam, then wants Fish to “Say My Name!” Name Drop elbow hits! Roddy and Kyle distract again but EC3 hits them for it. But Fish still gets the chop block! Fish goes for a leg but EC3 cradles! EC3 WINS!
Winners: EC3, by pinfall
But The Era attack! All four of them stomp away like rabid dogs, but here come Heavy Machinery! Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic use size to even up the numbers! Dozer clobbers Cole and Strong while Tucky gets rid of reDRagon! Kyle tries to escape but Heavy Machinery drag him back in. EC3 gets Kyle up for the One Percenter! Fans are thunderous for this trio as EC3 gets Dozer pumping up. Dozer gets going with the Caterpillar elbow! Will Heavy Machinery help the Top One Percent end this Undisputed Era once and for all?
NXT Media catches up to Dakota Kai and Io Shirai.
They fought together to stop The Horsewomen from ganging up on Captain Kick. Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir keep sticking their noses in Shayna Baszler’s matches, so these two are going to stop that personally. The Genius of the Sky don’t want her friends getting bullied, so all that’s left is a match. That’ll happen next week, who takes a victory in this Women’s Division war?
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS The Mighty!
The One Two Combination defeated Shane Thorne & Nick Miller already, but this is about the sore loser sneak attack after the match! Will Thorne & Miller regret punking out this pair of pugilists? Or will Lorcan & Burch finally make The Mighty kneel?
Lorcan & Burch are raring to go but they still wait for the bell. Thorne starts with Lorcan and Lorcan fires off! Then Miller and Burch get in and it’s a pair of brawls! Burch throws Miller out then Lorcan throws Thorne out. Burch goes out and Miller shoves him into the apron, but Lorcan FLIES! Lorcan wipes The Mighty out and fans fire up! Lorcan puts Thorne in and then runs into the corner for a big elbow. He gets moving but Thorne follows with a European Uppercut! Thorne runs but Lorcan follows to rock him back! Lorcan suckers Thorne into an elbow and a powerbomb! Then the Half Crab! Miller comes in but gets CHOPS! Thorne gets Lorcan with the saido suplex! Tag to Miller and he whips Lorcan. Miller hits a big corner clothesline, then whips into a SPINEBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Lorcan lives but Miller keeps on him.
Tag to Thorne, and Miller whips Thorne at Burch. Miller then whips Thorne back but Lorcan dodgse to tag Burch! The Governor rallies on The Mighty, and tackles Thorne with a Thesz Press! Burch rocks Miller with a right, then goes right at Thorne with a clothesline and kick. Miller runs but is sent into Thorne, and then Burch deals out more kicks! Burch hops up and leaps for a missile dropkick! And he kips up! Tag to Lorcan, and the One Two coordinate at a corner. Burch lifts Thorne but Thorne fights out. Thorne dodges Burch to SHORYUKEN Lorcan. Then he clobbers Burch. Miller returns and helps Thorne get up top quick. SUPERPLEX BOMB! Miller puts Thorne on top to cover, but Burch barrels through Miller to break it! Burch gets thrown out, and Thorne tags Miller in.
The Mighty go after Lorcan but Burch saves him from Thunder Valley. Miller tackles them both, and then scoops Lorcan. Powerslam, to Poetry in Motion cannonball! Cover on Lorcan, TWO!? The Mighty are shocked by this double toughness! Miller tags Thorne, and they again go after Lorcan. They lift Lorcan up, but get double DDT’s! Lorcan has a wild look in his eye and fans rally behind it. Lorcan takes Miller’s face and SLAPS away! Then he SLAPS away on Thorne! they BOTH slap Lorcan, but then he ducks and they slap each other!! Lorcan sends Miller into a post, then tags in Burch. Burch headbutts Thorne, and with Lorcan’s help, London Tower! Cover, Lorcan & Burch win!
Winners: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, Burch pinning
They did it again! The Mighty fell to the One Two Combination, who continue their hot streak since returning to action. While the Undisputed Era has Heavy Machinery to worry about, will Lorcan & Burch move up the ranks towards those NXT Tag Team Championships?
NXT Media has another video from Johnny Gargano.
“Aleister, you thought our story ended in Los Angeles when you ‘absolved’ me of my sins.” But Gargano never said he did nothing wrong. This is about the greater good. The ends justify the means. The end: becoming NXT Champion, and the world celebrating! So if the means meant beating someone up, Aleister was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s why their story continues. Gargano says Aleister can put Gargano in a cage with the devil himself, and he’ll do whatever he has to to make sure the story ends the right way. Gargano won’t just turn the page, he closes the book on Aleister Black. Will Gargano keep his word to end the Embodiment of the End? Or will his happy ending simply #FadeToBlack?
Dominic Dijakovic speaks.
“The bond of blood is sacred. The roots of our tree are unbreakable. They keep us grounded.” He will fight for them, and die for them. This is “our vision”, and you will #FeastYourEyes on his debut, next week.
Backstage interview with Shayna Baszler and the Horsewomen.
She, Jessamyn and Marina have heard about the Fatal 4 Way #1 Contenders match. But Shayna doesn’t care, because it will always end the same way: she goes home with the title, her opponent goes home with nothing. As for the challenge issued by Dakota & Shirai, Marina & Jessamyn laugh it off. They’re ready for the “challenge”. The Horsewomen roll out, but who will have the last laugh when it’s all said and done?
NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Fatal 4 Way Qualifier: Mia Yim VS Reina Gonzalez!
The Queen of Spades awaits a challenger at TakeOver: Phoenix now that she’s moved the Pirate Princess out of the way. The Un-De-Fea-Ted Bianca Belair is already one participant, and William Regal announces via Twitter that Lacey Evans will be the other. Both women have put together impressive wins, so it’s up to the Blasian Baddie and the Daughter of the Desperado to impress the GM this week. Who joins the EST and the Lady of NXT in a fight for the right to challenge #ShaynaTwoTime and her reign of terror?
The bell rings and Mia ties up with Reina. Reina powers Mia to a corner, but Mia dodges the swing to jump on for a guillotine! Reina powers out but Mia slips away. Mia leaps back on for the guillotine! Reina powers out but Mia dropkicks her back. Mia goes for Sole Food but Reina pushes her away. Reina swings but Mia dodges, and puts the guillotine back on! Reina powers out again, but to a suplex! And she hangs Mia out to dry on the rope, before throwing her down! Reina stomps a mudhole into Mia, but backs off at 4. She drags Mia out to a cover, TWO! Reina grows frustrated but fans rally up for Mia. Mia hits back, but gets clobbered! Reina runs, and boots Mia right down! Cover, ONE! Reina tries again, TWO!
Reina grows frustrated but she talks trash in Spanish. She dares the Baddie to get up, then pulls her into a Canadian torture rack! Mia endures the stretch and Reina even fish hooks. Reina jumps around to add torque, but Mia fights out. Mia arm-drags Reina into ropes, then gets space. Reina staggers over but into CHOPS! Mia throws body shots and even more chops! Mia throws palm strikes and kicks, then knees and a Pele! Reina staggers, time to Eat Da Feet! Cover, Mia wins!
Winner: Mia Yim, by pinfall
Reina eats Sole Food and Mia now sits at the winner’s table! Can the Baddie beat out the Model Soldier and EST? Who will join them as the fourth and final contender?
Aleister Black speaks.
“What I find interesting about the human race is that everything they do revolves around how they are feeling.” Everyone keeps asking, “What do you feel about your match with Johnny Gargano?” How does he feel about a Steel Cage Match with Gargano? He doesn’t feel anything. He just knows he has to win. “It’s come to my attention that you are far, far beyond absolution. You are far beyond redemption. And the only thing left is the total annihilation.” It will happen in that steel cage. There won’t be any running or hiding, there will simply be Gargano and his sins, and they will all #FadeToBlack! Will Aleister leave Gargano for dead inside the steel?
NXT North American Championship: Ricochet VS ???
The One and Only is eager to prove he’s a fighting champion and a worthy champion at that. He left it to NXT GM William Regal to choose his opponent, and Regal promised “something special” for this match. But who is it that answered this open contract challenge?
Ricochet makes his entrance and awaits his mystery challenger. The “something special” turns out to be… “Look everyone, it’s Tyler!” Prince Pretty returns to NXT in a major way! Tyler Breeze brings back the selfie cam titantron feed, and looks to revitalize himself with a new belt! Will Breeze shock everyone by becoming the third-ever North American Champion? Or will Ricochet add Breeze to the highlight reel?
The belt is raised and fans chant “Welcome Back!” for the NXT alumni. The bell rings and fans are already dueling. Tyler and Ricochet take a moment to enjoy it before circling. They tie up and go around, and Breeze arm-drags Ricochet. Breeze backs off to lounge on the top rope. Ricochet nods respect as Breeze comes back. They tie up again, and Ricochet gets around to a headlock. Breeze powers out but Ricochet rolls and speeds things up. Ricochet rolls off the back then ducks under to handspring and headscissor and dropkick! Breeze bails out to catch his breath, but Ricochet comes out. Breeze hurries back in, but Ricochet doesn’t give him time to rest. Ricochet and Breeze go around, Breeze goes for a Half Crab. Ricochet gets to ropes and pushes Breeze away. Breeze kicks Ricochet then runs, but into a somersault lariat!
Breeze bails out, but Ricochet fakes him out on the apron. Ricochet boots Breeze then leaps, into a dropkick! Both men are down, but fans are loving this! The fans still duel while Breeze checks his teeth. Breeze puts Ricochet into the ring, then into a corner. Breeze stomps a gorgeous mudhole into Ricochet, then shouts at the ref when he’s pulled away. Ricochet flounders but Breeze is on him with a scoop. Breeze puts Ricochet on the top rope and climbs up, but Ricochet fights him off. Breeze falls back and Ricochet is on him, but Breeze shoves. Ricochet comes back to knee Breeze back. Ricochet then somersaults from a corner to dropkick Breeze! Breeze crawls to a corner and Ricochet runs in, for a big back elbow to back hand.
Ricochet throws Breeze into buckles but misses the tiger feint kick. Breeze German Suplexes but Ricochet lands on his feet! Ricochet sends Breeze into buckles again and hits the tiger feint! Ricochet springboards for a flying uppercut! Standing shooting star! Cover, TWO! Breeze survives, showing his toughness. Fans rally up as Ricochet gets back up. Ricochet puts Breeze in a drop zone, then climbs up top. Ricochet leaps, but has to roll through the Phoenix Splash when Breeze moves. Breeze hits back with haymakers, but so does Ricochet. They brawl back and forth, and fans are divided.
They hit each other at the same time, and same goes for kicks. Ricochet turns around but both men clothesline. Breeze blocks Ricochet’s boot but Ricochet dodges Breeze’s Super Model Kick. Both men run, and collide with double crossbodies! Fans fire up for “NXT! NXT!” while both men are down. A 10 count begins and the fans rally up. Breeze and Ricochet sit up slowly, and brawl on their knees. Ricochet gives an uppercut, but Breeze clubs him on the back. They continue as they stand up and Ricochet fires off forearms. Ricochet suplexes but Breeze resists. Breeze suplexes but Ricochet resists. They repeat the cycle but Ricochet slips out. Ricochet back suplexes but Breeze slips out. Breeze waistlocks but Ricochet elbows out.
Ricochet runs, springboards, but misses, SUPER MODEL KICK! And Reverse-Rana! Cover, TWO!! Ricochet survives and Breeze is shocked. Fans declare “This is Gorgeous!” rather than awesome, but it’s still awesome, too! Ricochet and Breeze go to opposite corners, then approach. Ricochet says NXT is his now, but Breeze mule kicks. Breeze throws haymakers, then aims a kick, but Ricochet hits with a boot first! Ricochet walks over, into a jumping knee! And an enziguri! Breeze leaps but he’s caught, into the fireman’s carry, and Samoan Driver! Cover, Ricochet wins!
Winner: Ricochet, by pinfall; still NXT North American Champion
That wasn’t just special, that was spectacular! Prince Pretty gives the King of Flight a fight he wasn’t expecting, but Ricochet shows Breeze the respect he deserves, and the two handshake. Will Breeze stick around to give it another try? Will Ricochet’s reign extend to be one of the most impressive in NXT history?
An incredible episode right here! We waste very little time getting into action and I am really impressed that EC3 pulls off another surprise win on an Undisputed Era member. He and Fish had a great match, and I really liked that it was Heavy Machinery backing EC3 up in that brawl. I think it should be a Six Man of EC3 & Heavy Machinery VS Roderick Strong & reDRagon while Adam Cole likely distracts or interferes. And while his story with the North American Championship likely isn’t over, I don’t know if NXT would want to create a secondary WarGames scenario where now it’s just EC3 and Heavy Machinery standing in for Pete Dunne & War Raiders. Cole can hang about as the leader of Undisputed Era while waiting for title scenes to change.
I’m a touch disappointed we’re only getting 2v2 next week, but Dakota & Shirai VS Jessamyn & Marina should be a great match for the last two MMA Horsewomen to make an in-ring debut with. Now in real-time, we have learned Dakota Kai is injured, but that shouldn’t affect next week’s match. Sadly it’ll mean she won’t get to be part of TakeOver: Phoenix or anything else after that, and we wish her a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, Mia and Reina have a great match. Reina having a bull rope and cowbell makes me want a Women’s Bull Rope match for the hell of it. If Reina sticks around, she should be able to gain some ground once things clear up. As it stands, Mia looks like a front runner as the Face in that Fatal 4 Way. I wonder if they’ll use a battle royal to determine the fourth participant.
That tag team match of Lorcan-Burch VS The Mighty was incredible! NXT Tag Team wrestling is getting back up there and the scrappy One Two Combo is a large part of that. Get those two on SmackDown AND 205 Live, they’ll be great tag title contenders at least. Gargano and Aleister have great promos going towards their Steel Cage match, but I hope they use the cage in different ways of physicality than we usually see. Throwing the opponent into steel is one thing, but I think NXT can use these two for something really gritty.
For me, it’s a bit of a mixed bag on Tyler Breeze’s return. It’s a bit sad that he was sent back, but it was a great surprise and Full Sail got behind him. The bottom line is this is the wrestling quality main roster should’ve given Breeze, but Vince just insisted on overemphasizing gimmick and comedy. Granted, Breeze does great with comedy, but if the Fashion Police were doing matches on this level, they’d be champions. Breeze gave Ricochet a hell of a match, and it really elevates Ricochet in winning. It’ll really take something insane to dethrone Ricochet, if Breeze got to be this strong. As for Breeze, I’m not sure what he’ll do now that he’s back. I was hoping he’d go to 205 Live, but I know HHH will treat Breeze right either way.
My Score: 8.8/10