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
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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: Road to Wrestling Dontaku!
NJPW’s “Main unit”, Taguchi Japan, puts up two rising stars seeking their first championships! Juice Robinson gets another go at Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship, will the second time be better than the first? And David Finlay goes after an old friend in the Switchblade and the IWGP US Championship!
This review of Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.
- IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Jay White VS David Finlay; White wins and retains the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS Juice Robinson; Goto wins and retains the NEVER Openweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
AXS TV and NJPW review the build to tonight’s matches.
The Flamboyant One of the “main unit”, Taguchi Japan, challenged for both the NEVER Openweight and IWGP US Championships before, failing to defeat either the Fierce Warrior of Chaos or The Cleaner. He made quite the impression in the New Japan Cup, and tries once more against Hirooki Goto. Will Juice finally get his first taste of gold? Meanwhile, David Finlay targeted The Switchblade at Strong Style Evolved, and made it clear he wants the IWGP US Championship on top of revenge. These former friends face off to see who is truly the better man!
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Jay White VS David Finlay!
We jump into this match partway as Finlay has White down. Finlay stands up and gets to a corner. He takes aim at White, but White stays down. Finlay kicks White in the back, then goes back to the corner again. White still can’t stand, so Finlay stands him up for a hard right. Finlay takes aim again, but White glares up at him from the mat. Finlay stands White up for a European Uppercut, then a chop. White staggers and Finlay fires up, but White falls to his knees. Finlay grows frustrated, so he just clobbers White in the back of the head! White finally stands up on his own, and Finlay runs out for a SPEAR!
Cover, TWO! Finlay grows frustrated but the fans rally. Finlay goes to the corner again, but White spits in his face. White laughs, but Finlay steals the Blade Runner! Cover, TWO!! White survives his own move and Finlay is again frustrated. Finlay drags himself out of the ring to walk it off. He peels away the apron skirt, to then retrieve a table. Finlay sets up the table, positioning it between ring and railing. He hears the fans rallying as he drags White up. He brings White over, and hoists him up onto the top of a corner. Finlay climbs up from the outside, and Red Shoes grows concerned. White resists as Finlay tries to lift him. White elbows Finlay down and they both go to the apron. Finlay fireman carries White, but White clings to the rope.
White slips down and hits Finlay back with kicks and clubbing forearms. White goes to lift Finlay but Finlay resists. Finlay lifts and back drops White onto the apron. White slumps down, but then suddenly grabs Finlay in powerbomb position, and bombs Finlay onto the table!
The table cracks but does not break. White wants to finish it, so he sets Finlay on the table and climbs back onto the apron. White drops an elbow!
Both men are in pain from the impact, but White stands up first. White gets into the ring while Finlay crawls from the wreckage. The 20 count reaches 10 before Finally drags himself up. It reaches 15, but Finlay flounders, to beat it at 19.5! White is on him right away, with a double underhook dominator! Cover, TWO!? White can’t believe it, but fans are rallying for Finlay. Finlay stirs, grabbing at White. White drags Finlay up, and reels him in for the Black Dragon brainbuster! Cover, TWO! White decides to finish this, and drags Finlay up for his Blade Runner, but Finlay counters with a stunner! Finlay flounders to a cover, TWO, but by the slimmest of margins. Finlay thinks he’s won, but is crushed when he hears it isn’t so. Fans continue to rally while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as both Finlay and White glare while slowly sitting up. Finlay throws a forearm, White throws one back. Finlay throws another, and White leans back. White comes back with a harder forearm, and Finlay leans. Finlay hits White, and again, and again. They stand up and White chops Finlay, and again, and again. Finlay falls back into a corner, but EuroUppers out at White. He gives another, and another. White staggers but Finlay gives him a sharp slap to the face. Finlay fires up but White grabs his hair to turn him around, for a clubbing clothesline! Finlay gets up but walks into Blade Runner, but slips out for a lumbar check! He’s all fired up now, as are the fans.
Finlay suplexes White up, for the last shot brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! And Finlay still can’t believe it. He gets up and calls to end it. But White blocks that cutter to hit his Blade Runner!!
Cover, White wins!
Winner: White, by pinfall; still IWGP US Heavyweight Champion
The second-ever IWGP USHC continues his reign on the Road to Wrestling Dontaku. He downs his former friend turned bitter rival, who will be next to be cut down by The Switchblade?
“David Finlay. David Finlay. Quite the valiant effort.” White knew Finlay was tough, but even he was surprised. Finlay proves he belongs in the main events of NJPW. “But more importantly, you showed that you certainly do NOT belong in the ring with me.” Ten wins for White, only one for Finlay, way back in 2015. White has and will always be better than Finlay, “get that piece of shit outta here!” Finlay is the past, we are looking at the future. The future of Chaos, and the future of Jay White. “Who is next?” White doesn’t know, but he’ll keep an eye on Hirooki, Tanahashi and Okada. “But whoever is next, they will be left lying in this ring” while White is still champion. “Everybody will breathe with the Switchblade.”
NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS Juice Robinson!
The Fierce Warrior defeated the Flamboyant One before, and Juice has learned much since then. Will Juice’s growth since their first match be enough to finally remove Goto from his NEVER throne?
Red Shoes shows Juice the belt he fights for, then signals for the bell. Fans duel already as the two circle. They tie up, and are even in strength as neither man budges. Juice pushes but Goto pushes him back. Juice kneels but stands back up. Goto gets around Juice, but Juice reaches back for the headlock. Goto reverses to a wristlock, but Juice turns that back into the headlock. Juice holds on as Goto tries to power out. Juice shifts to a wristlock, but Goto rolls and escapes. The two back off and fans applaud. They tie up again, and Goto gets the headlock now. Juice works his way out, but Goto puts the hold back on. Juice powers out, things speed up and Goto reverses the hip toss into a hip toss. Goto runs but Juice stays solid with him as they collide shoulder to shoulder.
They glare at each other, and Goto kicks low. Goto puts Juice in a corner, then throws forearm after forearm. Juice turns it around and gives off his own left haymakers. Goto punches Juice, so Juice slaps back. Juice throws Goto out, then slingshots out onto him!
Juice wipes Goto out and stands back up as fans applaud. He rains hands on Goto, then drags Goto up. He has the media clear out, to then whip Goto into the railings. Juice runs in, but Goto back drops Juice up and over. Juice lands on his feet, but Goto rocks him with a right hand. Goto grabs Juice’s dreads, and yanks him backwards into the railing! Juice goes down while Goto catches his breath. Red Shoes checks on Juice, Juice is okay to continue. Goto gets up to fetch Juice, and the 20 count climbs up to 10. Goto puts Juice back in the ring, then keeps on him with stomps. He drags Juice up and around, to then hoist him onto the top rope. Goto grabs the head again, for a draping neckbreaker!
Juice slumps out of the ring and to the floor. Goto lets the 20 count start. Juice drags himself up at 9, but that neck bothers him. Juice manages to get in at 17, but then goes back out for more recovery time. The count starts over, so Goto goes to fetch Juice this time. Goto puts Juice back in, then drags Juice up for a neck wrench. He bends Juice left, then right, but Juice resists, so Goto puts him in a headscissors. Juice endures the squeeze, and works to escape. Goto keeps up the squeeze and the wrenching, but Juice uses his long legs for the ropebreak. Goto lets Juice go, then elbows Juice in the back of the neck. He puts Juice in a corner, then throws forearms.
Goto whips Juice corner to corner, and runs in for the clothesline. He rolls Juice out of the corner, then climbs up. Fans fire up as Goto drops the elbow. Cover, TWO, but Goto keeps his cool. Goto positions Juice for a normal elbow drop to the chest, then gives on to Juice’s back. Cover, TWO! Goto sits Juice up for the chinlock, digging a knee into Juice’s back. Juice flails, then pries his way out of the hold, only for Goto to bring it back on. Fans rally as Juice blocks the elbow to his face! Juice stands up with Goto, blocks the kick, to give the leg lariat! The challenger is back in the fight while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns to fans rallying for both men. Juice sits up first, then stands. Juice fires himself up with fist pumps. Fans chant “Juice! Juice!” with each one. Juice jabs Goto over and over, but Goto ducks the big punch only to get a big chop. Juice whips Goto but Goto reverses, and they collide with clotheslines. They go again for another collision, and Goto fires up. Juice dodges but Goto follows, only to miss again, and Juice knocks him down with a clothesline! Goto gets to a corner while fans applaud.
Juice fires up and runs corner to corner, for another big clothesline. Juice runs but Goto follows to give Juice a clothesline. Goto fires up and runs, but Juice follows to give another clothesline! Juice runs, but Goto follows, only for Juice to dodge his heel kick! Goto hits buckles, and Juice runs in for the cannonball! Cover, TWO! Juice keeps his cool, then gets himself to a corner. He climbs up with fans rallying. Juice takes aim, but Goto slips out. Juice still jumps!!
They both go down from that insane flying attack. Juice drags himself up first, and the 20 count begins again. Juice drags Goto up at 13, and puts him in the ring at 15. He keeps going, climbing back up to the top. Goto stirs, and Juice leaps for the flying crossbody! Cover, TWO! Now Juice grows a bit frustrated with Goto. He stands up and says it’s time to go around. Juice brings Goto up, double chicken wing, but Goto shoves out of the Unprettier to then fireman’s carry. Juice slips out, shoves Goto, then follows, but Goto gets around behind. Goto lifts, but Juice slips out, and Juice grabs Goto for the German Suplex! But Goto springs up to clobber Juice! But Juice springs up, too! Only to run into Ushigoroshi!
Both men are down, too sore to cover or escape. Fans are thunderous as they duel. Goto slowly stands up while Juice stirs. Goto goes to Juice and throws a forearm. Juice comes back to headbutt Goto. Goto grits his teeth to hit Juice again. Juice stands up, and rocks Goto with a left. Goto throws a haymaker, but Juice responds with his own. They go back and forth with heavy forearms. Juice kicks low, then chops. Juice runs, but into the kick. Goto runs, but into a dropkick. Goto still hits Juice with a kick in the chest! Both men fall again, and the fans rally. Red Shoes checks on them, but they’re okay to continue.
Goto drags himself to ropes while Juice crawls his way to a corner. They both slowly stand, and Goto runs in to heel kick Juice in the back of the head! Then he drives Juice down with a big saido suplex! Juice writhes and clutches his neck, but Goto doesn’t cover. Goto stands back up, and drags Juice to his feet, for a second saido suplex! Goto wants more but Red Shoes keeps him back. Red Shoes checks Juice, but Goto doesn’t care. Goto drags Juice up and calls to finish it. He lifts Juice up for another fireman’s carry, and another Ushigoroshi! Cover, TWO!! Goto is shocked while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Goto brings Juice up one more time. He hoists Juice up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Goto clubs away, then positions Juice for a fireman’s carry. Juice revives and slips out to then go after Goto. Goto resists the powerbomb with a rain of rights. Juice clubs Goto back in the back, then headbutts the lower back. Juice gets Goto in the torture rack, for the inverted Ushigoroshi! He then calls for the end, demanding Goto stand up. Goto staggers to his feet, Juice runs, and clobbers Goto with the clothesline! Cover, TWO!! Juice clutches his neck but gets back up. He wants to end this, so he drags Goto up. Juice suplexes Goto up for the brainbuster!
Cover, TWO!? Juice is losing hope but the fans are thunderous. Juice fires himself back up and the fans rally with him. He brings Goto back up, and turns him with the chicken wings, but Goto grabs Juice in a sleeper hold! Goto holds on tight, but Juice backs him into a corner. Juice is still caught, and now fades to a knee. He pries at Goto’s arms, but Goto locks the hold back on. Juice uses the corner pad for leverage, but Goto drags him away. Fans rally while Red Shoes checks Juice. Goto won’t go easy, he shifts into a Dragon Sleeper! He wrenches back, but Juice throws him off with a snapmare. Goto catches his own breath, then drags Juice up. Juice revives, but Goto uses a headbutt to block the punch! Then a headbutt to rock Juice. And from there, Goto hits a front facing GTR.
But that’s not enough for Goto, as he drags Juice back up. Juice catches him into a cradle! TWO!! Juice was close and everyone knows it. Goto rushes Juice but Juice gets the full nelson. Goto breaks free and around to a hammerlock, then dragon sleeper, but Juice switches it around onto Goto! Juice goes from sleeper to chicken wings, but Goto shoves out of the Unprettier again. Juice headbutts Goto, and they both stagger, but Juice still hits a stiff left forearm! He fires up, as do the fans, and he hits another stiff left. Juice drags Goto up, he wants to finish this. He turns Goto, but Goto dumps him off! Goto catches Juice into the Shotenkai, the suplex slam!
Cover, TWO!? Everyone is thunderous again as both men are down. Goto seems at a loss as to what to do. He drags himself up on the ropes, then staggers around. Goto hears the fans, and calls for one more move. Juice sits up, and Goto kicks him back down. Goto then drags Juice up, for a true GTR!!
Cover, Goto wins!
Winner: Goto, by pinfall; still NEVER Openweight Champion
Juice pushed Goto to his limits, but Goto’s limits were too much for Juice. While the young lions attend to Goto and Juice, Mike Elgin appears.
Big Mike checks on Juice. Goto stands, his title in hand. Elgin helps Juice up, then turns his attention to Goto. Elgin points at Goto’s belt, then to himself. Goto locks eyes with The Unbreakable Elgin, who might be his next challenger. Elgin picks up a mic to speak.
“Goto, you have something I want.” Elgin wants the NEVER Openweight Championship. But then Taichi appears and picks up the mic, too.
“Hey hey hey. How dare you throw out challenges, baldy?” Taichi tells Goto that the belt he’s “always clutching tightly” will be more useful to Taichi. “So hand it over.” As for the “third wheel” Elgin, Taichi says, “Piss off, fat ass.” Taichi drops the mic, then drops Goto using his mic stand!
Elgin grabs Taichi, and lifts him high over head! Taichi slips out and runs away, having completed his mission. Elgin picks up the belt, and refuses to give it to Red Shoes. He returns it to Goto himself. Will one or both challengers get a match with Goto for the NEVER Openweight title?
Elgin says it’s simple. “It’s been too long since Big Mike could call himself champion in NJPW.” As for Taichi, he hasn’t learned not to stick his nose in people’s business.
Meanwhile, Taichi says that everyone is sick of seeing Goto “clinging to the belt”. “It’s just another tool to me. So hand it over.” Taichi will put it to good use. As for “that bald, bearded fatty: stay out of this.”
Goto says his belt is “a sight for sore eyes.” Elgin and Taichi showing up at the end, Goto will take either of them on. Or even both at the same time. That’s all he has to say, and he takes his leave. Will Goto be able to break the Unbreakable? Will he be able to deny the World’s Sliest Wrestler? Or will one of them be the man to finally take that NEVER Openweight Championship from him?
A solid night of action, and with only two matches. We get part of White VS Finlay but even part was really great. The story was there, with Finlay being 1-9 against White, and that was perhaps in his head the entire time. White won to build his reign, and he ups the ante by name dropping some great champions. Seeing him against any of those would be a great match, and if he wins against even just one, it really ups his stock. The main event was great, that match raises Juice’s stock as well. Juice is almost there, he just needs a little more time. Goto VS Elgin VS Taichi sounds like a great idea, especially with how rare NJPW uses multi-man matches like that. Plus, it is the one way to keep Goto strong while taking the title off him and putting it on someone else.
My Score: 8.5/10
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Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (5/12/18)
ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 347
It’s War of the Worlds Weekend! The Young Bucks and #DemBoyz, Jay & Mark Briscoe, have one more go over the ROH World Tag Team Championships! Which pair of brothers will prove themselves THE BEST tag team in all of Ring of Honor? Plus, the Women of Honor are in action as Kelly Klein takes on Madison Rayne!
All images courtesy of the Fite.TV app and streaming service
- Kelly Klein VS Madison Rayne; Kelly wins.
- The Dawgs VS The Motor City Machine Guns; MCMG win.
- Facade w/ Danni VS Eli Isom; no contest.
- ROH World Tag Team Championships: The Briscoes VS The Young Bucks; The Young Bucks win by disqualification; The Briscoes retain the ROH World Tag Team Championships.
PLAY BY PLAY
Kelly Klein VS Madison Rayne!
WOH are in action as The Gatekeeper looks to rebuild after suffering her first loss by pinfall. Can the #PrettyBadass beat the Queen Bee to then aim herself at the inaugural WOH Champion, Sumie Sakai?
Madison offers the Code of Honor handshake, but Kelly worries more about her hair and mouth guard. Madison mocks the arm slapping as the bell rings. The two circle, tie up, and Kelly shoves Madison to a corner. They circle and tie up again, and Kelly again shoves Madison back. Kelly circles with Madison a third time, and Madison gets behind Kelly to roll her up. ONE, but Madison is back on Kelly with a leg-hook roll up, ONE. Kelly gets to ropes but Madison whips. Kelly reverses and sends Madison to a corner. Madison slips out as Kelly runs in, then throws in a shoulder. She slides under, then runs, and counters Kelly’s hip toss into a bridging cover, ONE. Kelly grows frustrated while Madison runs again.
Madison goes for a wheelbarrow, but Kelly turns that into a facebuster. Madison gets to a corner, Kelly runs in and hits the forearm smash. Kelly adds a back elbow, then a big clothesline. Kelly runs and boots Madison down, and has control while we go to break.
ROH returns to Kelly holding Madison down in a half-nelson chinlock. Fans rally and Madison stands up. She fights out with elbows, then forearms. Madison runs in but into Kelly’s elbow. Kelly climbs up and puts Madison in the hanging sleeper hold. She lets go at the ref’s count, and Madison slumps out of the ring. Kelly pursues Madison on the outside, but Madison fights back. Kelly knees low and suplexes Madison up and over. Fans applaud while Kelly fires herself up. Kelly looms over Madison before putting her in the ring. Kelly grins as she takes her time, but Madison dropkicks her feet out! Madison catches her breath while Kelly gets upset. Kelly slides in, but Madison is ready with forearms and chops. Madison fires off, then runs, and runs Kelly over. Madison gets around again, rip cord swing out for a cutter! AKA Chance of Rayne!
Cover, TWO! Madison knows she’s close, so she keeps on Kelly. Kelly resists the suplex and powers Madison to a corner. Kelly gives a body shot, then scoops, but Madison slips out. Madison pushes Kelly into buckles, but Kelly bucks her off. Kelly gives Madison a strong right, then drags her into the facelock. Madison fights back with knees, then picks Kelly up for the Rayne Check guillotine drop!
Cover, TWO! And Madison is shocked! Kelly survives yet another of her best moves. Madison stands up while Kelly slowly stirs. Kelly dodges the boot, fireman’s carry, to Landslide!
Cover, TWO, and now Kelly is frustrated. The fans rally while Kelly drags Madison up. Madison resists the suplex, then rocks Kelly with an enziguri! Madison stands up while Kelly goes to a corner. She runs in, but Kelly dodges and sends Madison into the post. Kelly rocks Madison with a knee right to the face! Cover, Kelly wins!
Winner: Kelly, by pinfall
The win wasn’t pretty, but the Pretty Badass gets back on top. With a killer knee added to her arsenal, will Kelly climb back to the top of the WOH Division and take that title from Sumie Sakai?
SoCal Uncensored speaks.
“Despite the shenanigans of The Kingdom, SoCal Uncensored is still the Six Man Tag Team Champions.” Next week, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky take on The Bullet Club’s Marty Scurll, Cody & Adam Page. It’s one more opportunity for SCU to punch them, kick them, spit on them and kick them in the balls, for another victory over them. “There is no secret that there is dissension in the Bullet Club”, but the SCU are a well-oiled machine. Before the Bullet Club tears itself apart, these three promise to tear them apart. Will the SCU win to then take revenge on Taven, Marseglia & O’Ryan?
Jay Lethal speaks.
“Next week, Punishment Martinez, you step into the ring with the Franchise of Ring of Honor.” Let’s look at the match on paper. The numbers don’t lie: Martinez is taller, has a longer reach, and is stronger than Lethal. But luckily for Lethal, this isn’t about power lifting or boxing, this is pro-wrestling. Martinez steps up to one of the greatest. Lethal plans to right the wrong that was his loss to Martinez from before. Lethal wants Martinez to bring everything he has, because Lethal will. Can Lethal scratch off the blemish on his record?
The Motor City Machine Guns are in the ring.
Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin enjoy the chants from the fans before speaking. “When we got back together, we had one singular goal in mind.” That was to become the ROH Tag Team Champions, and they did that. But now they’re not the champions. The question therefore, is what’s next for MCMG? Where do they go from here? Do they shake hands and “call it a day”? Or should they stay together and prove they’re “the best damn tag team there has ever been? Fans go with that one. “Well to be perfectly honestly”, they don’t know. They’ve been to Hell and back, but Sabin lets Shelley know they’re brothers for life. Shelley and Sabin hug, but oooooh, Hell, noooo! It’s The Dawgs, Big Rhett & Little Willie.
They’re not here for achy breaky hearts. Sabin & Shelley are confused about what’s next. Rhett had a favorite childhood movie: Old Yeller. Sometimes, you just gotta put old dogs out to pasture. And that’s when The Dawgs sucker punch the MCMG! In fact, Big Rhett wants referee Todd Sinclair to make this official. Sinclair has little choice, he calls for the bell and we have a match.
The Dawgs VS The Motor City Machine Guns!
Rhett & Will stomp away on Shelley & Sabin, respectively. Fans are on the MCMG’s side as The Dawgs bring them up. The Dawgs whip MCMG at each other, but the MCMG do-si-do and head back at The Dawgs. The Dawgs dodge, but then so do the MCMG, and they hit corner clotheslines. MCMG send The Dawgs out of the ring, then Shelley holds the way open for Sabin to DIVE!
Sabin hits both Dawgs, and the fans applaud as Sabin puts Ferrara in the ring. Shelly bumps Ferrara off buckles and then Sabin hits the running back elbow. Shelley climbs while Sabin brings Ferrara out, for a flying knee drop backbreaker. Sabin then feeds Ferrara to Shelley, and MCMG combine for the enziguri complete shot. Fans fire up but Rhett is back. Rhett throws hands, then whips Shelley. Shelley reverses, and the atomic drop starts the Dream Sequence! Dropkick and Last Chancery, but Ferrara trips up Sabin to stop the sequence. Ferrara rocks Sabin with a right, then gives a right to Shelley, and tops it off with a tornado DDT for Sabin! Sabin hits the ground, then Rhett dropkicks Shelley out of the ring. Ferrara stands the MCMG up, and Rhett builds speed to FLY!
The Dawgs are in control while we go to break.
ROH returns to The Dawgs arguing as they do, and Rhett whips Ferrara into Shelley for the shoulder tackle. Ferrara runs at Rhett but is turned back into Shelley. They go again, but Shelley boots Ferrara, then puts Rhett on the apron. Shelley rocks Rhett, and evades Ferrara, but Rhett trips Shelley off the apron. Rhett rebounds to then drive Shelley into barriers. Rhett holds Shelley still for Ferrara, and Ferrara builds speed to DIVE, but Shelley evades and Ferrara collides with Rhett. Shelley tags Sabin, he builds speed to FLY onto The Dawgs! He wipes them both out and the fans are fired up. Sabin puts Rhett in the ring then climbs up top. Sabin jumps for the missile dropkick! Then he hurries tot he apron, to Penalty Kick Ferrara down.
Sabin keeps going, but the springboard DDT is blocked by Rhett’s strength. Rhett rocks Sabin with a swift jab, then boots Shelley as he comes in. Rhett takes time to taunt, but he runs into an atomic drop. The Dream Sequence restarts and completes! Fans applaud as MCMG fetch Ferrara, but Ferrara rams Shelley into barriers. Sabin throws forearms on Rhett, then back kicks. Sabin runs, but into Rhett’s backbreaker. Rhett gut wrenches Sabin up, and hits snake eyes. Rhett runs corner to corner for a helluva kick, then feeds Sabin to Ferrara for the BLL lariat! Big Rhett climbs up, for the Dawgy Splash!
Double Dawg cover, but Shelley break sit up just in time. Ferrara goes after Shelley and throws him out, right into barriers. Ferrara keeps Shelley down while Rhett brings Sabin back up. Rhett puts Sabin on the top rope, rocks him with a right, then climbs up to join him. Sabin fights back and pushes Rhett down, but Rhett springs back up, only for Sabin to trip him up. Rhett ends up in the Tree of Woe, Sabin leaps and rolls to the other corner. Ferrara returns, gets around Sabin for the waistlock, but Shelley returns to grab Ferrara in a waistlock. Ferrara ditches Sabin to standing switch with Shelley, but Shelley backs Ferrara to a corner. Sabin runs in to clothesline Ferrara, and Shelley runs to baseball slide dropkick Rhett.
Sabin whips Ferrara to Shelley, and Shelley throws Little Willie overhead to land on Big Rhett! He hits his own dropkick on Rhett, and the fans are fired up. Shelley and Sabin kick combo Rhett, then Shelley climbs up while Sabin turns Rhett around. Shelley leaps, and MCMG hits Skull & Bones!
Cover, MCMG win!
Winners: MCMG (Shelley & Sabin), Sabin pinning
They may not know what’s next for themselves, but the MCMG win here tonight. Will Shelley & Sabin figure out their future in ROH’s stacked Tag Team Division?
The Young Bucks speak.
“Two of the best tag teams in ROH history.” Matt & Nick Jackson vow that tonight, they become four-time ROH Tag Team Champions. Tonight, Young Bucks and Briscoes, one more time to prove who are the greatest of all time.
Punishment Martinez speaks.
Or rather, he sends a message with a highlight reel. The Reincarnation of the Purple Mist clearly enjoys beating people down by any means necessary. What will he do to Jay Lethal in their rematch next week?
Facade w/ Danni VS Eli Isom!
The Neon Ninja has traveled the world, but looks to leave his mark on ROH in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, his opponent has been on ROH TV before, without success. Which man will make the bigger impact in Pennsylvania?
The fans chant “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!” for their hometown boy while he and Eli uphold the Code of Honor. The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Eli powers Facade to the ropes. Facade slips around to roll up, ONE, and Facade hops over the leg sweep to snapmare Eli. Cover, ONE and Eli slips around to a waistlock. Facade bucks him off then springboards up and over. Eli runs into Facade’s scooping cover, ONE into the crucifix, ONE. Facade slips up and around to a hammerlock into Mahistrol, TWO into Eli’s standard cover, TWO, to another cover for Facade, TWO. The two roll around, both going for covers, Facade gets his, TWO. The two both handspring and the fans applaud this even match-up. Facade and Eli circle, and the home crowd chants for their “Ninja! Ninja!”
Eli and Facade fist bump, but then Facade trips Eli up. Facade runs and cartwheels, then hops over. Eli hops over a cole times, then runs Facade over with a knee strike. Eli takes aim from the corner, then runs in for a big European Uppercut. He whips Facade corner to corner but Facade reverses. Facade runs in but Eli dodges. Facade headstands on the corner, then catches Eli with headscissors. Eli counters that into a shoulder carry, but Facade slips out. They roll back, TWO and Facade uses the momentum to springboard enziguri Eli down! Fans fire up as Eli rolls out. Facade takes aim, builds speed, and has to change plans as Eli slips back into the ring.
Eli runs at Facade, but Facade rams a shoulder into him. Facade slingshots and rolls off Eli’s back, ducks Eli’s clothesline, but runs into the tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! Eli keeps going, and throws Facade with a Northern Lights suplex! Facade rolls out and Eli fires up. He wants Pittsburgh to get loud, so they get loud. Danni checks on Facade, and rallies the fans back on his side. Eli runs, but into Facade’s kick. Eli slumps out of the ring and Facade gets back in. Facade feeds off the fans’ energy, and runs to double springboard and FLY!
Facade knocks Eli down with a 450 clothesline, and lands on his feet! Fans fire up for the “Aerosol Assassin”, and he puts Eli in the ring. Facade climbs up, takes aim, then walks the tightrope for a springboard flying kick!
Cover, TWO! Eli survives, but Facade keeps his cool. However, a certain Enforcer walks out now…
Bully Ray goes right to the ring, and clobbers Facade with a clothesline!
Bully despises the youth, but fans despise him. Bully goes after Eli now, and tosses him right out of the ring. Danni checks on Facade, but Bully looms over. Fans chant for “Cheeseburger!” but Bully tosses Facade out, too. Bully gets a microphone, and says “As Enforcer of ROH”, Bully fires Eli and Facade! “You are young boy bottom feeders who don’t deserve a job in the wrestling business! Don’t ever show up here again.” Why, Bully, Why? What did these two do to deserve that? But before another word is said, here comes Burger!
Fans cheer for the hero as he stands across from the evil Bully. “Bully, I respected you. I trusted you. I just want to tell you to your face… You’re a piece of shit.” Cursing on television will cost Burger some money, but fans are on his side 100%! Bully grabs Burger, and with the one hand alone, Choke Slams him down!
Bully shouts at the fans, “There’s your Cheeseburger, you pieces of dog crap!” But then Joe Koff appears!
“You’re so proud of yourself, aren’t you, Mr. Enforcer?” Koff says “Shame on me”, because he heard about Bully from other wrestlers and other promotions. But Koff is “the nice guy”, so he just wanted to give Bully a chance. Bully really did good things, for a while. But Bully went and fired two good wrestlers as “The Enforcer”. Koff tells “The Enforcer”, “You’re Done!” Bully shouts back that if he’s done, and Koff wants to empower the fans to mock him, he has something to say. “As of right now, I’m officially un-retired.” Bully is back in the game? And showing off his ring from the WWE Hall of Fame, while flipping everyone off. If Bully is wrestling again, will he face the consequences of his actions in the ring?
The Bullet Club speaks.
“You know who I hate?” Christopher Daniels. Hangman hates Kazarian. Scurll isn’t okay with Scorpio Sky. That’s not his real name, though. And Scurll despises uncensored. So therefore, they all hate SoCal Uncensored. “Which is perfect!” Next week, they will defeat SCU, and then should get a shot at the ROH World Six Man Tag titles. And after that, Cody will regain the ROH World Championship. Whoa, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Scurll is up to face Dalton Castle before Cody. Hangman keeps Cody and Scurll focused on beating the SCU. Right? Yeah! With this dysfunction, will that really be true?
ROH World Tag Team Championships: The Briscoes VS The Young Bucks!
Jay & Mark Briscoe have held those titles nine times, while Matt & Nick Jackson have only held it three times. Will #DemBoyz end up in a SUPERKICK PARTY that ends their current reign and gives the Bucks their fourth?
But already, the Briscoes aren’t playing nice, as they chuck chairs into the ring!
The Bucks manage to get clear of the flying steel, but the Briscoes rush the Bucks. Jay gets Matt down and stomps away, but Nick tosses a chair back at Mark, and it hits Mark square in the face! Mark tumbles out, and Nick slingshots out to bring him down! Matt gets away from Jay as the bell rings, and we have our match!
Jay rocks Matt with a European Uppercut while Nick clubs away on Mark. Mark hits back and puts Nick into the barriers while Jay rakes Matt’s eyes. The fans duel while the Briscoes keep on the Bucks. Matt snap suplexes Nick up onto the apron, then shouts for the camera man to get out of his face. Jay brings Matt over for Mark to mug with body shots. The Briscoes keep on Matt as they put him in the ring, but he gets going and Nick joins in, for a double DIVE!
The Bucks bring #DemBoyz down and the fans fire up. Fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” while The Bucks give a shout out to KO with double apron powerbombs! The Bucks are all fired up while we take one last break.
ROH returns once more, and things have settled down to a normal match in the ring. The Briscoes have Matt isolated in their corner. Matt fights out with haymakers all around. He boots Mark down but Mark whips him away from Nick. Matt uses that to take Jay out with a wrecking ball dropkick. Mark intercepts Matt as he runs back into the ring. Mark stiffly chops Matt in a corner, then whips him corner to corner. Matt goes up and over, and SPEARS Mark down! Both men are down, and fans rally for Matt. Matt crawls over, hot tag to Nick!
Nick rallies on the Briscoes with kicks and elbows. Mark dodges a kick but Nick catches Jay’s. Nick spins Jay to then rock him with the roundhouse. Mark suplexes but Nick slips out, to then hit Jay with a shining wizard. Nick hits both Briscoes with the bulldog-clothesline combo! Fans are thunderous and Nick is all fired up. Nick stomps, but Mark blocks the kick. Nick dodges to say “See ya!” and hit Jay with a triangle dropkick. Mark misses, and gets double SUPERKICKS!
Mark staggers, so the Bucks go out and SUPERKICK Jay! The Bucks go back to Mark, positioning him for the Frog Splash Moonsault! Cover, TWO, but the Bucks keep their cool. Fans rally for the Bucks again, and Nick repositions Mark. Nick climbs back up, but Mark moves and Nick rolls through his 450. Mark runs at Nick but Nick dodges. Things speed up, and Mark runs Nick over with the leaping chop. Both men are down, but Nick tags in Matt. Matt flies but into Mark’s yurinagi, that Matt reverses into a wheelbarrow roll-up. Matt springs up and says “You’re dead!” with a SUPERKICK! He goes for the legs, and puts on the “Cease” Sharpshooter! Nick intercepts Jay, and goes for the same, but Jay shoves Nick into Matt, breaking the hold.
Jay rocks Nick with a forearm, then pulls him over to steal the Sharpshooter! Mark intercepts Matt with a Russian leg sweep into the sleeper hold and body scissors. Jay rolls Nick over, and it’s two holds at once! And a middle finger for good measure.
The Briscoes show no respect and no mercy. Nick and Jay aren’t legal, so Jay lets Nick go while Mark chokes Matt out. Sinclair checks on Matt with the lift of his arm. Matt comes back to life! So Jay stomps him out. Jay drags Matt up while fans rally for “Young Bucks! Young Bucks!” Mark lifts Matt up, and the Briscoes together hit a crucifix neckbreaker!
Cover, TWO!! And The Briscoes can’t believe it. The fans know “This is Awesome!” Mark drags Matt up and brings him over. Jay lifts Matt up in the Electric Chair, and Mark climbs up to the top rope. The Briscoes hit Doomsday, but Matt lands on his feet!? And he SUPERKICKS Mark. Jay SUPERKICKS Matt, then gets the double underhook, Jay Driller!
Cover, TWO!! But how?! Mark brawls with Nick on the outside while fans are thunderous. Fans chant “ROH! ROH!” while Nick Penalty Kicks Mark. Jay knocks Nick down, then goes back to Matt, small package, TWO! Matt scoops Jay, and Nick scrambles up, but Mark SMACKS Nick with a chair!
The referee saw and heard that, this match is disqualified!
The Young Bucks win by disqualification; The Briscoes are still ROH World Tag Team Champions.
The fans boo and jeer, but Mark doesn’t care. Mark tosses that chair and it hits Matt in the face. The Briscoes regroup, with more chairs taken from the audience. Jay smacks Nick with a chair, then hits Matt. Mark keeps collecting chairs, and Mark smacks Matt and Nick again in turn. Mark drags Matt up to the top rope, and Jay joins his brother. Nick can only watch as the Briscoes DOUBLE SUPERPLEX Matt onto the chair pile!!
Matt writhes in agony, but the Briscoes keep going. They keep Nick down and anticipate the arrival of more Bullet Club members. Mark moves in position, armed with a chair. Hangman Page storms out to the ring, followed by Flip Gordon, and that’s when Mark strikes!
Mark takes out both the #FlipArmy and Hangman, then rejoins Jay in the ring. They beat down the Bucks, and even bite them! Finally, Cody appears, armed with his own chair!
The American Nightmare goes after #DemBoyz and holds his own! But it’s not enough, Mark SMACKS him with his leather belt! And then chokes him with it! Jay gets back up, and throws a chair in Cody’s face. Fans chant for Scurll, but The Villain is a no-show. The Briscoes raise up their titles, proud of their underhanded yet savage actions. With #DemBoyz willing to do anything to retain, is there any hope for another team to reign?
A good episode here, and Heel heavy in the story developments. Good to see WOH again, and as I said, now that they have a title for the Division, seeing them regularly should be the way to go. Kelly’s story now is building back from her first real defeat, and it presented itself well as she struggled against Madison. These two probably need to work together more as parts felt clumsy, but they got through the major beats. It’s rare for a Heel to go through “crisis of confidence” but perhaps Kelly can make it work. MCMG have their own “crisis of confidence”, and I like the way they and The Dawgs shifted into a match like that. MCMG win to stay afloat in the ROH Tag Team Division, but maybe they could make the lateral movement into the Six Man Division with Jonathan Gresham by their side.
Bully Ray and ROH using his WWE status continues to be a genius move. Whether you see WWE as a promotion that’s “ruining pro-wrestling for everyone else” or not, using Bully to represent that concept works wonders here. He’s literally shutting out the new stars that deserve opportunities, the stars fans are starting to like, without any reason other than his personal opinion. And if Bully is coming out of retirement, that’s actually pretty big if he has a match against Cheeseburger or any number of these young stars. The promos tonight were all great, especially the Bullet Club’s, as it ties in their story with SCU and The Kingdom with their won story of dysfunction. I can’t be sure which way their Six Man with SCU will go, but the winners probably will move on to fight for the Six Man Tag titles.
That main event wasn’t long, but it was insane. The match is “ruined” by The Briscoes resorting to the DQ, and then The Briscoes up the Heel heat with that insane beating they give almost all of the ROH Bullet Club and Flip Gordon. It extends a story between them and The Bullet Club, while bringing into question the Six Man Tag next week. Sandy Fork VS Everybody is becoming more and more real for them in ROH, and I have a feeling The Briscoes will end up facing multiple teams in one big Tag Team Championship match down the line. That might be the only way to keep them from using Champion’s Advantage to retain.
My Score: 8.5/10
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Mitchell’s WWE NXT Report! (5/16/18)
The Undisputed Era have angered the Bruiserweight, Pete Dunne, and bullied the brawling Lorcan & Burch. Now all three of their targets team up to take them on! Can the WWE UK Champion and his allies take it to the NXT North American and Tag Team Champions? Plus, for the first time ever, Ricochet VS Velveteen Dream!
All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Brandi Lauren VS Lacey Evans; Lacey wins.
- Ricochet VS Velveteen Dream; no contest.
- Kona Reeves VS Raul Mendoza; Reeves wins.
- Six Man Tag: Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS The Undisputed Era; Dunne, Lorcan & Burch win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Johnny Gargano’s music hits!
But that’s not Gargano walking out, it’s Tommaso Ciampa.
The Blackheart Psycho Killer waves but the fans boo, jeer and give thumbs down. “Everybody keeps saying that Johnny Gargano won. That he beat me!” Gargano won a battle, but Ciampa “will always win the war!” It’s why Ciampa’s here while Gargano is home, in a neck brace that Ciampa put him in. Fans chant “You Suck! You Suck!” but Ciampa says that he has broken Gargano. Ciampa broke Gargano’s heart, mind, spirit and now, his body. “Johnny Wrestling is gone. I win.” Fans remind Ciampa he tapped out, then Candice LeRae appears!
Mrs. Wrestling storms right to the ring and confronts Ciampa. “Who are you?” Candice used to think she knew Ciampa. But she doesn’t recognize what he’s become. Ciampa is obsessed but she can’t understand why. “The only thing that’s truly broken here is you,” Ciampa. He taunts her with fake tears, but Candice says she’s done with the man she and her husband stood with. “You are a monster that I will never forgive.” While Gargano’s future is uncertain, Ciampa will always know Gargano was better. Fans agree with that one. Ciampa picks up the mic while fans chant “Johnny’s Better!”
Ciampa says maybe Gargano was better. But Candice and Ciampa both know, “that that boy you call ‘husband’ isn’t half the man I am.” That’s why he sent his cute little wife out instead of being here himself. Ciampa lived with them, and he knows he’s more of a man than Gargano. The fans chant “Mess him up, Candice, mess him up!” and Ciampa dares her to. Speaking of their wedding, Ciampa was thinking something the entire time: “How on Earth could this woman possibly be marrying such a big–” SLAP!! Ciampa and Candice stare down, but the Psycho Killer backs off with a little wave. Candice takes her leave, having said what she wanted. Fans still say Ciampa sucks, but will there ever be an end to his grudge with Gargano?
Brandi Lauren VS Lacey Evans!
One of NXT’s newest women goes up against the Model Soldier and Lady of NXT to see if she is worthy of staying. Can Lacey continue her mission of straightening out the NXT Women’s Division one woman at a time?
The bell rings and Lacey ties up with Brandi to throw her down. Lacey puts Brandi in a corner and stomps away. She backs off at the referee’s count, but then hits a swinging bronco buster. Brandi crawls away, but Lacey stands on her at the ropes. Lacey lets up at 4, and poses on the apron before dropping the slingshot elbow. Lacey drags Brandi into position, then climbs up to salute the fans. She hits a model moonsault, but she doesn’t end it there. Lacey drags Brandi up, for that knockout right! AKA a Woman’s Right.
Cover, and Lacey wins!
Winner: Lacey, by pinfall
One woman down, the rest of the Division to go. Lacey shows off her right to end a match, will she use that right to take control of NXT?
But as Lacey takes her leave, Kairi Sane attacks!
The Pirate Princess is back for revenge! Kairi took a sucker punch so she gives one, and then some! They end up at the ring and fans go wild for Kairi. She puts Lacey in the ring, then climbs up high, but Lacey rolls out of harm’s way. Kairi hops down while Lacey retreats. Fans call her “Chicken! Chicken!” Kairi wants her revenge, when will she get it?
Aleister Black speaks.
The Embodiment of the End know Ricochet and Velveteen Dream want at his title. “I’ve learned a few things since becoming NXT Champion.” One is that there’s a bigger target on the champion’s back. If Aleister faces Velveteen, we know the history between them. If Aleister faces Ricochet, he looks forward to seeing if he’s truly the One and Only. But both men need to realize, stepping in the ring with Aleister, makes them the target. Who will Aleister make #FadeToBlack over the NXT Championship?
Dakota Kai talks to NXT Media.
Captain Kick is congratulated on her win last week against Vanessa Borne. But afterwards, Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross both interrupted. Dakota has no idea what Nikki is up to, she’s just kinda crazy. Dakota obviously wants to be NXT WOmen’s Champion, but her focus right now is strength and– Oh no, here comes Nikki!
“I’ve got a question!” When is Dakota gonna fight Shayna? When? Huh? When? For the title? Fight? Dakota doesn’t know what to say. “With fear comes opportunity.” Nikki wants Dakota to face her fears and fight. She leaves Dakota to reflect on that “advice”. Will Dakota take Nikki’s advice and take the fight to Shayna?
Ricochet VS Velveteen Dream!
The eccentric Patrick Clark Experience called out the One and Only to say “anything you can do, I can do better.” Ricochet would respond with, “Prove it.” And now, to see who is more worthy of being #1 contender to the NXT Championship, they will go head to head for the first time anywhere!
Fans duel already between “Velveteen!” and “Ricochet!” The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up but break, then circle again. Velveteen slithers and corners Ricochet. He goes for the arm, then wrenches and brings Ricochet down while fans chant “Both These Guys!” Velveteen swivels the hips but Ricochet kips up to wrench and swivel back. Ricochet keeps Velveteen grounded with a keylock. Velveteen spins around and reverses from hammerlock to headlock to takedown. Ricochet tries the headscissors but Velveteen keeps it at bay. Ricochet powers through and keeps Velveteen trapped. Velveteen rolls and pops his way out, to then shove Ricochet down for a headlock. Ricochet rolls to a cover, ONE, and they stand up.
Ricochet gives body shots and brings Velveteen down to reverse back to an armlock. He drives elbows into Velveteen’s shoulders, but Velveteen stands up. Velveteen tries but fails to power out of the headlock, so he rolls Ricochet over to a cover. ONE, and they stand up again. Velveteen powers out, but Ricochet rolls off his back to then roll back. Velveteen copies the back roll, then the somersaults to then arm-drag Ricochet out! Ricochet staggers, and fans applaud as Velveteen keeps his word. Velveteen builds speed, but Ricochet slides in while Velveteen tumbles to the apron. Ricochet triangle jump to dropkick Velveteen down! Fans fire up again, and Ricochet builds speed, to handspring and superhero land as Velveteen slides in!
Fans are all fired up as Velveteen sees he’s bitten off more than he can chew. The fans chant “NXT!” while Velveteen shoves. Ricochet blocks the kick to rock Velveteen with a right. Ricochet whips but Velveteen reverses to rock him with a forearm in the corner. Velveteen throws hands and stomps, then whips, but Ricochet goes up and over. They collide head to head, and stagger about. Velveteen and Ricochet brawl in a corner, but then Lars Sullivan appears to sandwich them!
The match is thrown out as the Leviathan throws Ricochet! Then he tosses Velveteen for a powerslam! Lars flattens Ricochet in the corner while fans boo and jeer. He finishes it by picking Velveteen up for the FREAK ACCIDENT!
And then one for Ricochet! The fans boo and jeer Lars destroying this match, but Lars makes it clear HE wants to be the next NXT Champion! Is the Leviathan the one man–or rather, monster–that Aleister can’t make #FadeToBlack?
Kona Reeves VS Raul Mendoza!
NXT’s Finest made a victorious return last week while the Cruiserweight in waiting lost to the Top One Percent. Will Mendoza make his moment? Or will Reeves roll on with his newfound self-worth?
Reeves makes sure his chains and jacket are well taken care off before the bell rings. Fans chant “Kona Sucks!” while he ties up with Mendoza. Reeves wrenches the arm, gives it a shoulder breaker, then yanks on it hard. He puts Mendoza in a hammerlock, but Mendoza hits back with an elbow. Reeves suckers Mendoza into a headlock, but Mendoza power out, only for Reeves to run him over. Mendoza staggers up, and speeds up again, to slide under and tilt-o-whirl. Reeves slips out of it to throw Mendoza into a corner and give the Finest mudhole stomps. The referee backs Reeves up, but Reeves goes right back to suplex Mendoza up and over. Reeves drops a Finest fist drop, then climbs up for the Finest falling elbow. He stalks Mendoza, toys with him, and drives elbows into Mendoza’s face.
Reeves rubs Mendoza’s face into the mat, but stops at 4. Reeves wraps Mendoza in a Finest Cobra Clutch, but fans rally for Mendoza. Mendoza endures, and feeds off the energy to give Reeves a jawbreaker. Reeves gets angry, but gets a kick from Mendoza, then chops. Mendoza fires off haymakers, but Reeves throws him to ropes, only for Mendoza to hit a rebound enziguri! Reeves staggers, Mendoza runs in for a forearm smash. Mendoza whips, Reeves reverses but Mendoza slips out to the apron. Mendoza rocks Reeves with a swing kick, then springboards, only for Reeves to boot him out of the sky! Reeves then drags Mendoza up and says, “That’s why I’m the Finest.” He lifts Mendoza up, for the Hawaiian Drop!
Cover, Reeves wins!
Winner: Reeves, by pinfall
The Finest is on the Finest Win Streak right now, but he still has a long way to go. Will Reeves keep racking up victories to be the Finest Contender, and even the Finest Champion in NXT?
Cathy Kelly finds Ricochet outside William Regal’s office.
Clearly the One and Only wants to discuss what happened during his match with the NXT General Manager. In reference to that, Velveteen shows up for very much the same reason. They both want a match with Lars, but keep their cool as they enter Regal’s office. How will the NXT GM solve this monster-sized problem?
Heavy Machinery walk backstage while making a video.
Otis and Tucker speak about pumping up, but come across TM61. Shane Thorne & Nick Miller are labelled as “cheaters” after what they did to Street Profits. It doesn’t matter how you win, so long as you win. TM61 tasted victory, the one thing Heavy Machinery hasn’t tasted in some time. Tucker lets them know that TM61 is gonna be sore after facing them. Otis says any place, any time, and it’s gonna be next week. The Might may not kneel, but will they be flattened by the power of #SteaksAndWeights?
Six Man Tag: Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS The Undisputed Era!
The Bruiserweight joins forces with two bruising brawlers in order to exact some revenge on the traitorous Roderick Strong and his new friends who like to #ShockTheSystem. Will Strong, Cole & O’Reilly be able to use their teamwork and treachery to get the better of Dunne, Lorcan & Burch?
The referee keeps the two teams apart, even as the Undisputed Era taunt Dunne, Lorcan & Burch. Dunne starts against Strong, the man he wants most, and the bell rings. Strong dances around, then tags out to O’Reilly. Dunne tags out to Burch, and now Burch and O’Reilly circle. They tie up, and O’Reilly gets the waistlock. Burch gets the standing switch, but O’Reilly switches back. O’Reilly goes for the kneebar, but Burch gets to the rope. O’Reilly releases Burch, then they tie up again. Both men are even, but Burch gets the headlock takeover. O’Reilly rolls Burch, ONE, headscissors. Burch pops out but O’Reilly is ready even on the mat. Both men dare the other to bring the fight. They circle, and O’Reilly kicks out the legs. O’Reilly brings Burch over and Cole tags in to deck Burch. Cole stomps away, then toys with Burch at the ropes.
Cole throws hands, then grins as he throws in a knee. He stomps away while taunting and trash talking, then tags O’Reilly. Team Future Shock mug Burch, then O’Reilly drives in muay thai knees. O’Reilly snapmares, kicks, and covers, TWO. O’Reilly brings Burch back and Strong tags in now. Strong gives Burch the backbreaker, covers, TWO. Strong keeps on Burch, and copies Dunne with the hammerlock stomp! He even mocks Dunne’s fist pose. Dunne wants to come in, but Burch fights back. Strong lifts Burch but Burch slips down and brings Strong over. Dunne tags in and he rocks Strong with rights! Dunne fires off in an open corner, then whips Strong for a big back elbow. He doesn’t let up, he brings Strong down with a hammerlock, and hammers away on the ribs.
Strong screams in pain as Dunne bends those fingers past their point. Dunne goes to snap the fingers, but O’Reilly & Cole rush to save him. However, Lorcan & Burch catch them! Dunne, Lorcan & Burch all grab the fingers, for a TRIPLE SNAP!
The Undisputed Era rolls out of the ring to regroup, all clutching their broken digits. Lorcan & Burch raise up the “one two” fingers, Dunne throws up a three. Strong returns, but cowers in a corner. Cole and O’Reilly distract Dunne, then Strong pounces! Strong stomps away, then drags Dunne up to tag in Cole. They mug Dunne, clubbing and stomping him to the mat. Cole tags O’Reilly, and O’Reilly fires off on Dunne in the corner. O’Reilly toys with Dunne, then tags Strong for more mugging. Strong wraps Dunne in a cobra clutch but the fans rally for the Bruiserweight. Dunne sits up, gets to his feet, but Strong yanks him back into a backbreaker. Cover, TWO, but Strong dropkicks Dunne in that back. Strong tags Cole, and they stomp away on Dunne again. Cole brings Dunne up, snapmare to drive in a knee into the back.
Dunne hits back, but Cole knocks him down with a bicycle kick. Cole drags Dunne over, O’Reilly tags in. O’Reilly brings Dunne up, for the shoulder breaker. O’Reilly drives in elbows and knees to all sides of Dunne, then runs for a sliding knee. Tag to Strong, and Strong stomps again. Strong puts Dunne in a seated abdominal stretch, but fans rally again. Dunne endures, stands up and fights back with body shots. Strong shoves but Dunne keeps fighting! Dunne runs out, but Strong whips him back in. Dunne goes up and over, hot tag to Lorcan! Lorcan rallies on Strong with haymakers, then gives chops all around to Strong and O’Reilly! He’s all fired up and starts on a European Uppercut train! Strong tries to stop him, but gets thrown by a Half ‘n’ Half Suplex! Cole runs in, but into the running blockbuster!
Lorcan is all fired up, and he tags in Burch, to then FLY onto Strong & O’Reilly!
Lorcan feeds Strong to Burch, and Burch fires off a EuroUpper. Strong staggers back into Lorcan’s atomic drop, then Burch knocks Strong down with a clothesline! Cover, but Cole breaks it. Dunne returns and SMACKS Cole with a forearm. O’Reilly returns, throws Dunne in a German Suplex, but Dunne lands on his feet. Dunne kicks O’Reilly, but Strong throws him out. Strong throws Lorcan into Dunne, then hits Burch with a full-nelson backbreaker. Burch staggers into a corner, Strong hits him with a stiff corner shining wizard. Cole tags in, then Cole tags in O’Reilly. Cole hits Burch with an Ushigorishi! O’Reilly hits the Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO!? O’Reilly is furious with Burch’s toughness. Fans rally, and Burch rocks O’Reilly with a right. Cole runs in but is sent back out. Strong comes in, he’s sent out.
O’Reilly knees low and goes for the guillotine, but Burch counters into the crossface! Lorcan intercepts Strong for the Half Crab! Cole returns, but Dunne catches him into the Hoverboard wristlock! It’s three submissions, side-by-side-by-side!
The Undisputed Era all endure, but Strong slips out to shove Lorcan into Dunne and Cole, which sends them into Burch. All three holds are broken, and all six men are down. The fans duel between “Undisputed!” “Bruiserweight!” Cole goes after Dunne, but Dunne suplexes Cole out of the ring. Strong & O’Reilly stagger up to brawl with Lorcan & Burch! Fast hands fly from both, but it’s the brawlers who get the edge, only to run into forearms and elbows. O’Reilly gives Burch the Ax, but Burch evades to send the Smash into Strong! Burch headbutts O’Reilly, and Lorcan hits both O’Reilly & Strong with a blockbuster! Strong rolls out while Burch picks up O’Reilly. Lorcan wheelbarrows O’Reilly, for Burch to hit a DDT!
C0ver, Burch, Lorcan & Dunne win!
Winners: Dunne, Lorcan & Burch, Burch pinning
The one two three combination does the Undisputed Era in. Lorcan & Burch have pinned the NXT Tag Team Champions, will this give them a long-awaited title shot? And what of Dunne and Cole? Will there be a clash of United Kingdom and North American Champions on the horizon?
Another great night for NXT, with everything being rather straight forward. Ciampa continues to be a genius, using Gargano’s music now to swerve the fans. Then he implies there’s some kind of love triangle where he’s the “real man” Candice wants even though she’s with Gargano. I doubt WWE would consider co-ed wrestling an option, but Candice would be the one to use in a match against Ciampa. Kairi ups the rivalry with Lacey with that attack, their rematch looks to be building up for something really fun. Nikki Cross oddly wants Dakota to fight Shayna instead of wanting Shayna for herself, but Nikki is meant to be the crazy one. Maybe if Dakota snaps and beats up Shayna even a little, that’ll make it easier for Nikki to take the title.
I was truly surprised to see Lars Sullivan attack both Ricochet and Velveteen. I suppose their incredible 1v1 match would be too much for just NXT TV. Next week we get a handicap match, Lars VS Ricochet & Velveteen, but that probably won’t end definitively. My guess is Velveteen leaves Ricochet alone with Lars and Lars wins. I still don’t get where Reeves is going to go, except maybe into something with EC3 for a showdown of rich guy gimmicks. EC3 definitely wins that. The Six Man Tag was great, and I was happily surprised to see the Undisputed Era loses. I expected this to lead into British Strong Style in NXT, but maybe that’ll be later. Lorcan & Burch can be a good holdover for O’Reilly & Strong until another team presents itself, and as I implied, we might even get Dunne VS Cole just because.
My Score: 8.5/10