AXS TV and NJPW go all out to bring you a THREE EPISODE MARATHON to cover the entirety of Sakura Genesis! The biggest event of Spring features a star-studded line up, such as Will Ospreay VS Marty Scurll, The Golden Lovers VS Cody & Hangman Page, and Okada VS Zack Sabre Jr for THE IWGP Heavyweight Championship!
This review of Sakura Genesis 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.
- 8 PM EST, Part 1 – Six Man Tag: Suzuki-Gun’s Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Suzuki- Gun wins.
- Part 1 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Marty Scurll; Ospreay wins and retains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
- 9 PM EST, Part 2 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: Suzuki-Gun VS Roppongi 3K VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Suzuki-Gun wins and retains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
- Part 2 – The Golden Lovers VS Bullet Club’s Cody & Hangman Page; Cody & Hangman win.
- 10 PM EST, Part 3 – IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada w/ Gedo VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku; Okada wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the stage for Part 1!
The Aerial Assassin is a two-time champion, and has already reestablished himself by turning away Hiromu Takahashi, and even the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger. However, The Villain, Ospreay’s archnemesis, Marty Scurll, has come back for more. Ospreay finally overcame Scurll in a Fatal 4 Way that also involved Hiromu and Kushida at Wrestle Kingdom 12. But both Ospreay and Scurll know that when it’s 1v1, Scurll has Ospreay’s number. Can Ospreay finally “break the curse” and retain the title?
Six Man Tag: Suzuki-Gun’s Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!
We jump into this match already in progress, as the Man with the Worst Personality in the World and his heavy hitters take on the Tranquilo One himself, and his IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
Sanada jumps over Lance Archer, then again, then dropkicks him down. Sanada keeps on Archer with a slingshot plancha! Suzuki coaches his men back up while the fans rally for Sanada. Sanada springboards and flies, but Davey Boy Smith Jr. catches him into a Northern Lights! Bridging cover, TWO, and Davey is frustrated. He drags Sanada up, prepares a powerbomb, but Sanada fights his way out. Sanada whips but Davey reverses, but Sanada tumbles to the apron, then springboards back in for the missile dropkick! Down goes Davey and fans applaud. Sanada and Davey crawl for their corners, and hot tags to Archer and EVIL.
EVIL sees Archer coming and dodges him to then give him a bulldog. EVIL adds on a big back senton, then fires up the fans as he runs in at Archer. Archer goes to boot but EVIL blocks that, only for Archer to duck his discus and run in for the side splash. Archer puts EVIL up top, then carries him out in reverse cruficix position, but Naito dropkicks his legs out. Suzuki rushes in and goes right at Naito! They go to the outside and Naito is whipped into the barriers. EVIL kicks Archer’s leg, then runs, but into a scrapbuster! Archer goes to tag but Naito gets back at Suzuki by putting him into barriers.
Sanada comes in to go after Archer, but Archer puts him in a corner. Archer runs in but misses, Sanada runs and hits the elbow, then EVIL hits the clothesline. Naito wants back in but Suzuki drags him back out. They brawl outside, and Suzuki goes after the leg with the Achilles lock. Meanwhile, EVIL hoists Archer up with Sanada, but Davey stops them from hitting Magic Killer by throwing Sanada with a German Suplex! EVIL kicks Davey, then runs, but into the lift. Archer returns to add the splash! Archer covers, Sanada breaks it! Naito breaks free of Suzuki but Suzuki still pursues. Davey brings Sanada up in the powerbomb, and Archer adds on, for the KILLER BOMB!!
But Sanada isn’t legal, it’s EVIL. They go after him while Naito fights to get back in the ring. EVIL fights KES off, handing Davey’s boot to Archer to then mule kick Davey. Archer grabs EVIL, EVIL breaks free but Archer spins him around, they give EVIL the Killer Bomb! Cover, Suzuki-Gun wins!
Winners: Suzuki-Gun (Suzuki & KES), Archer pinning
A big win for Suzuki-Gun over LIJ, but a bigger win for KES over the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Archer & Davey even raise the belts as if those already belong to them. Will this win give rise to new #1 contenders? And will those contenders prove to LIJ that #EverybodyDies?
“Hey you, the self-proclaimed ‘King of Pro Wrestling’.” Yes, he means Suzuki. Suzuki refers to the IWGP Intercontinental championship as his “treasure”. But it doesn’t look that way to Naito. To Naito, “the belt even seems like it wants to get away from you,” Suzuki. The belt shined brighter “when I used to throw it around.” The wannabe King of Pro-Wrestling just wants to be close to Naito. Naito understands, but why doesn’t Suzuki just express his feelings? “King! King! Please ascend to the ring, and let us hear your thoughts.”
Suzuki decides to take Naito up on that, and returns to the ring while Naito lounges on the mat. Suzuki picks up the mic to respond. “Oi, you little punk.” Who the hell does Naito think he’s talking to? This is THE Minoru Suzuki. The undisputed king of pro wrestling. “Sprawled out like that, the look suits you.” Naito relaxes even more, but Suzuki thinks “a liar and a con-man like you should be groveling on the ground.” Naito doesn’t sweat Suzuki’s threats. Suzuki tells all the “assholes gathered here at Ryogoku”, and especially Tetsuya Naito, that he and Suzuki-Gun are NUMBER ONE.
Suzuki goes to leave, kicking a Young Lion just because he can, but Naito picks the mic back up. “King! King!” Suzuki seems to be feeling rather irritable. At times like these, remember this phrase. You know the one. “Tranquilo! Chill out.” Now Suzuki is pissed! He throws chairs and a table at the ring, and at Young Lions. He then storms out, title in hand, but Naito is Tranquilo as ever. Will his disrespect of the “king” cost him some limbs?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Marty Scurll!
Familiar foes from across the pond have both come to the Land of the Rising Sun. The Aerial Assassin has never defeated the Villain 1v1, especially when a title is on the line. Can Ospreay finally break that curse? Or will his second reign end already?
Scurll takes a moment to carefully bestow his umbrella to one of the Young Lions, then Red Shoes makes sure neither man has anything hidden on them. The bell rings and we begin. Ospreay and Scurll circle, fans dueling between them. They tie up, Scurll gets around to the waistlock but Ospreay gets the switch. Scurll rolls and spins to reverse and trip Ospreay, but Ospreay kicks out. The fans applaud the early stand-off while the two circle again. They tie up, Scurll has a facelock but Ospraedy slips out to a hammerlock takedown. Scurll stands, rolls and spins, then gets Ospreay in the wristlock. Ospreay uses the ropes to flip, then snapmares Scurll, but Scurll gets the wristlock back.
Scurll knows he’s in Ospreay’s head, but Ospreay reverses the hold. Scurll spins, brings Ospreay to the mat and double wristlock covers, but Ospreay bridges up. Ospreay catches Scurll’s body and pushes up and onto Scurll’s shoulders. Ospreay sunset flips but Scurll rolls through to grab the leg. Scurll goes for the ankle lock but Ospreay turns over to break free and bring Scurll to the mat with a headlock takeover. Scurll headscissors, but Ospreay pops out, and roles reverse, but Scurll pops out. It’s another stand-off and the fans love it. Ospreay and Scurll circle again, keeping an eye on the other. They tie up again, Scurll gets the headlock. Ospreay powers out but Scurll runs him over. Scurll flaps his wings and fans echo “Woop Woop!”, but then Scurll gestures “up yours!”
Scurll runs, but Ospreay lies flat, which Scurll knew he would. Scurll grabs him in a chicken wing roll that ends up in the chicken wing hold! Ospreay arm-drags out, then runs, springboards but misses. He keeps moving, handspring arm-drag then whip, but Scurll headscissors. Ospreay cartwheels through, then swings a kick, tries a moonsault, swings another kick, but Scurll evades them all to make it to a corner. Fans applaud, but Ospreay just glares a hole through Scurll. Scurll wants a time out? There’s no time-outs in wrestling. In that case, Scurll fires himself up and has the fans rallying while he circles with Ospreay.
They tie up, Scurll kicks low then clubs hard on Ospreay’s back. He chops Ospreay, then kicks him. Scurll mocks the fans, then whips Ospreay but Ospreay dodges to headscissors and dropkick Scurll down. Scurll ends up outside the ring, and fans fire up again. Ospreay builds speed, but Scurll sees through the feint, and trips Ospreay up during the handspring. He grabs the fingers, but Ospreay shoves him away. Scurll returns but Ospreay kicks him down, to then handspring for the Sasuke Special! Down goes Scurll, but that move took a bit out of Ospreay, too.
They both slowly stir, and Ospreay stands up first. Scurll scurries away but Ospreay catches up and chops him. Scurll still wants that time out but Ospreay kicks him in the leg. Ospreay puts Scurll in the ring, but Scurll grabs his nose. Scurll tweaks the nose, then turns Ospreay around for a draping neckbreaker! Ospreay tumbles down and out, then Scurll builds speed, to SUPERKICK from the apron! Fans “Woop Woop!” while Scurll flaps, and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns and Scurll chops Ospreay against the barriers. Scurll clubs Ospreay, then throws him into barriers. Red Shoes says to bring this back into the ring. Scurll obeys, but then goes after Ospreay on the apron. They both enter the ring now, and stalks Ospreay. Scurll wrenches Ospreay’s neck, then brings him backwards for a neck-cracker. He stomps Ospreay, then brings him up for a scoop slam against the ropes. Ospreay is hurting from neck to legs now as he gets back on the apron. Scurll walks over, then drags Ospreay up and through the ropes. Scurll has Ospreay elevated, and hits the draping DDT. Cover, TWO, but Scurll keeps on Ospreay with a palm strike to the neck.
Scurll drags Ospreay up into the torture rack, bending his back with every jump. Ospreay endures, but Scurll tosses him at a corner for inverted snake eyes, then a DDT! Cover, TWO, and Scurll argues with Red Shoes. He keeps his cool, and stalks Ospreay to the ropes. Scurll stands Ospreay up in powerbomb position, but it’s just for a neck-jamming jump. He brings up the wincing Ospreay for powerbomb lift, but it’s for the Gory Special! Scurll bends Ospreay but Ospreay slips out and rocks Scurll with a forearm. Ospreay throws antoher forearm but Scurll pushes him to a corner. Scurll runs into Ospreay’s boot and Ospreay goes to the apron. Ospreay slingshots but Scurll catches him, into a rope slingshot guillotine!
Scurll grins while Red Shoes checks on Ospreay. Ospreay clutches his neck while Scurll walks over. Scurll stomps Ospreay, then grinds him into buckle pads. Scurll snapmares Ospreay into a chinklock and neckwrench. Ospreay tries to pry his way out, so Scurll takes those arms and makes a straitjacket stretch. Fans rally and Ospreay fights his way up, but Scurll bends him back again. Ospreay rolls through and reverses the straitjacket onto Scurll! Scurll backs Ospreay to a corner, then arm-drags out, but Ospreay uses that momentum to handspring. Scurll lets Ospreay roll off his back, but misses the clothesline, and Ospreay handsprings for the enziguri! Both men are down, and fans applaud.
Scurll gets to a corner while Ospreay drags himself up by ropes. Fans duel, “Ospreay!” “Woop Woop!” Ospreay runs in at Scurll in the corner, hits the running European Uppercut, then sweeps the legs. He runs again, but Scurll dodges. Scurll runs but into another enziguri. Ospreay runs, and hits the elevated 619! Scurll staggers but stays standing, Ospreay brings him down with a springboard clothesline! Ospreay adds the standing shining star, covers, TWO. Fans duel more as both men crawl. Ospreay stands in a corner, then climbs up, but Scurll stops him with a grip on the nose.
Scurll climbs up but Ospreay slips down and tucks Scurll in. Scurll sticks his feet out but Ospreay pushes them up, Cheeky Nandos SUPERKICK to German Suplex! Ospreay fires up, and takes aim at Scurll, but runs into the EuroUpper. Scurll runs, but Ospreay sets him back on the corner. Scurll avoids Cheek Nandos this time, and hits a tornado DDT to roll through, but Ospreay counters his suplex with a stunner! Both men are down again as fans rally. Fans duel again while Ospreay stands up. Ospreay walks over to Scurll and throws strikes. He calls for the cutter, but Scurll grabs his fingers! Scurll hushes the crowd, but Ospreay breaks free.
Ospreay runs to ropes, but fakes Scurll out! Scurll’s dropkick hits nothing, Ospreay jackknife covers, TWO as Scurll bridges. They spin around, and Scurll wants a backslide, but Ospreay resists. Scurll goes for the chicken wing, but Ospreay elbows his wawy out. Scurll still has Ospreay, for the pumphandle into brainbuster! Cover, TWO, and Scurll is shocked. Fans duel again while Scurll catches his breath. Scurll walks over and brings Ospreay up, for shoves and slaps. Ospreay ducks, Scurll denies the full nelson, but Ospreay hits the wrap-around heel kick. Ospreay runs, but into the roaring elbow. Scurll runs and clotheslines Ospreay upside-down! Cover, TWO, and Scurll is in disbelief while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Scurll and Ospreay brawl on their knees. Scurll clubs Ospreay’s neck and bounces him off the mat. He brings Ospreay up, turns him around, but Ospreay resists to backslide! TWO, and Ospreay sends Scurll to the apron. Scurll holds on and “skins the cat”, but into piledriver position! Scurll still pulls Ospreay to the outside with him, and gives Ospreay a Tombstone to the ground! Ospreay clutches his neck while Scurll checks his own knees. Red Shoes checks on Ospreay, but Ospreay wants to continue. The ring count begins, and reaches 14 before Scurll stands and puts Ospreay in. Cover, TWO, and Scurll is again shocked. Scurll keeps on Ospreay, with a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Scurll grows frustrated with Ospreay’s endurance.
Scurll kicks Ospreay’s shoulder, then clubs his neck. Ospreay is in pain but he also fires up. Ospreay hits back, rocking Scurll. Scurll gives a forearm, Ospreay gives one back. They go back and forth, hitting harder and harder, faster and faster! Scurll gets an edge but Ospreay boots him. Ospreay runs, but he falls for the feint! Scurll kicks out a leg, then runs, but into Ospreay’s flip-kick and enziguri! Ospreay runs, Scurll follows, but Ospreay catches him into a sit-out powerbomb! But Ospreay can’t cover, from the pain in his own body. Ospreay instead gets himself to a corner while Scurll sits up. Ospreay hits the Robinson Special! He isn’t done, he calls for the cutter. He runs, springboards, but Scurll dumps him down! Scurll rests in the ring while Ospreay is down on the ground.
Ospreay reaches the apron while fans rally. Scurll runs onto the apron, but Ospreay counters him with a boot! Ospreay drags Scurll up, and wants to suplex, but Scurll resists. Scurll enziguris Ospreay, and takes a moment to catch his breath. He stands up, lifts Ospreay, but Ospreay slips out and shoves Scurll away. Scurll runs back in, but Ospreay catches him into a SPANISH FLY!!
But Ospreay’s head hits the apron! The double edged Spanish Fly takes them both out. Red Shoes checks on them both, but especially Ospreay. Ospreay is bleeding from a sizable gash, but he doesn’t want anyone stopping this match. The 20 count reaches 11 before either man even stands up. It hits 15 as Ospreay gets in, but Scurll slumps back down! He springs up at 18, but Ospreay is ready with a corkscrew shooting star! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay roars with fury and rage as he stands up. He drags Scurll up, suplex onto the top rope, and rocks Scurll with a kick. Ospreay then goes to a corner, climbs up high, and goes for the Burning Star! But Scurll avoids it! Ospreay hits nothing, and Scurll takes aim from the corner, SUPERKICK to the back of the head! Cover, TWO!! We go to break while Scurll shakes his head.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Scurll sits up the bleeding and dazed Ospreay. Scurll glares at his rival, and gives him a slap. Scurll aims, kicks, but Ospreay blocks it! Ospreay roundhouses in return, but Scurll suplexes him into the chicken wing crossface! Ospreay rolls to a cover, TWO, to Scurll’s, TWO. Scurll swings but Ospreay dodges, and hits the OSCUTTER!!
But Ospreay can’t cover! Both men are down while Red Shoes checks on Ospreay. Between the neck and the blood, Ospreay is in a bad way. Fans rally, but Ospreay is still moving slow. Scurll gets at him first, and brings him up for a piledriver! Cover, TWO!? Scurll undoes his hair in frustration, and looms over Ospreay. Ospreay reaches up, but Scurll grabs that hand and the fingres, to SNAP them. Then the other hand SNAP, then mule kick. STOMP STOMP STOMP to the head!! Scurll will not stop, but neither does Red Shoes, out of respect for Ospreay’s wishes. Scurll brings Ospreay up, for the chicken wing, but Ospreay barely has the energy to even resist.
Ospreay reaches, but Scurll goes after that bad hand! Ospreay doesn’t tap, he just uses his legs for the ropebreak. Fans applaud his heart, and Scurll has no choice but to let go. Fans rally again, and Scurll racks his brain for ideas. He drags Ospreay up again but Ospreay holds the ropes. Scurll gets Ospreay to let go, and then gives him a neckbreaker driver! But he won’t stop there. Scurll picks Ospreay up, wants another Tombstone, but Ospreay fights out to stunner again! Ospreay runs in, Scurll alley-oops, but Ospreay lands on the corner to then jump for another Oscutter! Cover, Ospreay wins!!
Winner: Ospreay, by pinfall; still IWGP Jr. Heavweight Champion
Somehow, someway, the Aerial Assassin retains! Medics quickly attend to that head wound and neck, as well as Scurll’s own body. Ospreay finally did break the curse, the Villain no longer holds power over him. With this, will Ospreay truly become the best Junior in NJPW?
“Before I go see the doctor, I just want to quickly something” to Kushida. The Time Splitter is ringside on commentary, so he hears Ospreay. Ospreay beat Hiromu and Scurll 1v1, but he needs to prove his wins aren’t flukes. Ospreay wants Kushida one more time for the championship. “Yes or no?” Kushida thinks, and says yes! Ospreay’s championship offer has been accepted, will the Aerial Assassin be able to sweep his rivals 3-0? Or will Kushida take back the title?
Scurll is pissed by the idea that a Junior has to “upgrade” to the Heavyweights. Ospreay is the Jr. Champ, talking about gaining weight and moving up. Scurll is proud to be part of the Junior Heavyweight Division, the best division in the world. This match tonight proved that.
Ospreay himself says that he is literally giving his blood, his body and his passion to make the Jr. Heavyweight Championship prominent. That is why he challenged Kushida, who has four victories over him. Ospreay won once, but wants to prove he can do it again. The Aerial Assassin vows to prove he’s the best Junior in NJPW. And the doubters will see the lengths he goes to, to establish his title as THE title.
Kushida is sure he’s “the only guy suited for this battle.” He had to accept, seeing the look in Ospreay’s eyes. It is an honor for the champion to call him out, so he thanks Ospreay for that. But he apologizes for bringing this up, but he lost to the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada. That’s why Kushida can’t let Ospreay be champion forever. The Time Splitter and Aerial Assassin will meet for a sixth time! Can Ospreay repeat his victory? Or will Kushida turn the tide back towards him?
NJPW and AXS set the stage for Part 2!
It’s all about tag team action this time. The Golden Lovers reunited after The American Nightmare made it clear to the Cleaner that he wants to be the one true Bullet Club leader. Honor Rising saw Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi best the Allied Forces of Cody & Marty Scurll, then outlasted The Young Bucks in an extreme showdown at Strong Style Evolved. Cody refuses to admit defeat, or admit that Bullet Club is anything but “fine”. He turns to The Problem Solver, Adam Page, for another tag team show down with Omega & Ibushi.
But first, Suzuki-Gun’s IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemura, defend those titles in a triple threat tag against previous champions, Sho & Yo, as well as LIJ’s Hiromu & Bushi. It is a complete rematch from NJPW’s 46th Anniversary show, will it also be a repeat performance for the Rogue Luchador and Heel Master?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: Suzuki-Gun VS Roppongi 3K VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!
El Desperado & Kanemaru found a way to cheat all their opponents out of the titles at the 46th Anniversary Show, but now they’re all back to do it again. Will the shining RPG3K take those titles back? Or will LIJ grab their first junior tag titles?
The fight starts even before the bell as RPG3K rush LIJ, then dropkick Suzuki-Gun down. Sho & Yo run to DOUBLE FLY!
RPG3K return and take down LIJ again. They have control of the ring, then Sho fetches Desperado. He feeds him to Yo and the bell rings to finally start this match. Yo stomps away on Desperado, then Sho adds on. Desperado begs for some mercy, but no such luck. RPG3K double whip but Desperado reverses. He chops Sho but Yo comes back, and Sho helps Yo headscissor Desperado down. Sho runs Desperado over, then RPG3K double dropkick Kanemaru back out. Yo brings Desperado up, and RPG3K double suplex him down. Cover, Hiromu breaks it up, so Sho goes after him. Desperado rolls away, and Rocky Romero hops up to trash talk Hiromu. Hiromu breaks free of Sho & Yo to chase Rocky! Rocky gets away into the crowd, but Desperado goes after RPG3K again.
RPG3K club him down then whip again, but Bushi tags in. RPG3K double elbow Desperado down, but Bushi boots Sho. Yo covers but Desperado isn’t legal. Bushi uses his shirt to choke Yo, that isn’t legal either! Hiromu throws Desperado while Yo grabs ropes. The referee counts but Bushi holds on until 4. Bushi tags in Hiromu, and Hiromu goes after Yo with a stiff chop. Hiromu chops Yo into the LIJ corner, then tags in Bushi. Bushi gives chops of his own, then stalks Yo to another corner for more chops. Bushi snapmares and kicks Yo, then tags Hiromu back in. They keep the others out while chopping Yo. Hiromu whips Yo corner to corner, hits a corner clothesline, then rolls Yo out for the basement dropkick. Cover, TWO, but Hiromu stomps on Yo.
Tag to Bushi, and LIJ double whip Yo for a double hip toss into Tu Lo Sabes. Cover, TWO, but Bushi drags Yo into an STF. Desperado wipes out Hiromu, then enters the ring to kick Bushi. Bushi swings but misses, and Desperado puts Bushi in the Suzuki-Gun corner. Kanemaru tags in via Bushi, then Desperado throws Bushi out. Suzuki-Gun goes after Yo together with corner to corner whip. Kanemaru hits a back elbow, Desperado hits a clothesline. Desperado drops Yo with a back suplex, then Kanemaru adds a basement dropkick. Cover, TWO, but Kanemaru keeps on Yo with a camel clutch. Kanemaru drops it to boot Bushi down, then stomps Yo down. Kanemaru scoop slams Yo and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Kanemaru toys with Yo. He brings Yo up, suplexes him down, cover, ONE. Kanemaru knocks Hiromu off the apron, then whips Yo, but Yo reverses into an enziguri! Kanemaru stomps Yo down, and brings him up in a half-surfboard, but Yo dropkicks him away. Yo tags to Sho, and Sho rallies on Kanemaru. Sho whips Kanemaru but Kanemaru reverses. Things speed up again, Sho dropkicks Kanemaru down. Sho sees Desperado coming, and gets him with a spinebuster! Sho takes aim from a corner, and runs at Kanemaru for a big corner clothesline. He gets a waistlock but Kanemaru fights with elbows. Kanemaru grinds Sho’s eyes, then runs, and fakes out the dropkick into a Boston Crab.
Bushi comes in, Kanemaru lets Sho go. Kanemaru ducks the enziguri but is hit with the heel kick. Hiromu uses Kanemaru to tag back in, and whips Sho, but Sho reverses, so Hiromu uses that for his dropkick on Kanemaru. Sho runs Hiromu over, but Bushi kicks Sho. Bushi puts Sho in a corner and whips him corner to corner, but Sho puts him on the apron. Sho sweeps the legs and runs side to side, to blast Bushi with a basement dropkick. Hiromu rushes Sho but Sho spears him down! Sho crawls to his corner and tags in Yo. Yo dropkicks Hiromu, and again, but Bushi comes back. LIJ whip Yo but Yo reverses and sends them into each other. Yo dragon screws Bushi, then whips Hiromu, but Hiromu reverses to a back elbow.
Yo staggers, but rewinds on the rebound to run Hiromu over with forearms. Fans rally for RPG3K as Yo brings Hiromu up. Yo suplexes but Hiromu slips out, to kick Yo and whip him. Sho tags in while Yo reverses, and RPG3K give Hiromu a drop toehold to dropkick. RPG3K bring Hiromu up and suplex him onto Sho’s shoulder. Yo runs, and they combine for the slam and cutter. Kanemaru slips in and breaks the cover. Kanemaru kicks Yo, but Yo dumps Kanemaru out. Yo slingshots for the plancha and takes Kanemaru out. Sho deadlifts Hiromu and gives him the German Suplex. Sho holds on but has to let go as Bushi runs in. Bushi gets caught but fights back, yet Sho still gives him a German Suplex.
Sho fires up as he grabs Hiromu again. Hiromu fights and gets free, but Sho rocks him back. Sho runs, but into Hiromu’s SUPERKICK. Bushi adds the enziguri, then returns to his corner. Rocky rallies for Sho, but Bushi grabs him and puts him in the ring. Hiromu stomps away on Rocky! Sho shields his manager, so he just takes stomps for him. Hiromu drags Sho up and gives him a forearm. Hiromu runs, but into double knees from Sho & Yo! Yo takes out Bushi, then Sho feeds Hiromu to Yo’s back elbow. Hiromu staggers into Sho’s backstabber, which feeds Yo’s dropkick.
RPG3K fire up, and fans follow, but Kanemaru and Desperado rush in! Yo SUPERKICKS the beer out of Kanemaru’s mouth while Sho standing switches with Desperado. Hiromu SUPERKICKS Yo, then latches on to Sho. Bushi flies in, for a Sunset DOUBLE GERMAN!
Fans love it as LIJ stand tall. Hiromu pops Kanemaru up into a powerbomb, and Bushi keeps Yo out. Bushi runs, and DIVES into Yo! Then Hiromu brings Sho up, fireman’s carry, for the Time Bomb slam!
Cover, TWO!? Hiromu is shocked, but also smiling. He brings Sho up again, and rams Sho into a corner with a Death Valley Driver. Hiromu fires up and brings Sho up one more time. He swings Sho for an even strong Time Bomb slam! Cover, but Kanemaru yanks the referee out of the ring and right into barriers. Desperado clobbers Bushi with a belt, then drags Sho up as Kanemaru puts the ref back in the ring. Desperado double underhooks, and swings out for Pinche Loco!
Cover, Suzuki-Gun wins!
Winners: Suzuki-Gun (Desperado & Kanemaru), Desperado pinning; still IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
More low down dirty tactics help Desperado & Kanemaru win. What will it take for these teams, or any team, to dethrone this devious duo?
The Golden Lovers VS Bullet Club’s Cody & Hangman Page!
Bullet Club is (not) fine, but you wouldn’t know it looking at these two teams. What started with a single Cross Rhodes to the Cleaner has escalated into a Bullet Club Civil War and a fight for leadership. Will Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi keep on a roll? Or will #TeamCody finally get on the board?
Fans already chant for “Golden Lovers!” before the bell, which annoys Cody. Cody sees Kenny and Ibushi throw their shirts to the crowd, so wants to do the same. However, instead of throwing his shirt to a fan, he just throws it to Hangman. The teams sort themselves out, and Omega dares Cody to start. Cody takes Omega up on that challenge, and the bell rings. Fans rally for Omega as he circles with Cody. They tie up and push each other around, then break. They circle again, but Cody sucker punches at Ibushi. Ibushi avoids it, but Cody has to avoid Kenny now. Cody goes all the way out into the crowd, which the fans boo and jeer.
Omega waits for Cody, and Hangman helps Cody return to ringside. Cody slips into the ring, but then tags out to Hangman. Omega is disappointed, but Hangman gets his attention with some trash talk. They approach each other, but Hangman kicks low, then clubs Omega in the back. Hangman throws a haymaker, Omega gives it back, so Hangman puts on a headlock. Omega powers out but Hangman runs him over. Hangman runs, Omega keeps pace, but Hangman chops him. Hangman whips and Cody gets a cheap shot in. Omega swings on Cody, then dumps Hangman out onto him! Omega slingshots and takes them both out! He puts Hangman back in the ring, then fires the fans up. Omega climbs up top, then flies for a crossbody.
Tag to Ibushi, and Cody rushes in, only to get chops and haymakers. The Golden Lovers grab an arm each, and Cody knows what that’s for. Cody resists, and Hangman comes in to clobber Ibushi and Omega. Hangman chops Ibushi, then whips him, but Ibushi reverses. Things speed up as both Golden Lovers leap over Hangman. Ibushi gets a roundhouse in, then Omega adds the leap frog bulldog. Hangman rolls out of the ring, and Cody is on the other end. Omega fires the fans up, and he and Ibushi take their places. They call for it, and run corner to corner, but Cody and Hangman see the Cross Slash coming and intercept! They drag the Golden Lovers down, to then back suplex, but Ibushi slips out of his to huricanrana Hangman down!
Meanwhile, Cody grabs himself a chair and waits for Omega. Omega runs over, and Cody throws the chair into his face! Hangman runs Ibushi over on his end, and then regroups with Cody while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Cody stomps away on Ibushi. He swiftly kicks Ibushi in the face, then grinds a knee into his chest. Cody brings Ibushi up for a right hand, then stomps in a corner. Cody tags Hangman, and Hangman grinds his boot into Ibushi’s face. Ibushi crawls for his corner but Hangman blocks his path. Hangman haymakers Ibushi, then grinds a forearm into Ibushi’s face at the ropes. He uses the ropes to hotshot Ibushi and tweak the arm. Cover, but Red Shoes already sees it’s a ropebreak. Hangman tags in to Cody, and Cody drops the ax handle. Cody stomps Ibushi more, then goes after that arm. He even bites the fingers! Cody grimaces as he puts Ibushi in a headlock. Cody punches Ibushi out of the headlock, then tags Hangman back in. He holds Ibushi down for Hangman to stomp.
Hangman toys with Ibushi, but that only riles Ibushi up. Ibushi throws punches, Hangman throws in a knee. Hangman whips but Ibushi reverses, only for Hangman to catch him into a fireman’s carry. Ibushi fights his way out, shoves and dropkicks Hangman down. Ibushi hot tags Omega, and Omega rallies on Hangman. Cody climbs up and leaps, but Omega gets him with a body shot. Omega clobbers Hangman with a spinning double ax handle, then covers, TWO. Fans rally for Omega as he brings Hangman up to the fireman’s carry. “You Can’t Escape!” Rolling senton, but Cody intercepts Omega as he climbs. Hangman climbs up, and brings Omega down with a SUPER neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!
Hangman tags Cody, and Cody taunts fans before throwing hands. Cody punches Omega, then gives him a little kiss on the forehead before stomping in a mudhole. Omega fights back, but Cody keeps him grounded. Cody brings Omega up for an arm wrench, and a shoulder breaker. He brings Omega over and tags in Hangman, and Hangman kicks Omega in the ribs. Hangman deadlift pumphandles Omega for the Fall Away bridge. TWO, so Hangman tags back to Cody. Cody sits Omega up for stomps, then snapmares him for a kick. He puts Omega in a butterfly stretch, going after neck and shoulders. Omega reaches and flails, and gets the ropebreak.
Cody throws Omega out of the ring, then follows out to fetch a table from under the ring. Hangman helps, but Omega fights his way out. Omega tries to suplex but Cody blocks while going for his own suplex. Omega wins the suplex war and throws Cody down on the ground. He fires himself back up but Hangman is there, and he scoop slams Omega on the folded table! Then Ibushi comes in, only to get scoop slammed, too! Hangman looms over them both, then stands the table up. The dent Omega’s and Ibushi’s bodies made is visible as Hangman brings Omega back up. Hangman sets Omega up on the table while Cody climbs high. But it’s at this moment that The Young Bucks appear. They want to know what Cody’s thinking.
Cody argues with them, but Omega slips off the table in that time. Matt & Nick Jackson still talk with Cody, but refuse to shake his hand. Cody goes back to Omega, and puts him in the ring. He tags in, and goes after Omega with a kick. Omega hits back with haymakers and chops, then whips, but Cody reverses. Omega dodges but Hangman gets in a cheap shot now. Cody hits the dropping uppercut, then runs, but Ibushi gives a cheap shot. Omega drops Cody with a kick, that busts Cody open! Both men crawl for their corners, but Hangman just skips the tag to tag out Ibushi. Hangman powers Omega to his corner and gives chops and shoulders.
Cody stands up and runs but into boots. Omega fights out and over, tag to Ibushi! Ibushi springboards to missile dropkick Cody. He hits Hangman for good measure, then whips Cody corner to corner. Cody reverses but Ibushi gets him with a huricanrana. Ibushi kicks Cody in the chest, then catches his breath while Omega comes in. Omega carries Cody, “You Can’t Escape!” Senton, shooting star, and consecutive moonsaults! Double cover, TWO. Cody’s face is a crimson mask while Ibushi kicks Hangman back out. Fans chant for the Golden Lovers as they push Cody out of the ring. Omega and Ibushi take positions again, and this time hit Cross Slash!
Fans fire up with Omega & Ibushi while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns to Omega putting Cody in the ring. Ibushi joins them, and fires off a strike fest. Omega lifts Cody, and uses a powerbomb to feed Cody to Ibushi’s German Suplex! The Golden Lovers see Hangman come in and throw him back out, then return to Cody. Omega and Ibushi position Cody, and climb up together. They take aim together, but Hangman runs in again. Hangman gets kicks for his trouble, but he’s saved Cody. Cody gets clear of the double springboard missile dropkicks, then throws Omega out. Ibushi gets a waistlock but Cody elbows him away. Cody throws Ibushi with an X-Plex, then covers, TWO.
Fans rally for Ibushi, but Cody tags in Hangman. Hangman stalks Ibushi, and brings him up. Ibushi fights off Hangman and Cody, sending Cody out. He boots Hangman away, but Hangman catches Ibushi into a fireman’s carry. Omega returns, but Hangman sees him coming. Hangman kicks Omega and dumps Ibushi, to then use Omega for the dropsault! TWO, and Hangman grows frustrated. He drags Ibushi and signals the end. He lifts Ibushi up, but Ibushi fights back. Ibushi lifts Hangman up but Hangman slips out, and Cody comes in to give Ibushi a Hammerlock DDT! But Omega has Cody in his sights, and hits a V-Trigger! Hangman swings but misses, and Omega throws him with a snap dragon suplex! Omega fires up, and aims at Hangman, “BANG!” He runs but into the powerslam from Cody!
Ibushi kicks Cody, then standing moonsault, but onto knees! Hangman hurries to German Suplex Ibushi, with the bridge, TWO! Everyone is down from exhaustion, but Hangman gets up and tags Cody in. Cody goes over to a corner and climbs while Hangman brings Ibushi up. Omega stops Cody, but Cody pushes him away. Ibushi throws Hangman out then PELE kick to Cody! Omega sees the table, and grabs Cody. Omega brings Cody over in Electric Chair position, but Cody fights his way out of that. But then Ibushi hops up to try and German Suplex Cody! Cody holds on to Omega, and then Hangman grabs Ibushi. Cody dumps Omega and aims at Ibushi, for a springboard missile dropkick Doomsday! Cover, TWO!!
Cody glares through his own blood, then signals to Hangman. Cody hits Omega with the Beautiful Disaster, but Omega holds on. Hangman boots Omega down, to fall through the table!!
Omega is wrecked through the hard wood, and bleeds from a cut on his back. Hangman signals the end, slingshot, but Ibushi dodges Buck Shot to DOUBLE PELE! Ibushi goes after Cody, sit-out powerbomb! TWO!? Fans rally and Ibushi stands up. He drags Cody back up, holding both arms, but Cody dodges Kamigoye. Cody wants Cross Rhodes but Ibushi fights back with knees to the head. Cody grabs that leg and uses it to suplex Ibushi over, but Ibushi lands on his feet to German Suplex Cody down! Ibushi fires up, brings the knee pad down, and sits Cody up again. Hangman grabs that leg to anchor Ibushi, then Cody rolls Ibushi with tights held! Bullet Club steals the win!!
Winners: Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman), Cody pinning
The American Nightmare gets the better of Golden Lovers and finally gets a win in this Civil War. Ibushi goes for revenge, but Hangman clobbers him down. Hangman stomps away on Ibushi, then Cody drags Ibushi up while Omega can only watch. Bullet Club mugs Ibushi with haymakers, but that’s not enough for Cody. Cody brings in a chair! Omega manages to stop Cody before he strikes, then goes after Cody with that chair. He swings on Cody and Hangman but they both get away. Omega checks on his friend while Cody and Hangman retreat. The fans are on the Golden Lovers’ side, even after they lost. This Bullet Club Civil War is far from over. Which side will be left standing at the end?
The Golden Lovers have to sit down, their bodies are aching. Omega apologizes for not being much help at the end. He can’t believe the lost like that. “Everyone was counting on us to win.” Omega apologizes, but this won’t be the end for them. They’re back in sync, and will work harder to win next time.
As for Cody, he asks the room, “Do you know what being a wrestler is?” The definition is all kinds of screwed up. Some people thing it’s “bullshit chain-wrestling”, hold to hold. That’s not it. Wrestling is everything. Wrestling is bloody, like what Cody has on his face. Cody just gave his blood for Bullet Club. He designed new logos for the Bullet Club. “Why the Hell am I the bad guy in this narrative!?” Hangman agrees. The blood and sweat coming from Cody, “that’s leadership.” Cody is the leader, Kenny is a fool. Will Hangman’s words remain true the next time these forces collide?
And finally, NJPW and AXS set the stage for Part 3!
This main event match of Sakura Genesis 2018 is all about The Rainmaker defending his title against the 2018 New Japan Cup winner! Kazuchika Okada has reigned as champion for a historic 651 days, and has defended that title 10 times. With a win here, he would tie the record set by The Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi. However, Suzuki-Gun’s Technical Wizard won the cup by going through Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Sanada, and Tanahashi himself, all with submission based victories.
With the right to challenge a top champion, Mr. ZSJ is going right for the very top! Will Okada move towards history with an 11th successful defense? Or will the Submission Master make his own by being only the second man ever to make Okada #JustTapOut?
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada w/ Gedo VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku!
As always, Taka Michinoku asks the crowd questions. “IWGP Heavyweight Championship, Kazuchika Okada VS Zack Sabre Jr. Who’s going to win?!” It’ll be the man who can get anyone anywhere with any lock. The man who used unlimited holds to defeat Naito, Ibushi, Sanada and Tanahashi, and take the New Japan Cup. The Man who will FORCE Okada to tap. When Zack catches you in a submission, #JustTapOut! He is the Submission Master, he is ZSJ, he WILL be IWGP Heavyweight Champion, he is Zack Sabre Jr! So then, Okada, “C’mon over here!” After some clean up of the Okada dollars, Red Shoes does his check while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns with a ring of the bell. Fans are already thunderous as ZSJ and Okada circle. They slowly approach, then back off. They tie up, and Okada brings ZSJ down, but ZSJ slips out and around. ZSJ goes for a number of facelocks, then rolls Okada around. ZSJ shifts to legs but Okada grabs at him, so ZSJ goes after the arm. He puts Okada on his back with a headlock, and traps an arm. Okada endures, and uses a headscissors to counters. ZSJ slips out easily and casually walks it off. Okada and ZSJ circle again while fans rally. They tie up, Okada drops to get the wristlock, but ZSJ grabs at the chin. ZSJ bends and brings Okada around but Okada gets the wristlock. ZSJ rolls and escapes, and they again circle. Okada keeps his guard up, but ZSJ still gets the headlock.
ZSJ shifts and traps on arm, then chinbars before going for the other arm. He has a modified abdominal stretch, then shifts to ghost pin, ONE but ZSJ keeps hold of Okada’s arms. ZSJ floats and rolls to another cover, TWO, and it’s a stand off. Okada and ZSJ reset and circle again while fans rally. They tie up, and push shoulder to shoulder. Okada bends ZSJ back with superior strength, but ZSJ bridges to avoid the cover. Okada sweeps the legs but ZSJ bridges again. Another sweep and another bridge, and ZSJ spins around to a wristlock. ZSJ wrenches the arm, but Okada rolls and trips ZSJ up. Okada goes after the leg with a shinlock, but ZSJ puts a facelock on Okada. Okada steps over on the toehold, but ZSJ hooks a leg around. ZSJ brings Okada around for an armbar, but Okada clasps hands.
ZSJ works to pry those hands apart, but Okada rolls him to a cover. ONE, and ZSJ lets go. They both spring up, and fans applaud this stand-off. The two circle again, tie up, and ZSJ brings Okada into a cravat. ZSJ wrenches the neck, but Okada reverses. ZSJ reverses back to the cravat, and brings Okada to his knees. Okada endures, goes to break free, but ZSJ sees it coming and manages to get the cravat back on. Okada arm-drags but ZSJ holds on, so Okada tries a scoop slam. ZSJ counters with a cravat takedown, but Okada gets back to his feet. They go against the ropes, so ZSJ has to let go. He doesn’t break clean as he digs elbows into Okada’s neck.
Okada ties ZSJ up in the ropes, and looks to chop ZSJ, but instead gives ZSJ a pat on the shoulder and head. ZSJ grabs that hand and makes Okada regret that. He goes to stomp the hammerlock but Okada gets clear. Okada drop toeholds ZSJ into a modified STF and surfboard combo!
ZSJ finds himself in a rare situation of being stuck in a submission. Okada shifts around, and goes from that hold to the Cloverleaf! ZSJ resists the turn over and grabs a leg. He gets a heel hook, and wrenches it deep. Okada endures as ZSJ twists and twists, but then rolls his way out the hold and to a waistlock. ZSJ stands up but Okada brings him back down. Okada loops himself around, and brings ZSJ into a trapped-leg calf killer! ZSJ endures the hold, and rolls back to chinbar Okada into the trapped-arm armlock. Okada rolls that around to a cover, TWO as ZSJ has to let go. ZSJ backs of but fans applaud while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again as Okada and ZSJ catch their breaths. Okada and ZSJ circle again, getting pointers from their corner men. They tie up, forehead to forehead, and Okada gets wrist control. He brings ZSJ to his knees, but ZSJ stands up and rolls back to reverse the pressure. ZSJ brings Okada to his knees now, but Okada powers ZSJ over. Okada grabs a leg and wrenches the ankle, but ZSJ rolls and pries his way out to get a headlock. ZSJ gets the takeover but Okada counters with headscissors. ZSJ moves around and pops out to go after Okada’s ankle again. Okada endures the wrenching while fans rally. Okada works his way up and out but ZSJ catches him into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow stretch. ZSJ pulls back but Okada pops out to a cover, ONE, and Okada rocks ZSJ with a running European Uppercut!
Michinoku coaches ZSJ up but Okada is upon him. Okada whips but ZSJ comes back to catch him in an abdominal stretch. Okada hip tosses out, and brings ZSJ back up in a cobra clutch. ZSJ slips around to a hammerlock. Okada reverses to the cobra clutch, but ZSJ again counters to a top wristlock. Okada reverses but ZSJ reverses again, to the abdominal stretch. ZSJ has the cobra twist variant, then adds a chinbar, then a half straitjacket. Okada falls to his knees but also to the ropebreak. ZSJ lets him go, rather annoyed by this. ZSJ walks around, then toys with Okada, kicking his arm. He brings Okada up for a EuroUpper of his own, then another.
ZSJ brings Okada out and digs knuckles into the neck. He brings Okada down for a half crab, and leans way back before stomping the back of the leg. ZSJ walks around again while Okada clutches his leg. ZSJ comes back for the toehold, then goes after the other leg with a heel hook. Okada endures, but ZSJ shifts to a standing step-over, and uses his own legs to TWIST Okada’s! ZSJ casually walks around while Okada writhes in pain. ZSJ toys with Okada again, but Okada hits back with forearms and elbows. Okada stands and hits another elbow, but ZSJ hits back with another EuroUpper. ZSJ runs, and catches Okada’s dropkick into the STF! He bends Okada sideways with it, but Okada endures.
Okada crawls for ropes but ZSJ traps an arm. Gedo shouts for Okada, and Okada keeps trying, but ZSJ traps him into an inverted triangle hold! Okada keeps reaching, and ZSJ can’t get a leg into the hold before the ropebreak. ZSJ has to let go, and Gedo rallies the fans behind Okada. Okada stirs, but ZSJ toys with him again. Okada dares ZSJ to hit him, so ZSJ does, with a EuroUpper. ZSJ gives another, but Okada stays up. They both stand up, and ZSJ gives another EuroUpper, but Okada boots him back. Okada throws forearms, then a EuroUpper of his won, but ZSJ gives a EuroUpper back. ZSJ whips but Okada reverses, only to run into ZSJ’s back elbow. ZSJ runs out but into a flapjack! Both men are down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again as fans rally for Okada and ZSJ. Both men slowly sit up, with their corner men leading the charge. They stand, and Okada rallies on ZSJ. Okada whips, ZSJ reverses, but Okada blows past him. ZSJ dodges Okada, but runs into a boot! He goes down while Okada catches his breath. Okada takes aim from across the way, runs in for the back elbow, then kicks and hits a DDT. ZSJ goes to the apron, but Okada is on him. Okada thrusts a shoulder out but ZSJ catches him into a draping Octopus! Red Shoes calls for the break, and ZSJ lets go at 4. ZSJ drags Okada back up, but Okada rocks him with a forearm. Okada goes to suplex, but ZSJ counters with a wristlock. ZSJ makes Okada hit himself, but then Okada hits ZSJ with his free arm!
Okada boots ZSJ off the apron and down to the floor. Then he goes out to fetch ZSJ, and brings ZSJ around to whip him into barriers, then boot him over them. Okada has people clear out, and he FLIES over the barriers to bowl ZSJ over into chairs! Fans fire up for Okada while he stands over ZSJ. He drags ZSJ up as the ring count begins. They return at 9, and Okada stalks ZSJ at the ropes. He whips ZSJ, then picks him up for a spinebuster. Okada jackknifes and rolls through, but ZSJ uses that to get his Octopus! ZSJ brings Okada to the mat for another take on the triangle hold. Okada endures as ZSJ goes after the wrist and fingers. Okada crawls but ZSJ knows to get a leg this time. ZSJ puts one leg in a stretch muffler, while maintaining the figure four facelock.
Okada reaches blindly, and manages a ropebreak. ZSJ lets go, growing annoyed. Michinoku coaches him up and ZSJ stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ digs elbows and knuckles in here and there, then sits on the hammerlock, to then TWIST it. Gedo coaches Okada up, but ZSJ stands on that arm and then Okada’s face. ZSJ drags Okada up, and gives him a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs corner to corner, but Okada gets clear. Okada hoists ZSJ up but ZSJ kicks him away. ZSJ jumps, and grabs Okada in a guillotine! Okada powers his way out, but ZSJ just climbs around to a backpack sleeper hold. ZSJ climbs around again, and back to the guillotine, and adds the hammerlock. Okada powers out, and hits the reverse neckbreaker!
Both men fall but fans fire up. Okada stands and scoop slams ZSJ, but those arms slow him down as he goes to a corner. He climbs up, jumps, but ZSJ catches the elbow into an armbar! Okada rolls it but ZSJ rolls more, but Okada manages a ropebreak before ZSJ can finish the Disarmer. ZSJ is exasperated, but he does get up first. He kicks Okada, but Gedo and the fans rally. Okada hits back, but those arms are aching. ZSJ wants Okada to hit him more, then hits back. Okada hits ZSJ, then ZSJ hits Okada. ZSJ throws EuroUpper after EuroUpper, but Okada doesn’t flinch. Okada fires off forearms, then a boot, but ZSJ blocks that and retaliates with another EuroUpper. Okada staggers but comes back out with a blasting dropkick!
Both men are down again, but fans rally once more. Okada and ZSJ stir, and both Gedo and Michinoku coach up their man. Okada runs in but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs, but into the fireman’s carry. ZSJ slips out and goes for the Fujiwara, but Okada rolls, only for ZSJ to gives another EuroUpper. Zack tries another EuroUpper but Okada counters to a backslide. ZSJ slides off that, then blocks the Rainmaker into a kimura. Okada fights that but then ZSJ kicks the arm, and then a Pele. Okada still dropkicks ZSJ in the back, then whips ZSJ to dropkick him down from the front. Fans fire up, and Okada hits a Tombstone! Okada calls for the finish, but ZSJ grabs an arm! ZSJ brings Okada down into the hammerlock, then the other arm for the stretch! Okada endures, resists, and rolls out, to wring out.
ZSJ ducks the Rainmaker and flips Okada with the double wristlock, for the European Clutch! TWO!! And ZSJ is stunned! Okada gets the Tombstone position, but ZSJ slips out again. ZSJ uses a double leg takedown and underhook to roll Okada for another EuroClutch, TWO!! Penalty Kick! We go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns once more to thunderous fans. Michinoku coaches up ZSJ while Gedo coaches up Okada. ZSJ goes after Okada’s arm with headbutts, then gives Okada a forearm. Okada gives a forearm back, but ZSJ kicks that bad arm. Okada sits up, and now they both kick each other in the chest. They kick and kick, then ZSJ SLAPS Okada. ZSJ brings Okada up for a smack to the head, then runs, but Okada dropkicks him down! Okada drags ZSJ up, wristlock wring out, but ZSJ counters with an armbar takedown! ZSJ wants the Article 50 cross armbreaker, but Okada resists with clasped hands. Okada reaches but ZSJ gets extension. Okada tries to redo his hands but ZSJ reels him into a triangle hold. ZSJ binds Okada, but Okada endures.
Okada stands up, and deadlifts ZSJ, but the torture on that arm bring Okada back down. Red Shoes asks Okada how he feels, but Okada endures. Fans keep rallying while Okada fades, but Okada gets a second wind! Okada deadlifts ZSJ, but ZSJ lets go, only to take a lariat! Both men go down, and fans keep cheering. Okada sits up, still holding onto ZSJ’s wrist. He brings ZSJ up, for another lariat. Gedo is feeling it as Okada brings ZSJ up. Okada wrings him out, but ZSJ ducks and waistlock to the Octopus! ZSJ bends and stretches Okada all over, and wants both arms to complete his Hypernormalisation, but Okada resists! Okada pops out, flips ZSJ around, JUMPING Tombstone! But that’s not all, Okada wrings ZSJ out for THE Rainmaker!!
Cover, Okada wins!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion
He has done it! Okada has tied Tanahashi’s record for defenses in a single reign! Okada has won his 11th title defense match, but it took so much out of him. Gedo and Michinoku both check on their man, with ice packs and medical attention. The challenger leaves the ring, and the champion has his hand raised.
“Oi, I have one thing to say.” Zack Sabre Jr CAN’T make the Rainmaker tap out. Wanna know why? “He’s on a whole ‘nother level!” That felt good to say. Okada has tied the record for defenses. There’s a new record in sight, but just one problem. He has no one to fight! Even though they have no chance of winning, Gedo wonders if there’s anyone who wants to stop Okada from setting a record. Is there? Fans want to see if there is, too. Fans suggest Tanahashi himself! Okada takes the mic to say he has three things to say, but then Tanahashi appears!
The Ace is here in person, and he steps into the ring. He takes the mic while fans chant “Go Ace!” Tanahashi tells Okada that he did a good job. And congratulations on tying the record for title defenses. “It’s taken me a long time, but I am finally back, face-to-face with you.” Tanahashi thanks the fans for their support. But you see, “you can search around the globe, and the next challenger…” Sorry, he messed up, let him start over. You could search around the world and not find a challenger, besides Tanahashi! The tables have turned, because this time, Tanahashi breaks Okada’s streak. The Ace lets the champ have the ring, and the match is made.
Okada speaks, “I wanna say three things.” First, Zack Sabre Jr’s holds really were on a different level. And facing ZSJ made him even stronger. Second, what’s Tanahashi been up to? He got hurt, came back, repeat, lose a title and be only runner-up in New Japan Cup. How lame. Okada won’t bother calling him Tanahashi, he’s OLD Tanahashi. Third, there’s actually a third. This win today ties Old Tanahashi’s record of consecutive defense victories, and he’s grateful for that. NOT. Because now he will beat Tanahashi to make it 12! Then 13, 14, 15, all the way to 100. Okada will be the 100-victories IWGP Champion. He knows he sounds hasty, but he vows that “as the greatest champion” of NJPW, Okada will make it rain. He defends titles, sets records, and makes it rain! The Rainmaker lets the golden streamers flow, will he truly be NJPW’s Mr. 100?
ZSJ admits Okada is really strong. Okada is the best, for now. But ZSJ vows to win the G-1 and then beat Okada, because he is the best wrestler in the world. He swears it.
Okada speaks on Tanahashi accepting the challenge, saying “It’s fine by me.” He hasn’t had a match with Tanahashi so far in this title run, so it makes sense to have it be them. They’re both tied at 11, not that the number is important. But if the number is what motivates Tanahashi, then Okada will accept. But who was it that stopped Tanahashi? Hint: the Rainmaker. So we already know how this ends. In order to see if he’s worthy of setting the record, Okada must get through the man that preceded him. Can Okada use The Ace as a stepping stone? Or will Tanahashi become a record eight time champion?
Three hours of NJPW in a row like that, a great move for AXS. This wasn’t every match on the Sakura Genesis card but it was all the best ones. We only saw part of that Six Man Tag, but it was really good and really builds onto this story of Suzuki-Gun VS LIJ. Killer Elite Squad is making a move for those IWGP Heavyweight Tag titles that EVIL & SANADA hold, and their match-up could go either way. Naito VS Suzuki is great just on story, given the clashing personalities. Ospreay VS Scurll, aka RIP Ospreay Part 1 given that Spanish Fly apron spot, was great. Great story for Ospreay to finally win, and he’s clearly working on getting through all his rivals and all the best Juniors 1v1 to boost the status of the division.
Part 2 having two full matches is great, we get everything that the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Triple Threat had, which still had Suzuki-Gun winning. If there was another talented Jr. Tag Team around, they could go up to Fatal 4, but there isn’t one so it’ll have to be about who gets Desperado & Kanemaru all to themselves. Golden Lovers VS Cody & Hangman was great, with plenty of story behind it and happening in the match itself. Familiarity between them all helped, and I was surprised that Cody-Hangman won, but not how. Cody gets meta, saying he doesn’t know why he’s the Heel in this, yet he does the Heel things, which just proves why he’s a genius Heel.
Part 3, just the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, is all you really need. Okada and ZSJ, with Michinoku and Gedo ringside, was amazing. The corner men do their part in adding story with their coaching and reactions. Okada surprisingly keeps pace with ZSJ in submission and technical wrestling, but as I had figured with New Japan Cup, the secret to Okada winning this was using his strength and strikes. The Rainmaker’s namesake is booked so strong, but Okada still used three of them anyway to be fair. ZSJ is still a star, and will still be a the top one day. Then setting up Okada VS Tanahashi, that’s going to be incredible, too, and quite possibly establish Okada as the best ever for NJPW.
My Score: 8.5/10 (part 1), 8.5/10 (part 2), 9/10 (part 3); overall: 9/10
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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
Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!
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
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