NXT takes over Chicago for a bonus night of action! What is the aftermath of all the amazing matches from TakeOver: Chicago II? Where do both the winners and losers go from here? Plus, in-ring action between the War Raiders and The Mighty! Who will kneel? Who will rise?
All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter
- Dakota Kai VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
- The War Raiders VS The Mighty; War Raiders win.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE and NXT honors the memory of Leon White, aka Vader.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 21, 2018
Big, strong and even revolutionary, he will be missed and always remembered fondly.
NXT recaps TakeOver Chicago II!
A true highlight reel of all the fast and furious action that went down on Saturday, June 16, 2018. From Undisputed tag team champions to a loony lass that let herself go limp, to a #OneandOnlyDream Match all about the spotlight, to a Dutch Destroyer making a Leviathan #FadeToBlack, to two men who were once friends trying to destroy each other. TakeOver brought just about everything but the kitchen sink. The only question now: what’s next?
Dakota Kai VS Bianca Belair!
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 21, 2018
The Captain of Team Kick overcame her fears in regards to the Queen of Spades, but can she overcome a woman who is the strongest, toughest, baddest and so much more? Or will The EST add Dakota to her fastest growing win list?
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) June 21, 2018
The bell rings, and Bianca pie-faces Dakota around. Bianca whips Dakota, but Dakota gets around and keeps moving to dropkick Bianca down. Dakota goes to whip but Bianca reverses. Dakota goes up and over, then rolls Bianca, ONE. Bianca waistlocks Dakota but Dakota resists. Dakota trips Bianca then runs to Penalty Kick her down. Cover, TWO, but Dakota keeps focus. Dakota goes over but Bianca pushes her back to then flapjack her onto the buckles. Bianca rams her shoulder into Dakota, then backs off to smirk. Bianca brings Dakota up, suplexes, and fans chant “EST!” as she rebound suplexes Dakota to the mat. Dakota crawls but Bianca is on her with a splash! Bianca kips up, then tells Dakota to “kiss this”.
Dakota gets to a corner while fans cheer Bianca on. Bianca twirls her hair as Dakota stands up. Bianca clubs Dakota, covers, TWO. She grows annoyed with Dakota, but brings her up for a modified abdominal stretch. Bianca adds a clawing hand, then grabs hair to thrash Dakota around. The referee counts Bianca, and she lets up. She still elbows Dakota, then pulls on hair again. Bianca bends and stretches Dakota but fans rally and Dakota endures. Bianca pumphandles and backbreakers Dakota! Dakota writhes while Bianca dares her to get up. Dakota hits back, but it doesn’t hurt Bianca. Bianca clubs Dakota down, then drags her up.
Bianca suplexes Dakota again, rebounds again, then again to show off her strength! She gets a hat trick but Dakota rolls her, TWO. Dakota trips then rolls around, TWO. Bianca runs and kicks Dakota down, then throws her by her hair. Bianca runs, but her splash hits knees! She flops to a corner, then Dakota crawls over. Fans rally for both women as they stagger up. Bianca misses in the corner, enziguri from Dakota! Both women are down, but stir. Dakota is up and kicks Bianca down. Scorpion kick then bicycle kick! Bianca gets to a corner, Dakota goes Around the World! Then, boot wash! Cover, TWO!
Dakota can’t believe it, but she knows she’s close, too. She climbs up top, but Bianca is up. Dakota jumps over, avoids the hair whip, but Bianca avoids the roundhouse to forearm Dakota back! Bianca grabs Dakota, torture rack driver! Cover, Bianca wins!
Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall
The EST impresses Chicago with her performance tonight. Racking up the wins like this, will Bianca become the strongest, toughest, and baddest #1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship?
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) June 21, 2018
Exclusive backstage interview with Ricochet.
The King of Flight went toe to toe and move for move with the Patrick Clark Experience, and won. What’s next? “Well like I said before,” Ricochet has shown us just the tip of the iceberg. He showed he’s not just some gif online or a bunch of flips. Ricochet showed us all that the spotlight is now on him, the One and Only.
And Velveteen Dream’s own interview.
After losing to Ricochet, where does he go next? It was #DreamOver in New Orleans, so what do you think? That’s all he has to say, but what will he do?
Exclusive interview with Shayna Baszler.
The Queen of Spades is joined by her fellow Four Horsewomen of MMA, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, as she speaks on her successful defense against Crazy Nikki Cross. Was there any doubt that she’d lsoe to Nikki’s madness? “You know how you defeat chaos? You suck the air out of it and put it to sleep.” #AndStill. If not even Nikki Cross can defeat Bully Baszler, then who can?
NXT reviews THE NXT Championship match.
The Leviathan shocked the world when he blocked the Black Mass with one hand on NXT TV. Then he shocked us again when he slammed Aleister Black three times, just because he could. Then in the match itself, Lars Sullivan still threw the Embodiment of the End off with his superhuman sturdiness. But Aleister proved he had both toughness and intellect to match, as he focused on the giant’s jaw. It took no less than two Black Mass kicks, but finally, Lars went down and Aleister retained.
Exclusive interview with Aleister Black.
The Dutch Destroyer, sore in body as he was, had no time or energy to talk. He would hobble on into the night, victorious.
Exclusive interview with Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch.
The one-two combination did not win the NXT Tag Team Championships off Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong, partially thanks to Adam Cole. Chicago still showed their respect and appreciation for their efforts, but how do they themselves feel? “This is a combined 25 years of experience in the making”, of blood, sweat and tears just to get to WWE and NXT. Their first TakeOver, they came up short and they’re heartbroken, but they left it all in the ring, and you can’t ask for anything more. It was the biggest match of their careers, but the biggest loss, too. They’re disappointed, but they’re still standing. Will the Boston & British Brawlers fight their way back up towards something big?
NXT looks back to the brutality of the Chicago Street Fight.
Chicago was the location where DIY broke apart, all because of Tommaso Ciampa’s paranoia. Ciampa accused Johnny Gargano of being selfish, but Gargano wasn’t the one making life a living Hell for his former friend. In the end, even Candice LeRae wanted Gargano to “kick his ass”, and Gargano went out to do just that! So much symbolism was in every sinister and sadistic move from both men, and Gargano would bring out a darker side of himself than perhaps even he knew he had. But in the end, he would lose focus, and that would cause him to lose the match. Ciampa exposed hard wood and drove Gargano headfirst into it. The Psycho Killer would stand tall, and wave “bye-bye”. Now that Ciampa got his “moment”, is it finally over between him and Johnny Wrestling?
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 21, 2018
NXT Media catches up with EC3.
What did The Top One Percent think of TakeOver: Chicago II? “Is there anything like it?” That show proved why NXT is THE top brand in sports entertainment. It had thrills, chills, action and excitement, but it didn’t have EC3. He isn’t promising, he is proclaiming: The Top One Percent will be at 100% of TakeOvers going forward. EC3 has been building this brand into #NX3 with #VictoryAfterVictoryAfterVictory. He claims to be the best here, the best there, the best anywhere, but he’s going to prove it. EC3 is going to kick the doors wide open to demand the top tier of competition available. In other words, EC3 is calling his shot. And when he calls his shot, he doesn’t miss. Who is he aiming for? “Everybody!!”
The War Raiders VS The Mighty!
War comes to Chicago as Ray Rowe and “Warbeard” Hanson look to show Shane Thorne & Nick Miller what it’s really like to be mighty. Forget kneeling, will Thorne & Miller still be standing after this match?
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 21, 2018
But as The Mighty have done, they use some sneakier tactics, as they throw their fancy new dusters at Rowe & Hanson! The Mighty put Hanson on the outside, then stomp away on Rowe. The referee backs Thorne & Miller off to check on Rowe. Rowe simply demands this match begin! The bell rings, and Rowe hits Thorne with shotgun knees! Miller comes in, but gets thrown overhead! Miller slumps out, Rowe tags in Hanson. Fans chant “War! War!” as Hanson is whipped into squash Thorne, then Rowe picks Hanson up for the human weapon hip attack! Fans fire up as Hanson tags back to Rowe. Rowe stalks Thorne, and brings him up for the lift. Hanson climbs but Miller pushes him down!
Rowe goes after Miller, but then Thorne clobbers Rowe. Thorne rolls Rowe and even puts feet on the ropes! TWO, because Miller wasn’t there to help anchor him. Thorne hurries up to knee Rowe down, then tags Miller. Miller drags Rowe up and drops ax handles and crossface punches. Fans boo, but Miller keeps going. Rowe shoves Miller away but Miller knocks Rowe out of the ring. Miller distracts and Thorne gets a cheap shot in! Thorne puts Rowe in, then tags in. The Mighty pick Rowe up, back drop neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! The Mighty are shocked and furious but fans rally up for the War Raiders.
Thorne goes after Rowe in a corner with European Uppercuts. Rowe shoves him away, then they brawl. Rowe fights out of the Mighty’s corner, but Thorne dropkicks him back down. Thorne goes to hit Hanson, but Hanson intimidates him with a roar. Thorne goes back to Rowe, but his senton misses! Hot tag to Hanson! Hanson throws Thorne with a back drop, then side slams Miller, before squashing him with a splash! Hanson picks up and swings Thorne for a slam. Miller dodges but ends up in a seated senton! Hanson cartwheels past Thorne to clothesline him down!
Fans are all fired up, and so is Hanson. Hanson tags Rowe, “War! War!” echoes out, as Hanson feeds Thorne to Rowe to pop Thorne up for Thor’s Hammer! Cover, but Miller breaks it! Rowe throws Miller out, and Hanson DIVES! Hanson wipes Miller out, but that’s not all. War Raiders regroup, Rowe gives Thorne the Ace Ten Mao! Tag to Hanson, and Hanson climbs. Rowe drags Thorne up, FALLOUT! Cover, War Raiders win!
Winners: The War Raiders, Hanson pinning
The warpath continues, and no one is safe. Will the NXT Tag Team Champions have to worry about a truly threatening team coming for their gold?
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 21, 2018
For those who don’t know, post-TakeOver episodes of NXT are never that big of a deal, as they’re actually filmed before TakeOver. It’s just through the magic of editing that it all feels like a post-show. All the interviews featured were great, and fitting of each character’s story after the event. The matches were actually alright tonight. Bianca VS Dakota was great for an opener, and honestly could’ve been the main given how great Chicago reacted to Bianca. War Raiders VS The Mighty was so quick, but also as exciting and well-received. As I’ve been saying, we must be getting War Raiders VS Undisputed Era in this next arc, and hopefully Bobby Fish will be healed by then for a proper match-up of ROH teams in NXT.
My Score: 8/10
Sendai Girls BIG SHOW in Sendai Results & Review (10/14/2018)
It’s been a few months since I’ve done Sendai Girls and it looks like I have some stuff cleared up and it gives me time to cover their latest show, BIG SHOW in Sendai.
Last time we covered them, Hamada was stripped of the title due to drug possession and a match between DASH Chisako and Chihiro Hashimoto, and I was gonna cover that show but too much stuff happened and I was unable to watch it in time. Hashimoto would defeat DASH to win back the vacant title and it was like she never lost it. We got another stacked show and a new title added to the promotion, so expect something to happen.
Let’s find out and…dive right in.
Tag Team Match
Ami Sato & Mei Suruga vs. Mikoto Shindo & Mio Momono
Review: Our opening bout is a tag team match with Ami Sato and Mei Suruga taking on Mikoto Shindo and Mio Momono. We got Mio and Mikoto from Marvelous while Mei is from Gatoh Move to give us a promising opening tag bout. Will the girls from Marvelous get the win or will it go to Ami and Mei?
The match went pretty much how you would expect it to go with a short but very standard tag match with all four of these women just showcasing what they can do. If I had to pick one that would stand out in the match, it would have to be Mio since she’s the one that probably did the most in the match so it was easier to give her more of the credit than the others. Ami though has gotten better from the last couple of times I’ve seen her working and she still has a long way to go if she wants to be considered a future star, but the potential is there. Not a whole lot to talk about the match as Mio would try to get the win with a Diving Crossbody with Ami kicking out at two as Mio quickly turned it into a Fujiwara Armbar. Ami wouldn’t tap out as Mio tried to pin her again with a Crucifix but Ami kicked out again and Mio turned it into another submission hold as Ami tapped out.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Six Man Tag Team Match
Aiger, Alex Lee & Sakura Hirota vs. Hikaru Shida, KAORU & Riho
Review: We now have a six-man tag match with most of the women being freelancers for this bout. Since Aiger is involved in the match, then there’s no doubt that there will be mostly comedy involved in the match since that’s what all of her matches on Sendai Girls have been so far. Which of these two teams will win?
I really don’t know how to describe this match right here. It was a comedy like I expected it to be with Aiger being involved for the majority of the match with Riho and KAORU, but it did start out entertaining with Aiger holding onto KAORU’s shoulders while behind like as if she was a ghost, even the referee was playing along with it but the whole comedy bit of the match dragged on a little bit longer than anticipated and ruined the momentum of it. We didn’t get to see much of Hikaru, Alex, and Sakura in the match due to it being relatively short around six minutes. Anyway, Sakura would hold Hikaru in place for Aiger to spit her ghost magic but Hikaru ducked for Sakura to take the blows and KAORU would Big Boot Sakura down. Hikaru would hit a Running Knee Strike on Sakura to get the win for her team.
Rating: Tony Schiavone
Tag Team Match
DASH Chisako & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Millie McKenzie & Rhia O’Reilly
Review: We have another tag match here with DASH Chisako and Hiroyo Matsumoto teaming up this time as the two will take on Millie McKenzie and Rhia O’Reilly. Both Millie and Rhia are freelancers in the UK wrestling scene and they make their way over to Sendai to take on Sendai’s crowd favorite and one of the top Japanese freelancers around. Will DASH and Hiroyo win or will the UK girls take the victory?
This match was much better than the previous two that were on the show. I’m sure people know of Millie due to her relationship with Pete Dunne, but this is my first time seeing her wrestle and I was fairly impressed with her ability and what she can do in the ring here. I liked the combination of both of these teams here since they both worked well with their styles and just had a nice flow in their match here. DASH is someone who I do hope one day wins the big one in Sendai Girls since she only won the tag titles in Sendai, so I think it’ll be nice to see her win the world title at least once during her career and she actually is good in the ring while also being a favorite of the crowd. Not much to say about Hiroyo because most of us know how great she is in the ring and she still proved it here even when she wasn’t in the match a lot. Rhia though I didn’t see too much of here in the match, she’s an interesting one and someone to possibly keep an eye on if you’re into the UK women’s scene. Around eight minutes of solid wrestling, DASH would go to the top rope after having Millie down on the mat as Rhia would climb to the top with DASH to try and Superplex her, but Hiroyo would sneak up behind Rhia to catch her into a Powerbomb while DASH hits her Frogsplash onto Millie as she picked up the win!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Sendai Girls Junior Title Match
Ayame Sasamura vs. Manami
Review: Sendai has introduced a new title into the promotion instead of just the Tag Team and World titles, this time we have the Junior Championship. From what I can gather, their Junior Championship is pretty much the equivalent version of Stardom’s Future of Stardom Championship where it’s for people for a younger age and/or little years of experience. They held a tournament for the title and our two finalists are Ayame Sasamura, representing K-DOJO and Manami. Who will become the first Junior Champion?
I think it’s safe to say that Manami has improved from the times that I’ve seen her perform in the ring and she’s only fourteen years old with about a years worth of experience under her belt, Meiko knows how to train her students and she could be her star pupil when she’s eighteen. I haven’t seen much of Ayame since I don’t really follow K-DOJO, but she did pretty well here from how I’ve seen her perform in this match. This match was surprisingly more technical than I anticipated it to be and they did a great job giving us that type of match while making it interesting with the experience they have under their belt.
The match is about ten minutes and that’s actually a pretty fair time length for the newbies since they’re still growing and there’s so much you could do in that short amount of time and most of the time, it can turn into a great story. While Ayame had probably the most control of the match, Manami would get the shine near the ending of the bout where you see her resiliency and never give up attitude as she would try to get the quick roll-up victory over Ayame but she kicked out. Ayame would catch Manami in for an STO but Manami would kick out of it in time and Ayame would try it again but would have Manami’s arm around her neck when she slammed her down as she goes for the pin and we have our first champion crowned! Ayame is officially the first Junior Champion of Sendai Girls and she’s earned this victory while Manami had a great showing in the match that she could potentially claim that title soon if she keeps it up. Solid work from both of these women.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Tag Team Match
Aja Kong & Meiko Satomura vs. Hana Kimura & Mika Iwata
Review: We got one more tag match before the main event as we have Meiko Satomura teaming up with Aja Kong to take on Hana Kimura and one half of the Sendai Girls Tag Team Champions, Mika Iwata. If you guys remember, Mika and Hana fought on the first show I covered for them on April 19th and they had a solid match with a mutual respect for each other, but now it looks like that they’ll be teaming up this time to take on these two legends. How will Mika and Hana’s partnership fair against Meiko and Aja?
I don’t get what’s going on in Hana Kimura’s head right now and I say this because when I see her wrestle in Sendai or Wrestle-1 with her cheer leading gimmick, she does amazing work and gives us better performances but gives us the exact opposite of that whenever I see her in Stardom like she’s not even trying there anymore. In Stardom, I think she only had one solid match against Hazuki but the rest is just forgettable and I just don’t get why she just switches off there while she does better in the other two promotions, it’s just annoying.
Can we call this a match? I mean, we could but it felt like it was just more of a beat down since that is what Mieko and Aja pretty much do in this match by destroying both Hana and Mika here while they get very little offense in the bout. It’s not that it’s a bad thing either since you have Hana and Mika getting sympathy from the crowd and whenever they do get to hit a big move like Hana being able to hit Aja with a Brainbuster, the crowd gets really into it right after and you need those types of reactions for fans to get behind you. Aja may be almost fifty years old, but she has proven that she can still beat the daylights out of you despite her age and still throws a mean punch when she wants to while also knowing to give her opponent that moment to get a shine in the match. For Hana and Mika teaming up here in the match, they had an interesting chemistry while Mika is also another one who I consider one of Sendai’s best and a future World Champion down the road if she sticks around with the company. Mika would get momentum into the match with her Superkicks to both Meiko and Aja but it wouldn’t last too long as Meiko had to give them a little history lesson as to why Meiko can still destroy you without a second thought as she hits Mika with the Death Valley Driver and pins her for the victory while both Hana and Mika put up a valiant effort. Solid story and great wrestling, nothing more you can ask for.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Sendai Girls World Title Match
Chihiro Hashimoto (c) vs. Cassandra Miyagi
Review: We got our main event for the evening as we have Chihiro Hashimoto defending her championship against Cassandra Miyagi. On September 15th, Chihiro and Mika would defeat Cassandra and Heidi to win the Sendai Girls Tag Team Championships and now it looks like Cassandra is looking to get revenge by taking the World Championship away from her. Will Chihiro retain the title and solidify herself as the ace of the company or will Cassandra win the big one finally?
Cassandra is definitely a top heel of the company and she has proven that tonight in the main event. I’m used to seeing her in tag team matches since she is a former tag champ but I haven’t seen her in one on one action until now and it showed me how great she actually is in the ring here. She was able to dominate the champion while making each other look strong at the same time and was even crisp with her moveset whenever she needed to do something from a strike or a power move, she knew when to hit it and execute it. Cassandra was able to generate enough heat in the match by making Chihiro feel vulnerable during the match as if Cassandra had her number in the match and would even spit black stuff into her face to get more of those heel tactics in there and even staying on top of her opponent to make sure she didn’t have a single advantage into the match.
It’s usually the main events of these Sendai Girls shows that make you enjoy the company a lot more like once you get past the weak undercard of the show and watch it all the way through to the end, the last 2 or so matches give you a very nice reward and it’s worth it. I enjoyed this match from top to bottom with the level of intensity from Cassandra, Chihiro showing why she’s the companies top star, the story and chemistry they shared in the ring. Cassandra looked like she had Chihiro beat when she lands the Tombstone for a two count and would quickly get up for the Swanton Bomb as she connects for another two count, Chihiro is not ready to quit just yet. Chihiro starts to finally get some momentum into the match with various Clotheslines and some German Suplexes to get the behemoth dazed until she was able to hit her German Suplex Hold and retains the title!
I was honestly kinda hoping for Cassandra to win the match here since her performance felt like it would be a great time to finally win the belt and have a nice dominating reign, but it looks like Chihiro is still at the top. However, that doesn’t mean you should count Cassandra out because she’s proven that she’ll be a key player. While Chihiro was putting a promo in the ring, Sendai would get an unexpected visit by none other than the World of Stardom Champion and your glorious Prime Minister, Kagetsu! That’s right, Kagetsu made a surprise return to Sendai Girls as she made her way to the ring and I don’t know the exact translation, but it seems like Kagetsu has talked about how she’s no longer the same Kagetsu that Sendai used to remember as she evolved during her time in Stardom while the Sendai roster appeared to be talking down on our Prime Minister. Meiko would have some words with Kagetsu and it appears as if she would challenge Kagetsu to a match here at Stardom at a later date. I hope the match happens before the end of the year and could be a classic way to close the year out. Get hyped!
Rating: Bruce Prichard and three quarters
Overall: While the first two matches were a bust, the show would slowly increase in quality with the last two matches stealing the show with a great main event and a surprise return to close it all off. I don’t know when we’ll get Kagetsu vs. Meiko, but I cannot wait.
Favorite Match: Chihiro Hashimoto vs. Cassandra Miyagi
Least Favorite Match: Aiger, Alex Lee & Sakura Hirota vs. Hikaru Shida, KAORU & Riho
Takeshi Morishima: Traces To Nowhere
Takeshi Morishima was arrested on November 4th in Kabukichō, Tokyo for punching a taxi driver and breaking his cheekbones, in a row over fare.
Fare he didn’t have by the way, which came to about 18,000 yen. It wasn’t just a case of him leaving his wallet at home, he had deliberately gotten a cab without it.
Details later emerged about Morishima’s disturbing state of mind and sequence of behavior leading up to the event, but we need to look further back to see the roots of the problem.
The majority of wrestlers enter the dojo system very young; usually about seventeen or eighteen. The rules are they must be healthy in body and mind, and have a High School Diploma. They usually go from the closed world of High School sports, into the cloistered world of the dojo. They go straight from their parents houses too. In the dojo they devote themselves to training, and they are only allowed out perhaps for an hour or so on a Saturday, and then perhaps only to a local convenience store, and if there are enough people to wait in the dojo on the seniors, they may even be allowed out to the cinema.
Nightlife, drinking, women, socializing, are all forbidden, and in many ways they are like Geisha, they wait on their elders and the people of their own age they do meet, they find they have little in common with, unless they too are in wrestling.
In the dojo their days are regimented, and even when they make their debuts and are allowed a little more freedom, their lives are still controlled and although they don’t have the cooking\cleaning\waiting on senior in the dojo schedule anymore or knocking on doors in the morning in hotels to get hungover, bruised, battered, and exhausted wrestlers out of bed, they have tours and promotional duties, and people are on hand to tell them where they should be. The same thing happens with touring bands, some people get so used to it, they wind up taking their families shopping at 4am; some people go from tour to tour, never going home.
The lucky ones (and this is most of them) adjust well to their freedom, some marry and have a support network of partners and children or else family, others leave and still stay in the wrestling business in some way, they become trainers, start their own promotions, promote events, open restaurants, write books.
Others do not adjust (although it is rare), and very sadly Takeshi Morishima seems to have been one of these people, who did not, although he did try to get some experience for life after wrestling, it doesn’t seem to have lasted long (and the company no longer exists).
It also didn’t help that he seemed to be pathologically lonely, and came from a small fragmented family, who he didn’t seem particularly close to, which is why in later years he clung to Kenoh, whom he used to call at midnight to chat. Kenoh always said that Morishima was a generous person, who never let him pay for anything. Morishima’s kindness was such that when he made his debut, he bought young Hitoshi Kumano a steak dinner.
Kenoh credits him with teaching him how to live as a wrestler, and it is a shame that Morishima could not ultimately take his own advice.
In 2016, Takeshi Morishima started his downward spiral, probably caused by a depressive condition and burnout (he was an active wrestler and had corporate duties as well following the shake up after Misawa’s death), but maybe there was an underlying condition as well that emerged at that time. His diagnosis of diabetes hit him hard its true (and Kenoh said he cried bitterly, both in the ring and outside of it), and his mental health deteriorated under the shock of being advised to retire, but at the same time he was posting odd things on social media, like rambling crazy statements about things which made no sense. Wrestling was all he had ever known, aside from High School Judo.
He left NOAH under a cloud, and vanished for three years. In the three years he was missing he bounced from job to job, concert security, bouncer, bartender, pizza maker, deliveryman for fast food, luggage porter, flower-shop employee, the list goes on.
In July 2018 he announced out of the blue that he was returning to wrestling, and he would hold his comeback event at Korakuen Hall in October on his 40th birthday, which he would call “GENESIS”. It was later announced that the main event would be himself versus Takashi Sugiura (NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Champion). He didn’t look comfortable being there, his body language showed how nervous he was, he spoke with his eyes shut and brushed hair out of his face, he mumbled. Afterwards he practically fled the arena and got into a waiting car and collapsed against the seats. A feature with BATTLEMEN served to highlight how fragile he was.
“GENESIS” was never going to happen, and maybe that was for the best.
On the 10th September, Morishima was rushed to hospital after suffering severe pain in his feet, which was later diagnosed as “septic arthritis” (a condition diabetics are susceptible to) and he underwent emergency surgery. The event was called off and it was announced it would be rescheduled at a later date.
No replacement date was ever announced, as it seemed Morishima’s behavior was becoming not just erratic, but dangerous. When he appeared at “Flight” a few weeks before his hospitalization, fans expressed concern at his behavior, Kenoh (it seemed) was also worried by it, but Takashi Sugiura was angered by it and blasted him for being rude as to go so far to plug his own event, make a challenge to him and then leave.
It’s sadly true. Morishima, didn’t stay around for the aftershow party (although Kenoh had hoped he would), but left to drink with Takeshi Rikio and post comments like “I am not interested in Uchida’s NOAH, I am only interested in Misawa’s NOAH”.
An odd comment to make for a man who had been invited to a 20th anniversary for someone he had a rocky relationship with about a promotion he had arranged to fight the champion of.
After the cancellation of the event, everything went quiet on Morishima, and people assumed that aside from the “naked drinking with DDT” (usual wrestler antics that no one takes much notice of), that he had gone back to training for his eventual return and rehabbing from surgery.
His odd behavior of turning up at Puro Weekly unannounced and in a Halloween Mask, and then posing with an issue, raised eyebrows, but the people of Kabukichō told a different story.
After his arrest it was discovered that Morishima had spent the days, not training, but drunk and wandering around the district, telling everyone he was “a star”. It was later revealed that he would take a taxi to the district, and then ask people in the bars and any wrestlers he recognized who where there, for money for the taxi. This led to several establishments banning him due to the harassment of their patrons, and, as his behavior was less than exemplary, he soon gained a reputation as a mean drunk.
Housing also appeared to be an issue for him at this time (he used to have a beautiful apartment during his NOAH days and he kept a box of candy when he settled down to watch films), but now it seemed he was virtually homeless, sleeping at the homes of people he had known for a few hours, one time even as a live in employee in a restaurant he worked in. He also used to go and visit indie promotions and beg money from the younger wrestlers, at one time making them collectively cough up 500 yen for his taxi, whom he had left waiting outside while he sat and watched the show.
There were days when he couldn’t even change his clothes.
On the night in question, he came into “The Stanley Bar” which is run by professional wrestler, Naoshi Sano, and tried to borrow money from him. The store manager told him that Mr. Sano wasn’t there, and as he cleaned the store, Morishima made strange comments to him like “I’m a pro wrestler, and your sweeping the floor”, playing with his phone, playing with the mail that had come to the store and eating sweets. In the past he had begged for drinks, only having what amounted to £10.00 or $12.00 in his pocket.
He left saying something like he had a few sweets left, and would be back with friends. During his visit, he apparently grabbed the managers arm, and left a huge bruise.
It is proposed that Morishima took a taxi, and drove around looking for people who he could beg fare off. The driver, realizing that the fare was already very high, stopped the cab and told him to pay, and that is when the row broke out.
Morishima claims he was not drinking; but his reputation is against him, and the manager of “The Stanley Bar” says he has never seen him sober.
News on Morishima has gone very quiet since his arrest, but I don’t think that prison would be the right choice, and neither would giving him his freedom. Morishima needs to be court ordered somewhere to deal with his issues. NOAH offered to help him once, and he wouldn’t take it.
He is only going to get help if he has no other choice, left to his own devices, he is like Takashi Sugiura says, “a child”.
The reaction from the puro world has been one of disappointment, on NOAH’s side, Naomichi Marufuji has said that for his own sake and that of society, Morishima needs to sort himself out. Old friend, Makoto Hashi (long retired and making a good living as a physiotherapist), said that Morishima needs to make a choice as to what he wants to do, he needs to grow as a person, and not as a wrestler.
And that has been Morishima’s problem; he has never managed to escape his own celebrity. It would have been far better for him that when he came back, he announced that he was returning as a trainer, any number of promotions would have snapped him up immediately, who wouldn’t want to say that they had been trained by Takeshi Morishima, who was once known as “NOAH’s Monster” and was one of the greatest and most memorable Ring of Honor champions, who holds the distinction of being the only Japanese one? It would have given him an income, he could have lived at the dojo, his food would have been prepared for him by the trainees, he would have eaten healthily (another bonus as the trainees are fed on dishes high in protein) and he would have had a support network in place of old friends, and people to talk to and importantly, look out for and after him.
But now sadly with this assault charge and odd behavior, who is going to want to be in the ring with him, let alone be trained by him, if he is capable of bouts of temper which seriously injure members of the public?
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Part 2!
NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2018 continues as The Ace once again puts up his Wrestle Kingdom IWGP Heavyweight Champion contract on the line! Will he keep it?
This coverage of King of Pro Wrestling will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found at http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- EVIL VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku; No Contest.
- Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship Contract Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White w/ Gedo; Tanahashi wins and retains the Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship contract.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!
Hiroshi Tanashi is still the owner of the Wrestle Kingdom contract after an intense battle with long-time rival with Kazuchika Okada. It was the first win The Ace had over The Rainmaker in four years, but the celebration was cut short by The Switchblade, Jay White! White called his shot at the contract based on how he beat both Tanahashi and Okada in the G1 Climax. This is also fueled by White losing to Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 12, so White wants to make sure Tanahashi doesn’t even go. Will Tanahashi get back at White for everything as of late? Or will he #BreathewiththeSwitchblade?
But first, Los Ingobernables de Japon continues its war with Suzuki-Gun. The King of Darkness has lost to the Submission Master in recent tag team matches, but they once again go 1v1 to settle things. Will Darkness Fall? Or will ZSJ make Evil #JustTapOut?
EVIL VS Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Taka Michinoku!
As is standard for Taka accompanying Zack, Taka makes the introductions. “Welcome to Zack Sabre Time.” This is a special singles match, and who is gonna win? “Zack!” Who!? “Zack!” Yes, your winner will be the man who can finish with any lock, anywhere, anytime. It will be “the man who possesses the deadly Zack Driver”. It will be the man that “when he locks on a submission, no matter who you are, you Just Tap Out!” He is the master of all pro-wrestling, he is ZSJ, he is Zack Sabrrrre, JUNIOR! Taka also adds “This is NOT Evil”, because “Everything is NOT Evil”. So Evil, c’mon over here! With that, Evil makes his entrance, accompanied by servants of darkness.
But wait! Before Evil can enter the ring, one of his servants attacks him! Because it was CHRIS JERICHO in disguise! Jericho wears the IWGP Intercontinental Championship around his waist, so there’s no doubting who it is. Jericho drags Evil up and throws him into barriers! Evil flounders as Jericho stomps him and chokes him with camera cables. Jericho throws Evil into the apron, then into the ring. ZSJ lets Y2J keep on Evil with a rain of rights. Fans rally for Evil but Jericho whips him corner to corner for a big clothesline! Jericho then gives Evil a Code Breaker! And yes, off comes the mask so that everyone can see his face. ZSJ is rather amused to see Jericho laying Evil out, makes things easier for him.
Jericho picks up his IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt, and aims at Evil. Evil staggers to his feet, and turns around into a belt smash! Jericho holds up the title, then looms over Evil as he flexes. Evil already wanted after Jericho for what he did to Naito, but will Evil be able to get revenge for himself?
Jericho leaves and referees check on Evil. ZSJ wants his match with Evil, but the referees tell him they can’t have it if Evil is hurt. ZSJ circles like a vulture as medics check on Evil. The medics say this match must be called off! Fans don’t like it, but understand after what happened. ZSJ doesn’t like it, and goes after the medic who made the call! He wrangles the man down with a double wristlock, then goes after the Young Lion trying to stop him! ZSJ tells the referee to leave or he’ll be next. The referee backs off and ZSJ starts kicking away on Evil. Then he puts him into the coil lock and pulls on the arm. ZSJ adds insult to injury with all his different holds, but here comes Naito!
Naito attacks ZSJ with the fury meant for Jericho, and they start brawling! Naito and ZSJ trade forearms, then ZSJ gives European Uppercuts. ZSJ whips but Naito reverses into a tornado DDT! Naito sees ZSJ roll out and regroup with Taka and builds speed. Taka and ZSJ panic, expecting a dive, but Naito instead rolls and Tranquilos! ZSJ is furious but Taka calms him down. ZSJ is denied his match but LIJ is denied retribution on Y2J. Who will get what they want first? And who will regret ever starting the fight?
Chris Jericho rampages backstage.
Much like after his confrontation with Tetsuya Naito, Jericho throws anything he can get his hands on and tosses it at whoever is around. He slaps a Young Lion to the floor, then asks “You see what happens? You think it’s bullsh*t, don’t you?” Well that’s life. The IWGP Intercontinental Champion has returned to NJPW and Ryogoku. Evil gets in Y2J’s business, has to call him out over the title, and this is what he gets. “The greatest, most dominant Intercontinental Champion of all time in any country, worldwide.” It doesn’t matter if it’s America, Canada, Australia or “this sh*thole,” Japan. Evil didn’t get his match tonight, but he will get his match in Osaka, NJPW Power Struggle, for the title! Does that sound good? “Evil: Dead.”
Zack Sabre Jr. has something to say about the incident.
“Oi, Jericho, mind your own business.” ZSJ didn’t need any help beating up Evil. He didn’t fly all the way here for a No Contest. ZSJ doesn’t have a problem with Y2J, so long as Y2J stays on his boat. But also, Naito sure took his sweet time getting out there. Where was he when Jericho started beating down Evil? What a “good friend”. Maybe Bushi should take lead in LIJ so Naito can retire or something.
Evil and Naito have their own response.
“You son of a bitch, Jericho!” Evil can barely walk but he forces himself to head to the back. Naito figures Jericho just has too much time on his hands. As for Naito himself in all this, he’s been saying it a long time: He wants after ZSJ. Naito already “smashed up the King for him”, meaning Minoru Suzuki. Getting a chance to redeem himself for past losses should be his reward. “So, Mr. Zack Sabre Jr, please do me the honor.” He humbly waits a reply. Adios! Will there be a collision course of LIJ, ZSJ and Y2J in the near future? Who will come out the victors in such a battle?
Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship Contract Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White w/ Gedo!
The Ace only lost to one man during the G1 Climax 28, and that was The Switchblade. However, that one loss alone gives the young Jay White the impression that he should be the one heading for the Tokyo Dome, not the man who won the G1 Climax 28 Finals. White waited until Tanahashi had tired himself out against Kazuchika Okada in Kobe to strike again. Now in the Ryogoku Sumo Hall, White looks to end the Once in a Century Talent once and for all! Who wins and walks away with the title match contract in his hands?
The briefcase is opened and the contract is presented to White and Gedo for verification. Fans already cheer “Go Ace!” as both men put their jackets aside. This epic match finally begins, after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns and the bell rings. White bails right out, and fans boo. White and Gedo act like it isn’t a problem, but obviously the trolling begins early. Tanahashi waits patiently as White takes his time returning. The two circle, fans rally for Tanahashi, and the two tie up. They push each other back, but Tanahashi gets White to the ropes. White turns things around, and lets go for the ropebreak. But then Gedo distracts Tanahashi, allowing White to clobber The Ace from behind! White stomps away as fans boo, and Tanahashi slips out of the ring. White follows to chop Tanahashi against barriers, then whip him into others! Togi Makabe seems to catch White’s attention, so White gives him a dirty bird before chopping Tanahashi again.
White brings Tanahashi over and whips, but Tanahashi reverses to send White into barriers! Tanahashi then runs in to blast White with a dropkick! White goes over the railing and into the front row! Tanahashi fires up but then Gedo hits him in the back! Red Shoes reprimands Gedo, but Tanahashi gives Gedo a kick to the gut! Tanahashi puts Gedo in the ring, but Gedo begs for mercy. But this keeps Tanahashi from seeing White return, to chop block Tanahashi in the leg! White mocks the air guitar, then goes after the leg. Tanahashi writhes but White gives the leg a toehold screw to the mat. White plays air guitar on Tanhashi’s leg before giving him another leg screw. White then drags Tanahashi’s leg out onto the apron, to slam it on the edge!
Tanahashi writhes but White isn’t done with that leg as he elbows it against the apron. White slams the leg again, then tells Red Shoes to leave him alone. White drags Tanahashi to a corner and slings the leg into the post! Tanahashi shouts in pain while fans boo White. White distracts Red Shoes while Gedo uses the WK13 contract briefcase to smack Tanahashi’s leg! Gedo grins as he gets away with it, and White covers. Red Shoes says no to the cover, he knows something is up. White drags Tanahashi around and goes for a half crab. Tanahashi fights with his good leg and kicks White away. Fans rally and Tanahashi fights back with body shots.
Tanahashi runs in but White dumps him out. White again distracts Red Shoes, thinking Tanahashi has hit the floor. But Tanahashi instead boots Gedo away while skinning the cat! White sees Tanahashi and goes after the leg with elbows! Then he puts the foot on his shoulder for a knee jacker! Tanahashi writhes again while White looms over him. White stands on the bad leg and fans boo. White drags Tanahashi onto the ropes and bends him back. He gives forearms to the back but Red Shoes counts. White stops at 3, but then just comes back to do it again. He stops at 4 this time, then stomps Tanahashi’s calf. Fans continue to rally but Tanahashi is down. White taunts Tanahashi now, and brings him around by his hair.
White stands Tanahashi up, snapmare and a slap! Fans boo the disrespect, but White doesn’t care. White waits for Tanahashi to stand, but Tanahashi fires forearms! White kicks the bad leg and Tanahashi staggers away. Tanahashi dodges White in the corner, and catches White’s boot to give him a dragon screw! Finally some offense, and it evens things as far as legs. Both men slowly stand, and Tanahashi throws more forearms. He puts White in the corner, then scoop slams him into the drop zone. Tanahashi hops up, second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps on the leg, and gives it a grounded dragon screw! He wants both legs, and goes for the Cloverleaf! White resists and crawls, and gets the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets White go but the fans rally again.
Tanahashi grabs the legs again and pulls on White. White kicks him in the shoulder, but Tanahashi holds on. White kicks him in the bad leg, and Tanahashi lets go. Tanahashi staggers as White stands. Tanahashi comes back, and White uses a saido suplex to throw him over and out! The Ace is down and out while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as White fetches Tanahashi. White throws Tanahashi backwards into railings, then throws him again. He throws Tanahashi a third time as he shouts and eggs him on. White puts Tanahashi in the ring, then hobbles around to go looking under the ring. White finds himself a folding chair, his favorite item. Red Shoes won’t allow this, but they’ve gone this way before during the G1. As Red Shoes and White argue, Tanahashi gets White’s leg and dragon screws him between the ropes! White tumbles to the floor, but Tanahashi gets moving. Tanahashi climbs up and camera crews get out of the way, for the High Fly Flow crossbody! It hits, but it’s double edged considering the bad leg. Even so, fans are fired up for The Ace!
Tanahashi is up and puts White back in the ring. Tanahashi feels the energy of the fans, and gets moving, but runs into a chop! He keeps moving, but gets another chop! Tanahashi actually seems more annoyed than hurt, but he turns around into White’s complete shot! Then White deadlifts Tanahashi for a German Suplex! Both men are down but fans rally again. White sits up and glares at Tanahashi with wild eyes. They grind foreheads and then stand. White gives a forearm, Tanahashi gives one back. White gives another forearm, but Tanahashi gives another back. The fans fire up while White staggers, but White comes back for another forearm. Tanahashi gives a forearm, then another, then another. He fires body shots but White kicks low.
Tanahashi still hits back, body shot after shot then a EuroUpper! He turns around but into White’s strike fest! Tanahashi comes back with a palm strike! And then another palm strike! White grabs Tanahashi’s hair, but Tanahashi gives him a third palm strike! White wobbles, Tanahashi runs, but White catches him! Tanahashi slips out of Blade Runner and gets a full nelson, but White breaks that to elbow. White swings, but Tanahashi gets a half nelson that he uses to spin White around. White slips out of the facelock, reels Tanahashi in and around, but Tanahashi again slips out. Tanahashi swings but White counters, only for Tanahashi to slip out again, to a waistlock. White breaks free of that, and both men give forearms! Both men are rocked but stay standing, and fans applaud that incredible exchange.
White hits Tanahashi, then again. He whips but Tanahashi reverses, into a swinging neckbreaker! But Tanahashi doesn’t let off, he brings White back up, for another swinging neckbreaker! He still holds White, and brings him up again, but White gets a swinging suplex! Both men are down, but White flounders to a corner. Fans rally up for Tanahashi, and he slowly sits up. White grabs him, only to get a third swinging neckbreaker! Tanahashi runs, and hits the slingblade! But he sees Gedo getting on the apron, so he knocks him off with a forearm smash! White gets Tanahashi but Tanahashi slips out, full nelson to Dragon Suplex! With a bridge! TWO!! So close yet so far from finishing this, but Tanahashi keeps moving. Tanahashi gets up top, and waits for White to stand. High Fly Flow crossbody!
But Tanahashi keeps going! He’s back up top, High Fly Flow splash! Cover, but Gedo drags Red Shoes out! Gedo won’t let his new protege lose yet. He also lurks with brass knuckles! Gedo gets in and goes right at Tanahashi, but Tanahashi dodges to counter with a palm strike! But then White gets Tanahashi with the low blow! Everyone’s down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns once more, and White crawls his way to the chair he found earlier. White stands up with it, and sees Tanahashi sit up. White goes to swing, but Tanahashi gives him a low blow in return! Both men are down, feeling the pain, but Tanahashi gets up first. Tanahashi takes that chair of White’s, sets it down, and scoop slams White on the chair! Then he goes up top, for a High Fly Flow! But White moves, so Tanahashi belly flops on the chair! Tanahashi writhes with the pain in his ribs as White grabs the chair for his own again. White grits his teeth, and throws the chair in Tanahashi’s face! But where’s Red Shoes? White shouts for Gedo to get the ref, and Gedo forces Red Shoes in, ice pack and all.
White drags Tanahashi up, calling for the end. Blade Runner countered into a small package! Tanahashi wins!!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; still holds the WK13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship match contract
For all the dirty tricks White used, it was a pure wrestling counter that defeated him! The Ace still heads for the Tokyo Dome, but the Switchblade won’t stand for it! He stomps away on Tanahashi, then fights off any of the Young Lions that try to save him. White grabs that leg and stomps away on it, then gives it another leg screw! Gedo says White should finish this, so White drags Tanahashi back up. But before he can hit Blade Runner, The Rainmaker appears! Okada runs White and his former manager out of the ring and fans are thunderous! However, Gedo distracts Okada on the opposite end, so that White can attack from behind! But Okada still fights White off! So Gedo attacks! But it does nothing! Okada throws hands on Gedo!
Gedo shouts for White to help, but it’s Jado who appears. Jado, being Gedo’s former tag partner and therefore a Chaos member, wants to keep the peace between former friends. Gedo clings to Jado for safety, and Jado has Okada back away. Fans aren’t sure what to make of this, but then the Firing Squad appears? Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa, Bad Luck Fale and Taiji Ishimori saunter out here and flank the ring. What are they doing out here when this is a Chaos issue? The Bullet Club’s splinter cell enters the ring, and White starts to get anxious. White wants things to settle down, but Taiji and Fale grab Jado and Gedo! They’re making it as if they’re on Okada’s side? They want Okada to get his shots in on Gedo?
Okada isn’t so sure, and neither are the fans. But Okada thinks it over, and he does run to build speed. Only for Tama Tonga to get him with a Gun Stun!! They’re not on Okada’s side, but on Gedo’s! As was Jado, it seems. And now, Gedo, Jado and the Firing Squad stomp away on Okada! White throws Young Lions and whoever else around on the outside before joining the others in the ring. Gedo and the others let White pick up Okada, and he gives a Too Sweet at the end of his throat slash, before hitting Blade Runner! Fans boo this new alliance, especially as they Low Sweet. The Bullet Club theme hits, but is that what this alliance will be now? Or will it be something far more dangerous?
Tanahashi returns to the ring, and goes to his rival, and seemingly only ally in this new fight. Will Tanahashi be able to hold onto his Wrestle Kingdom contract at this rate? Will Okada keep control of Chaos in this state? Or can they turn the tide before they’re swept under?
The Bullet Club comes through, and wonders if the world is tilting. Because he feels the shift towards their side of things. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dogs, cats and children of all ages,” Tama Tonga presents Jay White. White says this was “inevitable.” White met Fale way back in London in 2014, and since then, it was inevitable that White would end up with these guys. It was never going to be White and the #BCElite, Kenny Omega and such. “What is that ripoff sh*t?!” No, the #OGBC is where White belongs, and they’re going to take the Club back to its roots. “Get used to these faces, we’re taking over.” They have like minds, like attitudes and like aggressions! Switchblade joins the Brotherhood, the Firing Squad, the BC OG’s!
Tanahashi meanwhile stops to say “Here it is. My ticket tot he future.” Is Tanahashi a relic of the past? Is his time so long ago? “It needs to be said, there is a future for everyone.” No matter your age, no matter your job, “everyone deserves a future.” Tanahashi didn’t come back to stay who he was before. He came back to keep pushing forward! So please understand, and stick with him until the Tokyo Dome.
Alliances have been made, battle lines have been drawn and goals have been set. When the dust settles come January 4th, 2019, who will be standing atop NJPW as THE IWGP Heayvweight Champion? Who will be standing as THE top faction? Or will there be no one left standing at all?
An incredible hour for NJPW as part two of three for King of Pro Wrestling. I did not expect the opening match to end up in a no contest, but it was a great surprise for Jericho to show up and go after Evil. I knew Evil was going to go after Jericho for the title, but Naito going after Zack Sabre Jr. is a good addition to this story. Naito VS ZSJ will be a great rematch, then clearly Evil VS Jericho will be great. Naito will likely win, as the leader of LIJ should stay strong. However, I don’t really feel Evil will win, as it’d seem odd if he was the only member of LIJ to have a belt, but I’m betting he’ll get really close.
Tanahashi VS White was great, and all the attempts at cheating were well done given Gedo’s presence. Tanahashi wins but this new alliance of White, Gedo and Firing Squad is a crazy development. It adds a new layer to the Chaos civil war White was starting against Okada as well as the Bullet Club civil war that’s continued since the G1 Special in San Francisco. I don’t think this’ll cause Chaos and Bullet Club Elite to join up to stop White and Tama Tonga, but it should.
My Score: 8.6/10