Before the Network specials June 25th and 26th, the WWE brings us the ENTIRE first round in one single stream! Sixteen great talents from both the United Kingdom and around the world compete to move on in just the second ever UK Championship Tournament! Will your bracket be busted right out of the starting gate?
All images courtesy of the WWE’s official social media sources
- Drew Gulak VS Jack Gallagher; Gallagher wins and advances to the second round.
- Ligero VS Travis Banks; Banks wins and advances to the second round.
- Dave Mastiff VS Kenny Williams; Mastiff wins and advances to the second round.
- Flash Morgan Webster VS James Drake; Webster wins and advances to the second round.
- Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan; Gibson wins and advances to the second round.
- Ashton Smith VS Joseph Conners; Ashton wins and advances to the second round.
- Tyson T-Bone VS Jordan Devlin; Devlin wins and advances to the second round.
- Tucker VS Joe Coffey; Coffey wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
The second WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament begins!
Many faces return from the inaugural tournament, while many others are participating for the first time. The winner of this tournament will be awarded a championship match against Pete Dunne, who is only the second-ever yet longest reigning champion in the title’s short history. Will a returning star or a new one be the next to challenge The British Bruiserweight?
Drew Gulak VS Jack Gallagher!
This second edition of the WWE UKCT starts with two great grappling gentlemen from both sides of the pond. The Philly Stretcher and The Extraordinary Gentleman have become friends via WWE’s 205 Live, but they will put friendship aside if it means a chance at Pete Dunne’s title.
The bell rings and the two gentlemen shake hands. Fans applaud for that as the two circle and tie up. Gulak gets a facelock and puts Gallagher against ropes, but honors the break. They tie up again, and Gulak gets another facelock, but it’s Gallagher who puts Gulak against ropes. Gallagher honors the break, and then they circle. They tie up again, and go around the ring. Gulak gets the headlock, and he grinds Gallagher down to a knee. He brings Gallagher around and around to cover, ONE and Gallagher gets a headscissor counter. Gallagher wrenches but Gulak works his way up. Gulak doesn’t pop out, he rolls Gallagher over and bridges. Fans applaud Gulak’s technical prowess as he gets the leg knot and tries for the full Queen Angelito stretch.
Gulak twists Gallagher, but Gallagher slips out to trip Gulak. Gallagher goes after the legs now, and twists with a toehold. Gulak spins to ease the pressure but Gallagher holds on. Gallagher wrenches more, and makes it a heel hook. Gulak endures, spins, and gets Gallagher’s leg. Gulak now has a standing leg lock, but his own foot pains him too much. He lets Gallagher go, but gets to a corner for safety. Gallagher respects Gulak and waits for him to come out. The two tie up again and Gallagher gets that leg. Gulak counters with a facelock and the two hop around. Gallagher trips Gulak again, but both men get a leg lock on the other. Fans love this technical showdown as the two fight for control.
Gallagher shoves Gulak back and heel hooks, but Gulak goes after one of his own. Gallagher wrenches, so Gulak stands and grabs Gallagher. Gulak drags Gallagher into an attempted triangle but Gallagher stands up to keep the leg lock. Gallagher brings Gulak around for a spinning toehold, then makes it a standing deathlock. Gulak endures the wrenching, but Gallagher shifts and gets the knot! Gulak knows what that means, and Gallagher puts in a bridging Indian Deathlock! But Gulak reaches over, and grabs Gallagher in a sleeper! Gulak gets free, and wants his GuLOCK! Gallagher scrambles and gets a ropebreak. Gulak lets go and Gallagher backs off.
The two circle again, then tie up. Gulak spins gets the wristlock takedown. He steps through for a hammerlock, then grabs Gallagher’s legs for the cloverleaf! Gulak bends Gallagher back, but Gallagher refuses to quit. Gallagher gets out and brings Gulak in. Gulak turns but Gallagher uses the momentum to keep going, and they end up in a corner. The ref counts the ropebreak but Gallagher grinds his forehead into Gulak’s. Gallagher backs off at 4, but then kicks the bad leg. Gulak forearms back, so Gallagher does, too. Gallagher adds a stiff European Uppercut, and it seems the friendship really is out of the window now.
Gallagher kicks that bad leg, but Gulak chops back stiff. Gulak headbutts Gallagher’s stomach, then chops again. Gallagher kicks the leg again, then forearms away. Gallagher returns the chops, as well, then whips Gulak. Gulak reverses but things speed up. Gulak rolls, grabs a leg, victory roll, TWO! They both stand, Gallagher EuroUppers but Gulak chops and chops. Gulak also uses palm strikes, but he spins around into the Extraorindary Headbutt!
Cover, Gallagher wins!
Winner: Jack Gallagher, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The Extraordinary Gentleman takes out the Yankee! Now he awaits the winner of Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan in the quarterfinals.
Ligero VS Travis Banks!
The Prestigious Mexican Sensation and the Kiwi Buzzsaw collide in an international crossover. Will this United Kingdom Division Tournament be taken over by a foreign entity?
The bell rings, and the two men circle. They tie up, Travis gets the headlock. Travis shifts to a wristlock, but Ligero reverses to his own, and a headlock. Travis tries but can’t power out. He suplexes but Ligero lands on his feet. Things speed up, and Travis cartwheels over Ligero. They keep going, and Travis throws Ligero to a corner. Ligero runs back out, but Travis sweeps the legs! Travis adds a stiff mule kick! Cover, TWO! Travis keeps his cool, and brings Ligero up for chops. Fans duel, Ligero shoves and waistlocks but then runs to headscissor Travis down. Travis gets to a corner and Ligero whips but Travis reverses. Ligero goes up and under, then goes around and over, then back under, to roll Travis for a mule kick of his own. Ligero brings Travis up for a big suplex, then covers, TWO.
Travis sits up while fans rally. Ligero gives Travis a forearm, but Travis kicks away. Ligero catches a kick, sweeps the leg, and standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Fans rally again as Ligero brings Travis up. Ligero runs, but his springboard almost fails with the slippery ropes. He does jump, but Travis easily deflects him. Travis hits the shotgun knee! Ligero gets to ropes while fans duel. Travis runs in for the back elbow, then another, then runs corner to corner, but Ligero follows. Travis sweeps the leg again and Ligero hits buckles. Ligero sits down, Travis goes corner to corner, cannonball! Travis drags Ligero out, cover, TWO!
Fans build to a rally as Travis brings Ligero up and around. Travis suplexes, but Ligero slips out. Ligero waistlocks, Travis standing switches, but Ligero throws him out. Ligero runs and FLIES! He takes Travis out with the tope conjilo, then brings him back in. Ligero runs and springboards, but Travis back drops. Ligero sunset flips through but Travis sits on the cover! TWO and Ligero covers, TWO. Travis covers again, ONE and back to Ligero! ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE, etc! It keeps going, but Ligero gets it to stop, TWO! Fans applaud as both men stand. Ligero uppercuts, then runs, but into a big lariat! Travis runs, goes to a corner to springboard, Slice of Heaven enziguri! Cover, TWO! Travis gets mad, and suplexes, Kiwi Crusher!
Cover, Travis wins!
Winner: Travis Banks, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The New Zealand Terminator and current Progress World Champion takes care of a former Progress World Champion. Can Travis make it all the way to the end to challenge the WWE United Kingdom Champion?
Dave Mastiff VS Kenny Williams!
Big Bad Dave and The Bollocks make for the first pure match-up of the marathon. Both men have held championships in the UK before, but will either man make it to challenge THE UK Champion?
The bell rings, and Mastiff watches Williams as he goes around the ring. They tie up, and Mastiff just tosses Williams backwards! Williams gets to a corner, but comes back to tie up again. Mastiff powers Williams to a corner, and Williams goes up the ropes to keep from getting squashed. Mastiff backs off, but pats Williams on the head. Williams dares him to come back, and then boots Mastiff. Williams leaps over, then rolls under, to leap up again! He tries to sunset but Mastiff is too massive. Mastiff sits down, but misses! Williams runs and shining wizard! Cover, ONE and with authority.
Williams keeps going with forearms on Mastiff. Mastiff throws Williams again, but misses in the corner. Williams keeps moving, but that crossbody does nothing! Mastiff’s back senton squashes Williams! Cover, TWO! Williams gasps for air, but Mastiff is on him with elbows to the jaw and shoulder. Cover, TWO, and Mastiff grows frustrated. Mastiff stalks Williams to a corner, then brings him out to snapmare into a seated abdominal stretch. Mastiff grinds his forearm in, but fans are dueling. More heavy elbows, cover, TWO.
Mastiff grabs Williams but Williams hits back. Mastiff’s knee knocks Williams down, then he whips Williams to dropkick him! Yes, Big Bad Dave did a dropkick. Williams gets to a corner, and fans rally, but Mastiff is on him. Mastiff whips Williams back into the corner hard, but Williams stands up. Mastiff whips but Williams reverses with a jawbreaker! Williams grabs Mastiff but Mastiff shoves him away. Williams hurdles Mastiff on the rebound, then springboards, but is taken out of the sky by Mastiff’s powerful right hand! Mastiff fires up, as do the fans, and he deadlifts Williams. Williams elbows out, then dropkicks the legs out.
Fans rally again, and Williams dumps Mastiff out. Willams sees Mastiff climbing back up, so he springboards for a back elbow! It was just enough to send Mastiff back down. Williams fires up, runs, and hits the wrecking ball dropkick. Mastiff staggers so Williams runs again to DIVE! Williams only staggers Mastiff, but Williams puts Mastiff in the ring. Fans rally up while Williams climbs up. Williams aims, leaps, and hits the Marty McFlying Elbow! Cover, TWO, and with such force! Williams is running out of ideas, but he still has something left. He clubs away on Mastiff, but Mastiff grabs his waist. Williams elbows away, then runs into a tilt-o-whirl, but Mastiff tosses him off! Williams flounders to a corner, and Mastiff comes running in, for another dropkick! Mastiff keeps going, cannonball!!
Cover, Mastiff wins!
Winner: Dave Mastiff, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The British Bull Mastiff downs Williams and moves on. Will he be met by Joe Coffee or Tucker in the quarter finals?
Flash Morgan Webster VS James Drake!
The Modfather and Mr. Mayhem have met in the past, but now they meet again for a chance at WWE championship gold. Will Flash (Ah~) Morgan take flight? Or will Drake drag him down to the ground and leave him in the dust?
The bell rings and the two circle fast. They tie up, and Drake powers Flash back. Flash turns it around as they go into a corner, but then Drake comes out with the wristlock. Drake brings Flash to the mat, but Flash gets up. Drake grinds his forearm then wrenches the arm. Flash spins, flips and reverses while fans chant for him. Drake rolls and flips back, to then forearm Flash in the face. Drake whips Flash, but Flash goes up and over. Flash side steps Drake, then speeds things up for a spinning Japanese arm-drag. He baits Drake to a corner and sticks out his boots, but Drake blocks and tosses him over. Flash comes back with another arm-drag! Drake gets up and Flash dances as he eggs Drake on. Flash blocks the kick and gets a takedown, then flips for an imploding senton. Cover, TWO!
Flip keeps on Drake, runs, and jumps for a guillotine hold! Drake gets the ropebreak, then sucker punches with an elbow! Flash drops down to the mat, but Drake grins as he brings Flash up for another shot. Drake drags Flash into a chinlock, but fans rally for Flash. Flash feeds off the energy but gets another forearm from Drake. Drake goes after Flash but Flash kicks him back. Flash kicks and throws hands, then forearms. Drake grabs Flash’s ear! Then smacks him with that #GritYourTeeth forearm! Cover, TWO!
Drake grimaces at Flash and wraps him back in the chinlock. Fans duel while Flash endures. Drake brings him down to the mat, and even gives a Dry Willie. Fans rally up and Flash gets up, but gets another forearm. Drake suplexes but Flash lands out of it, rolls Drake up, TWO! Flash gets to a corner and boots Drake away. They both go to corners, but Drake runs in. Flash goes up and over again, then around, to springboard, corkscrew senton! Fans fire up again and Flash gets up. Drake gets to a corner, Flash runs in, big forearm smash, then another. Flash keeps going, and dodges Drake’s counter attack to hit a knee strike! Drake rolls out of the ring, and Flash builds speed again. Flash FLIES with the senton!
Flash puts Drake back in, then climbs up, big crossbody! Roll through from Drake, TWO! Flash whips Drake but Drake go to the apron. Drake shoulders and forearms Flash down. Drake climbs up but Flash stops him with a swing kick. Flash climbs up to join Drake, SUPER Steiner! Cover, TWO! Drake survives the crash landing, but Flash won’t give up, either. Flash waits for Drake, runs in, but Drake blocks into Tombstone position, and turns it into a sit-out facebuster, aka the Downswing! Cover, TWO!? Drake is furious that Flash survived.
Drake stands up while fans chant for Flash. He brings Flash up, Flash rolls down for a cover but Drake sits on it, only for Flash to roll it back over, TWO! Drake grabs Flash’s wrist but Flash reverses to an uppercut! Flash fires up and runs, but Drake follows with a dropkick! Drake fires up now, then gets up top. Drake flips but has to bail out as Flash evades. His legs buckle, and Flash pounces with the tilt-o-whirl inverted DDT!
Cover, Flash wins!
Winner: Flash Morgan Webster, by pinfall; advances to the second round.
The Modfather flies high and takes the victory! Will he meet Tyson T-Bone or Jordan Devlin in the quarterfinals?
Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan!
The King of Scouse Style and The Bhangra Badboy know their opponent in the next round, but must deal with each other first. Who will win and be ready for Jack Gallagher in the quarterfinals?
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Gibson powers Jordan to a corner. He backs off at the count, but dares Jordan to come at him. Jordan circles with Gibson again, but Gibson powers him to the mat. Gibson goes after the wrist, but Jordan rolls and gets up, only for Gibson to wrangle him down again. Gibson brings Jordan up for a keylock, but Jordan gets to ropes. The referee backs Gibson off, but he gives Jordan a taunting kick. Jordan springs up to his feet in a huff, and Gibson tells Jordan to ignore the fans, only focus on him. They tie up, Jordan gets a hammerlock but Gibson elbows him away. Gibson then forearms and uppercuts Jordan, then whips him corner to corner.
Jordan goes up and over, but the arm-drag is blocked into a backslide. ONE, and Gibson grabs the legs to catapult Jordan. Jordan uses that to hop up onto the second rope, then jump out. Gibson gets under, but Jordan rolls back to headscissors Gibson down. Jordan dares Gibson to bring it now, and things speed up. Jordan clears Gibson then dodges him to run him over with a crossbody! Fans fire up as Jordan handsprings up. Gibson glares as Jordan dares him to bring the fight. Gibson lunges but Jordan gets around and hip tosses him down. Cover, ONE, but Jordan stays on Gibson with forearms. Jordan whips but Gibson reverses into a keylock driver! Gibson adds a dropkick and Jordan rolls to a corner.
Gibson drags Jordan up to club his shoulders, then rock him with a haymakers. He reels Jordan into a lariat, then stomps away. Jordan hits back, but Gibson forearms him to a corner. Gibson goes after the arm again, but Jordan snapmares counters. Gibson keeps hold of the wristlock for a takedown, then a hammerlock stomp! Jordan clutches his arm in pain while Gibson talks trash. Gibson brings Jordan up for a EuroUpper, then hooks Jordan’s face for the cover. TWO, but Gibson just looms over Jordan. He toys with Jordan so Jordan kicks back. Gibson shotgun kicks Jordan down, then drags him up in a corner. Gibson goes after that arm again but Jordan hits back. Jordan can’t break free, and Gibson elbows him for a straight-arm suplex!
Gibson keeps on Jordan with forearms, then brings him up again. Snap suplex, then cover, TWO! Gibson clamps onto Jordan again with the half-nelson chinbar. Fans build to a rally, and Jordan endures as Gibson thrashes around. Jordan stands, hits back with body shots, then a jawbreaker. Jordan runs, dodges, and crossbodies again! He keeps on Gibson with forearms, but Gibson covers up in a corner. The referee backs Jordan off but Jordan dropkicks Gibson out of the ring. Jordan kips up, builds speed, and DIVES! They both hit railing but Jordan puts Gibson in the ring. Jordan climbs up, takes aim, and fans rally. He leaps, crossbody! Cover, TWO! So close and yet so far. But Jordan doesn’t give up hope, he has fans on his side.
Jordan runs at Gibson, but is put on the apron. Gibson hobbles away, but Jordan slingshots in for the complete shot! Cover, TWO! That was even closer than earlier! Jordan gets up, as does Gibson. Jordan clubs then brings Gibson up but Gibson arm wringers Jordan down! Gibson stalks Jordan, brings him up, and scoops for the Tombstone, into the swing-out gutbuster! Cover, TWO!! Gibson grimaces and glares at Jordan. “You do not belong here!” Gibson grabs the arm but Jordan grabs the ropes.
The referee backs Gibson off, but Gibson gives Jordan another forearm. Jordan forearms back, so Gibson hits him again. Jordan puts his all into another forearm, but Gibson throat chops. Gibson prepares but misses, Jordan enziguris! Gibson kneels, dazed, and fans rally for Jordan. Jordan boots Gibson, then hops up, tornado, but Gibson blocks with power. Jordan tries to make it a guillotine but Gibson powers through to a suplex, Helter Skelter brainbuster! That’s not all, Gibson brings Jordan around and slaps the back of his head again and again, before locking in a keylock clutch, aka the Shankly Gates!
Jordan taps right away, Gibson wins!
Winner: Zack Gibson, by submission; advances to the second round
Liverpool’s Number One is now through to the quarter finals, and will face Jack Gallagher. The Extraordinary Gentleman already defeated a great grappler in Drew Gulak, but will this grappler prove to be an even tougher challenge?
Ashton Smith VS Joseph Conners!
The Righteous Killer Conners takes on the Jamaican Prestige, and the winner moves on to face Travis Banks in the next round. Will Conners’ second time in this tournament be a complete success? Or will Ashton D-Rock him out of the tournament?
The bell rings and they tie up. Ashton puts Conners on the ropes but they break quickly. They tie up again, Conners gets the waistlock but Ashton standing switches. Conners switches, grabs a leg, but Ashton gets to ropes. Conners backs off, and they circle again. They tie up and go around as fans rally. Conners puts on a headlock, but Ashton works against the hold. Ashton hits back then powers out, but Conners runs him over. Conners speeds things up, Ashton dropkicks him down! Cover, ONE, but Ashton keeps on Conners. Conners shoves him back, but runs into Ashton’s calf kick! Ashton whips Conners corner to corner but Conners reverses. Ashton goes up and over, then back drops Conners way up!
Conners runs back at Ashton but Ashton throws him out. Ashton builds speed and slides, but Conners traps him in the apron skirt! Conners then clobbers away on Ashton! The referee counts and Conners lets up for just a moment before he gives stiff clubbing forearms. Conners also elbows Ashton, then drags him out of the skirt. He drags Ashton up and into the ring, but places him on the apron for more vicious clubbing arms. Conners enters the ring, then gives springboard stomps. He drags Ashton up and bumps him off a buckle. Ashton flounders, but Conners is on him with another stomp. Cover, ONE, but Conners grabs Ashton by the ear. Conners has a thing about ears given how one of his is half gone. He reels Ashton into a big lariat! Cover, TWO!
Conners keeps on Ashton with a chinbar, but fans rally up for Ashton. Ashton stands, and pries his way out to run and sunset flip! TWO, and Conners gives Ashton a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Conners toys with Ashton now as he bumps him off buckles. He clobbers Ashton with clotheslines and elbows, then brings Ashton out. Conners suplexes, float over, TWO. Ashton starts to frustrate Conners but fans are on Ashton’s side. Conners puts on a chinlock and keeps Ashton grounded. Conners shouts that he won’t let Ashton take his spot. Fans rally again, and Ashton gets up. Ashton fights back with elbows, then runs, but Conners trips him! Conners drops elbows, then covers, TWO.
Conners brings Ashton up for another buckle bump, then brings him back to the apron. He bends Ashton against the post! The referee counts and Conners lets go at 4, just to do it again. Conners returns in the ring, and baseball slides Ashton into the post ribs first! The referee reprimands Conners but Conners argues back. Ashton slumps to the floor while fans boo Conners. Conners waits for Ashton to return, to baseball slide him again! He shouts that Ashton is NOT taking this tournament from him. Conners puts Ashton back in and covers, TWO. Conners stomps those damaged ribs, and uses it as a cover, TWO. He won’t let up on Ashton, and he grabs that ear again.
Conners stands Ashton up, but Ashton fights back with body shots. Ashton fireman carry but Conners slips out. Conners waistlocks, but Ashton swings a back elbow. Conners ducks under to turn it into a bearhug! He powers Ashton into buckles, then backs off. Ashton elbows Conners away, but runs into an abdominal stretch! Ashton endures, but Conners slaps and clubs him. Fans rally again, and Ashton pries his way out. Ashton forearms Conners but Conners throws body shots. Conners and Ashton both grit their teeth, but it’s Ashton with haymaker after haymaker! He whips, Conners reverses, but Ashton leaps for a lariat! Ashton rallies, half-nelson backbreaker!
Fans are fired up for Ashton, and he runs in for a big knee in the corner. Ashton rolls Conners, hops up, leg lariat! Cover, TWO! Ashton tries again, but Conners slips out to the apron and Ashton hits buckles. Conners slingshots for a complete shot! Cover, TWO!! Fans cheer for the tough as nails Ashton. Conners stalks Ashton, drags him up, and prepares the Razor’s Edge, but Ashton slips out and gets the takedown. Conners shoves Ashton away, and catches him in an inside cradle, TWO! Ashton runs, tilt-o-whirl into dragon sleeper, and grabs Conners arm, for a ripcord DDT! AKA, the Ash Cloud!
Cover, Ashton wins!!
Winner: Ashton Smith, by pinfall; advances to the second round
History repeats itself as Conners is eliminated early again. Ashton shows respect to Conners by offering a handshake. Conners thinks about it, but just leaves the ring. Ashton may not have won his opponent’s respect but he did win the match. Can Ashton keep winning when he faces Travis Banks in the quarter finals?
Tyson T-Bone VS Jordan Devlin!
Two more returns from the original tournament, The King of the Gypsies would lose in the first round to the Last King of Scotland, Wolfgang, while Finn Balor’s former protege would lose in the second round to eventual inaugural WWE UK Champion, Tyler Bate. Who will move on to face Flash (Ah~!) Morgan in the second round?
The bell rings and Devlin dances around the bigger man. They tie up, and T-Bone powers Devlin into a corner. T-Bone backs up, but swings, only for Devlin to duck and chop. That chop didn’t do much, so Devlin backs off. They tie up again and T-Bone puts Devlin back in the corner. Devlin ducks and chops again, with more sting this time. Devlin dares T-Bone to come out. T-Bone does but Devlin kicks low. Devlin tries to whip but T-Bone blocks and reverses. Devlin goes up and over, then dodges to enziguri! T-Bone is only dazed, but Devlin blocks his kick to give a back elbow. Devlin snapmares T-Bone to kick him in the back, then double knees from the front. Cover, ONE and T-Bone gets out of the ring.
T-Bone catches his breath, but Devlin builds speed, only to run into a clubbing clothesline! T-Bone puts Devlin into a corner and fires off body shots. That bare knuckle brawling history comes in handy, but T-Bone also grinds in a boot. He backs off at 4, but drags Devlin up to whip him corner to corner. T-Bone lifts Devlin for a backbreaker, covers, ONE. Devlin sits up but T-Bone drives in a knee. Fans rally, but T-Bone drops a knee. Devlin gets up but gets a right hand. He goes to ropes, but T-Bone bumps him off buckles. T-Bone chops Devlin while fans duel. Devlin kicks back but T-Bone sweeps his legs. T-Bone drives in a stiff knee, and Devlin is dazed. T-Bone drags Devlin to a cover, TWO.
Devlin tries to catch his breath but T-Bone is on him with a neck wrench. Devlin stands up while fans rally, and pries his way out of T-Bone’s grip. T-Bone knees low, but Devlin dodges again to throw hands. T-Bone shoves then blocks Devlin’s kick, to boot Devlin down. He adds an elbow drop, covers, TWO. T-Bone keeps his cool and drags Devlin back up. He rocks Devlin with a powerful right, but he doesn’t let up. He throws a forearm into the kidneys, then kicks him in the ribs. Devlin gets to a corner, but T-Bone keeps going as he grinds a thumb into the throat. The referee backs T-Bone off, and Devlin boots him back. Devlin does another boot, then dropkicks the legs out.
Devlin runs in but T-Bone puts him on the apron. He still swing kicks T-Bone away, then slingshots in for a cutter! Cover, TWO! Devlin grows frustrated, but fans are rallying. Devlin and T-Bone stand, but T-Bone throws Devlin with an overhead belly2belly! Cover, ONE, but T-Bone is right on Devlin with a Jackhammer! Cover, TWO, and T-Bone can’t believe it. T-Bone glares down at Devlin, then brings him back up. He brings Devlin in but Devlin slips out, and both men hit the other with haymakers. Devlin staggers back while T-Bone simply shakes it off. T-Bone runs but into the post! Devlin hits the spinning roundhouse!
High stack cover, Devlin wins!
Winner: Jordan Devlin, by pinfall; advances to the second round
History repeats for both men as T-Bone goes out early while Devlin makes it to the quarterfinals. Will history continue to repeat for Devlin against the Modfather? Or can he break the trend before it begins and make it all the way to the end?
Tucker VS Joe Coffee!
#JustTucker was the first man to fall to Tyler Bate in the inaugural tournament, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Meanwhile, The Iron King is the current Scottish Wrestling Alliance’s Scottish Heavyweight Champion looking to be champion of the entire UK! Only one man will advance and meet Dave Mastiff in the next round!
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Coffey powers Tucker to a corner. The two scrap but Coffey backs off and they circle again. They tie up again, and Coffey again powers Tucker back. But Tucker turns it around and puts Coffey in the corner. Tucker backs up and the two circle again. They tie up, Coffey gets the arm, and wrenches the wrist. Tucker flips and reverses the wristlock onto Coffey. Coffey rolls and reverses and drives Tucker to the mat. Tucker rolls up and gets a headlock. Coffey powers out, they collide shoulders but no one falls. They both run, but Coffey goes perpendicular to Pounce!
Tucker gets to a corner, but Coffey throws body shots. Coffey rolls Tucker with authority, then chops him in the other corner. He whips Tucker corner to corner but Tucker goes up and over. Tucker handsprings, ducks under, then hops up for a springboard back elbow! He handsprings again to show off, covers, ONE. Tucker takes aim, but Coffey sees the kick coming and gets to ropes for safety. Tucker runs in, but into Coffey’s boot! Coffey double underhooks and swings Tucker around! He goes around and around and around, then throws Tucker overhead with the butterfly suplex. Cover, TWO! Coffey keeps his cool while Tucker flounders.
Coffey brings Tucker up for body shots, then a clubbing forearm. He keeps going but Tucker dodges to chop and throw his own hands. Coffey turns it around and throws more hands. He gives a stiff EuroUpper, then powers him all the way to the other corner. Fans rally for Coffey, and he soaks it in. Coffey brings Tucker up, wrenches the arm and brings Tucker to the mat. He puts on pressure, then wraps it around for a cobra clutch. Tucker endures, but it becomes a straitjacket now. Coffey bends Tucker back but fans rally and Tucker pries his way out. Tucker tries to put the straitjacket on Coffey, but Coffey spins through to put it back on Tucker. Coffey rams his knee in and Tucker sits down. Coffey adds pressure but Tucker is up again, only for Coffey to shoulder him down, and even stomp him.
Tucker springs up to mule kick, front kick and chop. Tucker runs, but into a bearhug. Coffey powers Tucker to ropes and then tees off with body shots. Coffey snapmares and drops a knee on the back. Cover, ONE! And Coffey is rather amused. Fans rally and Coffey brings Tucker up in a chinlock. Tucker pries his way out, then snapmares Coffey. Things speed up, and Tucker throws Coffey with a headscissors! Tucker runs in but is put on the apron. He forearms Coffey back, then steps in for the complete shot! Cover, but they’re too close to the ropes. Tucker adjusts and covers, TWO.
Fans rally up for both men, and Tucker climbs up high. Tucker swantons, but onto knees! Coffey runs in, and a big dropkick sends Tucker into the corner. Coffey runs again, but Tucker gets up and follows. Tucker dodges Coffey, Coffey blocks the kick and flips Tucker. Tucker lands on his feet, only to get the Black Coffey discus lariat!
Cover, Coffey wins!
Winner: Joe Coffey, by pinfall; advances to the second round
History repeats for Tucker, but again, he lost to the eventual champion. Does that mean the same will happen for The Iron King? Or will Big Bad Dave Mastiff have something to say about that in the quarterfinals?
A pretty solid opening round for the tournament, with all the matches being pretty good at roughly 10 minutes each. The best overall story probably comes from Gulak VS Gallagher, given their interactions on 205 Live. Once Gallagher returns to 205 Live this Tuesday, I doubt they’ll give much more acknowledgement to what happened between him and Gulak than a few words. Then their story with THE Brian Kendrick against Lucha House Party will resume as planned.
At this point in time, the front-runners for tournament winner would have to be Coffey, Banks and perhaps Devlin. Coffey has been pretty big in the UK scene, with not just the Scottish Heavyweight Championship but two reigns with the ICW WHC. Banks is the current Progress World Champion, and his style is stiff but swift like Dunne’s. Devlin works because of the chip on his shoulder with being Balor’s trainee and it’d be a strange obnoxious underdog story where he validates his ego with all these wins. Now whether even those three could defeat Dunne, that is still up in the air.
My Score: 8.5/10
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.10 ~16TH NOVEMBER 2018
Another wonderfully in depth recap of this week in Pro Wrestling NOAH. How is the Global League going? Let’s see what else has been going on in NOAH.
CURRENT TOUR RECAP
NOAH were in Hiroshima on the 12th November; Hiroshima is a city of mixed emotion for NOAH, for some it is home, but for the promotion as a whole it has sad associations, as Mitsuharu Misawa died there in 2009.
Hitoshi Kumano, (a local bear), took charge of fundraising for the Heavy Rain Fund (Hiroshima was hit badly earlier in the year by floods, and the mascot got yelled at by Mitsuya Nagai). Nagai was wound up by Naomichi Marufuji as well, who held the ropes open for him, a tactic which served to wind Kenoh up too. It was also the event where Kotaro Suzuki got his win over HAYATA, and sat on the ropes holding the belt up to both Daisuke Harada and HAYATA. Kotaro Suzuki later said that HAYATA bought out his trump card in the previous match (“the Headache”), and so he bought out his too, and that he would be no match for him with his own number of various maneuvers which he would bring out in the title match. They had their final match before the championship match on the 17th in Osaka, and they will both go into the match with one victory each over the other in the build up for the challenge.
Fan support is very much on the side of HAYATA (who is not NOAH born unlike Suzuki who is seen as an outsider, despite being NOAH born) to bring the championship home.
Mitsuya Nagai clashed with Naomichi Marufuji, and was chopped to shreds. Marufuji said he looked like a “boiled octopus” afterwards. Katsuhiko Nakajima would dismiss Nagai as “small fish” on the 14th, but Nagai would break through the dark cloud on the 16th when he ended the winning streak of Kohei Sato.
Despite his fluke win and spazz out victory celebration against Takashi Sugiura, Kaito Kiyomiya suffered two defeats in a row; the first being against Atsushi Kotoge on the 14th and Cody Hall on the 16th. Kotoge, however, has been on a roll and defeated Go Shiozaki on the 16th.
In a rare moment on the 14th, Masa Kitamiya and Kenoh shook hands. Kitamiya said that he did it to acknowledge that he and Kenoh (who lost to him) had practically fought to the death for the win, and that he didn’t trust wrestlers who had no ambition. Speaking of Kenoh, during the huge tag on the 16th November, his victory over
Marufuji seemingly wasn’t enough, and he decided to get his face again.
Marufuji (now with both shoulders needing athletic support) just looked tired and like he’d had enough.
The show on the 16th November was a shift in the league; Kohei Sato, Kazusada Higuchi and Go Shiozaki had their perfect records beaten by Mitsuya Nagai, Mohammed Yone and Atsushi Kotoge, and Nakajima avenged his loss against Quiet Storm in Global League 2017.
As Global League is beginning to heat up, everyone is talking about not letting anymore victories slip through their fingers, but of course, not all matches can go to a draw, and someone has to lose. There can only be two finalists, and ultimately one winner.
Full recap of Global League 2018 so far, can be found here.
Noah will be back on Saturday 17th November at the Edion Arena in Osaka, (gong sounds at 18.30).
THE EVOLUTION OF KENOH
The upcoming “Wrestlers Directory” 2018 (basically a guide to who is who, what, and where in 2018) was previewed and Naomichi Marufuji and Kenoh were profiled with their changing looks over the years.
Kenoh made the following comments about his entry:
- His 2009 picture is ugly
- Like all trainees, he debuted with a shaved head. Says he didn’t used to cut it, and its awkward to look at it, says he didn’t think he had any money to cut it.
- It doesn’t really translate well, but Kenoh says he cut his hair in 2012 because it had been long for long enough. In another rough translation he says that he looks like a child of badboy parents, who has been forced to pose.
- Kenoh said about his expression that it doesn’t change, because in his every day life, he does not laugh a lot.
- In 2015, Kenoh says that “I admired him and went blonde, but I can no longer say I have the aspiration to be like him” (he is talking about Morishima, who very sadly, has let a lot of people down, including Kenoh).
YOSHIKI INAMURA ADDED TO THE NOAH ROSTER PAGE
At the moment there is not too much information on him apart from his birthday (November 18th 1992), his height and weight, blood type and birthplace (Otawara City in Tochigi Prefecture), date of debut and finisher. His finisher isn’t anything special at the moment, and doesn’t have a special name, being listed only as a “tackle”.
He doesn’t have a Twitter account yet.
CHRISTMAS AT MUSCLE GRILL
Naomichi Marufuji’s current restaurant MUSCLE GRILL in Tokyo will be having a Christmas party on the 22nd December. Naomichi Marufuji, Hi69, Tadasuke, Atsushi Kotoge and Junta Miyawaki will be attending, but obviously this depends on whether or not they manage to stay injury free.
Event is now full.
HAJIME OHARA IN CHINA
Hajime Ohara has missed some Noah dates as he is training the Eastern Hero Athletes in Shanghai, and also when they visit the Noah dojo in Saitama. Ohara is known to be a very strict trainer with a lot of emphasis on health and well-being, which goes further than working out as he is a big advocate for healthy eating and avoiding alcohol (although he does seem to have a weakness for cake); he has banned smoking during training sessions, forbidding his students to smoke while on breaks.
NOAH IN 2019
Noah have announced the dates for “Navigation for The Future 2019”. The tour will run from January 6th to Friday, February 1st. They have also announced their (provisional) Korakuen Hall schedule for 2019.
TAKESHI MORISHIMA UPDATE
There has been no real news following Morishima’s arrest earlier in the month, but further sad details have come to light about his behavior prior to the arrest and his living circumstances.
Morishima it seems was (and is) homeless and without any form of income, and was begging for drinks, even using the tactic of asking to drink with the bar staff as it meant he would be given free drinks.
The management company who were sponsoring his return had originally put him up in an apartment, which they paid the rent for. The deal was that Morishima would concentrate on his return, however, Morishima didn’t do this, and preferred alcohol to training. The President of the company, seeing that Morishima wasn’t giving anything in return despite repeated requests for him to change his ways, eventually lost his patience and told Morishima to pack up and leave.
Morishima, seemingly unconcerned about this, told him flippantly that he was drinking in Shinjuku, and if he wanted the keys, he should come and get them.
GHC BELT NEWS
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
- GHC Junior Champion: Kotaro Suzuki
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69
The winner of Global League 2018 will earn the right to challenge Takashi Sugiura for the GHC Heavyweight title, if he himself wins, Sugiura says that he will nominate Masato Tanaka as his challenger.
Kotaro Suzuki will defend the GHC Junior Heavyweight title against HAYATA on the 17th November at Edion Arena, Osaka.
The GHC Heavyweight Tag titles have not had a challenger as of yet, and probably won’t until after Global League wraps up. Mitsuya Nagai has hinted that he may challenge, but Saito said that he will not be granted a title shot. Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he was going to challenge after the Global League match with Saito, and said cryptically, he was “in the mood for shopping” (i.e., shopping around to see what deal is best).
The GHC Junior Tag Championship will be challenged for by Koji Kanemoto and Hiroshi Yamato on the 25th November at Korakuen Hall. Seiya Morohashi has also challenged for them, his partner at this time is as yet unknown, but it is thought it will either be TAMURA or Kouki Iwasaki.
- Atsushi Kotoge drinks “Revolutionary Coffee”
- Naomichi Marufuji sat on a wet bench wearing thin grey pants…
- There was a cat at the hotel in Ehime, much to YO-HEY’s delight
- Kaito Kiyomiya appears to be being fitted for tailored suits (long gone are the days of the oversize one thank god)
- Daisuke Harada celebrated his 32nd birthday on the 13th November (President Uchida did not even know it was his birthday!), and Yoshiki Inamura will celebrate his 26th birthday on November 18th, Takashi Sugiura bought him an early birthday cake and a small party was held at a restaurant Inamura had been taken out to by his seniors.
- Shu Nishinaga said Ally (the ring announcer) “whined like a child” for udon noodles.
- Naomichi Marufuji says he was disturbed by mosquitoes, in November, which woke him up at 2.30am
- Kenoh apparently went jogging in the Imperial Palace Gardens in Kyoto (a fan who saw him, thought he was a blonde delinquent fleeing the law before it was discovered it was Kenoh)
KING SHAMELESS CORNER
After weeks of silence. Takashi Sugiura is back, posting a picture of Masao Inoue holding an ice cream cone with white foam in it and labeling it “mood” and photographing erotic looking food.
I’ll leave it to your (and his) dirty imagination as to what exactly he meant by oysters being “erotic”…
The final night of Global League, 25th November, will be broadcast at 6pm on Saturday 8th December
The event on the 12th December, will be broadcast on the 15th December
The event on the 16th December, will be broadcast on the 22nd December
This is more than usual, and all seem to be going out on a weekly basis. This makes me wonder if the network are trying something out.
K-FORCE: music inspired by Katsuhiko Nakajima
ARTICLE: “Traces to Nowhere: the tragic story behind the Takeshi Morishima arrest”
News article on Takeshi Morishima’s drunken and chaotic life
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English translation of “Heir to the Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography) ~ work in progress
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Part 3!
NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling continues with an epic Triple Threat for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship! Can Kenny Omega defeat both Kota Ibushi AND Cody?
This coverage of King of Pro Wrestling will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found at http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody; Omega wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!
The Golden Lovers reunited and it feels so good. But Kenny Omega felt even better after finally becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! Omega promised his best friend a shot at the title. Omega and Kota Ibushi battled in the G1 Climax 28, and it would be the Golden Star who shined bright. However, The American Nightmare suggested something even more epic than just Golden Lover VS Golden Lover. Cody interjects himself into this match for a Triple Threat for the top title in NJPW. Will this match make the Golden Elite stronger? Or only serve to tear them apart all over again?
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody!
The Best Bout Machine, the Golden Star and the American Nightmare have all had their differences, but now they’re all on the same side. Or are they? Cody already has the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, on top of the NWA Worlds Championship and even a part in the ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championships. Perhaps Cody is just adding to his collection. Of course, he’ll have to get through both Golden Lovers to do it. Who will come out of this epic match as the best heavyweight in all of NJPW?
The three men make their entrances, the introductions are made and the belt is presented. Red Shoes does his check, and the match begins after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns as the three friends shake hands and hug to prove this is respectful. The bell rings and the three circle. They keep their eyes on each other, and Omega ties up with Cody first. Cody ties up with Ibushi at the same time, but he fights both Golden Lovers. Cody throws Ibushi out hard and focuses on Omega. He gets a headlock and Omega powers out. Cody runs Omega over, then things speed up. Cody slides under, kicks and drops for the uppercut. Omega bails out as Ibushi comes in. Ibushi and Cody tie up, and Cody gets a headlock. Ibushi powers out, Cody runs him over but Ibushi kips right up. Things speed up again and Ibushi dropkicks Cody down. Cody bails out and Ibushi builds up with the fans. Ibushi runs but Omega stands in his way.
The Golden Lovers talk but Cody goes after them both! Cody throws hands on Ibushi, then whips. Ibushi reverses and the Golden Lovers work together, roundhouse to Kotaro Krusher. Ibushi covers but Omega yanks him off. Omega covers but Ibushi yanks him off. Omega apologizes and says “Dozo (go ahead)”. Ibushi covers, TWO! Omega knew that would happen. He and Ibushi stand up but Cody knocks them into each other! Cody suplexes Omega and tosses him! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up while Cody fetches Ibushi on the outside. Cody suplexes Ibushi for the gordbuster! Cody goes back to Omega in the ring but Omega throws body shots. Omega runs but into the kitchen sink knee! Cody covers, ONE! Cody goes back to Ibushi, and suplexes Ibushi. Ibushi slips out and fires forearms. Ibushi whips Cody into railing, then runs in, only to be tossed up and over!
Cody leaves Ibushi behind, but Omega is ready with a kick and haymakers. Omega backs Cody to a corner, then chops. Omega whips corner to corner but Cody reverses and back drops Omega. Cover, TWO! Cody keeps his cool while fans rally up. Ibushi stirs in among the chairs while Cody springboards at Omega. Omega ducks under then huricanranas Cody on the return! Cody bails out and Omega fires up. The Terminator Drums begin, and Omega builds speed, to FLY! Omega gets just enough of Cody, and then puts him back in the ring. Fans rally for everyone as Ibushi returns. The Golden Lovers work together again. Omega says Cody, “You Can’t Escape!” Rolling senton, Ibushi shooting star, Omega moonsault, but then Omega grabs Ibushi for an electric chair! Ibushi slips out, and is just disappointed in his friend.
Cody watches as Omega apologizes, but this time Ibushi is ready. Ibushi elbows Cody away, but then Omega kicks Ibushi low. Omega whips Ibushi but Ibushi reverses. Ibushi runs in, but Omega goes up and over. Omega runs at Cody but Cody goes up and over, to then get Omega in the spinning powerslam! Cody runs at Ibushi but Ibushi goes up and over to hit Cody with a powerslam! Then the moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, focusing on Ibushi. All three men slowly sit up, and Ibushi brings Cody up. Cody pokes Ibushi’s eyes, then kicks Omega. Cody wants to work together with Omega, “We’re friends, too!” Omega admits that’s true, and they double suplex Ibushi. But then Cody rolls Omega up, TWO! Omega gets mad and the two start shoving. Then they start brawling! Cody SUPERKICKS, but runs into a chop!
Omega wants a snap dragon but Cody breaks free. Cody trips Omega and puts on a Figure Four! Omega slaps Cody, so Cody punches back. It’s a brawl inside the Figure Four, but Cody gets an edge. Omega gives it back, but here comes Ibushi! He kicks Omega, but Omega makes it an ankle lock! The submissions are linked, but Ibushi gets free. Ibushi then kicks Cody. He kicks at Omega, Omega ducks but Ibushi moonsaults! Cover, Cody breaks it while breaking his lock. The three men are still very even while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Ibushi is the first to stand. Cody is next so Ibushi goes after him. Ibushi whips Cody corner to corner but Cody goes up and over to roll up. Ibushi rolls through, misses the kick but moonsaults, onto knees! But then Cody walks into a Snap Dragon Suplex! OMega brings Ibushi up, Aoi Shoudou! Cody comes back but misses the Beautiful Disaster. Omega gives Cody another Snap Dragon, then he takes aim. BANG, Omega runs, but Ibushi intercepts with a missile dropkick! Cody hits Ibushi with one of his own, then he drags Ibushi up. Cody gives Ibushi an arm wrench and DDT, covers, TWO! Fans rally up again but Cody keeps his cool. Cody shows off his stamina by doing push-ups and flexing. He then drags Ibushi up again and clubs away on the arm.
Cody whips but Ibushi counters. Cody dodges to DIVE onto Omega! But then Ibushi runs, Golden Triangle stopped by Cody’s clubbing forearm. Cody drags Ibushi out, but Omega stops the Cross Rhodes. Cody shoves Omega away, then goes back to Ibushi. Ibushi kicks Cody away, Omega grabs Cody to powerbomb through the announce desk! Cody writhes amid the wreckage, but Ibushi jumps on Omega with a corkscrew moonsault! All three men are down on the outside! Ibushi is up first and he brings Omega up with him. Cody crawls out of the wreckage but Ibushi puts Omega in the ring. Ibushi takes aim, but he sees his friend can barely stand. He ditches the springboard, to look Omega in the eyes. Ibushi dares Omega to bring it on, and Omega fires himself up. The Golden Lovers tie up!
They break, they tie up again, then it’s a brawl of forearms! Omega hits, Ibushi hits, repeat. Omega staggers a bit but he still hits back. Ibushi staggers a bit but he hits back. Omega boots back, and Ibushi takes a moment to wipe his mouth. Ibushi boots, and Omega boots back. Ibushi boots again, and Omega checks his ear. Omega runs in but gets a boot, then a strike fest! Ibushi kicks but Omega blocks to CHOP. Omega then hits a Snap Dragon! Ibushi sits up but Omega is on him. BANG, but Ibushi is ready, only for Omega to kick away his clothesline. Omega wants another Kotaro Krusher but Ibushi slips out the back. Ibushi wants a German Suplex but Omega lands on his feet! V-Trigger blocked, but it comes back!
Ibushi still swings on Omega but Omega dodges. Ibushi dodges back, only to run into another V-Trigger! POISON-RANA! But Ibushi pops right up! To CLOBBER Omega! Both Golden Lovers are down, sore and dazed. Cody has returned to the apron while The Young Bucks can only watch on with intense focus. Ibushi stirs, and fans rally up. He says he’ll end it, and he climbs up top. Cody comes over to shove Ibushi down! Cody climbs up now but has to kick Omega away. Omega staggers, Cody hops, and hits a Destroyer! Cover, TWO!! Omega survives, and now Cody grows frustrated. Cody stands again, and waits for Omega to stand. Omega does, and Cody wants Dinn’s Fire. Omega slips out of it, heel kick tot he back of Cody’s head! Cody slumps in a corner, and Omega runs in, V-Trigger to the back!
Cody is hurting but Omega doesn’t stop. Omega hauls Cody up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Omega wants a full nelson, but Ibushi can be seen crawling in. Cody resists and fights back, but Omega clubs him back. Ibushi gets in and creeps over. Cody sends Omega down, but Ibushi’s right up! Omega pulls Ibushi down, climbs up, but Ibushi kicks Omega in the back! Ibushi drags Omega up, scoops, and goes to lawn dart, but Omega slips out. Omega kicks, powerbomb lift, and buckle bumps him into Cody’s back! Cody ends up in a Tree of Woe now, as Omega gives Ibushi a Death Valley Driver! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives, but Cody’s still stuck. Omega says BANG, and gives Ibushi a V-Trigger. Then electric chair, but Ibushi slips out to inverted suplex, Lawn Dart into Cody! Everyone’s down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again as the three men finally stir. Cody gets to the apron while Ibushi stands. Ibushi goes after Cody, wanting to German Suplex him back in. Omega sees this, hops up the other side, to then springboard to add a powerbomb to Ibushi’s German Suplex! Omega gets up while the other two are down, and he has two targets now. Fans rally up as he double guns, double BANG! He goes for Ibushi first, V-Trigger hits! Then to Cody, V-Trigger hits! Omega keeps on Cody with the electric chair, but Cody spins around and out, and he powerbomb lifts Omega. Cody throws Omega, and Ibushi uses that for his German Suplex! That’s usually a Golden Lovers move! Ibushi covers, but Cody breaks. Omega rolls away while Cody keeps on Ibushi with right hands. Cody then hits Omega with the Beautiful Disaster!
Cody fires up, and he goes outside to search under the ring. He doesn’t find what he wants on that end, though. He goes around the other side, and he finds a table! Cody brings it out and sets it up, but Omega has come after him. Omega clubs Cody but Cody bounces him off the wood. Cody goes back to Ibushi in the ring, and brings Ibushi up. He clubs away on Ibushi, and prepares a powerbomb. Ibushi resists, so Cody clubs him more. Cody gets Ibushi up for a Canadian rack, but Ibushi slips out. Omega returns to springboard, but Cody shoves him down! Omega falls through the table! At least it broke…
As for Cody, he just grins. He goes to a corner and climbs up. Cody aims at Ibushi, but Ibushi stops him with a forearm. Ibushi climbs up and has fans on his side. Ibushi hits the SUPERPLEX! But small cradle from Cody! TWO, and Cody springboards, only to get Ibushi’s kick! Ibushi brings Cody up, powerbomb lift, Golden Star sit-out! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his focus, but now Omega emerges from the wreckage. Cody resists as Ibushi brings up his wrists, then he dodges Kamigoye! Cody reels Ibushi in, but ends up in a straitjacket suplex! Bridging cover, but Cody keeps one shoulder off. Ibushi rolls around and brings Cody up, Kamigoye!! Cover, but Omega blocks Red Shoes’ hand! Omega keeps this match going, to Ibushi’s frustration. Omega tries to reason with him, but Ibushi just tunes him out. And then chops him!
Ibushi fires off palm strikes from all sides, so Omega has no choice but to hit back. Cody returns, but his chop doesn’t bother Ibushi at all. Ibushi CHOPS Cody and he’s down and out again! Omega fires off on Ibushi, but Ibushi just needs one strike to get back. They go back and forth with those palm strikes, but Ibushi kicks. Omega grabs the other leg, but Ibushi brings Omega around for a mount. Ibushi makes it a cover but Omega keeps his shoulders up. So Ibushi just starts the ground ‘n’ pound! Omega does his best to cover up but Ibushi finds openings. Omega hits back but Ibushi keeps hitting harder. Now Ibushi uses closed fists, Red Shoes reprimands that. Ibushi keeps going but Red Shoes brings Ibushi away. Red Shoes tries to talk sense into Ibushi, but Ibushi just gives Omega a knee! Ibushi covers, TWO!!
Omega survives, and Ibushi grows frustrated. Ibushi drags Omega up, but Cody drags Ibushi out! Cody goes after Omega now, Cross Rhodes! Cover, TWO as Cody gets out the way of those flying double stomps! Ibushi crushes Omega, and Cody throws Ibushi out. Cody goes back to Omega, waiting for him to stand. Omega does, Cody hits another Cross Rhodes!! Cover, TWO?! Omega survives by some sheer force of will! Ibushi slowly return, but Cody stands first. Cody kicks Ibushi down, then drags him up and in. Cody lifts Ibushi, and hits Dinn’s Fire!! Cover, but Omega breaks it just in time! Cody’s infuriated now, and he decides to “borrow” a chair! He realizes what he’s doing, and drops the chair. Fans applaud that, but then Omega decides to use his IWGP US title belt! But then he reconsiders it again.
Cody tosses the belt to Nick Jackson, and picks up the chair again! He brings the chair in and aims at Ibushi, but Omega shields his friend. Cody stomps Omega instead, and prepares the chair! Ibushi grabs it and takes it away. Then he roundhouses Cody down! Omega gives Ibushi a POISON-RANA! And the Butterfly Wings!! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi survives and flounders about, but Omega reloads. BANG, V-Trigger! Electric chair lift, ONE-WINGED ANGEL!! Cover, Cody is too late, Omega wins!!
Winner: Kenny Omega, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion
Omega apologizes profusely to his friend he did the most damage to. The Best Bout Machine still has his belt, but what of his best friends? We’ll see after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns…
Matt & Nick Jackson help check on Ibushi. Omega signals for water while ice packs are brought in. Matt fetches the water and helps refresh Ibushi. Omega holds Ibushi’s hand, in hopes Ibushi is okay. Ibushi finally stirs, which is a huge relief to Omega. Cody helps Omega bring Ibushi up slowly and carefully. Omega also signals for the mic. He receives the mic and his belt, and Red Shoes raises his hand to make the victory official. Cody leaves the ring for the moment while Omega speaks. “Just a moment. I’ll wait until Ibushi can stand up.” Fans applaud such honor, respect and compassion from the champion. Omega tells Cody that he should be in here, too. They’re all a team, so stand with them.
Cody, though reluctant, knows Omega won’t “talk on the mic until all the Elite members can stand together,” so he joins them again. “Okay, Ibushi, whenever you’re ready, we’ll stand up and close it out.” Ibushi sits up, and Omega takes that to mean he’s good. “Everyone, let’s all stand, not as the Bullet Club, but as The Elite.” Was this the first time the fans here have seen a triple threat? Perhaps for some. Well he won’t ask individually, but did they like it? Were they entertained? Yes, they were. It is thanks to the fans that this match became a reality. And thanks to NJPW, for that matter.
Of course, any other organization could try, but they can’t do it like them, in Elite Style. So he again expresses his appreciation. And finally, the Tokyo Dome main event is set, huh? There’ll be a press conference soon enough, so there isn’t much else to say. Therefore, “I must bid you adieu.” Omega hugs Ibushi, who now stands on his feet. Omega hugs Cody, because he also loves Cody and his dog. And of course, Omega hugs the Bucks, he loves them, too. And not to forget the Elite who aren’t here, he loves them, too. So good bye, and good night- Wait, Hiroshi Tanahashi is here?! The Ace and his Wrestle Kingdom 13 contract now stand ringside. Tanahashi joins Omega in the ring.
Omega tells Tanahashi, “we’re both pretty tired. So if you have something to say, this is your chance.” Omega hands Tanahashi the mic as fans chant “Go Ace!” Tanahashi tells Omega, “Kenny-kun, I’m angry.” About what? “Everyone was clapping, but don’t forget this is NJPW.” Guess he’ll be the one to tell Kenny, “your time is up.” This will be settled at the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi drops the mic but Omega picks it up. Omega is sure that the Tokyo Dome would chant “Go Ace”, but this is still Ryogoku. And here, it’s good bye and good night, BANG! Omega shrugs off Tanahashi’s cryptic ultimatum, but will he be able to shrug off Tanahashi’s wrestling? Or is Tanahashi predicting an end to start the New Year?
Cody notes that last year, Cody surprised Ibushi with a challenge for the Dome. No one likes to lose, but Cody swallowed his pride for friendship. It still leaves a bad taste, but Cody is excited for the future. You’re not supposed to make friends in wrestling, but here they are. Is Ibushi okay? Yeah, just sore. They’ll get him ice. Ibushi shakes Cody’s hand then the Bucks’. The Elite will support their leader. “Then after that, buckle up.” No one in the Elite knows what the future holds, but they know they’ll face it together. Omega has his match for Wrestle Kingdom, but where will the rest of The Elite end up?
An incredible hour for NJPW and AXS, and it’s great that it was just the Triple Threat. There is so much of wrestling today where The Bullet Club’s Elite are the center of it, from what stories they all have in NJPW and ROH to who WWE eagerly wants to have for themselves. It was very fitting for Cody after all the action to say that 2019 could be a wild ride that still isn’t 100% certain, and we’re seeing that now in real-time with talks of all the contracts for The Elite. Whatever this insanely over collection of wrestlers chooses, I know their fans will follow, regardless of reaction.
As for the match in question tonight, it truly was epic. This probably gives whatever was the best triple threat ever a run for its money. It went the distance of 43 minutes, and it made everything count. The Golden Lovers working together, Cody using them against each other physically, and then eventually Omega and Ibushi having no choice but to fight each other, just brilliant stuff. And what makes it all even better is that at the end of the match, they’re all still friends. They remember the point of the match, they understand each other’s positions, and they know to stick together because they’re stronger together. Omega wins and now Omega VS Tanahashi is pretty much finalized. If Tanahashi ends up winning, then his line tonight will be true because it likely means Omega is going elsewhere. Only time will tell.
My Score: 8.8/10
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