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Andrew’s G1 Climax 28 A Block Ratings & Review: Day 1

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So, much like you may have noticed, Mathew Sarpraicone and I like to split up tournaments so it’s not such an arduous undertaking. So for B Block days, make sure to keep an eye out for his articles.

Now, as with all tournaments, part of the fun is picking winners. Right? So if all of my fantasy booking works out, the Finals will be Hiroshi Tanahashi from A Block and Kota Ibushi from B Block. Now, yes I’m aware of the fact that the winner usually comes from the block opposite of the current IWGP Champion, but that trend has to break at some point.  So I’m picking Kota Ibushi to win the whole thing, so we can have the Golden Lover showdown at Wrestle Kingdom.

So with the pick out of the way, let’s get to today’s matches.

 

Togi Makabe vs Yoshi-Hashi

Yoshi has been mostly unimpressive and even disappointing the last few years. Managing only 2 wins last year, another bad run could mean he gets removed from next year’s tournament. As for Makabe, most people think he’s hitting that “old veteran” wall, and last year saw him struggle early before rattling off 3 wins in a row, ending with a respectable 4 wins. So with Makabe not having many G1s left because of age, and Yoshi looking at the chopping block because of failure…this match means quite a bit to both competitors.

The match starts off with both men just throwing forearm shots, as Makabe ducks a lariat and drives Yoshi to the ground with a Shoulder Tackle. From there we see a lot of back and forth from both men. Makabe with some big strikes and Yoshi-Hashi continuing to try and find his spot. Makabe goes to the top turnbuckle for his Spider German Suplex, but Yoshi-Hashi counters it and hits a running Sitout Powerbomb to turn the tide.

From there we see a few attempts at the Butterfly Lock and even a top rope Blockbuster from Yoshi-Hashi, still can’t put away Makabe. After popping up right after a German Suplex, Yoshi charges at Makabe only to get lariated into next week. Makabe then places him on the top rope again, hits the Spider German Suplex, into the King Kong Knee Drop, for the 1-2-3.

So another loss for Yoshi-Hashi, but he did show a few glimpses of resilience, so there might be hope for him yet.

Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Bad Luck Fale vs Hangman Page

So this has weight thanks to the Tongans attacking the rest of the Bullet Club members and continuing the Civil War. Hangman is in his first G1, so there’s no past history to work off of and Fale has had 10 or more point the last 4 tournaments. So Fale usually having good luck in tournaments, coupled with the on going Bullet Club drama…makes you wonder how this one will play out.

Fale with an early cheap shot before Hangman gets in the ring, sends him careening into the barricade. After that we see a good bit of time outside, with Fale tossing Page into the barricade and multiple rows of seats. Eventually they get back into the ring, where Page shows some life.

What starts off as Fale dominating, gets turned around into a lot of impressive moments from Hangman. Tonga Loa comes out to distract, but Hangman fights him off and even lands his beautiful Moonsault onto both Fale and Loa. Following that up with his Buckshot Lariat, things begin looking like Page is on his way to a victory. But before he can really attempt the Rite of Passage, Tama Tanga hits the ring, throws the ref and all 3 beat down Hangman.

This causes the referee to have to DQ Fale, and give Page his first G1 victory…coupled with an ass kicking.

Winner: Hangman via DQ

Rating: ** 1/4

 

EVIL vs Michael Elgin

EVIL coming off the year that elevated his status thanks to his win over Okada last year. Elgin is an odd case where he puts up respectable numbers in his previous three G1s, but after having the shortest NEVER Openweight Title Reign this year and all his other personal drama, it’s really not easy to pinpoint his role in this years tournament. Both tend to do fairly well in the G1, the are 1-1 against each other, so the early momentum would be useful, and  a tie breaker.

This was a heavy striking affair. Elgin took an early advantage until he missed a lariat outside, which saw his lariat the ring post. After that, EVIL wrapped a chair around his arm and drove that into the post. Later in the match we see EVIL continue to work on the arm by driving the Elgin’s arm from the apron, across the barricade.

Elgin fought from underneath with the one arm for the better portion of the match, but that didn’t hurt any kind of suspense. He’d use the injured arm, regardless of pain, and they would trade lariats and power moves for a while.

As we got to the end, EVIL kept trying to go for Everything is Evil, but Mike counters repeatedly, even attempting his own finishers like the Burning Hammer, we see Elgin hit a big Gutwrench Splash Mountain into Elgin Bomb for the victory.

Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb

Rating: ****

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki

Neither of these men need an introduction honestly. Be it referencing their 2012 Match of the Year at King of Pro Wrestling, or even Suzuki torturing the Intercontinental Title off of Tanahashi earlier this year at New Beginning at Sapporo. We know what these two are about, and are always possible winners of any tournament they’re in. Should be fun to see who gets the early 2 points.

Well now, umm, this was a Suzuki clinic. Suzuki dominates this match with tons of strikes, Knee Bars, Achilles Lock, Heel Hooks, Figure Four Leg Locks, but Tanahashi lands an Inverted Dragonscrew Leg Whip, and that changes everything. Suzuki screams like his knee got dislocated or something, so a Sling Blade and two High Fly Flows give Tanahashi a win, when he spent most of the match screaming on his back.

Suzuki’s strategy made sense, and is exactly his type of thing. Torture before a quick victory. But I can’t help but feel it ended too abruptly and it was just odd to watch Tanahashi win out of nowhere.

Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada

So Jay White gets his first shot at Okada since returning from excursion and joining Chaos. Jay did say he wanted more inner stable matches, but given that neither have titles currently, this is just awkward. Okada sporting red hair and new awful music, and Jay White asking people where his belt is…I don’t even know what to think here. One will bounce back after big losses, but neither seems to be mentally complete at the moment.

Okada comes out with his balloons and looking relaxed to the point of goofiness, but does manage to take an early advantage. After some time on the outside, Jay White turns it around and starts banging Okada’s back off the barricade and apron. Plenty of entertaining spots in this match. Jay rips off the banner from the apron and tries to asphyxiate Okada, wait til 4, and then reattaches it as the crowd applauds that. Jay beats down Okada on the outside, Red Shoes starts counting, but Jay goes out there and throws Okada in the ring as the crowd applauds that also. So even though he’s doing obviously heelish things, they’re applauding when he does nice stuff as a show of respect, even if Jay is being disingenuous.

Even though this shell of Okada isn’t the same man that defended the IWGP title for 720, he gets a small fire under him when Jay starts toying with him. The Okada Dropkick, Macho Man Style Elbow Drop, Scooby Dooby Doo Crossbody and even a Rainmaker pose, but Jay manages to counter the Rainmaker the first few times.

We see Jay going to any lengths necessary to try and win the match, while verbally harassing Okada and messing with the crowd. Speaking of the crowd, they were oddly quiet through a lot of it. I’m not sure if they’re still trying to figure out new Okada or if they’re just not ready to openly support him after a year of cheering ever challenger he faced. Either way, the tense atmosphere, coupled with Jay’s insistence upon cheating to make it “his Chaos”, gave the match an odd feel.

Towards the end, Jay brings in a chair, pushes down Red Shoes and goes to hit Okada, but the Rainmaker Dropkicks the chair into Jay’s face and looks to be on track to winning the match. Red Shoes gets up, Okada winds up Jay for the Rainmaker, but Jay backfists Red Shoes before eating the Rainmaker. So even though the ref could’ve counted to 12, White’s tactics paid off. Kazuchika goes to pick him for another move, Jay hits a low blow, followed by throwing the chair into Okada’s face and finally, Blade Runner ends the match as the referee comes to.

So it told a good story of Okada still not being himself, and Jay White finding a character that will go to any lengths to win all while claiming everything is his.

Winner: Jay White via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

A Block Standings:

Togi Makabe: 1-0 (2 Points)

Jay White: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hangman Page: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-0 (2 Points)

Michael Elgin: 1-0 (2 Points)

Kazuchika Okada: 0-1 ( 0 Points)

EVIL: 0-1 (0 Points)

Yoshi-Hashi: 0-1 (0 Points)

Minoru Suzuki: 0-1 (0 Points)

Bad Luck Fale: 0-1 (0 Points)

 

Thoughts:

Good first night, solid matches, a lot of storyline movement and even the big upset from Jay White. What’s going to become of Chaos after this tournament? Is Broken Okada gonna snap out of it? Do the Tongans care about winning, or just beating the hell out of the rest of the Bullet Club?

Only one way to find out. Story seems to be driving this G1 besides the prospect of high quality matches, and I’m not mad at all.


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Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix Preview

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You liked how I and Andrew covered the Champion Carnival, King of Gate, and the G1 Climax? Well, guess what? We’re teaming up once again and this time we’ll be covering Stardom’s tournament, the Five Star Grand Prix!

This year marks the seventh annual tournament and just like the other ones we cover, the winner will be getting the World Championship match against the current champion, Kagetsu. In 2012, Yuzuki Aikawa defeated Kyoko Kimura to win the first Grand Prix and other people have won it such as Nanae Takahashi, Io Shirai, Kairi Sane (Hojo), Yoko Bito, and Toni Storm who won it last year and won the title due to Mayu being injured during the match.

The rules are pretty much similar to the other tournaments, but we’ll still go down the list for those that don’t know.

  •  There is a fifteen-minute time limit
  •  A win equals two points
  •  A loss gives you no points
  •  A draw will give both competitors one point

Instead of just calling them A and B Block, they just call the blocks Red Star and Blue Star just to fit with the theme of the promotion with stars. Andrew will be covering the Red Star and I’ll be covering the Blue Star. Down below are the list of participants and we’ll be picking our top three winners from our respective blocks.

 

Red Star:

Kagetsu (World of Stardom Champion)
Jungle Kyona (Artist (Trios) of Stardom Champion)
Tam Nakano
Konami
Natsuko Tora (Artist (Trios) of Stardom Champion)
Utami Hayashishita
Rachel Ellering
Kimber Lee

Blue Star:

Mayu Iwatani (Goddess of Stardom Champion)
Momo Watanabe (Wonder of Stardom Champion)
Saki Kashima (Goddess of Stardom Champion)
Hazuki
Natsu Sumire
Kelly Klein
Nicole Savoy (SHIMMER Champion)
Jamie Hayter (Rev Pro Women’s Champion)

 

Blue Star Predictions:

3. Kelly Klein

– It’s no secret that the Stardom President, Rossy Ogawa is a big fan of bringing Gaijins in his promotion and likes to push them quite a lot and unfortunately, we lost quite a few good ones like Toni Storm and Deonna Purrazzo, and now it just felt like the company was given the scraps for the regular tours. However, we got quite the solid line up of talented female wrestlers from around the world and Kelly Klein is no stranger to the company as she won their Goddesses of Stardom Tag League with Bea Priestly last year, so this could be a good time to elevate her to that next step. It may be unlikely, but again, Rossy loves to push the Gaijins in Stardom and feels like Kelly could fit the bill unless they want one of the champions from the other companies like Nicole Savoy and Jamie Hayter to get the win, but feels like that might be predictable.

 

2. Hazuki

– This one seems very unlikely, but I feel like she could be a dark horse of the Blue Star Block if they really wanna go with the Oedo Tai vs. Oedo Tai route for her against Kagetsu. Hazuki has made some dramatic changes ever since she got drafted from Queen’s Quest to Oedo Tai and just changed her look, her style, and just her outlook while showing great character progression. She recently came off a big loss from Momo Watanabe for the Wonder of Stardom Championship, but she has a second chance at her due to them being on the same block and hopes to beat her there this time. If she does somehow win the tournament, I wonder how Kagetsu will take it, will she be accepting of it like how Naito is and fight to strengthen their bonds or will Hazuki betray the faction that took her in and treated her like one of their own.

 

1. Mayu Iwatani

– This one is more of favoritism than anything since it does feel like the more obvious choices to win the tournaments have actually lost them near the end. She recently fought Kagetsu for the World of Stardom Championship on August 12th and she once again failed to capture the red belt, so they could either do this as a redemption story for her to win it this time around or to help build someone else up to delay her chase for the title. Both seem very well likely scenario’s as she has been building herself up since her return almost a year ago to reclaim the belt she never fully lost and this might be the time to cash in on it.

 

Red Star Predictions (Andrew coming in with the Edit Powers):

3. Tam Nakano

– This one is purely personal preference. She’s only been professionally wrestling for 2 years, but her character work makes her cute and she’s been gradually getting better. She seems to be developing some chemistry with Starlight Kid and a few others, as well as picking up a few wins since he Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. She even won the mini Dream Come True tournament that Stardom and RISE held. She’s a long shot definitely, but I’m curious to see how hard they push her.

 

2. Kagetsu

– It’s hard to think the champion will have a bad showing. Now I’m aware this tournament doesn’t have the same history as the G1 or Champion Carnival, but I’m still not sold on a champion winning the tournament. There’s always a chance, and Kagetsu has been being billed well since Io Shirai left, even avenging her Tag Title loss by successfully defending against Mayu Iwatani. Plus she’s the Prime Minister, so most champions can’t say that…maybe that will make her special.

 

1.  Konami

– Up, up, down, down, left, right – wait…what? Konami code makes all things easier, so she’s gotta be good right? Well I mean, she is a technical wrestler and part of Queen’s Quest. So being that she’s up and coming, as well as having a connection to Io, that could be what’s necessary to give her the rub. Another notable point for Konami is her being trained by Kana (WWE Asuka). So since Stardom needs to reestablish their main event, Konami could be a good catalyst.

As you know, my block record has been pretty bad since even though I got most of the actual winners right in these, they would come from Andrew’s Blocks, making me 0-3 on my blocks winning the whole thing, but I kinda feel lucky on this one…hopefully. Anyway, here are both me and Andrew’s predictions for block winners and final winner.

To be totally fair, Mathew is the King of Joshi around here, so if my block wins, that’s just plain dumb luck. – Andrew

 

Mathew’s pick: Mayu Iwatani vs. Konami Winner: Mayu Iwatani

Andrew’s pick: Kelly Klein vs Konami  Winner: Konami

 

If you wanna check out the tournament, it starts on August 18th and it ends September 24th and subscribe to Stardom at http://www.stardom-world.com/ and subscription is really cheap since it’s only 6.50 a month and even has English subtitles for their promos so it would be easier for you to follow.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that it’s not like the other streaming services where they would upload the whole show once it’s over and likes to do it in loops meaning the full show wouldn’t fully be loaded between a week or two after it happened. But we do promise that once we have enough content to write our articles in parts, we’ll have it to you ASAP. I hope you do check us out on this one and we feel like it’s a good idea to showcase the women for this tournament due to them deserving more exposure, especially around the time of the Mae Young Classic and WWE Evolution happening right around the corner from it.

Hope you all enjoy it as we do this next journey together!


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AJPW Summer Action Series Results & Review (7/29/2018)

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Now that the G1 Climax is over and done with, time to return to the promotions that I cover as we return to All Japan Pro Wrestling.

I believe the last time I covered them was when Kento Miyahara retained the title against Dylan James and Zeus would become the next challenger for the Triple Crown Championship, and luckily for you that this is the show we’ll be looking at today. I just realized that I still don’t have a rating system yet and after talking to Andrew, figured out which one I could do that doesn’t involve stars or those snowflakes. I am going to be ranking them by regular wrestling podcast people or whoever Conrad Thompson partnered with also, and each person will be a ‘star’, here is who will be who.

5 Stars: Jim Cornette
4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
1 Star: Vince Russo
0 Stars: Dave Meltzer

Anyway, why don’t we just…dive right in?

 

Eight Man Tag Team Match
Atsushi Maruyama, Shoichi Uchida, Takao Omori & TORU vs. Carbell Ito, Hiroaki Moriya, Ultimo Dragon & Yoshitatsu

Review: Our opening bout appears to be a regular old exhibition tag match with some people thrown together as we got Yoshitatsu and Ultimo Dragon in a team and we got Shoichi Uchida from DOVE making an appearance here tonight as well. I also loved how Carbell Ito was the only one that came out to music and it also appears that the wrestlers are giving out bags of snacks to the audience, that’s nice of them actually.

Nothing really special to write about it since it was as basic as you can get with this match and what they do with all eight of these men getting an equal amount of time with the ten minutes or so they did together. Think Atsushi had more time out of the rest and had some pretty decent offense in with Yoshitatsu and hit a pretty neat Full Nelson Slam onto him. Yoshitatsu picked up the win by hitting the Codebreaker of Jericho on Atsushi…I still can’t believe he still calls it that. God damnit, Yoshi…

Rating: Tony Schiavone

Eight Man Tag Team Match
Atsushi Aoki, Hikaru Sato, Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker vs. Black Tiger, Koji Iwamoto, TAJIRI & Yohei Nakajima

Review: Up next, we got another eight-man tag match and this is involving people who are involved in the Junior Tag Battle of Glory tournament and we got some nice surprises here like Masaaki Mochizuki and Shun Skywalker from Dragon Gate being apart of this match to hype up the league due to them being apart of it. I’ve been very critical of the junior division in All Japan since it’s the weakest division in the company right now and I’m hoping it could shed some light on potential contenders for Atsushi Aoki since he has no challengers right now for his title.

Oh, snap, Shun rocking some new gear and not wearing that full body suit anymore, good because that was pretty ugly on him and like this new look much better. I don’t know what’s going on with Black Tiger abusing Yohei Nakajima like this since that’s his own partner, but I’m just gonna roll with it. Shun and Masaaki were the saving graces for this match just by how good they are and especially Shun from how far he’s come and felt like they would fit right in if Dragon Gate didn’t need them still. Still didn’t expect Massaki to be considered junior since he was Dragon Gate’s top champion a couple months ago and then again the majority of the Dragon Gate roster is pretty small like a junior heavyweight, so it makes sense. I wouldn’t mind some of Dragon Gate going over to help out the junior division since a lot of them fit that weight class and are incredibly athletic as well, can definitely shed some new life to that division.

Anyway, the match was slightly average except for Masaaki and Shun along with Tiger abusing his own partner. Koji would apply the Katagatame on Atsushi to make the champion tap out as Koji won it for his team. After the match, Koji Iwamoto claimed that he was going to win the Junior Tag League and once he does, he wants a match against him for the Junior Championship.

Rating: Eric Bischoff

 

Singles Match
Gianni Valletta vs. Joe Doering

Review: We got our first singles match for the night as former Triple Crown Champion, Joe Doering is set to take on Gianni Valletta who has been starting his tour here early on in July when TAJIRI brought him over to go for the Tag Team Championships which they also lost. I can’t wait to see how he does against the former champ. Can Gianni get a big win over Doering or will Joe squash him like the rest of his opponents?

I really felt like Joe wasn’t full trying in this match and it just came off incredibly slow and stale which threw the match off quite a bit in my opinion. Gianni is someone that is pretty average as well, but he did show some promise since he has a pretty good look and had signs of growth he could do since he’s only been wrestling for a few years. I wouldn’t say it was a complete squash match, but still had an average amount of time together in the ring with seven minutes as Gianni would try to use his heel tactics to grab his chain to try and hit Joe with it, but he was caught with a Diving Body Press and a Revolution Bomb to get another easy win for Joe Doering.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half.

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Billy Ken Kid, Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama vs. Dylan James, Jake Lee & Keiichi Sato

Review: We got our current World Tag Team Champions, The Violent Giants teaming up with Billy Ken Kid as they take on former Tag Champion, Dylan James and his partners, Keiichi Sato and future star, Jake Lee. Dylan looking to get a victory over the Violent Giants so he could get a rematch for those titles and maybe with a new partnership with one of his fellow teammates if they do somehow win tonight.

Dylan looks to be slowly finding his stride after his match with Kento Miyahara a couple of months ago and it’s a good thing to see this progression of his ability and if he keeps it up, he could be much better in the ring. This tag match was very solid with Violent Giants proving why they’re one of the best tag teams in Japan right now and the growth of Jake Lee, who I still considered the future of AJPW next to Kento Miyahara. Plenty of high impact between both of these teams with Shuji showing why he’s one of the best there, plus the interactions with him and Dylan weren’t too shabby either while Jake was mostly focused on Suwama and it feels like it could be a big seller if done right since you have Suwama who was the former ace of the company and a guy on the rise, so it would be a neat passing of the torch if they wanted to go that route.

Near the ending of the match, Shuji and Dylan were in the ring as Shuji hits Dylan with the Dragon Suplex and then a Running Knee while Suwama held Jake down with a Sleeper Hold to prevent him from interfering as Shuji hits the Fire Thunder to win the match. After the match, Yoshitatsu would come out to make a challenge to both Shuji and Suwama for the titles and said his partner would be Kento Miyahara again. For those that don’t know, Kento’s goal was to be Triple Crown Champion and Tag Team Champion at the same time to make it so he would be the first to hold five titles since the tag team is considered two per belt but he would always hold onto one or the other, not fulfilling his goal and wants to accomplish it soon.

Rating: Eric Bischoff

 

All Asia Heavyweight Title Match
Ryouji Sai (c) vs. The Bodyguard

Review: We get an All Asia Heavyweight Championship match with Ryouji Sai defending the title against The Bodyguard. The All Asia Heavyweight Championship has been inactive since 1995 and it came back in January of this year where Ryouji would defeat Bodyguard in the finals to win the title. In the Champion Carnival, Bodyguard scored a victory over him to set up this title match here due to them having a win over each other and would be time to settle it here. Can Bodyguard win the title or will Ryouji retain it once again?

What could I say about this match? Well, let’s start with the beginning and it started off really strong since it was mostly brute force with each other to try and beat each other down and it worked for Bodyguard when he kicked Ryouji to the outside and started mauling him down to the point where Ryouji looked like he was kinda knocked out for a bit there. This was where they started to tell more of their story with Ryouji being unable to get up most of the time, even when Bodyguard went for an Irish Whip and Sai just collapsed just from the beating he took.

After that the match starts falling apart, soon as Bodyguard would hit his first Spear the match would begin to get really slow and sloppy and it’s a shame too because I was actually really enjoying it. The Bodyguard would start to hit his power moves over to try and get the victory like his Elbow Drop off the top rope but Ryouji would start kicking out of it all. The Bodyguard went up to the top rope again only for Ryouji to get back up quick enough to hit a superplex for a two count. The Bodyguard would start to hit a second sloppy Spear for another two count and goes for his Bounce move and he completely messed that up big time to win the All Asia Heavyweight Championship.

I would’ve rated this a little bit higher if it wasn’t for the fact that the poorly paced and sloppy second half took away from the match. The Bodyguard is the new champion and got his revenge over Ryouji at the end of it all and I don’t know where this run is going to go but should be at least interesting. The Bodyguard is like Joe Doering, he can go when they show it and are highly motivated but it’s so far in between that there’s hardly any consistency with their quality of matches and it just hurts them.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half.

 

All Asia Tag Team Title Match
Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata (c) vs. Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi

Review: We first had the All Asia Heavyweight Championship match and now we got the All Asia Tag Team Championships on the line with a rematch from the June 12th show where Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata defend the titles against Naoya Nomura and Yuma Aoyagi. The last time they both fought, they had a great tag team match and they would be able to retain the titles, but NEXTREAM said they would want a rematch for the belts soon and we’re getting that tonight. Can they get that big win over these two legends or will they make lightning strike twice on them and still come out on top?

There is a small little story here between Yuma and Jun where Yuma was never able to pin him directly and would always come up short when they’re in the same ring together, but he is looking to change that today during the match and from the looks of it, he’s going to need a lot of luck. Jun and Yuji are just too tough for our two rookies here as they just have the power, the experience, and just better than them overall, but Naoya and Yuma have that determination to never give up and make sure they will win this time, and that story is what sells for this match since you know how important it is to them to prove themselves against some of Japan’s best in this match. I loved the interactions between Uncle Jun and Yuma since I mentioned just a while ago about how Yuma never defeated him and you can see the intensity in their interactions together and it’s mostly them in the match together to sell the story between the two much better. I loved their first bout together better since it showed great action and storytelling, but this was more focused on the story of the match and that part was told better here than the first match, but I would give the first match the better overall. Jun would go back and forth with Yuma with the knees and Jun catches him with an Exploding Suplex for Naoya to break it up before getting tossed out by Yuji, so Jun tries to do it again and he hits another Exploding Suplex but for him to kick out of it this time! Yuma is all fired up now and hits a knee on Jun to daze him as he hits the Rock Star Buster on him to go for the pin and we have new champions!

Yuma was finally able to get the direct win over Jun Akiyama in this match and just seeing them fight together gave me a little bit of doubt, but it was the right time for them to drop the belts to the younger generation. Congrats to NEXTREAM on winning the belts, they worked really hard and are only going to get better from here.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Triple Crown Title Match
Kento Miyahara (c) vs. Zeus

Review: It is now time for our main event with a highly anticipated match as we have Kento Miyahara defending his Triple Crown Championship against Zeus. Sometime in March before the Champion Carnival happened, Zeus would get the direct win over Kento and said he had plans on winning the Carnival and to take the championship, but Zeus would fail to win the tournament and had to wait a little bit to build himself back up until he was ready. In June after Kento retained against Dylan James, Zeus came back out to say he was now ready to fight him for the title since he still did have that clean win over him and wanted to get mentally prepared for this match. Can Zeus win the belt in his hometown of Osaka or will Kento knock him down once again?

Normally the crowd would mostly back up Kento but with the combination of being in Zeus’ hometown and how over he’s been with the fans lately, they were more supportive of him over Kento. The two start off a little bit explosive with some back and forth action with Zeus showing his strength and athletic ability while Kento just showed his intelligence in the ring to try and outmaneuver Zeus whenever he can. Zeus would hit a Diving Shoulder Tackle and then kips up and takes him outside to do a little bit more damage to him, but Kento would throw him over the guardrail and attempts a kick until Zeus caught his leg and slams it on the edge of the guardrail to hurt his leg a little bit.

Zeus then had him by the entrance ramp to go for a Lariat but gets caught with a kick to the midsection and hits a DDT onto the ramp to do some damage to his head and that doesn’t stop there as he hits some Headbutts to knock him down nearly dazed, and tops it off with putting his head on the turnbuckle post to hold him there while he laughs in front of the camera until the referee pulled his hair to take him off. Zeus would start selling his head more and get dizzy for the majority of it while Kento finds an opening to try and take care of him and attempts a German Suplex onto the ring apron but Zeus fights him off to get some breathing room, but it doesn’t last long as Kento ran up to him to hit a Brainbuster to the outside. Kento would hit another Blackout and does for just a regular German Suplex Hold as Zeus kicks out of that one and starts to get a small little comeback with some stiff Lariats to turn him nearly inside out, then hits a Chokeslam before going for the Jackhammer and he hits it but Kento kicks out of it!

Match has been incredible and loving the back and forth action and the crowd being behind it as well makes it all the more exciting since you can’t tell who was gonna win the match and it could go either way. Kento would hit him with a few more Blackouts on his head to get him down as he goes for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold, but Zeus would break out of it once again by kicking out his bad leg, but gets caught with more Blackouts on his head. Kento would get all fired up to hit him with one more Blackout once Zeus got to his knees and Zeus would still kick out at two! Kento would charge at him one more time but Zeus catches him with not one but two Lariats and Kento would kick out at two, but Zeus quickly picked him up to hit the Jackhammer and we have a new Triple Crown Champion!

Zeus has finally done it, he has won the belt that has alluded him for years and it happened in his hometown of Osaka, Japan. Zeus has been with the company since 2014 and has been making a name for himself there in his eleven-year career. Zeus would get emotional after the match and rightfully so as he thanked everyone is Osaka for their endless support and he hopes to be a good champion. Zeus would end the show by having a kid in the ring and would carry him over his head to show that he was the champion of the people. Congrats to Zeus for finally winning the big belt, he’s definitely earned it and I’m excited to see where his reign would go.

Rating: Jim Cornette

 

Overall: The undercard was rather weak, but the last two matches were the best part of the show despite an anti-climatic Asia Heavyweight title match also. We got an emotional main event with Zeus getting the big belt finally. We found out that Zeus’s first title defense would be against Shuji Ishikawa and I can’t wait to see how that one turns out.

Favorite Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus

Least Favorite Match: Atsushi Maruyama, Shoichi Uchida, Takao Omori & TORU vs. Carbell Ito, Hiroaki Moriya, Ultimo Dragon & Yoshitatsu

Score: 7.5/10


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International Coverage

(NOAH) POST MATCH INTERVIEWS – 31ST JULY 2018, YOKOHAMA RADIANT HALL

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MINORU TANAKA & HI69

TANAKA: We are the 34th GHC Junior Tag Champions and that equals the strongest NOAH junior tag team, that said, the league has ended inconclusively. But everyone, the story will end in Korakuen in three days time. We saw it earlier. I don’t know exactly who will be the winner, but we will watch it on the monitor like fans. I am looking forward to it, defending the belt against them.

HI69: I think that is true, I thought that getting the win would be natural, so I am disapointed with the results, but the team who wins the league will aim for the belt, that is true of all of us…we will show the GHC Heavyweight fight to all the NOAH fans.

TANAKA: The story of the worthless champions is over now. It is a story that belongs to the past, and it doesn’t matter. Understand?

THE BACKBREAKERS (HITOSHI KUMANO AND HAJIME OHARA)

Q: You have taken a big step towards the finals?

KUMANO: We have aimed to win since the beginning. Ohara has tried hard in spite of the injury, and today we took it. The final will be taken by The Backbreakers. If anyone can win, it will be us.

OHARA: So far I’ve been disappointed, as I have lost a lot. I will not give up, and will take the big step towards winning the title at Korakuen. Kawasaki! Kawasaki will be the title match! I have big ambitions. This year it will be for the Backbreakers, so Mui Bien today too!

SUPER NEW GENERATION ARMY (KAITO KIYOMIYA, KENOH, MASA KITAMIYA, KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA)

Q: A victory today, but still nothing to say?

Go Shiozaki silently touches the reporters chest and leaves.

KITAMIYA: Losing the belt does not change what you do. There is always someone in front of you, the belt is a target, people will keep biting at it…putting the belt on does not change.

NAKAJIMA: Although the belt might have been taken over there, we have just started, don’t forget…we are the ones who take the iniative.

KITAMIYA: If you are a champion, then be strong like a champion. Do you think you have unarmed us without the belt? It is not enough.

Q: Kenoh, Kiyomiya, what your thoughts on the generation struggle so far?

KENOH: I think its funny that those old men have three belts. Like Nakajima said, this has only just begun and I will take back the belt and end this generation struggle.

KIYOMIYA basically says that you have nothing to fear when a team rides on momentum.

YO-HEY & HAYATA

YO-HEY: Finally! Finally! We got our ticket to the finals! But! Frankly 10%, 20%….no, I’m glad about 747%. However, YO-HEY will be in tune for the final match at Korakuen Hall. We will knock the Backbreaking people down with twisting bodies. We will raise the atmosphere, and get a ticket for our second consecutive title! We are satisfied with such a team for the final! This team will go into the final and defeat the opponents! HAYATA & YO-HEY will win two consecutive times…our….I want to eat pumpkin.

HAYATA decides he is leaving. YO-HEY won’t let him

YO-HEY: I want to eat pumpkin…one word…bride…I was impressed by the two moonsaults…

HAYATA walking off as YO-HEY clings to him: Same!

YO-HEY: Same!

Link to original article from Noah.co.jp (in Japanese)


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