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Mathew’s G1 Climax 28 B Block Results & Review: Day 2

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If you have followed me and Andrew’s collaborations before, we both covered the AJPW Champion Carnival and Dragon Gate’s King of Gate a few months ago into doing separate blocks to make it easier since one person covering the whole thing. That would be a lot of time and work, plus I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this. So with this going on, Stardom, Dragon Gate, AJPW, and other stuff I cover will have to either be put on hold or limited for the time being until G1 is over with unless a really big show happens and I’ll try to squeeze it in.

Anyway, it is time for New Japan’s biggest tournament of the year, the G1 Climax where ten wrestlers with each block will fight each other in a round robin style tournament and the winner of those blocks will face off in the final and the winner of that will challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom in January. Last year, Tetsuya Naito won the G1 Climax by defeating Kenny Omega and this year has both blocks surely stacked as I cover B Block and got a solid opening. For predictions, I want Naito to win the G1 again to finally reclaim that title, but I somehow can see Tanahashi vs. Ibushi in there. Let’s not waste any more time and just…dive right in.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano

Review: Our first match in B Block contains both members of CHAOS as we have the companies gatekeeper, Tomohiro Ishii taking on Toru Yano who is someone that isn’t somebody that you would expect to win the whole thing but can be known to be a thorn on peoples sides by costing people a chance to win if he surprisingly defeats them. Can Yano get the victory in the first night and ruin Ishii’s chances or will the Stone Pitbull stomp on those thorns?

I think I’m missing something here because this is clearly not Toru Yano, did him and Ryo Saito share the same sake and became completely different people since this Toru seems to be a bit more serious than I’ve seen him in years, keep it up. The match was surprisingly very solid with this new side of Toru getting into the mix with even going toe to toe with Ishii a few times during the match. Another thing about Toru in this is that he wasn’t over the top with his little antics since it wasn’t one after another, he would do them in different sequences far in between to throw his opponent off a little bit more since they’ll be expecting them frequently from him and the fact that he’s not can throw them off more than he usually does. Ishii also does very well as usual by working with a bunch of people to give us quality matches and I feel like that’s what the remainder of his career is going to be in New Japan with just being the gatekeeper of the company and give us memorable matches outside of winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship since I don’t think he really needs it this stage in the game and you can even have a great career without the need of winning the big gold and he’s a great example. Toru near the end would try to do more of his antics with attempting to low blow him or use the referee and Ishii would just counter all of that and even pull a page out of Yano’s book with a low blow when the referee wasn’t looking and rolls him up with the La Magistral for the win and Ishii gets two points.

Recommended: Surprisingly entertaining, give it a watch.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Juice Robinson vs. Tama Tonga

Review: At the last show they had at the United States, a lot has happened with first being that Juice Robinson would defeat Jay White to become the new IWGP United States Champion in a solid bout with Juice finally winning his first big title and he has definitely earned it and has come a long way since his NXT days and now looks to have a more impressive record for this G1. Tama Tonga would pull the trigger with Bad Luck Fale and his family to assault Kenny Omega and the rest of the Bullet Club as he looks to bring the Club back to where it was originally supposed to be. With both having newfound chapters in their career, a win here would help solidify them a bit more as they both need it.

Tama normally doesn’t care about being in the G1 Climax, but with the Bullet Club Civil War going on and the fact that Kenny Omega is actually in the same block as time, it seems to have given him some motivation to give a damn about it just so he could defeat Kenny in the tournament a try to win the whole thing so he could defeat him again on the big stage. Juice’s hand still seems to be a bit injured since you can see him selling it more and not normally using it for when he does his little punch combo. The two seemed to hit it off pretty well with Tama being the cool type of heel with his brother helping him once or twice in the match and Juice, of course, being the underdog that is he despite being a champion now. Juice would seem to get the upper hand as he went for his Pulp Friction until Loa would distract him and get thrown in for Juice to hit him with his combo of punches to take him out and before he could try to hit the move again on Tama, he turned it around for a Gun Stun and gets the win. With Tama getting the win here against Juice, he could potentially have a future title match with him if he does indeed fail to win the G1, could be a fun match,

Recommended: Solid bout, worth watching.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA

Review: SANADA will always be my dark horse in any type of tournament he’s in since he has the potential to be one of the biggest stars in the company and he has shown a lot of that this year with his matches against Okada, Toru, Zack, and various others and maybe this tournament could be his break, never count him out because he could surprise you. The NEVER Openweight Champion, Hirooki Goto is his opponent and normally seems to do well in these types of tournaments and represents Shibata every time he comes out with the Openweight title since Shibata made that belt feel important and Goto hopes to do it for his good friend. Excited to see how this one goes since I think this is the first time they fight one on one.

After seeing this match, SANADA moved up the ladder a bit for me for favorites in the promotion for me since matches like these show you how excellent he is in the ring and how his character is also intelligent since he can calculate what to do in the match to better his chances of winning a match and knowing how to dodge or reverse his opponents moves without really having to reverse it into submission holds, almost as if he has a counter for everything if it plays out in his favor. Goto deserves as much credit as SANADA since while Goto is someone that really screams a main eventer or IWGP Heavyweight Champion material, he’s exactly where he needs to be with this title and representing his own vision of strong style and bring out the best of his opponents whenever he’s in the ring with them. I love the GTR reversals into the Dragon Sleeper between the two and most of these little sequences made me believe that he could’ve had Goto tap out and unfortunately couldn’t but it was still great storytelling with the both of them. Goto would attempt a GTR and SANADA would counter with a roll-up and would almost get the win by a millisecond as Goto kicked out just in time. Goto would have SANDA’s feet on the ropes and looked like he was going for that DDT Randy Orton does, but he hits a GTR instead before picking him up to double tap with one more GTR as Goto picks up the win. I need to see a rematch with these two as soon as possible.

Recommended: Great match, definitely worth watching.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Review: These two are no strangers to each other as they fought each other at last years G1 Climax on A Block with Ibushi getting the win over Zack and the two would fight again this year at the New Japan Cup Quarter Final Round with Zack making Ibushi tap out. The two would fight again to get the rubber match to see who would come out on top since a win here is important to get the early advantage. Will Zack be able to make him JUST TAP OUT for the second time in a row or will the Golden Star shine bright?

TAKA needs to be Zack’s manager permanently going forward just by how he hypes him up like how Gedo hypes Okada. With Zack Sabre Jr, I love his technical ability and I will never deny his talent as a wrestler, but my big problem with him normally that he hardly ever shows character or even sell outside of Japan like he would just be a generic guy that just knows a lot of technical moves, but whenever I see him in Japan with Suzuki Gun, he shows all of the things to show he can be a better overall wrestler instead of just moves and I wish I saw this side of him everywhere else since it’s great of him. This match was incredibly stiff from beginning to end with all of the strikes they do to each other whether it’s chops, kicks, or just slapping each other in the face enough to see the sweat leaving their body. Zack is just incredible with his submissions since he just knows body manipulation and can just make you tap out with just about any combination of his holds since he’s just so creative with them. Ibushi is a great talent with a glass ceiling hanging over his head and he could break that anytime he wants to move up to the next level and be a top player along with winning more gold, but the fact that he is a Freelancers with no decision to sign a full-time contract with the company is what holds him back to go to the next level to be the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. The last seven minutes of the match elevated their high intensity with Zack kept locking his arms and legs in to try and make Ibushi tap out while Ibushi would do his best to knee his face in to knock him out with both of them not giving each other the edge to make it happen, but Zack would give in as Ibushi finally hits the Kamigoye to pick up the win over Zack.

Recommended: Fantastic match, worth watching.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito

Review: We’re not at our main event of the night with our IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega taking on NJPW’s most charismatic superstar and leader of Los Ignorables de Japon, Tetsuya Naito and these two are no strangers to each other since this is the third year in a row where they fought each other in the G1 Climax and actually the only time these two ever fought each other in singles competition also.

Two years ago, Kenny Omega would defeat Tetsuya Naito in the B Block final show to determine who would move on where Kenny has one the G1 Climax, also making him the first Gaijin to win the tournament and also be the first Gaijin to main event a Wrestle Kingdom show despite losing the match. Last year, Tetsuya would defeat Kenny Omega in the G1 Climax final to win his second G1 and finally got what he wanted and that was to main event Wrestle Kingdom and the Tokyo Dome and he would also fail to win the belt from Okada at the show and he stated that he mostly cared about main eventing the show to show that he could get to that level and now that he has that goal crossed off his list, he can now set his sights on a new goal and that’s to win the championship once again but as a main eventer. A win here could be huge for both of them at the start of this tournament since they’re also both considered to be the favorites to win the tournament and them fighting first could possibly change the course of how things will play out.

This might be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I like the Naito/Omega matches slightly a bit more than Okada/Omega and it’s mostly due to that while Okada/Omega has the better story and rivalry, Naito/Omega also have unique elements to their stories and also really good match quality since I’ve enjoyed all of their matches together and just feels more organic compared to the other feud, but the only thing holding me back for saying that it’s fully better is that they haven’t had a match outside of G1 together yet and these are just tournament matches instead of having a regular match without the constraints of being in G1 and I hope they get that soon if they win G1 or maybe at a different big event since I feel like we’re long overdue for one and doing it for the title would be a great way to do it. Despite that little nitpick, the match was fantastic and probably their best match together in these series of G1 matches as they are again more organic and natural with their wrestling and story with each other and loved the little taunts to each other in the beginning of the match with Omega mocking Naito and Naito doing it back to him a little bit after, it’s just great mind games to each other. Naito would hit a Destino twice on Omega and it was still not enough and when he went to go for it again, Omega caught him with a Fire Thunder and an Underhook Piledriver to do more damage onto Naito’s neck and he would eventually hit the One-Winged Angel to get the win. I was hoping for Naito to win this match to set up a future title match at Kings of Pro Wrestling or something, but I think it would be more beneficial for Omega to get a big win under his name while being the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Despite the loss, Naito was still super over with the crowd and they were even chanting for Naito over their own champion once that bell would ring, so I don’t know what that tells you.

Recommended: Best match of the night in my opinion, definitely check it out.

 

Overall: This is only the second day of the G1 Climax and they already raised the bar to hopefully have the following days step up their game until the very end of the tournament. I like to think B Block won the first day compared to A Block, but it was still really good and should definitely check out Andrew’s coverage also and follow us on this journey together.

Favorite Match: Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito

Least Favorite Match: Juice Robinson vs. Tama Tonga (If I really had to pick)

Score: 9/10

 

B Block Standings:

Kenny Omega 1-0 (2 Points)
Kota Ibushi: 1-0 (2 Points)
Tama Tonga 1-0 (2 Points)
Hirooki Goto: 1-0 (2 Points)
Tomohiro Ishii: 1-0 (2 Points)
Tetsuya Naito: 0-1 (0 Points)
Zack Sabre Jr: 0-1 (0 Points)
SANADA: 0-1 (0 Points)
Juice Robinson: 0-1 (0 Points)
Toru Yano: 0-1 (0 Points)


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International Coverage

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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International Coverage

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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