AXS TV begins coverage of the 28th NJPW G1 Climax! Tonight will be all about Block A’s opening round, to see who gains the first points in this round robin!
Gifs can be found on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Minoru Suzuki VS Hiroshi Tanahashi; Tanahashi wins.
- Kazuchika Okada VS Jay White; White wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!
Every Summer, 20 of the best wrestlers in the world compete in the most prestigious tournament. The winner becomes a part of history while earning a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship!
We begin with Block A. In this group, Chaos’ Jay White and Kazuchika Okada go against each other for the first time ever. The Switchblade has always wanted to challenge the Rainmaker for the reins of the stable, can the young New Zealander take advantage of his now title-less leader? Then, The Ace and the Meanest Man in the World have a rematch from their IWGP Intercontinental Championship feud. Can Hiroshi Tanahashi get revenge? Or will Minoru Suzuki show no mercy and finish this once and for all?
AXS TV quickly recaps other matches from Block A.
Togi Makabe defeats Yoshi-Hashi while the Unbreakable Mike Elgin brings down EVIL, but the real fun was in an early Bullet Club Civil War match. The Problem Solver, Hangman Page, battled the Underboss, Bad Luck Fale, but things would not be settled as Tama Tonga interfered. The leader of the #FiringSquad would assault Hangman, then assault Red Shoes as brother Tonga Loa would join in. The Tongan trio would continue to beat down Hangman, but that only gave him the win via disqualification. The beating wouldn’t stop, so it was up to Kenny Omega to lead Kota Ibushi & Chase Owens in to run the Tongans off. The civil war won’t stop just because it’s the G1, how much more will it derail the tournament’s intentions?
Minoru Suzuki VS Hiroshi Tanahashi!
The cruel King of Pancrase and the Once in a Century Talent waged a brutal war over the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. In the end, Suzuki won the title while putting Tanahashi out of action. Now these two collide again in the Climax! Who will win the match and earn themselves two points in the round robin bracket?
The bell rings and fans are strongly behind Tanahashi. He and Suzuki circle then approach. They feel it out, but then Suzuki just fires off fast and furious strikes. Tanahashi turns it around to give one big haymaker. He whips but Suzuki boots, only for Tanahashi to catch it. Tanahashi elbows the leg, then runs, but Suzuki avoids the low dropkick. Suzuki runs while Tanahashi hits the mat, but Tanahashi dodges the Penalty Kick. Tanahashi runs but Suzuki side steps to get the sleeper. Suzuki wrangles Tanahashi down, but Tanahashi stands back up. Tanahashi snapmares Suzuki off, then throws a palm strike. Tanahashi runs, but Suzuki dropkicks the legs out. Suzuki slithers over for the heel hook! Tanahashi rolls around but Suzuki holds on.
Suzuki rolls it back the other way, but Tanahashi drags himself towards ropes. Suzuki drags him away from ropes then reapplies the hook. Tanahashi fights with his free foot, but can’t get free. He drags himself to ropes, but Suzuki rolls him away. Suzuki laces his legs on Tanahashi’s other foot, then wrenches back hard. Tanahashi endures but Suzuki just laughs at him. Tanahashi drags himself around more, but Suzuki keeps wrenching. Suzuki drags him away, and reapplies the heel hook with an extra twist! Tanahashi writhes in pain while fans rally up for him. Tanahashi sits up and powers his way towards ropes, but Suzuki still wrenches harder. Suzuki drags Tanahashi backwards into a kneebar and toehold! He drags Tanahashi up for an ankle lock!
Tanahashi rolls but Suzuki sits down on the toehold again. Tanahashi tries to fight with his hands but Suzuki grabs an arm for a double wristlock! Suzuki makes Tanahashi into a pretzel! Tanahashi manages to roll through but Suzuki returns to just the kneebar and heel hook. Fans keep rallying so Tanahashi continues to endure. Suzuki makes it an STF! But Tanahashi refuses to quit, so Suzuki changes to a Half Crab, that he literally lets fall backward into an Achilles lock! Suzuki even keeps Tanahashi’s free leg preoccupied with a toehold. Tanahashi rolls, and finally gets a ropebreak! We go to break while Suzuki lets Tanahashi go.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Suzuki drags Tanahashi up by his hair. Suzuki forearms Tanahashi in the face, then does it again. Tanahashi staggers on one leg but Suzuki keeps hitting him. Suzuki toys with Tanahashi, but Tanahashi fires back. Tanahashi’s forearms only feed Suzuki, and Suzuki hits back with kicks to the bad leg. Suzuki kicks away from all sides, but then gets caught in a dragon screw! Tanahashi evens things with that one. Fans rally up for Tanahashi as he works on his own leg. Suzuki stands but Tanahashi follows. Tanahashi runs and manages a dropkick! He whips Suzuki, but Suzuki reverses. Tanahashi manages to stay up on that leg, and comes back with flying forearms! The Ace fires up, as do the fans. He drags Suzuki up and over to a corner. Tanahashi scoop slams Suzuki, then hops up top. Suzuki rolls so the senton flops!
Suzuki runs and gets the Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO, Suzuki goes after the leg! Suzuki puts the Achilles lock on, then goes to a Figure Four Leglock! Tanahashi’s legs again endure powerful pressure, but he refuses to quit. Suzuki wrenches as he can, but Tanahashi has the fans behind him. Tanahashi works to roll this over, and succeeds! The pressure goes on Suzuki, but he manages to roll it bakc. Tanahashi uses this to get a ropebreak. Suzuki lets Tanahashi go, but comes back to stomp and kick Tanahashi. Suzuki drags Tanahashi up and gives him a forearm. Tanahashi gives it back, so Suzuki gives another. Tanahashi hits Suzuki again, so Suzuki fires off with palm strikes! Suzuki doesn’t stop, even when Tanahashi hits him back. Suzuki keeps slapping and striking, then puts on a sleeper!
Tanahashi is already turning purple, but he isn’t going down. Suzuki lets him go, turns him around, and prepares a driver. He goes for the Gotch hold, but Tanahashi blocks. They struggle against each other, and Suzuki gets Tanahashi up. Tanahashi gets back down, so Suzuki knees him in the stomach. Suzuki goes after the leg, but Tanahashi manages a small package counter! TWO, and Suzuki throws a boot! Tanahashi manages to catch it, then spin Suzuki around for a roll-up cradle, TWO! They stand up, and Tanahashi smacks Suzuki with a palm strike! Suzuki staggers, Tanahashi runs, but Suzuki follows to grab Tanahashi in a sleeper! Tanahashi slips out, grabs Suzuki’s leg, for a STIFF dragon screw!
Suzuki screams in pain as he clutches his thigh. Tanahashi stands while Suzuki gets to ropes. Tanahashi is fired up and runs, to Slingblade Suzuki down! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps going, as he gets to a corner and the top rope. Suzuki stands, Tanahashi leaps with the crossbody! Tanahashi goes back up, HIGH FLY FLOW! Cover, Tanahashi wins!!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; Tanahashi earns 2 points, Suzuki earns 0
The Ace is victorious in this revenge match! He joins Makabe, Elgin and Hangman Page as the first men with points on the board. Can Tanahashi continue on to reach the top of A Block?
Kazuchika Okada VS Jay White!
It’s Chaos VS Chaos as both the former IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion and former IWGP Heavyweight Champion go head to head for the first time ever. The Switchblade wants to prove he’s more worthy of leading the stable, but is he too inexperienced to defeat even a rather relaxed Rainmaker?
The bell rings, and fans chant for Okada. White doesn’t let that bother him as he circles with “Red Okada”. White offers a handshake, but no one is sure if he can be trusted. Okada considers the option, and takes it. But of course White uses it as a trap! He reels Okada in, but Okada slips around to get the wristlock. Okada swings White out, but White gets away from the lariat. Okada and White grin at each other, knowing they were both close to hitting their finisher. White and Okada circle again, then tie up. They push each other around, but White grabs hair. Okada turns things around at the ropes, then fakes a chop at the ropebreak, to instead pat White on the head. White chops Okada! Then chops again. White chops Okada more, and Okada falls to his knees.
White wraps on a headlock, but Okada fights and powers out. Okada dodges White to then headlock takeover. White pulls hair again but Red Shoes reprimands him. White powers up to his feet then fights the hold. He powers out, but Okada puts him on the apron. White hits back then climbs up, but Okada rocks him. Okada drags him out in a headlock, for a draping drop at Red Shoes’ count of 4. Okada runs, to basement dropkick White out of the ring. The Rainmaker fetches Switchblade, and whips him at the barriers! Then he runs in to boot White over! Fans rally up with Okada as he gets space. Okada runs back over, but White gets away. The flight is canceled, but the chase is on.
They go around behind commentary, and Okada boots White down. Okada clubs White, then drags him back to ringside. He bounces White off a post, then toys with him. Okada pushes White around, then brings him up again. White counters with a saido suplex! Both men are down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and White brings Okada up to put him into barriers. He then throws Okada into the apron, and back into barriers, then all over again. White puts Okada into the apron again, but Red Shoes reprimands him now. Fans rally for Okada while White drags him up for a chop. Okada staggers but White keeps on him, running Okada all the way over to ram him into railing! White leaves Okada to the mercy of the 20 count while catching his breath. But then he goes back out to fetch Okada, to put him back in the ring. Fans applaud that he at least wants to win more directly. White toys with Okada now as he brings him up. Okada hits White with forearms, but White chops back. White runs in for a European Uppercut, then he suplexes Okada into the buckles! Cover, TWO!
White drags Okada to the ropes to choke him with a knee. White scrapes his shoe into Okada, too, then brings him to the apron. He rams Okada’s face right on the edge! White clubs Okada, then peels the apron skirt to use it as a gag! Red Shoes counts and White lets go. White puts the skirt back, showing he’s not all bad. He then sits Okada up for another chop. They both return in the ring, White covers, TWO. White drags Okada up for a modified stretch. Okada endures the bending and stretching while Gedo rallies the fans. White shifts to a chinlock, but Okada stands up. Okada fights back with elbows, then whips White. White reverses to mule kick and throw Okada down. White drags Okada up, for a pumphandle backbreaker. Cover, TWO! Fans rally up but White keeps his cool.
White goes after the legs, figure four becomes a Deathlock, that he then makes into a Muda Lock! Okada endures as White bends him back. He drags himself to ropes, but White hooks his nose! Okada still gets the ropebreak! White lets go, but he stalks Okada with a smirk. White stands on Okada as fans start to turn towards his side. He drags Okada up and taunts Gedo. Okada swats White away but White comes back. White snapmares and kicks Okada, but Okada doesn’t seem bothered at all. Okada stansd up to take White by the throat. He throws forearm after forearm, then whips corner to corner. White dodges but Okada slips out of the back suplex, and he drops White with a DDT! Both men are down from exhaustion, but stirring as Gedo and the fans rally up again.
Okada kips up! He aims at White and rallies with forearms and elbows. He whips but White reverses, only for Okada to run White over with a back elbow. Okada whips White corner to corner agani, but runs into a back elbow. White runs out, but into a flapjack! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his cool, he has more ideas to use. Okada climbs up, but White stands, BIG crossbody! Cover, TWO, but Okada wants White to get back up. White stands, and Okada lifts, but White fights his way out. White gets around to a waistlock, Okada tries to fight out, but White gives him a saido suplex! Both men are down but White is stirring while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as White and Okada stand. White grabs Okada first for the half hatch. He rolls over and does it again, that’s two amigos. White goes again, but Okada fights out of the third. Okada swings but White blocks, and then suplexes Okada up for the twisting slam! Cover, TWO! That was really close, but still not enough. White calls for the finish with a slash of his throat. He has it set up, but Okada turns the Blade Runner into a cobra clutch! White reaches for ropes but Okada keeps him back. White starts to fade and Okada puts more wrench on it. Red Shoes checks on White as he falls to the mat. Okada puts his weight on White, but White slips out! White puts on a grounded cobra clutch! Okada endures the same hold while he drags himself towards ropes.
Red Shoes checks on Okada, but Gedo and fans rally up. Okada is slowly fading, but he gets a second wind for the ropebreak! White holds on until 4, and is growing frustrated. He gets back up while fans rally. Okada slowly stirs, but White drags him up. Okada fights out of the cobra clutch with elbows, then lifts White into Air Raid! Both men are down again, but fans rally up for Okada once more. He and White both stand, and Okada blasts White into a corner! Okada drags White back up, scoop slams him, then goes to the top rope. Okada leaps for the Macho Elbow! But he’s not done there, he wants his namesake! Okada drags White up, wristlocks, but White counters to a complete shot, then deadlift German! Bridging cover, TWO! Another close call but Okada still lives.
White grows further frustrated as he stands with Okada. White chops, then chops again. Okada manages to stay standing, so White chops him again. Okada grinds forehead to forehead before giving EuroUpper after EuroUpper. White grabs the hair, for a big lariat! Cover, TWO! Okada barely got out of that one. White drags Okada up again, but Okada pushes him away. White comes back but Okada still feebly fights him off. Okada swings but gets body shots and a forearm fore it. White saido suplexes Okada up and out!!
Okada’s down after hitting the apron then the floor, but White is merciless as he comes out to fetch him. White drags Okada up, and has others move out of the way. He brings Okada over, to snap suplex Okada into railing! White brags while Okada is dazed on the ground. White drags Okada up and into the ring, then fetches something from underneath. He has a chair! White threatens Gedo to get back, then takes that chair into the ring. Red Shoes double checks the rules, chairs are NOT legal. But White just shoves Red Shoes down!
White aims at Okada, but his swing misses! Okada dropkicks the chair into White’s head! Okada drags White up, whips him, and dropkicks White again. But Okada keeps going, as he lifts White up for the Tombstone! Okada doesn’t cover, but instead drags White up for the wristlock. He swings White out, but Red Shoes gets hit by White before the RAINMAKER! Cover, but Red Shoes can’t count! Gedo is furious but Okada keeps his cool. Okada drags White back up, but White slips out of the Tombstone to LOW BLOW Okada! Both men are down, as is Red Shoes. Okada and White stir, and White has the chair again! White chucks it into Okada’s face! White wants to finish this, so he brings Okada up, BLADE RUNNER! Red Shoes revives in time for the cover, White WINS!
Winner: Jay White, by pinfall; White earns 2 points, Okada earns 0
It was dirty as could be, but the Switchblade still defeats the Rainmaker! He’s so disrespectful to the leader of Chaos, he doesn’t even let Okada have an ice pack. More importantly, Okada’s on a losing streak. Can The Rainmaker bounce back during the Climax? Or will he continue to fall from grace now that he’s not the top champion in NJPW?
While Okada makes his exit, White picks up a mic.
“Boo all you want, I couldn’t give two sh*ts about any of you.” The Switchblade doesn’t care about the Japanese audience nor the foreign audience, or how they feel. Fans boo more as White addresses Okada. “You have been dying and embarrassing” since his fall at Dominion. “I had to pull the plug.” The fans can boo, but White vowed to make this his year. Okada is now White’s Rainmaker, because the stable is now White’s Chaos! This is White’s G1, and all the fans have no choice but to “breathe with the Switchblade.” White speaks boldly, but will Chaos fall in line behind him? And will White truly conquer the Climax? Or will it all come back to bite him in the end?
Jay White reviews how back on January 6th, he signed up with Chaos, sat down with Okada, and even told him to his face that he wouldn’t just sit in the background, that he would go after the captain’s chair “when the time was right.” What did Okada say back? That when they faced off, White would realize Okada was on another level. White just showed Okada up. Okada has been falling, “what a poor start to the G1 for the face of NJPW. Well, the former face of NJPW”, because White is the new face. White vows this is his company, his kingdom, and his Chaos. “It’s all the Switchblade’s.”
AXS TV reviews the Block A standings.
The Ace, the Runaway King Kong, Unbreakable Mike, the Problem Solver and now the Switchblade all take the lead with their wins while the Head Hunter, Underboss, King of Darkness, Man with the Worst Personality and THE Rainmaker are all behind. The round robin will continue, who will keep their momentum going? Who will get on the board? And who will end up still shut out?
AXS TV getting to the newest G1 Climax is good, but obviously they can’t take the time to show everything, nor would they be allowed to. NJPW itself needs to make money getting fans to watch the tournament when it happens, so AXS showing all the matches “for free” would be unfair. However, AXS showing the highlight matches is just fine, it helps out those fans who missed out or just can’t watch things when they happen *cough* like me *cough*. It was good of AXS to give a quick summary for the three opening round matches they couldn’t show, so that way the fans who want to really get into it don’t feel lost.
These two matches tonight were great choices. Suzuki, Tanahashi and Okada are the big names that will get attention from even beginner NJPW fans, and Suzuki VS Tanahashi is definitely great gritty action with storytelling from their past matches. I loved that it came down to both men beating up the other’s legs, and then for Tanahashi to win as payback for the Intercontinental Championship loss. The shock of Okada losing to White alone makes that a must-see match for this opening round. White is rocketing up in the Heel ranks as well as the ranks overall. I don’t know how well White declaring himself the new leader will go, that’ll play itself out in the rest of the matches and interactions with Chaos members.
My Score: 8.3/10
Dragon Gate Fantastic Gate 2018 Results & Review (12/4/2018)
Mathew brings us more coverage with…Dragon Gate? Well I suppose something big did happen, even though King of Gate was still horrid. But hey, let’s see if PAC’s involvement helps things out.
We now return to Dragon Gate to take a small break from the AJPW Real World Tag League, which you should check out if you haven’t just yet since it’s been a great tournament.
As of right now, this will be my last Dragon Gate coverage for the year due to scheduling with the holidays and work, plus I need to get ready for matches of the year at the end of the month. We got a big show today since we got Open the Dream Gate Championship defended against PAC.
So let us see how things will turn out as we…dive right in.
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Dragon Dia & Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk, Kagetora & YAMATO) vs. Don Fujii, Gamma, Ryo Saito & Super Shisa
Review: Our opening contest is an eight-man tag match with Don Fujii, Gamma, Ryo Saito, and Super Shisa taking on three members of Tribe Vanguard, Kagetora and the Open the Twin Gate Champions, BxB Hulk and YAMATO along with Dragon Dia. Dragon Dia is a new wrestler in Dragon Gate as he is also considered to be Dragon Kid’s new apprentice whenever he decides to hang it up. Let’s see how Dragon Dia does and will he help Tribe Vanguard get the victory or will it be the other team?
The match was short and incredibly basic with nothing really too much to make the crowd seem overly invested in it in my opinion. Half of the match is pretty much Dia paying his dues in the ring while also getting a bit of offense into the match, so how did he do? From what I saw out of him, I thought he does have potential to be how Dragon Kid was but he has a long way to go if he wants to reach that level eventually. Dia did take a beating from the other team and even had Gamma kinda waterboard him while he was taking a Mexican Stretch. Tribe Vanguard would do stuff for a little bit into the match and they worked well with each other and not with Dia since he’s not really apart of their unit. Dia would get to have Fujii for a pinfall but he kicked out and hits Dia with a Lariat to end his momentum. Fujii would hit a Chokeslam onto Dia as Ryo would do his SaiRyo Rocket to get the pinfall victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a quarter
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura, Masaaki Mochizuki & Yuki Yoshioka vs. Hiroshi Yamato & MaxiMuM (Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida & Naruki Doi)
Review: We get another eight-man tag match to continue this show as Masaaki Mochizuki is in action with Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura, and Yuki Yoshioka as the four take on Hiroshi Yamato and three MaxiMuM members, Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida, and Naruki Doi. While the opening match wasn’t really something that was memorable, I’m sure we’ll get some action in this one to pick stuff up. Which one of these four will win?
I’m still new to Hiroshi Yamato, but I’m still digging his singing type of gimmick and think it’s pretty funny. This one was a much better match than the opening contest since all of the competitors were more involved in this We had another small encounter with Mochizuki and Lee, and I still wanna see that match happen but I know we probably won’t get a singles match with them any time soon. Yuki is someone that keeps growing on me whenever I see him involved in these tag matches as he does show signs of progress and I hope to see big things from him in 2019. Jason Lee would try to do his taunt in the ring when he’s in his meditative state and rolled up Mochizuki for a two count and when Mochizuki would try to do the same taunt, Jason would just kick his head. Yuki would block Naruki’s Bakatare Sliding Kick but takes a German from Yamato, a Facebuster from Naruki, and a kick along with a German from Lee as they break the hold. Yuki would attempt a flash pin onto Kaito but Kaito would quickly maneuver out of it until Yuki pinned him back down as he gets the surprise victory!
Rating: Eric Bischoff
Shun Skywalker vs. U-T
Review: We only have two singles matches in this show and it’s time to get our first one underway as we have Shun Skywalker taking on U-T. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Shun in a singles match since the King of Gate Tournament and this might be the first time I’ve seen U-T in a singles match, so this is definitely a nice surprise since both men can go. Which one of these two will get the win?
If you were expecting a highflying type of match between these two, you don’t get that type of match here and while it did throw me off, I was honestly okay with it since they still did give us a technical match. For my first time seeing U-T in one on one action, I gotta say that seeing him more ground-based in this match was very surprising in a good way too since he’s very crisp in his ability. Shun Skywalker still continues to impress me every time I see him in the ring, so seeing both of these men deliver in this match made me feel very satisfied.
The match was also very even here and it looked like Shun was going to get him, but U-T would catch him with the Skayde to try and make him tap out to the hold until Shun would roll out of the hold and hits the Moonsault Press for a two count. Shun would hit a Reverse Suplex and goes to the top rope to go for another Moonsault as U-T puts his knees up before Shun could land. U-T would apply the Skayde once again but Shun would refuse to tap out of the hold once again and the bell rings to show that there’s a time limit draw. Huge ovation for these two in this match and I hope this isn’t the end for them.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Six Man Tag Team Match
Dragon Kid, Bandido, & Flamita vs. DAGA & R.E.D. (Eita & Ben-K)
Review: Our next match is a six-man tag team match with Dragon Kid teaming up with Flamita and Bandido is they take on R.E.D. We found out that Dragon Kid and Eita are going to have one final match at Final Gate in a hair vs mask match, but I’m not sure if the Open the Brave Gate Championship is on the line yet. But this is sure to be an exciting tag bout and let’s see if R.E.D wins or the luchadors take it.
R.E.D starting the attack on their opponents before the match started in their typical heel fashion. The face team would start to make a comeback with Bandido and Flamita diving to the outside onto their opponents. Seeing Kid, Flamita, and Bandido team up worked out very well here with their Luchador agility with Bandido once again being on fire in this match and if he’s someone you follow, what the hell is wrong with you? Get on that shit right away if you like Lucha Libre. It’s a shame Ben didn’t win the belt but I know he’ll bounce back into something soon, maybe going back to the Open the Twin Gate picture with Big R. Eita and Dragon Kid going back at it develops more fuel into their story and I actually can’t wait for it to end and not because it felt like it went on for too long, but with the new stipulation they added to their match, it just adds a lot more involved for their eventual conclusion. After Flamita and Bandido did their tag team combo with Bandido hitting a Phoenix Splash after being flipped over, Eita and Kid are alone in the ring again. Dragon jumped off the ropes and got caught for a Super Kick and would go to finish off Kid but he hits the Bible onto Eita to get the surprise victory!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka & YASSHI) vs. R.E.D. (Big R Shimizu, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Takashi Yoshida & Yasushi Kanda)
Review: Our next match is another eight-man tag team match with R.E.D members, Big R Shimizu, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Takashi Yoshida, and Yasushi Kanda taking on Natural Vibes members, Genki Horiguchi, Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka, and Brother YASSHI. Recently, Natural Vibes broke the record for most title defenses with the Open the Triangle Gate Championships and they still look to hold onto the titles for a long time to keep the record around more. Will Natural Vibes get the win or will it be R.E.D?
R.E.D once again attacking Natural Vibes before the bell would ring and both teams would start fighting to the outside of the ring and into the crowd near the bleachers until they got back into the ring as we get the match started now. The match felt a little too short for this type of match but I thought it was still solid enough for a quick little exhibition type of match. We had a little encounter with Takashi and Kzy during the middle of it where they would go back and forth and it did seem like Takashi was gonna win this little back and forth until Kzy hits his running Elbow Smash onto him. Natural Vibes started to get the shine in the match when Susumu hits an Exploder Suplex onto Kanda off the middle rope and Kzy tops it off with an Elbow Drop while YASSHI hits a Diving Headbutt for a two count. Members were taking each other out left and right until it was Genki and Takashi in the match now as he does his Backslide From Heaven to go for the pin but Big R picked him up in a Wheel Barrel position for a German Suplex. Big R would quickly pick him up for him and Takashi to hit a Doomsday Device and KAZMA topped it off with a Package Piledriver to give R.E.D the win.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Open the Dream Gate Championship
Masato Yoshino (c) vs. PAC
Review: We now have our main event of the evening as Masato Yoshino defends his Open the Dream Gate Championship against PAC. This will be PAC’s second singles match in Dragon Gate ever since he made his return to the company and while his match was disappointing, he still wanted to make the challenge to prove himself. Only one gaijin won the Open the Dream Gate Championship and that man was Ricochet, so if PAC wins then he will be the second one to win it. Masato though won’t go down without a fight here as he defends Dragon Gate against this man. Will Masato retain once again or will we have a new champion?
While both R.E.D and MaxiMuM are surrounding the ring, none of them interfere in the match and I’m glad too because it would’ve been a little bit too much in this match, plus PAC needs to prove himself that he can defeat Masato on his own without any help. I thought this match was a great title defense and definitely PAC’s better match compared to his one with Flamita since this one had a nicer pace that didn’t make it drag out a bit at all and he played the heel persona well like how he did in WWE when he was considered the King of the Cruiserweights, but he’s now known as the Bastard Child in Dragon Gate. I think I liked Masato’s match against Ben-K a little bit better, this one was almost as good in my opinion. One spot I really did like was when Masato went for the Slingblade off the top rope and PAC just flipped out of it and it just looked more smooth. Also, the Corkscrew PAC did to the outside looks great despite him shooting himself a little bit too far since most of the people were a bit too close.
PAC pulled off a lot of power moves like the Pop-up Powerbomb and it looked like he had Masato right where he wanted him as he went to the top rope to go for the Black Arrow but he was able to catch himself once Masato moved out of the way and hits the Another Space and then would hit the first Torbellino as he calls for the submission finish to apply the Sol Naciente, but he wouldn’t hold it for long this time as PAC picked him up for the Powerbomb for a two count. PAC seems to be getting back control now as he would try to go for the Black Arrow once more time but Masato picked his knees up to make PAC land on it and rolled him up for a two count. Masato wouldn’t give PAC time to rest as he hits a second Torbellino and applies the Sol Naciente once again but PAC was unable to power out of it this time around as he falls onto the mat unable to move for a bit until his foot landed on the rope to break the hold. Both men would have bursts of energy in the last stand as Masato lands another Torbellino and PAC gets up quickly to hit Masato with a German Suplex and gets him up for a Powerbomb but Masato would Sunset Flip over him for a two count. PAC would hit a Lariat onto Masato to knock him down before hitting the German Suplex Hold for a two count, and it appears PAC has him right where he wants him as he went to the top rope to the Black Arrow and he connects this time for a three count and we have a new champion!
You heard right, PAC is the new Open the Dream Gate Champion. Part of me feels like it’s a bit too soon to win the belt since he just came back a couple of months ago but at the same time, they wanna capitalize on this while he’s still red hot since leaving WWE and it could potentially open new eyes to the product since most fans knew him as Neville. So in a business aspect, it’s a good idea and hopefully, it can lead to what the company is looking for. Let’s see how things turn out.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half
Overall: Aside from the two singles matches being the highlight of the show, nothing else really stood out with the multi-man tag matches throughout the night. U-T and Shun did great work together and PAC had a much better match than he did with Flamita and we got a new champion out of it to bring in a new era for Dragon Gate.
Favorite Match: Masato Yoshino vs. PAC
Least Favorite Match: Dragon Dia & Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk, Kagetora & YAMATO) vs. Don Fujii, Gamma, Ryo Saito & Super Shisa
Mitchell’s WWE Mixed Match Challenge 2 Results & Report! (12/11/18)
The Mixed Match Challenge is almost done, but there’s been a last-minute substitution! Apollo Crews replaces Finn Balor, can he help Bayley make it to TLC?
- Jinder Mahal & Alicia w/ The Singh Brothers VS Apollo Crews & Bayley; Mahal & Alicia win and advance to the Finals at TLC.
- The Miz & Asuka VS R-Truth & Carmella; Truth & Carmella win and advance to the Finals at TLC.
PLAY BY PLAY
It’s time for the Mixed Match Challenge Semifinals!
The final four teams will be cut down to just two tonight! The Season One champions are still in the running, but they’ve had a rough go of it this year. The Miz and Asuka lost to the #ExtremeFlair after Jeff Hardy stepped in for AJ Styles. However, not even the top seed still stands as the #FABULOUSTruth pulled off the biggest upset to date! Can Truth & Carmella pull off another upset against a tense and dysfunctional Team AWESKA?
As for the Raw Block, #Mahalicia is the only team standing with its original members! Of course, Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox have yet to truly see eye to eye despite making it back from the bottom of the block. That said, Finn Balor must step down from the Mixed Match Challenge because of the beating Drew McIntyre gave him on Raw a week ago. In his place now stands Apollo Crews, who wants to finally make his mark on the main roster! Can this new Team A’n’B go all the way to TLC?
Backstage with Bayley & Apollo Crews.
New partners start big with a semifinals match, but the dynamic doesn’t change for Bayley. These two are more prepared than ever, and they’ll be so close to being the #30 spots in their respective Royal Rumbles! But the Singh Brothers come in to get them to slow down. No one cares about where they “think” they’re going, because they’re going home! The Maharrrrraja and Foxy will be Too Sweet. No, better: they can hug it out! Bayley boots the Bollywood Boys out, and says she and Apollo will worry about vacation destinations after the match.
Backstage interview with R-Truth & Carmella!
The FABULOUS Truth is ecstatic for tonight. They had a rough start but are on a roll. They’ll be up against the MMC Champions. Miz & Asuka were worried about every team but Truth & Carmella. Well Miz has run his mouth a long time, and Truth knows that from teaming with Miz back in the day. Truth knows for a fact Asuka carries that team. As for tonight, Mella & Truth will carry SmackDown’s flag all the way to TLC. They vow to win, and that’s the truth. Also, Miz said something about shoes? Check these! Carmella’s kicks are F A B U L O U A S! That’s not how you spell fabulous. That aside, let’s move on to choosing a vacation site. Truth likes the idea of Athens. Greece? Georgia? No, Ohio. Well on to match preparations!
Jinder Mahal & Alicia w/ The Singh Brothers VS Apollo Crews & Bayley!
Team A’n’B already meshed well together when they and The Boss, Sasha Banks, took it to #Mahalicia on Raw. However, Sasha Banks won’t be present to help cancel out Samir & Sunil, will #HugNation be able to overcome Shanti and head to TLC?
Bayley and Apollo talk on the way out, and it’s decided: once they win that vacation, they’ll go to Jamaica. “This one’s for Finn!” The teams then sort out, and the men begin. Apollo circles with Mahal and they tie up. Mahal gets a headlock and the Singhs already celebrate. Apollo powers out but Mahal runs him over with a shoulder. Mahal runs but Apollo gets up, only for Mahal to whip him. Apollo leaps over for the sunset flip, TWO! Backslide, TWO! Apollo rolls Mahal up, TWO! Mahal scrambles away and Alicia tags in. Mahal claims he had this, but Alicia doesn’t care. Vegas fires up for Bayley as she circles with Alicia. Bayley rolls Alicia, TWO! She tries again, ONE! A third time, TWO!
Alicia wants a breather and she bails out of the ring. She reprimands the Singhs and Mahal for not helping out. Alicia wants that 30th spot and vacation, but the Singhs and Mahal remind her she needs to win first. Alicia gets back in the ring, but Bayley gets her with a drop toehold! Bayley wants to put on an abdominal stretch, but Alicia resists. They go around and Bayley gets a facelock. The Singhs say that’s cheating, but Alicia drives Bayley into a corner. Alicia throws forearms then wrenches the arm. She kicks Bayley around then reels her in. Bayley reverses to a cradle, TWO! Bayley gets to a corner and flapjacks Alicia on the buckles! The Singhs coach Alicia up and she tags to Mahal!
Apollo comes in, but Mahal wants him to take it easy. Mahal kicks but Apollo blocks to counter punch. Apollo whips but Mahal hits a body shot. Mahal stomps a mudhole into Apollo, then whips him corner to corner. Apollo goes up and over and handsprings, then leaps over Mahal to hip toss him down. Fans fire up with Apollo and Apollo back flips. He lansd on his feet but walks into a hotshot and big knee! Cover, TWO! Mahal keeps his cool as he drives an elbow into Apollo’s head. He whips Apollo corner to corner hard and Apollo hits the mat. Mahal stomps away but Bayley keeps the Singhs back. Mahal drops knees then grinds Apollo down. The ref counts and Mahal stops at 4. Mahal brings Apollo up in a half nelson chinbar.
Apollo endures as fans rally up, and Apollo fights out. Mahal shoves Apollo and runs him over with an elbow! Cover, TWO! Mahal puts Apollo back in the half nelson, but Apollo endures. Fans rally up and Apollo fights back. Mahal shoves but Apollo kicks back. Apollo runs but into a clobbering clothesline! Mahal pulls back with a camel clutch. Fans rally again but Mahal wrangles Apollo back down. Mahal wrenches back on the chinlock, but Apollo endures. Fans rally up and Apollo gets moving. Apollo arm-drags out and enziguris Mahal down! Both men crawl for their corners, hot tag to Bayley!
Alicia comes in but Bayley rallies! Bayley puts Alicia in a corner for the back elbow, and corner punches! She gets 8, but Alicia slips out. Bayley jumps over to hit a big back suplex! Bayley runs in for the big knee, but Alicia gets to the apron. Alicia bumps Bayley off buckles, but Bayley hotshots her back! Bayley2Belly! Cover, but the Singhs drag Alicia out! The referee reprimands them but Apollo wipes them out with flying clotheslines! Apollo then leaps up again, asai moonsault takes them out again! He feeds Samir to Bayley2Belly! Then the same for Sunil! Bayley fires up but Mahal boots Apollo down! Bayley DIVES on Mahal! She puts Alicia back in, but walks into a boot!! Cover, Mahalicia wins!!
Winners: Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox, Alicia pinning; advance to the MMC Finals at TLC
The dysfunctional duo makes it work! Granted, they succeeded against teams that had substitute members, such as how Curt Hakwins stepped in for Braun Strowman last week. But a win is a win, and now Mahalicia will represent Raw in the Finals! Who will they face in their shot at the 30th spots and the all-expenses-paid vacation?
Backstage interview with Mahalicia.
Did they ever think this day would come? Of course they did! Mahal meditated and visualized, and he sees himself, Alicia, and the Singhs on the beach. Alicia agrees with winning, but NOT with letting the Singhs joining them. They’re successful because SHE is the Captain! She’s driving this ship into Port Victory, without them! But Asuka comes over, laughing at how Mahalicia thinks they’re gonna win. It doesn’t matter what happened on tonight’s SmackDown, Asuka says she’s gonna win, because her match is next!
The Miz & Asuka VS R-Truth & Carmella!
The Season One champions are on the rocks right now as The Empress doesn’t appreciate The A-Lister trying to take credit for her work. Meanwhile, the fourth seed FABULOUS Truth have put in the work to make it back up from the bottom. Will we see another historic upset from Truth and the Princess of Staten Island?
“Las Vegas, make some noise! What’s up!?” The Miz and Asuka aren’t impressed, and aren’t in the mood for that Dance Break the fans are cheering for. The teams sort out and both Miz and Asuka say “I’ve got this.” Fans are on Asuka’s side. Miz concedes, and Asuka starts with Carmella. But then Miz calls over to tag in. Asuka refuses, because she’s got it. But then she chops him, which counts for a tag! Truth comes in and Asuka is annoyed. Truth rolls Miz up! TWO, but Truth stays on Miz. Miz powers out but Truth runs him over. Truth does his bunny hop dance, then things speed up. Truth holds ropes to do the rest of his dance. Miz runs in but Truth dodges to tilt-o-whirl Miz to a corner. Truth runs in to haymaker Miz. The ref backs Truth up and Miz kicks low.
Miz bumps Truth off buckles, then stomps him. Miz whips corner to corner but Truth goes up and over to dab on ’em! This annoys Miz and he runs back in, but Truth does the splits to dodge, then hip tosses Miz down! Truth clotheslines Miz out, and Carmella comes in, for the DANCE BREAK~! Asuka is furious at Miz while Truth and Carmella floss and twerk. Carmella calls out Asuka, so Asuka shows off her moves on the apron. Miz is annoyed but Truth hip tosses Miz back in! Truth throws hands then climbs up for corner punches. He gets 8 before Miz pushes him away and boots Truth down. Miz chokes Truth on the ropes, then hits his straddle attack. Cover, TWO!
Miz keeps on Truth with a camel clutch but Carmella rallies the fans. Truth gets up and fights back. Miz pulls hair to throw Truth down and deny the tag. Miz stalks Truth, to boot him down! Cover, TWO! Truth survives and Miz argues with the ref. Miz hears the fans rally and say “We Want Asuka!” Miz ignores that but gets rocked by haymakers from Truth! Truth back suplexes but Miz lands out to kick low and hit the basement DDT! Cover, but Carmella breaks it! Carmella goes back to her corner, but then Miz mocks the moonwalk. It wasn’t very good, but Miz stomps Truth down. Miz brings Truth up and uses his It Kicks. Miz winds up but misses, Truth rolls him up! TWO, and Miz clobbers Truth with a clothesline!
Fans rally but Miz grins as he runs corner to corner at Truth. He hits the dropkick, then keeps going to hit another. Miz soaks up the heat before running back in, but Truth clobbers him! Both men are down but fans are fired up. Truth and Miz crawl, hot tag brings in the ladies! Carmella rallies with lariats and a kick. She brings Asuka over for a bump off her boot. Asuka’s down but she dodges the bronco buster to then lift Carmella in a waistlock. Carmella screams and shouts to be let down, so Asuka gently sets Carmella back on her feet. To then lift her back up! Carmella fights out but gets the pop-up knee! Asuka runs, sliding wizard! Cover, TWO!
Carmella survives and Asuka grows frustrated. Miz is also frustrated but Asuka stays on Carmella with knees. Carmella jawbreakers and shoves Asuka away, Miz tags in! Miz goes after Truth but Truth punches him away. Truth rallies with the Lie Detector elbow! Cover, but Asuka breaks it! Carmella throws Asuka into buckles, and tunes up the band. She aims at Miz, but Miz uses Asuka as a shield?! The FABULOUS Kick hits Asuka, then Miz shoves Truth into Carmella before rolling Truth up! TWO!! FABULOUS KICK, to Scissor Kick! Cover, TWO!? Miz lives?! Fans are stunned but loving this!
Asuka throws Carmella out, then Miz dumps Truth out. Miz and Asuka catch their breath, but Asuka locks eyes with Miz. She knows what Miz just did, and he tries to say it wasn’t him. Asuka doesn’t believe Miz, she knows what she saw. Miz is afraid of what she’ll do, and says that they’re still a team. They can still win this together! Okay? No! Asuka fires off on Miz!! Buzzsaw! Miz is rocked, and Asuka ditches him! Truth gives Miz an Unprettier! Cover, Fabulous Truth win!!
Winners: R-Truth & Carmella, Truth pinning; advance to the MMC Finals at TLC
The Season One Champions are no longer in the tournament! The A-Lister made a major mistake thinking he could manipulate the Empress of Tomorrow, and now the FABULOUS Truth capitalize! It will be Truth & Carmella VS Mahal & Alicia at TLC, who wins to become the new Mixed Match Challenge Champions?
Last episode, last time for one of these. Admittedly, we all should’ve known, me especially, that this was not going to end with an amazing match up of top stars in the Finals. The big names like Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Charlotte Flair, AJ Styles, etc were only in this second MMC to hook fans. WWE needs people to use Facebook Watch because of the deal they made, so that’s why we got great combinations to start. But naturally, it was all bait and switch, considering how those same big names would inevitably end up in more important stories like the titles and grudges we’re getting at TLC. Rest in peace, my dream of Bullet Club leaders and NXT Four Horsewomen members all in one match.
As for the bracket we did get, I knew it was going to end up this way. I thought Apollo was going to be Bayley’s second chance at that 30th spot after Finn had to step down for the sake of his match against Drew McIntyre. Then San Jose could cheer on their hometown girl as she goes against SmackDown’s finalist. However, Mahalicia still wins so that they are the Heels of the Finals. And while I knew Truth & Carmella were going to go in once Asuka ended up in the TLC Triple Threat, I really enjoy how they wrote it for the match. It was only a matter of time before Asuka got fed up with Miz’s ego, and this was the breaking point. Truth and Carmella will certainly benefit the most from being the 30th entrants, even if they aren’t destined to win the Rumbles.