Well, everyone, this is the final day of the Five Star Grand Prix.
I hope you all enjoyed both me and Andrew’s readings and since our final matches and the final day are all on the same show, we will be covering just our matches this time instead of doing a jointed show as we did for the previous ones and we’ll both be covering the final round in both of our reviews so you can get the perspective from both our sides. Who will win Blue Stars block and who will walk out the winner?
Will my block finally win the whole thing or will Andrew beat me with a clean sweep? All of these questions and more will be answered right now as we…dive right in.
Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Saki Kashima vs. Jamie Hayter
Review: Both of our women who are in last place are set to face each other in the opening match of the tournament. Even though they have no chance of winning the tournament and they’re not fighting anyone that would ruin their chances of advancing, they would still have to fight each other and will give us a good match at least without worrying about points. Which of these two will no longer be in dead last?
Would you look at that, Saki changed up her attire and looks a lot better here. This match is honestly the worst one in my entire block and it’s a real shame since both of them are talented, but it was just sloppy and poorly constructed. Saki did a botched Crucifix pin and the bell rang despite it being a two count and the referee had to correct the timekeeper, but that was one of the few problems with the match. None of them would help carry the other and it was poorly paced, but at least it was less than four minutes otherwise I probably would’ve given it a lower rating. Jamie barely held her up for a Suplex and hardly hits a Backstabber when she dropped her as she got the win. Think the only good thing I can say about this match is Saki’s new makeover.
Rating: Vince Russo and a half (My first Vince Russo after I introduced this rating system)
Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Kelly Klein vs. Nicole Savoy
Review: Right now, Kelly Klein has a chance to win the whole block right now since she has eight points and can go onto ten if she would somehow win and even if Mayu would defeat Momo tonight, Kelly would still advance due to her defeating Mayu in the tournament. Kelly’s last opponent for the block is Nicole Savoy who has a middle record and she could spoil it for Kelly if she plays it right. Will Kelly win or will her goal be out of reach by the edge of her fingertips?
Okay, while this one wasn’t that great of a match, it was at least much better than the first match is all I can say as much. Kelly was doing what she does best and it was overpowering the technical female any chance she would get or so she would think as Nicole found an opening on Kelly’s leg, which is smart to take out someone bigger than you. It was a basic six-minute match and it was fine with what they did work with and Kelly was about to pick up Nicole to go for the Fireman’s Carry, but her leg started giving out and that was all Nicole would need to put her in the Boston Crab as Kelly taps out meaning she’s eliminated.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) September 25, 2018
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Hazuki vs. Natsu Sumire
Review: Nice Kelly was unable to win her match against Nicole, that means Hazuki now has a chance to advance and potentially win the whole thing if things work out in her favor. However, if she wants to get closer to advancing, she would have to defeat fellow Oedo Tai member, Natsu Sumire. This can work out in two ways, Sumire could eat the pin to help Hazuki advance despite it meaning she could fight their leader and Prime Minister for the title or she could fight and be the spoiler for Hazuki. What will Sumire do?
We have all of the Oedo Tai members here, Kagetsu, Sumire, Hazuki, Nao Yamaguchi, and Hana Kimura as they all do the dance together, this is awesome! However, Sumire would ruin the celebration as she attacked Hazuki from behind and the match starts. The match was just simply entertainment from Sumire’s character and Hazuki showing why she’s one of the companies top talents from her wrestling skills and how she can have control of the match so fluently to pretty much work with everyone. Sumire held herself pretty well when she was wrestling in the match and just played everything off exactly how she would in this type of match and I’m glad they actually had a match instead of her taking the pin and ending it. Hazuki gave Sumire a hard slap to the face and Sumire would give her one in return as Hazuki ran the ropes for Sumire to try and catch her into a cradle until Hazuki turned it around into the Hazukistral as she picked up the win and is now in first place! Sumire threw a tiny little tantrum before she shook Hazuki’s hand and they hugged it out before leaving the ring. Great work ladies and Hazuki is one step closer and it all depends on how the last match plays out.
Rating: Eric Bischoff
Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe
Review: Since Hazuki was able to defeat Natsu Sumire, she has a good chance of making it to the finals but we have one more match to go before we can decide a clear winner. Mayu Iwatani’s final match is up against the Wonder of Stardom Champion, Momo Watanabe. If Mayu somehow wins this match, she’ll be able to move onto the final round but if Momo wins then it would mean there will be a tie between her and Hazuki with nine points each and it’ll be interesting to see how management will decide who will advance there. Who will win it all, Mayu or Momo?
Soon after the bell rang, Mayu would start to go for the Dragon Suplex Hold and Momo would quickly reverse it to go for the Tequila Sunrise and I loved that was how they started this match off because it gave it that feeling that it could end at any given time if you’re not careful enough. One thing I enjoy about this match is that we now get to see how Momo does against a top talent in a singles match since last time that happened was when she defeat Io Shirai, so now this is just another test to herself. The match was smooth, intense, and gave both women an equal amount of time to showcase their stuff together in the match to make them both look strong. Momo started to step it up when she hits the Somato to Mayu and doesn’t stop there as she hits two more in a row to show how much she wants to win this match. I know I keep talking about how great Mayu is at selling and it still is with how she takes everything and selling the injuries of her elbow in the match, her selling is enough to tell the story of her matches and she just delivers in it. When they were outside the ring, Momo would hit her Package Driver on the floor and she brings her in to hit the Tequila Sunrise as Mayu kicks out of it. Momo went to go for another Tequila Sunrise but Mayu would roll under her to try and get the pin but Momo kicks out of it, but Mayu hits the Dragon Suplex Hold and just as the referee is counting, the bell rang meaning the match ended in a draw.
Since the match ended in a time limit draw, Mayu has nine points and Momo has eight points, meaning that Mayu and Hazuki are tied for first place. And now that both Mayu and Hazuki are tied for first place, it would go to the person that won the match involving these two, meaning that Mayu Iwatani has won the Blue Stars block and will now advance to the final round against the winner of the Red Stars block, which you should check out in Andrew’s coverage or you’re an idiot for missing out. Not all is lost for Momo Watanabe because in a press conference about a week ago, it was announced that Momo would be taking on Kagetsu and it’ll be a title for title match and it will take place on the September 30th show. I’m sure it’ll end in a time limit draw, but there are also different scenarios they could plan out if they do decide to go with one of them being a double crown champion.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) September 26, 2018
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Final Blue Stars Standings:
Mayu Iwatani: 4-2-1 (9 Points) (Winner)
Hazuki: 4-2-1 (9 Points)
Kelly Klein: 4-3 (8 Points)
Momo Watanabe: 3-2-2 (8 Points)
Nicole Savoy: 4-3 (8 Points)
Jamie Hayter: 3-4 (6 Points)
Saki Kashima: 2-5 (4 Points)
Natsu Sumire: 2-5 (4 Points)
Grand Prix Final Match
Mayu Iwatani vs. Utami Hayashishita
Review: It looks like I got one of my finalists right since I said Mayu and Konami would be fighting each other in the finals, but Konami was eliminated from the tournament and Mayu was able to advance due to a tiebreaker between her and Hazuki, so my top pick barely made it. Mayu Iwatani will be taking on the winner of the Red Stars block and Stardoms Super Rookie, Utami Hayashishita. I was very surprised to see Utami make it this far in the tournament since I expected her to have an average record, but she blew my expectations away as she only lost to Kagetsu and had two draws while she won the rest of her matches and even defeated Konami to advance to the finals. One of these two talented women will win and go on to fight Kagetsu for the World of Stardom Championship. Which one will win?
For those of you that do remember, I wrote an article about four months ago about the departure of Io Shirai in Stardom and I asked people who should take her spot as the top person and while it’s now both Mayu Iwatani and Kagetsu, we’ll soon have to look at the future of the company with Momo Watanabe being one of them, I saw another one right in front of me and that woman is Utami Hayashishita. Is it a bold thing to say? Probably and is she still green? Of course, she is, she’s only been wrestling for about a month and a half, but she’s already been in the ring with some of the best that the company has to offer and has been keeping up with them in a surprising pace to show that she is a quick learner. Utami just has the look of someone you see at first glance and go, “She’s a star.” and she is, in fact, a star in the making if you polish up her style a little bit more and in a couple of years, she could be the face of the company.
Onto the match now, Utami was again able to keep up with the best wrestler Stardom has to off and that right now is Mayu as they gave us fans a great match to end the whole tournament. Utami displayed her power with her strength and technical ability to wear and tear Mayu’s body, especially her elbow which was exposed in the match and you can see the bandages surrounding it. Mayu has done an excellent job in the match to make Utami look like a real threat in the match with her selling and how she was telling the story in the ring, and that’s one of the reasons why Mayu is great at what she does and has been for quite some time. Utami had Mayu up for the Torture Rack and she was gonna try to make her tap out but she decided to do a Reverse Samoan Drop which was a thousand times better than when Kona Reeves did it and Mayu was able to kick out of it. Mayu starts to get fired up as she would deliver a stiff kick to her head for a two count but quickly goes up the top rope to hit the Frog Splash as Utami kicks out again just barely. Mayu would pick Utami back up and she held her for the Dragon Suplex Hold and she hits it for the pin and Mayu has won the Five Star Grand Prix!
One year ago, she injured her elbow and was forced to vacate the World of Stardom Championship and for the past year, Mayu would try to prove herself in the ring to crawl all the way back to the top spot, she failed to capture the title twice, lost the Cinderella Tournament, and she now won the Grand Prix to show that she’s the best Stardom has to offer. After the match, Mayu was presented with a robe and a crown that was placed on her head until it fell off of her, way to go. The rest of the participants would get a smaller trophy as a little participation thing as least while Mayu would get the bigger trophy. Mayu grabs the microphone to talk about that she won the tournament and how her journey has been for her these past few years about how she would start off in three-way matches and now she’s on the top of the promotion. She said she had to talk about something important to the audience despite winning the tournament and it was about retirement, and how she’s not gonna retire soon and her wrestling life is far from over, but she did have someone she would like to introduce to people. Arisa Hoshiki has made her return to Stardom!
Arisa was one of the first graduates of Stardom and has competed in their very first show, they also paired up together when they were rookies, but she left the company around 2012 and had the Saki Kashima route where she hasn’t wrestled ever since. However, she said after being away from wrestling for six and a half years, the 23-year-old wrestler has announced that she will be making her return to Stardom and hopes to tag with Mayu again real soon. I think this is wonderful news and from what I have seen from her old matches, she was a lot of fun to watch and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. Mayu talked about how every time she wins a big match, someone would return to Stardom like how Yoko Bito came back when she won the Cinderella Tournament a couple years ago and now Arisa Hoshiki when she won the Grand Prix, so now she believes that if she keeps winning big matches that everyone will come back to Stardom. She’s aware that Kagetsu and Momo are fighting in a few days in a double title match and she said she’ll challenge the World of Stardom Champion whoever it is out of those two next month. So what’s next for Utami? I thought it would be a good idea for her to win the Future of Stardom Championship as her first belt, but Andrew did bring up a good point about how while she does have the qualifications to go for the belt, it would feel a little bit of a downgrade due to the fact that she fought all of these big names and is now a well-established star in the making that it wouldn’t feel right and he has a point there, plus she’d be too good compared to the others in that division with the exception of Starlight Kid and AZM of course. Since that’s the case, maybe she could be the one that could possibly dethrone Momo if she still has her Wonder of Stardom Championship? Either that or go for the Goddesses of Stardom Championships if she can get a partner. Anyway, congrats to Mayu Iwatani, you have earned this and now go do what you gotta do and that is win it all next month.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Overall: The tournament is now officially over as my block finally won the whole thing after losing the last three tournaments and it couldn’t have happened to a better wrestler. Both blocks have had enjoyable matches with great stories and probably one of my favorite events this year and tied in G1 with tournament quality. Now that Mayu has won the Grand Prix, can she reclaim what’s hers?
Favorite Match: Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe
Least Favorite Match: Saki Kashima vs. Jamie Hayter
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling Uncaged Ratings & Review
With the tag titles changing hands last week, do we see more changes with Impact Wrestling Uncaged?
With the tag titles changing hands last week, do we see more changes with Impact Wrestling Uncaged?
The pseudo-PPV atmosphere is sure to bring in more consistent viewership, but they’re in an interesting spot. Taya and Tessa are really the only two credible Knockouts unless Gail comes out of retirement (since Rosemary, Su and Jordynne are in the same storyline), so we’ll probably see this get extended somehow. As for the other title match, The Machine has a lot of support and wrestling fans all know the money is in the chase. So I could see Cage getting “screwed” again, but I’d much rather see Cage with the title.
So let’s get hype for the show with a video package of the returning Reno Scum!
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
- Knockout’s Championship Street Fight: Tessa Blanchard vs Taya Valkyrie (c) – Taya retains via Double Footstomp through Table – *** 3/4
- ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page vs Willie Mack: Mack wins via Stunner – ** 1/2
- Elimination 4v4: Team Impact (Fallah Bahh, Sami Callihan, Eli Drake & Eddie Edwards) vs Team AAA (Puma King, Psycho Clown, Hijo del Vikingo & Aerostar): Team AAA 4-3 – *** 3/4
- Fatal 4 Way Impact World Championship: Killer Kross vs Moose vs Johnny Impact (c) vs Brian Cage: Johnny retains via Starship Pain on Moose – *** 1/4
Both women come out with throwback shirts. Tessa comes out with the old school Four Horsemen shirt and Taya comes out in her Perros de Mal shirt (old Triple A stable she was in with Perro Aguayo Jr). This match was a little awkward at times, and the first table they had ” La Wera Loca vs Diamond” painted on, didn’t break after two spear attempts. Really good hardcore style action, with chairs, insults, ring posts and another table. Definitely more of a brawl than wrestling, but after the table didn’t break the subsequent spots seemed to be a little off. Still a solid match, entertaining to watch, good way to start off the Uncaged show. Dios perdona, los perros no.
After a quick promo with Team Impact, Scarlett joins Melissa during the commercial break moment and she’s barely dressed and her and Melissa start doing squats. I mean they’re doubling down on sex sells, and I’m not even mad.
Mack and Page was a solid match. Good brawling, Willie’s agility outlasted Page’s strikes. One would assume the winner should be closer to an X Division title shot at least. So it should be interesting where this leads.
Killer Kross follows that with his typical chilling, slightly unhinged promo, and damn it was well done.
The interesting thing about the commercial break stuff tonight is Melissa doing live interviews with different people. It’s kinda neat, like extra content.
Team Triple A has a clap back promo after the commercial, which says the Cup is staying in Mexico. If memory serves, Team Triple A beat Team TNA in the first World X Cup, so I’m curious if they’ll pull from that for a storyline.
Sami Callihan calls out Swann one more time, Swann throws the shirt at Callihan, so a fight ensues. Swann gets the best of things momentarily, but an eye gauge allows Sami the opening to toss Rich around a little, Piledriver him on the stage and then Powerbomb him off the stage through a table. So I guess Sami will get the X Divison shot, but might have to go through Willie Mack first in the following weeks before Rebellion.
A lot of fun fast paced action, good dives, good strikes, nice story telling and only one slip so far from Aerostar. Eli Drake is the first one eliminated by Puma King because he tries to tell Eddie to not use the kendo stick, but tries to use it himself, Eddie catches him and takes his stick back, then pushing Eli. So one Gedo Clutch later, Eli is eliminated by pinfall. Fallah Bah eliminates Vikingo after a Twisted Running Powerslam. Aerostar eliminates Bahh after a Crucifix Pin when Bahh misses the Banzai Drop. Boston Knee Party from Eddie eliminates Aerostar. Piledriver from Sami eliminates Puma King. Two on one advantage with Sami and Eddie against Psycho Clown. Eddie hits a Boston Knee Party lays out Psycho Clown, but Sami pushes Eddie off and tries to steal the spotlight, only a two count, Psycho Rolls Up Sami for the pinfall elimination. Eddie has Psycho on the ropes, but Eli returns, takes Kenny the Kendo Stick and distracts Eddie. Then he hits Eddie to give Psycho a shot to hit a Backstabber, followed up the La Magistral for the victory. So Impact kinda played themselves, but it was a damn good match with a lot to unpack.
Melissa finally returns after a few commercial breaks off, with Sami Callihan and David Crist. This was ridiculous but great. Just erratic idiocy, they steal Melissa’s sandals at some point, David sings “Hey there Samuel” and Sami does a pitch like a dating service while Melissa is getting her sandals. So dumb, but great.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
Small promotional video package for Reno Scum. Returning to Impact for the first time since the first wave of GFW “invasion” (nearly 2 years).
A quick little moment with Dark Allie, Su Yung and Rosemary, followed by a commercial with Melissa and KM & Fallah Bahh. Very funny, Melissa plays off the wrestlers well. She needs to stick around since she’s got a nice personality and seems to work well with most of the guys.
Scarlett with a weird video package, her in a bed, a little moan and showing cleavage is her formula. So if it ain’t broke, I’m not gonna fix it, shut up, stop judging me!
LAX joins Melissa before the main event and the Latina comes out in her. She’s more animated that usual, very fun and entertaining. She even busts their chops a little, but they take it in stride and seem to enjoy each other’s company.
Since the match starts with only about 12 minutes before time limit the match wasn’t going to be a technical masterpiece, but for what it was it was fun. It was more of a brawl, since there were 3 bigger guys. Kross had a bunch of moments looking like a beat, Cage looked like a million bucks hitting the Drill Claw on both Moose and Kross. But Johnny pulled the opportunistic thing, and while Kross and Cage were tied up, Johnny pulls Moose to the corner, barely hits Starship Pain and sneaks in a pinfall before Cage finishes the Drill Claw + pin on Kross. So Johnny retains while looking like a punk, and the crowd wanted nothing to do with him. Terminator claps most of the match.
.@MrGMSI_BCage had the World Championship right within his fingertips once again…
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Solid solid show from start to finish. Tessa and Taya got things kicked off well, Melissa doing backstage interviews as the Twitch commercial break stuff was great. World Cup match was fun and set up a few storylines for the Impact stars while Team Triple A got the home field advantage win. Main event was a little disappointing to be honest. Johnny has worn out his fan support both in Mexico and on Twitch chat. Granted yes, I’m hopeful this is building towards a big blow off at Rebellion, maybe with Cage going over and Austin Aries returning, but I guess we’ll have to see.
Also from the main event, we see some cracks in the Moose and Kross alliance, so that could definitely be an interesting match in the near future.
So yeah, we have a lot to chew on moving into TV tapings for the shows leading up to Rebellion, but from a completely playlist mentality view point, Cage got screwed. Brian Cage better be getting this damn title soon, or I want him to put Don Callis through the announce table.
Now the weekly Twitch viewers portion:
- Week 1: High – 10,350 / Low – 8,500
- Week 2: High – 8,000 / Low – 6,500
- Week 3: High – 8,500 / Low – 7,900
- Week 4: High – 7,100 / Low – 5,300
- Week 5: High – 7,450 / Low – 5,650
- Uncaged: High – 9,000/ Low – 8,000
Well it looks like people just need a reason to tune in. Not only was this week mostly main event talent, but since the event had was named, I feel like people just expected better quality. So still no record breaking high, but solid numbers throughout the entire show.
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Beginning in Sapporo Part 2!
Who leaves Sapporo with the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles?
NJPW continues in Sapporo with two HUGE tag team matches! The Rainmaker and The Ace look for further revenge while EVIL & SANADA defend their tag titles!
This coverage of New Beginning in Sapporo will be as aired by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki; EVIL & SANADA win and retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
- Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale; White & Fale win.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene!
The Ace is once again IWGP Heavyweight Championship after dethroning The Best Bout Machine at Wrestle Kingdom 13! But the record-setting 8-time champion has a very determined challenger in The Switchblade. Jay White has Gedo and the Bullet Club by his side, and now has his title match in Osaka! But before then, Hiroshi Tanahashi will look to slow White down with the help of his old rival, Kazuchika Okada! Will this amazing tag team be able to defeat White and Bad Luck Fale? Or will it only be a sampling of the Cutthroat Era’s coming?
And before that, Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Heavyweight Tag Team Champions broke even with their challengers in singles competition. Now it is time to face off for the titles! Can the two-time Tag League and Two Time Tag Champions be able to overcome the Undisputed British Tag Team Champions? Or will Suzuki-Gun have two tag titles around their waists? That match is now!
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki!
Why wait for bells when you just wanna fight? Suzuki and ZSJ go right at Evil & Sanada as they enter the ring! ZSJ stomps Evil while Suzuki mugs Sanada on the outside. Red Shoes holds the belts, but Suzuki gets one to choke Sanada with it. Suzuki whips Sanada but Sanada reverses to send Suzuki into railing! Evil and ZSJ end up the leg men and brawl while the introductions are made. Evil whips ZSJ and goes to hip toss, but ZSJ counters to an abdominal stretch. ZSJ denies a counter but Evil still hip tosses out! Tag to Sanada, and LIJ go after ZSJ together. Double whips, clothesline, back senton! Cover, TWO! ZSJ rolls away but Sanada stalks him to a corner. Cold Skull whips ZSJ corner to corner but ZSj goes up and over. He fakes Sanada and rolls him up, TWO!
Sanada knees and whips ZSJ but ZSJ denies the dropkick. ZSJ misses the Peantly Kick, and Sanada trips him up! Sanada gets ZSJ in the Paradise Lock, but ZSJ slips out and toys with him. ZSJ kicks Sanada, but Sanada knees back. Sanada whips but ZSJ reverses. Suzuki gets a cheap shot and gets Sanada in a hanging armbar! ZSJ hits Evil just because. Suzuki lets Sanada go then goes after Evil. ZSJ keeps on Sanada and Suzuki mugs Evil. Suzuki brings Evil out to the crowd to bowl him through chairs. Suzuki laughs as he rams Evil with the railing. Then he throws chairs onto Evil! ZSJ twists Sanada around for a modified Octopus, then he hammerlock stomps an arm! Suzuki searches under the ring while ZSJ gives Sanada a shoulder breaker. Suzuki has a folding chair to jab Evil in the head!
The ring count passes 17, but Sanada manage to make it in at 19.5! ZSJ is on Sanada with an arm bar, to hammerlock, then digs his elbows into Sanada’s spine. ZSJ pulls back on Sanada’s free arm from wrist to elbow for another hammerlock. He makes it a buttefly of sorts, then a cover, TWO! ZSJ drags Sanada over and tags in Suzuki. Suzuki takes Sanada and wrenches, but then ZSJ wrenches, and they keep passing Sanada for wrenches. ZSJ boots the arm and then Suzuki boots the arm. Sanada clutches that tortured arm but Suzuki goes after it more against the ropes. REd Shoes counts but Suzuki lets go at 4. Suzuki toys with Sanada now, but Sanada hits back. Suzuki just laughs again and throws forearms back. They go back and forth, but Suzuki hits hard. The champs are in trouble while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns while Suzuki taunts Sanada. Sanada does sit up but Suzuki’s right on him with fast forearms. Suzuki kicks but Sanada dragon screws, only for Suzuki to counter into an armbar! ZSJ hits Evil to keep him away, but Sanada resists the arm. Suzuki gets the arms apart and has Sanada at full extension! Sanada flails while ZSJ keeps Evil down with his own armlock! Suzuki pulls as hard as he can, but Sanada gets a ropebreak with his feet. Suzuki holds on to slam the arm on the mat. Tag to ZSJ and he hands the wrench off to ZSJ. ZSJ hammerlocks and tweaks Sanada’s arm. ZSJ sits down on the arm to practically triangle it! Suzuki keeps Evil at bay with an armbar on the ropes! ZSJ shifts his weight into a modified Labell meets Rings of Saturn!
Suzuki tortures Evil on the apron but Red Shoes can’t do anything about that while he watches ZSJ and Sanada. Sanada shifts again and gets another ropebreak via feet. Suzuki keeps on Evil with body shots while ZSJ lets Sanada go. ZSJ dares Sanada to stand, and then rock shim with a European Uppercut. Sanada returns the EuroUpper, but his arms are hurting. ZSj shoulder breakers, then catches the leap frog for a flapjack! Penalty kick is CAUGHT! Dragon Screw! Suzuki runs in and gets a dragon screw, too! Fans rally for LIJ as Evil tags in! The King of Darkness rallies on ZSJ! He scoop slams ZSJ hard, then rocks him with forearms. Evil whips but ZSJ reverses, only for Evil to run him over!
Fans rally as Evil drags ZSJ up. ZSJ kicks but Evil blocks it to elbow the knee. ZSJ grabs the arm but Evil counters to a shoulder breaker! Evil blocks another kick, Fisherman Buster! Cover, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as fans fire up again. He drags ZSJ up again and turns him, but ZSJ turns and suplexes Evil! Then the neck twist! Both men are down from exhaustion, but they still come back for more. ZSJ wants revenge for Sapporo Part 1 as he throws EuroUppers. Things speed up and each man dodges the other, but then ZSJ runs into Evil’s lariat! Evil drags ZSJ up, fireman’s carry, but ZSj reverses to a Pele! ZSJ kicks then sweeps the legs! Both men are down again but Suzuki returns. Suzuki tags in and goes right at Evil with forearms.
Suzuki whips Evil corner to corner and boots him. He snapmares and Penalty Kicks! Cover, TWO! Evil barely escapes, but Suzuki toys with him now. Suzuki throws haymakers, then boots, but Evil hands it off to Red Shoes! Evil SUPERKICKS Suzuki down! Tag to Sanada! Sanada whips but Suzuki reverses. Sanada tumbles, springboards, but into Suzuki’s sleeper! ZSJ hits Evil again, and then helps Suzuki corner to corner train on Sanada! Snapmare, DOBULE Peanlty Kicks! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives that string of attacks, but Suzuki stomps him down. We can hear someone throw the other into railing while Suzuki hammers away on Sanada in the corner. Red Shoes backs Suzuki off, but Suzuki runs back in. Sanada dodges, and Evil returns for a corner clothesline! He feeds Suzuki to Sanada’s back suplex!
Evil hits ZSJ and now LIJ has Suzuki isolated! They call for the finish and fans are thunderous! Evil lifts Suzuki, but ZSJ stops Magic Killer. Suzuki rolls Sanada into an Ankle Lock! ZSJ has Evil in the Octopus! Suzuki shifts to a kneebar! Sanada endures teh grapevine’d move, and Suzuki even grabs an arm! Sanada grabs Red Shoes to keep himself from tapping! ZSJ has shifted Evil into a grounded twist! Neither LIJ can get free as Suzuki shifts the position of his kneebar! Sanada endures, as does Evil. Fans cheer LIJ on, but Suzuki just twists the ankle harder! Sanada uses one last gas to get the ropebreak! Suzuki lets Sanada go, to come back for a sleeper. And then ZSJ Penalty Kicks! Suzuki also Penalty Kicks! Cover, but Evil breaks it in time!
Suzuki-Gun drags LIJ up but LIJ fights back! Suzuki wants his piledriver, and ZSJ wants his, but Evil and Sanada deny those, for Darkness Falls and TKO in stereo! LIJ fires up as they go after Suzuki again. MAGIC KILLER!! Cover, but ZSJ breaks it just in time! Sanada grabs Suzuki and Evil gets ZSJ. Skull End, but ZSJ counters the STO! Evil counters back, EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! And then for Suzuki, True Skull End, but Suzuki slips through! Sleeper, Gotch hold, but Evil saves Sanada! Everything is countered, but the Sleeper is escaped. MAGIC KILLER AGAIN!! Sanada climbs while Evil takes ZSJ out, Moonsault! Cover, LIJ wins!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, Sanada pinning; still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
The King of Darkness and Cold Skull are still golden! Suzuki-Gun’s quest to have two different companies’ tag titles has not worked out, it’ll be back to the drawing board for them. However, will Evil & Sanada now have a claim to the British Heavyweight Tag Team Championships?
Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale!
The Rainmaker and The Ace have fought hard over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the claim to being the best one ever, but now they are united in making sure the Switchblade does NOT become champion! Will this all-star alliance succeed against the new Bullet Club leader and his Underboss underling?
White refuses to let this dream team have their photo op. He insists he is the historic wrestler everyone should take pictures of, not the old generation. Tanahashi and Okada bite their tongues and bide their time, they’ll get at White after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns and White starts against Tanahashi. Fans are strongly behind The Ace but White just chuckles. They circle and Gedo can be heard shouting “You’re stupid!” at commentary. White lunges but Tanahashi stays away. They tie up and go around, and Tanahashi manages to power White to a corner. White turns it around, but backs off, only to get the leg! White grins as he shows how easy he could’ve gone after the bad leg. He backs off but tries a sucker punch! Tanahashi dodges and headlocks, and he grinds White down. White gets up but can’t power out of Tanahashi’s grip. Tanahashi grinds White down again but White fights out with body shots. White powers out this time, but Tanahashi fakes him out to get him back in the headlock!
Tanahashi grinds White on the mat but White powers back up. White again can’t power out so he pulls hair! Tanahashi pulls White’s hair in return! Tanahashi throws body shots then whips, but White reverses. White runs into an elbow, Tanahashi springboard crossbodies! Tanahashi air guitars and tosses it out. He brings White over and tags Okada. Okada and Tanahashi whip White and double elbow him down. Okada back sentons, then Tanahashi somersault sentons. The dream team shake hands and drop double elbows! Fans are loving this already! Okada drags White up and fans are thunderous for him. He snapmares White and then hits a running basement dropkick! Okada drags White up but White powers him to the corner. Tag to Fale, but Okada gets away.
Okada and Fale circle and tie up. Fale shoves Okada but Okada’s right back with hammering hands! Okada whips but Fale reverses and whips Okada hard into buckles! Fale looms over Okada then stomps him down. Fale drags Okada up and talks trash, so Okada hits back. Okada runs and handsprings over the back drop! He wants a sleeper and hops on as a backpack. Fale endures then drops back! Okada lets Fale go, and White attacks Tanahashi! White goes after Tanahashi on the outside and throws him into barriers! Okada bails out but Fale gives chase. Fale throws Okada into barriers, too! White chokes Tanahashi with camera cables! White says he IS the next champion! Fans boo while Fale takes a towel and chokes Okada with it. It was an Okada Dollar towel, too!
White keeps on Tanahashi in the front row with Euro Uppers. White takes apart barriers to throw the railings onto Tanahashi. He buries Tanahashi while the ring count climbs. Then White scoops slams a Young Lion onto Tanahashi! Fale chokes Okada on the ropes in the ring. Red Shoes backs Fale off, but he comes back to drag Okada up and dump him out. White goes right at Okada by ramming him into the apron and then the railing! And then the apron again, and then the railing! White rams Okada into the apron once more, then throws forearms. Red Shoes finally spots this and reprimands White. White plays innocent as he puts Okada back in the ring. Fale tags White in, and White soaks up the heat.
White runs corner to corner for a huge Euro Upper, and then suplexes Okada into the buckles! Cover, TWO!! Somehow Okada escapes! White takes his frustrations out on Tanahashi, then returns to Okada. White grinds his forearm into Okada’s face, then puts on a Half Crab. Fans rally up for Okada and Okada crawls for ropes. White pulls harder but Tanahashi comes it go after White. Fale throws Tanahashi out, and then tags back in. Fale goes after Okada’s leg with stomps. Okada hits back and clubs Fale. Okada hops on for a guillotine, but Fale simply puts Okada in the Bullet Club corner. Fale stomps a mudhole into Okada then tags White. White drags Okada up for a CHOP! White follows Okada to the open corner, then tells Tanahashi this CHOP is for him.
Fans continue to rally as White snapmares Okada into a chinlock. Okada feeds off the energy and fights out with body shots. Okada runs but into White’s back elbow! Cover, TWO! White keeps on Okada with another chinlock. Okada endures while Tanahashi and the fans rally up again. Okada gets up and fights back again, but White clubs him down. White puts Okada in a corner and whips corner to corner, but Okada reverses. Okada runs into White’s boot. White runs but into a flapjack! Both men are down but stirring while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns once more, and Okada crawls for his corner. Hot tag to Tanahashi! White stands and The Ace fires off forearms on him! Tanahashi whips but White reverses, only for Tanahashi to forearm him down! Tanahashi dropkicks Fale then goes after White again. He scoop slams White into a drop zone, then hops up. Second rope somersault senton hits! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his cool while fans rally up again. Tanahashi waits for White to stand then runs, but he runs into a CHOP! But he keeps going, only to run into another CHOP! Tanahashi still shakes it off, but runs into a waistlock. He elbows out but White chop blocks the bad leg! White catches his breath as he looms over Tanahashi.
White scoops Tanahshi but Tanahashi fights out. Tanahashi waistlocks but WHite standing switches to a saido suplex! Both men are down but White tags out to Fale. Fale corners Tanahashi and throws big body shots. Then he throws bit clubbing forearms! He taunts the fans and they boo back as he drags Tanahashi up. Fale whips corner to corner then runs in, but misses! Tanahashi waistlocks, but Fale’s too big for a German Suplex! Fale fights out of the waistlock, then suplexes Tanahashi. Okada saves Tanahashi, and then they double suplex Fale together! Fans rally up again and Tanahashi crawls, but he dropkicks White first! Hot tag to Okada!
The Rainmaker forearms and whips Fale, but Fale reverses. Okada hits Fale then hits the DDT! Okada kips up and fans fire up again! He drags Fale up and manages a scoop slam! Okada winces just a moment before climbing up top. Fale gets under and Okada rolls through. Okada runs back but into a Samoan Drop! Fale hits a big splash! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but White goes after Tanahashi! White puts Tanahashi into railing while fans cheer Okada on. Fale aims, grabs Okada, but the Grenade is denied with a dropkick! Okada wants to lift Fale!? Fale reverses but Okada slips out. Okada runs but gets run over! Both men are down but Tanahashi returns to the corner. Hot tags to Tanahashi and White!
The Ace and Switchblade each dodge each other. White trash talks Tanahashi but the brawl is on! Tanahashi hits, then White hits, repeat. They build up speed back and forth, then White throws several. Tanahashi gives them all back, but White kicks out the bad leg. White whips but Tanahashi reverses. Tanahashi dodges and slingblades White down! Cover, TWO!! Okada hits Fale then tells Tanahashi to finish this. Tanahashi gets the Cloverleaf but White rakes the eyes! White kicks Tanahashi away while Fale puts Okada into barriers. Tanahashi dragon screws White! Fale runs in but Tanahashi blocks, hands off to Okada and Okada dragon screws! Tanahashi returns to White, running, but Gedo swipes him! White gets Tanahashi with a Complete Shot to German Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!!
Fans are thunderous again as White slashes the throat. He drags Tanahashi up into position, and Fale chases Okada. Okada saves Tanahashi then has to fight off Fale. Fale rebounds, Tanahashi slingblades him down! White rocks Tanahashi, but Okada dropkicks him down! The dream team have each other’s backs! And they both power up to combine forces! Gut wrench to TOMBSTONE! Hand off, to STYLES CLASH! Tanahashi rolls White, for Okada’s elbow! Fans are at a fever pitch, but Gedo distracts Tanahashi. Fale attacks Tanahashi and dumps him off the top rope! Red Shoes reprimands Gedo but it’s too late. Okada leaps but into the Grenade! Fale corner splashes Tanahashi, and gives him a Grenade! Fale crushes Tanahashi with his boot while White crawls over. White has Fale stand down so he can finish Tanahashi.
White drags Tananashi up, fireman’s carry, Death Valley Driver! Cover, TWO!? Tanahashi survives but White isn’t done. He slashes the throat, drags Tanahashi, but ends up in Twist ‘n’ Shout! Fale whips Tanahashi but Tanahashi reverses to another Twist ‘n’ Shout! Red Shoes keeps Gedo out of the ring, but White gets a chair in the distraction! White swings but misses, Tanahashi slingblades White down! Tanahashi sees Fale coming, and manages a German Suplex! Gedo is in, but his brass knuckles miss to get a slap! White SMACKS Tanahashi from behind! Fans boo as White gets away with it. Dragon screw to the mat! And another! And then an inverted Figure Four! Okada wants to get in but Fale drags him back out. Tanahashi endures while Okada fights Fale off. So Gedo drags Okada out! Fale SPLASHES Okada! Fale lifts Okada, Bad Luck Fall!
Tanahashi still endures as White wrenches and pulls as hard as he can on the hold! Fale keeps his eyes on Okada while Tanahashi reaches and flails. Tanahashi taps, White and Fale win!!
Winners: Jay White & Bad Luck Fale, White by submission
The unthinkable has happened! The Switchblade has made the IWGP Heavyweight Champion tap out! Is the Cutthroat Era inevitable?
White picks up the belt and the mic to address Sapporo. White looks down at Tanahashi and says, “I told you that I would beat you and take this belt from you.” People think it’ll be a shock when White wins, but it will not be! White’s already beaten Tanahashi and everyone NJPW has to offer. And he made Tanahashi submit! Gedo rubs it in, but can The Ace pull off a miracle in Osaka?
White says “You can give it multiple names.” Call it Tanahashi is White’s “b*tch”, you can call it TGU: Tanahashi Gave Up. No, TTO: Tanahashi Tapped Out. That’s what the inverted figure four will be! Put it everywhere! #TTO!
Tanahashi responds by saying he used his knee as bait. White took that bait, but he wasn’t as big of a fish as Tanahashi expected. Is The Ace putting on a brave face? Or are he and his reign in more trouble than he knows?
A really great hour for NJPW, especially with big tag team matches. Evil & Sanada VS Suzuki & ZSJ was great because they knew how to play up all the story from the many, many matches all four men have had in the past. I honestly was surprised Suzuki-Gun lost, I thought they were going to end up double champions. But LIJ has been red hot, hence why they are all champions at this point, so it makes sense to keep that hot streak going. LIJ probably won’t lose those tag titles for a long time from what I can tell. No other heavyweight tag team looks strong enough right now.
Then in the special tag match for the main event, the dream team of Okada and Tanahashi had some really good chemistry with each other, and there was plenty of story to fuel this match, too. I’m a bit surprised White won, but NJPW doesn’t really use the kind of math a company like WWE would. WWE’s math would put it that White winning now means he won’t win the title in their New Beginning Osaka match, but NJPW isn’t so back and forth like that. White’s on his own hot streak, and literally has Gedo by his side, so Osaka might be the night we all Breath with the Switchblade.
My Score: 8.5/10