WWE finishes up the opening round of this year’s Mae Young Classic with incredible international flair! But the main attraction: Io Shirai of Stardom!
- Rachel Evers VS Hiroyo Matsumoto; Matsumoto wins and advances.
- Jessie Elaban VS Taynara Conti; Conti wins and advances.
- Isla Dawn VS Nicole Matthews; Matthews wins and advances.
- Io Shirai VS Xia Brookside; Shirai wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
The second Mae Young Classic’s opening round wraps up!
We already have 12 of the Sweet Sixteen established, now it’s time to find out who are the final four in and the final four out! Who takes one step closer to WWE’s first ever All Women’s PPV, Evolution?
Rachel Evers VS Hiroyo Matsumoto!
The One-Woman Wrecking Crew and the Queen of Strong Smile is a second generation superstar as the daughter of WWE Hall of Fame manager, Paul Ellering! Rachel wants to carve her own path in the WWE, but she also wants to make the best of her return. Back then, she was bright eyed and bushy tailed, but she lost focus and lost to a veteran in Abbey Laith. Now Rachel is more prepared than ever before. Meanwhile, the Lady Godzilla vows to destroy any woman in her way! Her elbows, her lariats, her crossbodies will crush everything in their path. And once you see her in the ring, you’ll never forget her. Her strength and energy are like the great kaiju himself, but whose strength of will will earn them a spot in the next round?
The two shake hands, the bell rings and fans chant “Fight for Evers!” Rachel and Hiroyo circle and tie up. They go power for power and it’s Rachel who pushes Hiroyo back. Hiroyo digs in her heels and the two go down to the mat. They break and fans applaud this evenly matched up pairing. They both decide to run the ropes, side to side, then they collide. Neither woman backs down so Rachel throws a clothesline. Hiroyo stays up, and she throws a clothesline. Rachel stays up, but Hiroyo knocks her over with a shoulder! Lady Godzilla is fired up and fans are fired up with her. Hiroyo runs but Rachel trips her up to then dropkick her in the face. Cover, ONE, but Rachel keeps on Hiroyo with a gut wrench. Hiroyo resists so Rachel clubs her to lift and slam her! Cover, TWO!
Rachel brings Hiroyo up, Hiroyo fights back but Rachel boots her. Hiroyo sees Rachel coming and slips out to then hotshot her back! Hiroyo fires up and climbs up. She aims at Rachel and leaps for a big missile dropkick! Hiroyo unfolds Rachel then covers, TWO! Rachel gasps for air while Hiroyo backs off. Fans duel but Hiroyo brings Rachel up by her hair. Then she throws Rachel by her hair, too! Hiroyo drags Rachel up again, snapmare to big elbows. She wrenches Rachel back but fans rally up. Rachel feeds off the energy but she gets a stiff chop. Hiroyo chops Rachel again, then she eggs Rachel on. She shoves Rachel, runs back in, and stops the kick. She swings the leg sideways and sets Rachel up on the second rope for an elevated mudhole stomp. Fans boo but Hiroyo just goes back for more.
Hiroyo backs off and some fans cheer as she runs back in. Big corner splash! Hiroyo then climbs up, for a Vader Meteora! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rachel but Hiroyo stands first. Hiroyo drags Rachel up and goes for a suplex, but Rachel fights out. Rachel runs but Hiroyo reels her back in. Rachel fights back and dodges the lariat to then shove and SPINEBUSTER! Both women are down but fans fire up. Rachel gasps for air with those bad ribs, but she’s still up first. Hiroyo follows, and now it’s a brawl! Forearm for forearm and the fans are divided. Rachel fires off several, but then Hiroyo throws a fastball! Hiroyo runs, but into the boot! Then a cutter! Rachel hits a big back senton! Cover, TWO!! Rachel was so close, but fans are loving it.
The fans cheer Rachel on as she drags Hiroyo back up. Rachel wants a bomb, but Hiroyo back drops out. Hiroyo runs corner to corner but misses, then walks into an STO! Rachel hurries up, double jump leg drop! Cover, TWO!? Rachel keeps her cool while fans continue to rally. Rachel drags Hiroyo up again, and throws haymakers. She spins but into Hiroyo’s palm strikes! Hiroyo spins, but into Rachel’s palm strike. Rachel runs, Hiroyo follows, Rachel dodges, but it’s Hiroyo who runs Rachel over with the lariat! Cover, TWO! Now Hiroyo grows frustrated as she works on one more idea to finish Rachel.
Full Sail is dueling as Rachel catches Hiroyo in a small package! TWO and Hiroyo is shocked she got out, but then her discus back elbow hits! Hiroyo German Suplexes Rachel, but Rachel stands right up!! Rachel eggs Hiroyo on then boots her down, only for Hiroyo to clothesline her again. Hiroyo drags Rachel back up, prepares the powerbomb, but Rachel powers her up. Hiroyo sunset flips and deadlifts Rachel for the BOMBZILLA! But that’s not all, Hiroyo ends it with the Rock Drop saido suplex!! Cover, Hiroyo wins!!
Winner: Hiroyo Matsumoto, by pinfall; advances to the second round
Lady Godzilla conquers the Daughter of Ellering! It was a strong showing from Rachel, will the third time be the charm? And as for Hiroyo, will she destroy all in her path to the top of the tournament? Or will she be done in by the Storm?
Jessie Elaban VS Taynara Conti!
The young Brazilian judoka returns to the MYC after falling short. She’s also worked hard in NXT, and her confidence is back up as the TRUE black belt of WWE. Meanwhile, the most “amazeballs” and “glumsy” girl of NXT hopes to show that her eccentric full-body style will be more than enough to win. It’s serious versus silly, what will carry over into the Sweet Sixteen?
Jessie offers a handshake but Taynara gives a bow per judo. The bell rings and the two tie up. Taynara gets the arm, then the judo throw! She stands Jessie up to throw her again. Taynara taunts Jessie, because the experience gap between her, a black belt, and Jessie, a relative rookie in wrestling, is so great. Jessie rushes in but gets caught in a waistlock. Jessie manages a standing switch but so does Taynara. Taynara grins but then she gets an elbow and high kick! Jessie adds a penalty kick then a back senton, cover, ONE! Taynara gets to a corner but Jessie runs in for a big splash, only for Taynara to deflect it into ropes! Taynara wraps the arm around the ropes to pull on it. She stops at the ref’s count of 4. Jessie pushes back but ends up in an STO. Cover, TWO!
Taynara tries again. ONE, so Taynara yanks hair. Another cover, ONE, and Taynara grows frustrated. Taynara stomps Jessie’s hand then puts the arm into a high keylock. Taynara pulls on it but fans rally up for Jessie. Jessie tries to get free but Taynara shifts to an armbar. Taynara bends the wrist, then the elbow. Jessie stands up but Taynara throws her down. Taynara rolls over to go back after the arm. It’s almost a Fujiwara as Taynara pulls on the wrist, fingers and forearm! Jessie endures as Taynara shouts for her to give up. Jessie makes it a cover, TWO, and Jessie throws forearms. Taynara gets mad and kicks Jessie down! Taynara puts Jessie’s hand against the ropes, to give the webbing between the fingers rope burn! Conti is creatively cruel, and enjoys herself as she kicks Jessie to a corner.
Taynara stomps a mudhole into Jessie, then tells the ref to shut up about the count. She drags Jessie out but Jessie grabs ropes, so Taynara kicks the arms out! Jessie dodges and Taynara kicks ropes! Jessie fights back and gets a takedown. She catapults Taynara right into the mat! Then she dropkicks Taynara down again and again. Jessie fires up and hits that corner clothesline. Taynara staggers and Jessie ax kicks her down. Cover, TWO! Fans cheer Jessie on as she keeps her cool. Jessie brings Taynara up but Taynara counters the suplex with a swing-out side slam, the Taya Goshi! Cover, Taynara wins!
Winner: Taynara Conti, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The black belt beats the newbie, and Taynara is crying tears of joy. Taynara takes one step closer to glory, will she make all of her work worth it by reaching the finals? Or will facing the lightning quick Lacey Lane be her downfall?
Isla Dawn VS Nicole Matthews!
NXT UK’s Scottish Sorceress takes much inspiration from the Celtic occult and goddess worship. Women are creators of life and full of power, and Isla plans to use that power, that drive and that determination to conquer the world of wrestling. She’s ready for a straight up fight all the way to the finals. Meanwhile, everyone who has ever faced Nicole knows what she’s capable of. It doesn’t matter if her opponent has three months or 30 years of experience, she will throw them, stretch them and hurt them. She was an alternate for last year’s MYC, but since she didn’t make it in, that tournament didn’t really have the best of the best. It isn’t a revolution without her, but will there be an Evolution without her?
The two shake hands, but neither lets go at first. Both women smile with confidence as the bell rings. They tie up, and Nicole powers Isla to a corner. She backs off and pats Isla’s head. Isla shrugs it off and circles with Nicole. They tie up again, and Isla puts Nicole in a corner now. Isla returns the pats, then backs off. They circle again, and Isla gets the wristlock. Nicole throws her down by her hair, then runs. Isla trips her then double stomps her! Then an ax kick to front kick to another kick. Isla runs and drops double knees! Cover, TWO, but barely.
Nicole gets herself to a corner and Isla runs in. Nicole dodges and sends Isla to buckles. She sets Isla up on the second rope for a draping neckbreaker! Nicole drags Isla over for a cover, TWO, but she keeps her cool. She kicks Isla stiff in the back, then again. Isla gets to ropes, but Nicole brings her up to whip. Nicole picks Isla up for the pendulum backbreaker, then the backbreaker rack. She chops Isla right on the chest and it even stings her own hand. Isla fights back but Nicole clubs her down. Isla keeps fighting but Nicole rocks her with a right. Nicole puts Isla in a corner for chops, then runs back in. Isla dodges and rocks her back. Isla rolls and hits a running European Uppercut. She rolls and runs again, but into the big shoulder! Nicole covers, TWO!
Nicole seems surprised, but then she puts Isla on the ropes. She puts Isla’s arms back to kick her square in the chest! Nicole won’t let the spotlight be taken away from her as she shoves Isla back in. Cover, TWO! Nicole drags Isla up for elbows to the shoulder and neck. She then pulls back on Isla’s arms while fans rally up. Isla feeds off the energy and stands up, but Nicole knees her in the ribs. Nicole kicks a leg out, then eggs Isla on. Isla throws a forearm but Nicole gives a kick. Nicole keeps trash talking but Isla fires off more forearms. Isla boots and kicks away on Nicole. She runs and knees Nicole in the face!
Fans fire up with the Modern Day Witch as she goes to whip. Nicole holds ropes, so Isla boots her and saido suplexes! Isla roundhouses then fisherman’s to the Perfect Plex! TWO! Isla grows frustrated while fans rally up. Isla drags Nicole up and whips. Nicole reverses but Isla holds ropes. Isla boots but Nicole catches and counters with a back elbow. Nicole goes to suplex but Isla fights out to throw a forearm, then an Olympic Slam! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally up while Isla formulates a plan. Isla drags Nicole up in a waistlock, but Nicole resists the lift. Isla clubs Nicole back and hits a knee trigger! She runs but into a clobbering clothesline! Nicole drags Isla around for the Lion’s Tamer! Isla taps, Nicole wins!
Winner: Nicole Matthews, by submission; advances to the second round
The versatile veteran wins with a shout out to Y2J and a smile on her face. Will she be able to show up Tegan Nox? Or will the Shiniest Wizard succeed where the Scottish Witch failed?
Io Shirai VS Xia Brookside!
This is the main event of tonight and of the entire first round! It pits the Genius of the Sky against the 19-year-old second-generation sweetheart. Io flies but hits hard, and takes much inspiration from Rey Mysterio. Io promises to prove women’s wrestling isn’t lesser than men’s, but 100% equal. She was the best in Japan, and Japan style is stronger, so if she does what she did there, she’ll definitely win. Meanwhile, the young English superstar had her father pave the way, but she’s built her skills up all by herself. Will the youngster’s heart be enough to surprise the ace of Stardom? Or will the inevitable happen as Shirai takes the first step to the very top?
The two shake hands and bow out of the utmost respect. But then the bell rings and Xia rushes Shirai! She fires forearm after forearm on the Stardom superstar, but Shirai reverses the whip. Xia comse back with a headscissor but Shirai handsprings through. Fans love “Io! Io!” already. Xia runs into a kick, then Shirai puts Xia into a corner hard. Shirai backs off to run back in for a big back elbow. She stands Xia up for forearms, then sits her down with a stiff shot. Shirai stomps Xia then grinds in both boots. She backs off at three to give a swinging meteora! Shirai drags Xia to a cover, TWO! Xia survives and swings, but ends up right into a crossface!!
Shirai smiles while Xia endures. It isn’t a sinister, sadistic smile, Shirai is just having too much fun. Xia powers her way out and tries to lift Shirai. Shirai rolls Xia to give her a knee strike! Xia is down but Shirai waits for her to stand. Xia slowly rises, and manages to block the buzzsaw! Shirai comes back but Xia shoves her away to jawbreaker back. Xia runs and gives a facebuster! She fires up as she aims at Shirai now. She kicks but Shirai ducks to SHORYUKEN! Shirai fires herself up now as she aims at Xia. Shirai runs in for another meteora! And she’s not done there, either, she ends this with her BIG Moonsault! Cover, Shirai wins!
Winner: Io Shirai, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The Genius of the Sky wins fast and dominant, but that takes nothing away from the heart and determination of her young opponent. Xia has a long career ahead of her, the day will come when she is in the same spot Shirai is in tonight. As for Shirai, she shows respect and encouragement to Xia as she helps her up to her feet. They shake hands and bow again, but now Shirai moves on. Will she blaze a trail all the way to the end? Or will Zeuxis pull off a Sweet Sixteen shocker?
The first round is over, and I can see why these four matches were left for the end. These four were very competitive and highly anticipated matches, especially Io Shirai’s WWE debut. Evers VS Matsumoto was great for how both women were so even in strength. There was great story for how Evers really wanted to succeed where she failed last year, but unfortunately she was up against another veteran who was just a bit better. Evers is second generation, and apparently in a relationship with Kassius Ohno, so she already has her way in with WWE. Matsumoto will make for a great match-up with Toni Storm in round two, but I’d expect it’s to help boost Storm as she advances back to the quarterfinals.
Conti winning her match was great, because it really does make sense for the black belt to beat someone who only just got going in wrestling. At the same time, Elaban has a long career ahead of her, so she’ll definitely be somewhere someday as a sort of nerdier Bayley Face. Nicole Matthews wins because she, too, is a veteran, and Isla Dawn always has NXT UK to fall back on. Plus, Matthews will surely serve a similar role as Matsumoto, she’ll put the younger Tegan Nox over to establish Nox as an Elite Eight. Shirai VS Brookside was pretty good for being so quick and so obvious. As I said, Xia has a long road ahead of her, one loss to such a big name doesn’t hurt her. Shirai will surely win against Zeuxis and make her way to the finals at Evolution, it’s just logical.
My Score: 8.6/10
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