Well damn this is a busy week for wrestling. NWA 70, New Japan Super Jr Tag League, All Japan leading up to their big Triple Crown match…and I wasn’t even able to get to Stardom’s Tag Tournament. So just a whole lot of stuff going on, on top of regular television products. Sheesh, sometimes just covering all this is tiring, in the fact that there aren’t enough hours in a day.
ANYWAY – last week the match that ran away with the votes was, NJPW King of Pro Wrestling Triple Threat: Cody vs Kenny Omega (c) vs Kota Ibushi. So now we’re gonna be looking at a lot of Japanese matches in the coming weeks, but part of the fun is seeing if other stuff can sneak in too.
So let’s see what made the grade.
5. 205 Live Fatal Five Way: Gran Metalik vs TJP vs Tony Nese vs Cedric Alexander vs Lio Rush
The Age of Alexander wants to rebuild his legacy, but the Premier Athlete wants to pave his own over it. The FilAm Flash wants to humiliate the lucha libre tradition, but the King of the Ropes won’t stand for it. As for the Man of the Hour, he simply came to collect! Who will succeed in their mission and take a step towards the top of the Cruiserweight Division?
Current Cruiserweight Champion, Buddy Murphy, watches from backstage, wanting to see the moment someone wins this match. The bell rings and DC cheers its own 23 Year old Piece of Gold. The five circle and TJP rushes Metalik while Lio gets out of the way. TJP drags Metalik out of the ring, wanting to focus on their lucha libre grudge. He bumps Metalik off barriers, while Nese and Alexander brawl in the ring. Nese backs Alexander down but Alexander chops him back. Alexander clotheslines Nese out and Lio comes back in. Lio talks trash with Alexander, but Alexander catches that kick. Alexander flips Lio but Lio lands on his feet. Things speed up as Lio keeps changing directions on a dime. Lio slides but Alexander catches him. Alexander yanks Lio back up but Lio arm-drags.
Things speed up again and Alexander handsprings back to headscissor, but Lio lands on his feet again! Lio says “it’s not happening”. Alexander rushes Lio but Lio ducks. Lio whips but Alexander reverses, only for Lio to springboard and headscissor Alexander again. Lio does a dance and knows Alexander knows what that means. Alexander rushes Lio and the chase is on. They pass around the corner and Nese clobbers Alexander! Metalik and Lio are in the ring, and the luchador dares Lio do come at him. Metalik swing kicks Lio away, then springboards for a crossbody! He keeps moving and handsprings but Lio avoids it. Lio runs but Metalik dodges, tilt-o-whirl gutbuster! Metalik keeps moving, runs the ropes, and hits the missile dropkick! He drags Lio to a cover but Nese throws Metalik out hard.
Nese has Lio but Lio fires off forearms. Lio whips but Nese stops himself. Nese elbows Lio then leaps but Lio gets clear. Nese goes Matrix to then mule kick, knee lift and roundhouse, but Lio dodges to mule kick and enziguri back! Lio stands tall while Nese rolls out, and DC cheers their own. Murphy seems moderately impressed as Lio dropkicks Alexander back out. Lio joins everyone on the outside and drags Metalik in. Metalik crawls but Lio dares him to stand up. But TJP grabs Lio in a modified abdominal stretch. Metalik swings on TJP but ends up in another abdominal stretch. TJP has mirrored stretches, and goes after Metalik’s mask!
Nese comes in and rolls TJP up, but TJP resists. Lio runs in, but into a German Suplex! Nese bridges to have both TJP and Lio in simultaneous pins! Metalik breaks both covers just in time! Nese kicks Metalik back, then throws TJP into a post. TJP tumbles out while Nese runs Metalik over with an elbow. Nese rocks Alexander to keep him out of the ring, and now the Premier Athlete flexes. Fans boo and jeer but Nese stomps Metalik and Lio. Nese wrenches Metalik’s neck while putting his weight on him. Fans rally up for the others, and Metalik fights back. Nese back suplexes Metalik down, covers, TWO!
Nese goes back to the neck wrench, but lets go to intercept and throw out Alexander. Alexander hasn’t gotten much of anything, and Nese goes back to Metalik for more neck wrench. Metalik fights but Nese drops a leg. Nese soaks in the heat, then drags Metalik up and over. He puts Metalik in the Tree of Woe to then stomp a mudhole into him. Nese brings back Full Contact Cardio! Fans boo more but Nese simply counts out that 8-pack. But Alexander rolls him up! TWO, and Nese runs Alexander over again! Cover, TWO! Nese drags Metalik up, but Metalik fights back. Nese knees then whips Metalik, but Metalik stops himself to SUPERKICK Nese back!
Metalik jumps up and quebradas, but Nese catches it and makes it a cover. ONE, and Nese fireman’s carry. Metalik fights out and suplexes, for a brain buster! Cover, but Alexander breaks it just in time. Alexander goes after Metalik but is powered to a corner, for a LOUD chop! Metalik runs in but into a boot. Alexander springboards for the clothesline! Fans fire up with the former champ as he runs at Nese. Alexander rallies with lariats and a big uppercut. Alexander whips but Nese reverses, only for Alexander to dropkick the legs out. He hurries to the apron, but Alexander has to jump over TJP’s swipes at his legs. Alexander boots TJP then kicks Nese, to then hit the springboard complete shot! Cover, but Lio breaks it!
DC cheers Lio he stomps Alexander. TJP comes in and fireman’s carry, but Lio slips out to put TJP in a corner for a forearm smash. Lio hoists TJP up top then climbs up. They brawl up top, and TJP dumps Lio all the way down. Metalik swing kicks TJP, then brings him back up. TJP resists the superplex, but Alexander adds on. They both want to suplex TJP, but in comes Nese. Nese throws Alexander down then electric chairs Metalik. TJP works with Nese, but Metalik victory rolls to avoid the crossbody! TJP gets Alexander but Alexander rolls through! Cover on Nese, TWO! Lio climbs, Alexander hits a Michinoku Driver on TJP, cover, TWO! Final Hour frog splash on Alexander! Cover, but Nese and Metalik both break it! All five men are down but DC fires up. DC chants for “205! 205!” as the five men stir.
DC goes back to cheering for Lio while Metalik and Nese brawl. Metalik chops Nese but Nese mule kicks Metalik. Nese runs but Metalik dodges, handspring arm-drag and dropkick! TJP is up to rolling sobat Metalik! Lio is up to mule kick and heel kick TJP! Nese is up but Lio bobs ‘n’ weaves to fire back. Lio swings but Nese shoves to rock him with that left! Nese turns around, Alexander blows past to handspring and Neuralizer! Cover, TWO!! All five men are down again, but fans rally up. Alexander grits his teeth as he glares at Nese. Nese crawls to the apron but Alexander is on him. SUPERKICK from Metalik, but Alexander swing kicks him down. Alexander builds speed to FLY onto Metalik! He gets Metalik back in, but TJP rocks Alexander to cover Metalik! TWO, but TJP is after that mask again!
Metalik kicks TJP away, but TJP clubs him back down. TJP whips but Metalik DIVES onto Alexander! TJP hits the triangle wrekcing dropkick, but then Lio handspring kicks TJP! Nese rolls Lio, TWO, to a deadlift bomb to the OUTSIDE! Lio, TJP, Metalik and Alexander are all down, and Nese has his pick. Nese drags Lio up and in, covers, but Alexander drags him off it. Nese shoves Alexander away but Metalik is on Nese. Metalik chops Nese in the corner, thenw hips him corner to corner. Nese reverses but runs into a SUPERKICK! Sling-dog! Metalik climbs up but TJP shoves him right off. TJP has Nese in the kneebar! Nese endures, but is so close. Alexander stomps TJP, only to get put in the kneebar!
Metalik stomps TJP and then whips TJP. TJP holds ropes and puts Metalik on the apron. TJP runs, but Metalik springboards to let TJP go under AND Asai at the same time! All five men are down once again, but Nese and Lio stand. Nese runs into a SUPERKICK! Lio hurries up top and DC fires up for the hometown hero! Alexander runs in but gets a haymaker. Lio leaps for a flying headscissor, but Alexander blocks with pure power! And lifts Lio, to then pop him into the Lumbar Check!! But Nese rolls Alexander up, Nese wins!!
Winner: Tony Nese via Roll Up
4. NWA 70 NWA Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match: Nick Aldis vs Cody (c)
Well we all know the backstory for this. Cody won the NWA title at All In and Aldis felt robbed. Which he had legitimate claims that there was interference and an extended period where the match should’ve been thrown out, but it wasn’t. So Aldis gets a female enforcer to keep Brandi in check and requests the 2 out of 3 falls match. Does Aldis win the belt back, or do we continue to ride the feel good high of Cody Rhodes?
So Aldis’ female enforcer turns out to be Kamilla Kaine, aka Mrs. Braun Strowman. So she’s an Amazon in her own right and definitely played her part in the match. Much like Omega vs Okada, I’m not going over everything since there’s just too much to try and document.
The first fall saw Cody tap out quickly to protect himself from further damage in the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf. It seemed clever until Aldis immediately powders out at the beginning of the second fall. So this forces Cody to make a big dive and the entire second fall sees them brawling through the entire Fairgrounds. Trash cans were used, even the refreshment stand spot with the cup of soda or water, got used as weapons on the way back to the ring. Cody tried to introduce a table, but Brandi and Kamilla got involved which took attention away from the table as the referees got the table out of the ring.
Aldis gets a small advantage and goes to get the aforementioned table, places Cody on top and then goes for an Elbow Drop. Nick misses big and crashes through the table. Cody gets Nick back in the ring, Crossroads, and the second fall goes to Cody.
Third fall was exciting with how quickly it started, and then turned into a video game move stealing marathon. Firstly, the women get everyone thrown out of ringside when Brandi gets sick of Kamilla and tries to choke a bitch. But after the attention goes back to the ring, we see Cody execute the Bionic Elbow, Orton Style Hanging DDT and even a Rainmaker. So it’s at this point, Cody definitely seems more desperate when he thought he had the advantage.
Nick hits a Tombstone Piledriver, and then we get one more reference from Cody as Nick grabs his foot, and the boot slips off. Cody goes for the Small Package, but Aldis shifts the weight and turns the Small Package in his favor. So, NEW NWA Champion and man who effectively sucked the air out of the entire building, Nick Aldis.
Here’s to hoping Willie Mack turns into the working man’s draw, cause this event should prove the Aldis doesn’t have the appeal at all to the crowd. No boos, just dead silence.
Winner: Nick Aldis via Small Package (2-1)
Rating: **** 1/4
3. NJPW Super Jr Tag League: Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs SHO & YOH
Well Shingo being the big sixth member of Los Ingobernables de Japon lead to BUSHI having a tag team partner. Shingo moved away from the Junior Division earlier in his career, but the Animal Hamaguchi bond most of the LIJ members have, must’ve convinced him to drop back down for now. The focus of this match is really to see SHO vs Shingo, the two powerhouses of the Junior Heavyweights.
This was just a very good tag team match. BUSHI seems to be trying a little harder than usual and Shingo is establishing himself as a beast. SHO and YOH pulled off numerous tandem moves, just never the 3K. There was even a great moment where Shingo came in to save BUSHI and absorbed strikes from both SHO and YOH.
Yes, I’m aware this is an abbreviated version, but this match felt more like an introduction for people who didn’t know Shingo. Shingo looked amazing, Pumping Bombers, Pop Up Death Valley Drivers and power moves for days. YOH tried his Rewind Kick, but Shingo just over powered the smaller man and lands his finisher Last Falconry – oh wait, since he’s the Dragon it’s Last of the Dragon now. Okay, so Last of the Dragon, and it’s just the beginning.
As a special treat the rest of LIJ showed up at the end, the crowd erupted, and they ended with the fist bump pose.
Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon
Rating: **** 1/4
NJPW Super Jr Tag League: SHO & YOH vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
Winner: YOH via Japanese Clutch Hold
NJPW Super Jr Tag League: ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Taiji Ishimori & Robbie Eagles
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
NWA 70 National Heavyweight Title Match: Willie Mack vs Samuel Shaw
Winner: Mack via Stunner
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW Super Jr Tag League: Soberano Jr & Volador Jr vs Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger
Winner: Tiger via Tiger Suplex Hold
Rating: *** 3/4
AJPW Raising an Army AJPW World Tag Title match: Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama vs Kai & Kengo Mashimo
Winner: Suwama via Last Ride
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW Super Jr Tag League: Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger vs Robbie Eagles & Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Eagles via Inverted Figure 4
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi
Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Super Jr Tag League: BUSHI & Shingo Takagi vs Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger
Winner: Tiger via Abdominal Stretch Cradle Pin
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: War Raiders vs Undisputed Era
Winner: War Raiders via DQ
NJPW: Ayato Yoshida, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura vs Ren Narita, Shota Umino & Tomoaki Honma
Winner: Umino via Boston Crab
NWA 70 Women’s Championship Match: Jazz (c) vs Penelope Ford
2. NJPW Super Jr Tag League: Kushida & Chris Sabin vs Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
So the previously highlighted tandem from LIJ, who will ride the Dragon to victory. Yes I’m aware that’s a drug reference, it’s funny, roll with it. But the other team has a built in story since Kushida picked Chris Sabin because Alex Shelley retired. So Kushida wanted to tag with Shelley’s other tag team member, and they are affectionately referred to as the Time Machines ( Time Spliiters + Motor City Machine Guns). Does the singles champion and his new partner have what it takes to put the Dragon to rest?
Since it’s late and I’m tired, I really tend to enjoy abbreviated recaps. This was a continuation of the first match where Shingo looks like the most imposing figure in the Junior division. Kushida more then held his own though.
At one point Kushida had Shingo knotted up in a Rings of Saturn variation, which made it interesting that both BUSHI and Shingo were favoring their arms. Even dinged up, Shingo pulled off many impressive power moves. Hell there was a spot where he did the Pop Up Death Valley Driver, but was falling backwards. It could’ve been a mistake, but it still looked good and since it was done to Sabin, I was happy no one died.
BUSHI definitely has fallen into his role in this team. He takes most of the offense, gets in some impressive tandem stuff, like a Spinebuster/Back Cracker combo, but Shingo is the main event. If this team loses, BUSHI will most likely eat the pin.
As a good way to create some heat with Shingo and Kushida, they exchanged even blows, but the finish comes on Sabin. So Shingo hits Last- of the Dragon on Sabin, and the LIJ team keeps rolling.
Winner: Takagi via Last of the Dragon
Rating: **** 1/2
1. AJPW Raising an Army Triple Crown Championship Match: Zeus (c) vs Kento Miyahara
This is Zeus’ second defense, against the man he took the title from. Kento won the 6th Royal Road tournament to earn this shot, so this should be interesting. Kento is easily the new Ace of All Japan, but Zeus has been a very good up and coming foil. Does Zeus retain, or do we see the Ace reclaim the belt for the 4th time?
I don’t have intelligent sounding words for how fantastic this match was. The aggression of both men was through the roof. Early hard shots and then they take the match to the outside. Zeus flings Kento around, and pulls off a nice Snap Suplex on the outside. Zeus does something he doesn’t usually do and removes part of the turn buckle pad and throttles Kento’s throat across the exposed part. Kyohei Wada has to pull Zeus off of Kento and the match continues.
The expression on both men’s face just dialed up in emotion and aggression. We saw them charge at each other multiple times and this just had a much different feeling than any other modern All Japan match I’ve seen. Kento chained a few Blackouts and German Suplexes together, but that just pissed off Zeus and he came back more angry. Another uncharacteristic spot was Zeus kept pummeling and choking Kento in the ropes. He throws Wada off and continues his assault until Wada literally has to wedge himself in the middle to get Zeus to break.
Kento has a Sting like resiliency where no matter how long the match goes, he can charge back up. Multiple knee strikes made it seem like Kento was putting it all together. He hits his Shutdown German Suplex Hold…but Zeus kicks out. That’s maybe happened once or twice in the last 2 years, so that was a huge spot.
Kento tried to follow up and Zeus hits him with a straight right fist. Jackhammer from Zeus, but Kento kicks out. So the frustration is huge on both men. Chops and strikes, Zeus even gets Kento down on the ground with repeated Karate Chops to the back of the neck/shoulder blades. Just when it seems like Zeus beat the life out of him, Kento fires back up and lands a half dozen Blackouts.
Zeus kept trying to pop back up after them, but the last one rocked him. He stumbles around the ring, not aware of where he was, so Kento catches him for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold. The three comes down and Kento is champion once again!
King’s Road style is different than New Japan’s “Strong Style”, but I’m fairly sure this match will translate beyond what many assume all Japanese wrestling is. After the match Kento called Zeus back up, I think saying something about continuing to build up All Japan together. Zeus took his hand and agreed before the leaving the ring to a chant of ” Zennippon” (All Japan).
Winner: Kento via Shutdown German Suplex Hold
I feel like this happens quite a bit, but the All Japan match can’t be touched this week in my opinion. Passion, aggression, resiliency and the power struggle between these two all year has been a great story. Yes, yes, more people visit the Dunkin Donuts in rural West Virginia than watch All Japan, I get it. But that doesn’t lessen how amazing the match was, with or without context.
So Always Use Your Head, and watch some of these matches you may have not seen. Branch out, put extra bacon on your burger, just enjoy the wide variety of wrestling that we have currently