NXT promises a double main-event to settle some scores! Will The EST stay Un-De-Fea-Ted against Nikki Cross? Will EC3 get even with Adam Cole, BAYBAY?
- Nikki Cross VS Bianca Belair; Belair wins.
- Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner VS Stanley Watts & Hector Kunsman; Barthel & Aichner win.
- EC3 VS Adam Cole w/ The Undisputed Era; Cole wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Johnny Gargano head to the ring!
And he seems to be in a great mood tonight. Full Sail is a bit conflicted, but Gargano still has fans cheering for him. Gargano picks up a mic and wishes everyone a Happy New Year! Gargano says 2018 was obviously a roller coaster for him, but he had plenty of time to reflect. He realized something: “Success around here is measured by two things: wins and championships.” It doesn’t matter how hard you try or how good you are, it only matters if you win and get titles. Therefore, Gargano vows to be better in 2019, he vows to win, and vows to become champion. Fans do like the sound of that. But fans also duel between “Johnny Wrestling!” and “Johnny Venom!” Gargano addresses Tommaso Ciampa, and fans chant “DIY! DIY!”
Gargano says he heard what Ciampa said, but don’t get it confused. That moment in the cage meant nothing! It was a one time thing that will never happen again. As far as Gargano goes, Ciampa’s still trash with the title Gargano wants. But again, it’s about wins and titles. And there’s another title out there. As soon as Ciampa put the idea out there, Gargano VS Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship, Ricochet fired at Gargano. Ricochet said that if Gargano wants the smoke, Ricochet’s right here. Gargano tells “Rick” that he doesn’t want smoke, he wants gold! And he’ll take it from Ricochet. Ricochet may fly like a superhero, but– Well here comes Ricochet to respond! The One and Only King of Flight has all the fans on his side as he joins Gargano in the ring. Fans chant “That’s a champion!”
Ricochet tells Gargano that all he had to do was ask. But Gargano says he’s going to take the title? Well then Ricochet asks Gargano, will it be face-to-face? Or will it be an attack in the parking lot? But Gargano talks all this talk that he’s “Johnny TakeOver” and all that. Ricochet reminds Gargano that at TakeOver, there will be one and only North American Champion, “and you’re looking at him.” Gargano is about to say something, when Tommaso Ciampa appears! The Psycho Killer wants them to wait just a moment. Wins and championships is what NXT is all about, right? Gargano tells Ciampa to shut up. This is about Gargano and Ricochet, not about Ciampa. Ciampa seems confused as to Gargano’s attitude, but then Aleister Black appears on the titantron.
“Tommaso, I sincerely hope you are more concerned with me than you are with grooming your little dog of war.” Because Aleister is an actual threat to Ciampa. They’ll meet in Phoenix, and Aleister will make Ciampa truly #FadetoBlack. The lights go down, and then they come back, to reveal Aleister is here! Aleister attacks Ciampa, and boots him off the stage! Ciampa scrambles to commentary but Aleister pursues! They fight on the table, but Ciampa escapes a dangerous suplex off the table! Ciampa goes running and Aleister pursues. Gargano SUPERKICKS Ricochet outta nowhere! “Johnny Venom” strikes again, but will he get the title win he wants in Phoenix?
William Regal makes a major announcement!
The War Raiders have been on the sidelines given Hanson’s injuries, but the Warbeard is back at 100%! Now Hanson and Ray Rowe will challenge the Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong for the NXT Tag Team Championships! Will the war finally be waged in Phoenix? Who comes out the other side with the titles around their waists?
Nikki Cross VS Bianca Belair!
The Loony Lass and the EST look to finally settle their score before Cross crosses over to the main roster. Will Bianca remain Un-De-Fea-Ted before facing the Queen of Spades for the title? Or will Nikki give Bianca a memento to remember her by in her first ever loss?
The bell rings and fans duel between the EST and the twisted sister of SAnitY. Nikki and Bianca stare down, then Bianca pie faces Nikki. Nikki laughs it, then eggs Bianca on. Bianca pie faces Nikki again, then Nikki shoves and tackles Bianca! Bianca swings her ponytail, but Nikki avoids it. Nikki swings her jacket around, then the two circle again. Nikki gets a leg but Bianca clubs her away. Bianca runs into an elbow, and Nikki tries rolling her up, but Bianca handsprings through to escape! Bianca dropkicks Nikki down then whips her to the ropes. Nikki dodges and runs back in to tilt-o-whirl headscissor Bianca down. Bianca gets to a corner and puts Nikki on the apron. Bianca knocks Nikki off, but Nikki trips Bianca up. Nikki traps Bianca in the apron skirt and clubs away! Fans fire up with Nikki’s frenzy as she puts Bianca back in.
Nikki climbs up top, but Bianca rocks her with a forearm. Bianca trophy lifts Nikki off the top rope, to then drop Nikki on the mat. Bianca moonsaults and covers, TWO! Nikki grits her teeth but Bianca grows frustrated as she stomps Nikki out. Cover, TWO! Bianca drags Nikki up and puts her in a standing abdominal stretch. Nikki resists with clasped hands but Bianca pries the arms apart. Bianca pulls and stretches Nikki but fans rally up. Nikki endures as Bianca hammers away. Bianca shifts to a scoop and backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Nikki crawls to ropes but Bianca toys with her. Bianca brings Nikki up and clubs away on her back. Bianca suplexes and holds Nikki up, but Nikki counters to a DDT! Cover, TWO! Nikki claws her away away as fans rally.
Bianca sits up and the two throw hands as they stagger about. Nikki tackles Bianca and thrashes about! Bianca gets away but Nikki roars as she runs in. Nikki hits the corner splash, then a bulldog! Nikki slaps herself before pulling Bianca up. Dragon sleeper, inverted DDT! Cover, TWO! Bianca survives but that only amuses Nikki. Fans duel as Nikki brings Bianca up. Bianca spins through the neckbreaker to buck Nikki off. Bianca SPEARS, covers, TWO!! Nikki survives and Bianca is shocked! Bianca rains down rights, then runs for the splash, but gets knees! Nikki hits The Purge! But Bianca rolls all the way out of the ring to survive! Nikki is furious as she stalks Bianca to the ramp. Nikki hops on for a sleeper! Flashbacks to their first encounter as Bianca drops Nikki with the backpack senton! Bianca crawls away as the ring count begins.
Nikki sits up as the count reaches 6. Bianca and Nikki crawl at 7, and get in at 9.5! Bianca thought she had this match won, but fans rally up as it continues. Nikki and Bianca fire themselves up and collide with furious fists! Bianca clubs and shoves Nikki to a corner. Nikki dodges to send Bianca into the post! Roll up, TWO!! Fans love this but Nikki grows frustrated. Nikki runs in but Bianca rocks her with a right! Both women are down and a standing count begins. Nikki get to ropes at 6 but Bianca stands at 7. Bianca runs in to tackle Nikki in the corner. She rams her shoulder in, puts Nikki on the top rope, and climbs up to join her. Nikki shoves Bianca down. Nikki leaps, but hits nothing but mat! Bianca lifts Nikki for the KoD! Cover, Bianca wins!
Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall
The Kiss of Death ensures the #1 Contender remains Un-De-Fea-Ted ahead of her first title match! Will Bianca be able to trump the Queen of Spades? Or will it take more than being the EST to defeat #ShaynaTwoTime?
The Street Profits are on the street.
Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford hang out at Full Sail to free style. They’re feeling fine, looking to take over in 2000 one nine. Happy New Year, secret handshake! The Profits did pretty great in 2018, they even evolved. But the doors are locked right now. Wait, they find one open! That’s what they’ll do in 2019: opening up doors. The tag divisions will all know that the Profits never lost. War Raiders, Raul & Humberto, but especially the Undisputed Era, they’ll see see the Profits come for that gold. Make sure to tune in to “season three” of Street Talk! The best show on the Network, the best show in the world, the best show of all humanity! Will the #CurseofGreatness only be that much greater in 2019?
Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner VS Stanley Watts & Hector Kunsman!
The European Union of the second generation German and the Italian Tank has had some early success on NXT UK, but now they come to NXT America to see if they can do the same! Will they be able to make an impact in two Tag Divisions at once?
The bell rings and Barthel starts against Kunsman. They circle and tie up. Barthel gets the standing chinbar and wrangles Kunsman down to the mat. Barthel grinds a boot in as he shifts around to a hammerlock. He grinds his elbow into Kunsman’s head, then goes after the other arm. Barthel hooks the chin and shifts to a facelock. Kunsman reverses and arm-drags, then wrenches again. Tag to Watts, and Watts kicks Barthel in the face! Barthel makes Watts pay for that with a chop and a clamping chinbar. Watts rolls and handsprings to arm wrench, but Barthel breaks free to throat chop Watts hard! Tag to Aichner, and Aichner chuckles at “the little guy”. Aichner throws his tooth pick at him a la Razor Ramon, but Watts makes him pay with CHOPS!
Aicher shoves Watts and then pops him up high! He catches Watts, swings him around, but Watts sunset flips! Watts avoids a stomp and tags to Kunsman! Things speed up but Barthel tags in. Aichner catches Kunsman but Kunsman slips out. Kunsman throws hands on both EU, but runs into the spinebuster and Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO! Barthel drags Kunsman over to stomp in a mudhole and throw heavy hands. Tag to Aichner, and Aichner picks Kunsman up for a tackle into buckles. Aichner stomps his own mudhole, then tags Barthel. Aichner puts Kunsman into a post, then holds him there for Barthel’s baseball slide! The EU soak up the heat before putting Kunsman back in the ring. Barthel drags Kunsman but Kunsman fights back! Enziguri rocks Barthel! Hot tag to Watts and Aichner!
Watts rallies with swift kicks! Watts runs and calf kicks, but Barthel tags in. But Watts sees him coming and intercepts with a corner forearm. Aichner runs into Watts’ boot, and Watts hops up, only for Barthel to rock him with a right roundhouse! Barthel then feeds Watts to Aichner’s brain buster! Barthel hits Kunsman away, and then Aichner feeds Watts via powerbomb to the German Suplex! Bridging cover, the European Union wins!
Winners: Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel, Barthel pinning
NXT America, NXT UK, both Tag Divisions better watch out for this heavy hitting duo. Which titles will the EU get a shot at first in 2019?
Cathy Kelly gives us an update on the opening altercation.
After all that went down between Aleister Black and Tommaso Ciampa to start the night, both men have been sent home to avoid any further fighting. However, Cathy spots Ricochet and starts an impromptu interview. How does the One and Only feel about what happened? Ricochet told Gargano straight up to ask for a match. But now it doesn’t matter, because Ricochet will go after Gargano with everything he has. Gargano superkick’d away any respect Ricochet had for him. Gargano thinks he’ll take the title, but Ricochet says he’s going to take Gargano down. What will it take for one to defeat the other at TakeOver: Phoenix?
Backstage interview with Keith Lee.
What is the Limitless One’s response to Kassius Ohno’s vicious beat down of Matt Riddle? “Matt Riddle is someone I have traveled this world with, and the attack by Kassius Ohno was… unsettling.” Lee dares Ohno to show up and learn a little something about respect. Lee assures Ohno will have no choice but to #BaskinMyGlory. Will Ohno man up to take on the Limitless Lee?
EC3 VS Adam Cole w/ The Undisputed Era!
The Top One Percent still owes each member of the Undisputed Era for that attack on him that kept him out for a couple months in 2018. He got the better of Bobby Fish before the New Year, but can he make #VictoryAfterVictory more than a catchphrase against the Era’s charismatic leader in the New Year?
The bell rings and EC3 talks trash with Cole as they circle. Fish says “Don’t waste any time with this goof.” EC3 and Cole tie up as fans duel. Cole wrenches the arm but EC3 reverses to a headlock. Cole powers EC3 to a corner but Cole backs off to hit his catchphrase, BAYBAY. EC3 shrugs it off but Cole gets a waistlock. Cole gets a headlock but EC3 slips to a hammerlock. EC3 puts the headlock back on but Cole powers them back to a corner. EC3 lets go but says his name, “E! C! 3!” Cole grabs EC3 in a headlock but EC3 powers out. EC3 runs Cole over, then things speed up. EC3 fakes Cole out to CHOP him off his feet! He scoops and slams Cole but Cole rolls out. So EC3 blasts Cole to the barriers!
Fish protests but EC3 comes out to fetch Cole. The Era backs off and EC3 puts Cole back in. Cole rolls out the other side, but EC3 pursues. Cole leaps to hit a BIG enziguri! Fish asks the fans if they heard that, as Cole throws EC3 into the steel steps! Cole leaves EC3 behind to take a little bow. He then fetches EC3, and puts him in a corner to stomp a mudhole. Cole dropkicks the bad arm, and EC3 writhes in the corner. Cole snapmares EC3 to then drive in elbow and go after the bad arm. EC3 endures as fans rally up. EC3 gets up but Cole knees low. Cole drops EC3 with a neckbreaker, but is in no rush to end this. Cole toys with EC3, but EC3 throws Cole out! EC3 pursues but Cole rocks him with a right.
Cole wants to suplex EC3 but EC3 resists. They fight, and EC3 suplexes Cole into the ring! The Era is upset but the fans are strongly behind EC3! EC3 counter punches Cole, then whips to run Cole over with an elbow. EC3 scoop slams Cole again, and “Say My Name, BAYBAY!” Elbow drop! EC3 picks Cole up but Cole fights out. Cole wrenches and whips but EC3 reverses into the STO DDT! Cover, TWO! Cole rolls to the apron but EC3 keeps after him, only to get a hotshot on the arm! Cole bicycle boots EC3 down, covers, TWO! The Era keeps Cole’s head in the game but fans rally up to keep EC3 in the match. Cole fireman’s carry but EC3 fights out. EC3 shoves Cole but Cole boots and backstabs EC3! Cover, TWO!! Fish protests that “slow” count, but Cole gets up and pulls the knee pad down.
Cole runs, but misses his Last Shot! EC3 hits the German Suplex and a BIG lariat! Cover, TWO!! EC3 can’t believe Cole survives, but the Era coaches Cole back up. EC3 drags Cole up, suplexes, but Cole resists. Cole wrings out the bad arm, then lifts EC3, for the Last Shot brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! EC3 survives but Cole isn’t done, he puts on an armbar! Cole fights EC3’s grip, but EC3 still holds on. THe hands come apart but EC3 rolls to deadlift powerbomb Cole! THe Era rushes the ring but EC3 fights them off! SUPERKICK from COle! Lash SHot shining wizard!! Cover, Cole wins!
Winner: Adam Cole, by pinfall
Cole gets the victory, but give huge assists to the Undisputed Era! EC3 and Cole are tied 1-1, but will EC3 be around to break the tie?
The Undisputed Era add insult to injury as they beat down EC3 like a pack of wolves! But here come the War Raiders! It’s 2v4 but the Raiders don’t care! Rowe clubs away but Fish tackles him out of the ring. Kyle and Roddy coordinate, but Hanson cartwheels out of harm’s way! Hanson grabs both of them, shoves Strong away and rips at Kyle’s shirt. Hanson wrecks them with heel kicks while Rowe wrecks Fish and Cole. Rowe rushes the ring and picks up Strong, and Hanson picks up Fish. Hanson stacks Fish onto Rowe’s shoulders, powerbomb powerslam combo! But the Raiders aren’t done here, as Hanson climbs up top. Rowe picks up Kyle, for FALLOUT!! Rowe and Hanson are coming for the gold, is there any stopping these war machines?
A great episode, even with two matches that had very predictable finishes because of the call-ups Raw and SmackDown have been hyping for weeks now. At least Bianca VS Nikki III finally got a finish, after a great match. Bianca also needed to win to keep that Un-De-Fea-Ted streak going and be strong going up against Shayna Baszler. There is still a lot of time before TakeOver: Phoenix, but I don’t think Bianca is going to lose a match before then. Shayna might get in her face, punk her out, beat her down, but Bianca won’t have her first loss before their title match. And as for Nikki, she’s obviously going to SmackDown to join SAnitY, especially since Lacey Evans was on Main Event, aka Raw’s dark match preshow. And at this rate, Shayna won’t lose until Wrestlemania, to then put her and the other Horsewomen on main with Ronda.
EC3 VS Cole was pretty fun, what with The Undisputed Era roaming around. Fish is so easy to hear even when he’s not on mic, and he had some great banter. Like with Nikki Cross, EC3 loses because he’s headed to main, and it leaves Cole looking strong. There is surely still time before we can actually expect him on Raw, so maybe we’ll get the Six Man Tag of EC3 and War Raiders against any three Undisputed Era members to lead towards TakeOver. Lee VS Ohno and Street Profits making their return next week will make for great stuff, too. Just not sure how likely it is Profits are going to get those titles if War Raiders are getting their shot, too. If Raiders aren’t going to take those titles, I can’t see Ford & Dawkins doing it, either.
One thing NXT does really well is make a jobber/squash match not seem like a jobber/squash match. However, they still fail to give us the names of the jobbers before the match is over. That aside, Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner got a great match out of Watts & Kunsman, which makes all four guys look great, but especially the winning Barthel & Aichner. Dakota Kai (when she was healthy), Deonna Purrazzo and now the “European Union” are some great crossover stars right now, and I would love if they decided to make any one of those superstars a crossover threat to the titles. While they didn’t do this with the North American and United Kingdom titles, I would love if someone like Deonna Purrazzo was able to have both and perhaps bring about a crossover TakeOver, USA VS UK.
Gargano VS Ricochet for the North American Championship is going to be great, and I really liked the subtle things in how we got to that match. Ciampa did a good job conveying that Gargano’s behavior confused him. Perhaps in Gargano’s mind, he’s still his own man, but clearly accepting the idea of challenging Ricochet says otherwise. If Gargano wins the title, I have a feeling it won’t be clean. And I really hope we get Ricochet & Black VS “totally not reunited” DIY. That match is great just on paper, so I hope we get to see it as the go-home for both these stories. Then the interactions of the four can tease possibilities for post-TakeOver stories. Ricochet VS Ciampa or Ricochet VS Black would be great, titles or not, but I wonder if they’d at least tease a midcard VS main title Champion VS Champion story.
My Score: 8.6/10
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Japan Cup 2019 Part 1!
The 2019 New Japan Cup begins!
NJPW begins the 2019 New Japan Cup! Who among Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr. and EVIL will move on to the second round?
Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV
Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL; ZSJ wins and advances to the second round.
- Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene to kickoff the 2019 New Japan Cup!
Spring brings the best in the world in this special single elimination tournament! Only one man will win the right to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden!
The first round has already seen a bit of action, with NJPW standards, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, advance, but others falling victim to upsets. Juice Robinson lost to Chase Owens while Sanada overcome Hirooki Goto. The biggest surprises perhaps came from the biggest men losing to the Junior Heavyweights when Bad Luck Fale and Hiroyoshi Tenzan lost to Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi respectively. But tonight, two of the most anticipated matches take the spotlight! The rivalry of the last year takes the stage again as EVIL and Zack Sabre Jr. face off once again! Plus, Kota Ibushi returns from injury to battle Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax rematch! The Golden Star looks to be the comeback kid while the Uncontrollable Charisma wants to be a historic dual champion! Only one can make their dream come true tonight!
Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL!
Taka Michinoku welcomes everyone to Zack Sabre Time, and asks who everyone thinks will win this year’s New Japan Cup. Well it’ll be the man who won last yer’s winner, the Submission Master and British Heavyweight Champion! So Evil, you’ll #JustTapOut! C’mon over here! The King of Darkness responds to being called out, and we begin the next chapter of this already storied rivalry!
The bell rings and fans cheer Evil on as he circles with ZSJ. They slowly approach and Evil knees low. Evil headlocks but ZSJ tries to power out, only for Evil to hold on tighter. Evil gets the headlock takeover but ZSJ works for a headscissor counter. He can’t get it so he stands up. ZSJ spins through and arm-drags Evil off, but Evil headscissors him. Evil squeezes and ZSJ endures. ZSJ finds his way up and pops free, then dares Evil to come on. ZSJ headbutts and headlocks but Evil powers out and runs him off! Fans cheer as Evil waits for ZSJ to return. Taka keeps ZSJ calm as he gets back up. ZSJ and Evil circle again, and Evil calls for a test of strength. ZSJ accepts and they grapple, and Evil gets the double knuckle locks.
Evil brings ZSJ to his knees but ZSJ reels him to reverse. ZSJ hammerlocks but Evil switches to his own, but ZSJ switches back, and so on. ZSJ spins and drops to get the takedown but Evil pushes him away. Evil avoids the Penalty Kick but ZSJ ducks the clothesline. Evil blocks ZSJ’s boot to chop and senton! But ZSJ gets his knees up and reels Evil into an armbar! Evil stacks for a cover, TWO! ZSJ still has the arm, but Evil gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go but comes back for more. He cranks Evil’s arm back then stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ also kicks Evil in the chest and stomps his legs. ZSJ ties the legs up in a figure four and pulls hair. The referee reprimands ZSJ but ZSJ stays on the arm with pulling fingers and twisting the arm.
ZSJ uses the hammerlock to turn Evil for a cover, TWO! Evil tries to get feeling in his arm but ZSJ kicks him in the back. ZSJ looms over Evil and gives his bad arm toying kicks. ZSJ kicks Evil again, but Evil grabs the kick! Evil hands the foot to Red Shoes before he mule kicks ZSJ down! The 2018 cup winner is down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Evil brings ZSJ up for forearms. Evil puts ZSJ in a corner then whips him corner to corner. ZSJ stops himself and comes back, but for a sidewalk slam! Fans fire up with Evil as he drags ZSJ back up. Evil suplexes ZSJ up and over then covers, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as he brings ZSJ up again. ZSJ blocks the fireman’s carry and goes after the arm with a double wristlock. Evil powers through but ZSJ slips out to a full nelson. Evil endures the hold and breaks free! He headlocks and knees ZSJ right down! Evil stalks ZSJ to a corner and headlocks, but ZSJ denies the bulldog into the abdominal stretch! They go around and around and Evil puts it on ZSJ! ZSJ endures and pries the arm off, to Pele it!
ZSJ gives Evil European Uppercuts in the corner! He goes corner to corner but Evil follows for a clothesline! Evil runs but ZSJ follows, only for Evil to see him coming and clothesline him again! Cover, TWO! Evil drags ZSJ right up, fireman’s carry, Darkness Falls! Cover, TWO! Sabre survives but Evil has more where that came from. Evil drags ZSJ up and slashes the throat. But ZSJ victory rolls! TWO and Evil has it on ZSJ, TWO!! ZSJ wants a backslide but Evil powers it around, backslide on ZSJ! TWO, Penalty Kick! Both men are down, and fans cheer for Evil while Taka coaches ZSJ. ZSJ goes right at Evil to keylock stomp the arm! ZSJ kicks at it but Evil only gets angry. Evil stands and ZSJ throws EuroUppers, but those only make Evil stronger. He CHOPS ZSJ off his feet!
Evil stands ZSJ up for another chop, but ZSJ stands on his feet. ZSJ gives Evil a shoulder breaker, but Evil gives one back! Evil spins but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs but Evil goes sideways, ZSJ catches the clothesline into an Octopus Stretch! He drags Evil down and he cranks back! Evil endures as ZSJ twists him all around! ZSJ has one arm trapped and the other arm back, but Evil uses a leg for the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but he comes back to dig his elbow into the back. He grabs Evil’s arm and twists it in his legs! ZSJ Penalty Kicks Evil down again! ZSJ catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Evil. Evil sits up but uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil mule kicks ZSJ again, then drags him up, to place on Red Shoes! Magic Killer!!
Evil catches his breath and grins while he, ZSJ and Red Shoes slowly get up. ZSJ gets to a corner as Taka coaches him up. Evil runs in for a big clothesline! Evil roars and fans fire up as Evil drags ZSJ up to the top rope. He climbs up to join ZSJ, for a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Sabre survives again but he clutches his own shoulder now. Evil stands and slashes the throat! He drags ZSJ up, spins him around but ZSJ slips through to scoop. Evil escapes but ZSJ standing switches. ZSJ rolls Evil back but the European Clutch is blocked! Evil wants a Half ‘n’ Half but ZSJ resists. ZSJ reaches for ropes but Evil shifts to a German Suplex! Evil takes aim, but ZSJ kicks the clotheslines away once, twice, but not the third time! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous after that close call!
Evil roars and drags ZSJ up again. He spins ZSJ around but ZSJ slips around and hops up! Sleeper to victory roll to EuroClutch, to EVERYTHING- Is Octopus! ZSJ drags Evil down, Napalm Death! Evil is stuck, Evil taps! ZSJ wins again!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission; advances to the second round
The 2018 New Japan Cup winner keeps on winning! ZSJ has a cup winning streak, will it continue all the way to the finals?
Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi!
This match feels almost too soon in the tournament! The leader of Los Ingobernables and the Golden Star could both have both made their way to the finals, but now only one of them will move on! Will Ibushi’s comeback lead him all the way to New York? Or will the IWGP Intercontinental Champion move towards being a historic dual champion in NJPW?
Fans love both stars so they’re naturally divided at the bell. Naito and Ibushi stare down as the cheers are thunderous. They start circling and then approach to tie up. Naito gets a headlock but Ibushi spins out for a keylock. Ibushi headlocks now but Naito punches out. Naito pulls hair and pushes Ibushi and things speed up. Ibushi hurdles Naito then again, but Naito ducks the kick and moonsault. Naito arm-drags but Ibushi headscissors, and the two break! Naito even hits Tranquilo. Fans cheer while Naito decides to roll out of the ring. Naito takes his time returning, telling Ibushi to relax. Ibushi doesn’t give Naito a choice, but then Naito escapes Ibushi to tease him about taking time. Ibushi returns but Naito is on him with kicks and elbows.
Naito whips but Ibushi reverses, but Naito grabs ropes. Naito dumps Ibushi out then sweeps the legs. He slingshots and dropkicks Ibushi down, a new take on his Cabron Combo. Naito has control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito whips Ibushi into railing. Naito drags Ibushi up and brings him around the way, to whip him into more railing! Fans cheer Naito but also show concern for Ibushi as Naito whips him into railing a third time! Naito brings Ibushi around the railing and bounces him off the desks. Red Shoes tells Naito to bring things back to the ring but Naito bounces Ibushi off wood again. Naito leaves Ibushi behind and rests in the ring. Ibushi crawls his way back as the ring count begins. The count passes 5 of 20 as Ibushi stands. Ibushi returns ringside at 10 and hops in at 11. Naito is on Ibushi with a whip and big elbow, then a swift basement dropkick! Naito poses more while Ibushi writhes.
Fans cheer for Ibushi and Naito spits at them. Naito stomps Ibushi and drags him up into a cravat neck wrench. Ibushi endures as Naito cranks hard. Ibushi fights out with body shots but Naito elbows him down. Naito then brings Ibushi around for a neckbreaker and casually covers, TWO! Ibushi’s bad neck is a target and Naito keeps on it. Naito brings Ibushi up but Ibushi breaks free. Ibushi throws forearms but Naito just smirks. Ibushi throws more but Naito elbows him around the side. Naito throws more elbows into the neck and Ibushi slumps against the ropes. Naito toys with Ibushi but Red Shoes reprimands him. He whips but Ibushi reverses and dodges to whip back. Ibushi dropkicks Naito right down! Both men fall into each other but Ibushi’s up first.
Ibushi drags Naito up for a strike fest! Naito blocks the kick to kick the knee, but still runs into a roundhouse! Ibushi standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as he drags Naito up again. Naito resists the German suplex and gets the standing switch. Ibushi throws elbows to break free. Ibushi runs in but Naito boots him from the corner. Naito runs out but into a huricanrana! Fans fire up while Naito bails out of the ring. Ibushi fires up with the fans and goes to the corner. Naito knows it’s coming and stops the Golden Triangle! Naito drags Ibushi out for a draping neckbreaker to the apron! Ibushi falls to the floor and Red Shoes checks on him. He’s somehow okay to continue and drags himself into the ring.
Naito is waiting again, and runs out from a corner, shotgun dropkick! Then he drags Ibushi up to the top rope and out for another draping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives and Naito is surprised, but we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito drags Ibushi back up. Naito ties Ibushi up but Ibushi fights out with his free arm. Naito clubs Ibushi in the neck then hits a German Suplex, but Ibushi lands on his feet! Ibushi kicks but Naito ducks to enziguri! Naito whips but Ibushi reverses only for Naito to come back with flying forearms, only to be caught into a snap German! Both men are down but the fans fire up! Naito and Ibushi stir as fans duel. Red Shoes checks and they’re both okay to continue. Ibushi and Naito grit their teeth as they sit up. They head for each other and start throwing forearms. Ibushi hits, Naito hits, repeat. They slowly stand but the brawling continues.
Ibushi hits but Naito comes back. The two stare down and Ibushi throws a forearm. Naito throws one back, so Ibushi gives another. They start picking up speed and now they’re just swinging wild! Ibushi fires off many palm strikes but Naito throws slaps. Ibushi runs but into Naito’s spinebuster! Naito drags Ibushi up and to the top rope again. Naito climbs up behind Ibushi and fans anticipate something dangerous. Ibushi holds on so Naito clubs away. Naito stands Ibushi up, but Ibushi grabs at Naito’s leg. Ibushi turns around and trips Naito up! Naito manages to stay on the apron, but Ibushi stalks him from above. Ibushi drags Naito up while standing on the ropes. Ibushi lifts but Naito fights out! Naito slaps away on Ibushi’s face, then brings Ibushi in, TOMBSTONE on the apron!!
Naito puts Ibushi in the ring then drags him up again. Hammerlock and underhook, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi still lives but Naito isn’t fazed. Naito drags Ibushi up again, arm wrench and tilt-o-whirl, but into Ibushi’s own PACKAGE TOMBSTONE!! Cover, TWO!? Now Naito survives and shocks everyone! Fans duel as Naito and Ibushi drag themselves to opposite corners. Naito runs at Ibushi but into a roundhouse! Ibushi brings Naito in but Naito spins out for a tornado DDT! Naito aims at Ibushi and runs in, into a clothesline!! Ibushi drags Naito up and to a lift, SIT-OUT LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives again but Ibushi is too tired to be frustrated. Ibushi drags Naito up and grabs both hands, but Naito dodges Kamigoye, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!?!
Fans are thunderous as this match continues! Naito staggers up and drags Ibushi to his feet. Wrench and tilt-o-whirl but Ibushi slips out to roundhouse! Ibushi gives a shout out to the King of Strong Style as he aims from a corner. Naito sits up, BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO?!? Ibushi can NOT believe Naito survived again! But Ibushi vows to finish this, double underhook, Butterfly Driver! But he’s not done there, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; advances to the second round
It took so much, but Ibushi makes it through the opening round! Naito’s dream is denied for now, what will it take for him to become the first-ever dual Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion in NJPW history? As for Ibushi, he advances only to take on Zack Sabre Jr. next! Will Ibushi break ZSJ’s streak in the New Japan Cup? Or will he #JustTapOut?
Ibushi takes the mic and thanks Naito for that amazing match. “In 2019, in NJPW, I’ll show you a new version of Kota Ibushi.” Ibushi vows to go all the way and win! Will everyone else in the tournament, let alone Jay White, take this to heart?
Wow, what a great opening to the tournament! At first, I thought it was a bit of a shame that this will be it for the first round, no Okada or Tanahashi, but seeing they had matches with slightly less important opponents (sorry, Mike Elgin), the two matches we got were much more worthy of airtime. Evil VS ZSJ is again an incredible match, and it makes a lot of sense for ZSJ to win. While Sanada is in the tournament, too, he and Evil are still strongly in the Heavyweight Tag Team Division. ZSJ has a great New Japan Cup win streak story to tell, and it’ll make a loss, should one come, all the more exciting if it’s in the later rounds. ZSJ going for back-to-back tournament wins on top of a huge title match is great, but I can’t be sure the chances of it happening.
Naito VS Ibushi was a really great match, and it’s not just kayfabe saying this match could’ve been a logical tournament finals choice. Naito’s story of becoming a dual champion could’ve propelled the tournament to some interesting places, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be told in the tournament. Ibushi is in NJPW to stay so it means a lot more that he gets a push in the tournament. He already has a hard road ahead of him if the second round pits him against ZSJ, but perhaps a Kota Ibushi that can get through such big names, much like ZSJ did in last year’s tournament, can be a Kota Ibushi that defeats Jay White in Madison Square Garden.
My Score: 8.8/10
Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (3/16/19)
Zack Sabre Jr. continues his journey in ROH!
Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, Episode 391
It’s ROH 17th Anniversary weekend, but the action keeps on rolling! The Submission Master returns, will he make Rocky Romero #JustTapOut?
- Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes; Young & The Briscoes win.
- The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys; The Bouncers win.
- Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead; Rayne wins.
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero; ZSJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes!
Cheeseburger leads Ryan Nova and Eli Isom into battle! Will their fighting spirits combined be enough to overcome the Last Real Man and #DemBoyz?
The bell rings and Isom begins against Jay Briscoe. Isom is no stranger to taking on former ROH World Champions, this could be his third upset on one already. They tie up and Jay waistlocks. Isom standing switches and throws Jay down but Jay reverses to a facelock, but Isom slips away. Fans applaud the Future of Honor keeping up with Jay. Jay and Isom circle again and Jay keeps Isom guessing on the grapple. Jay reels Isom in for a headlock, but Isom powers out, only for Jay to run him over. Things speed up and Isom kicks Jay. Isom runs but sees Jay follow. Jay fakes Isom out and kicks him down. Jay tags Mark and The Briscoes mug Isom. Mark suplexes but Isom slips out and shoves Mark. Mark turns around into Isom’s arm-drag!
Isom tags in Nova and Nova hops up for ax handles. Nova wrenches the arm but Mark rolls through. Mark breaks free but Nova dodges and fires off strikes. Nova wrenches and tags in Cheeseburger! Burger climbs up to drop his own ax handle. Burger wrenches but Mark pushes him away. Mark rushes at Burger but Burger crawls under and kicks him away. Burger speeds up but Jay stands in his way. Mark rocks Burger with a shotgun dropkick! Silas and the Briscoes take control as we go to break.
ROH returns and Silas taunts Burger to stand, only to stomp him down. Fans rally up for Burger and he throws body shots on Silas. Burger fires forearms but Silas shoves Burger for the backbreaker clothesline on the rebound! Silas drags Burger over and tags in Mark. Mark drops an elbow then drags Burger up. Mark suplexes and holds Burger up for a few seconds before dropping him down. Fans rally but Mark puts Burger in a camel clutch. Burger endures while Jay and Silas taunt him. Mark fish hooks Burger but lets up at 4. Mark blasts Nova but the ref keeps Isom from going after Mark. But he misses Mark biting Burger! Mark gets away with it then CHOPS Burger in a corner! Mark whips corner to corner but Burger dodges! Burger dodges Silas and Jay, too, hot tag to Isom!
Isom dropkicks Mark to his corner where Jay tags in. Silas runs at Isom but Isom puts him on the apron and dropkicks him down! Jay goes after Isom with a waistlock but is bucked off. Isom pops Jay up to a fireman’s carry! Nova intercepts Mark and DIVES on Silas! Air Raid Crash from Isom to Jay! Cover, TWO!! Isom almost had another former world champion caught! Isom keeps going but Jay blocks the suplex. Jay fights back but Isom throws his own forearms. Isom runs but into Jay’s fireman’s carry. Jay hits the Spicolli Driver while Mark climbs up! FROGGY-BOW! Jay covers, TWO!? Isom survives and The Briscoes are shocked!
The ref tells Mark to go to the corner but the Briscoes ignore him. #DemBoyz work together to finish this, double underhook but Isom fights out. Isom pushes Jay into Mark then kicks, suplex to brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! Another close call but Isom keeps his focus. Isom and Jay stand as fans rally up. Isom throws forearms and elbows then an enziguri. Jay staggers and Jay runs, but SUPERKICK for Jay! High-Low combo for The Briscoes! Mark keeps Burger out while Jay hits his Jay Driller! Cover, The Briscoes & Silas win!
Winners: Silas Young & The Briscoes, Jay Briscoe pinning
The Shinobi Shadow Squad struggles in the Six Man Tag Division against such accomplished opponents. Will it be the Last Real Man and Dem Boyz who move on towards the titles instead?
Rhett Titus speaks.
“Willie Mack, I heard you had plans to take the NWA National Title and defend it in every state across America.” Well Willie, plans change, because the Fittest is looking to take that belt and bring it with him on the Flex Express. Will Rhett’s own plans have to change after facing The Mack next episode?
The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys!
The literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division takes on two other Future of Honor stars. With physiques like theirs, JK and The Number One were hoping for sunny beaches and “beautiful baby dolls”, but instead got “busted up broads and their beer-swilling bozos”! Well that’s no way to talk about the fans or beer! The Bouncers make their way out with plenty of drinks, and Brian Milonas takes the mic. He and The Beer City Bruiser are here to kick ass and drink beer! Will they do just that against these rude rookies?
The Code of Honor is still upheld between the teams, and we start with Bruiser and Keys. Keys shows off his body while teasing Bruiser about the beer belly. Bruiser admits Keys wins the body building, but Bruiser has the fans as they chant “Beer! Beer!” along with him. Keys calls for a test of strength and Bruiser isn’t sure he’s serious. Keys shoves Bruiser and tells him to take it serious. Bruiser accepts the test, and SLAPS Keys off his feet! Keys gets up and kicks but Bruiser catches it. Bruiser spins Keys for an atomic drop. Keys gets to a corner but covers up from Bruiser’s punch. So Bruiser CHOPS instead! And CHOPS, and CHOPS! Fans cheer for more but Keys turns around to protect his chest. So Bruiser CHOPS his back! Keys scrambles to his corner and tags in Johnson.
Johnson fires off on Bruiser but Bruiser shoves him to run him over! Bruiser drags Johnson up but Johnson powers him to the corner. Keys anchors Bruiser’s feet and Johnson gets a sucker punch! Johnson stomps away in the corner then tags in Keys. Keys stomps Bruiser now but lets up at 4. Keys chops Bruiser back then goes to scoop. Bruiser’s too big for that, so Keys gives a European Uppercut. Johnson tags in and rams in his own uppercut. Johnson and Keys work together for a double scoop slam! Cover, ONE, and with power! Bruiser reaches for Milonas but Keys tags back in. Keys stomps Bruiser down then puts Bruiser back in the corner. Keys throws EuroUppers then gestures at Milonas. He runs in for a splash but Bruiser dodges! Keys hits buckles and both men are down!
Fans rally up as Bruiser crawls for his corner. Johnson shouts to Keys, and Keys tags him in. Johnson grabs Bruiser’s feet but Bruiser still gets to Milonas! The Mastodon rallies on both Future of Honor stars! Fans fire up as he pounces Keys out of the ring, then squashes Johson in a corner. Milonas whips Johnson corner to corner for another splash, then scoops. Johnson slips out and shoves Milonas away. Johnson dodges the clothesline but gets a pop-up spinebuster! Keys attacks Milonas from behind but Bruiser gets Keys. Bruiser whips Keys and Milonas gives Keys a pop-up spinebuster! The Bouncers say bottom’s up and grab Johnson. Milonas climbs and Bruiser holds Johnson up, draping leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers win!
Winners: The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning
They kicked ass, now they drink beer! Will the Bouncers find their way to the ROH World Tag Team Championships and drink to a title reign?
Madison Rayne speaks.
“Thunder Rosa, you think that you and Holidead can come into ROH and control the narrative and call the shots?” Here’s the reality: the Twisted Sisterz are the opposite of what the Women of Honor stand for. The Queen Bee vows to make a statement, but will it go the way she hopes?
Willie Mack speaks.
The inaugural NWA National Champion is all about making history, and he makes history with ROH next week. He’ll defend his title in all 50 states, and is already on number 5. If Rhett Titus wants to stay fit, then he better get ready for a fight!
Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead!
As The Queen Bee alluded to, The Twisted Sisterz have done what they want to who they want since joining the Women of Honor Division, including the Ray of Sunshine. Now Sumie stands beside Madison, will they put the trouble-makers in their place?
Madison doesn’t wait for the bell, she goes right at Thunder Rosa! She tackles Rosa down and the bell has to ring as she fires off right hands. Rayne puts Rosa in one corner then runs her all the way to the other. She bumps Rosa off a third then hits a sliding lariat. Rayne runs Rosa over with a shoulder and fires up while Rosa regroups with Holidead. Rayne doesn’t give Rosa much time to regain composure, she goes right out and rocks her with a right! She puts Rosa back in while Sumie keeps her eyes on Holidead. Rayne runs Rosa over with a clothesline but notices Holidead egging Sumie on. Rayne runs and wrecks Holidead with a dropkick! Sumie and the fans cheer Rayne on but Rosa hits Rayne back!
Rosa fetches Rayne and rams her into the apron. She then CHOPS Rayne against the apron, before shoving her into the ring. Rosa stomps Rayne then covers, TWO! Rosa drags Rayne up and bumps Rayne off the buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Rayne but backs off at 4. Rosa snapmares Rayne and kicks her sharp on the back. Holidead wants another so Rosa kicks Rayne again. Rosa runs and dropkicks Rayne in the back, covers, TWO! Sumie coaches Rayne up while Rosa mockingly applauds. Rayne throws body shots but Rosa clubs her down. Rosa scoops and slams Rayne down, then applauds herself. Rosa runs side to side for a BIG leg drop! Cover, TWO! The Queen Bee is in trouble while we go to break.
ROH returns and Rosa toys with Rayne. Rayne throws forearms back and enziguris! Rosa falls over and Rayne covers, TWO! Holidead is relieved but Rayne keeps on Rosa. Rosa throws Rayne down by her hair, then drags her up for chops. Rosa whips Rayne corner to corner then runs in for a big back elbow! She snapmares Rayne to a cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rayne but Rose wraps on a chinlock. Rayne endures and fights her way up, but Rosa throws her back down. Cover, TWO! Rosa grabs Rayne for more chops, then does a little salsa to show off. She whips but Rayne reverses and things speed up, Rayne SPEARS Rosa down! But Rayne is also down and a standing 10 count begins.
The count reaches 5 as both women sit up. Rosa grabs Rayne and brings her up but Rayne fires forearms! Rayne dodges Rosa and rallies with more forearms. Rayne fires up and goes corner to corner but Rose catches her! Rosa puts Rayne on the top rope but Rayne boots her back. Rayne leaps for the crossbody! Both women are back up, Rayne ducks a kick to give an enziguri! Cover, TWO! Rayne keeps on Rosa with a waistlock. She wrings Rosa out but Rosa goes to swing. Rayne adjusts and gets around Rosa again for a dragon sleeper. Rosa elbows out and brings Rayne up into the Gory Especial, and spins around for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Rayne survives and the Twisted Sisterz are shocked!
Rosa is furious as she drags Rayne right up onto her shoulder! Rosa spins but Rayne slips out for the Rayne Drop! Cover, Rayne wins!
Winner: Madison Rayne, by pinfall
The Queen Bee wins outta nowhere and gets revenge on behalf of Sumie Sakai! Will Rayne and others teach the Twisted Sisterz a lesson about being Women of Honor?
Team Coast2Coast speaks.
“We were gone for a very long time, but for good reason.” Shaheem Ali and Leon St. Giovanni were “rediscovering” themselves. But now C2C is better than ever and will take on the best in the world! Their return is next week against Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham, will Chocolate Man and the Human Rocket be ready for the Franchise and the Octopus?
Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero!
The partnership of ROH and NJPW is on display as the Submission Master returns! But not only that, the player-coach of Roppongi 3K makes his own return! Will Rocky make a run in ROH for gold? Or will he #JustTapOut?
ROH returns with the bell! Fans cheer Rocky on as he circles with ZSJ. Rocky keeps away from ZSJ’s grip and then they approach. ZSJ still gets Rocky down with a headlock but Rocky keeps up with his reversals. ZSJ gets free but both he and Rocky smirk as they circle again. They tie up again and ZSJ gets the arm. He cranks on it to get Rocky to the mat. Rocky endures the wristlock and ZSJ grinds a knee in. Rocky gets to his feet but ZSJ wrenches and arm-drags Rocky back down. Fans cheer ZSJ’s technique as he twists and pulls Rocky’s arm. Rocky spins through and gets up to dropkick ZSJ out of the ring! ZSJ is frustrated already as he kicks the railing. Rocky waits for ZSJ as he catches his breath.
ZSJ returns and circles with Rocky. They tie up and ZSJ gets a leg. He trips Rocky and stands on his feet. ZSJ twists the leg around and then ties the legs up so he can go after Rocky’s neck with a wrench. But he also hooks the face so the ref counts. ZSJ lets up at 4 to bring Rocky into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow. Rocky pops out to a cover, TWO! Fans applaud as Rocky and ZSJ circle again. Rocky and ZSJ approach and Rocky gets ZSJ’s leg now. Rocky waistlocks but ZSJ wrenches to a switch. ZSJ wrenches again and brings Rocky to his knees. ZSJ brings Rocky further down as he mounts the arm to pull back. Fans applaud while Rocky endures the pair of knuckle locks.
Rocky and ZSJ go shoulder to shoulder but ZSJ gets the cover. TWO so ZSJ tries again. TWO as Rocky brings up the shoulder, so ZSJ pushes it down. Rocky bridges this time, and then anticipates ZSJ hopping on with a monkey flip! It’s a double cover, but Rocky rolls back, only to get caught into ZSJ’s armbar! Rocky rolls and shifts but ZSJ slips out to a hammerlock. Fans applaud this continued exchange as Rocky reaches back for ZSJ. Rocky leaps and snapmares but ZSJ headbutts back. ZSJ snapmares but Rocky handsprings through to dropkick him down! Rocky brings ZSJ up for a chop then a cravat. ZSJ endures but Rocky snapmares. ZSJ responds with his own snapmare, but then Rocky snapmares back. They go snapmare for snapmare, but then ZSJ shoves Rocky down for a neck crank! Rocky writhes while we go to one last break.
ROH returns once again as Rocky manages a ropebreak while in a modified Bow ‘n’ Arrow. ZSJ reluctantly lets go, and waits for Rocky to sit up. ZSJ clamps on a half straitjacket, then digs in elbows and knuckles to get the full. Rocky endures as fans rally up. Rocky feeds off the energy but ZSJ does his best to keep Rocky down. The two struggle against each other, and ZSJ digs a knee in to keep the straitjacket. Rocky stands and spins the straitjacket around but ZSJ spins it back on. ZSJ brings Rocky back down then flips him over, but Rocky uses that to reverse the hold! Rocky has ZSJ but ZSJ breaks free to throw a EuroUpper. ZSJ whips but Rocky elbows back. Rocky springboards for a tornado DDT! Both men are down but fans rally up.
Another standing count begins and Rocky sits up at 3. ZSJ follows and grabs Rocky first. Rocky dodges and huricanranas! Things speed up, Rocky springboards again for a crossbody! Cover, TWO! Rocky toys with ZSJ, then starts slapping him around. ZSJ EuroUppers then grabs a leg. Rocky misses the first enziguri but not the rewind! Fans fire up with Rocky as he runs corner to corner to start the Forever Clotheslines! He gets one, then another, but runs into a boot! ZSJ runs but into Rocky’s leaping knee, only to make it an STF! Rocky is caught, and ZSJ shifts sides! Rocky drags himself around and manages a ropebreak! ZSJ lets Rocky go and catches his breath. Now ZSJ toys with Rocky as he stomps him around. ZSJ kicks but Rocky gets mad. ZSJ pie faces so Rocky SLAPS away!
Rocky knees and hauls ZSJ up to the top rope. Rocky runs corner to corner for a top shelf knee! ZSJ falls to the apron but Rocky checks his shoulder first. Rocky brings ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the suplex. ZSJ goes after the arm but Rocky throws forearms. Rocky shoulders in but gets caught into an Octopus through the ropes! ZSJ lets go at 4 then shoves Rocky away. Rocky dropkicks ZSJ on the return! Rocky throws forearms and CHOPS, then ties ZSJ up in the ropes. He goes to the side and springboards for a guillotine missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Rocky is exhausted. Fans build to a rally for Rocky as he brings ZSJ up. Rocky throws forearms on ZSJ then eggs him on. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper, but Rocky comes back for fast hands. Rocky kicks and runs for a Sliced Bread! Cover, TWO!
Rocky drags ZSJ up again and wants more, but ZSJ escapes Sliced Bread 2 for the standing abdominal stretch! Rocky reaches but ZSJ rolls him away, then around, Hurrah! The double wrist-clutch octopus is on and Rocky taps quickly! ZSJ wins!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission
The Submission Master brings in Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last. Will ZSJ’s first year in ROH be golden sooner rather than later?
Another ROH PPV, another disconnect between it and their television episodes. This episode, as all episodes are, was clearly recorded long before the PPV as nothing that happened at the PPV affects this episode’s events. For those who didn’t see the ROH 17th Anniversary, make sure to check here for the full card results. But for those who did, you know The Briscoes lost the the ROH World Tag Team Championships to Villain Enterprises, yet Jay & Mark still had the belts here. And all this makes it strange for commentary to vaguely reference the PPV when it hadn’t happened for them yet. The Six Man Tag they had was only okay, so I don’t see why it couldn’t have been three other Heels going against Shinobi Shadow Squad to get the spotlight instead.
In fact, seeing as how more Future of Honor stars were brought on for this episode, I’m starting to think that’s what episodes like this should be about. ROH Future of Honor stars can appear, get some television exposure, and take the card in place of literally anyone involved on the PPV card. And of course, facing Future of Honor stars meant an easy win for The Bouncers, who might finally be moving up now that they’re Faces. Meanwhile, Rhett Titus’ new gimmick is like if Lex Luger and Val Venis fused, but then the combination was slightly diluted. But Rhett VS Mack, even non-title, sounds fun. Pretty sure Mack wins that, but bringing NWA and its new championship into the fold of ROH’s many partnerships also sounds great.
Rayne VS Rosa was a good match, and I’m sensing this is building to something more. I’ve said before that having the Twisted Sisterz in WOH must mean Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the horizon, and it would be pretty big if Sumie Sakai joins Rayne in competing for those. I don’t think Rayne & Sumie would be the inaugural champions, that really should be the Twisted Sisterz given their resumes. But Sumie one day becoming a tag champ to be the first woman to have both the WOH World and Tag Team Championships would be a great thing for her own career. ZSJ VS Romero was a good match, and clearly ZSJ is set to dominate to at least a World Television Championship level. ZSJ VS Jeff Cobb would be great for the sheer difference in styles, but we know it’ll have to wait until after G1 Supercard.
My Score: 8/10