NXT UK shares never-before-seen matches!
Watch Matt Riddle, Toni Storm, Shayna Baszler and Ilja Dragunov in these “hidden gems” that finally see the light of day!
- Download Festival 2019 – NXT UK Women’s Championship: Toni Storm VS Deonna Purrazzo; Storm wins and retains the NXT UK Women’s Championship.
- NXT UK Plymouth – Matt Riddle VS Ligero; Riddle wins.
- Download Festival 2019 – NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler VS Isla Dawn; Baszler wins and retains the NXT Women’s Championship.
- NXT UK Coventry – Ilja Draguno VS A-Kid; Dragunov wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Tom Phillips welcomes us to this week’s NXT UK.
Phillips thanks Andy Shepherd for letting us into his home as part of the previous episodes. Phillips is honored to be part of this fast growing brand. Tonight will feature four never-before-seen-on-TV matches. First up is the NXT UK Women’s Championship match from the Download Festival as The Virtuosa went across the pond to take on the Lightning From Down Under.
Download Festival 2019 – NXT UK Women’s Championship: Toni Storm VS Deonna Purrazzo!
Deonna and Toni circle and tie up. They go around and are in a deadlock until Deonna gets the wristlock. Toni spins and bridges to then handspring and wrench back! Toni has the wristlock as fans cheer, but Deonna wrenches back. Deonna wrangles Toni down to the mat, but Toni rolls back and up to her feet. Toni wrenches and wrangles Deonna down but Deonna gets up. Fans rally as Deonna rolls and handsprings to wrench and headlock to a takeover. Toni keeps her shoulders up as she scoots around. Toni headscissors and fans cheer. Deonna moves around, hops and headstands to pop out. Deonna gives a bow and fans cheer her technical ability. Toni and Deonna circle again and tie up. Toni headlocks and hits the takeover, but Deonna headscissors back. Roles are reversed as Toni moves around now. Toni hops and pops out and offers Deonna a hand. Deonna declines as fans sing for “Toni! Toni Stooorm~!”
Deonna kicks the hand then kicks Toni! Things speed up and Toni redirects to basement dropkick! Cover, ONE, but Toni is right on her with uppercuts. Toni rocks Deonna then covers again, TWO! Toni drags Deonna around by a leg for the Half Crab! She sits down deep but Deonna crawls and claws for the ropebreak! Toni lets go fast, and has Deonna in a corner. Toni fires off fast hands and a kick, to run and BOOT! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up as Toni runs corner to corner. Deonna moves and blocks the boot to throw Toni down! Deonna stands on the arm to CRANK it! Toni clutches that arm but Deonna covers, TWO! Deonna drags Toni up and wrenches the arm. Fans sing for Toni but Doenna kick-snaps the arm! Toni flounders to the corner and Deonna stomps a mudhole! The ref counts and Deonna stops at 4 to take a bow. Deonna goes back at Toni but Toni ROCKS her with a right! Toni throws more forearms but Deonna ROCKS her back!
Deonna has the legs and rolls Toni around to a modified STF! Toni endures but Deonna shifts to sit on her head. Fans boo as Deonna pulls hair, and the ref counts. Deonna lets up to snapmare Toni and scrape her soles on Toni’s face! Deonna clotheslines Toni down and covers, TWO! Fans sing for Toni again but Deonna throws Toni’s arm down. Deonna stands over Toni as she twists the arm! Toni screams as Deonna hammerlocks the arm and takes a page out of Shayna Baszler’s book with the STOMP! Cover, TWO! Deonna tries again, TWO! Toni toughs it out but Deonna is after the arm with a high keylock. Toni endures as Deonna cranks and leans on the bad arm. Fans rally with “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! OI OI OI!” Toni fights up and forearms free of the hold! She keeps going, but Deonna catches her into a backbreaker to Complete Shot! And then a KOJI KLUTCH!
Toni endures as fans rally up. Toni pushes back to get a cover, TWO! Deonna lets Toni go to bring her up for forearms. Toni hits back, and we have a back and forth brawl! Deonna hits, Toni hits, repeat. Deonna gets an edge then runs, but Toni ducks under to GERMAN SUPLEX! Toni holds on, for another GERMAN SUPLEX! Toni still has the waistlock but Deonna fights with elbows. They don’t do enough and Toni hits the THIRD GERMAN SUPLEX! Toni drags Deonna up, underhooks, but Deonna goes after the bad arm! Deonna wants a takedown but Toni rolls free. Deonna BOOTS Toni down! Cover, TWO!! Toni Time was almost up but there’s still plenty left! Deonna drags Toni up and fireman’s carries, but Toni slips out. Toni shoves and HEADBUTTS! Cover, TWO!! Deonna survives and Toni is frustrated.
Toni slaps some sense back into herself and she waistlocks Deonna. Deonna resists the fourth German, standing switches, but Toni butt bumps free. Toni runs, into a takedown! Deonna has one arm, then the other! RINGS OF SATURN! Toni kicks and shifts as fans rally up. Deonna pulls tighter, and even twists fingers! Toni screams and shouts and gets one arm free! Deonna just grabs a leg instead! Toni moves with her one good arm and free leg, to get the ROPEBREAK! Deonna lets go of the leg at 4, and is now feeling frustrated herself. Deonna kicks and CHOPS Toni, and CHOPS, and CHOPS! She runs, but Toni follows to LARIAT! Toni drags Deonna up, underhooks, and hits STORM ZERO!! Cover, Toni wins!
Winner: Toni Storm, by pinfall (still NXT UK Women’s Champion)
And the crowd goes wild! But as we know in the present, Toni Time would only last until the end of the summer. When and where will the Lightning From Down Under strike gold again?
NXT UK Plymouth – Matt Riddle VS Ligero!
The Original Bro was just getting hot in NXT when he popped in on NXT UK in Plymouth. Watch the first-ever encounter of Riddle and the Luchador of Leeds!
The bell rings and fans chant, “BRO! BRO!” Riddle and Ligero fist bump and cheer! Ligero and Riddle circle and tie up. Riddle SLAMS Ligero down and Ligero scrambles to the corner. Ligero and Riddle reset as fans sing for The Bro. Riddle and Ligero tie up again, and Riddle waistlocks. Ligero standing switches but Riddle has the arm. Riddle switches, headlocks and hits a takedown. He cranks Ligero back hard and traps an arm. Ligero fights back and headscissors! Riddle works his way around and pops out of the headscissors, but Ligero avoids the kick! Ligero rolls Riddle, ONE, but Ligero headlocks. Riddle tries to power out but Ligero holds tight. Riddle rolls Ligero but Ligero still holds on. Riddle powers up to saido suplex Ligero off! Ligero comes back with the headlock already! Riddle stands up and throws body shots. Riddle powers out but Ligero ducks the kick to huricanrana! Ligero calf kicks Riddle down then covers, ONE! Fans cheer the exchange as Ligero drags Riddle up.
Ligero throws forearms but Riddle CHOPS back. Ligero forearms but Riddle gut wrench suplexes! Riddle rolls, drags Ligero up and hits another gut wrench! Cover, TWO! Riddle keeps his cool as he circles Ligero. He kicks at Ligero but Ligero gets up. Ligero throws forearms but Riddle gives palm strikes. Riddle boots then follows, then spins Ligero for a PELE! And handsprings! Fans fire up as Riddle goes side to side for a forearm smash! And then the other way for another smash! Riddle hits a BROSPLODER! Ligero is in a daze, but he ducks the kick and evades the moonsault, but not the BROTON! Penalty Kick! Riddle fires up like Goldberg and drags Ligero up. Riddle suplexes Ligero, holds him up, and hits the JACKHAMMER! Cover, TWO!! Ligero survives and fans chant “GOLD~BERG!” Riddle drops another Broton outta nowhere! Riddle then goes to the corner and climbs up top. But Ligero gets up and SUPER GERMAN SUPLEXES! Riddle crashes down and fans fire up!
Riddle and Ligero slowly stand, and Ligero bobs ‘n’ weaves while he throws forearms. Ligero CHOPS and kicks then runs, but Riddle evades. Riddle also avoids the enziguri to deadlift and German! But Ligero lands on his feet! Ligero throws Riddle out and builds speed, to slide! But Riddle avoids it, pops Ligero up to the apron, but Ligero rebounds off the ropes to huricanrana! Ligero brings Riddle back into the ring and step-springboards, for a STUNNER! Cover, TWO!! Riddle survives and Ligero can’t believe it! Ligero and Riddle rise again. Riddle KICKS Ligero, then fireman’s carries. Ligero slips out, waistlocks, but Riddle elbows free. Riddle reaches down for a leg but Ligero uses that to flip Riddle over. Ligero pushes Riddle to sit up, and he BUZZSAWS! Riddle flounders into a fireman’s carry, for the WIDOWMAKER! Cover, TWO!! Riddle still lives and fans fire up. Ligero climbs the ropes for the SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! “This is awesome!” but far from over!
Riddle grits his teeth as he rises, but Ligero springboards. Riddle catches Ligero, Ligero slips out and ducks the roundhouse, but Riddle pops Ligero up for a POWERBOMB! And then flips him over, FINAL FLASH! Riddle drags Ligero up and gut wrenches, tucks him in, BRO DEREK! To FLOATING BRO!! Cover, Riddle wins!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by pinfall
An incredible showdown in Plymouth! Ligero gave Stallion Riddle quite the fight, but in the end, it’s the Bro who takes the win. Will we see a rematch of these two down the line?
Download Festival 2019 – NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler VS Isla Dawn!
The crossover continued! The White Witch stepped to the Submission Magician, but does she even stand a chance against that level of mat magic?
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Shayna powers Isla to a corner. The ref counts and Shayna lets up at 4. But then she sweeps Isla’s legs to trip her up. Isla gets up quick and ties up with Shayna again. Isla now powers Shayna back, and the ref counts. Isla lets up, but Shayna turns things around, just to trip Isla again. Shayna is toying with Isla and laughing as they circle again. Isla waistlocks but Shayna bucks her off. Isla does the splits and smirks at Shayna. Shayna runs at Isla but Isla ducks the kick to roll her up! TWO, and Isla trips Shayna now! Shayna is up fast but Isla headlocks. Shayna pries free and headlocks back. Isla pries at the hold but Shayna holds tight. Fans rally and Isla powers out, to then roll Shayna up! TWO, and Isla fireman’s carries! Shayna slips out, wants the clutch but Isla slips out to snap suplex! Cover, TWO!
Isla chases after Shayna but Shayna gets out of the ring. The fans come alive for the White Witch as she builds speed. Shayna avoids the baseball slide to throw Isla into steel steps! The ref reprimands Shayna and checks on Isla. She’s okay to continue, so Shayna drags her up and into the ring. Isla throws body shots but Shayna drags her up to throw her to ropes. Shayna clubs Isla on the back then snapmares her down. Shayna KICKS Isla in the back then covers, TWO! She keeps on Isla and twists the arm. Shayna pushes Isla down and then tortures the wrist and elbow. Shayna hammerlocks and STOMPS the arm!! Isla screams and clutches the elbow, but she refuses to quit. Shayna goes after the arm and has a mounted hammerlock. Isla moves around and fights back, but Shayna clubs her down. Shayna keeps on the arm, bending it against Isla’s back. Isla shifts and hammers then gets to her feet.
Fans rally, Isla rolls Shayna with one arm, TWO! Shayna LARIATS Isla down, then grounds ‘n’ pounds as payback. Cover, TWO! Shayna keeps her cool as she drags Isla up. Shayna wraps Isla’s arm around the ropes, but Isla kicks her away. Isla gets to a corner but Shayna CLUBS her again. Shayna watches Isla go to the other corner and runs in. Isla moves but Shayna stops herself from hitting buckles. Shayna clobbers Isla and covers. TWO, but Shayna is right back on the bad arm. Isla reaches for ropes but Shayna drags her away. Fans rally and Isla fights back. Shayna whips and CLUBS Isla in the back again. Shayna snapmares and covers, TWO! Isla toughs it out and that frustrates Shayna. Shayna kicks at Isla’s legs and then goes after the arm again. Shayna throws Isla by the arm, and tortures the wrist and elbow again. Isla fights and fans rally, but Shayna stays on her.
Isla keeps throwing hands but Shayna whips her. Isla holds ropes, then dumps Shayna out! Shayna returns, Isla speeds things up, and BOOTS Shayna down! Fans fire up with Isla and she gets a SNAP SAIDO! Shayna staggers into a KNEE! Cover, TWO!! Isla clutches her arm as she drags Shayna up. She half nelsons but Shayna slips around to gut wrench and DUMP Isla on her face! Cover, TWO! Isla still lives but Shayna is on her again. Shayna drags Isla up but Isla throws body shots and a ROUNDHOUSE! Shayna drops down, Isla runs, but Shayna rolls and trips her up! Shayna runs now to PUNT and KIRAFUDA!! Isla flails, taps and Shayna wins!
Winner: Shayna Baszler, by submission (still NXT Women’s Champion)
The Magician conquers the White Witch and continues a dominant reign! We know in the present that #ShaynaTwoTime would end with the Riptide, but now she’s on Raw ripping her way towards the Money in the Bank contract. Will Shayna make someone #TapNapOrSnap in order to become this year’s Ms. MITB?
Andy Shepherd interviews Ilja Dragunov.
A challenging time we are all living in makes this via video chat, but Shepherd asks about Ilja’s shot at the NXT UK Championship. What is he doing to keep sharp during such unconventional times? “Unconventional” is a rather funny way to phrase it to him. A mentor once asked, “How do you not get tired of working?” Ilja wasn’t sure, but the answer was that you just never stop working. Ilja holds that teaching dear. He keeps his drive and momentum. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, that situation doesn’t control him. Ilja keeps his intensity. He doesn’t need to prepare, because he was born prepared.
Well yes, but many have tried and failed to become UK Champion, especially against Walter. What does Ilja have to pull off what no one else has? That is a very scary situation, yes. Pete Dunne had the longest reign, Tyler Bate was the first, and even men like Joe Coffey were not tough enough. Ilja has the will to take on Walter. You need to take on the pain. Ilja eats pain! Ilja is UNBESIEGBAR. He fights like he is invincible, because it is for his family. He wants Walter to underestimate him, because it will mean Walter makes a mistake. And in that mistake, Ilja will win. “This match will redefine violence.”
Next week’s episode: The Rise of Imperium!
We know part of the story, but take a closer look at how Marcel Barthel, Fabian Aichner & Alexander Wolfe united behind the banner of the Ring General, Walter!
NXT UK Coventry – Ilja Draguno VS A-Kid!
Speaking of that intensity, the Moscow Madman has that on display against the Spanish Ace! Does A-Kid get a sampler of what Ilja has in store for the Austrian Anomaly?
The bell rings and Ilja circles with AK. They quickly shake hands to show this is a respectful battle. They tie up as fans cheer, and Ilja puts AK in the corner. AK goes up the corner but Ilja backs off. AK hops down and circles with Ilja. They tie up, AK gets a waistlock and a slam. AK shifts to the facelock but Ilja works his way up. AK cravats to roll to a cover, ONE! Ilja is right back up and resets with AK. They tie up, AK rolls and trips Ilja to a headlock. AK traps an arm but Ilja uses the other arm to push back. Ilja headscissors and holds tight. AK scuffs Ilja with a foot then moves around to turn and roll Ilja. AK has the legs and wants the crossface. Ilja resists so AK goes with the Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Ilja pops out to cover, TWO as AK bridges out. AK springs up but Ilja cravats and wrangles AK down. Ilja leans on the hold but AK shifts out to get the arm! AK wants a Fujiwara but fans sing for Dragunov. Ilja powers up but AK slips around to get a wristlock and chinlock. Ilja pops free of one, but AK uses the other to throw Ilja down!
AK has the headscissor vice but Ilja flounders and kicks. AK cranks on the hold but Ilja keeps fighting. Ilja pries free of the legs and covers, TWO! Ilja and AK stand off and fans cheer again. AK and Ilja go again, Ilja headlocks and gets another takedown. AK kicks and moves around as fans rally up. Ilja holds tight but AK powers out, only for Ilja to run him over! Things speed up, AK arm-drags and covers, TWO! AK has the arm for an armbar! Ilja clasps his hands and rolls AK to a cover, TWO! AK ducks the clothesline to roll up and bridge, TWO! AK clamps right onto Ilja with a facelock, and fans rally up again. Ilja fights up, pries free, and prepares a forearm. AK fireman’s carry takedowns first, then gets the headlock again. Ilja headscissors, AK pops right out, and the fans cheer this standoff. Ilja swings a punch but AK avoids it. AK headlocks but Ilja wrenches free. Ilja brings AK to the mat with the keylock, but AK bridges and handsprings to get the headscissor!
Fans cheer while Ilja flails. Ilja gets free but AK is on the wrist. Ilja spins but AK wrangles him down. AK wrenches but Ilja grits his teeth as he spins again. The two stare down and Ilja shoulders free! Ilja strikes his fight pose to dare AK to bring it. So AK grabs his hand and twists! Ilja slips through, breaks free and CHOPS AK off his feet! Then drops a BIG senton! Fans fire up with Ilja as he runs at AK. Ilja hits a leaping forearm, then a handspring crossbody! Cover, TWO! AK bails out but Ilja keeps locked on. Ilja builds speed, but AK moves, so Ilja tiger feints. AK runs around but still gets an enziguri for his troubles! Ilja goes up top and leaps for a SUPER AX HANDLE! Fans are fired up with the Moscow Madman and “NXT! NXT!” Ilja drags AK back up and in, then climbs up top. Ilja leaps again, but has to roll through as AK evades. AK boots, arm-drags and dropkicks! Ilja flounders into a GERMAN SUPLEX!
AK flounders over to Ilja and waistlocks again. Ilja fights the lift and breaks the grip. AK just changes it to trap the arm, but Ilja bucks him off. AK handsprings back to NORTHERN LIGHTS, to an ARMBAR! Ilja again clasps hands together to fight it off, but AK is using his own head and neck for leverage. Ilja rolls around but AK gets the triangle! But Ilja dead lifts, but AK headscissors to the ropes! They get tangled up but tumble back to the mat. AK clutches a leg but still climbs up top. He leaps, to crossbody! Cover, TWO!! Ilja escapes but AK fires up. AK runs but into a scoop, tilt-o-whirl and toss! AK dodges on clothesline, but not the LEFT! Ilja gets up and drags AK to put in the corner. AK hits buckles, and then Ilja KNEES him down! Ilja tiger feints, and hits the Constantine Special! Cover, TWO!! AK survives and the fans are loving “NXT! NXT!” even more!
Ilja drags AK up and CLUBS him hard on the back. He does not let up as he CLUBS AK more. Ilja drags AK up, wants the single leg lift but AK goes after the arm! AK wrenches and PELES the arm! But Ilja throws haymaker after haymaker with that arm! And then the leaping BOOT! Ilja drags AK up, single leg GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO!! AK survives and Ilja can’t believe it, but the fans are loving it! Ilja clamps onto AK again, drags him up and gives back hand after back hand to the head! AK gets the arm for a keylock, but Ilja slaps and chops away. Ilja knees and knees, but AK grabs one for a takedown! Standing toehold! Ilja has to keep his shoulders up, and he BOOTS AK away! But AK comes back, to KNEE Ilja! AK gets a leg, Ilja steps through to KNEE! AK ROUNDHOUSE, but Ilja ENZIGURI! Both men are down and the fans are thunderous! They give a standing ovation for “NXT! NXT!”
Ilja heads up top as fans declare “This is awesome!” AK gets up to enziguri Ilja first! Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” but AK stands Ilja up. SUPER SPANISH FLY!! But that’s not all, AK SUPERKICKS!! Cover, TWO!?! Ilja survives and shocks AK back! AK is in the corner, runs out, but Ilja gives him a SPINE BUSTER! Ilja heads right up top, leaps, and hits the SUPER SENTON! But that’s not all, as Ilja is at a fever pitch! “UN! BE! SIEG! BAR!!” TORPEDO MOSCOW!! Cover, Ilja wins!!
Winner: Ilja Dragunov, by pinfall
NXT UK just saw an instant classic between the reckless Russian and the Spanish Ace! And in the end, the two men still respect each other with a handshake and shout! How much more intense will a match between Ilja and the Austrian Anomaly be when we finally get to see it?
A really great episode right here with some great matches. Though, the results for all the matches were fairly obvious. These matches being from last Summer, the title matches weren’t going to be surprises. Even so, Deonna Purrazzo gave Toni a really great match, as did Isla Dawn for Shayna. The timing of this is a bit unfortunate with Deonna released and rather upset with the WWE. Riddle VS Ligero was really good, and Dragunov VS A-Kid was incredible! That was like TakeOver level or something! Dragunov’s interview promo was good, too, and his match with Walter is still going to be amazing, no matter where and when we finally get to see it. Next week’s Rise of Imperium episode is going to be a pretty good one, because of the inclusion of British Strong Style and other NXT stars.
My Score: 8.5/10
Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.
There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!
- Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
- United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
- House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
- KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
- 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
- TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
- G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼
Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.
Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.
United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata
So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.
Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!
This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.
House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.
Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.
KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi
So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.
Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.
Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.
Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.
5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr
This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.
Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.
WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!
TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi
Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!
Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.
Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!
G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada
So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.
Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.
Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.
Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.
Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.
Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.
Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.
Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!
We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.
Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
- Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
- Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
- Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
- Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾
The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.
Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice
Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.
Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.
This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.
There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.
Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:
This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.
The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James
Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.
Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.
Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel
The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.
So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.
Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.
Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.
Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.
Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.
Overall Score: 5/10
Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.
I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.
When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.
So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!
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