The road to NXT In Your House is a rough one!
Adam Cole negotiates terms with William Regal, and Kurt Angle returns to referee NXT’s first ever Cage FIGHT between Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher!
- Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Group A Triple Threat: KUSHIDA VS Jake Atlas VS Drake Maverick; Maverick wins and will face El Hijo del Fantasma in the finals.
- Johnny Gargano Invitational: Johnny Gargano w/ Candice LeRae VS Adrian Alanis; Gargano wins.
- Shotzi Blackheart VS Raquel Gonzalez w/ Dakota Kai; Gonzalez wins.
- Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai VS Charlotte Flair & ???; Charlotte Flair & Chelsea Green win.
- Tommaso Ciampa VS Leon Ruff; Ciampa wins.
- NXT Fight Pit: Matt Riddle VS Timothy Thatcher, special guest referee Kurt Angle; Thatcher wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NXT’s own superstars are tonight’s crowd!
The other wrestlers and prospects of the black ‘n’ yellow get to cheer on their fellow superstars in action tonight!
Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Group A Triple Threat: KUSHIDA VS Jake Atlas VS Drake Maverick!
So far, it has been a rather miraculous run for Rockstar Spud as he scratches and claws to stay in the WWE. But it took so much for him just to pull off the win on the Time Splitter, does he have enough left to take down Kushida and Atlas at the same time? Or is someone else going to live his dream of becoming Cruiserweight Champion?
The bell rings and the three approach. Kushida wristlocks Maverick and kicks Atlas but Maverick hits Kushida and CHOPS Atlas! Maverick shakes out the bad arm but Atlas CHOPS back! Atlas whips and pops Maverick up, but Maverick dropkicks Kushida down! Maverick dodges Atlas but runs into a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! Cover but Kushida breaks it! Kushida throws Atlas out and goes after Maverick’s bad arm! Atlas hurries back in and throws Kushida out. Atlas goes up and out and MOONSAULTS! Direct hit takes Kushida down! Atlas hurries back up and shoulders into Maverick. Atlas springboard BLOCKBUSTERS! Cover, TWO!!
Kushida hurries in, Atlas goes Matrix and handspring neckbreakers! Cover, TWO! Atlas drags Kushida up while Maverick goes to a corner. Atlas CHOPS Kushida then whips. Kushida reverses and hip tosses Atlas down to handspring dropkick! Kushida KICKS Maverick’s arm! Then SHOTEIS Atlas in a corner! SHOTEI for Maverick, too! Kushida hoists Maverick up but Atlas CLUBS Kushida on the back. Atlas Electric Chairs Kushida and Maverick stands up. Kushida slips out the back and shoves Atlas into Maverick’s boot! Kushida O’Conner rolls but Maverick runs in! GERMAN SUPLEX! Double cover, TWO!! Kushida has control over both opponents as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns Maverick throws a forearm at Atlas. Atlas forearms Kushida but Kushida forearms Maverick. Maverick hits Atlas but Atlas uppercuts Kushida. Maverick goes after Atlas and Atlas hits back. Maverick backs Atlas down, whips but Atlas reverses. But Maverick goes up and over and baits Atlas into buckles! Kushida runs in but is sent into Atlas! Maverick kicks them both out of the corner! Maverick hops up to missile dropkick Kushida! Atlas runs in but is put on the apron. Kushida runs in but the handspring kick takes Atlas out! Maverick runs into a boot! Kushida goes up to LEAP onto Atlas! They crash into the barriers but Kushida hurries to enziguri Maverick! TORNADO DDT! CROSS ARMBAR!! Maverick rolls it to a cover, TWO!!
Atlas returns as Kushida and Maverick go to opposite ends. Atlas KNEES Maverick down at the ropes! Kushida runs in but Atlas spins him around for the inverted suplex! Cover, but Maverick breaks it! Maverick gets space as the crowd rallies up. Atlas runs in but only gets post! Maverick hits the climbing bulldog! Cover, but Kushida breaks it! Kushida kicks away on Maverick’s face, but Maverick roars! Only to get a FAST BALL! Kushida brings Atlas up but Atlas ROCKS him! Atlas whips, Kushida handsprings but Atlas catches him for a GERMAN! Atlas stalks Maverick and brings him around. Scoop and slam and Atlas goes up top. Atlas aims and cartwheels, RAINBOW DDT! Cover but Kushida drags Atlas out!
Kushida and Atlas brawl on the outside, and Atlas BOOTS the Fast Ball away! Atlas hurries back up to the top rope, aims at Maverick again, but Kushida anchors him! Kushida and Atlas brawl as Kushida climbs, and Maverick adds on! He ROCKS Atlas off the top! Atlas crashes down and Maverick goes up after Kushida. Atlas returns as Kushida wrenches the arm! SAKURABA but Atlas BOOTS Maverick down! Atlas goes after Kushida with clubbing forearms but gets a shoulder breaker! Kushida adjusts and brings Atlas up, SUPER ARMBAR TAKEDOWN!! Maverick crawls over and covers Atlas!! MAVERICK WINS!?!
Winner: Drake Maverick, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Unbelievable! Kushida thought his armbar was going to finish Atlas, but it was not faster than the three count! Maverick is not done yet, and here comes El Hijo del Fantasma! The tournament final is finally set, and Fantasma shakes hands with Maverick. They both vow to be the champion, but who wants it more?
But wait! There might be controversy in the decision!
The referee may have counted three on Maverick’s pinfall, but what he couldn’t see was Atlas’ right hand underneath Maverick. Atlas tapped out just before the referee counted three! The decision is final, but will this give Kushida reason to be first in line after the finals?
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae head to the ring!
Mr. and Mrs. #AllHeartNoSoul are here, and telling the booing NXT superstars that they only have their jobs because of them. But people are also putting words in their mouths. The Johnny Gargano Way isn’t about getting rid of people, it’s about making everyone better. There are some “good hands” out in that crowd. But opportunities are given to those who deserve them. It’s how Gargano got his job, and now he is the face of NXT! But please, hold your applause. But tonight is the first ever Johnny Gargano Invitational! For the first time ever, a young superstar will have the honor of stepping in the ring with the greatest performer of this generation. Keep working hard, crowd stars, because one day it could be you. But tonight, drum roll please… It’s Adrian Al- Wait, how do you say this last name? Adrian Alanis!
Johnny Gargano w/ Candice LeRae VS Adrian Alanis!
The crowd wants Alanis to “Kick His Ass!” but this is the first NXT Triple Crown winner we’re talking about. We will all see things go #TheJohnnyGarganoWay?
The bell rings and Gargano offers Alanis a handshake. Alains takes it, and Gargano DECKS him! Gargano rains down fists and the crowd boos. Gargano grins and celebrates but Alanis DECKS him back! Alanis runs into a SUPERKICK! Now Gargano is upset and he clamps onto Alanis’ face with hooking fingers. And then the GargaNO Escape! Alanis taps, Gargano wins!
Winner: Johnny Gargano, by submission
Gargano pushes Alanis out of his ring, and then takes his time putting his #TJGW shirt back on. But wait, on the titantron. “What a great picture. I loved kicking Little Boy Skinny Jeans.” Keith Lee concurs with Mia Yim. That was excellent form. How nice to have dinner together. And a nice little centerpiece, too. Trash and cheap, just like the Gargano’s! Oof. Mia is feeling it boiling up. She’s ready to pop off! You ready for this? Mia mocks twisted Candice by saying she’s “an angry little pixie that don’t know how to tone my hair. I am 4′ 7″ but I think I’m a pitbull. I’ve been in NXT for 25 years with no titles to show for it, and that’s because I love living int he shadow for my sad excuse of a husband.” Ready to eat? No! What was that? Talking to Keith and then talking to something else, with weird lights and sounds. What was that? Mia says Keith should try!
Keith takes the flashlight and does the same spooky face. No this is too bright. Just try! “Hi, I’m Johnny Gargano. I have something in common with my action figures, as we are the same size. I carried the imaginary flag for NXT, even though nobody asked me to. And in the morning when I wake up, I spend more time looking at myself in the mirror than I do my own wife.” Hmm… That worked up an appetite. What did Mia cook? The same thing Candice does: take-out! Knock knock! How conveniently timed. Tegan Nox is here with Gargano’s Pizza! Sorry, she kinda got hungry on the way, so enjoy what’s left. Well alright. One slice?!
But to get serious, Candice and Gargano should’ve just sat there and ate their food. But they had to put Mia’s and Keith’s names in their mouths. Their attempts to put hands on Mia, that has consequences. So here’s a real toast. It’s not the Gargano way. It’s about making them pay. Keith supports that. Cheers. The crowd laughs and mocks Candice and Johnny. Will Mr. & Mrs. Wrestling soon #BaskInTheirGlory?
Backstage interview with Drake Maverick!
The replay shows Maverick got away with the win, and he said he wants to compete fairly. He could compete in another match with Kushida or something. But Kushida comes by to say Maverick is going to fight for the title. Go win. Good luck. Maverick tells Kushida that he has all the respect in the world for him. So when Maverick wins, Kushida will get that first shot. They shake on it, but that’s a tall task for Maverick. But Maverick can finally celebrate just a little, knowing he’s in the finals. Will he be able to celebrate even bigger after taking on Fantasma?
NXT hears from Imperium’s Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner.
“And new NXT Tag Team Champions, the Pride of Italy, Fabian Aichner, and the Impeccable German, Marcel Barthel.” Imperium has official taken over NXT’s Tag Team Division! For any team that dares step in the way, these titles are not coming off their shoulders. Just like the NXT United Kingdom Championship is never coming off Walter’s shoulders. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch want to disrespect Imperium, but they are a disgrace to their home countries and to the sacred mat. Now Imperium dictates the pace and sets the rules! Welcome to the Era of Imperium!
Shotzi Blackheart VS Raquel Gonzalez w/ Dakota Kai!
The wild child is ready to #TCB, Take Care o’ Business! But with all the other women in the division in her sights, how many can she shoot down on the way to the title before emptying the tank?
The bell rings and Raquel powers Shotzi right to the ropes. The ref counts and Raquel lets up but Shotzi shoves back! Shotzi gets around and waistlocks but Raquel pries free to run her over! Raquel drags Shotzi up to run her over again! Raquel pulls Shotzi up bu her hair but Shotzi hits an arm code breaker! Shotzi kicks from the mat then spins around to wheelbarrow. Raquel dead lifts Shotzi but Shotzi fights free. Shotzi boots and springboards but the headscissors are stopped! Raquel pops Shotzi up but Shotzi sunset flips! Raquel stays up, drags Shotzi up but Shotzi tries again! Shotzi avoids the elbow drop counter, and hits a BIG knee! And then a rolling elbow! Question Mark Kick! SHotzi roars and enziguris Raquel down!
Dakota panics and coaches Raquel, and then saves her from the body attack! Raquel throws Shotzi down and drops an elbow! Cover, TWO! Dakota confiscates the tank!? Raquel makes Shotzi watch as Dakota vandalizes the toy. But then Tegan Nox appears and DECKS Dakota! Raquel shouts at Tegan but Shotzi rolls Raquel up, TWO! Raquel BOOTS Shotzi down and paces about as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns and Raquel grinds forearms into Shotzi in the corner. The ref counts and she lets up at 4 to whip Shotzi corner to corner hard! Raquel is on Shotzi with stomps and forearms but the ref counts. She stops at 4 again as Tegan protests. Tegan coaches Shotzi up but Raquel is on Shotzi with a scoop and POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO! The crowd rallies as Raquel drags Shotzi up for a bearhug! Shotzi endures as Raquel squeezes tight. Raquel thrashes Shotzi around but Shotzi fights with elbows. Shotzi is free and throws more forearms, but runs into a scoop and backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Raquel drags Shotzi around and says they want more. Shotzi kicks back from the mat and gets up. Raquel blocks a kick but Shotzi gets a takedown! Raquel boots Shotzi away but SHotzi goes up and around to springboard and wheelbarrow to throw Raquel onto ropes! Shotzi runs and CANNONBALLS!
Raquel bails out to regroup with Dakota, but Shotzi goes to the apron. SPRINGBOARD TRUST FALL!! Shotzi takes Dakota and Raquel out, but she almost does herself in! Tegan helps Shotzi but Candice appears! Candice has beef after Tegan played a role in Keith’s and Mia’s smear video. They argue and distract the ref while Shotzi goes for Sliced Bread. Dakota trips Shotzi up! Raquel drags Shotzi off the top for the POWERBOMB! Cover, Raquel wins!
Winner: Raquel Gonzalez, by pinfall
The Candice LeRae Way helps Dakota help Raquel, and that only hurts Tegan and Shotzi. Will there be more twists and turns in this fairy tale turned sour?
NXT makes it TakeOver official!
The Archer of Infamy has already taken shots at The Prince, and they will do battle at TakeOver: In Your House! Finn Balor says that if Damian Priest wants to live forever, he’s going about it in a very stupid way. Balor is “20 years towards eternity,” and Priest has been treading water for a year. Balor is not a lifeline. Priest will meet the Prince, kneel before the altar, and be buried alive! Will Balor make sure Priest does anything but #LiveForever?
Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai VS Charlotte Flair & ???
Before what will be an incredible Triple Threat at TakeOver, the Mosh Pit Kid and Evil Genius will have to put their differences aside for this tag match. But given The Queen’s behavior is always braggadocios, was there anyone willing to put things aside to stand beside her?
After Rhea and Shirai, Charlotte makes her entrance and is joined by… Chelsea Green! The Robert Stone Brand is moving up in the world if they managed to swing this. Will the Hottest Commodity be an asset to Charlotte tonight?
The teams sort out and Rhea starts against Chelsea, even though she thought it’d be Charlotte. Green and Rhea tie up and Rhea throws her down! Rhea wants Charlotte but Chelsea says she’s her opponent. Chelsea then dodges Rhea and struts about. Rhea swipes at Charlotte but goes back to Chelsea. Chelsea gets around to SLAP Rhea on the back! Rhea is seething as she blocks the punches and ripcords Chelsea to a mule kick! And then a facebuster! Rhea swipes at Charlotte again but Charlotte gets clear. Chelsea rolls Rhea and grabs her hair! The ref reprimands but Rhea HEADBUTTS free! Rhea staggers and Shirai tags in! Shirai throws forearms on Chelsea and CHOPS! Shirai whips but Chelsea reveres. Shirai dodges, handsprings and dropkicks! Then kips up!
The crowd rallies as Shirai goes corner to corner to uppercut Chelsea! She sweeps the legs and stomps away but the ref backs her off. Shirai goes back for more then digs her boots in. Shirai stops at 4 to swinging meteora! Chelsea sputters and crawls but Shirai goes to tiger feint. Chelsea dodges and then DIVES! Direct hit into barriers! Chelsea gets Shirai up and in and Charlotte wants in. Charlotte and Chelsea stand on Shirai as they tag. Charlotte takes Shirai and stomps away in the corner! The ref counts and Charlotte lets up, but then smothers Shirai in the corner while Chelsea tags back in. Chelsea drags Shirai up and whips but Shirai reverses. Chelsea slides out but Shirai DIVES! Direct hit with the payback! Shirai is fired up and so are the superstars in the crowd as she stomps Chelsea.
Shirai rams Chelsea into barriers and stomps away! The ref counts and Shirai lets off. Charlotte lurks but Rhea hurries over to keep her back. Shirai whips Chelsea into barriers, then again. Chelsea reverses a whip to send Shirai into barriers now! Chelsea puts Shirai in but NXT goes to break!
NXT returns and Charlotte grinds Shirai down with a chinlock. She mocks Shirai to reach for Rhea but Shirai elbows back. Charlotte throws Shirai down by her hair and ignores the ref’s reprimanding. Charlotte brings Shirai up to CHOP to the corner! Chelsea taunts Shirai as Charlotte CHOPS more! Shirai moves and the CHOP goes into Chelsea! Shirai hurries but she’s still crawling, and Charlotte stomps her down! Charlotte pushes Rhea and then gets away with Shirai to the corner. Charlotte and Chelsea mug Shirai and Rhea can’t do a thing about it! Chelsea tags in and taunts Rhea, but turns around into Shirai’s crossbody! Hot tag to Rhea! The Aussie Nightmare rallies with big forearms and lariats! She spins Chelsea for cravat KNEES! Snapmare and basement dropkick!
The crowd rallies with Rhea as she Electric Chair lifts Chelsea, for a FACEBUSTER! Cover but Charlotte BOOTS Rhea down! Rhea storms after Charlotte but Chelsea waistlocks. Chelsea tags Charlotte before the O’Conner roll, and Charlotte BOOTS Rhea again! Charlotte grabs the legs, drags Rhea around, and Figure Fours! But Shirai METEORAS Charlotte down! Shirai hurries back to her corner and tags in! The Evil Genius dodges, tilt-o-whirls and headscissors Charlotte to a corner! Shirai runs in to METEORA again! Cover, TWO! Charlotte survives but Shirai is still on her. Shirai underhooks but Charlotte resists and even back drops out. But Shirai lands on her feet to victory roll and STOMP! Charlotte sputters to the ropes and Shirai runs over, TIGER FEINT!
Shirai fires up as Charlotte and Chelsea regroup. Chelsea saves Charlotte from the missile dropkick! Charlotte swings on Rhea, but dodges and Shirai BLASTS Rhea by accident! Charlotte rolls Shirai and even uses the ropes!! Charlotte and Chelsea win!!
Winners: Charlotte Flair & Chelsea Green, by pinfall
Shirai is shocked, but Charlotte used her contenders against each other to win! Will she do it all over again to keep the title at TakeOver?
Backstage interview with Candice and Johnny.
After Mia and Keith mocking them in a fairly entertaining- ENTERTAINING?! Aren’t reporters supposed to be impartial!? How was that entertaining? There is no place for this level of unprofessional-ism in NXT. Johnny and Candice are the one true power couple! But for all the jokes Keith is making, just see if he laughs after Gargano takes the NXT North American Championship off him at TakeOver! Candice won’t even wait that long! She wants after Mia next week! And Tegan Nox should be ashamed of herself. Will all of this come to a head In Your House?
Adam Cole and William Regal negotiate via video call.
The NXT Champion requested this time, and NXT General Manager Regal gets to the point: What does Cole want? First and foremost, Cole wanted to negotiate a better intro, but hey. But as the longest reigning NXT Champion in history, he was supposed to have a well-deserved celebration. Sadly, that has been put on ice with the champagne all because of Velveteen Dream! Despite that condescending tone, Regal considers himself a fair man yet will suffer no fools, and certainly not Cole’s whining. What does Cole want? Right, of course, Cole has to keep this very simple so it won’t go over Regal’s head. First, the Undisputed Era deserves a fair shot at the NXT Tag Team Championships. They had to fight a team they were not prepared to fight when Matt Riddle suddenly had Timothy Thatcher.
Second, concerning Dream, Cole doesn’t want that man to ever set foot in Cole’s business, building or ring ever again. Goodness gracious, Cole, it’s just all about him, huh? Regal feels Dream deserves another chance, and that will happen at TakeOver. Cole wants to ask a genuine question: Where does all this charity come from? Especially for a guy like Dream, a complete and insane narcissist! He has his own personal spotlight and personal couch. It’s disgusting! Regal does agree Dream craves the spotlight, but so does Cole. Cole will not stand for being compared “to that charade!” Like saying a Lamborghini is the same as a toy truck! It is especially insulting because Cole has been the cornerstone of NXT for some time. Whether Regal wants to admit that, the Undisputed Era has made Regal look very good.
Does Cole not understand negotiating? There needs to be common ground, a discussion of terms. But if Cole wants to forgo those discussions, then keep acting like a baybay. Bravo, Mr. Regal, that was a good joke. That has to be the first one since he was a man’s man. But after Cole beats Dream at TakeOver, Regal needs to say that Dream will never get another shot, so long as the title is with Cole. Regal agrees to those terms. Cole VS Dream will happen In Your House. But he adds his own stipulation: It will be a location that can shine the spotlight on both their talents and is also worthy of the title match. Cole accepts this deal, but just what will Regal have planned for what could be the final #UndisputedDreamMatch?
NXT takes a closer look at Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch.
For Lorcan, growing up on the streets of Boston, “you had to be tough to survive.” Oney got a different education. He has a Masters in bar fighting. Meanwhile, the Govenah grew up in Bethnal Green, East London, where you had two choices: you either put on football (soccer) boots, or you used your fists to fight. Burch fought his all life to get to the WWE, as did Lorcan. And things really changed when the two first faced each other 1v1. The best way to explain how hard Oney hits, is like getting hit with a hammer. On the flip side, Burch is like getting hit with a brick. It was weird for these two to face off, only because it was like looking in a mirror. Going to wary like they did, you gain respect for the other. And that brought about their team. They had a good start, but now, they’ve been on a roll.
Burch invites Oney to a pub to have a pint. They talk about fighting, connecting, and sending a message to Imperium. They’re not going to let Imperium just sit back and have a long title reign. Oney & Burch are going to take over and take those titles. Throw ’em up! Will the second chance be just what the One Two needs to finally grab the gold?
Tommaso Ciampa VS Leon Ruff!
The Psycho Killer was ambushed by Karrion Kross while the Evolve prospect was brutalized head-on. Before going after Mr. Doomsday at TakeOver, will Ciampa show anything Kross can do, he can do better?
As Ciampa enters the ring, Scarlet Bordeaux appears on the ramp! The heartthrob harbinger stares at Ciampa and Ciampa stares back. Ciampa is wary of where Kross might be but he bell rings. Ruff rolls Ciampa up, TWO! Ciampa rushes Ruff but Ruff dodges. Ciampa puts Ruff on the apron but Ruff forearms back! Ruff springboards , hops around, and gets under Ciampa, only to get a KNEE! Ciampa throws off his shirt while staring Scarlet down. Ciampa drags Ruff to a corner and then grinds him into the buckles. He CHOPS Ruff while staring Scarlet down, then hits the PSYCHO KNEE! Ciampa won’t stop staring but neither will Scarlet. Ciampa brings Ruff up, underhooks, and blows a kiss, for the FAIRY TALE ENDING! Cover, Ciampa wins!
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa, by pinfall
Was that better or worse than facing Kross? You’ll have to ask Ruff when he wakes up. Kross is on the titantron and congratulates Ciampa on that win. Kross takes a moment to validate a series of statements Ciampa made last week. Yes, Ciampa is special. And TakeOver: In Your House, that is special. But Kross promises Ciampa that Ciampa will feel something he has never felt in his life! Ticktock, the clock is counting down. The end is here, but for who?
NXT Fight Pit: Matt Riddle VS Timothy Thatcher, special guest referee Kurt Angle!
This isn’t a Steel Cage Match, this is a steel cage fight! History is being made, and not just because the Olympic gold medalist is back to officiate. No ring ropes, no buckle pads, and an elevated platform for additional officials to watch the action from above, it is truly a unique structure. The Newly-Bros turned archenemies will surely have the most knockdown, drag-out fight in NXT History, but who will be the first man to survive the #FightPit?
Each man is checked before climbing up onto the platform. Riddle jumps and rolls and times his forearm smash with the bell! The fight is on and against the cage! Riddle SPINE BUSTERS Thatcher down then rains down hands! Riddle wants the sleeper hold but Thatcher slips around. Thatcher tries to ground ‘n’ pound back but Riddle pushes him away. Riddle kicks but it’s caught and Thatcher uses that to get around for a sleeper of his own. Riddle pries free and uses the cage to go up and around! Riddle waistlocks but Thatcher blocks the lift, but only for so long! Riddle GERMAN SUPLEXES Thatcher, and drops a BROTON! “That’s what’s up, bro!”
Riddle paces while Angle checks on Thatcher. Thatcher sits up but gets another Broton! Riddle kicks but Thatcher SLAPS him! Riddle comes back with a wall jump enziguri! Showtime becomes Bro Time! Riddle gets up to PENALTY KICK Thatcher in the head! Angle has Riddle stay back for the ten count. The cage fight can only be one by submission or knockouts, so much like a Last Man Standing match, if Thatcher is still down, Riddle will win. But Thatcher gets up, blood pouring from his mouth! Angel and other refs move over to check, and Thatcher just lost a tooth!! Thatcher gives the teeth to Angel and demands this fight continue! Medics come by and check for a concussion. Thatcher is good to go, so this match continues, after the break.
NXT returns and Riddle has Thatcher down again, but Thatcher is holding Riddle back with body scissors. The two move around, hitting where they can with furious fists. Riddle brings Thatcher to the cage and digs him into the steel as they throw hands. Riddle gets up higher and rains down rights! Thatcher covers up and grabs a hand to drag Riddle in! Thatcher wants the Kimura but Riddle hammers away in the meantime. Riddle rolls free and the two men get to their feet. They brawl with palm strikes, body shots and whatever they can think of! Riddle boots Thatcher to the steel, then wants another Bro Time, but he gets caught! Thatcher has the arm but Riddle fights off the Fujiwara to get around. Riddle tries to lift but Thatcher back drops free. Thatcher RAMS Riddle into steel, then TOSSES him with a belly2belly! Thatcher gets a foot for a modified Half Crab!
Riddle endures the heel hook and Thatcher kicks away on Riddle’s back. Thatcher completes the Half Crab but Riddle endures. Riddle grabs the steel but that doesn’t count as a ropebreak. Thatcher shifts to get a modified STF! Thatcher grinds Riddle down but Riddle refuses to quit. So Thatcher KNEES Riddle in the side! And even kicks and stomps him while he’s down against the steel! Angle backs Thatcher off to start a ten count. Riddle stirs but we’re already at 5. Riddle is up at 6 but Thatcher is on him with body shots. Thatcher underhooks, for a BUTTERFLY SUPLEX! Float over and armlock but Riddle resists. Thatcher rear mounts, chinlocks and crossfaces, but Riddle rolls and reverses! Riddle drags Thatcher around but no Bromission just yet! Thatcher hooks a leg and has a toehold! Riddle scrambles but Thatcher drops down on the leg!
Thatcher cranks on the leg but Riddle throws forearms. Thatcher turns and roles reverse from before, with Riddle having to use a body scissor guard. Riddle turns things around and rains down rights as the crowd rallies. Thatcher goes for a triangle hold but Riddle resists! Riddle dead lifts but Thatcher climbs up to the elevated platform! The crowd boos but Riddle pursues. Thatcher hurries over to BOUNCE and STOMP Riddle on the wood! Thatcher drags Riddle up to throw a EuroUpper! Riddle CHOPS back and we have a brawl way up there! Forearm for forearm and EuroUppers as well! Riddle staggers but kicks back. Riddle fires off kick after kick but Thatcher blocks one to get the ANKLE LOCK! Thatcher grapevines and has Riddle dangling over the edge! Riddle drags himself back up and stomps Thatcher off him!
Riddle gets to his feet, and drops a Broton, but only onto wood! Thatcher avoids that and has a furious glare on his face. Thatcher drags Riddle up for a snap suplex to the wood! Riddle writhes but Thatcher looms over him. Thatcher kicks Riddle and then underhooks. He aims for the pit! Riddle resists and reverses, to FINAL FLASH! Thatcher falls into the pit! Riddle aims from the edge, and goes for the SUPER FLOATING BRO!! Direct hit but both men are feeling the pain! “This is Awesome!” but far from over as both men stagger about. Thatcher is against the steel and Riddle runs in to KICK away! And kick and kick and kick! Thatcher grabs at Riddle but Riddle CHOPS! Riddle runs back in but Thatcher sends him into steel! And then gets the SLEEPER! But Riddle again tries to use the steel, only for Thatcher to bounce him off it!
Thatcher hops on, wanting the Rear Naked Choke, but Riddle RAMS him into the steel! And again! And then a backpack BROTON! But Thatcher springs up to wrap Riddle up again! Riddle endures but fades out! Riddle is OUT, Thatcher wins!!
Winner: Timothy Thatcher, by submission
The Bro couldn’t breathe and the brutal Thatcher gets the historic victory! Will Thatcher leave Riddle in the dust and soon rip through the rest of the roster?
This was a really good episode with a lot of positive progress towards TakeOver. For one, the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament story continues to be written perfectly. I really like that even though Maverick won, it was done in an opportunistic way that also has controversy. There was no developments with the gold masked luchadors this week, but they might still play a big part in the finals. And how wild would it be if they were the reason Maverick won the title. Sadly, there is the bigger controversy of this happening with the releases of many other superstars. But focusing on just Maverick, this has been a great story and he really has worked very hard in his own right. It’d certainly be an interesting move for Maverick to be interim champion and then have to defend against Jordan Devlin, when the day comes that the world is open again.
Balor VS Priest is now official and we got a fairly good promo from Balor about it. Gargano VS Keith Lee for the North American Championship is all but official but that has to be what we get. Gargano, Candice, Keith and Mia were all good in their parts, and the blending of Tegan’s story with Candice’s is a great move. Perhaps instead of a Mixed Tag like I was thinking, we get a Six Woman Tag as Candice teams with Dakota and Raquel to face Mia, Tegan and Shotzi. And for that matter, Shotzi went all out for that springboard spot! I really thought she injured herself but seems she was okay. I’m not sure how the Six Woman Tag will go but it will be great. Same goes for Gargano VS Keith. Cole “negotiating” a rematch with Dream was a good segment, and that match will be great, too. But that match carries a lot of weight towards NXT’s future, so who knows where that goes.
Ciampa obviously wins over Leon Ruff and Kross has a good promo to push things towards the TakeOver match. As strong as Ciampa still is, Kross surely wins this. Charlotte, Green, Rhea and Shirai had a great tag match for a match that was a bit of a surprise to begin with. It was very smart for Charlotte to use Shirai and Rhea against each other at the end, but depending on how things go for Charlotte on the other brands, this might indicate Charlotte loses at TakeOver. I’m still hoping for Shirai to use Charlotte and Rhea against each other to capitalize and finally become champion. We got good promos from Imperium and the BritAm Brawlers, so naturally that is the NXT Tag Team Championship match for TakeOver. I don’t see Imperium being transitional champions to Oney and Burch, but there are only so many times a team can come close and not grab the gold. I still feel Imperium wins, but there will need to be something that happens with Oney and Burch for them to still matter to the fans.
And for the main event, the Fight Pit was incredible! Both how it looked as a structure and the action itself. A little surprising Angle didn’t really get to do much, we didn’t even hear him talking to each man earlier in the night, only see it happen. I kinda hope Angle sticks around in NXT, he’d be a great addition. I am a bit surprised Thatcher won, but maybe that’s to bring about an eventual Thatcher VS Pete Dunne match, since Dunne was the one who introduced Thatcher and Riddle in the first place. I personally would love more of these Fight Pit matches, this first match already did a great job showing all the facets of it.
My Score: 9.1/10
Mitchell’s AEW Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament Coverage! (2/28/21)
The finals are so close, we can almost taste it!
AEW is closing in on a Women’s Championship Contender!
AEW Revolution is only one week away and Hikaru Shida still awaits a challenger! Who takes that pivotal step closer to her championship?
- Six Woman Tag: Hikaru Shida, Rin Kadokura & Mei Suruga VS Emi Sakura, Maki Itoh & Veny; Shida, Kadokura & Suruga win.
- Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament, Japanese Finals: Yuka Sakazaki VS Ryo Mizunami; Mizunami wins and advances.
- Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament, US Bracket Semifinal: Thunder Rosa VS Riho; Rosa wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Woman Tag: Hikaru Shida, Rin Kadokura & Mei Suruga VS Emi Sakura, Maki Itoh & Veny!
The Full Metal Warrior jumps into the action alongside #Marvelous and the Biggest Smile in the World to take on the Queen of Wrestling, the Fallen Idol and the Genderless Artist! But will Mei be able to fight properly when Emi-sensei is on the other side of the ring?
Shida and her team offer handshakes, but no one from the other side accepts. And then Maki, Emi and Veny ambush Shida’s team! They knock Mei and Rin out and then mug Shida 3v1! Emi underhooks and Veny helps out, ASSISTED FACEBUSTER! Maki fires up that iron head but Shida avoids the Kokeshi! Shida clubs Maki, bumps her off buckles, and whips her corner to corner. Maki reverses, runs in, and back body blocks! Maki fires up and then runs back in, to climb up. Maki asks, “Who is the cutest in the world? Itoh-chan, desu~!” Maki rains down fists and fires up, but Shida carries her off the corner! Maki fights free and fires off forearms, but Shida pie faces her!
Maki and Shida glare, and Maki fires off more forearms! Shida DECKS Maki with one! Maki gets mad now! She bumps her iron head off buckles, and HEADBUTTS Shida! Maki roars, tells Shida BLEH~, then runs, into a GAMANGIRI! Maki’s head is iron but her face is fragile! Maki tags in Emi, and Rin tags in to clobber her! Rin rallies, pushes Emi down, then hits a DOUBLE STOMP! Emi staggers up into Rin’s shotgun dropkick! Rin goes corner to corner CANNONBALL! Rin drags Emi up, wrenches and wristlocks to then crucifix, but Emi fights free to give Rin BACKBREAKER! And then the BUTTERFLY BACKBREAKER!
Tag to Veny, and Veny kicks Rin around. Veny toys with Rin, gives more kicks, and drags Rin up. Rin throws a forearm but Veny brushes that off. Rin forearms over an dover and over, but Veny just SLAPS Rin down! Veny runs, but Mei trips Veny up! Mei is learning much from Emi-sensei! Rin basement dropkicks Veny against ropes! Rin climbs, Veny stands, missile dropkick knocks Veny down! But Veny rolls through and comes back with a SHOTGUN BOOT! Veny hoists Rin up, blocks the rana counter, but Rin slips out to NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridging cover, TWO! Veny narrowly escapes but Rin SUPERKICKS! Rin runs, SATELLITE DDT!
Rin and Veny crawl, Mei pushes Shida away to take the hot tag! Mei springboard STOMPS Veny down! Mei full nelsons to the CATTLE MUTILATION! Mei has a high bridge, but Veny gets the ropebreak with a foot! Mei lets Veny go to bring Veny up and whip. Veny reverses, runs in, but Mei boots Veny away! Mei goes up, leaps, but Veny catches Mei and pops her around, only for Mei to wheelbarrow! Veny blocks the victory roll, drags Mei back up, FACEBUSTER! Veny LIONSAULTS, covers, TWO! Mei survives but Veny tags Emi in. Sensei now stomps student around! Emi sucker punches Shida and Rin then brings Mei around for a TOSS!
Mei flounders to a corner, Emi elbows Shida down, and then Emi goes back to Mei. Emi gets the legs, sings and the team echoes it. Emi reels Mei back as Maki sings it loud and proud for her! ROLLING ROMERO as Maki holds out the note! Maki runs and KOKESHIS the surfboard apart! Did she forget Emi was underneath Mei? Emi gets mad at Maki for it, but Maki gets mad at Emi for getting mat at her! Veny tags in to stop all that and then BLASTS Shida’s corner! Veny stands on Mei’s head, digs the heel in, and then drags Mei back up. Mei throws forearms but Veny blocks the suplex! Mei stomps Veny’s foot! And then scoops, only for Veny to scoop back and SLAM Mei down!
Veny drags Mei up, scoops her again and SLAMS her again! Splash down for the cover, TWO! Veny tags Maki, Maki stomps away on Mei. Maki puts Mei through ropes and pulls her back in a rope camel clutch! The ref reprimands, Maki holds on until 4, and then mockingly keeps counting to 8. And then Maki goes after Mei for more stretching! Maki CLUBS Mei on the back, Emi gets a cheap shot in, Maki throws Mei down to cover, TWO! Maki is on the camel clutch again, Rin attacks Maki! Maki ROCKS Rin, stomps Mei, and tags out to Emi. Emi DECKS Rin, hits Shida, and goes back to Mei to throw her down! Emi pulls WAY back on the camel clutch!
Mei endures, Emi pushes Mei away, and then drags her up. Mei breaks free to fake the chops and leg scissor roll Emi! TWO, Mei runs and hops onto Emi’s shoulders for a spinning sunset flip! Emi punches but Mei goes Matrix! Mei runs, Emi spins her to underhook, but Mei fights off the driver to ROCK Emi with a right! Mei reels Emi in, scoop and SLAM! Mei shows her sensei that she has power! Shida pushes Rin aside to tag in from Mei! Shida runs to KNEE Emi in the corner! Maki runs in but Shida scoops her and wedges her above Emi! Veny runs in, Shida kicks Veny and snap suplexes Veny into both Emi and Maki!
Shida sets Emi up on the apron and gets some space. Shida runs back in to KNEE Emi back in! Shida’s fired up and she gets in the ring. Emi stands, Shida runs and reverse wheelbarrows to sunset flip! KNEE DROPS! Cover, TWO! Shida goes to suplex but Emi claws her back! Emi runs, but Shida tilt-o-whirl BACKBREAKERS back! Shida runs but into Emi’s tilt-o-whirl BACKBREAKER! Emi and Shida are forehead to forehead as former teacher and student are evenly matched! But then Mei and Veny get in to boot their respective opponents! Mei and Veny run, and they BOTH get tilt-o-whirl BACKBREAKERS!
Shida and Emi go after each other again with forearms and CHOPS! Shida ROCKS Emi, Emi CHOPS back! They keep going back and forth, Shida gets the edge, and she hammers away on Emi! Shida fires up, reels Emi in, but Emi fights to the dragon sleeper, TWISTING REVERSE DDT! Emi sings, “We Will~, We Will~ Rock You!” Maki sings along as Emi runs in and BODY CHECKS Shida! Emi CHOPS and runs, but into Shida’s KNEE! Maki runs in and gives Shida a TORNADO DDT! But Rin SUPERKICKS Maki! Veny SUPERKICKS Rin! Mei fakes Veny out, springboards and SUPER PUNCHES!
Mei shouts to Shida-senpai! They work together on Emi-sensei, SUPER FOREHEAD POKE! Full nelson and… SUPER FOREHEAD POKE! Shida gives Mei a boost, and Mei hits a SPLASH! Shida brings Emi up to whip but Emi holds the ropes! Mei kicks Emi’s arm from the rope, and whips Emi, only for Emi to crisscross them up! Emi uses Mei to sunset flip Shida, and then she traps them both in some kind of double Bow ‘n’ Arrow stretch! Mei tries to get free, Shida gets the ropebreak! Emi lets go, runs, and BODY CHECKS both of them!
Veny tags in and climbs up top! Veny ARIHARA MOONSAULTS Shida down! And then kips up! Veny swaggers about, slaps Shida and drags her up. Veny puts Shida in, drags her up, but Shida breaks free! Shida dodges a heel kick, Veny deflects the knee, Shida ducks another kick but Veny ducks the enziguri! Veny ripcord lariats but Shida dodges, only to run into the WINDMILL! Emi sets Shida up in a drop zone, VADER ELBOW! Veny goes up, MOONSAULT! Cover, Mei breaks it! Emi kicks Mei and Rin back out and Veny drags Shida up. Veny reels Shida in, fisherman but Shida fights out to roll up. Veny rolls through but Shida ROCKS Veny with that right!!
Shida suplexes, Veny slips out and Veny GERMAN SUPLEXES! Maki HEADBUTTS Shida into Veny’s lift, for a SIT-OUT BOMB! Cover, TWO!?! Shida survives and shocks Veny! Veny climbs up again, Rin intercepts with haymakers! Rin climbs up now, and hits a SUPER STEINER on Veny! Shida gets in as Veny goes to the apron. Shida drags Veny up to bump her off buckles! Shida dead lift SUPERPLEXES! And rolls through, to dead lift suplex! Cover, TWO!! TAMASHI!! Cover, but Maki and Emi break it! Maki and Emi intercept Rin and Mei, but Rin and Mei turn that around! Shida, Rin and Mei throw Emi, Maki and Veny into each other! Mei and Rin crisscross to dropkick Veny and Emi!
Shida drags Veny back up, suplexes, and hits a FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!?! Shida is shocked by Veny’s toughness! Shida sits Veny up again, runs and hits the TAMASHI!! Cover, Team Shida wins!
Winners: Hikaru Shida, Rin Kadokura & Mei Suruga, by pinfall
The AEW Women’s World Champion finishes it off! Mei is so happy for her senpai, and the three stand tall. But Emi-sensei attacks! Mei and Rin go after Emi, shove her out, but Maki goes after them! Shida grabs Maki by her pigtails and bumps her off buckles! Shida throws Maki out hard, Emi stomps Maki?! Emi is upset that Maki failed, it seems. But again, Shida stands tall with her team! Will she be standing tall against whoever it is that faces her at Revolution?
Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament, Japanese Finals: Yuka Sakazaki VS Ryo Mizunami!
This is it for the Magical Girl and Aneki! It’s win or go home, so who is heading to the overall tournament finals?!
Ryo again gets impatient with the ref and smacks him on the back again. The two shake hands to show there is sportsmanship. But Ryo’s handshake is so strong, Yuka falls to a knee! Ryo lets go, Yuka shakes her hand out, the bell rings, and the two circle. They tie up, Ryo powers Yuka right to ropes, but lets off as the ref calls for a break. Yuka composes herself again and circles with Ryo. They tie up, Yuka waistlocks, but Ryo pries free and wrenches to a wristlock. Yuka rolls, handsprings, wrenches again and has another wristlock. Ryo pretends to be worried but she body shots then wrenches through to a wristlock.
Ryo clubs away on Yuka’s arm, wrenches it more, and Yuka drops to her knees again. Yuka gets up but Ryo wrenches the wrist again. Yuka endures, Ryo lifts her up by that arm to then drop her down! Ryo keeps on the hand, Yuka fights back up, and Yuka runs to flip and wrangle Ryo down with a keylock! Ryo fights up, Yuka shifts to a facelock then chinlock. Ryo powers up, powers out, but Yuka dropkicks! But Ryo just fires up! Yuka is a bit put off by that, and tries another dropkick! Ryo still stays up! Yuka gets frustrated now and she runs, but Ryo dodges the dropkick to stomp Yuka down! Ryo clubs Yuka, whips her to a corner, but Yuka goes up and over!
Yuka gets around to waistlock, but Ryo elbows. Yuka avoids the elbows and pokes Ryo in the eye! Yuka giggles but Ryo reels her in! Ryo waistlocks but Yuka slips under to roll Ryo up, TWO! Yuka cradles, TWO! Another roll up, TWO! Yuka is frustrated but so is Ryo, and Ryo bails out. Ryo catches her breath but Yuka builds speed to WRECK Ryo with a dropkick! Yuka fires up, Ryo cools off, and Ryo takes her time returning. Yuka waits as Ryo gets in, and Yuka dropkicks the legs out! Yuka clubs away on Ryo, brings Ryo around, but can’t scoop Ryo up! Ryo scoop slams Yuka down! Ryo drags Yuka up, whips her to ropes, and runs her over with a shoulder!
Ryo drags Yuka back up, ROCKS her with a forearm, then scoop slams her again! LEG DROP! Cover, TWO! Ryo keeps cool as she drags Yuka back up. Ryo whips Yuka to a corner, Yuka dodges, and then Yuka runs back in to back elbow! Ryo catches Yuka to RAM her into the corner! Yuka falls but Ryo drags her up into a DEEP camel clutch! Yuka gets one arm free, reaches and gets the ropebreak! Ryo lets go fast, stomps Yuka, then drags her up again. Ryo CHOPS Yuka to a corner, CHOPS again, and then CHOPS and CHOPS and unleashes the machine gun CHOPS! Satoshi Kojima would be proud! Ryo fires up, does a dance, but Yuka ducks and the chop hits buckles!
Yuka kicks from below, but Ryo boots back! Ryo scoops, Yuka slips out and RANAS Ryo to a corner! Yuka runs to SHINING WIZARD! Yuka hops up, leaps, flying elbow! Ryo is down and Yuka brings her back up! Ryo resists the suplex, Yuka clubs her and rolls her to a CALF KILLER!! Ryo endures, reaches around, Yuka twists the foot, but Ryo gets a ropebreak with a hand! Yuka lets go, runs and hits a SLIDING LARIAT at the ropes! Yuka goes to the corner, goes up top, but cartwheels to avoid Ryo! Yuka runs, but into a POWERSLAM! Both women are down because of the bad leg, but Ryo fires up!
Ryo picks Yuka up, but Yuka wheelbarrows, only for Ryo to block the victory roll! WHEELBARROW GERMAN SUPLEX! Ryo runs and CLOBBERS Yuka at ropes! Then hits a ROUGH RYDER! Cover, TWO, but into the katagatami!! Yuka endures the head-and-arm, but Ryo squeezes tight! Yuka fights up, rolls back, and slips free to get Ryo for a TRIANGLE HOLD! Ryo endures and fights up, but she starts to fade! Yuka pulls even tighter, the ref checks on Ryo, but Ryo gets a second wind! Ryo powers up, dead lifts and POWERBOMBS Yuka down! Yuka flounders to a corner while Ryo catches her breath and fires herself up with slaps to her face!
Ryo runs and CLOBBERS Yuka! Yuka ROCKS Ryo, dodges, and ENZIGURIS! Ryo LARIATS right back!! Ryo fires up, Yuka sits up in a daze, and Ryo brings Yuka in for forearms from all sides! Ryo powers up but Yuka ROCKS her back! Yuka fires forearms from all sides, and ROCKS Ryo again! Yuka cravat rolls Ryo to KICK her down! SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Ryo survives but Yuka puts her in a drop zone. Yuka goes to the apron, climbs the ropes, MAGICAL GIRL SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! Ryo survives but Yuka keeps her focus. Yuka goes to the apron again, goes up the ropes again, and hits the MAGICAL GIRL 450, but has to bail out! Ryo catches Yuka for an URENAGE!!
Both women are down, the ref checks on them, but they’re stirring. Ryo fires herself up, she grabs Yuka’s hair, but Yuka grabs Ryo’s ears! Ryo HEADBUTTS Yuka in the chest! Torture rack and- VICTORY ROLL FROM YUKA! TWO, and Yuka RANAS to a cover, TWO!! Yuka runs, into a LARIAT! Cover, but Yuka rolls it over, TWO!! Ryo gets to a corner, runs and SPEARS Yuka! Then drags Yuka up to SHORT ARM LARIAT!! Cover, TWO?!?!?! How did Yuka survive!?! Ryo won’t stop to worry about it, she drags Yuka up to fisherman and DRIVER!! Cover, Ryo wins!!
Winner: Ryo Mizunami, by pinfall (advances to the tournament finals)
And Aneki is heading to Dynamite this Wednesday! But will she be able to go from the Crossroads and to Revolution?
Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament, US Bracket Semifinal: Thunder Rosa VS Riho!
Nyla Rose awaits an opponent for the US Bracket Finals! Will the former NWA Women’s World Champion take one step closer to one of her goals? Or will the inaugural AEW Women’s World Champion end up facing an old foe in the finals?
The bell rings, these two shake hands and then circle. They tie up as fans fire up, and they go around the ring with the collar ‘n’ elbow. Riho wrenches, Rosa wrenches back and then headlocks tight. Riho pries free, headlocks back and hits a takeover. Rosa headscissors, Riho kips out and fans cheer this opening exchange. The two circle, tie up, and Rosa trips Riho to get a facelock. Riho slips out of the facelock but so does Rosa. Rosa drags Riho up to then use a leg to hook Riho and bring her down. Riho fights out of the headscissor, rolls Rosa and runs. Rosa dodges, drops and hurdles, to arm-drag Riho! Riho arm-drags back! Rosa sweeps, covers, Riho goes Matrix to run and basement dropkick!
Fans fire up as Riho drags Rosa back up. Rosa kicks low, reels Riho in and snap suplexes! Una amiga, another snap suplex! Dos amiga, and then she hangs Riho out to dry on ropes! Rosa goes side to side to BOOT Riho down! Cover, TWO! Rosa sits Riho up to throw clubbing elbows, then bumps Riho off buckles. Rosa digs her boot in, lets off as the ref counts, and then CHOPS Riho down! Rosa digs her knee into Riho now, then drags Riho out to a cover, TWO! Rosa keeps cool and brings Riho up for a hanging neckbreaker! And another! Rosa reels Riho into a rack as she hooks a leg! Riho endures but Rosa THROWS Riho over her shoulder! Cover, TWO!
Rosa drags Riho up, bumps her off buckles, then goes corner to corner, only for Riho to dodge! Riho KNEES Rosa, runs and tilt-o-whirls to headscissor Rosa to ropes! Fans fire up, Riho dial sit up, 619 hits! Cover, TWO! Riho runs again, but Rosa catches the crossbody, only for Riho to SATELLITE DDT! Cover, TWO! Riho keeps close, drags Rosa up but Rosa hits back! Rosa EuroUppers, and hits another neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Rosa grows annoyed but she drags Riho around and stomps her. Rosa kicks but Riho just gets mad! Riho gets up and throws heavy forearms! Fans fire up as Rosa throws a heavy body shot and then a boot! Cover, TWO!
Rosa drags Riho around, hooks up a leg, and then goes after arms! It’s a full nelson STF! Riho endures, but Rosa SLAMS her down! Cover, TWO! Riho also gets a foot on the ropes for good measure, but Rosa pulls that away to cover again. TWO, and Rosa grows frustrated. Rosa snapmares Riho, clamps on a dragon sleeper, but Riho fights up! Fans rally, Riho gets up and throws shots to spin around, NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridging cover, TWO!! Rosa escapes and goes to a corner, but Riho goes to the opposite. Rosa runs in but Riho boots her away! Riho leaps for a FLYING RANA! Riho keeps moving, wheelbarrow, STOMP 182! Fans rally and duel as both women are down!
Riho goes to a corner, climbs up top, and leaps for a BIG crossbody! Cover, TWO!! Riho can’t believe how close that was! Riho drags Rosa up, reels her in, but Rosa blocks the Northern Lights! Rosa clubs away, RAMS Riho into the corner, RAMS her more, then runs corner to corner for an A-LIST LARIAT! And SWINGING METEORA! Rosa isn’t done, she hobbles and then comes back in, to BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!!! Riho survives and Rosa can’t believe it! Rosa vows to end this, and she drags Riho up again. Rosa scoops, Riho fights out and full nelsons! Rosa elbows free of that, fireman’s carries Riho and spins, but Riho fights that, too! SNAP DRAGON SUPLEX!!
Fans fire up as Riho gets back up. Riho staggers but makes her way to a corner. Riho climbs but Rosa SHORYUKENS! Rosa climbs up, clubs Riho, but Riho throws body shots and a headbutt! Rosa is in a Tree of Woe, Riho adjusts, WOE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!! Rosa is still in this but Riho drags her up by her hair. Rosa throws body shots but Riho returns fire! They brawl with slapping palm strikes and heavy forearms! Rosa CHOPS, runs, but Riho CLOBBERS her at ropes! Riho runs but Rosa LARIATS! Cover, TWO!!! Rosa is losing her cool but Riho gets her with a victory roll! TWO, and Riho wheelbarrows again, but Rosa throws her off! Leg hook roll, cradle, ROSA WINS!!
Winner: Thunder Rosa, by pinfall (advances to the US Bracket Finals)
In a blink of an eye, this battle of former champions is over! But Thunder Rosa doesn’t have much time to rest, she’s up against the Native Beast on Monday’s last-minute special! Who makes it through to face Ryo Mizunami on Dynamite?
A very good, very fast hour and change for what ended up not being a B/R Live special. B/R Live went down, this ended up on YouTube where it should’ve been anyway, and here we are. The 3v3 was a pretty fun match, a lot of energy and chaos. I’m a little surprised they didn’t play up Mei being Emi’s current protégé, but I did appreciate that they played to the history between Shida and Emi, and likewise Mei being Shida’s “kouhai,” or “junior.” Everyone got to shine, Maki is again a very great character, but naturally Shida wins for her team. Shida needs momentum going into Revolution or else it’ll all be with her challenger.
The Japanese Bracket Final was a great match, though I’m a touch surprised that Ryo won. I suppose it makes some sense, she is a very strong opponent both physically and overall. She’s got a great character, and is a strong contender, but something tells me it’ll be the American finalist that goes to Revolution. Rosa VS Riho was great stuff, fast paced and Riho was not as clunky as last week. But in the end, Rosa wins, a little surprising to me as I thought we’d get a rematch of Riho VS Nyla Rose from over a year ago. Rosa’s story of the goals she’s after is still in play, but Rosa VS Nyla could go either way. Rosa or Nyla facing Shida at Revolution seem the more likely to me, and Nyla VS Shida in a rematch from Double or Nothing 2020 seems even likelier.
My Score: 8.4/10
Mitchell’s NJPW Castle Attack Results & Report! (2/28/21)
There’s gold in the Castle Attack!
Will there no longer be a NJPW Double Champion?
NJPW is not done in Osaka just yet! And Tetsuya Naito will never be done with the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, IF he can take it from Kota Ibushi! Will Naito deny the Golden Star God’s will to unify the belts?
- The United Empire VS Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan; Kojima & Tenzan win.
- Six Man Tag: Chaos VS Bullet Club; Chaos wins.
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny VS Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Guerrillas of Destiny win and retain the titles.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Great-O-Khan; Tanahashi wins and retains the title.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: BUSHI VS El Phantasmo VS El Desperado; Desperado wins and is the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Tetsuya Naito; Ibushi wins and retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
The United Empire VS Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan!
Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb already defeated the King of Cozy and Ikari no Mogyu yesterday in a Six Man Tag, but it seems the war continues! With the Dominator getting ready to face The Ace, will the Assassin and Hawaiian Hulk win again?
The bell rings and the Empire attacks! They throw Tenzan and Kojima out, Ospreay is after Kojima with forearms and elbows while Cobb chokes Tenzan on railing! The Empire whips Tenzan and Kojima at each other and the two collide! Ospreay goes into the ring, Cobb sets Tenzan and Kojima up, but as Ospreay slingshots, Tenzan and Kojima fight free! Ospreay PLANCHAS Cobb! Kojima attacks Ospreay, Tenzan adds on, and they put Ospreay in the ring. Kojima and Tenzan start throwing forearms, Ospreay pinballs between them, and Kojima uses the Mongolian Chops! Kojima scoops and slams Ospreay, Tenzan runs and Kojima slingshots, elbow drop falling headbutt combo! Cover, TWO!
Kojima clubs and puts Ospreay in a corner. Kojima unleashes the machine gun CHOPS! Cobb runs in but Kojima adds him to the machine gun CHOPS! Cobb turns things around on Kojima, but Kojima dodges and Cobb CHOPS Ospreay! Kojima then puts Cobb back in the corner for more machine gun CHOPS! Kojima pushes Cobb out of the way and machine gun CHOPS Ospreay! Kojima whips Ospreay corner to corner, forearms, and fires up! Kojima climbs the corner but Cobb drags him off with a military press! But Kojima slips out to hit a DDT! Fans fire up as Kojima goes after Ospreay with haymakers and CHOPS! Kojima whips, Ospreay dodges to BOOT Tenzan!
Ospreay elbows Kojima then leaps for PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO! Tag to Cobb and the Empire drags Kojima up to double whip. Cobb runs Kojima over, sits him up, Ospreay Penalty Kicks! Cover, TWO! Ospreay DECKS Tenzan while Cobb drags Kojima up. Cobb headbutts Kojima to a corner, CHOPS him now, and CHOPS, and CHOPS, and fires off his own machine gun CHOPS! Cobb whips corner to corner, runs in and forearm smashes! Cobb throws Kojima down, covers, TWO! Cobb drags Kojima up and throws a big forearm! Tag to Ospreay, Ospreay climbs and Cobb has Kojima on the ropes, for draping double stomps!
Ospreay runs to dropkick Tenzan off the apron, then he runs to drop knees on Kojima! Cover, TWO! Ospreay keeps his focus as he looms over Kojima. Fans rally up, Kojima throws body shots but Ospreay hits Kojima down low! Ospreay powerbomb lifts but Kojima fights out to COZY CUTTER! Both men are down but fans rally up! Kojima hurries for his corner, hot tag to Tenzan! Tenzan runs Ospreay over, DECKS Cobb, and then fires up! Tenzan wants to Mongolian Chop but can’t so he kicks Ospreay and headbutts him to the corner. Tenzan regular CHOPS, whips corner to corner, then runs in to corner splash! Tenzan calls his shot, and he gets Ospreay up and over with a suplex! Cover, TWO!
Tenzan stomps Ospreay, headbutts him more, but Ospreay throws forearms. Tenzan forearms back, and the two go back and forth! Tenzan kicks low, wants to Mongolian but he hesitates. Ospreay mule kicks in that opening! Ospreay whips corner to corner, runs in but Tenzan puts him up and out! Ospreay ROCKS Tenzan with a forearm, springboards, PIP PIP CHEERIO! Tag to Cobb and he runs corner to corner at Tenzan, for a LEAPING back elbow! Cobb reels Tenzan in but Tenzan fights off the back suplex. Tenzan headbutts but Cobb JABS! Cobb runs but Tenzan WINDMILLS!
Tag to Kojima and he DECKS Ospreay before bringing Cobb up. Kojima suplexes for a BRAINBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up with Kojima but Ospreay attacks from behind! Ospreay fires off forearms but Kojima swats him away! Kojima runs, Ospreay dodges and Cobb elbows Kojima at ropes! The Empire combines, tornado ENZIGURI! Cobb lifts Kojima up, RAMS him to a corner, and Ospreay DECKS Tenzan to then run side to side and BOOT Kojima! Ospreay feeds Kojima to Cobb’s ATHLETIC PLEX! Cover, but Tenzan breaks it! Fans fire up as Ospreay stomps Tenzan. Ospreay drags Tenzan up and Cobb gives him Mongolian Chops!
Cobb turns Tenzan around, Ospreay uses the Mongolian Chops! Back to Cobb for more Mongolian Chops! Ospreay and Cobb keep going back and forth hitting Tenzan with his old signature and Tenzan falls! Fans rally up for Tenzan but Ospreay slaps him around. Tenzan USES MONGOLIAN CHOPS! Isn’t he banned from doing that!? The ref doesn’t call a disqualification, though, because it isn’t outright illegal! Let’s just say Tenzan is “stealing” it from Great-O-Khan! Tenzan gives Mongolian Chops to Cobb over and over, until Cobb falls! Kojima gets in, he and Tenzan coordinate to double whip Cobb, then hit the 3D! Cover, but Ospreay breaks it!
Ospreay runs into Tenzan’s SIDE EFFECT! Kojima powers up the arm and runs at Cobb, but Cobb SUPERKICKS! Cobb scoops Kojima, for a TOUR- NO! Kojima slips out, and COZY LARIATS Cobb! Cover, Kojima & Tenzan win!!
Winners: Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan, by pinfall
If Ospreay & Cobb are the Empire, just call Kojima & Tenzan the Resistance! Will they continue to defy the United Empire and deny them their desire to take over NJPW? Or will the Dominator have something to say about Tenzan using those Mongolian Chops?
Six Man Tag: Chaos VS Bullet Club!
The Rainmaker, and Mr. KOPW 2021 beat the King of Darkness and Crown Jewel 1v1, but the Stone Pitbull was made to Breathe with the Switchblade! Will Tomohiro Ishii redeem himself against Jay White? Or will Kazuchika Okada and Toru Yano finally see that Everything Is Evil?
White wants Ishii to stay back while he shows off the muscles. Bullet Club then Low Sweets, and Ishii steps up. White is surprised he wants him again after losing yesterday. But White decides to start, just to tag out to Chase. White mockingly claps to rally fans, and Chase circles with Ishii. They tie up, Chase headlocks, Ishii powers out but Chase throws forearms. Chase fires off more forearms but Ishii doesn’t budge. Ishii swings, Chase dodges, and Chase collides with Ishii! Ishii’s ribs bother him, and White strikes! The ref reprimands but Evil gets in and he hits the Chaos corner! Chase and White stomp Ishii but the ref reprimands and White backs off.
Chase tags White, they mug Ishii, and then Yano gets in only for Chase to knock him down. White digs his boots into Ishii in a corner while Chase grinds Yano down in the other. Evil is after Okada on the outside while White and Chase whip Yano and Ishii. Yano and Ishii reverses, White and Chase collide! Ishii and Yano run White and Chase over! Okada whips Evil into railing! Ishii drags White up by his hair, CHOPS him to a corner, and then CHOPS him again! Ishii fires off forearms, the ref counts and Ishii lets off at 3. White rams into Ishii but Ishii tries to suplex. White knees low, whips Ishii but Ishii stops at the corner. Ishii whips, White reverses and Ishii hits the corner hard!
Gedo cheers while White drags Ishii up. Evil and Chase mug and stomp the other Chaos members, and then White throws Ishii out. White distracts the ref so that Gedo and Dick Togo can mug Ishii! Dick holds Ishii open so Gedo can mule kick him in the ribs! The ref sees Dick stomp Ishii and reprimands him. Dick backs off, Chase drags Ishii up and in for White, and White covers. ONE, but White covers again! TWO, and White tries again, TWO!! Bullet Club argues the count but White stomps Ishii back down. Only Gedo cheers as White tags Evil in. Fans rally for Ishii but Evil sits Ishii up. Ishii hits back with forearms but Evil scoops and slams him! Cocky cover, ONE!
Evil argues with the ref but then he stomps Ishii. Tag to Chase and Chase stomps Ishii before standing him up. Chase reels Ishii into a cobra twist! White mocks the fans rallying, and then the Bullet Club creates the cobra twist chain! Chaos protests but Bullet Club lets go before the ref sees. Chase tags White and they stop Ishii from getting away. They mug Ishii, but Ishii just gets mad! White rakes Ishii’s eyes, then tags Evil. Evil DECKS Okada and Yano, White digs his boots into Ishii, and then they both drag Ishii up. They mug Ishii, going after his ribs with forearms. Ishii boots White and elbows Evil away! Ishii runs White over, and drop toeholds Evil onto him!
Chase runs in but into a GERMAN SUPLEX! Fans fire up but Ishii clutches his bad ribs. Ishii crawls, and hot tags Yano! And Yano goes to the corner pad! That’s one undone, but Evil runs in! Yano dodges Evil, Evil stops himself from hitting bare buckles, and Yano tosses the pad to Dick! The ref argues with Dick but Evil kicks at Yano! Evil whips, Yano holds ropes, but Gedo swipes at him! The ref reprimands Gedo but Yano shoves Evil into him! Yano SLAPS Evil, then powers up with YTR, and dodges Evil’s ambush! Yano SLAPS Evil again, then whips him to the bare corner! Dick puts the pad back to save Evil!
Yano runs in, Evil dodges and Dick takes the pad away! Yano runs into bare buckles! Evil tags Chase and Chase stomps Yano. Chase throws a strike fest, runs, but Yano grabs hair! Chase breaks free, kicks low, and runs, into an atomic drop! Fans rally and Yano tags in Okada! Okada throws forearms on Chase, Chase kicks low and runs, but into Okada’s BOOT! Fans fire up and Okada reels Chase in for a gut wrench. Chase fights that, then bell claps and neckbreakers Okada down! Cover, TWO! Chase keeps his cool as he takes aim. BANG, and Chase reels Okada in. yano grabs Chase and throws him down! Evil runs Yano over, Ishii runs Evil over!
White bobs ‘n’ weaves with Ishii, reels him in, but Ishii goes to suplex! White slips out of that, wrenches, but has to duck Ishii’s clothesline! White throws a knee to the bad ribs! But Ishii still suplexes White! Ishii SWATS and ROCKS Chase, but Chase LARIATS! Chase JEWEL TRIGGERS Okada, but Okada avoids the Jewel Heist to put on the MONEY CLIP!! Chase is fading fast as Okada squeezes tight! Chase taps, Chaos wins!!
Winners: Chaos, by submission
The Rainmaker shoots down the Bullet Club and stands tall with his friends! But things are far from through between White and Ishii, will they battle again come the New Japan Cup? Will Okada rise up again and head back for the mountaintop?
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny VS Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI!
These two teams faced off in separate 1v1 matches and went 1-1! Now the tiebreaker is for the gold, and could go either way! Will GoD still reign? Or will Chaos #TurnItAllAround?
The introductions are made, the heavyweight tag titles are raised, GoD Low Sweets, but Chaos attacks them first!
Goto throws Loa out while Hashi is after Tama! Hashi elbows Tama, the bell rings, Goto and Hashi double whip. Goto kicks Tama, wrenches him down, and Hashi leap frogs to stomp Tama! Goto Penalty Kicks, Hashi mule kicks! Loa gets in, he gets double kicks and a double whip, for a double shoulder tackle! Then the hip toss senton! Fans cheer as Hashi goes out after Jado! Goto flanks Jado and they put him in the ring! Chaos hammers away on Jado’s back! Jado bails out, but GoD attacks Chaos back! Tama headbutts Hashi, Loa ROCKS Goto, and GoD whips Chaos, only for Goto to reverse! Loa runs Hashi over, Tama dodges Goto, and GoD double dropkick Goto out!
Loa drags Hashi up and reels him in for a POWERBOMB! The ref checks on Hashi, that bomb really rocked him! Loa toys with Hashi, doing the hand check like the ref would. The ref has Loa back off but Loa tags Tama in. Tama rains down hands on Hashi, then paces around. Fans rally for Hashi and Tama gets annoyed. Loa shouts for Hashi to show the fighting spirit! Tama drops an elbow! Hashi finally stirs, Tama drags Hashi up and fans rally again. Hashi fires forearms off on Tama! Tama hits low, headbutts hard and Hashi goes down. Tag to Loa, Tama stomps Hashi around and Loa slingshot sentons! Tama slingshot sentons, too, and Loa covers, TWO!
Fans fire up for Hashi and Loa mockingly applauds. Loa brings Hashi up but Hashi fires off forearms! Loa claps, eggs Hashi on, and Hashi throws more forearms. Loa ROCKS Hashi with one, then ROCKS him again! Loa still eggs Hashi on and he whips corner to corner. Hashi comes back but Loa leaps over the basement dropkick! Loa says he learned this tricks from last time! But Hashi still gets the spinning mule kick! Hashi crawls to hot tag Goto! Goto rallies on Loa with big shoulders and elbows. Loa blocks the hip toss, body shots and runs, but Goto follows to clothesline Loa down! Tama runs in but Goto kicks him to snap suplex him onto Loa! Goto drops an elbow! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally and Goto drags Loa up to fireman’s carry. Loa fights free, kicks low and knees to then enziguri! Goto staggers and Loa grins. Loa runs, Goto and Loa collide with clotheslines! Neither man falls and Loa eggs Goto on. They collide again with clotheslines, and they both egg each other on! Goto and Loa run, COLLIDE, and both men fall to the mat! Fans rally, both men head for their corners, hot tags to Tama and Hashi! Hashi rallies with elbows and shoulders, Tama reverses the whip but Hashi dodges to HEADHUNTER! Fans fire up with Hashi and he runs corner to corner, but Tama dodges!
Tama fires off fists, whips Hashi corner to corner, but Hashi comes back to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Hashi keeps his cool and he drags Tama up. Hashi reels Tama in, but Tama slips out of the bomb! Tama gets around to dragon sleeper and TONGAN TWIST! Cover, TWO! Hashi survives but Loa gets in. GoD drags Hashi up and they throw body shots, uppercuts, and the neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Tama is frustrated but he and Loa drag Hashi back up again. Tama reels Hashi in, Hashi fights back, and he throws hands on them both! Loa gets around, GoD hits the BACK SUPLEX NECKBREAKER! Cover, but Goto breaks it!
Loa goes after Goto, Tama adds on, they give Goto GUERRILLA WARFARE! Jado calls for Magic Killer and GoD drags Hashi up. Fans rally, but GoD still hits MAGIC KILLER! Cover, TWO!?! Hashi survives and Tama can’t believe it! Jado calls for Super Bomb so Loa drags Hashi up. Loa RAMS Hashi into a corner, Tama runs in to leap but Hashi dodges the splash! Loa kicks Hashi, gets him up, but Hashi RANAS Loa away! Tama fireman’s carries Hashi for a FLAPJACK! Tama shouts, “Why don’t you just die, Hashi?!” Tama stomps away on Hashi, fans rally up but Tama and Loa coordinate. Loa and Tama climb opposite corners, Loa leaps for the FALLING HEADBUTT, but FLOPS when Hashi moves! And Goto shoves Tama off the top! Fans rally up, Hashi crawls over, and hot tags Goto in!
Goto fires up, and he hits a corner clothesline on Loa! Then one on Tama! Then on Loa! Back to Tama! Jado gets on the apron but Goto DECKS him! GoD goes after Goto together, and double whip him to ropes. But Goto DOUBLE LARIATS GoD first! Goto hits MURAMASA on Tama, to the BULLDOG! Cover, Loa breaks it! Hashi goes after Loa, whips him to a corner, and then runs in to clothesline! Hashi reels Loa in, Goto helps out, GOTO BUSTER! Tama staggers into a fireman’s carry but fights out! Hashi still SUPERKICKS Tama! Chaos coordinates, G Y R!! Cover, TWO!?! Tama survives but Goto keeps focus. Goto and Hashi drag Tama back up again and Goto dragon sleepers.
Hashi gets legs but Loa CHOPS and GERMAN SUPLEXES Hashi! Goto DECKS Loa but Tama DECKS Goto! Tama drags Goto up and reels him in. Loa helps out but Hashi returns the GERMAN SUPLEX! Tama SUPER PUNCHES Hashi, but Goto fireman’s carries and USHIGOROSHIS Tama! Loa scoops Goto for a POWERSLAM! All four men are down and fans fire up! Jado coaches GoD while they and Chaos stir. Hashi and Loa rise first, and Hashi fires off forearms! Loa eggs Hashi on, Hashi hits more and more, but Loa ROCKS him with one! And ROCKS him and ROCKS him, but Hashi staggers about!
Loa says “I bring out the fighting spirit because you suck!” Hashi dodges his haymaker to BACKSTABBER! Hashi fires up, fans rally for him and Goto as Goto and Tama stagger to their feet. Goto runs corner to corner but Tama does, too! Goto denies Gun Stun, fireman’s carries, but Tama fights out! Tama shoves, Goto dodges, Tmama dodges and redirects but has to run from Goto! Goto follows, Tama dodges and hurdles, Goto spins but into a leaping facelock! Goto powers through to a fireman’s carry! Hashi SUPERKICKS, Goto POWERSLAMS!! Cover, TWO?!?! Tama survives!?!
Goto drags Tama back up, dragon sleepers, but Loa has a title belt! Hashi dodges that attack, throws Loa out, but Tama snapmares Goto! Jaod KENDO SMACKS and Tama GUN STUNS!! Cover, GoD wins!!
Winners: Guerrillas of Destiny, by pinfall (still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)
Chaos forgot Jado is the insurance policy! But there’s nothing they can do about it now! GoD holds onto the gold, but will they make it through the Spring if Chaos came this close?
NEVER Openweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Great-O-Khan!
The Once in a Century Talent took this title off the Dragon, Shingo Takagi, in an epic battle! But now the Dominator wants to conquer the NEVER division in the name of the United Empire! Will Khan be able to trump the Ace with his iron hand?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and after Tanahashi shows off the muscles, the battle for dominance begins!
Fans rally already with “Let’s Go, Ace!” Tanahashi rushes Khan, Khan dodges and clamps on the claw, but Tanahashi slips free! Tanahashi full nelsons, Khan elbows free but Tanahashi blocks the boot! Khan clamps the claw on anyway, but Tanahashi breaks free again. Tanahashi dodges the Mongolian Chop and dropkicks a leg out! Fans cheer as Tanahashi watches Khan. Khan bails out, fans rally “Let’s Go, Ace!” but Khan taunts Yota Tsuji, the Young Lion Tanahashi has been mentoring. Tanahashi goes out to reinforce Tsuji and has him step aside. Khan sucker punches Tanahashi then whips Tanahashi into railing! And then Khan gives Tanahashi SNAKE EYES off the apron!
Khan stands on Tanahashi and mockingly asks what’s wrong. Fans still rally for Tanahashi as Khan drags him up and puts him in a full nelson. Khan is telling Tsuji to hit Tanahashi!? Tsuji seems tempted to make a name for himself, but Tanahashi fights free, only for Khan to RAM Tanahashi into the railing! Khan puts Tanahashi in, has a cocky cover, ONE! Fans rally for Tanahashi again but Khan drags Tanahashi around to dead lift him in a gut wrench. Khan carries Tanahashi around before hitting the gut wrench suplex! Cover, TWO! Khan grabs a leg and stomps the knee, to then get a standing kneebar!
Tanahashi endures, fights around, but Khan drags him from ropes for a proper KNEEBAR! Tanahashi manages to roll and get the ropebreak! Khan lets go at 4, paces about, and he drags Tanahashi up. Khan waistlocks and lifts Tanahashi to RAM him into the corner! Khan makes sure Tsuji watches as he sits on Tanahashi in the corner! The ref reprimands, Khan stands up at 4, but then grabs Tanahashi’s arms to pull them back! The ref counts again and Khan lets off at 4. Khan brings Tanahashi around to cover, TWO! Khan grows annoyed and he mocks the fans that clap, “Let’s Go, Ace!” Khan brings Tanahashi up but Tanahashi fires off forearms!
Tanahashi blocks the kick but Khan HELL STAB uppercuts! Khan drags Tanahashi up to knee low and whip to ropes. Tanahashi comes back with flying forearms! Fans fire up with Tanahashi and he throws forearms and body shots on Khan! Khan staggers, Tanahashi throws EuroUppers, and then Tanahashi scoop slams Khan to a drop zone! Tanahashi hops up, and hits the second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his cool, fans rally up, and Tanahashi runs corner to corner. Khan boots but Tanahashi blocks to DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi holds on to GROUND DRAGON SCREW! Khan clutches his knee, Tanahashi grabs the legs and ties them up!
Khan fights and gets the ropebreak! Tanahashi stomps Khan’s legs, then drags Khan up from the apron side. Khan hotshots Tanahashi down! Khan’s bad leg slows him down but he still gets back in the ring. But Tanahashi gets his leg in the ropes! DRAPING DRAGON SCREW! And a dropkick! Fans fire up as Tanahashi hits another DRAPING DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi drags Khan around by the leg, ties the legs up, and has the CLOVERLEAF! Khan endures and powers up, but Tanahashi drags him from ropes! Tanahashi sits back but Khan powers up again, and Khan claws his way to the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets go fast and keeps his cool as he stomps Khan down.
Tanahashi drags Khan up and reels him in, but Khan blocks the Twist! Tanahashi keeps trying, Khan throws body shots and SMASHES Tanahashi off his knee! But it was the bad knee so that was double-edged! Khan still comes back and manages a GOURD BUSTER on Tanahashi! Khan falls over because of the bad leg and fans rally up as both men are down. Khan hobbles over, stalks Tanahashi to a corner, and whips him corner to corner, following to clothesline from behind! Khan hoists Tanahashi up backwards and Mongolian CHOPS Tanahashi on the back! Khan drags Tanahashi into a Tree of Woe and digs his boots in!
The ref counts, Khan stops at 4, and he gets the bad leg moving. Khan goes corner to corner and basement BOOTS Tanahashi down! Cover, TWO! Khan keeps after Tanahashi with a lift, ATOMIC FACEBUSTER! Khan gets Tanahashi up for a BACK SUPLEX FACEBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi is still in this and Khan grows frustrated. Fans rally up but Khan stands first. Khan says he’ll end it now! Khan clamps onto Tanahashi with the iron claw! Tanahashi resists the lift, and clamps onto Khan’s face! It’s claw versus claw, but Khan pries Tanahashi’s hand off! Tanahashi swats Khan’s hand then ROCKS him with an uppercut! Khan falls over and Tanahashi catches his breath.
Fans rally up again, “Let’s Go, Ace!” and Tanahashi steadies himself. Tanahashi watches Khan rise, then runs, but Khan uses the ref as a shield! STRAIGHT RIGHT FIST!! Both men and the ref are down and fans rally up again! Khan crawls and shouts to Tsuji to get him something! Tsuji gets a chair?! Is Tsuji now an Empire Young Lion? Tsuji slides the chair… TO TANAHASHI! Khan is furious at Tsuji’s betrayal, but Tsuji is staying loyal to The Ace! Tanahshi takes a seat and smiles at Khan, but Khan runs in. Tanahashi drop toeholds Khan onto the chair! Khan writhes and flounders into a TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Tanahashi runs, but Khan BOOTS him down!
Khan clamps on the claw, drags Tanahashi up, ELIMI- SLINGBLADE!! Tanahashi hurries up top, Khan stands, HIGH FLY FLOW-BODY! Tanahashi hurries back up, HIGH FLY FLOP!! Khan avoids the splash and both men are down again! Tsuji and the fans still rally, “Let’s Go, Ace!” but Khan drags himself up in a corner. Tanahashi stands, Khan shotgun dropkicks him down! Khan is slow to rising but Tanahashi roars as he fires up! Both men stand, both men roar, and they both run at each other! Khan hits a big flying forearm! Cover, TWO! The fans are thunderous with “Let’s Go, Ace!” as Khan brings Tanahashi up.
Khan whips Tanahashi to a corner, then runs in to corner clothesline! Khan whips, Tanahashi reverses, SLINGBLADE! Khan is right up, but Tanahashi SLINGBLADES again! Khan rises again, Tanahashi runs, into a LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!! Tanahashi survives and Khan can’t believe it! Khan clamps a claw onto Tanahashi’s face and drags him back up! It’s a claw torture rack! Khan stomps around to add torque, but Tanahashi endures! Khan spins and spins for a SWINGING SLAM! Khan fires up, tears away the tape and clamps the claw directly onto Tanahashi! ELIMI- CRUCIFIX!! Cover, Tanahashi wins!!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Champion)
The Ace had a trick up his sleeve and he snatches the victory away from Khan! Khan is furious and he grabs at the ref, but the ref says the count is the count! Tsuji stays close to Tanahashi as the belt is brought over to him. With both skill and savvy, will it take far more than strength and aggression to take this title from the Once in a Century Talent?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: BUSHI VS El Phantasmo VS El Desperado!
Another unfortunate injury takes the Ticking Timebomb out of action! He forfeited this title, but his amigo in Los Ingobernables de Japon will fight to keep it close! Will the Death Mask be able to shine with gold? Will ELP only need one good shot? Or will the Rogue Luchador start on his road to taking over the Junior Heavyweight Division?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and one way or another, a new champion will be crowned in the Castle Attack!
Desperado rushes ELP but he dodges. ELP dodges Bushi but Bushi dodges and ELP falls out of the ring. Desperado CLUBS Bushi, whips him to ropes, but Bushi goes to rana! Desperado blocks, Bushi fights off the bomb, but Desperado knees low. Bushi goes to a corner, Desperado runs in to back elbow, but ELP runs in! Desperado sends ELP into Bushi, then hip tosses ELP down! Bushi runs but Desperado sends his basement dropkick into ELP! Desperado then snap suplexes Bushi onto ELP! Cover on ELP, ONE! Desperado ROCKS ELP with an uppercut, then runs corner to corner at Bushi. Bushi boots back, hops up and FLYING RANAS Desperado down!
Fans fire up but ELP clubs Bushi and whips him to a corner. ELP runs in, Bushi dodges and elbows ELP, to BULLDOG DRPOKICK both opponents! Cover on ELP, TWO! Bushi keeps cool, drags ELP up and throws forearms. Desperado ROCKS Bushi with an uppercut, ELP ROCKS Desperado! ELP whips, Desperado reverses and runs in, but ELP pops Desperado up and crotches him on the rope! Bushi runs in, ELP pops him up and out but Bushi lands on the apron. Bushi blocks ELP to drag him in, but no apron DDT! ELP shoves Bushi down, climbs up to ROCK Desperado, and then climbs up higher. ELP walks the tight rope to SENTON Desperado down! Cover, TWO!
ELP grows annoyed, but he drags Desperado up to pull on the fingers, and SNAP them! And SNAP them! ELP BITES Desperado’s hand, then knuckle locks it. ELP CHOPS Desperado, goes up and up and tightrope walks, to then go to the other corner, bop Desperado, and keep on going. ELP just shows off now, saying, “Too easy, baby!” But Desperado trips ELP up! ELP is crotched on ropes, but Bushi gives Desperado the DRAPING APRON DDT! Bushi climbs up to SUPER STEINER ELP off the top! Cover, TWO! Bushi keeps his cool as he drags ELP up. ELP spins out of the fisherman but Bushi kicks low. Bushi whips, ELP reverses but Bushi dodges to DIVE out onto Desperado!
Bushi drags Desperado up but ELP runs to go up and SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY them both! Fans admit that was great stuff! ELP hears fans cheering, but leaves fans hanging on the Too Sweet. ELP POSTS Bushi, then fetches Desperado. ELP talks some trash and kicks at Desperado. ELP drags Desperado up to DECK him, then CHOPS him further up the ramp! ELP ROCKS Desperado with a haymaker, but Desperado throws body shots! ELP ROCKS Desperado again, but Desperado blocks the suplex. Desperado throws more body shots, switches positions, and he suplexes. ELP slips out to TEAR Desperado’s mask! ELP reels Desperado in, Gotch hold PILEDRIVER to the ramp!!
ELP even mocks Minoru Suzuki with that one! The ref checks on Desperado but ELP drags him up first. ELP takes Desperado’s mask away! ELP mocks the fans who are offended, and then he puts the mask on to mock Desperado more! Des-ELP puts Bushi in the ring and then takes Desperado’ smask off. ELP STOMPS the mask, then PUNTS it out of the ring! Medics check on Desperado while ELP covers Bushi. TWO, and ELP whips Bushi to a corner. Bushi slips out to swing kick ELP away! Bushi climbs, leaps, and missile dropkicks ELP! Fans fire up for the Bushirooni! ELP bails out but Bushi SLINGSHOT RANAS him down! Fans fire up with Bushi as he drags ELP up.
Bushi puts ELP in, takes aim from a corner, and runs in, only for the Code Breaker to be blocked! ELP knees low and whips Bushi into the corner hard! ELP tears Bushi’s shirt off, and then wraps it around his fist to punch Bushi with! ELP sits Bushi up to CHOKE him with the shirt! The ref counts, ELP lets go at 4, and fans rally up. ELP drags Bushi up and hoists him up top backwards. ELP puts Bushi in a Tree of Woe and throws knees into Bushi’s stomach! Desperado is still down as ELP mocks the rallying claps. ELP takes aim from the corner, says BANG, and then runs in to handspring around, just for the CROTCH DIG!
The ref reprimands, ELP hops off and Bushi falls out of the Tree. ELP covers but the ref refuses to count because of all those antics. Fans rally while Desperado is still down. ELP drags Bushi up and whips him corner to corner. Bushi reverses, ELP goes up and over and then dodges to springboard crossbody! Somersault to LIONSAULT! Cover, TWO! ELP clamps onto Bushi with a chinlock and grinds him down. Bushi endures, ELP shifts to a sleeper, but fans rally. Bushi reaches, fights up, and fights free! Bushi runs, but ELP gets around to half straitjacket torture rack! ELP spins for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Bushi survives but ELP goes up top.
ELP steadies himself, takes aim, BANG and FROG SPLASH! Cover of “Thunder Kiss ’86,” TWO!! Bushi survives again and ELP is frustrated. ELP gets his boot ready, but Desperado returns! Desperado has a spare mask, even! ELP is surprised by this most of all, but he swings on Desperado! Desperado dodges to SPEAR! But that might’ve been double-edged given the bad neck. But Desperado fires off on ELP with fists! The ref pulls Desperado away but Desperado goes back for more. Desperado CHOPS ELP, whips him to the ropes, but ELP holds the ropes. ELP boots but Desperado blocks to clothesline ELP out!
Fans fire up for Desperado as he builds speed and DIVES! The somersault tope takes him and ELP out! Desperado drags ELP up and into the ring and fans fire up again. Desperado drags ELP up, reels him in and suplexes for a brainbuster! But that’s just uno amigo! Desperado hoists ELP up top with the second, and ROCKS him with an uppercut! Fans rally, Desperado climbs, and he drags ELP up. ELP resists the superplex, Desperado throws body shots, but Bushi adds on! Bushi climbs up to get around and sunset flips, POWERBOMB SUPERPLEX! Cover on Desperado, TWO! Cover on ELP, TWO! Bushi drags Desperado up for a BACKSTABBER! Cover, ELP breaks it!
Bushi goes after ELP with forearms, but ELP rakes Bushi’s eyes! The ref reprimands, ELP lets off and boots, but Bushi blocks to put the leg in the ropes! Bushi ENZIGURIS ELP down and ELP ends up stuck! Bushi gives Desperado a FISHERMAN SCREW! Cover, TWO!! Bushi aims from a corner as Desperado staggers up, CODE BREAKER! ELP gets free and throws Bushi out! ELP covers Desperado, TWO!! Desperado survives and ELP doesn’t get to steal Bushi’s work! ELP drags Desperado up, reels him in, underhooks the arms, and lifts, and surprise! STYLES CLASH!! Cover, but Bushi GHOST PINS ELP! TWO!!
Bushi throws forearms on ELP, runs, but ELP KNEES Bushi down! Was that a V-Trigger? ELP says BANG to Desperado, and V-TRIGGERS him! That was definitely a V-Trigger! And this is definitely an Electric Chair lift! But Desperado counters the One Winged Angel to EL ES CULERO!! TWO?!?! ELP narrowly escapes and Desperado can’t believe it! ELP runs but into a SPINEBUSTER! Desperado gets the STRETCH MUFFLER! ELP endures as Desperado thrashes about, and Desperado drags him from ropes! NUMERO DOS!! But ELP rolls to make it a cradle, TWO!! Desperado mule kicks then reels ELP in! Double underhooks, but no Pinche!
ELP spins out, straitjacket and torture rack, but Desperado slips out! Desperado wrenches and reels ELP in for GUITAR DEL ANGEL! Cover, TWO!?! Desperado is furious! Desperado drags ELP up, reels him in again and double underhooks, but ELP stomps Desperado’s foot! LOADED MULE KICK! LOADED BUZZSAW! ELP drags Desperado, hooks the arms, CANADIAN REVOLUTION II!! Taker cover, but Bushi stops the ref!! The fans fire up as the ref reprimands Bushi but Bushi dodges ELP. ELP ducks the enziguri but not the mule kick! Bushi runs to CODE BREAKER! Cover, TWO! ELP survives but Bushi just goes to a corner.
Fans fire up as Bushi climbs and takes aim, M- LOADED SUPERKICK!! But Bushi flops out of the ring!! ELP can’t finish it here, but he takes aim at Desperado again. ELP reloads, but Desperado does the splits! LOCO MONO!! The straight right rocks ELP but Desperado isn’t done here! Desperado underhooks ELP, but ELP back drops to bridge! TWO!? PINCHE LOCO!! And a rolling butterlfy to ANOTHER PINCHE LOCO!! Cover Taker style, DESPERADO WINS!!!
Winner: El Desperado, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)
INCREIBLE! Desperado is Mr. Junior Heavyweight Champion! He has the singles AND tag team titles! Though Hiromu is hurt, does this make Desperado THE best Junior Heavyweight today?
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Tetsuya Naito!
The Double Championship may have run its course, but the course of history will follow the winner! Will the Golden Star God hold onto this belt to then fuse it with the Heavyweight Championship? Or will the Uncontrollable Charisma free his favorite-not-favorite belt from that fate?
The introductions are made, the white strap is raised, and Naito takes his time with his entrance gear. Fans clap already for “I-BU-SHI!” “NA-I-TO!” The bell rings and the differences between destinies begins!
Fans rally more as Naito and Ibushi circle. They approach, feel out the grapple, and tie up. Naito puts Ibushi on the ropes, Red Shoes calls for the break but Ibushi puts Naito in a corner. Ibushi lets off with a sharp pat on the shoulders, but Naito comes right out to circle with him again. They approach, Naito goes for a leg but Ibushi gets around to full nelson. Naito throws Ibushi down but Ibushi headscissors. Ibushi squeezes tight, Naito fights up and around and pops out to get the leg. Naito has a toehold, Ibushi uses headscissors to bring Naito down, but Naito pries free to get the toehold back. Ibushi uses a chinlock to drag Naito off, and he grinds Naito into a headlock.
Naito powers up, but Ibushi holds tight so he can’t power out. Naito throws body shots, wrenches to a keylock, but Ibushi fights back to wrangle Naito down. Ibushi has the cording hold, Naito rolls back and gets up. Ibushi clamps onto the arm, Naito trips Ibushi up and gets through the leg guard to go after the arm. Ibushi slips around and facelocks. Naito reaches back and gets a ropebreak with a foot. Ibushi lets go and fans cheer the technical exchange. Naito paces around the ring, taking a full lap before getting back in. Ibushi is ready and the two circle again. They feel out a grapple, Naito reels Ibushi into a facelock, but Ibushi shoots around to waistlock.
Ibushi rolls Naito around, shifts again, but Naito holds off the headlock and gets a double wristlock! Naito pulls back on the arm, shifts to get the other arm, chicken wing cradle! TWO, but Naito keeps on the left arm with a hammerlock. Ibushi rolls around, gets up and wrenches Naito’s arm to a wristlock. Naito rolls, wrenches back, but Ibushi drops to drop toehold! Ibushi floats to a chinlock but Naito fights up. Naito stands, powers Ibushi to a corner, and Red Shoes calls for the break. Ibushi lets go, Naito takes his time backing off, and he pats Ibushi on the shoulder. And then he fires off with clubbing forearms! Red Shoes grabs at Naito but Naito pushes him down!
Red Shoes goes out to recover, Naito whips Ibushi corner to corner but Ibushi boots him away! Naito runs back in, Ibushi goes up and over and avoids the basement dropkick! Ibushi runs, Naito drops to pop Ibushi up and then dropkick the legs out! Fans cheer this newest exchange as Ibushi is down. Ibushi growls and Naito eggs him on. Ibushi tries to stand but that leg bothers him. Naito sits and waits while Ibushi grows frustrated with his own body. Ibushi shakes the bad leg out, Red Shoes checks it, and Naito dropkicks it again! Ibushi bails out, Naito pursues, and Naito stomps Ibushi around ringside!
Red Shoes reprimands, Naito drags Ibushi up, and Naito whips Ibushi, only for Ibushi to hobble and fall over. Fans rally up, “I-BU-SHI!” “NA-I-TO!” Naito watches from the apron as Ibushi stirs. The ring count climbs, and is already 10 of 20 before Ibushi stands. Naito goes out to catch Ibushi at the apron, and he elbows away on Ibushi’s leg! Red Shoes reprimands and Naito backs off. Naito goes in, drags Ibushi up, and he kicks away on Ibushi’s ribs! Naito has the bad leg and he CLUBS the knee! Naito hooks the legs up, modified figure four! Ibushi endures as Naito adds pressure to the knees! Ibushi sits up and eggs Naito on! Naito adds more pressure and fans rally as Ibushi endures!
Ibushi drags himself and Naito over towards the ropes and gets the ropebreak! Naito claims he needs help so Red Shoes undoes the hold for him. Naito drags Ibushi by his leg, and SMASHES the knee into the mat! Ibushi grimaces, but he glares at Naito. Naito SMASHES the knee, then kicks Ibushi down to SMASH the knee again! Cover, ropebreak! Naito keeps his cool as he looms over Ibushi. Fans rally more, Naito drags Ibushi up, but Ibushi throws forearms! Naito kicks the bad leg! Naito grabs the leg but Ibushi resists the lift. Naito kicks the leg again, runs, but Ibushi manages to dropkick Naito down! Both men are down and fans rally up!
Ibushi rises first, fires off forearms then whips Naito. Naito reverses but Ibushi manages a FLYING KICK! Ibushi rallies the fans and he hits a STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Ibushi shakes his head and he fires up more. Naito grimaces as Ibushi stalks behind him. Ibushi waistlocks, Naito mule kicks the bad leg! Naito stands Ibushi up to kick the bad leg again! Ibushi eggs Naito on so Naito kicks the bad leg again! Naito elbows, Ibushi eggs him on so Naito SLAPS Ibushi down! Naito sits Ibushi up to basement dropkick in the back! Cover, TWO! Naito keeps cool again as he stands on Ibushi’s bad leg.
Naito stomps the leg, drags Ibushi up and puts him in a corner, to whip Ibushi corner to corner. Rocket kick and sweep, COMBINACION CABRON! Naito takes a moment to pose before he drags Ibushi up for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Naito drags Ibushi back up, then catches Ibushi’s forearm into a backbreaker! PLUMA BLANCA! Ibushi endures the leg hook full nelson, kicks his way around, and he gets the ropebreak with his feet! Naito holds on, Red Shoes reprimands and counts but again Naito “needs help.” Red Shoes undoes the hold, Naito drags Ibushi back up and hammerlocks, but Ibushi resists the lift! Ibushi fights free but Naito kicks the bad leg!
Naito gets the leg but Ibushi elbows free! Ibushi whips, Naito leaps, but into Ibushi’s SNAP GERMAN! Naito staggers up, Ibushi runs in but into the TORNADO DDT! Both men are down again and fans fire up! “I-BU-SHI!” “NA-I-TO!” Both slowly stir, Naito sits up first, and he drags Ibushi up to throw forearms. Ibushi throws the forearms back, and Naito grins. Naito forearms Ibushi, Ibushi forearms back! Naito DECKS Ibushi but Ibushi gets back up to throw another forearm. Naito returns it, they go faster and faster, and the fans fire up as this gets fast and furious! Ibushi gets the edge so Naito kicks the leg! Ibushi sobats, runs, but into a basement dropkick!
Ibushi hobbles, Naito trips him up, and gets the ANKLE LOCK! Naito drops down for a leg scissor! Ibushi endures and fans rally up as Naito puts more pressure on the leg! Ibushi crawls around, claws for ropes, but Naito pushes on the knee even harder! Ibushi still gets the ropebreak! Naito lets go faster this time, and takes a moment to catch his breath. Ibushi is in the corner, fans rally up, but Naito stomps Ibushi’s bad leg. Naito throws back elbows, stomps the leg, then throws more back elbows! Ibushi starts to flop over in the corner as Red Shoes counts. Naito lets off, just to stand Ibushi up for more back elbows! Naito pushes Ibushi through the ropes then climbs the corner.
Naito drags Ibushi up and hits a SUPER THROWBACK STUNNER! Naito then drags Ibushi up, for GLORIA! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi barely escapes but Naito grins again. Naito drags Ibushi back to a corner, hoists him up top backwards, then climbs up behind him. Ibushi resists so Naito CLUBS away on his back! Naito sits Ibushi back up, but Ibushi slips out to trip Naito up! ROUNDHOUSE! Both men are down but fans fire up again! Ibushi kicks at Naito while they’re both on the mat, and he gets Naito to the apron. Ibushi gives more kicks before he drags Naito up. Ibushi goes up the ropes, waistlocks Naito, but Naito resists the lift!
Naito throws clubbing shots, Ibushi gives them back. Ibushi dead lifts for the SUPER GERMAN SUPLEX!! Ibushi crawls to the cover, TWO?!!? Naito narrowly escapes but his eyes look vacant! Ibushi drags himself up, grits his teeth, and aims from a corner. Naito slowly sits up, Ibushi runs to BOMAYE! Ibushi reels Naito in, Naito fights the bomb, but Ibushi still hits THE LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!! Naito still lives and fans fire up again! Ibushi vows to end this! Ibushi gets the wrists, sits Naito up, but Naito avoids the Kamigoye to scoop and VALENTIA!! Both men are down after the modified brainbuster but fans fire up again!
Naito rises, drags Ibushi up, and wrenches the arm, but Ibushi blocks the tilt-o-whirl! Ibushi throws elbows but Naito throws his heavier elbows! Naito throws more elbows, Ibushi drops to his knees, but Naito just stands him back up. Naito throws even more elbows into Ibushi, but Ibushi dodges to LARIAT!! Both men are down again and fans rally up! Ibushi roars and fires up, then gets the wrists. Naito elbows first, then ENZIGURIS! Ibushi staggers, into DESTINO!! Cover, TWO?!?! Ibushi survives but Naito gets up. Naito drags Ibushi up, wrenches and tilt-o-whirls, but into a gut wrench! Ibushi fireman’s carries but Naito fights it with flailing elbows!
Naito finally slips off, runs in, but into a ROUNDHOUSE! Naito roars and comes back, into a V-TRIGGER! KENNY~! Ibushi sits Naito up from behind, BLINDSIDE KAMIGOYE!! Ibushi isn’t done there, he sits Naito up from the front, but Naito gets around to hammerlock and cradle! TWO, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, TWO!??!? Naito survives all that but Ibushi just wants to end him! ANOTHER KAMIGOYE! Ibushi flops down onto the cover, and Ibushi wins!!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall (still IWGP Intercontinental Champion)
The Golden Star God is still a dual champion! Ibushi has denied Naito his wish of having the Intercontinental Championship back! Does this mean Ibushi will finish his plans and unify the top two titles in NJPW? But wait! The other dual champion, DESPERADO, returns! Desperado goes to the ring and applauds Ibushi’s win here. Ibushi stands and allows Desperado to join him in the ring. Desperado gets the mic first, and he says, “Congratulations on your defense, champion. It was pretty bold of me to come out here after you had that intense fight.” Desperado says that isn’t really important. He reminds us that he is the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
Does Ibushi remember the first time Desperado challenged for this title? What year was it? Hard to recall. Anyone here in Osaka remember? After all, it happened in Osaka, against IBUSHI! “The champion completely beat me. How long ago was that?” It took Desperado a long time but he’s finally reached that title now! Ibushi nods respect. Desperado says the last few years, there’s been a tradition at the NJPW Anniversary Show that the Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight Champions have a singles match. So it might have taken Desperado a long time, but he’s here to claim his prize for winning! But Desperado doesn’t just want a singles match! He wants BOTH belts that Ibushi has!! Fans really like that idea!
Desperado doesn’t remember how long it’s been but it has been a long time. And Desperado will show Ibushi he’s not the same man he was back then. Commentary lets us know it was February 11, 2014, so that makes it 7 years and 17 days. Ibushi says it was basically 8 years. And he’s been saying he’ll take on all challengers, anytime, any place, and anyone! The challenge is on! Desperado won his first singles title, and that’s great. And though it was a long time ago, Ibushi hasn’t forgotten that match! “I will never forget how much you SUCKED back then!” Desperado says he’s a different animal now, and Ibushi will find that out!
Then he’ll see at the Anniversary Show in just FOUR days! Because Ibushi is a fighting champion! And he will never betray the fans, he’ll never quit, run away or lose! He will absolutely keep his promise! Ibushi thanks the fans for coming out to see them in these difficult times, and hopes they keep watching and supporting NJPW! Ibushi sets the mic down and finally celebrates his win! But with only a handful of days to prepare, will the IWGP Double Heavyweight Champion be ready for a determined IWGP Double Junior Heavyweight Champion?
Another great event, a touch better than yesterday’s, but mostly because of the title matches being part of the show. The non-title tag matches were both good, from Kojima & Tenzan shocking the United Empire, and Chaos standing tall over Bullet Club. I like that Tenzan stopped caring about the agreement to never use the Mongolian Chops again. Why agree to a deal with bad guys when they just rub it in your face anyway? Okada is building momentum for the New Japan Cup, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to get a match for Okada at the Anniversary Show. Guerrillas retaining the titles make sense, we’d end up with too many dual champions right now if Goto-Hashi won.
I figured Tanahashi would retain the NEVER Openweight Championship, he only just got it. The match was great, but given the story element of Tsuji’s loyalty coming into play, this is not done between them. This story might even be Tsuji’s way from moving out of Young Lion status. Usually that happens by going on excursion, but that is made so much harder right now because of COVID concerns, so tradition might have to be put aside for these special circumstances.
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Triple Threat was great stuff, and I missed Desperado & Kanemaru winning back the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag titles as part of the Road to Castle Attack series. But him winning the singles title is great, both for making him a dual champion, and for him to finally have that accomplishment. The Intercontinental Championship match was awesome stuff, on par with even a Heavyweight Championship match, mostly because it was Ibushi and Naito. Ibushi wins to keep the tease of title unification, but I love that Desperado wants to pounce on all of that.
I assume by unifying the Heavyweight & Intercontinental titles, that somehow removes the weight restriction. Otherwise, Desperado can’t have both Junior Heavyweight and proper Heavyweight titles. Granted, I don’t think Desperado wins more belts to make him a triple to quadruple champion, but that match is going to be great stuff to then launch us into the stacked New Japan Cup schedule for March.
My Score: 9.2/10
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