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Mitchell’s WWE NXT UK Results & Report! (6/18/20)

NXT UK’s Most Brilliant 3!




NXT UK relives the rise of The Bruiserweight!

As NXT UK continues the retrospective, we go all the way back to TakeOver: Chicago in 2017! It’s Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne for the WWE UK Championship!


  • 5/20/17 – WWE United Kingdom Championship: Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne; Dunne wins and becomes the new WWE UK Champion.


Andy Shepherd welcomes us back to the show!

We take a deeper look at the match that proved to be incredibly important for both British wrestling and the NXT UK brand’s formation. Tyler Bate was only 19 years old when he shocked the world to become the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion in January of 2017. The man he beat in the finals, Pete Dunne, worked his way up to become #1 contender, even defeating the third piece of British Strong Style, Trent Seven, to do it. It was only natural that the championship match would be signed for TakeOver: Chicago for Backlash weekend.


Shepherd interviews Bate and Dunne via video call.

“Let’s rewind to May, 2017.” Heading into Chicago, Dunne knew he would be going up against someone who for many years was a friend in Bate. What was that like? “Honestly, it made it easier.” Going onto such a massive stage against someone he knew, someone he came up with, having that comfort for such an unusual stage was the best thing about it all. For Bate, he and Dunne mesh really well. The match in January was so well received, was there any pressure in the rematch to follow up? There’s always a level of pressure, because you want to be the best you can on that day. They took the opportunity to make the most of it.

Walking in, they didn’t think it’d be as big and special as it ended up being, but they did understand that it was the newest chapter in the newest title’s story, with hopes that it’d come with the newest brand. Dunne and Bate felt that gravity, and they wanted the world to feel it, too. Everything was so up in the air, then the match happened, and it was a sample of what NXT UK would be. It felt completely natural, even with the pressure. Everything in Dunne’s career led him to that moment, and Bate knew that all they could do to increase getting a brand was by having the best possible match they could. And they got a standing ovation because they did. What they did that night gave them all a huge confidence boost. The UK has always wanted something like this, and now so does the rest of the world.


Shepherd talks with Ryan Satin.

Where in the wrestling world was Satin at that point? Satin admits he wasn’t incredibly knowledgeable. He knew about things from the internet but he wasn’t die hard. So that original tournament was really his introduction to the UK scene. He took it all in and learned about the people that would be joining the WWE. What were his thoughts on the tournament in January giving those opportunities to the crop of relatively unknown wrestlers? What were his thoughts on the brand that was being built? Satin was “stoked” seeing the tournament. He watched the material put out by the WWE but he didn’t do a lot of research. But Bate was the one that stuck out to him. Satin had seen Dunne on the American indies, but Bate stuck out in that field. “Man, this guy is something special!” Bate, Seven and Dunne were the big names and this tournament showed why.

Fast forward to Chicago, what were his expectations for the rematch? Satin had high hopes, mostly because this was a title and roster without a show. They had something to still prove to the WWE. Dunne and Bate were really hoping to show they were better than everyone else. They weren’t just another one of the guys, they wanted to show the world what they were missing. Dunne and Bate blew it out of the water that night. And now, fast forward to today, just over three years later, we have the NXT UK brand. But looking back at that moment, everyone says it was pivotal. What is the legacy of this one night in Chicago? “This match was everything for NXT UK.” Without it, because of how great it was, there would not be an NXT UK. This was the thing to look at as an example of what the world would get. It is obvious that this match built NXT UK and gave it the chance to be as successful as it is.


Shepherd interviews other NXT UK originals.

Trent Seven, Mark Andrews and Wolfgang were also part of that original tournament field and have been along for the ride with Bate and Dunne. Reflecting back on the match that was pivotal to both NXT UK’s formation and to the entire UK wrestling scene. Trent Seven could’ve been in Dunne’s shoes. Heading into the match, was there any jealousy or regret? Seven says the very night, not even being there live is what hurt, because he would’ve loved to have felt the energy in person. What was happening with this ambiguous brand at the time? Wolfgang says this brand didn’t come out of nowhere. The WWE saw the united effort from England to Scotland to Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland, everyone working up and down the island to create a scene where they didn’t need to go to America but America would come to them. And now, they can aspire to be THE United Kingdom Champion.

Andrews adds that they didn’t have a brand with the tournament, they had to define it. But what they had was a title, and whoever held it would be the one to represent everyone’s hard work. Suddenly, everyone was wondering, “Whoa, what’s going on in the UK?” And then Chicago happens, and together, Bate and Dunne changed the game. In Andrews’ opinion, that is a measuring stick to base all other matches on. That is what everyone wants to achieve. Wolfgang says he didn’t doubt they could deliver on that stage, on that card with some of the best America has produced. They have done that same thing with just 20 thousand watching, but now the world got to see it, too.

Shepherd asks Seven specifically, given Bate and Dunne are two of his best friends, they were on that platform, what was it like to watch that? Seven admits that there were tears. You can watch matches as a fan, watch it all unfold, but as he sat at home like he is now, and he was standing up out of his seat at times! As the crowd stood for the ovation, so did he. He wept because of how proud of these two young men who lived only 15 miles away from each other. At the time, they were only 19 and 22, and they went out there and everyone learned who they were. The chants for “UK!” alone meant so much. “It’s just an incredibly proud moment.”

Wolfgang adds that he loved seeing those two in their element, against each other, and watching the crowd realize moment after moment, “These guys are actually killing it. No, wait, these guys are the best we’ve ever seen.” Andrews adds, “It’s not everyday you get to see two unknown dudes go out there and absolutely kill it in the way that they did.” Andrews himself is still proud of that match and always will be. So how pivotal was this night in Chicago to British wrestling? Wolfgang says it’s monumental. After all, they’re dedicating an entire episode to talk about it. “If it wasn’t for that match begin so successful, maybe there wouldn’t be an NXT UK.”

Andrews adds that if those two had flubbed it, which there’s no way they ever could have, because those two are not arrogant about their abilities. Seven says in many different ways, that is perhaps the greatest match in the modern era. Wolfgang will be the first to thank Dunne and Bate, “Cheers, boys.” The pressure paid off and they did the UK roster proud.


Shepherd interviews Shawn Michaels and other icons.

How aware was HBK of the UK scene? Had he been keeping up with the movement? Yes! He was already all in on it and sold on everything. The introduction of the tournament alone, with Triple H and William Regal bringing out the field was great. NXT UK coach Johnny Moss knew everyone who knew those guys would already be excited for this, but no one expected to be as great as it was. Regal says the tournament was far more of a success than anyone expected, HBK adds that he has admiration for what everyone was doing in the ring. Moss says there is so much heritage in British wrestling, and HBK says it was a big throwback to a time that people thought had ended, and it proved those people wrong.

Shepherd says that while Bate was the inaugural winner and impressive in that way, Dunne also made a huge impression. What were their thoughts on those two young men and the potential they showed. HBK says the entire tournament was special, but it was hard not to notice those two. Regal says those were the first two he called. HBK speaks on their styles, with Dunne being “grungy, rough, tough, working of holds and punishing and grinding,” and Bate being “a bit more flashy, young, wholesome.” Moss adds that obviously Chicago took things to a new atmosphere. Regal hearing that match was coming, he loved it. Moss says a city like Chicago, with how rough and tough it is, it just fit. Regal knew it was going to be great, but will the crowd see that? HBK says there was a desire and a passion from both the wrestlers and the fans that it allowed that connection.

Moss felt the hair on his arms stand up hearing American fans chant for the UK. It was like watching England winning the world cup. He got into it, “Do it for the UK!” Bate and Dunne showed everyone who they were, and what British wrestling is about. “This brand really took shape that night in Chicago.” HBK says the focus moving to the UK really made it all feel real. Moss says if you put it on the scales, it tipped it over. HBK knew they had the pressure on them, but that’s what HBK as a viewer was wanting. Regal says this is perhaps one of the most important matches in the history of WWE. HBK says that match encapsulated a frame of mind that HBK wanted to have as a coach and producer, and you cannot step away from that. “That is the night everything changed.” Regal says that is the match that brought us to where we are today, and Moss thanks both Bate and Dunne for it.


Bate and Dunne reflect on their journey to the WWE.

Starting their training to becoming big stars in the UK through Progress Wrestling, including Dunne becoming Progress Wrestling Champion, to then fighting for the WWE United Kingdom Championship. Bate was deeply honored to be the first-ever, and was waiting to spring his surprises in Chicago. But Dunne felt it was inevitable that the title would be his.


NXT UK will have more Superstar Picks next week!

That’s right! Another round of NXT UK superstars will share their favorite matches of all time! Have your favorites been picked yet?


WWE United Kingdom Championship: Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne!

In the four months between first winning this title and arriving in Chicago, the Big Strong Boy proved he was worthy by turning away quite a crop of contenders. But in those same four months, the Bruiserweight tore through anyone and everyone what stood in his way. Bate had a dream come true, but Dunne loves to end those dreams. Witness the moment history was made and a brand was set in motion!

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this highly anticipated rematch from Blackpool begins!

Fans are already loud for the Bruiserweight as he and Bate circle. They tie up, Dunne waistlocks and slams Bate. The fans duel as Dunne facelocks, and here we hear from Dunne that he knew right away that Chicago was still lukewarm. Many fans were seeing these two for the first time, feeling out what they were about, so the key there was to stay calm and focused. Bate works against the facelock, rolls, but Dunne holds on. Dunne cranks but Bate fights his way up, wrenches out, and clamps on with a wristlock. Dunne rolls, snapmares and wraps a chinlock on, only for Bate to slip out to his own wristlock. Dunne headscissors to wrangle Bate down! Bate tries to get up but Dunne grabs an arm. Dunne hooks that arm, but Bate moves around. Bate hops to a headstand, but Dunne pushes him back down.

Bate speaks now, saying the sensation at the start was that he was “very, very excited,” but he didn’t want that affecting his focus. Because knowing Dunne, and knowing his tactics, “he can be a very naughty boy sometimes.” That meant Bate had to be on high alert the whole time.

Dunne keeps Bate down with the squeeze and then some elbows while the fans duel, “Tyler Bate!” “Bruiserweight!” Bate hops around again and headstands again, to then twist and slip free! The fans applaud that great exchange and the two reset. Bate and Dunne tie up, Dunne grinds forearms in to get a chinbar and wrangle Bate down. Dunne twists the wrist while he digs a knee into Bate’s head. Dunne digs knuckles into the ribs, then twists the wrist even more. Bate endures as the fans rally up. Bate gets up, spins through, rolls and then handsprings to bridge and spin back for another handspring! Bate breaks free and dropkicks Dunne out of the ring! Fans fire up as Bate kips up and checks the mustache!

We hear from Dunne again as he says being in the ring with someone like Bate, trying to get ahead and show what they can do, obviously knowing each other so well, they fed off each other. It obviously shows in the match, with the joint manipulation Dunne was getting. Maybe it wasn’t the American fans’ thing but maybe they hadn’t seen it before. It was mostly about establishing who Dunne and Bate were as wrestlers.

The ring count climbs but Bate hurries after Dunne at 4, but Dunne ROCKS him with that forearm! Dunne brings Bate around the way and to the ring steps. Dunne wrenches the wrist, twists the fingers, but Bate avoids the stomp to DECK Dunne! The ring count passes 5 but Bate leaps and uppercuts Dunne down! The fans cheer as Bate gets Dunne in at 8, only for Dunne to bail out the side. Bate goes around the way but Dunne ROCKS him again! Dunne gives Bate an APRON X-PLEX! The fans cheer that, Chicago loves aggression. Dunne brings Bate up to throw some hands and toying kicks. Dunne DECKS Bate and Chicago fires up for him. Bate crawls to a corner but Dunne brings him up to wrench the arm for a hammerlock. Dunne grinds Bate down, stands on his head then grabs the other arm. The fans are dueling as Dunne bends Bate’s fingers back and to the sides! Dunne stands on the armpit to then STOMP it!

Bate crawls but Dunne stands on his foot so he can’t get away. Dunne throws big forearms then grabs an arm to keep Bate’s guard open as he stomps again and again and again! Dunne still toys with Bate but Bate gets mad now. The fans boo Dunne but Bate glares at him. The fans cheer as Bate grabs Dunne for an EXPLODER! Both men slowly rise and the fans rally up. Bate runs at Dunne corner to corner for an uppercut! Bate goes corner to corner again, comes back and uppercuts even harder! Bate tries for the third but gets a running enziguri! Dunne brings Bate up, another X-Plex, but Bate lands on his feet! Standing shooting star! DEAD LIFT SAIDO! Bridging cover, TWO!! Dunne survives and Bate can’t believe it! The fans cheer and duel again as both men are down. Chicago loves “NXT! NXT!” for giving us this match.

Bate goes to a corner and brings himself up with the ropes. The fans chant for “UK! UK!” as Bate runs for another Shooting Star! But into a TRIANGLE HOLD! Dunne has Bate and hammers away with fists and elbows! Bate endures the squeeze and the hammering to go for a cover! ONE, and Dunne holds on. But Bate powers up for a DEAD LIFT BOMB!! We hear from Dunne as he speaks to this moment, specifically the fans chanting for UK. Dunne had done so many shows, and in some cases, even if it was taped in the UK it was presented as American wrestling so fans would be chanting “USA! USA!” instead. So it was surreal to be in Chicago and hearing chants for UK. The fans are fired up as Bate manages to rise. “This is Awesome!” and far from over as Bate clutches the bad arm.

Bate calls for a spin and he brings Dunne up to a fireman’s carry. Bate starts the airplane spin! He goes around and around and around, picking up speed! Bate hits just under 20 rotations and finally drops Dunne. Cover, TWO!! Both men are down, if mostly because they’re dizzy, but the fans rally up for them. Bate manages to stand first, and the fans get even more fired up as he dead lifts Dunne again! German Suplex, but Dunne lands on his feet! Bate dodges, goes up and up but leaps into a BIG forearm! Dunne brings Bate back up for an X-Plex SIT OUT POWERBOMB!! Cover, TWO!! Bate lives and shocks Dunne! But Chicago is thunderous in a standing ovation!! Dunne kicks at Bate while he’s down and the fans chant “UK! UK!”

We hear from Bate on doing the airplane spin, he was thinking, “When can I stop? When can I put Pete down and just rest?” It is the most effect move in his arsenal that also completely ruins himself, if for a short period of time. It has its pros and cons. The pros: it is the reaction from the fans over it, because it isn’t often that happens.

Bate throws hands back and the two are starting to brawl. They pick up speed again as they just throw hands!! They slow down, wobble, but Bop up, BANG! Dunne drops but Bate has to take a moment to catch his breath. Bate brings Dunne up, ENZIGURI! Bate sits up and Dunne grinds forehead to forehead with him. The two get up again, throw more hands, Bate rebounds off ropes for the rolling kick! Dunne rebounds for the basement BOOT! Bate’s back up, Dunne side steps, rebound LARIAT! And Chicago is standing again! Cover, TWO!! Dunne survives but Bate is too exhausted to be frustrated. Chicago is loving the “UK! UK!” Bate and Dunne stir, slowly rise, and Chicago hopes they “Fight Forever!” But someone has to win and Bate stalks Dunne. Bate powers up, brings Dunne in, underhooks, but Dunne slips out the back! Pump handle, BITTER- DDT!! Bate counters Dunne’s move and Chicago loses its mind!

We hear from Bate again about this being the point in the match where they reached that moment. That moment where it is very difficult, late in the match, blood pumping full of adrenaline, that you see the perfect opportunity to “gracefully jump out of the ropes and dive onto your opponent, and everything’s going to be great and it’s all gonna work out for you.” Though as we’re about to see, Bate got ahead of himself and it goes the other way. It is the thorn in his side, to say the least.

Dunne bails out of the ring and a ring count climbs. But Bate skips that to go to the apron, for an ASAI MOONSAULT! Bate puts Dunne back in, climbs up top, CORKSCREW SENTON!! Cover, TWO!?! Dunne survives and bails out again, to Bate’s shock! Chicago is thunderous for “UK!” as Bate sees where Dunne went. Bate builds speed and FLIES! Into a forearm shot!! Dunne puts Bate in, pump handles, BITTER END!! Cover, Dunne wins!!

Winner: Pete Dunne, by pinfall (NEW WWE United Kingdom Champion)

The Bruiserweight is victorious, the inevitable has happened! Dunne becomes just the second-ever WWE UK Champion!

We hear from Dunne one more time that obviously standing there with the title and hitting his pose, it was very special. Dunne’s life completely changed from being relatively unknown, living with his parents in a small little working town like Birmingham, then to this huge arena in Chicago in front of a crowd chanting for the UK, him and Bate, it all hit him. He went from a nobody to a household name, if you will. Standing there with the title, he just knew his life had changed forever.

Bate speaks now, saying what he felt with Dunne’s song playing and him down in defeat, it was initially disappointment in himself. He would say he was self-loathing, felt like he wasn’t good enough. He remembered the fight he gave, he remembered the effort he gave and the punishment he took and how he kept going. It was all those things that got him out of that bad place. While neither Big Strong Boy or Bruiserweight is a champion today, surely they will both be back for gold!

My Thoughts:

Definitely a brilliant episode for NXT UK. It was great to hear Bate, Dunne and a lot of other names involved with NXT UK talk about that great match. To give some behind-the-scenes for making this article, I no longer had this match on written record somewhere. But that actually might’ve been for the better, because I had to watch this match again, and it was such a great match to rewatch. This match definitely got non-UK fans onboard for an entire show, and it set the tone for NXT UK’s events to follow, such as the second tournament, TakeOver: Blackpool and beyond.

My Score: 8.7/10

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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/21/23)

It all comes down to this!



New Japan Cup 2023

Does NJPW need the Rebel?

David Finlay took out Jay White, but will he truly take over Bullet Club and NJPW? Or will he meet a Skull End at the hands of Sanada?


  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuto Nakashima VS Taichi & DOUKI; Taichi & Douki win.
  • Shota Umino & Ryohei Oiwa VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita; Shota & Ryohei win.
  • Six Man Tag: Tama Tonga, Tomohiro Ishii & Tomoaki Honma VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, El Desperado & Ren Narita VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
  • Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi VS Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan; Naito & Takagi win.
  • Six Man Tag: Chaos VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Lio Rush; Hiromu wins and retains the title.
  • New Japan Cup 2023 Finals: SANADA VS David Finlay; Sanada wins the cup and will challenge Kazuchika Okada for the world title at Sakura Genesis.


Six Man Tag: Chaos VS The United Empire!

The IWGP World Champion teams with the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, their battle over the belts as water under the bridge. But will Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi be able to turn the lights out on Jeff Cobb & Aussie Open? Or will the Imperial Unit, Aussie Arrow & Dunkzilla score some golden tickets to the top?

The trios sort out and Kyle Fletcher wants someone to step up. Fans cheer as the Head Hunter obliges. The bell rings, the two circle, and fans rally up. The two tie up, Hashi headlocks, grinds, but Fletcher powers up and out. Hashi RAMS shoulders, Fletcher comes right back to run Hashi over! Fans applaud that, and Fletcher flexes on Goto. Fletcher stands Hashi up to CHOP! Fletcher whips, Hsahi reverses and Goto runs in, Bishamon double shoulder Fletcher over! Hashi runs, ZANMAI! But Davis storms in to attack! Davis runs, but into a DOUBLE HIP TOSS onto Fletcher! Cobb runs in, but into a DOUBLE DROP TOEHOLD onto Fletcher!

Fans fire up as Okada joins in to WAR DRUM Cobb down! Chaos stands tall and Goto brings Fletcher up. Goto bumps Fletcher off buckles, stomps him, then CLUBS him! Goto ROCKS Fletcher, whips him corner to corner, then runs in, but Fletcher puts Goto up top! Goto BOOTS back, but Fletcher GAMANGIRIS! Goto falls to the floor! Davis and Cobb drag Okada and Hashi off the corner to throw into railing! Cobb CHOPS Hashi, Davis rains down fists, but the ref reprimands them both. The Empire lets off, but Fletcher brings Goto out to RAM into railing right in front of commentary! Aussie Open throw up the crowns, then Davis puts Goto in the ring. Fletcher covers, TWO!

Fletcher sits Goto up to ELBOW him in the head, then ELBOWS him again. Fletcher stomps Goto to the ropes, tags in Cobb, and Cobb drags Goto up. Cobb snapmares Goto, and mocks the Rainmaker Pose before the GACHIMUCHI MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Cobb and Okada stare down, but Cobb brings Goto up. Cobb suplexes Goto, but Goto slips free! Goto CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! Goto runs, but into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up as Cobb says that was as good as Okada’s. Goto crawls to ropes, Cobb takes aim to mock Kenny Omega, BANG! Cobb runs to V-TRIGGER!! Fans fire up as Cobb tells the Cleaner to “Suck It!” Cobb covers, TWO!

Cobb keeps Goto down, then stands on his back! Cobb surfs while mocking Goto’s pose. Cobb then steps off, taunts Hashi and Okada, then tags in Davis. Fans rally as Davis drags Goto up, and Goto throws body shots! And CHOPS! Davis scoops to SLAM Goto and SENTON! Kneeling cover, TWO! Hashi kicks Davis, fires off hands, but Davis CHOPS Hashi down! And KICKS him out of the ring! Davis goes back to Goto, bumps him off buckles, and he tags Fletcher in. Fletcher taunts Hashi now, then brings Goto around. Goto CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Fletcher knees low, whips, but Goto reverses!

Goto runs in, but into BOOTS! Fletcher runs, Goto follows, but Fletcher gets around! Goto switches, Fletcher switches, repeat! Goto suplexes Fletcher high and hard! Fans rally up while both men are down! Hot tags to Cobb and Okada! Fans are thunderous as Okada fires forearms! Okada whips, Cobb reverses, Okada ducks ‘n’ dodges to ELBOW Cobb down! Okada BLASTS Davis for good measure! Okada whips Cobb corner to corner, runs in and back elbows! Kick and- Cobb suplexes! Okada slips free, kicks low and DDTs! And then kips up! Fans fire up for Okada as he waits on Cobb. Cobb rises, and he blocks the Alabama Lift!

Cobb CLUBS away on Okada’s back! Cobb runs, but into a FLAPJACK! Fans fire up, Okada covers, TWO! Fans rally for Okada as he clamps on the MONEY CLIP! Cobb fights up, powers Okada back but Okada sends him to a corner. Okada runs in, is put on the apron, but he ROCKS Cobb first! Okada climbs up, leaps, but into Cobb’s arms! For a BIG suplex! Fans fire up again while both men are down! Cobb tags in Davis and Davis storms up on Okada. Davis fires off forearm after forearm in the corner! Davis then whips corner to corner, runs in, and clotheslines! Okada staggers, Davis wrenches and scoops!

Okada slips free of the torture rack but Davis elbows him away. Davis runs, but Okada pops him up tot he Alabama Lift! REVERSE NECKBREAKER! Fans fire up and Okada tags in Hashi! Hashi powers up, runs, but Davis swats the lariat! Hashi CHOPS! Davis staggers, but he blocks the superkick to spin Hashi for a BIG back suplex! Davis powers up now, he runs, but Hashi dodges the lariat to DRAGON SUPLEX! Hashi runs to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Fans are thunderous and Hashi fights up! Hashi full nelsons, pump handles, but Davis fights Karma! Goto runs in to ROCK Davis! Hashi SUPERKICKS! Bishamon coordinates, but Davis fights free!

Fletcher CLUBS Goto! Aussie Open double wrench, but Goto ducks the double forearms! Goto runs to DOUBLE LARIAT Aussie Open down! Cobb ROCKS Goto, runs, but Okada DROPKICKS! Fans fire up as Okada leaves it in Bishamon’s hands. Goto clotheslines Davis in a corner, then Hashi clotheslines, too! Feed to the clinch, and Hashi runs, but Fletcher intercepts with a DROPKICK! Davis fireman’s carries, AUSSIE DENTAL PLAN! Fans are thunderous as Aussie Open aims at Hashi! Off come the elbow pads! DOUBLE LARAIT SANDWICH!! And then, double pump handle, to COREALIS!!! Cover, the Empire wins!!

Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall

They may not be in the New Japan Cup finals, but Davis & Fletcher may just gotten themselves an IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match! Will Aussie Open prove they ARE the best tag team in the world?


IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Lio Rush w/ YOH!

The Ticking Timebomb has been going back and forth with the Bad Child in the background of the tournament, but now their battle gets the spotlight! Will Hiromu keep this title tranquilo? Or is this going to be his final hour as champion?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and time keeps on ticking into the future!

The bell rings and fans rally up already as the two stare down. Fans rally for “HI-RO-MU!” as he circles with Lio. They rush in, Lio dodges and the forearms fly! Lio runs, Hiromu runs, Lio redirects, both men dodge, but then they avoid crashing into each other to go the other way. DOUBLE LARIATS collide, but neither man falls! Hiromu fires a forearm, Lio gives it back, they go back and forth, but Hiromu gets the edge! Hiromu whips, Lio reverses and leaps, but into a fireman’s carry! Lio slips free, mule kicks the legs out, but Hiromu ducks the heel kick! Hiromu whips again but Lio reverses again, but Hiromu reverses back!

Hiromu follows Lio, Lio dodges Hiromu, then dodges again! Lio whips, Hiromu reverses to follow, but Lio drops down! Hiromu drops down, Lio springboards and RANAS! Hiromu comes back, Lio handsprings under the lariat, then mule kicks and ENZIGURIS Hiromu out of the ring! Fans fire up, Lio builds speed, and Lio DIVES! Direct hit and Hiromu hits railing! Fans fire up with that fast ‘n’ furious exchange! Lio drags Hiromu up, puts him back in the ring, and fans applaud as Lio waits on Hiromu to get up. Lio says he’s gonna win that title, and he suplexes high and hard! Cover, TWO! Hiromu is still in this but Lio keeps cool.

Lio brings Hiromu up but Hiromu rakes eyes! The ref reprimands, but Hiromu fireman’s carries. Lio sunset flips, Hiromu sits on it, TWO! Lio has the sunset, TWO! Hiromu fireman’s carries gain, to TOSS Lio out of the ring! Lio bumps off the apron but he stands back up. Fans rally up as Hiromu runs, to SUNSET FLIP, but Lio holds the ropes! Lio throws down fists, then backflips and goes up, to RANA- NO! Hiromu blocks to APRON POWERBOMB! Fans fire up, Hiromu drags Lio off the apron into a fireman’s carry! DEATH VALLEY DRIVER into railing! Fans fire up again while both men are down!

The ref checks Lio, and though he writhes in pain, Lio doesn’t give up. Hiromu stands up, paces, and he brings Lio up. Hiromu puts Lio back in and fans applaud. Lio flounders to a corner but Hiromu whips him corner to corner. Hiromu runs in to clothesline, snapmare and basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Hiromu drags Lio into a headscissors squeeze! Fans rally as Lio endures, and Hiromu puts on more of a squeeze! Lio reaches out, Hiromu grabs that arm to keep it from the ropes! Hiromu puts on more pressure, but Lio rolls to get the ROPEBREAK! Fans applaud, and Hiromu lets off before the ref counts.

Hiromu drags Lio up from the ropes, fireman’s carries, but Lio slips off! Hiromu blocks a kick, flips Lio but Lio lands on his feet! Hiromu mule kicks, front kicks and whips, but Lio reverses! Lio runs in, but into a BOOT! Hiromu goes up for a HANGING HEADSCISSOR! the ref counts, Hiromu lets off and drags Lio out to RAM him into railing! And then snap suplexes to the floor! Hiromu catches his breath while Lio writhes again. Fans rally, Yoh and the ref check on Lio, but he’s okay to continue. The ring count starts, and Lio sits up slowly. Hiromu grins, he brings Lio up at 9 of 20 and puts him in at 10. Cover, TWO!

Fans rally while Lio hangs tough. Hiromu paces around Lio, sits him up and eggs him on. Lio throws a forearm, but Hiromu eggs him on. Lio stands to SLAP Hiromu! Fans fire up, but Lio drops to a knee from the pain in his back. Hiromu stands Lio up again, but Lio SLAPS him again! Hiromu swings, Lio bobs ‘n’ weaves and fires back! Lio kicks, whips, but Hiromu blocks to SLAP! And SLAP! Lio fires off fast hands! Lio whips but Hiromu reverses. Lio slides to a stop, BOOTS back, and he runs up to shove Hiromu to a corner. Lio runs in to clothesline, whip, and LEAPING LARIAT! Fans fire up while both men are down!

Lio crawls to a corner, goes up the corner, but Hiromu bails out to the apron. Lio joins Hiromu out there, but Hiromu fireman’s carries! Lio slips back in, and handsprings Hiromu down! Then Lio DIVES! Direct hit into railing again! Lio then goes up to SPRINGBOARD TORNILLO! Direct hit and both men are down! Fans fire up and the ref checks on both men. They’re okay to continue so the ring count begins. Both men stir at 5 of 20, but are still down at 10. Lio starts to drag himself up with the apron, stands at 14 and slides into the ring. Hiromu is still down at 15! And at 17! Hiromu springs up and in at 19!!

Fans fire up again as now Lio and Hiromu are down in the ring. Lio drags Hiromu around in a facelock, sits him up, but Hiromu throws a forearm! Lio wobbles but comes back, only for Hiromu to throw another forearm! Lio comes back again, but Hiromu throws yet another forearm! Lio fires off forearm after forearm in return! Hiromu drops to his knee, and Lio staggers away. Lio drags Hiromu up, fisherman’s, but Hiromu blocks! Hiromu CLUBS away on Lio’s back to bring him down! Lio goes to ropes, stands up, but Hiromu ELBOWS him! Lio blocks the superkick, kicks back, and STUNNERS!

Hiromu wobbles, Lio fires up, and Lio runs, into a POP-UP POWERBOMB! Hiromu then drags Lio back up, fireman’s carries, but Lio pops up to POISON-RANA!! Lio runs, to RUSH HOUR!! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives two stunners and fans are thunderous! Lio removes some wrist tape, grabs at Hiromu, but Hiromu grabs at Lio’s leg. Lio stomps Hiromu into letting go, and Lio goes to the corner. Lio pounds the buckle pad, the fans clap along, and Lio climbs. But Hiromu ROCKS Lio first! Hiromu climbs up, fireman’s carries Lio again, but Lio fights back. Lio HEADBUTTS Hiromu down!

Fans fire up as Lio adjusts, and Hiromu runs in! Lio BOOTS Hiromu down, to FINAL HOUR to Hiromu’s back! Lio isn’t done, he goes back up top! FINAL HOUR onto knees!! Hiromu rolls Lio into the fireman’s carry! TIMEBOMB!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Lio survives and fans are thunderous again! Hiromu rises up, drags Lio up, and Hiromu roars. But Lio spins Hiromu around! Hiromu dodges the lariat, ROCKS Lio with a forearm, then spins for the ROLLING ELBOW! Lio dodges the Superkick, rolls and cartwheels around, but Hiromu still SUPERKICKS him down!  Fans fire up, Hiromu roars and runs, but Lio dodges! DOUBLE LARIATS collide!!

But both men roar as they sit back up!! Fans are electric as they run again, DOUBLE LARIATS collide! Neither man falls, but Hiromu drops to his knees! Lio roars, he runs, but Hiromu dodges! Into a SPANISH FLY!!! Cover, TWO!!! Hiromu survives but Lio hurries to fisherman! Hiromu slips free, spins Lio, wrenches and tuck shim, HIROMU ROLL!! TWO!!! Lio escapes, dodges the lariat, and CALF KICKS Hiromu down! Then Lio fisherman’s for a POLE SHIFTER!!! Cover, TWO!??! Fans are volcanic as Hiromu survives!! Lio goes to a corner as he slaps sense back into himself. Lio goes back up top! FINAL-

NO, Lio has to bail out as Hiromu moves! Lio runs at Hiromu again, but into an OVERHEAD suplex into the buckles! Fans rally as hard as they can while both men are down! Hiromu stands up and storms his way over to Lio. Hiromu drags Lio up by his hair, dragon sleepers and inverted suplexes, but Lio slips out to turn things around on Hiromu! But Hiromu standard suplexes, tucks Lio in, and then throws him back to a dragon sleeper! Lio still fights it off, so Hiromu suplexes for VICTORY ROYALE!! Cover, TWO!!! Lio survives and fans are electric again. Hiromu pounds the mat and roars, and the fans rally back up!

Hiromu drags Lio up, runs, but Lio SUPERKICKS first!! Yoh is fired up even, and Lio roars! Lio drags Hiromu up, tucks his arms, for DIRECT DRIVE!!! Lio uses his tag partner’s move to set up him going to the top rope! FINAL HOUR FLOPS!!! Hiromu moves out of the way and survives, and Lio is furious! Lio powers back to his feet, he roars again and he runs in at Hiromu, but Hiromu back drops! Lio sunset flips, TWO!! Lio swings, into a fireman’s carry! DYNAMITE PLUNGER!! Cover, TWO!! Now Hiromu is furious! Hiromu runs, to HIROMU-CHAN BOMBER!!! And then dragon sleeper to inverted suplex, TIMEBOMB MK II!!! Cover, Hiromu wins!!

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)

The Timebomb went off, and there is still time on his reign! Will he have to keep fighting this hard to continue proving he’s the Best of the Super Juniors?

Wait, Zack Sabre Jr. comes out to the ring? What business does the Front Man have out here? ZSJ gets the mic to say, “Alright, alright, calm down. Hiromu-chan, tranquilo please. I’m not a Junior Heavyweight.” But ZSJ does know who is. Hiromu, your next challenger is the newest member of TMDK! He’s got a little video message for you, so please watch. The video rolls, and someone is making a lot of people tap out. Joining The Mighty is… ROBBIE EAGLES! “Surprise!” Eagles is making his return at Ryogoku, for Sakura Genesis! “The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion will surrender to the Sniper, because Robbie Eagles is Mighty, and The Mighty Don’t Kneel.”

Everyone is going nuts learning of Robbie’s defection from Chaos to TMDK, and ZSJ wishes Hiromu luck. “Matane, dickhead.” ZSJ leaves, and now Hiromu gets the mic to respond. He starts by saying Zack scared him, he really thought Zack was challenging for a second. And to think it was Robbie. Why’d Robbie join TMDK? And challenging Hiromu for Ryogoku? It’s March 21st, that only gives them a couple weeks. There have been an awful lot of video messages making challenges these days. Is it about who can upload a video to the editors faster? That doesn’t seem fair. But naturally, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!

And Hiromu is ready to go to Sakura Genesis to have fun with Robbie! Then they’ll have more, more, more, more, more, moreMORE fun. The Timebomb is ready for the Sniper of the Skies’ Mighty return, will Hiromu continue to be the Best of the Super Juniors?


New Japan Cup 2023 Finals: SANADA w/ Just5Guys VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!

Two men who are very different yet very similar meet in the final match of this tournament. The Cold Skull is no longer tranquilo, he’s “one of the guys.” And the Rebel sharpened his edge to take out the Switchblade, and now he’s just Too Sweet. These two have grown, but who will prove they’ve grown stronger when they take the Cup?

The introductions are made, the cup is presented, and only one man can take the golden ticket that comes with it!

The bell rings, fans are thunderous already, and they rally behind “SA-NA-DA!” Finlay shrugs that off as he feel things out with Sanada. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Sanada powers Finlay back to the ropes. Red Shoes calls the break, Finlay mocks Sanada as a “strong boy,” but he and Sanada slowly let off. Fans applaud the sportsmanship, and the two reset. The two tie up again, and now Finlay powers Sanada back. But then Sanada powers Finlay back! They go back and forth, and Finlay puts Sanada on ropes. Red Shoes again calls the break, and Finlay lets off, but he swings on Sanada! Sanada avoids the sucker punch and fans applaud.

Finlay smirks while he and Sanada reset. Fans again rally up for “SA-NA-DA!” Gedo tells Finlay to show everyone who’s boss, and the two circle. Finlay and Sanada feel it out, tie up, and Sanada headlocks. Finlay powers up and out but Sanada runs him over. Sanada keeps moving, Finlay hip tosses but Sanada makes it an arm-drag! And then Sanada DROPKICKS Finlay out of the ring! Sanada aims, PLANCHAS, but Finlay moves! Finlay fireman’s carries to ROLLING SENTON on the floor! Gedo fires up while Finlay dares Taka and Douki to do something. Finlay then taunts Taichi on commentary before he stomps Sanada!

Finaly rains down fists on Sanada, then stomps him! Red Shoes reprimands but Finlay taunts Taichi more. Finlay drags Sanada up, puts him in, and fans rally up. Cover, ONE!! Sanada hangs tough but Finlay stands on Sanada’s hand! Red Shoes reprimands, Finlay lets off, and fans continue to rally. Finlay stomps Sanada more, brings him up, but Sanada throws a body shot! And another! Finlay UPPERCUTS Sanada right down! “That’s how it’s done!” Finlay rains down fists on Sanada again and again! Red Shoes reprimands and Finlay “apologizes,” before he drops a leg! Cover, but Red Shoes says that’s not enough of a press.

Finlay is annoyed, but he snap suplexes Sanada and lateral presses, TWO! Fans fire up for Sanada but Finlay is annoyed. Finlay SLAMS Sanada’s bad arm on the mat, then he clamps on a chinlock. Sanada endures the knee in his back, but Finlay then shifts to a cobra clutch! Gedo says to ask Sanada but Sanada endures. Sanada fights up but Finlay cranks on the hold more. Finlay grinds Sanada back on and then thrashes him around. Sanada fights back up again, throws body shots, but Finlay knees low! Finlay whips, Sanada reverses and dropkicks the legs out! Finlay swings, but into a BIG back suplex! Fans fire up while both men are down!

Sanada sits up first and fans rally behind him. Sanada drags Finlay up, but Finlay ROCKS him and whips him. Sanada reverses, then hurdles, hurdles and DROPKICKS! Fans are thunderous as Finlay bails out again. Sanada takes aim, to PLANCHA! Direct hit and down goes Finlay! Sanada encourages the fans to get louder and the fans oblige! Sanada goes back to Finlay, drags him up and into the ring, and then covers, ONE!! Finlay hangs tough but fans continue to rally behind Sanada. Sanada goes to fireman’s carry but Finlay CLUBS away! Sanada knees low, whips, but Finlay reverses to TACKLE Sanada out of the ring!

Finlay RAMS Sanada into railing! And then RAMS him in again! Taichi is only annoyed on commentary as Finlay lets off. Red Shoes tells Finlay to bring this back into the ring, so Finlay APRON BACK SUPLEXES Sanada! Finlay pushes Sanada in to cover, TWO! Sanada hangs tough but Finlay says fine. He sits Sanada up to CROSSFACE FOREARM! Gedo wants more so Finlay gives Sanada another CROSSFACE FOREARM! And then another! And another! And another! Sanada crawls but Finlay sits him up to BLINDSIDE LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up again as Sanada stays in there.

Finlay argues the count but Red Shoes says he was being fair. Finlay gives toying kicks to Sanada, then runs, but into a fireman’s carry! T K O!! Fans fire up while both men are down again! Sanada storms up on Finlay, but Finlay throws a forearm! Sanada CHOPS in return! Finlay ROCKS Sanada with a forearm, but Sanada CHOPS again! Finlay UPPERCUTS and eggs Sanada on. Sanada UPPERCUTS in return! Fans rally as Finlay staggers, and he UPPERCUTS again! Sanada UPPERCUTS! Finlay shakes it off, to UPPERCUT again! And again! And again! Finlay runs, but Sanada dodges to O’CONNER- NO, Finlay slips free to roll him up! TWO!!

Sanada and Finlay stand, Sanada spins Finlay to SLICED BREAD INTO DRAGON SLEEPER! Finlay flails but Sanada drops back, SKULL END!! Finlay fights as Gedo shouts, but Sanada has him caught in the body scissors! Finlay fades, Gedo freaks out, but Finlay grabs at Sanada’s new haircut. Red Shoes reprimands and Sanada pulls back harder! Sanada then lets go to go up top! ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto knees!! Finlay saves himself and both men are down! Finlay snarls as he stands up, and he storms over to Sanada. Gut wrench to Canadian Rack, but Sanada slips free, only to run into the IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!!

Fans fire up but Finlay just gut wrenches again! CLIFFHANGER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up again while Finlay and Gedo are frustrated. Finlay says it’s time, and he brings down the kneepad. Finlay slashes his throat and he drags Sanada back up. But Sanada suplexes first! Finlay slips free, backslides, suplexes, but Sanada slips out! Sanada waistlocks, Finlay elbows free and runs, but into a POP-UP CUTTER!! Fans fire up again as Finlay sputters. Sanada hears the fans rallying so he brings Finlay up to chicken wing, and TIGER SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Finlay escapes but he’s in the drop zone!

Sanada goes up top, ROUNDING BODY PRESS!! Cover, TWO!!! Finlay survives and Gedo is only moderately relieved! Sanada slashes his throat now, to dragon sleeper! SKULL SWING! But Finlay spins things around, PRIMA NOCTA!! Cover, TWO!!! Sanada survives and both men are down, but the fans rally up again. Finlay waits on Sanada to rise, and Finlay runs in, into an ELBOW! Sanada QUEBRADA, to the SKULL- NO, Finlay fights up and snapmares free! But Sanada DROPKICKS! Finlay comes back, but Sanada gets around, only for Finlay to buck the O’Conner! Sanada runs in, but into DEEP SIX!!

Finlay aims from the corner and he wants Sanada to stand! Sanada rises, Finlay runs in, and SPEARS!! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives again and fans are thunderous! Finlay fumes, he drags Sanada back up, and he suplexes, but Sanada knees free! Sanada blocks the lariat, dodges the next, CORRIENDO SHIKI DRAGON SLEEPER!! Sanada uses some Naito moves to get to his! And then, SIDE- NO, Finlay slips around to GERMAN SUPLEX! But Sanada stands right up!? Finlay CLOBBERS Sanada, but Sanada stands right up again! ROLLING ELBOW from Finlay, and a flurry of HEADBUTTS!

Finlay spins, into a FOREARM from Sanada! And then a ROLLING ELBOW! Sanada runs, into a HEADBUTT!!  Finlay suplexes, for TRASH- NO, Sanada slips free! SHINING WIZARD!! Shoutout to Keiji Mutoh, before the SIDEWINDER!!! Cover, SANADA WINS!!!

Winner: Sanada, by pinfall (2023 New Japan Cup Winner)

Just 5 Guys get in the ring to celebrate with Sanada! His shoutouts to the Stardust Genius and the Wrestling Genius help him take the cup! But then, what happens to Finlay? Does the world NOT need the Rebel after all?

As for the Cold Skull, he is presented the cup by NJPW President Obari, and they pose for the photo ops. Then Sanada gets the mic to say, “I won the New Japan Cup for my first time, here in my hometown. However, I’m not satisfied. Next is the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Okada-san, are you still here or have you left? If you are still here, I want you out here.” Fans cheer for that, and chant for “O-KA-DA!” Just5Guys wait, and here comes the Rainmaker! Okada brings the world title to the ring, and he stares Sanada down. Sanada tells Okada that the world title belt will be Sanada’s as he changes the landscape here.

As such, Sanada tells Okada, “Thanks for all your work.” Okada takes the mic to say, “Sanada-san, congratulations on winning the New Japan Cup. And, thank you for all your work. My rival, I’ve been waiting for this. But what took you so long, huh!? What is this talk of a new landscape? Just because you changed your hair and your allegiance, you think that means you can beat me? On April 8th, I will show the difference between the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and New Japan Cup winner! I will beat the living daylights outta you in Ryogoku!” Okada has said his piece, and he raises the belt as he exits the ring.

Sanada tells Okada, “Nobody understands what you just said more than I do. But seeing as I won the main event, please get out of here.” Okada says okay and fans applaud as Okada walks up the ramp. Sanada continues to say, “Just5Guys will take the top spot in NJPW, and I will be the NEW IWGP World Heavyweight Champion the next time you see me. So for now, are you ready for the gift?” The spotlight shines on Sanada, Taichi even gets his phone out to be one of the “stars” in the night sky. Sanada says that he must confess, out of everywhere in Japan, he loves Nagaoka the most. “OI, NAGAOKA! See you next time!”

The Cold Skull is red hot after joining Just5Guys, changing his look, and winning the New Japan Cup! The streamers fly, will Sanada truly change everything in NJPW?

My Thoughts:

A great finish to the New Japan Cup, as well as the additional matches included on the night. Great Six Man Tag of Chaos VS United Empire, big win for the Empire with Aussie Open pinning one of the tag team champions. Aussie Open VS Bishamon is going to be an awesome match, it could really go either way, but it feels like if they’re gonna do it, they might as well do it now so Aussie Open can use the Summer for their reign before the G1 Climax comes in.

And that IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match was quite the show-stealer. Lio and Hiromu went all out, the fans loved it all, and as great as Lio is, Hiromu winning makes sense. Hiromu has NJPW’s backing since they also helped him down that All-Star Junior Fest event, so Hiromu is of course leading the way for the division. And it seems the theme of 2023 in NJPW is change. Robbie Eagles is leaving Chaos to join TMDK, though I honestly thought it was gonna be United Empire because of Will Ospreay, but TMDK is filling out its division bingo card, so Robbie is the Junior Heavyweight singles guy now. Probably won’t beat Hiromu, though.

And that New Japan Cup finals match itself was awesome stuff. It is as I figured the other day: Finlay lost here because his real story is with the Bullet Club, and his story is about whether or not he can truly be leader after taking out Jay White. Sanada and Okada get to revive their rivalry, Sakura Genesis is going to be huge. And it would be even bigger if Sanada actually won. Okada’s only had the world title since WrestleKingdom, four months feels short for such a title reign, but maybe Gedo will want to shake things up outside of just shuffling faction members around.

My Score: 8.9/10

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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (3/21/23)

Toni Storm gets Dark!



AEW Dark is on #ToniTime!

The Outcasts have drawn a line in the AEW Women’s Division, and are daring everyone else to cross it! Will Toni Storm strike down another “entitled rookie?”


  • The Iron Savages VS The Wingmen; win.
  • Juice Robinson VS Leon Ruffin; wins.
  • Kiera Hogan VS Leila Grey; wins.
  • The Renegades VS Avery Breaux & Mafiosa; wins.
  • Toni Storm VS Billie Starkz; wins.


Another surprisingly short line-up for Dark, with a couple matches that could go either way. The Iron Savages, formerly Bear Country, and the Wingmen will be a good one, but I’m leaning towards Bronson & Boulder winning that. Kiera Hogan VS Leila Grey, former Baddie taking on Jade’s last sidekick standing, could also go either way, but I’m leaning towards Kiera. But it’ll be good to see Robyn & Charlette Renegade get a win here to build that unofficial Women’s Tag Division AEW has.

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