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Andrew’s NJPW Strong Ep. 2 Results & Match Ratings 8.14.2020

Episode 2 of NJPW Strong! ACH returns to New Japan! KENTA vs Jeff Cobb headlines! Who moves on to the Finals?

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Now let’s all be honest here, the first episode was a little…meh. So now with the announcements of some high flying veterans to be on this second episode, maybe that cane spark some life into the fledgling show.

Plus we’ve also got the two Semi-Finals matches for the USA Cup. We COULD see an all Bullet Club final round, but I’m still firmly in the Finlay vs KENTA boat.

Let’s see if that boat springs any leaks!

Ratings:

  • Clark Connors & Jordan Clearwater vs Logan Riegel & Barrett Brown: Brown wins via Roll Up – ** 1/4 
  • ACH, TJP & Alex Zayne vs PJ Black, Blake Christian & Misterioso: PJ Black wins via Springboard 450 – *** 3/4
  • Tama Tonga vs David Finlay: Finlay wins via Prima Nocta – ** 3/4 
  • Jeff Cobb vs KENTA: KENTA wins via Small Package – *** 1/4 

 

Results:

Clark Connors & Jordan Clearwater vs Logan Riegel & Barrett Brown

Welp, it’s obvious why this is the opening match. Not only is there a Young Lion in the match, but aside from Independent fans, it’s filled with relative unknowns. Connors looked the best athletically, physically and in-ring crispness. Riegel is at least a tag team specialist, but his brother is apparently in England, hence makeshift teams everywhere.

Let’s be fair, if you lined these four guys up, you might think we’re creating a boy band and not professional wrestlers. Nothing about this match was overly interesting, beyond the fact that Connors didn’t eat the pinfall, Clearwater did. So Connors gets protected a little in a match that means less than my POG collection in 2020.

ACH, TJP & Alex Zayne vs PJ Black, Blake Christian & Misterioso

Well okay, a lot of non-NJPW talent, but a lot of proven talent. This should be a fairly exciting match given all the names involved.

This match did not disappoint. Blake Christian is the least known in this match, but he actually held his own, even using an interesting Wristclutch Spin Out Side Slam. Alex Zayne had a few cool moments when he did a Handspring off of ACH’s back, flipping forward and then hitting the Frankensteiner on Blake Christian. The other notable one was, a Shoot Star Double Knees Press to PJ’s back. Just a bunch of great spots. ACH had an awesome fire moment where he blitzed around the ring, diving on everything that moved.

This match had a ton of saves, great clear outs and just great action that never really slowed up. Blake is the main reason that PJ Black won the match, since he had some great saving moments. Just a lot of fun.

Tama Tonga vs David Finlay

Finlay came out of the gates taking the offense to Tama and trying to keep him in front of him. Since Tama is always billed as the best defensive wrestler in New Japan, Finlay made it a point to not allow him to get any momentum. The match itself was pretty solid, but since Finlay was a little obvious to me and never really seemed to have issues with Tama; the outcome of the match felt a little heavy handed.

Decent enough for Finlay to continue the return push.

Jeff Cobb vs KENTA

This had a nice tournament feel since both men are proven commodities and very good at their chosen profession. We get a bit of a slow burn to this, as neither man really dominates, but you see a lot of both styles and personality. Cobb was showboating a little more than usual as he hit some power moves, and took too long on his first attempt at the Gachimuchi Moonsault, so KENTA got knees up.

We do get a decently wrestled match from both men, but when Jeff Cobb kicks out of the Double Footstomp and counters the Go 2 Sleep, new KENTA emerges. Cobb has KENTA in his arms for Tour of the Islands, but KENTA grabs the referee, then pushes Cobb into the referee. KENTA can’t immediately take advantage of the situation, so Cobb hits the Wristclutch Fallaway Slam Hold, for a visible 5 count, but still no ref. KENTA tries to kick Cobb, but Cobb blocks, a little more struggling and finally KENTA lands the nut shot, rolls him up right as the referee can count, and steals the win via Small Package.

 

Overall Score: 6.5/10

The action in the show was all around better, even if the opening match was worthless. We saw both Semi-Finals matches carry weight with some story to them, and the 6 man match was just straight fire. So after a very “meh” start on episode 1; episode 2 starts to build momentum and felt more like a New Japan card.

I did say I figured David Finlay and KENTA would meet in the Finals, and look what we have here! As for who wins, that depends on how New Japan sees the United States title. It has always been held by gaijins, and only 3 Japanese wrestlers have challenged for it (Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Minoru Suzuki). So if the IWGP US belt is supposed to stay the gaijin belt, Finlay probably pulls off the upset. If they don’t care and actually want to go for the better story…well then KENTA all the way baby!

 


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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (4/9/21)

205 Live nostalgia, anyone?

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Coverage 205 2021

The Cruiserweight Division looks back before moving forward!

Now that there is ONE TRUE Cruiserweight Champion, the division moves forward. But with that, we also take a look back at some classic title matches!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WrestleMania 34, WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals: Cedric Alexander VS Mustafa Ali; Alexander wins and becomes the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
  • WrestleMania 35, WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy VS Tony Nese; Nese wins and becomes the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
  • TakeOver 31, NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar VS Isaiah “Swerve” Scott; Escobar wins and retains the title.

PLAY BY PLAY

Nigel McGuiness opens the show!

“On the heels of the instant classic ladder match between Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin, welcome to 205 Live!” Tonight, we revisit some of the very best Cruiserweight title matches of all time! And not many come better than the WrestleMania 34 showdown!

 

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals: Cedric Alexander VS Mustafa Ali!

Months before April 8th, 2018, this title had been vacated and a tournament had been put in place! Before they were #PRIMED and the (former) leader of Retribution, they were the Heart and Soul of 205 Live! The then 205 Live General Manager, Drake Maverick, stands with the title belt to watch as theses two finalists battle it out for that very prize!

The bell rings and we begin. The fans are thunderous for them as they high-five and circle. Ali gets the waistlock but Alexander the standing switch and slam. The fans cheer for “Both These Guys!” while Ali gets up and puts on a headlock. Alexander lifts but Ali holds on. Alexander powers out, they collide, Alexander shoulders Ali down on the rebound. He wants Ali to show that heart, and they speed up. Ali headscissors Alexander and then dares Alexander to show the soul. They tie up and go against the ropes and into a corner. Neither man backs down until the referee separates them, then Ali shoves Alexander.

Alexander shoves back and dares Ali to hit him. Ali does with a chop, so Alexander responds with a kick. Alexander whips but Ali kicks him back, so Alexander rolls under and headscissors and dropkicks Ali down. Cover, TWO! Alexander puts Ali right in an armlock, but Ali works his way up and out. Ali whips but Alexander reverses, flapjack dropkick! Alexander staggers, Ali runs in but Alexander puts him on the apron to block a kick and hit a kick. Ali goes down, Alexander builds speed and FLIES! Down they both go, but Alexander is up first. He puts Ali in the ring, covers, TWO! Alexander keeps on Ali with a rear bearhug. Fans rally while Ali endures the squeeze.

Ali gets up and fights out of the hold, rocking Alexander with a forearm. Alexander responds with a running European Uppercut! He whips Ali corner to corner then throws him with a big back body drop. Cover, TWO, but Alexander keeps his cool as he puts Ali back in the bearhug. Ali endures the squeeze while fans rally again. Ali gets up and fights back but Alexander knees low. Alexander chops Ali, then brings him up for a suplex, but Ali slips out. Alexander knees low again, then runs, but into Ali’s lariat. Ali starts to rally and chop, but Alexander reverses the whip. Ali slides to a stop, and intercepts Alexander with a ROUNDHOUSE!

Alexander staggers, Ali rolls in for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!  Ali brings Alexander up, but Alexander blocks and counters with a EuroUpper. Ali yanks his waistband and counters a kick with a kick! He runs, but into Alexander’s Spanish Fly! Both men are down and fans build to a rally. Alexander gets up while Ali gets to a corner. Alexander runs in, but into Ali’s boot. Ali hops up, tornado DDT blocked! Alexander hangs Ali up on the ropes, then catches his breath before climbing up to join him. Fans anticipate something, and Ali resists. They brawl on the top rope, but Alexander gets the better of Ali, only for Ali to almost send Alexander tumbling down with his counter.

Ali and Alexander brawl more while trying to stand up, Ali hits Alexander with a SUPER SPANISH FLY! Even John Cena watching from the audience is stunned seeing that! Cover, TWO, and Ali can’t believe it! He shakes his head as he watches Alexander flounder about. Ali brings Alexander over to a corner but Alexander knows what that means and resists. Ali kicks Alexander, then climbs, but Alexander gets up to throw him off! Maverick and the referee check on Ali after his crash landing, but Ali is still good to go. Alexander waits as the count begins, but Ali dares Alexander to finish him. Alexander takes the bait, he puts Ali in the ring and covers, TWO!

Alexander gets frustrated, but tells Ali it’s already over. Ali shakes his head, it’s not over. Alexander kicks Ali and then stomps away in a rage! He yanks Ali up, back suplex lift but Ali slips out! Ali hits the Reverse-Rana! Alexander is dazed, and Ali gets going. Ali hops up, flying tornado DDT! Alexander lands in a drop zone! Ali goes up, and hits the 0-5-4! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Alexander survives with a foot on the ropes! Ali shouts for Alexander to stay down before he stomps him back. Ali climbs up again, 0-5-4 FLOPS as Alexander moves! Alexander scrambles to his feet while Ali drags himself back up. They run at each other, Alexander’s big back elbow rocks Ali, but he still gives another.

Alexander tells Ali “This is enough!” But clearly, it isn’t, and the third back elbow flips Ali over! Alexander lifts Ali up, for the LUMBAR CHECK! Cover, Alexander wins!!

Winner: Cedric Alexander, by pinfall (NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion)

The Carolina Kid didn’t want to go that far, but he had no choice but to break the Heart of 205 Live. More importantly, Alexander finally proves he can win the big one! Drake Maverick personally presents the belt to Alexander, and the true celebration begins! The Age of Alexander would go on for quite a run, before running into an Aussie Juggernaut, who is featured in our next match!

 

Nigel McGuiness introduces the next match.

We fast forward an entire year to WM35, and Nigel was again there to see Tony Nese in his home state taking on the Australian Sensation, Buddy Murphy, in another incredible Cruiserweight kickoff to the Showcase of the Immortals!

 

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy VS Tony Nese!

The Aussie Juggernaut proved himself against some of the best in the Cruiserweight Division, from Cedric Alexander to Mustafa Ali to three opponents at the same time. And on the Grandest Stage of Them All, he went toe-to-toe with the Premier Athlete, a man who is a parallel to him in physique, a man who used to be his friend, and a man he betrayed over the greed for this title! But Nese had homefield advantage, and it came in handy!

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin this battle of Body Guys!

Murphy runs right at Nese but Nese dodges the knee trigger! Nese fires off furious hands then counter punches. Murphy boots then goes up and over, but Nese keeps up to trip him up! New York fires up with their hometown kid, but Murphy dodges the triangle moonsault. Nese lands on his feet to slingshot and somersault to rock Murphy with a left! Nese puts Murphy in but has to push Murphy away on the top rope. Murphy comes right back but Nese resists the fireman’s carry. Nese fights back but still gets a gut buster drop on the buckles! Murphy checks his teeth while we go picture in picture.

Murphy stomps a mudhole into Nese but backs off at 4. Nese staggers up but Murphy is on him with a snapmare. Murphy swiftly kicks then covers, TWO! Murphy wraps Nese up in a chinlock but Nese endures. New York rallies behind Nese as Murphy shifts to a stretch. Murphy drives his elbow in again and again then wraps the chinlock back on. Nese fights his way up, we return to single picture as Murphy wrangles him back down. Murphy cranks Nese’s neck and leans his weight on him. Murphy’s eye is bloody but he ignores it while holding Nese down. Nese powers up and bumps Murphy off buckles. Murphy holds on but Nese bumps him again.

Murphy is still caught so Nese tries again, but Murphy uses that to throw Nese into buckles. Nese staggers into Murphy’s grip, tornado DDT denied with a snap suplex into the buckles! Murphy is down and Nese crawls to the opposite corner. Both men stand slowly, but Murphy walks into Nese’s elbow. Murphy comes back again but gets a haymaker! Nese rocks Murphy again, then again! Nese counter punches and snapmares to a facebuster. He runs, hits a knee lift and a heel kick! Murphy flounders to a corner while Nese nips up and fires up! New York fires up with him as he runs in for a big back elbow. Nese keeps moving but Murphy throws him to the apron.

Murphy turns around to counter and rock Nese, then climbs up for a suplex chance. Nese sweeps the legs and rocks him with a roundhouse, DRAPING triangle moonsault! Cover, TWO! Murphy survives, but Nese keeps his cool. Nese drags Murphy up for a whip but Murphy holds the ropes. Nese tries again but Murphy holds on. So Nese mule kicks Murphy into a whip. Murphy reverses but Nese slips under, pump handle but Murphy slips out. Murphy boots Nese away! He hops up but Nese SHORYUKEN! Nese climbs up to join a dazed Murphy, but Murphy resists a superplex. Murphy bumps Nese on a buckle, then sunset flips over. Nese denies the powerbomb but gets the SUPERKICK!

Murphy brings Nese out, AK-DDT! Cover, TWO! Nese survives but Murphy keeps his focus. Murphy drags Nese up by his hair and prepares the pumphandle. Nese victory rolls through, TWO! Murphy fireman’s carry to the TKO knee to knee trigger! Murphy suplexes but Nese slips out and shoves. Nese hits a REVERSE-RANA! Both men are down and New York cheers for this kickoff to the kickoff! Nese and Murphy get to opposite corners. Both men slowly stand as fans rally up. Nese and Murphy bob ‘n’ weave but Murphy gets his strike fest. Nese dodges the knee and goes Matrix to mule kick! Knee lift and roundhouse but Murphy jumps the sweep for buzzsaw, mule kick, but runs into Nese’s left forearm!

Nese runs but fakes Murphy out for an elbow. Murphy rebounds to LARIAT Nese off his feet! Murphy keeps going, but Nese back drops, to a VERTABREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Nese cannot believe Murphy survives! Murphy crawls to a corner but Nese pursues. Nese runs side to side but Murphy bails out, so Nese FLIES! The flop takes Murphy out and New York fires up as Nese puts Murphy in. Nese climbs up high, 450 splash! Cover, TWO!! Murphy survives again and Nese is beside himself. Murphy gets back to a corner and Nese brings down the knee pad. But Murphy grabs Nese’s leg, so Nese stomps a mudhole into him. Nese runs but into a KNEE TRIGGER!

Murphy pump handles, Murphy’s Law!! Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Nese still lives! Murphy is shocked but then he gets an idea. Nese is in the corner, and Murphy brings down his knee pad. Murphy runs side to side, but Nese SUPERKICKS him! German Suplex into buckles! PREMIER KNEE!! Cover, NESE WINS!!

Winner: Tony Nese, by pinfall (NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion)

The unstoppable HAS been stopped! The Premier Athlete was the Juggernaut’s kryptonite, and now he is the new champion! We know the Premier Era ended with a Triple Threat involving Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak, and the title itself would be integrated into the NXT system, eventually leading it to where it is today! As such, we relive a highlight of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship era!

 

Nigel McGuiness returns again for another match introduction.

The Cruiserweight title didn’t just make it to WrestleManias, it finally made it to NXT TakeOver thanks to Santos Escobar and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott!

 

NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar VS Isaiah “Swerve” Scott!

The year 2020 was certainly a mess, and the Irish Ace being isolated in the UK further complicated how this division worked. El Hijo del Fantasma won the “interim” title at the end of the Cruiserweight Championship Round Robin finals, with some controversy to it, but there was one man who did defeat him along the way! Swerve got his shot but was screwed over by El Legado and a loaded lucha mask! Swerve wanted revenge, but that is always hard to come by!

The introductions are made, the title is raised, and the Cruiserweight Division finally gets to TakeOver!

Escobar and Swerve circle as the crowd rallies up already. They approach, tie up, and Escobar gets the arm. Swerve hooks a leg to trip Escobar, cartwheels over but Escobar arm-drags Swerve away. Escobar runs but Swerve dodges, Escobar huricanranas but Swerve handsprings through! Swerve says HE is Cruiserweight wrestling, and that upsets Escobar. Escobar rushes Swerve, Swerve dodges and Eddy Gordo headscissors Escobar away! Escobar gets up and Swerve smirks. Swerve then trips Escobar, turns him over with leg hooks and goes to dead lift, but Escobar victory rolls through, TWO! Escobar sweeps the legs to cover, ONE! Swerve sweeps the legs to cover, ONE! The two stand off in fighting stances and the crowd loves it!

Swerve blocks Escobar’s punch, fakes him out to mule kick, and then runs, into a forearm! Escobar runs into a monkey flip! Escobar just barely gets his feet under him but Swerve handsprings and MOONSAULTS him down! The crowd is fired up as Swerve watches Escobar flounder. Escobar leans against the post, and pulls down the crossbar cover. Swerve gets in the ring to refresh the ring count, and he goes to the corner to CORKSCREW SENTON! Down goes Escobar and the crowd fires up again! Swerve puts Escobar in the ring but Escobar bails out the side. Swerve runs and FOSBURY FLOPS Escobar down! The fans are thunderous as Swerve is showing he can do it all!

Swerve puts Escobar in, covers, TWO! Escobar bails out again but Swerve pursues. Swerve drags Escobar up to go after the arm. Swerve wraps the arm around the very crossbar Escobar exposed! He’s showing Escobar what bending the rules gets you as he bends the arm! The ring count is at 7 but Swerve puts Escobar in at 8. Cover, TWO! Swerve grows annoyed with Escobar and he pulls Escobar around to go after the bad arm! Escobar endures as Swerve pulls it way back to drop down on it! Escobar puts a leg on the rope, Swerve stomps him anyway! Swerve brings Escobar up to Northern Light takedown into an ARMBAR! Short Arm Scissor, even, as Escobar resists.

Escobar gets legs under the ropes, Swerve lets off but goes to the apron. Swerve drags Escobar up to hotshot the arm! Fans rally as Swerve brings Escobar up again, but now Escobar hotshots Swerve! And KICKS him off the apron! Escobar runs and builds speed to DIVE! ARROW FROM HELL!! Swerve gets sent into the fencing, Escobar puts Swerve back in, covers, ONE?! Escobar is furious that Swerve kicks out so he KICKS Swerve in the face! Escobar waits for Swerve to stand and he LARIATS Swerve back down! Swerve gets to a corner, Escobar runs and DOUBLE KNEES! Escobar puts Swerve up top and SLAPS him!

Escobar climbs up and SUPER STEINERS! Then somersault and elbow drop! Cover, TWO! Swerve still lives and the fans stay fired up! Escobar stomps away on Swerve at the ropes but the ref counts. Escobar stops at 4 because he still doesn’t want to be disqualified. Escobar stands Swerve up and tells him, “Yo soy Lucha Libre!” Escobar SLAPS Swerve, kicks him, and says maybe if he spits in Swerve’s face will make him understand. Escobar reels back but Swerve puts a hand on Escobar’s mouth! No spit flies, but the fists do! Escobar clubs Swerve, reels him in, but Swerve frees himself to ROCK Escobar! And again! Swerve fires off heavy haymakers in the corner!

The ref counts, Swerve stops at 4 to throw Escobar down, for a DISCUS! The crowd is thunderous as Escobar flounders up. Swerve runs in to uppercut! Swerve snapmares Escobar for the falling EuroUpper! Escobar bails out but Swerve BOOTS him from the apron! And then again! Escobar goes down in a heap, Swerve puts him in, slingshot to somersault, ROLLING THUNDER SHOT! Cover, TWO!! Escobar survives but Swerve doesn’t lose focus. Swerve aims from the corner, hops up again and waits for Escobar to stand. Escobar is up but he climbs up to join Swerve! So Swerve slips under, only for Escobar to kick him away. Escobar turns around, Swerve dropkicks the legs out! DRAPING DDT! Cover, TWO!!

Escobar survives again but Swerve grits his teeth. Swerve drags Escobar up with a half nelson but Escobar gets the ropes! The ref counts, El Legado returns! The ref stops Wilde from getting in, Escobar shoves Swerve and Mendoza trips him up! Gut wrench, SHOULDER BREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Swerve survives the screw job attempt! Escobar goes to the apron to follow Swerve, runs side to side, but into a pop-up that puts Escobar on the ropes! Escobar is stuck on his fantasma, Swerve throws haymakers! Swerve then hops up, and STEINERS Escobar onto Legado!! They catch him, help him up, but here comes ASHANTE “THEE” ADONIS!!

From what’s been happening on 205 Live, Adonis isn’t a fan of Legado del Fantasma, either, and he goes up to TORNILLO! Adonis wipes out Mendoza and Wilde! The crowd is thunderous as Escobar is in shock! Adonis and Swerve run off the henchmen before Swerve hurries into the ring. Escobar runs over, gets a back elbow, and Swerve goes up and in to somersault, into a CALF KICK! Fireman’s carry, PHANTOM DRIVER!! Cover, TWO!??! How?!!? Escobar doesn’t know how, but the crowd is electric! Escobar is fuming as he stomps away on Swerve over and over! Escobar drags Swerve back up, suplexes, uno amigo! Then a roll over, dos amigos!

Fans boo, they don’t think Escobar is worthy of Eddie Guerrero but he still hits all three amigos! Escobar goes up top, FROG SPLASH FLOPS!! Swerve evades and denies Escobar his Latino Heat! Swerve gets the arm, POP CULTURE!! Escobar clutches his arm but Swerve gives him a HOUSE CALL!! But that’s not it, Swerve goes up for the 450 SPLASH!! Cover, TWO!?!?! Escobar survives all of that and Swerve is losing his mind! The crowd hopes they “Fight Forever!” because “This is Awesome!” But this will end somehow, and Swerve drags Escobar up. Escobar flounders, throws Swerve out and hurries back up.

Swerve hurries after him, half nelsons him, but Escobar holds ropes for dear life! Escobar pushes Swerve back, Swerve falls and hits the bare crossbar!! It comes into play after all!! Escobar drags Swerve in, brings him up, underhooks and lifts, BUTTERFLY FACEBUSTER ACROSS THE KNEE! Cover, Escobar wins!!

Winner: Santos Escobar, by pinfall (still NXT Cruiserweight Champion)

So much fight from Swerve, and he even had a new ally fight against the minions, but Escobar always has a back-up plan! And he would continue to rule over the division in this way, even to the point of having Wilde & Mendoza help at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver! Will the tyrannical Emperor of Lucha always have this crown?

 

Nigel McGuiness returns once more to wrap up the show.

It has been a great experience on 205 Live to see some of the greatest title matches of all time. But speaking of great title matches, that makes you think of great champions. Just last night at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, Escobar proved he is a great champion by winning the Cruiserweight Championship Unification Ladder match! Relive that and both nights of TakeOver on Peacock in the US and the WWE Network everywhere else! But what will see now in the future was we continue in the Era del Fantasma?


My Thoughts:

Recap episodes are always fun for looking back, but also because it’s super easy for me to cover them since it’s just copying, pasting and editing. I like the three they selected, basically giving us a look back at the last three years of the Cruiserweight Division, but it also makes us see how far 205 Live has dropped off in the WWE because Alexander, Ali and Murphy were so awesome in 205 Live. Nese is still here but more for lack of WWE/NXT not giving him more to do. Admittedly, Murphy has dropped off on RawDown, too, but at least WWE has tried with him. I almost feel like worst case scenario for Murphy is to come back and be the Aussie Juggernaut again. Escobar’s a beefy Cruiserweight, so is Murphy, let’s get something like that going again.

I am also disappointed, because it was advertised that we’d get a special look at Escobar VS Devlin, but that wasn’t there. I couldn’t have gone through the content too fast, a segment like that wouldn’t be just a few seconds long. Maybe there was another “right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing” moment and that information was put out without knowing what the final episode would look like. I wouldn’t mind if they gave us that segment for the aftermath NXT on Tuesday, and encored it on next week’s 205 Live, but WWE/NXT needs to get 205 Live going like how it was when Ali, Murphy and Alexander were here.

My Score: 8.1/10


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Andrew’s AJPW Champion Carnival Results & Match Ratings: 4.9.2021

All Japan’s Champion Carnival kicks off today! The Triple Crown Champion Suwama is in action as well as the Ace of the company Kento Miyahara! Check it out!

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All Japan’s Champion Carnival kicks off today! The Triple Crown Champion Suwama is in action as well as the Ace of the company Kento Miyahara! Check it out!

Now I haven’t kept close eyes on the product last few months, because personally, they weren’t grabbing my interest post Quarantine Comeback. But since my Puro Patronus Mathew Sarpraicone is having some computer issues, I guess I’m covering the first couple of these!

Let’s see how the tournament starts!

Ratings:

  • Shuji Ishikawa vs Koji Doi: Ishikawa wins via Thesz Press @9:09 – ** ½
  • Suwama vs Kohei Sato: Sato wins via German Suplex Hold @10:49 – ***
  • Yuma Aoyagi vs Shinjiro Otani: Otani wins via Overhand Chop @9:51 – *** ¼
  • Jake Lee vs Shotaro Ashino: Jake wins via D4C @3:44 – **
  • Zeus vs Kento Miyahara: Zeus wins via Jackhammer @18:16 – **** ¼

 

Results:

Shuji Ishikawa vs Koji Doi

Doi is the least recognized name in the tournament this year, and last I was aware of his was during the closure of Wrestle-1. Most of his success has come in the tag team division, but he’s no real slouch. Interestingly, Ishikawa is the newest Gaora TV Champion, but also was tied heavily to Suwama and their Violence Giant tag team.

We see Doi come out fast trying to throw Ishikawa into the corners and take him off his base. Ishikawa towers over Doi, so Doi was underneath, literally and figuratively the entire match. As Ishikawa hit most of his signature spots, including the Mushroom Stomp from the middle rope, Doi had a moment where he locked in the Rings of Saturn; but Ishikawa is just too big.

As Doi tried to keep the pressure up, rope runs, big strikes, Murder Lariat attempts from Doi but Ishikawa stifles the surge with a Fire/Thunder Driver. They both stumble up, run the ropes a bit trading lariats and charges, Ishikawa jumps, hits a Thesz Press and manages to keep Doi down for the 3 count!

Suwama vs Kohei Sato

An early card match gives us the Triple Crown champion against one of his more recent challengers! Falling short for the Triple Crown a few months ago, Sato has a little bit to prove.

The match opens as a slugfest, Suwama gets the best of things and rides the power advantage over Sato for a long time. Sato is taller than Suwama but Suwama is more powerful and controlled the pacing. Things went to the outside and the former Violence Giant kept up to the name.

When the match came back in to the ring Suwama looks to try and finish things, goes for the Rolling Lariat, but it gets blocked. Sato starts fighting back, hits a Falcon Arrow for a near fall, and then Suwama starts looking like he’s in trouble. Suwama hits the Double Chop comeback, and tries a Powerbomb, but Sato blocks it, Sato goes for a Powerbomb, but Suwama blocks it. The power struggle is tangible, but Suwama seems to be losing some of the back and forth. Sato rocks Suwama, locks in the German Suplex, and hits the German Suplex Hold.

Kohei gets on the board and avenges his loss! Depending on how the tournament shakes out, Kohei might get another shot at the title in the future.

Yuma Aoyagi vs Shinjiro Otani

The veteran Otani is putting Yuma through the paces early. He’s side stepping Dropkicks and just kicking Yuma to prove a point. Yuma tries to fire back, and then Otani continues to push off certain moves and be funny.

Yuma does manage to take advantage of his youth, but when he goes for the disrespect by attempting the Bootwash, Otani fires, lays out the younger wrestler and hits the Wash. Yuma goes to the outside, and when he turns back to the ring, Otani charges and hits a running Bootwash straight to Yuma’s face.

As Otani takes the role of the cagey veteran punishing the Young Boy, Yuma tries to find ways to come back, but things Otani stays a little ahead of the younger wrestler. Yuma gets a close moment where he locks in End Game, but Otani fights to the ropes. Otani then backs the younger wrestler down, hits Dragon Suplex, then goes for another, but Yuma blocks. Otani counters the block with a lariat, then another Dragon Suplex but Yuma kicks out at 1! Refusing to stay down, Otani goes into his bag of tricks and hits Yuma twice with Hashimoto style Overhand Chops, to finally keep the younger man down.

Jake Lee vs Shotaro Ashino

So there is some fun history between these two when Ashino brought Enfantes Terrible over to AJPW and took JIN down a peg. But then recently, Jake stole the Enfantes members from Ashino and betrayed JIN. Ashino is looking to avenge the turnabout, but Jake is trying to craft his Carnival masterpiece.

Jake definitely has the swagger of an anime villain. He widens his arms like he’s conducting a symphony and moves slowly yet deliberately. Ashino starts quick, hitting a Drop Toe Hold and going to the ground game, but Jake stabilizes. Ashino again brings Jake down after successive German Suplexes and goes for the Ankle Lock! Jake has trouble navigating it for a while, but eventually finds the ropes.

Retreating to the corner, Jake sees the referee, Ashino charges, Jake uses the referee shield and starts taking advantage. A few direct blows to the head, Giant Killing to the back of the head, followed by D4C. Jake drags the referee back, picks up the win and leaves cackling. He’s limping heavily, selling the viciousness of the Ankle Lock even in a short match, but yeah, not what I expected.

The match was used to help build Jake’s new persona and possibly give Ashino a steeper mountain to climb. But the length and abrupt end was definitely not expected. Interesting, but also a little off putting.

Zeus vs Kento Miyahara

Zeus and Kento have had great wars. There was a point a few years ago where Kento was Zeus’ hurdle, but after beating him for the Tag titles, he then gathered momentum. Zeus has beaten Kento for the Triple Crown before, has beaten him in the Carnival, and this has been one of the best rivalries of the last few years in current AJPW. Kento is of course the current generation Ace, and everyone knows that; but given Zeus’ track record and Kento’s stagnation the last year since losing the Triple Crown to Suwama, we could get something interesting.

The match starts with their usual sarcastic respect to one another during breaks and outside the ring moments. Given that they’ve had 2 5 Snowflake classics in the last 3 years, this had a lot to live up to. But at no point did it feel like retreading, since they are both in different positions comparatively, this felt like a whole new book, not an additional chapter. Zeus landed a lot of power spots while Kento combated everything with his Knees.

Kento’s usual attack of Blackouts from different angles rocked Zeus pretty hard. Zeus ate a few, grabbed a Chokeslam and they both landed for a rest spot. Zeus drives Kento into a corner, goes for an Outside-In Brainbuster and starts trying to end things. Kento goes for the Shutdown Suplex, Zeus fires out, a few big Lariats and a Jackhammer from Zeus…AND ZEUS WINS!

 

Overall Score: 7.25/10

Now this wasn’t a bad start to things! Sure the Ashino/Jake Lee match did not go the way I expected, it definitely told enough of a story to prove it’s going somewhere. Shinjiro Otani gets a solid start to things, Shuji Ishikawa won a match he was supposed to and Zeus/Kento ended up being a solid day 1 main event.

Kento has started on the back foot before. I guess we get to see if he wins out until the Final Day, or if he has a larger struggle. Let’s check out the Day 1 Standings!

Standings:

  1. Zeus: 1-0 – (2 Points)
  2. Shuji Ishikawa: 1-0 – (2 Points)
  3. Shinjiro Otani: 1-0 – (2 Points)
  4. Kohei Sato: 1-0 – (2 Points)
  5. Jake Lee: 1-0 – (2 Points)
  6. Kento Miyahara: 0-1 – (0 Points)
  7. Suwama: 0-1 – (0 Points)
  8. Yuma Aoyagi: 0-1 – (0 Points)
  9. Shotaro Ashino: 0-1 – (0 Points)
  10. Koji Doi: 0-1 – (0 Points)


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