NXT is making history with the inaugural WOMEN’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic!
For the first time ever, Toni Storm teams with Mercedes Martinez and they’re taking on Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter to open this inaugural Women’s Dusty Cup! Who takes their first steps towards history?
- Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff VS The Way; Kushida & Ruff win and advance.
- Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett Bordeaux VS Ashante “Thee” Adonis w/ Desmond Troy; Kross wins.
- Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Imperium VS Lucha House Party; Lucha House Party wins and advances.
- Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Toni Storm & Mercedes Martinez VS Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter; Catanzaro & Carter win and advance.
- Tyler Rust w/ Malcolm Bivens VS Bronson Reed; Reed wins.
- Fight Pit: Timothy Thatcher VS Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff VS The Way!
The Time Splitter and NXT’s ultimate underdog want after Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory for many reasons, one of which is the NXT North American Championship. But first, will they make sure Johnny and Austin don’t get their way in this historic tag team tournament?
The teams sort out and Ruff wants to go first. Kushida obliges and Ruff starts with Theory. They circle, tie up, and Theory waistlocks to easily toss Ruff away! Ruff gets up and circles with Theory again, they tie up and Ruff gets a headlock. Theory powers out and runs Ruff over! Theory flexes, but Ruff trips him up to dropkick him to a corner! Ruff runs in, whips but Theory reverses. Ruff goes up and out and ROCKS Theory, to then jumps back in, but Theory gets him in a torture rack! Ruff goes for a crucifix but Theory throws him off, only for Ruff to avoid the dropkick! Ruff gives back a basement dropkick, covers, ONE!!
Ruff keeps on Theory with a facelock, Kushida tags in and they double wrench to double elbow breakers! And double PENALTY KICKS to the arms! Kushida wrenches one arm to a wristlock, then steps over to hammerlock it and get the other arm! Kushida moves around to bend both arms just by standing! Kushida falls back for the SNAP LOCK! Kushida keeps Theory away from Gargano with a wrench and armlock. Theory endures, Kushida cranks on the shoulder, but Theory fights his way up to stomp Kushida’s foot! Theory throws Kushida by his head, then drags him over to tag in Gargano.
Gargano throws furious forearms on Kushida, gets him down and rams in knees! Gargano stomps away on Kushida then shouts, “I’M THE BEST!” Kushida hits back with furious forearms of his own! Kushida whips, Gargano stops himself and elbows back! Tag to Theory, who somersault shotguns Kushida down! Cover, ONE! Theory drags Kushida up, throws more forearms, then has Kushida in a corner. Theory wrenches and whips Kushida corner to corner hard! Kushida bounces off buckles to writhe but Theory stomps his arm! Theory clamps onto the arm with a double wristlock but Kushida fights up. Gargano tags in and The Way mugs Kushida in the corner.
The Way double whip Kushida, double elbow him, and then no look high-five for more stomps! The ref reprimands, Gargano covers, TWO! Gargano snapmares and basement dropkicks! Cover, TWO! Gargano looms over Kushida, drags him up and bumps him off buckles. Tag to Theory, The Way mug Kushida more, then Theory goes for a suplex. Kushida holds that off but Theory throws body shots. Theory brings Kushida up, Kushida slips out of the suplex and tags in Ruff! Ruff goes up to missile dropkick! Ruff dodges, rallies and hits Theory with forearms! Mule kick but Theory trips Ruff, only for Ruff to kip up and KICK back!
Ruff bumps Theory off buckles, runs corner to corner, but misses the splash! Gargano rushes over but Ruff knocks him down! Ruff leaps, into Theory’s torture rack! TOWER HACKER BOMB! Cover, TWO?! Ruff still lives as NXT goes picture in picture!
Theory seethes as he looms over Ruff. Theory brings Ruff up, scoops, then taunts Kushida before he FALL AWAY SLAMS Ruff to the corner! Theory KICKS Ruff down, digs his boots in, then tags Gargano. Theory feeds Ruff to Gargano’s boots, then Gargano drags Ruff up by his arm. Gargano wrenches, and copies Kushida with the wristlock and elbow breaker! The ref keeps Kushida back as Gargano puts Ruff on ropes to choke him! The ref counts, Gargano stops at 4, then drags Ruff back up. Ruff tries to fight to his corner, he throws body shots, but Gargano turns things around to snap suplex Ruff back towards The Way! Tag to Theory, and The Way stomp Ruff down!
Theory drags Ruff up for big forearms, then traps Ruff in the corner. Theory rams Ruff over and over, then hauls him out to throw him down! Theory taunts Kushida, covers Ruff, TWO! Theory keeps Ruff down with a knee in the back and a chinlock with some digging knuckles in the shoulder! Ruff endures, fights his way up, and throws body shots. Theory ROCKS Ruff with a right then CLOBBERS him with a clothesline! Theory tags Gargano in, snapmares Ruff, and Gargano wraps on a chinlock of his own. Ruff endures again, even as Gargano drives his knee in over and over! NXT returns to single picture as fans rally up.
Ruff fights up, throws body shots, but Gargano turns him for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Gargano clamps onto Ruff, tags in Theory, and The Way double whips Ruff to a corner. Gargano whips Theory in but Ruff BOOTS him! Ruff puts Gargano on the apron, flounders for his corner, but Theory intercepts! Theory grabs at Ruff but Ruff scrambles under! Theory has the foot but Ruff ENZIGURIS! Gargano trips Kushida off the apron! And Theory CLOBBERS Ruff! Tag to Gargano, The Way coordinate for a backbraker and neckbreaker gutbuster combo! Cover, TWO! Ruff is still in this but Gargano drags him up.
Tag to Theory, and Gargano gets Ruff up into Theory’s lift. Ruff fights the bomb and gets to a corner! Theory gets faked out, Ruff leaps to hit the FLYING CUTTER! Fans rally up as both men crawl! Hot tags to Gargano and Kushida! The Super Junior leaps with an ax handle, then TACKLES Gargano for ground ‘n’ pound! Theory gets in but Kushida KICKS him over and over! Theory whips Kushida but Kushida handspring back elbows! Handspring HEEL KICK for Gargano! Kushida boots Theory and tumbles out to TORNADO DDT Gargano to the floor! Fans fire up for Kushida as he drags Gargano up and into the ring!
Kushida aims, but Gargano avoid the Penalty Kick! School Boy KICK! Gargano drags Kushida up but Kushida turns into a suplex into an ARMBAR! Kushida clubs at the hands but Theory CLOBBERS Kushida! Kushida throws Theory out but Gargano turns Kushida around! Kushida dodges to spin Gargano, ROLLING ELBOW! Gargano ENZIGURIS! Tag to Theory and Theory drags Kushida up! Fisherman figure four and BRAINBUSTER! To SUPERKICK from Gargano! Cover, TWO!! Kushida survives the combo but Theory tags Gargano back in. The Way coordinates again, but Ruff dropkicks Theory away! Ruff dodges Gargano to FLY out onto Theory!
Kushida gets Gargano in the HOVERBOARD! Gargano cradle counters, TWO!! BUZZSAW! But Kushida comes back to hip toss and cartwheel dropkick! FAST BALL! Kushida gets that arm, hammerlock SUPLEX! Bridging cover, Kushida and Ruff win!!
Winners: KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
The Way is ALREADY out of the Dusty Cup! And furthermore, Kushida has again pinned the North American Champion! Will Kushida be on the path for not just one but two titles in 2021?
Pete Dunne speaks.
“Finn Balor, whether you want to admit it or not, you know full well me and you are cut from the same cloth.” Same humble beginnings in the UK, but here’s what’s different. Balor left, while Dunne “built an entire brand. I made NXT UK! And what do I get as a thank you? I constantly get compared to you and what you’ve done.” Balor said everyone wants to face the champ so Dunne needs to get in line. What does he mean by that? Dunne is the REAL threat to the NXT Championship. Balor claims he doesn’t watch the business, but surely he’s been watching Dunne these last few years.
We all know that this is inevitable. And this time, Balor can’t just leave. He will pass the torch. History will speak well of Balor, but will speak better of Dunne. “The day that me and you finally meet, people will finally realize that you’ve just been taking part in MY legacy.” Will the Bruiserweight be the one to dethrone the Prince?
Backstage interview with Malcolm Bivens.
What’s he waiting outside of William Regal’s for? Well he and Tyler Rust are waiting for a presentation to Regal. Rust is the future of NXT. He is no rookie, he is the #DiamondintheRust! Rust will be a future North American Champion, a future NXT Champion, and- Rust finishes his talk with Regal and thanks Regal for this, promising that Regal won’t regret it. Bivens is surprised and Rust apologizes, he got here early and already had his talk with Regal. The match is made for tonight! Rust VS Bronson Reed! Bivens isn’t quite as happy about this, that wasn’t the direction Bivens was hoping for. But what’s done is done. Bivens says Rust is going straight to the top and he has a match to win. Rust is the future, but how far in the future will it be when he’s headed for a colossal obstacle?
Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett Bordeaux VS Ashante “Thee” Adonis w/ Desmond Troy!
While Dunne wants after the NXT Champion, Mr. Doomsday never lost it! Will Kross get back to the title and bring the apocalypse with him?
The bell rings and Kross circles with Adonis. Adonis kicks but Kross doesn’t flinch! Adonis throws a forearm but Kross just grits his teeth. Adonis runs but into Kross’ arms for a NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX! And a roll through to a wrench and DOOMSDAY SAIDO!! Adonis writhes while Kross roars! The ref checks on Adonis but he manages to get up, only to stagger into ANOTHER DOOMSDAY SAIDO! Kross asks if Adonis hears the clock ticking! Adonis somehow gets back up, only for Kross to say TIME’S UP! BLINDSIDE FOREARM!! Cover, Kross wins!
Winner: Karrion Kross, by pinfall
The countdown to the inevitable has certainly begun, but will it be Kross who takes that title from Balor, not Dunne? But wait, Kross isn’t done! He goes after Troy, who was just checking on his Dusty Cup tag team partner! KROSSJACKET!! Troy flails, but he passes out! Kross shows no mercy, will that be the same for anyone on the path back to the title?
NXT takes a closer look at MSK.
Nash Carter tells Wes Lee he’s about to throw off the other tag teams. “MSK, Wes Lee and Nash Carter, number tag team in all of NXT!” How is a Borat impersonation going to do anything? “Because I’m number one!” Very nice, yes! But who are MSK? Nash and Lee came together by fate and now they’re family. They impressed against Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Jake Atlas, and even other NXT superstars like Ember Moon gives them credit for being so innovative and precise. All the hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears… They’re getting teary-eyed just thinking about that Dusty Cup. They’ve fought for so long, and now they’re finally here. This is everything to them. But will they make another impressive impact in the second round?
Mercedes Martinez & Toni Storm speak.
They tell Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter, “being best friends means absolutely nothing in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.” Toni and Mercedes don’t need to be friends, they’re just two tough women with a common interest. So for all they care, KC and KC can go preheat an EZ Bake Oven, practice some cartwheels, and then maybe work on a TikTok video. Because what Mercedes did to Io Shirai will be nothing compared to what she and Toni do to them tonight! Enjoy the first round exit, though. Will the combined forces of Mean Mercedes and The Lightning From Down Under be greater then KC Squared?
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Imperium VS Lucha House Party!
Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner have been NXT Tag Team Champions before, but they wish to return to the top and keep the mat sacred! Will Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik change those plans and make the Dusty Cup #LuchaLit?
The teams sort out and the Impeccable German starts against the Golden Lynx. They circle, Barthel corners Lince and pushes him to the buckles but the ref has him back off. Lince comes back but Barthel throws him with an arm-drag! Barthel clamps onto Lince, clubs away on him, then drags him up to a facelock and half hatch suplex! Barthel keeps on Lince with an armlock, hammerlocks it, but Lince reaches back to get up and flying mare free! But Barthel throat chops him down! Barthel glares at Metalik then goes to Lince in an open corner. Barthel ROCKS Lince with an uppercut, then digs his boot into Lince’s head! The ref counts, Barthel lets off and wrenches Lince to a knuckle lock.
Lince breaks free to CHOP, CHOP and whip! Barthel reverses, Lince Quebradas up and over and tags in Metalik! Metalik gives Lince a boost on the springboard RANA! Metalik goes up, Lince returns the favor and Metalik gets a boost for the SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Metalik chinlocks and gets an arm to wrench and wristlock. Barthel tags to Aichner and then whips Metalik, Aichner arm-drags Metalik then stomps him down! The Pride of Italy drags the King of the Ropes up to ROCK him with a EuroUpper! Aichner whips Metalik to hit him low! Aichner taunts Metalik then drags him back up to ram him into buckles and CHOP him!
Aichner talks trash in Italian but fans boo. Metalik throws body shots, dodges but runs into a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Aichner looms over Metalik, brings him up to whip him to a corner but Metalik elbows him away! Metalik runs and hits the SLING DOG! Tag to Lince, LHP double whip Aichner into the corner, Metalik corner clotheslines then runs corner to corner to BOOT Barthel! Lince heel kicks Aichner down! Imperium regroups outside but Lince DIVES! Aichner catches Lince to RAM him into the apron, then scoop SLAM him down! Metalik goe sup top but Barthel trips him up!
Barthel drags Metalik into a Tree of Woe to kick, then Imperium meets with DOUBLE DROPKICKS! Imperium strikes a pose while NXT goes to break!
NXT returns and Aichner grinds Lince down with a chinlock. Fans rally up and Lince fights back, but Aichner CLUBS him down! Aichner drags Lince up, whips him to ropes, but Lince handsprings, GOLDEN REWIND! Barthel tags in, drags Lince from Metalik with a chinlock, and grinds him down again. Fans rally, Lince fights up again, and Lince throws body shots. Barthel whips Lince to a corner but Lince kicks! Barthel blocks it, shouts “NEIN!” and then puts the leg on ropes to KICK the leg! Barthel hoists Lince up top and throws haymakers, but Lince counter punches! Lince hammers away but Barthel KICKS Lince back!
Barthel climbs up, Lince resists the superplex with body shots and headbutts! Lince CHOPS Barthel, grabs him, tornado and rebound for the DDT! Both men are down but fans fire up, hot tags to Aichner and Metalik! Metalik springboards to crossbody Aichner down! Metalik kicks, whips but Aichner reverses. Metalik goes up and out and enziguris back! Metalik is up top, tightrope to RANA! Aichner flounders, Metalik walks the ropes again to boot and springboard, QUEBRADA! Cover, TWO! Aichner survives that onslaught but Metalik fireman’s carries. Aichner slips out, dragon sleepers and suplexes but Metalik slips out!
Metalik waistlocks but Aichner bucks the O’Conner roll and Barthel tags in! Metalik knuckle locks and goes up the ropes but Barthel blocks the arm-drag! Barthel wheelbarrows Metalik, Aichner is up top, they combine for a FLYING DDT!! Cover, but Lince breaks it! Fans fire up as Barthel protests, but he drags Metalik up to rock him with rights! Tag to Aichner, they put Metalik up top and ROCKET LAUNCHER to the suplex, but Metalik slips out! Tag to Lince, LHP kick Aichner and Lince sunset flips! Aichner holds it off but Metalik goes up to missile dropkick him into the SUNSET BOMB! Cover, but Barthel breaks it in time!
Lince kicks Barthel out, then stomps Aichner. Lince drags Aichner over and whips, only for Aichner to reverse. Aichner runs into a boot, but Barthel pushes him off the corner! Aichner catches Lince and holds him up, but Metalik springboards and jumps at Barthel! Barthel catches him to a fireman’s carry, then shifts him around, AIR RAID BRAINBUSTER IN STEREO! Cover, TWO?!? Lince still lives and Imperium is furious! Aichner rains down rights on Lince then tags in Barthel. Imperium drags Lince up, whips him, SPINEBUSTER to PENALTY KICK! Aichner hauls Lince up and Barthel climbs, but Lince counters the bomb lift to a FACEBUSTER!
Metalik gets Barthel with a springboard SUPER STEINER into Aichner! LHP coordinates and Lince helps Metalik get up to ASAI MOONSAULT Aichner at the ramp! But Barthel BLINDSIDES Lince! Roll up, TWO!! Lince SUPERKICKS from the corner! Barthel is down, Lince goes up, SHOOTING STAR!! Cover, LHP wins!!
Winners: Lucha House Party, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
Was this a bracket buster right here?! Metalik and Lince send Imperium packing, and are headed for a battle of lucha libre with El Legado del Fantasma! Will the party keep rolling through the second round?
As for Imperium, ALEXANDER WOLFE returns to NXT USA, and he looks a bit disappointed in Aichner and Barthel. Will the Hatchet Man get his compatriots back on top on behalf of the Ring General, Walter?
NXT shares the Fight Pit weigh-in from earlier today.
Tommaso Ciampa steps on the scale to officially weigh in at 201 pounds. Ciampa double guns to show off the lean, mean fighting machine, then Timothy Thatcher takes his turn. Thatcher officially weighs in at 225 pounds, quite the gap between him and Ciampa. Regal wishes both men best of luck, and Ciampa offers a handshake. Thatcher shoves him instead! Ciampa wants after Thatcher but he has to save it for tonight! Will they both leave it all inside the Fight Pit?
William Regal and Beth Phoenix are on stage.
They stand on stage with the Dusty Cup to proudly present the field the next step in the Women’s (R)Evolution! Right here, in this building, women like Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Bayley, Carmella, Shayna Baszler and many others have had their part in that progress. These women have main-evented TakeOvers, Pay-Per-Views, and even WrestleMania! “Women’s Wrestling, you guys wanted this! It was the WWE Universe, the NXT Universe, that wanted this.” Tonight, we prepare to make history again! So let’s kick off the first-ever WOMEN’S DUSTY RHODES CLASSIC!
The lights come up to present the inaugural field of eight teams! Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter, Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon, Aliyah with the Robert Stone Brand’s newest client, Jessi Kamea, and even newcomers Gigi Dolan & Cora Jade stand on one side, with Toni Storm & Mercedes Martinez, The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez, and Marina Shafir with newcomer Zoey Stark standing on the other. Beth says let’s get started with the first match!
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Toni Storm & Mercedes Martinez VS Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter!
History is being made in 2021, and both teams have said their peace. Who will back those words with actions as the Women’s Dusty Classic begins NOW?
The teams sort out, Toni starts with Kayden, and they tie up and go around at the bell. They break, tie up again, go around again, and Kayden waistlocks. Toni pries free, wrenches to a wristlock, but Kayden rolls and rolls to wrench back. Fans rally, Toni spins through and wrenches again, but Kayden slips through and around to headlock. Toni powers out, Kayden rams her but neither falls. So Kayden trips Toni, taunts her, then speeds things up. Toni drops, Kayden handsprings over, but Toni runs her over! Things keep moving, Toni redirects to basement dropkick! Cover, ONE!! Toni drags Kayden up, tags in Mercedes, and she scoops Kayden to a sidewalk slam!
Mercedes glares at Kayden, Toni drops an elbow then Mercedes adds one. Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Kayden kicks from the mat then Eddy Gordo kicks Mercedes in the head! Kayden whips Mercedes to the corner but Mercedes blocks to reverse! Kayden gets around, tags Kacy, and then they bait Mercedes into a double drop toehold! Mercedes hits off ropes, KC Squared DOUBLE BOOT her down! Kacy slingshot sentons and covers, TWO! Kacy drags Mercedes up but Mercedes CHOPS her off her feet! Mercedes taunts Kacy and ROCKS her with an uppercut! Mercedes kicks Kacy at ropes, drags her up and throws a big EuroUpper! Fans rally but Mercedes looms over Kacy.
Mercedes clamps onto Kacy with a chinlock and digs her knee into Kacy’s back. Kacy endures, fights up, and throws body shots. Mercedes throws Kacy down by her hair, then “apologizes” to the ref. Kacy hits back but Mercedes kicks her down. Mercedes whips Kacy, Kacy dodges and tilt-o-whirls but the DDT is blocked! Mercedes powers up to suplex, scoop then SLAM! Cover, but Kayden breaks it! The fans are fired up as NXT goes to break!
NXT returns and Toni slams Kacy down. Cover, TWO! Toni drags Kacy up, throws forearms then tags in Mercedes. Toni DECKS Kacy, Mercedes grabs Kacy with both hands for an OVERHEAD TOSS! Toni runs in to HIP ATTACK Kacy, then Mercedes drags Kacy to a cover, TWO! Mercedes grows frustrated and drags Kacy up to CLUB her down! Mercedes bumps Kacy off buckles, CHOPS her, then hoists her up top. Mercedes throws uppercuts then climbs up but Kacey resists the superplex. Kacy throws body shots but Mercedes ROCKS her with a right! Mercedes fireman’s carries but Kacy resists and shifts position, to spin and SUPER STEINER!
Mercedes flounders away and fans fire up! Mercedes crawls and hobbles, tag to Toni! Toni intercepts Kacy, scoops her, but Kacy slips out to hot tag Kayden! Kayden dodges boots to fire off forearms! Kayden dropkicks Mercedes, whips Toni into her, then runs in to forearm smash them both! Kayden keeps moving and dropkicks Mercedes to splash down on Toni! Kayden drags Toni up, CHOPS and forearms, then whips! Toni reverses, Kayden slides to a stop to come back and victory roll, to SUPERKICK! Kayden keeps moving, BOOT WASH! Fans fire up and Kayden waistlocks Toni. O’Conner roll, TWO, springboard basement dropkick! Cover, Mercedes breaks it!
Kacy returns to ENZIGURI Mercedes out! Then Kacy slingshots for a TORNILLO! Fans fire up with KC Squared as Kayden drags Toni up. Toni HEADBUTTS! And GERMAN SUPLEXES! Toni drags Kayden up and waistlocks again but Kayden elbows free. Toni trips Kayden and has the leg, but Kayden flails to resist the Half Crab! Toni turns her over, stands on Kayden’s back, but Kayden still endures! Kayden reaches, but Io Shirai is here! Shirai yanks Mercedes off the apron and then TOSSES her across the announce desk! The ref doesn’t see this, but Toni lets Kayden go to DECK Kacy! Toni realizes something happened to Mercedes, too, and is all alone!
Kayden trips Toni up! Kacy tags in, KC Squared coordinate with a NAVARRO DEATH ROLL from Kayden, to Kacy hitting a PHOENIX SENTON?! Cover, KC SQUARED WINS!!
Winners: Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
Give a tiny assist to the Evil Genius, but that was still a spectacular way to finish! Will this be what propels these two to the top of the Women’s Tag Division?
Backstage interview with Finn Balor.
He’s heading to William Regal’s office and barges in. Balor says Regal knows why he’s here: Balor wants Pete Dunne. But Balor already knows the games Dunne is playing, they’re all from Balor’s old playbook. So Balor wants to start with Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch. “First I’ll chop off the arms, then I’ll chop off the head.” Regal understands how Balor feels but he has to protect Balor from himself. After what happened last week, Balor can’t fight them all alone. So Regal says Balor should find a tag team partner. Regal should know Balor better than anyone. Balor doesn’t have friends, that’s the old Finn. All Balor has now are enemies. Then keep your enemies closer. Balor leaves, but will he find someone willing to fight alongside him against the would-be Kings of NXT?
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott finds Bronson Reed backstage.
Swerve tells Reed to not get in his business again. But then wishes him “luck” out there. Will Swerve’s words get in Reed’s head as he heads for the ring?
After what happened to both Ashante “Thee” Adonis and Desmond Troy at the hands of Karrion Kross, Adonis’ injury won’t let him compete this Friday on 205 Live, where he and Troy would be competing in the Dusty Cup. Speaking of the Dusty Cup, KC Squared run in and are PUMPED for their win! Congratulations are in order, and they say this is what they told us would happen! No one believed in them, but they said they’d win and go down in the history books. They just beat two of the toughest women in NXT and are going to win the whole thing. Say it again! “We’re going to win the whole thing!” Will KC Squared continue to rise into immortality?
Tyler Rust w/ Malcolm Bivens VS Bronson Reed!
Bivens Enterprise’s current client kinda stepped in it, talking to Regal without Bivens being present. But will they keep this from being a huge setback in Rust’s rise to the top? Or is there no getting past Auszilla when you’re across from him in the ring?
The bell rings and Reed circles with Rust. Rust dodges the grapple and kicks, but Reed stays up. Rust gets around to get an arm and wrenches but Reed pushes him off. Rust comes back to get the arm again but Reed is the one with the killer knuckle lock! Rust spins through, keylocks, but Reed powers him away and headlocks. Reed grinds Rust but Rust powers up. Rust tries to power out but Reed holds on tight. Fans rally, Rust pulls hair and puts Reed on ropes. The ref counts, Rust lets off and then kicks the arm! Rust dodges Reed, things speed up and Reed BLASTS Rust out of the ring with that shoulder!
Bivens coaches Rust up and says he’s got this. Rust gets up and gets back in, dodges Reed but Reed blocks the kick to give the kick. Reed trophy lifts Rust then drops him to a GUT BUSTER! And then dead lifts him for a FALL AWAY SLAM! Rust sits on the apron as he catches his breath but Bivens says to use his brains against Reed’s brawn. But Reed drags Rust up, only for Rust to wrench the arm and hotshot it! Rust hurries after the arm, ARMBREAKER DDT!
Whoa, something big is happening backstage! Clearly Toni and Mercedes found out Shirai screwed them over, and they’re after her in the locker room! The refs and security keep them apart but is that easier said than done?
Back to the ring, Rust KICKS at Reed’s arm, and again and again. Rust throws uppercuts to the arm but Reed ROCKS Rust with a right! Rust kicks the arm, throws more uppercuts, but Reed swats the kick and throws a forearm to the chest! Reed clobbers Rust over and over, then whips him to ropes for a BODY CHECK! Fans fire up with Reed as he corner splashes Rust! Reed choke grips to CHOKE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Rust survives but Reed keeps his cool. Reed climbs up the corner, Rust hurries up and ROCKS Reed with a right! Rust climbs, goes after the arm, and double wristlocks! The ref counts, Reed uses one body shot to get Rust away, but Rust comes back to BOOT him!
Rust wants to fireman’s carry Reed, and gets him long enough for a SAMOAN DROP! Cover, TWO! Rust keeps on Reed with a cravat but the driver is thrown off! Reed drops a back senton, then goes up top! TSUNAMI SPLASH!! Cover, Reed wins!
Winner: Bronson Reed, by pinfall
Rust still shows promise, but Reed is just too much for a normal man! Will Reed crush the competition on his way back to title contention?
Another backstage interview with Finn Balor!
Given what Regal told him about taking on Oney & Danny, Balor just needs to find a tag team partner. The Prince says there are some people around here that owe him a favor, so maybe they’ll have a little chat. Will Balor get himself a tag team partner to go after the Bruiserweight’s BritAm Brawlers?
Finn Balor finds the Undisputed Era.
Adam Cole says, “Look what the cat dragged in, fellas.” Balor says the cat is looking for payback. They’re all grown men. Kyle O’Reilly knows why Balor is here. Is he in? Or is he still sucking meals through a straw? Roderick Strong gets heated but Cole has him stand down. Balor waits on Kyle’s answer. The answer is yes. Then see you next week. See you then, champ. Kyle and Balor put each other through hell as opponents, will they put Oney & Danny through even worse as allies?
El Legado del Fantasma is here!
Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde are already in the ring as Santos Escobar walks around. “A real champion does what he wants, when he wants. You are looking at the champion of champion, the NXT Cruiserweight Champion, El Campeon, Santos Escobar.” Escobar explains to us what a true champion is. “A champion of champions doesn’t have to conquer a curse like Johnny Gargano. A champion of champions doesn’t have a glass jaw like Finn Balor.” Some people try to act like a champion, with badass cars and pretty mamacitas, with all the pomp and circumstance, like Karrion Kross! But when it’s time to prove themselves, they don’t make it to their first title defense!
Escobar has Mendoza hold onto the belt as he continues to boast. “I guess carrying a title is a heavy, heavy chip on your shoulders.” Escobar joins the others in the ring as he says, “I back up every word that I have said. And I have beaten every single person that has been on my path.” Now, even Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado came to NXT to try and destroy Escobar’s empire! But he sent them packing. Now to Raul and Joaquin, they won their first match in the Dusty Cup, and that puts them one step closer to becoming the NXT Tag Team Champions, joining Escobar as the champions of champions. LOS CAMPEONES!
But speaking of LHP, they return! Lince and Metalik don’t want to wait until round tow, they go after Legado already! But Mendoza and Wilde stomp and club them down! They set Lince up for Escobar as he climbs up, but then CURT STALLION trips him up! LHP DOUBLE SUPERKICK Legado out, and Stallion DECKS Escobar on top of them! It seems Escobar forgot that the Lonestar has his title shot up his sleeve! Will Stallion, Lince and Metalik make sure El Legado are NEVER the Champions of Champions in NXT?
Backstage interview with Killian Dain & Drake Maverick.
Congratulations are in order for their win on 205 Live and in the Dusty Cup, putting them into the quarterfinals. But they’re next up against MSK. How are they feeling? Maverick speaks up and interrupts Dain, saying that while last year got off to a rocky start for him, this year will be big! Maverick’s got an ally who will always have his back. It’s his best friend and tag team partner, Killian Dain! Maverick knows how great MSK is, they want to come right into the Dusty Classic and win it all, but they won’t! Because the team that will win this will storm into the tournament, go all the way to the finals and stand tall with the trophy! That team is none other than Maverick and Dain!
Dain is impressed by that little speech, and gives Maverick a hard pat on the shoulder. Maverick still doesn’t have Dain’s contact info, though. Will the oddest of odd couples be the ones to shock the world and win the Dusty Cup?
Backstage interview with Curt Stallion and Lucha House Party!
A couple months ago, the Lonestar earned his shot at the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Tonight, he went out there to embarrass Escobar and it won’t stop until he gets his shot! El Legado heads in and referees keep the peace. Escobar says if Stallion wants to interrupt and ruin his message to the world, then Escobar will destroy him. But not now, because he’ll make sure to expose Stallion as the rookie he is NEXT WEEK, with the title on the line! Legado leaves and Stallion finally has his match! Will the fall of Fantasma begin this close to TakeOver: Valentine’s Day?
Fight Pit: Timothy Thatcher VS Tommaso Ciampa!
A battle originally meant for New Year’s Evil had to be delayed because NXT wanted to make sure both men went into this as close to 100% as possible. This is only the second Fight Pit ever, but the Professor of Pain has a huge advantage by being one of the two men in the original! Will he teach the Psycho Killer that he has all the grit he needs to stand atop the brand? Or will Ciampa show Thatcher that even he has much to learn?
NXT returns and both men make their entrances. The introductions are made, the rules are reviewed, and the only way to win is by submission or knockout! The bell rings, and this grittiest of grudge matches finally begins!
Ciampa and Thatcher don’t drop down right away, they circle on the upper ledge first. Ciampa pursues but Thatcher backs away, and then they rush each other with fast hands! Ciampa clubs away on Thatcher, has him against railing, and wants to dump him out?! Thatcher resists, Ciampa KNEES him against the railing, but Thatcher comes back with uppercuts! Thatcher ROCKS Ciampa with more EuroUppers, then he chokes Ciampa on the railing! Fans rally and Thatcher throws body shots and forearms! Thatcher brings Ciampa around for more uppercuts, then half hatch suplexes Ciampa! What a thud off the wooden platform!
Thatcher heel hooks a leg and KICKS away on Ciampa’s back! Ciampa keeps from falling over the edge as Thatcher tries to turn him, and Ciampa kicks Thatcher away! Ciampa gets up, runs in and BOOTS Thatcher down! Ciampa kicks Thatcher and throws down haymakers! And then he stomps away at the railing! Thatcher scrambles up but Ciampa CHOPS! Thatcher throws a forearm but Ciampa gives it back! Ciampa CHOPS again, and again! Thatcher is against railing as he grits his teeth, but Ciampa throws more forearms. Thatcher throws body shots and forearms in return, then knees Ciampa in the ribs!
Thatcher drags Ciampa up for more forearms then stalks him along the platform. Ciampa blocks a bump off the railing, pulls on Thatcher’s ear then ROCKS him with a haymaker! Ciampa stomps Thatcher then digs his boot into his head! Ciampa fish hooks Thatcher’s face, then gets the legs to stomp the stomach! Ciampa tries to scrape Thatcher through railing and off the top but Thatcher holds onto railing! Ciampa gets the legs to GUILLOTINE CATAPULT Thatcher into the bars! Thatcher is gasping and crawling while Ciampa applauds himself and pats himself on the back, and NXT goes picture in picture!
Ciampa sees Thatcher crawling and finally heading into the pit. But Ciampa stomps Thatcher’s hands and makes him fall down into it! Ciampa climbs down to join Thatcher and digs his face into the steel fencing! Ciampa lets off and Thatcher crawls, only for Ciampa to dig his face into the fencing on that side! Ciampa CLUBS Thatcher down, but Thatcher goes after a leg! Thatcher gets Ciampa down, digs forearms into Ciampa’s face and goes to turn him. Ciampa resists but Thatcher just smothers him with the forearm. Ciampa tweaks Thatcher’s fingers! Ciampa CHOPS, Thatcher EuroUppers! Thatcher looms over Ciampa, KNEES him in the back, then sits him up for a chinlock.
Ciampa endures as Thatcher grinds him down. Ciampa fights his way up, throws body shots but Thatcher clubs him back. NXT returns to single picture as Thatcher whips Ciampa but Ciampa stops from hitting steel fencing. Ciampa elbows Thatcher back, then throws Thatcher into the fencing! And again! And again! Ciampa then runs side to side to KNEE Thatcher into the steel! The ref checks on Thatcher and starts a count. If Thatcher doesn’t stand up before 10, it’s a technical knockout. Thatcher is up at 6, but Ciampa is on him with underhooks! Thatcher resists, and throws Ciampa into the corner where there’s only bare post!
Ciampa writhes and clutches his shoulder but Thatcher is after that arm! Thatcher stands on Ciampa’s head, pulls on an arm, then drags Ciampa to the corner. Thatcher puts the arm in the gap, but Ciampa kicks Thatcher away! Fans fire up as Ciampa and Thatcher rise. Ciampa CHOPS, and CHOPS, but Thatcher clinches, rams Ciampa into fencing then BELLY2BELLY SUPLEXES! Thatcher is after the arm for a double wristlock! Ciampa endures, moves around, but Thatcher mounts for a ground ‘n’ pound of forearms! Thatcher tortures the fingers, twists the wrist, and JAMS them into the mat! Ciampa clutches his hand and Thatcher has a sadistic grin!
Thatcher stalks Ciampa but Ciampa throws him into the steel! Thatcher slowly rises but Ciampa is up to trip him! And CATAPULTS him into steel! Thatcher falls back onto Ciampa’s knees! Ciampa has a HALF CRAB! Then he KICKS Thatcher in the back! Ciampa rains down rights but Thatcher kicks back! Ciampa stomps, rains down more rights, then goes after a leg again. Thatcher boots Ciampa into the steel! Thatcher stalks Ciampa, clamps onto the head and has a SLEEPER HOLD! Ciampa flails but there are no ropebreaks when there are no ropes! Ciampa still grabs the steel, and then LOW BLOW MULE KICKS! No disqualifications in the Fight Pit, either!
The ref checks on Thatcher but Thatcher grabs at Ciampa over the ref’s back! Ciampa uses the leverage for WILLOW’S BELL!! But Ciampa can’t win off a cover, he wants to know if that knocked Thatcher out! The ref starts a count, Thatcher is still conscious but he has to get up before 10! The count is 5, then 6! Thatcher uses the cage and drags himself up at 9.9! But Ciampa CLOBBERS him, underhooks, but Thatcher spins out to throw EuroUppers! Ciampa forearms, they’re brawling back and forth with fury! The fans are fired up as Ciampa CHOPS but Thatcher tackles him into steel!
Ciampa throws elbows, has a facelock, and he RAMS Thatcher into steel! FAIRYTALE ENDING!! And then a SLEEPER HOLD!! Ciampa wants Thatcher to pass out, but Thatcher fights up! And scoops Ciampa to RAM him into the steel! Thatcher gets Ciampa in a sleeper hold of his own, but Ciampa uses the corner to go up! Thatcher shoves Ciampa into the corner! Thatcher CLUBS Ciampa over and over and over, then has the leg trapped in the girder! HANGING STRETCH MUFFLER!! Ciampa shouts in pain, he TAPS! THATCHER WINS!!
Winner: Timothy Thatcher, by submission
Undefeated in the Fight Pit, it is truly the site of Professor of Pain’s masterclass in mauling and mangling the human body! Has Thatcher proven once and for all that he is the toughest man in NXT? But perhaps most shocking of all, Thatcher goes over to Ciampa, to nod respect to him! Is the feeling mutual after what they just put each other through?
A great episode! We got three great Dusty Cup matches, with some rather surprising outcomes. The Way VS KUSHIDA & Ruff was a great opener, and I really thought it was going to go the other way with Gargano and Theory getting this win so that they’d have something to fall back on if Kushida takes the title from Gargano. But now I feel like it’ll be Gargano retaining so that Kushida and Ruff can continue on in this tournament. Imperium VS LHP was another great match with another surprise. Though, story did dictate we get LHP VS Legado del Fantasma again to continue their story of battling over lucha libre, as also made clear with the Legado segment.
Speaking of that segment, a damn shame Stallion is a nobody to even NXT commentary outside of Vic Joseph, who is on 205 Live’s commentary. This just proves what I’ve been saying about the blending of the brands needs to be stronger because I’m pretty sure many NXT fans were just as lost as Wade Barrett was. We also got a great surprise in Wolfe showing up when last we knew, he was still in the UK for NXT UK. I suppose Walter doesn’t need Imperium backing up as no faction is trying to go after him, but I would’ve thought Wolfe would stay and go after the Heritage Cup. Maybe Wolfe finds his way into the North American Championship scene while he’s here.
The Women’s Dusty Cup had a great introduction from Regal and Beth, and we got a very good opening match between Toni-Mercedes VS KC Squared. Shirai showing up was a great surprise, and naturally she pulls Mercedes and Toni back towards the title story. Kacy should be careful with that unique corkscrew move of hers, she could’ve taken herself out since she was only half on Toni’s back. Raquel & Dakota being in the tournament was as much a given as The Way’s LeRae & Indi were, even with Raquel having that great Last Woman Standing win over Rhea. And I like that we’re getting the newest additions in the tournament already, it’ll be a great way to show their skills from the start.
Speaking of new additions, MSK had a good promo but it didn’t really explain much about who they are, which was supposed to be the point. For one, why is it “MSK?” What does that stand for when their names are “Nash Carter” and “Wes Lee?” Will we finally get that explanation when they win again? And while Dain and Maverick are a great duo and Maverick had a great promo of his own, I don’t think they’re winning against MSK. Rust definitely wasn’t beating Reed tonight but it was a great way to give him and Bivens some story. Bivens is trying to do things in Rust’s best interest but he’s just not getting it, so maybe Bivens needs to get a bit stern with him until Rust is actually champion.
Dunne had a really good promo on Balor, and Balor’s response was natural. I like that Balor said having friends and a team and all that was the old Balor, even older than being in the WWE. But it also makes some sense that he and the UE would team up against Oney & Danny, and with Cole & Strong in the Dusty Cup, Kyle was the obvious choice. Though that’s not to say Kyle was by default, the story between him and Finn made that the natural choice, and it is going to be awesome to see them brawl with the BritAm Brawlers. Kross destroying Adonis & #DesTroy seems to be a way of writing those two out of the tournament and possibly putting a losing team back in, or surprising us with a completely new team. Dare I say that Balor & O’Reilly could end up that team after what they do to the tag champs? Would Balor make history as a two-time Dusty Cup winner?
And then the Fight Pit was a great main event, and a story unique from the original. Staying up top and fighting up there for an extended time was a nice way of changing this match up in only its second edition, and it was a natural choice that Thatcher would win. Thatcher should have the Fight Pit as “his match” just as much as Taker had the Casket Match (among a few others), and it could easily be made so that whoever finally beats him in the Fight Pit looks like a million bucks. I wonder if there will ever be a title match inside the Fight Pit. That’d be pretty awesome, since they already treated this one like a title match with the introductions and dramatic lighting.
My Score: 9.3/10
Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (3/6/21)
A Dark Dozen before Revolution!
It’s a bonus Dark before AEW Revolution!
AEW Revolution is coming, but there is still some Dark to get through! Will the Murderhawk Monster be rolling into that Face of the Revolution Ladder match?
- The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon; The Natural Nightmares win.
- Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake; wins.
- Penta El Zero M VS Azriel; wins.
- Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick; wins.
- Thunder Rosa VS Tesha Price; wins.
- Tay Conti VS Leila Grey; wins.
- The Sydal Brothers VS Chaos Project; win(s).
- Ricky Starks & Brian Cage VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol; win.
- The Gunn Club VS M’Badu & D3; wins.
- Bear Country VS Ryzin & Cameron Stewart; win(s).
- Preston Vance & Alan Angels w/ The Dark Order VS Labron Kozone & Vary Morales; win.
- Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler; wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon!
Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal, but so are the Brazilian V8 and “Pretty” Peter! Who builds some momentum before running into the Revolution?
The teams sort out, Bononi starts with Dustin, and they circle. Fans rally for Dustin but PPA tells them to shut up. Bononi and Dustin tie up and Bononi shoves Dustin to a corner. Dustin comes back to headlock but Bononi powers out. Dustin rams Bononi but Bononi stays up and shakes his head. Dustin runs again, he dodges Bononi’s clothesline to ROCK him with an uppercut! Dustin wrenches and puts Bononi in the corner, QT tags in and Dustin whips QT in to forearm smash! QT feeds Bononi to Dustin’s POWERSLAM! Fans fire up as QT ROCKS Bononi, whips him, but Bononi reverses. QT holds ropes, BOOTS Bononi, but Avalon gets a cheap shot in!
Bononi then stomps away on QT at the ropes! Tag to Avalon, they mug QT, and Avalon CHOPS! Avalon clubs QT to the other corner, wrenches and whips him corner to corner, and QT bounces off buckles. Avalon stomps QT but fans rally up. Bononi tags in, they mug QT again, but QT hits back! Bononi knees low and throws hard back elbows! Bononi dares QT to reach for Dustin, but QT throws body shots. Bononi throws elbows but QT handsprings for a NEURALIZER! Bononi staggers and Avalon tags in to drag QT from Dustin. QT boots Avalon away and hot tags to Dustin! Dustin dodges Avalon and rallies with clotheslines! Dustin whips and back drops Avalon!
Bononi gets in to kick low, then he whips Dustin. Dustin stops and uppercuts Bononi! Dustin CLOBBERS Bononi, and gets Avalon with a POWERSLAM! Dustin drags Avalon up but Bononi clubs him! QT gets in to ROCK Bononi with haymakers! Bononi knees low, throws QT out, but Dustin clotheslines Bononi out! Dustin dodges Avalon to hit a BULLDOG! Cover, Dustin & QT win!
Winners: The Natural Nightmares, by pinfall
The Natural is fired up because he and the Gift are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal! But will they win it and become contenders?
Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake!
The Kentucky Gentleman and Freshly Squeezed will be in for a fight with the Superbad and Best Man! But first, can Chuck get through a scrap with Scrap Metal?
Penta El Zero M VS Azriel!
The third point of the Death Triangle is back! And though he’ll surely want revenge on Kenny Omega and his Biz Cliz, he’s going into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match! Will Cero Miedo strike fear into everyone with his Dark return?
Mitchell’s New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/6/21)
New Japan Cup, day 2!
Will the Rainmaker redeem himself in the New Japan Cup?
Kazuchika Okada vows that it is time he returns to the top of NJPW! But this is only round ONE of the 2021 New Japan Cup! Can he make it to the end?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki; Suzuki wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA; Kenta wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi; Takagi wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire!
Tetsuya Naito lost in the first round of the NJCUP, Bushi couldn’t win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but Sanada is still in the running! Will LIJ be a powerful obstacle in the way of Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay?
But as soon as LIJ gets in the ring, the Empire attacks! Cobb throws Bushi out while Ospreay goes after Sanada, and Khan keeps Naito in the ring to revisit their recent NJCUP match. The bell rings, Khan drags Naito around but fans rally up. Khan clamps onto Naito with a chinlock but also adds his claw into it! Sanada sends Ospreay into railing while Naito and Khan brawl with forearms! Khan ROCKS Naito then Mongolian Chops him at the ropes. Naito reverses the whip to atomic drop, Bushi dropkicks the legs out and Naito basement dropkicks! Fans cheer and Naito grabs Khan’s ponytail! Naito drags Khan around by it, fans rally up and Khan grabs the ropes.
The ref counts, Naito lets off but tags Sanada in. Sanada climbs up and drops ax handles on the ponytail! That still tweaks Khan’s head and fans fire up again. Sanada drags Khan up while Ospreay protests, and Sanada headlocks to punch Khan down. Sanada throws haymakers, brings Khan up for clubbing elbows, then tags in Bushi. Bushi clubs Khan, drags him up by the ponytail, and bumps him off buckles. Bushi CHOPS Khan, puts Khan’s leg on ropes and dropkicks the leg out! Cover, TWO! ans rally, Bushi drags Khan around and tags in Naito. Naito clubs Khan, drags him up and cravats for a standing neck wrench. Khan endures, reaches for the Empire, but Naito keeps him away.
Khan throws body shots but Naito throws an elbow, into a standing katagatami! Khan kicks a leg out and drags Naito down! Cobb and Ospreay attack Sanada and Bushi! They brawl on the outside, Naito gets a ropebreak but Khan holds on! Khan cranks on the hold, the ref reprimands and counts, and Khan lets go at 3. Brawling continues outside but Khan drags Naito around to stomp away on the leg! Naito clutches his knee and fans rally up, but Khan drags him up first. Khan tags Cobb in, the Empire mugs Naito, and Cobb gives Naito a headbutt! Naito ends up in a corner, Cobb whips him out to whip him back in hard! The Empire likes that and Cobb scoops Naito to carry him around.
Cobb taunts LIJ by holding Naito out to them, but then throws in knees! Cobb puts Naito in the Empire corner, tags in Ospreay, and then sets Naito up for Ospreay’s DRAPING DOUBLE STOMPS! Ospreay BOOTS Sanada, Cobb RAMS Naito back into the corner, and Ospreay digs his boot in. The ref reprimands and counts, Ospreay lets off to throw haymakers and more stomps! Ospreay digs his knee in, the ref reprimands and counts, but Ospreay lets off again. Ospreay snapmares and wraps Naito up in a chinlock. Ospreay grinds Naito down, fans rally up, and Naito endures. Khan keeps ropes away from Naito but the ref reprimands.
Ospreay drags Naito away, cranks on the chinlock then shifts to a facelock. Khan tags in, and Mongolian Chops Naito on the back! Khan drags Naito up for more Mongolian Chops! Khan mockingly asks what’s wrong and he eggs Naito on. Fans rally, Naito throws haymakers and forearms! Khan knees low, whips, but Naito reverses to tornado, only for Khan to block the DDT! Naito fights out of Khan’s grip, elbows him, then spins him for a neckbreaker! Both men are down and fans fire up! Naito sits up but Khan follows. They both go to their corners, hot tags to Sanada and Ospreay! Sanada rallies, whips but Ospreay reverses, only for Sanada to reverse back and RANA!
Sanada dropkicks Cobb away, then blocks Ospreay’s boot to trip him! Sanada ties Ospreay up in Paradise! Fans fire up as Sanada encourages them to get loud. Sanada runs in and dropkicks Ospreay out of Paradise! Cover, ONE!! Fans rally for “SA-NA-DA!” as he drags Ospreay up. Sanada fireman’s carries, Ospreay elbows free and waistlocks, but Sanada resists the lift. Sanada elbows free, runs in but Ospreay puts him up top! Ospreay tucks him in, for CHEEKY NANDOS! Ospreay hurries and tags in Cobb! Cobb runs corner to corner to LEAPING back elbow! Cobb scoops Sanada, pops him up into the suplex, holds him up, but Sanada reverses to snap suplex!
Fans fire up again as Cobb goes to a corner. Sanada crawls and hot tags Bushi! Bushi runs corner to corner but Cobb dodges. Cobb runs in, Bushi slips out and swing kick shim away! Bushi goes up, missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Cobb runs back at Bushi but into a basement dropkick to the legs! Bushi basement DDT’s and covers, TWO! Fans rally and Bushi brings Cobb up. Cobb throws forearms, whips Bushi to a corner, then runs in, but Bushi dodges! Naito rocket kicks and leg sweeps, COMBINACION CABRON! LIJ whips Cobb, Sanada elbows and snapmares, for a TRIPLE BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!
Naito dropkicks Khan down but Ospreay drags Sanada out. Bushi has Cobb, but no Fisherman Screw! Ospreay hits PIP PIP CHEERIO on Bushi! Sanada dropkicks Ospreay, but Khan BOOTS Sanada! Naito dropkicks Khan’s legs out, then dodges Cobb, only for Cobb to LARIAT him! Cobb goes back to Bushi as fans rally up. Bushi kicks, Cobb blocks then ducks the enziguri but not the mule kick! Bushi runs in, but the Code Break is blocked and popped to a GERMAN SUPLEX! Cobb drags Bushi up, reels him in and hits a TOUR OF THE ISLAND! Cover, the Empire wins!
Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall
The Hawaiian Hulk is building up power and momentum towards his NJCUP battle with Evil! The Dominator is also already in, and the newly deemed “Global Kingpin” Ospreay has his battle tomorrow, March 7th! Will the entire United Empire advance towards the finals?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki!
These two have been warming up in tag matches and finally get to throw down 1v1! Will Everyone’s Kokeshi be able to knock the Meanest Man in the World out of the tournament? Or will Suzuki brutalize and leave him behind while going for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
The bell rings and fans rally up already. Suzuki and Honma stare down, but then Honma shoves and CHOPS! And CHOPS! Suzuki CHOPS, Honma CHOPS, it’s a CHOP fight! Fans rally as the CHOPS fly harder and faster! Neither man is backing down, but Honma does get the edge! Honma CHOPS and CHOPS then DOUBLE CHOPS! Suzuki eggs Honma on, Honma CHOPS and then scoops Suzuki to slam him! Honma fires up and runs, but Suzuki dodges the kokeshi! Honma gets mad and tries again, but again Suzuki dodges! Suzuki gives toying kicks to Honma and fans rally up. Suzuki throws knees and forearms and Honma goes to a corner.
Suzuki throws body shots, whips him corner to corner but Honma reverses. Honma runs in but Suzuki boots him. Suzuki slips to the apron, and catches Honma’s arm to a DRAPING ARMBAR! The ref counts, Suzuki lets go at 3 and then drags Honma out to join him. Suzuki whips Honma into railing! Suzuki slaps Honma then throws forearms and elbows! Suzuki puts Honma’s head through railings and pulls him back against the top bar! The ref reprimands and counts but Suzuki stops at 3. Fans rally but Suzuki puts Honma in a cravat! Suzuki grinds Honma down, the ref reprimands but Suzuki holds on until the ref counts. Suzuki stands Honma up and RAMS him into railing!
Suzuki digs his knuckles into Honma’s eyes! Commentary is really close to the action but Suzuki leaves Honma behind as the ring count climbs. The count is already 10 of 20 as the fans rally. It passes 15, Honma stands at 18 and gets in at 19.5! Suzuki drags Honma into a facelock, then shifts to a chinlock stretch! Suzuki digs a knee into Honma’s back as he pulls him back! Fans rally as Honma endures, and Honma fights, only for Suzuki to crank harder on the hold! Honma reaches with feet and gets the ropebreak! Suzuki lets go and eggs Honma on. Suzuki gives Honma more toying kicks but Honma rises as fans rally again.
Honma throws forearms but Suzuki laughs them off. Suzuki eggs Honma on then ROCKS him! Honma wobbles, Suzuki ROCKS him again! Honma wobbles and falls over! Suzuki runs to PENALTY KICK! Honma stays seated up!? Suzuki PENALTY KICKS again but Honma just gets stronger! Suzuki runs, Honma blocks the kick, elbows it, but swings into Suzuki’s grip! Honma spins through and gets Suzuki for a DDT! Fans rally up as both men slowly rise. Honma reels Suzuki in but Suzuki throws elbows, only for Honma to power through and hit the back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up and Honma CHOPS Suzuki to a corner!
Honma CHOPS more, and more, and then whips Suzuki corner to corner. Honma runs in to back elbow then hit a BULLDOG! Honma fires up to hit the KOKESHI! Fans fire up again as Honma dares Suzuki to get up. Suzuki rises, Honma runs, but Suzuki ducks the lariat to waistlock! Honma counters with a facelock, but Suzuki wrenches the arm! Suzuki ducks Honma’s haymaker, back hand, and fires off SLAPS! And kicks and clubbing elbows! Honma falls over again but Suzuki brings him back up. Suzuki reels Honma in as fans rally up, and that only angers Suzuki more. Suzuki Gotch holds but Honma resists the lift! Suzuki powers through but Honma flails his legs!
Honma powers up to back drop Suzuki over! Suzuki gets up and he looms over Honma. Suzuki gives more kicks but Honma eggs him on! Fans rally as Suzuki stomps but Honma growls. Suzuki fires off slapping palm strikes and big forearm shots but Honma just gets stronger! Honma ROCKS Suzuki with a right! Suzuki comes back to palm strike, but Honma POINT-BLANK KOKESHIS! Both men are down again and fans fire up! Honma rises, drags Suzuki up and throws more forearms! Honma has Suzuki in the corner but now Suzuki eggs Honma on. Suzuki leans into the forearms as Honma throws them, no guard at all! Honma headbutts!
But Suzuki roars, so Honma throws more forearms in the corner! The ref wants Honma to let off but Honma ROCKS Suzuki again! Honma clubs Suzuki at ropes, brings him up to the top rope backwards, then clubs him more. Honma climbs up behind Suzuki and fans rally up. Suzuki resists, throws elbows, then cravats Honma to grind him down! Fans still rally but Honma ends up tumbling to the apron! Suzuki adjusts, brings Honma up, but Honma RISING KOKESHIS! Suzuki falls, fans fire up and Honma climbs! Honma leaps for a FLYING KOKESHI! Cover, TWO! Suzuki survives but fans rally for Honma!
Honma drags Suzuki by a leg, and hooks him up with the step-over deathlock! Suzuki resists the crossface but Honma still tries. Honma gets an arm in it for a chicken wing STF! Suzuki endures, Honma shifts to a cover, TWO! Fans rally again as the two stand. Honma brings Suzuki around to scoop but Suzuki slips out to get the sleeper hold! Honma snapmares Suzuki away and throws a LARIAT! Suzuki stays up with pure anger, and he eggs Honma on! Honma runs and LARIATS, but again Suzuki stays up! Suzuki ROCKS Honma with a palm strike, Honma wobbles, but he powers up! Suzuki SMACKS him again, Honma staggers back, but he powers up to ROCK Suzuki in return!
Suzuki throws a forearm, Honma returns it, and again! Fans rally as these two pick up speed again! Suzuki laughs as things get faster, and he ROCKS Honma, to then ROCK him again! Honma wobbles around and staggers to a knee! Honma stands as fans rally, but Suzuki ROCKS him a third time! Honma wobbles and Suzuki seethes, but the two keep going! Forearm for forearm, Honma wobbles and stumbles about again but he comes back to palm strike. Suzuki ROCKS Honma, and again, and then palm strike! Suzuki gets Honma in the SLEEPER! Fans rally as Honma manages to stay standing! Honma turns red and Suzuki squeezes tighter!
The ref checks, the hand drops once! The hand drops twice, but Suzuki turns Honma around! Gotch hold, but Honma’s second wind helps him resist! Suzuki KNEES Honma, and reels him in, but Honma makes it a GANNOSUKE CLUTCH! Cover, TWO!! Honma runs into palm strikes and haymakers! GOTCH PILEDRIVER!! Cover, Suzuki wins!!
Winner: Minoru Suzuki, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
Honma gave it his all, but in the end, it wasn’t enough! Will Suzuki take the Cup and then the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA!
The Flamboyant One and Fang Revived are back in Japan in time for the Cup! But who moves on towards the next round and faces Suzuki?
The bell rings and Juice has fans rally up. Juice and Kenta circle, tie up, and Juice uses leverage to power Kenta to ropes. The ref calls for the break but Kenta turns things around and pulls Juice’s hair! Kenta brings Juice into a headlock, Juice powers out but again Kenta pulls hair. Kenta grinds the headlock but Juice powers up to power out, only for Kenta to again get the hair. Kenta grinds Juice down and talks trash, but Juice throws body shots. Juice powers out but Kenta rams him with a shoulder. Juice stays up, Kenta eggs him on but then pulls Juice’s hair. Juice powers up to back suplex high and hard! Fans fire up as Juice drops the back senton! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally as Juice keeps cool. Juice drags Kenta up, JABS, CHOPS, and whips him to a corner. Juice wrenches, whips corner to corner, and then runs in to clothesline Kenta down! Fans fire up with Juice as he runs corner to corner again, but Kenta bails out before the cannonball. Kenta walks around the way, the ref keeps Juice in, but Kenta grabs the ring bell! Finlay tries to tell the ref as Juice storms over, but Kenta CRACKS Juice with the ring bell! Kenta gets in to drop knees on Juice’s head and then dig knuckles into the eye! The ref counts, Kenta lets off at 3 and Juice gets to ropes. Kenta goes after Juice to choke him and claw his eyes!
The ref counts, Kenta stops at 3, and Juice checks his eye. Kenta drags Juice up to throw him out of the ring, and then he pursues. Kenta drags Juice up and whips Juice hard into railing! Juice slumps down and Kenta digs his face into railing! The ref reprimands, Kenta stops and Juice crawls away. Fans rally up but Kenta traps Juice’s head in between the gate and railing! Kenta squeezes tight but stops as the ring count starts. Kenta drags Juice up at 7 of 20 and puts him in at 10. Kenta stomps Juice, throws haymakers, but Juice gets up! Kenta throws more haymakers then rakes at Juice’s eye! Juice gets to a corner, the ref reprimands and warns Kenta.
Fans cheer the ref while Kenta drags Juice up. Kenta headlocks and punches Juice, then scrapes Juice’s face on ropes! The ref counts and Kenta lets off. The ref checks Juice’s eye while Kenta makes up his mocking clap rhythm. Kenta boots Juice down then clamps on a facelock. Kenta grinds Juice down but fans rally up. Juice fights up, fights out, but Kenta claws Juice’s eyes! Kenta runs but Juice hits a SPINEBUSTER! Fans fire up as both men are down! Kenta gets to a corner, Juice rises and runs in, but Kenta boots him away! Juice fires up, runs back in and clotheslines! Juice whips Kenta corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines again!
Juice keeps moving to LEAPING LARIAT Kenta down! Fans fire up and Juice watches Kenta rise. Juice pumps up and fans clap along. Juice JABS, JABS, JABS, then powers up, but Kenta claws his eyes! Juice claws Kenta’s eyes in return! The ref reprimands, Juice headbutts Kenta to a corner! Juice runs in but Kenta boots him! Kenta hops up, reels Juice in and hits a tornado hotshot! Kenta climbs up while Juice staggers, and he hits a FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Cover, TWO! Kenta clamps onto Juice’s arm but Juice flails and gets the ropebreak! It’s not Game Over yet! Fans rally, Kenta drags Juice up and reels him into a waistlock.
Juice elbows free, runs, but Kenta BOOTS him! Kenta runs but into Juice’s boot! Juice fires up and runs, but Kenta sends him out! Kenta runs to BOOT Juice off and at the railing! Kenta goes out to fetch Juice and drags him up. Kenta goes to bump Juice off the timekeeper’s table but Juice blocks to bump Kenta! Juice powers up but Kenta dumps him up and over onto the timekeeper’s table! Fans rally but Kenta drags the table aside to get Juice up. Kenta rains down rights, the ref has him back off and Kenta goes back to ringside while Juice slowly rises. Kenta climbs the corner?! Juice hurries to stop him with a body shot and a headbutt! Juice has a target and he grabs Kenta!
Kenta rakes Juice’s eyes and clubs him down! Juice staggers away, Kenta goes to the apron and leaps, into Juice’s arms! Juice moves Kenta around, fireman’s carries, and DEATH VALLEY DRIVERS Kenta to the floor!! Fans fire up as both men slowly stir. The ring count begins again and reaches 10 of 20 before Juice puts Kenta in. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in, and lifts, for a RUNNING POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO! Kenta survives and but Finlay coaches Juice up. Juice fires up and brings Kenta up. Juice chicken wings and turns Kenta, but Kenta rolls Juice up! TWO, and Juice runs at Kenta, only to be put on the apron!
Kenta drags Juice through the ropes for a DRAPING DDT! Fans rally and Kenta rises first. Kenta goes to one corner, Juice is in the other. Kenta runs in to JUMPING BOOT! Kenta keeps moving, HESITATION DROPKICK! Kenta climbs up the corner while Juice is down, but Juice avoids the double stomps! LEG LARIAT! Both men are down, fans rally up again! Juice and Kenta stir, and Juice stands first! Juice drags Kenta but Kenta gets the arm! Juice rolls out of the hold but Kenta BOOTS him! Juice fires up, Kenta blocks the clothesline but Juice ducks the back hand! Juice fireman’s carries Kenta to the JUICE BOX! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives and Juice is beside himself!
Fans rally up and Juice gets to his feet. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in and chicken wings, but Kenta slips through to fireman’s carry! Juice fights off to chicken wing and turn, but Kenta slips out again to fireman’s carry! GO TO- NO! Juice blocks and rolls Kenta up, TWO!! Juice powers up but Kenta blocks the left Hand to BACK HAND! Kenta fires off palm strikes over and over, but he swings into the chicken wing! Kenta elbows out, but the back hand is caught! Juice swings, Kenta ducks, but the RIGHT HAND O’ GOD hits! Juice drags Kenta up, chicken wings and turns, but Kenta slips out again! Kenta drags Juice down, hooks up the arm and gets the crossface! GAME OVER!!
Juice endures, moves around, but Kenta cranks way back! Juice taps, Kenta wins!!
Winner: Kenta, by submission (advances to the next round)
And it was indeed Game Over for the Flamboyant One! Will the Fang Revived sink his teeth into Suzuki next round?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi!
The Rainmaker said at Castle Attack that it’s about time he returns to the top of NJPW! But in his way is the Dragon! Will Takagi end Okada’s road back to redemption already? Or will Okada slay the dragon and head back for the gold?
The bell rings, and fans rally up already for “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Okada gets the clap-clap-clap-stomp going already while he stays back in the corner. Takagi is patient, and he waits as Okada steps forward. They circle, feel out the grapple, but Okada backs off to focus. They tie up right away, Okada powers Takagi to ropes, and Red Shoes calls for the break. Okada lets off and fakes the chop to pat Takagi. Takagi ROCKS and CLUBS and CLUBS Okada back! Fans cheer as Takagi toys with Okada. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada fires off forearms and elbows! Okada reels Takagi into a headlock, but Takagi throws body shots. Takagi powers out, rams Okada but both men stay up!
Fans cheer as Okada runs, and he rams Takagi! Takagi stays up and eggs Okada on. Okada runs, rams Takagi, then drop toeholds on the rebound to elbow drop Takagi’s back! Okada is after Takagi at the ropes, brings him up and throws forearms. Takagi goes to a corner, Okada heads over and throws back elbows. Okada throws more elbows, then brings Takagi around for a neckbreaker! Cover, ONE! Okada keeps his cool, clamps onto Takagi with a chinlock, and digs his knee into Takagi’s back. Takagi fights up, gets a ropebreak with a foot, and Okada lets go quickly. Okada keeps close, brings Takagi up and elbows him again.
Okada snapmares and runs to then basement dropkick Takagi out of the ring! Fans fire up, Takagi gets annoyed and the ring count begins. Takagi takes his time, and gets back up on the apron at 9 of 20. Okada keeps his distance but then Takagi dares Okada to come out after him. Takagi continues to take his time, and the count restarts. Okada gets impatient, Takagi gets on the apron but draws Okada in to drag him out! Takagi bumps him off apron, and again, then whips Okada, only for Okada to reverse and send Takagi into railing! Okada reels Takagi in, puts him on the apron, but Takagi fights off to RAM Okada into railing! And then RAM him into the apron!
Takagi fireman’s carries to SNAKE EYES Okada off the apron, and then kick to DDT! Fans fire up and Takagi flexes as he looms over Okada. The ring count starts again, Takagi drags Okada up and puts him in the ring. Takagi slingshots to STOMP Okada! Takagi digs his knee into Okada, then stands on him, but steps off as Red Shoes counts. Takagi kicks at Okada, drags him up and throws forearms into the back! Takagi whips and KNEES Okada against ropes, then runs to run Okada over! Fans fire up with Takagi and they clap “TA-KA-GI!” “O-KA-DA!” again. Takagi drags Okada up, suplexes, and drives Okada down hard! Cover, TWO!
Takagi clamps onto Okada with a chinlock and grinds him down. Okada endures, fans rally up, but Takagi shifts. Okada fights up, throws body shots to fight free, but Takagi DOUBLE CHOPS him down! Takagi mockingly asks what’s wrong and eggs Okada on. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada throws forearms back! Takagi ROCKS Okada with one! Takagi brings Okada up, Gory Especial, but Okada fights it! Okada gets the arm for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi powers Okada to a corner and is free, then runs but into a BOOT! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Fans rally as Takagi and Okada stir. Okada stands first and fires off forearms.
Okada whips, Takagi reverses but Okada ducks and ELBOWS Takagi down! Okada fires up and the fans fire up, too! Okada whips Takagi to a corner, runs in and elbows him, then kicks to DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his focus while fans continue to rally. Takagi gets to ropes, then a corner, and Okada storms over. Okada hoists Takagi up top, but Takagi boots him away! Takagi runs but into an uppercut! Okada runs but into the elbow! JAB! LARIAT! Takagi fires up and the fans fire up, too! Takagi drags Okada up again, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Takagi is copying Okada’s style and LARIATS him down again!
Takagi scoops and slams Okada and goes to a corner, also formula Okada! For the FALLING ELBOW! Takagi keeps moving and mocks the Rainmaker pose, to then double gun flex! Takagi drags Okada up, wristlock ripcords but Okada stops the steal with a BOOT! Okada fires forearms, throws EuroUppers, but Takagi blindside LARIATS! Takagi runs, but into a FLAPJACK! Both men are down again and fans are thunderous now as the two stir! Okada sits up, Takagi follows and the two go forehead to forehead. Okada forearms, then again, but Takagi fires up to forearm back! Okada eggs Takagi on so Takagi hits again! They go back and forth, faster and faster and fans rally up!
Takagi gets the edge, ROCKS Okada, and brings him back around to whip. Okada reverses but Takagi holds ropes to avoid the dropkick! Okada avoids the sliding lariat, but Takagi gets Okada in a fireman’s carry! Okada slips off, Takagi elbows him away, blocks the boot and clotheslines! Takagi runs, Okada catches him for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi fights out, Okada goes to backslide, but Takagi counters to NOSHIGAMI! But Takagi can’t make the cover! Fans rally up, Takagi crawls over, and fires himself back up. Okada slowly rises, Takagi runs but into the dropkick! Okada gut wrenches to a TOMBSTONE! Okada gets the arm for MONEY CLIP!
Takagi endures and fans rally up again. Okada cranks on the hold but Takagi reaches with his legs, and gets the ropebreak! Okada lets go quickly and both men are down again. Fans rally up, Okada stands first, and he hobbles over to Takagi. Okada drags him up, scoops and slams him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs slowly and Takagi hits him first! Takagi climbs up, clubs away on Okada’s back, then talks some smack as he drags Okada up. Okada resists but Takagi gets him up for the SUPERPLEX! The fans are thunderous again as both men writhe from that impact! Takagi rolls over towards Okada, sits Okada up, and hits a SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!
Fans cheer but Takagi grits his teeth. Takagi gets the fans rallying with “OI! OI! OI!” Takagi gets up, runs again, but Okada ducks the lariat to backslide! Takagi rolls through, Okada reels him in but Takagi avoids Rainmaker to pump handle! MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO?!? Okada survives and Takagi can’t believe it! Fans are thunderous as Takagi catches his breath. Takagi drags Okada back up, reels Okada in and pump handles again. Okada clubs free of that but Takagi POINT-BLANK LARIATS! Fans rally, Takagi kicks at Okada then drags him back up. Takagi gives Okada forearms from all sides, then ROCKS him!
Okada leans against ropes, Takagi whips but Okada reverses and dropkicks! Okada grabs at Takagi’s arm and gets the MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures, fights up, but Okada gut wrenches for the SPINNING TOMBSTONE! Back to MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures as Okada squeezes tight! Takagi fights up again, reaches out for ropes, but Okada drags him back to a back2backbreaker! And back to the MONEY CLIP! Takagi is turning red and is fading as Okada squeezes as tight as he can! Red Shoes checks on Takagi, the hand drops once. But Takagi gets a second wind now and he powers towards ropes, starts to fade again, but still gets a ropebreak! Okada lets go and fans are thunderous again!
Okada catches his own breath while he stands up. Okada grabs at Takagi but he resists. Takagi throws body shots but Okada stomps Takagi down. Takagi grits his teeth and rises, but Okada SHOTGUNS him! Takagi’s right up to LARIAT! Okada stays up!? Okada gets Takagi’s wrist, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Okada is going to show Takagi how it’s done as he brings Takagi up, but swings into a full nelson! Okada breaks free, catches Takagi for a spin but Takagi swats the discus! Takagi ripcords, PUMPING RAINMAKER!! Cover, TWO!!! Okada survives and the fans are electric! Takagi gets to a corner, fires himself up by smacking the padding, and then aims at Okada.
Okada rises as Takagi runs in, to PUMPING BOMBER! But Takagi isn’t done, he pump handle fireman’s carries, but Okada slips off! Okada ducks the back hand to back drop, and sit on Takagi! Cover, TWO!! Takagi stays close to Okada and brings him up, but Okada gut wrenches again! Takagi fights free, and hits a BACK SUPLEX BACKBREAKER! That was rough, even for Takagi! Fans rally up again, Takagi drags Okada up and runs, for MAX PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Takagi can’t believe it but this is the Rainmaker fans have come to know! Takagi fires up and drags Okada back up to the pump handle fireman’s carry.
Okada fights free again, ripcords, but into the pump handle! LAST OF THE DRAGONS!!! Cover, Takagi wins!!!!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
This is almost unbelievable! Okada called his shot at Castle Attack, but falls in the first round!! The Dragon slays Okada, and the Rainmaker’s return to the top stops already! What does this mean for the rest of Okada’s 2021? Takagi gets the mic to speak! “Ota Cityyy~!” It feels really good to have won. But seriously, that was a tough match! Takagi hopes everyone enjoyed the match, and Takagi tells Okada that he’s one tough opponent. But the winner here is Takagi.
Takagi can tell NJPW is entering a new era, and Kota Ibushi is the champion after the 49th Anniversary. Takagi thinks the world title is going to be pretty awesome. But in the NJCUP, Takagi vows to make this his time! Ibushi better be ready to defend that new belt against Takagi! Will the “Pumping Maker” be heading for the top now that he’s beaten one of the best in the world?
A great event, especially the NJCUP matches. The Empire keeps winning in solid Six Man Tags, and with Cobb finishing it off. Cobb is going to build momentum all week until he faces Evil on 3/11, that’s a given. Ospreay has momentum for his match, too, but it’d be a great twist if he lost to Tenzan after getting a big head. Honma VS Suzuki was really good, perhaps a touch better than Kenta VS Juice, but maybe it was just all the brawling and wobble selling. I figured Suzuki would win, and it makes sense for Kenta to win against Juice. Just something about pacing felt better in Honma VS Suzuki.
Okada VS Takagi is probably match of the week, and is so far leading the way as best match of the opening round. It’s going to be really hard to beat that, especially because Takagi won! I really thought there was going to be a moment for Okada to turn things around, but that’s huge for Takagi to win. Takagi also has a lot of guts for copying the Rainmaker formula, but I wonder if this is some kind of Okada seal of approval that Takagi won here. Takagi VS Goto is going to be another great match given their NEVER Openweight Championship matches in the past, but I would think Takagi keeps winning until the semifinals now. The Suzuki VS Kenta winner faces Takagi on 3/16, Takagi can totally beat Kenta but Suzuki is a harder choice. But if there’s a chance we could get Takagi VS EVIL, I hope NJPW gives us that.
My Score: 9.3/10
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