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Mitchell’s NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day Results & Report! (2/14/21)

Everyone loves a good TakeOver!



TakeOver: Vengeance Day Coverage

Whose hearts will be broken on this historic TakeOver?

NXT is taking over Valentine’s and replacing the roses and chocolates with gold and grudges! Will Finn Balor still reign after battling the Bruiserweight?


  • Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon VS Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez; Kai & Gonzalez win and will challenge for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
  • NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano VS KUSHIDA; Gargano wins and retains the title.
  • Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Grizzled Young Veterans VS MSK; MSK wins and will challenge for the NXT Tag Team Championships.
  • NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat: Io Shirai VS Mercedes Martinez VS Toni Storm; Shirai wins and retains the title.
  • NXT Championship: Finn Balor VS Pete Dunne; Balor wins and retains the title.


It’s the TakeOver Preshow!

Join Sam Roberts, Wade Barrett and the host of Barstool Sports’ podcast, Rasslin’, Brandon Walker, analyze discuss and predict all the great action on this lovely holiday!


Backstage interview with MSK.

Wes Lee and Nash Carter are here and excited to be in the Dusty Rhodes Classic finals! They haven’t slept since Wednesday, Carter has been pacing in his house all pumped up. Lee is the same, because they’ve been in the WWE for a very, very short time and already they are Dusty Cup finalists. “It doesn’t get any better than that.” And apologies to Grizzled Young Veterans- That’s how you say it? Because every time they walk out they’re like, GRRRIZZLED Young Veterans. Well they’re going to be the GRRRIZZLED Young LOSERS tonight, second year in a row. MSK takes the cup! It’s their time! MSK all night and all day!


Wait, who is this crashing the panel?

“It was about that time that we went ahead and injected a little bit of star power! Let me talk to ya!” Wait, it’s ELI DRAKE! And he’s telling Sam to step back, no one is here to hear his “prepubescent voice.” At least with Wade, there’s some bass in his voice. But this isn’t about sucking up to Wade, because if he looks at Eli the wrong way, he’ll still drag Wade out of retirement just to send him back into it! “Because I’ve got the scoop!” Standing right here, in front of this awkward idiot from Barstool Sports, this is gonna go viral! NXT just got LA! Eli Drake is now LA Knight!

What that means is NXT being THE premier roster, the greatest talent, all right here. So that means it is a stacked deck. While everyone’s playing cards, he’s rolling dice and he changed the game! So then everyone back there, from North American Championship to THE NXT Championship, watch out! Knight’s coming for you! Just like these bewildered, cross-eyed halfwits behind him will be saying, everyone’s gonna go, “Whose game is it?” It’s LA Knight’s game!! Is Knight about to put every other player in check?


NXT, will you be my Valentine?

Wrestle & Flow, himself, Josiah Williams, breaks it down from top to bottom! Women’s Dusty Cup makes history for the Women’s (R)Evolution, the Evil Genius tries to ride the Mercedes and weather the Storm, and while some #MustSeeKids take on some Grizzled Young Veterans, the Prince protects his throne from a Bruiserweight!


Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon VS Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez!

History is being made once again! The first-ever Women’s Tag Team tournament in NXT has finally reached the goal, and only one duo can challenge the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions! But will the wild child and Shenom Take Care o’ Business? Or will #CapKota and #BigMamiCool crush those dreams while chasing their own?

The teams sort out and Shotzi starts against Raquel as fans fire up already. Shotzi runs but gets run over, and Raquel drags her up to scoop. Shotzi slips around to a sleeper and body scissors! Raquel throws Shotzi off hard, Ember tags in, and Ember gets around to waistlock. Raquel tries to throw Ember off but Ember holds on, so Raquel elbows free! Ember comes back and tilt-o-whirls into an IRON OCTOPUS! Raquel stays up, powers up and hits a SIDEWALK SLAM! Shotzi tags back in and Raquel dares them both to bring it! Raquel runs in but into double kicks! Ember and Shotzi club, wrench, but Raquel kicks Shotzi away and whips Ember to a corner.

Ember leaps but the Code Breaker is blocked! Raquel throws Ember out, but Shotzi comes around to springboard and sunset flip! Raquel drops down to cover, TWO! Raquel brings Shotzi up and around and thrashes her into a corner! Raquel RAMS Shotzi, scoops her, and then spins around before she RAMS Shotzi into another corner! Dakota tags in, Raquel still holds Shotzi up and Dakota BOOTS her into the SPINEBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Dakota drags Shotzi up and whips her to a corner. Dakota runs around the world but Shotzi dodges! The boot gets stuck, Shotzi kicks the leg! Dakota shoves Shotzi away but Shotzi gets the legs for a Cloverleaf SPINEBUSTER!

Shotzi steps over and sits deep, but Dakota reaches for ropes! Dakota gets the ropebreak, Shotzi lets go to tag Ember. Shotzi puts Dakota on the ropes, and welcomes her to the BALL PIT! Ember KNEES Dakota back in then slingshot SPLASHES! Cover, TWO! Ember drags Dakota back up, wrenches, tags in Shotzi, and they split the wishbone on Dakota! Shotzi gets the leg, drags Dakota over, throws forearms, then puts a leg on ropes. Dakota fights both Shotzi and Ember off, but Shotzi blocks the Penalty Kick to roll back! HALF CRAB! Shotzi sits on the leg deep, Dakota endures and fights her way up, to enziguri but miss! Tag to Ember, she and Shotzi each take a leg for a rolling TOSS!

Ember has a HEEL HOOK! Dakota endures, punches at Ember’s leg, but Ember cranks harder on the hold! Dakota drags herself and Ember, but Ember drags Dakota back the other way! Dakota endures, throws hands, but Ember hits back. Ember cranks on the heel more, but Dakota keeps kicking and crawling. Dakota reaches, but Ember drags her away from Raquel again! Fans rally while Raquel is chomping at the bit. Dakota uses her free leg to kick and stomp Ember! Dakota drags herself back over but Ember kicks and stomps her back! Ember drags Dakota over, but Raquel distracts the ref from seeing the tag to Shotzi!

Shotzi has to go back out, Ember argues with the ref but Dakota is crawling to her corner! Ember runs over to DECK Raquel and drag Dakota away! Ember gives the leg a DDT! Ember turns the leg for a scorpion crab! Dakota crawls for an open corner, rolls and throws Ember into buckles! Hot tag to Raquel! Raquel rallies on Ember, Ember dodges one clothesline but Raquel pulls hair to give another LARIAT! Raquel shoves Ember to a corner and dribbles her off buckles! The ref reprimands, Raquel TOSSES Ember across the way! Raquel sucker punches Shotzi, then scoops Ember for a FALL AWAY SLAM! Raquel drags Ember up to FALL AWAY SLAM again!

Raquel drags Shotzi in, scoops her, and gives her a FALL AWAY SLAM! Cover on Ember, ONE!! Raquel is seething but Dakota is back. Raquel tags her in, then helps Dakota balance up top, to leap and LARIAT Ember! Cover but Shotzi sentons it apart! Shotzi throws hands on Raquel, Raquel throws her to the apron, but Shotzi drags Raquel out! Shotzi keeps throwing hands, then leaps, only for the rana to be blocked! Raquel BOMBS Shotzi into the boards! Raquel tells Dakota they can finish this now that it’s just Ember. Dakota tags Raquel but Ember runs in and dropkicks Raquel down! Ember boots Dakota away then hits a SPINNING POWERSLAM!

Raquel returns, Ember fires off on her but Raquel clinches Ember for Dakota’s DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!! Ember survives but Raquel drags her up, only for Ember to jawbreaker! Raquel ROCKS Ember with a right and tags in Dakota. Raquel whips Ember to a corner, Dakota runs in side to side to BOOT WASH! Dakota drags Ember to a cover, TWO! Dakota grows annoyed, but she drags Ember back up and over. Tag to Raquel, but Ember moves and Raquel CLOBBERS Dakota by accident! Ember dodges Raquel, then sends Dakota into her! Ember runs to LEG LARIAT Raquel and make her DDT Dakota!

Ember goes up top, leaps, ECLIPSE!! Cover, but Dakota distracts the ref! Dakota saves Raquel but Ember gets the ref’s attention. The count finally starts, TWO!! Raquel survives thanks to Dakota! Ember is furious and she drags Dakota in by her hair! Raquel gets Ember but Shotzi missile dropkicks outta nowhere! Cover, TWO!! Ember SUPERKICKS Raquel down! Cover, TWO!! Raquel is still in this but fans are fired up! “This is Awesome!” as Dakota and Shotzi tag in! Shotzi shotguns Dakota down, then arm-drags her around! Shotzi runs in to corner splash! Shotzi rolls Dakota to SLING-DOG! Fireman’s carry, SWINGING FACEBUSTER! Cover, TWO!!

Dakota survives, Shotzi fires up, but Dakota throws Shotzi into ropes! Tag to Raquel, Shotzi enziguris her first! Raquel wobbles, Shotzi cravats and goes up the corner, but no Sliced Bread! Raquel shoves Shotzi to the ropes, Shotzi elbows her back, and then cravats again, for a SUPER SLICED BREAD!! Cover, but Dakota breaks it! Ember storms right in to throw Dakota out hard! Ember opens the way, Shotzi DIVES! Direct hit takes Dakota down! Fans fire up for “NXT! NXT!” as Shotzi hurries back in. Raquel staggers up, Shotzi tags Ember. Ember climbs, Shotzi sets Raquel up, NECKBRAEKER to CODE BREAKER! Springboard SUNSET BOMB! Ember covers, TWO!

Ember hurries right up but Dakota is there! Ember kicks Dakota away, Shotzi grabs Dakota! SUPER DOOMSDAY!! Shotzi and Ember rise and high-five, but Raquel comes around to CLOBBER Shotzi! Ember avoids Raquel’s clothesline, and DROPKICKS her into the steel steps! Ember gets in the ring, Raquel grabs a foot but Ember kicks her away. Raquel still pursues, Ember kicks the legs out, then gets those legs for a figure four, EMBER’S LAW!! Raquel endures the crossface, but Dakota BOOTS Ember down! Dakota hurries away, tags in, but so does Shotzi! Shotzi fires off on Dakota but Dakota shoves and SCORPION KICKS!

Dakota hops on for KAI-ROPRACTOR! Cover, TWO!?! Shotzi survives but Dakota tags to Raquel! Raquel scoops Shotzi, Dakota runs, ASSISTED GO TO KICK! Cover, Ember breaks it! Raquel shoves Ember, and then POUNCES her out of the ring onto the ramp!! Ember crashes and burns, Raquel storms out and POUNCES her to the boards!! Raquel makes sure Ember is out but Shotzi triangle SPLASHES Raquel down! Cover, TWO!! Shotzi dropkicks Raquel, but Dakota runs over! Shotzi throws Dakota out to Raquel and they crash onto the ramp! Fans are thunderous as Shotzi goes up top, only for Raquel to shove her right down!

Raquel picks Dakota up to TOSS her onto Shotzi for a splash! Then Raquel drags Shotzi up to finish her, with the DESPERADO BOMB!! Double cover, Raquel & Dakota win!!

Winners: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez, by pinfall (inaugural Women’s Dusty Cup Winners)

And history has found its makers! William Regal congratulates them on stage, and the confetti flies! But this is just the beginning! When will these two have their shot against the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions? And who will they be facing when that time comes?


NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano VS KUSHIDA!

The Way has been doing things their way and getting away with it. But the Time Splitter wants to end that! Will Kushida start to get his way with the title?

The Way hypes Johnny TakeOver up backstage, and they head out together. But with Johnny and Candice leading the way, they don’t see Dexter Lumis KIDNAPPING AUSTIN THEORY!! Indi didn’t even notice and now they’re down the #RealSuperstar! And Gargano can’t get his No Look High Five! Candice and Indi realize Theory is gone, so they go look for him. Gargano has to focus, but can he?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and one way or another, Gargano and Kushida finally have this match out!

Gargano and Kushida tie up, Gargano headlocks, Kushida powers out but Gargano runs him over! Things speed up, Gargano rolls but Kushida leaps on with body scissors! HOVERBOARD! Gargano gets to ropes right away and Kushida lets go. Kushida says it was that close, but Gargano just shakes his arm out. Gargano and Kushida go again, Kushida wants a leg but Gargano guards. They clinch, Gargano goes low to get the leg, trips Kushida, but Kushida uses legs to hold him off. Kushida shifts around, Gargano has the leg to toehold, but Kushida moves around to get Gargano’s arm again. Kushida gets a chinlock, digs his elbows in, then shifts around again to get the arm.

Fans rally as the two go back and forth, Kushida facelocks but Gargano blocks with holding Kushida’s leg. Kushida ties up Gargano’s legs for a figure four stretch, then wants an arm. Gargano blocks that but Kushida rolls to go right after it! Kushida digs forearms into Gargano’s face, pries at the arm, but Gargano shifts and gets a double wristlock of his own. Kushida fights up, Gargano facelocks, wrenches, wristlocks, and leans on Kushida. Kushida wrenches and sips around to drop toehold. Kushida shifts right to a facelock and fans rally again. Kushida wants the arms, Gargano blocks, so Kushida KNEES him in the shoulder!

Kushida holds on as Gargano rolls, then he floats all over to get the chinlock. Gargano endures as Kushida pulls back, then they fight up to their feet. Gargano powers out of the hold but Kushida runs him over! Things speed up, Gargano hurdles but Kushida leaps. Gargano ranas but Kushida handsprings through! Kushida runs into the school boy but ducks the kick! Gargano avoids a kick, too, then kicks low to whip. Kushida reverse, hip toss but Gargano rolls through to drag Kushida down to a press, then hooks the legs but Kushida escapes the ghost pin to STEAL the GargaNO Escape! Gargano scrambles to ropes, Kushida lets go, and fans are fired up for this technical exchange!

Kushida wrenches but Gargano ROCKS him and EuroUppers! Kushida fires off forearms in return but Gargano throws Kushida out. Gargano runs, slides but Kushida avoids the dropkick! Kushida is on the apron, Gargano avoids his leaping attack, then Gargano goes to the apron to SUPERKICK! Gargano drags Kushida up and RAMS him into steel steps! “This is MY world!” The ref checks on Kushida but he’s okay to continue, and fans jeer Gargano with “Johnny Sucks!” Gargano drags Kushida up, but Kushida suplexes to FALCON ARROW, to an ARMBAR! The ring count begins, it passes 5 of 10 and Kushida lets go at 7!

Kushida refreshes the count, throws off his shirt, and drags Gargano back up. Kushida hammerlocks Gargano’s arm, drags him around in a facelock, and hits a suplex ONTO the hammerlock’d arm! Gargano writhes from the chicken wing suplex, and the ring count is back up at 7! Kushida puts Gargano back in, then aims from a corner. Kushida runs around the world to dropkick the arm! Kushida stands on Gargano’s head and SLAMS the arm down! Gargano tries to leg guard but Kushida fights through it to go after the bad arm. Kushida throws down elbows, then pulls on Gargano’s arm. Gargano endures, Kushida SLAMS the arm again!

Kushida sits Gargano up, wrenches the arm, then isolates it, but Gargano powers out of the bulldog. Gargano runs into an elbow, then a boot! Kushida ends up on the apron but Gargano catches him in the ropes for a HOTSHOT NECKBREAKER! Kushida flops down to the floor while Gargano works on his bad arm. Gargano goes out to fetch Kushida but Kushida hits back. Gargano boots Kushida down, drags him up and puts him on the apron. Gargano SLAMS Kushida on the apron edge, then clubs him with elbows! The ring count is climbing, but Gargano gets in at 7. Gargano drags Kushida up, snap suplexes then covers, ONE!

Gargano drags Kushida up, turns him, but Kushida takes advantage of the bad arm to hook them! Gargano fights the backslide to spin Kushida for a GOURD BUSTER! Gargano PENALTY KICKS Kushida’s arm! Gargano mocks Kushida checking his watch, then stalks Kushida to a corner. Kushida clutches his arm but Gargano pulls Kushida against ropes with a chinlock! The ref reprimands and counts, Gargano lets off and brings Kushida up. Gargano wrenches, hooks up the arm and twists the neck. Gargano’s bad arm makes it difficult to hold the neck wrench, and Kushida fights free. Kushida hooks Gargano up for the IRON OCTOPUS!

Kushida gets the bad arm isolated and pulls! Gargano powers out, sits on the sunset flip, TWO and Kushida completes the flip! TWO, Gargano high stacks, ONE as Kushida pops him to a sunset! ONE as Gargano pushes to a lateral press, ONE as Kushida drags Gargano to a ghost pin! TWO, Gargano steps over an arm, but Kushida trips him up to do the same, La Magistrol! TWO, and DOUBLE LARIATS take both men down! Fans are thunderous for “NXT! NXT!” as Gargano and Kushida stir. Gargano gets his bad arm moving, Kushida grits his teeth. They both rise up, Gargano throws forearms but Kushida returns them!

Kushida kicks, Gargano blocks, Kushida fires off more then atomic drops to hip toss, cartwheel and dropkick! FAST BALL!! Kushida has the arms for INVERTED DANIELSON STOMPS! Kushida drags Gargano back up, underhooks the arms, but Gargano blocks! Gargano slips out to ROCK Kushida! Kushida ROCKS Gargano! Gargano ROCKS Kushida, then intercepts the Fast Ball with an enziguri! Kushida enziguris but Gargano ducks! Kushida ducks the buzzsaw and trips Gargano up, ANKLE LOCK! Gargano endures, fights up, gets the ropes, but Kushida reels him into a GERMAN SUPLEX! BUZZSAW! Cover, TWO!! Gargano survives because of his superhuman heart and Kushida can’t believe it!

The fans rally up, Kushida wrenches but Gargano CLUBS Kushida! Gargano runs but Kushida throws him out, to then handspring kick, but Gargano gets clear! Gargano slingshots, but Kushida catches the spear! Kushida hooks up the arms, rolls, chicken wing suplex with a BRIDGE! Cover, TWO!?! Gargano escapes and fans chant, “That Was Three!” Fans duel, Kushida stalks Gargano to the apron, but Gargano resists being brought back up. Kushida gets him up but Gargano ENZIGURIS back! Gargano slingshots, into the FAST BALL! Kushida drags Gargano up to wrench the arm through ropes, to POST the arm!!

Fans are thunderous as Kushida climbs up and drags Gargano up the corner. Gargano resists but Kushida has the KIMURA! Kushida drags Gargano up but Gargano shoves him away. Gargano adjusts but Kushida HANDSPRING KICKS! Kushida sits Gargano up, positions him just right, then climbs up to get the arm! Gargano endures the Kimura, Kushida shifts, but Gargano borrows and modifies MS. LERAE’S WILD RIDE! Gargano drags Kushida up, TORNADO DDT! Cover, TWO?!?! Kushida survives and fans are thunderous again! Gargano seethes, staggers up and drags Kushida into a scoop. Kushida fights out, waistlocks, but Gargano has the arm!

Gargano wrenches, Kushida spins and arm-drags, but Gargano dodges to tilt-o-whirl! Kushida slips free, he tilt-o-whirls and hits a takedown! But Gargano slips out, gets Kushida, but Kushida slips out! They keep switching back and forth, Kushida gets a FUJIWARA! Gargano shifts but Kushida makes it an ARMBAR! Gargano makes that a cover, TWO!! DOUBLE LARIATS! They both fall to knees, and DOUBLE LARIAT again!! The fans are into electric territory as both men are down! A standing count begins, Gargano and Kushida slowly rise, and Kushida throws a forearm! Gargano throws a forearm back, so Kushida throws another.

They go back and forth, fans duel as they go, and Gargano brings Kushida up. Gargano throws a forearm but Kushida KICKS away on the arm! Kushida whips, Gargano reverses, but Kushida handsprings, into Gargano’s TAKEDOWN! GargaNo Escape!! Kushida endures, moves around, and fans rally as he reaches. Kushida gets his one arm free to go after Gargano’s bad arm! They roll around, Kushida has the KIMURA! Gargano endures, flails, Kushida adds leverage but Gargano gets up. Kushida rolls Gargano away, but Gargano makes it a EuroClutch! Kushida makes it a EuroClutch of his own, TWO!!! SUPERKICK! FAST BALL! Tilt-o-whirl, but Gargano blocks the takedown to LAWN DART Kushida into buckles!

Both men are down again and fans hope they “Fight Forever!” at this rate. But someone has to win, and Gargano starts to rise. Gargano drags Kushida up, but swings into Kushida’s clinch. Gargano fights off the buckle shot but Kushida elbows him, then CORNER HALF HATCHES! Kushida fires up, climbs up, and fans are thunderous again! Kushida reaches for Gargano, drags him up the corner, onto the top rope, and brings him around for a SUPER ARMBAR TAKEDOWN!!! Gargano flails, kicks, manages to clasp hands but Kushida punches away! Kushida pulls, breaks the grip, and Gargano is stuck!! Gargano flails, reaches, flaps his hand, but manages to turn over!

Kushida turns him again, but they’re closer to ropes! Gargano can’t reach, Kushida pulls harder, but Gargano gets the ropebreak by a foot! The ref counts, Kushida won’t let go but Gargano drags him out of the ring! Gargano grabs for fencing but Kushida holds on. Gargano RAMS Kushida into the apron, but Kushida still holds on! Gargano RAMS Kushida into the barriers and is free! Gargano scrambles back to the elevated ramp, and decides to retreat, but Kushida runs from the stage to PENALTY KICK the arm!! Maybe NOW it’s broken! Gargano staggers up, Kushida hops on, HOVERBOARD!!! Gargano stays on his feet to put Kushida in the rope and HOTSHOT him!

Kushida flops to the ramp, fans say “Johnny Wrestling” is back as he slingshots to ONE FINAL BEAT to the RAMP!!! Gargano puts Kushida back in, then crawls after with one good arm. The ref checks on Kushida, he is still okay, and he slowly rises. Gargano aims, slingshots, ONE FINAL BEAT AGAIN!! Cover, Gargano wins!!

Winner: Johnny Gargano, by pinfall (still NXT North American Championship)

This dream match is an instant classic! And Gargano won it all on his own! Is he finally going to leave the Time Splitter in the past? What challenges are in store in the future? Oh, and what about Austin?!


Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Grizzled Young Veterans VS MSK!

Liverpool’s Number One and Mr. Mayhem are back in the finals, where they ended last year, but without the win. And now, they’re against a young team who made it here their first year in NXT! Will these #MustSeeKids, Nash Carter & Wes Lee SSSSOON~ leave GYV reliving history? Or will the hot streak end here as Zack Gibson & James Drake finally put their names on the trophy’s plaque?

Gibson has the mic to tell MSK they’ve had “quite the emotional journey to get here today.” But take this “friendly advice” from the veterans: “Wipe that stupid smile off your face and take this seriously!” This is not here for fun, and they are not going to enjoy a single second of this fight! They can take their sob stories, their flips, spins and “daft green pajamas,” and stick them all up your asses! That trophy belongs only to the Grizzled Young Veterans! The teams sort out and Gibson starts with Carter.

Gibson and Carter hear the fans rallying up, then they tie up. Gibson powers Carter to a corner, Carter goes up the buckles and pushes back. Carter headlocks and hits a takeover. Gibson hooks a leg with a leg to pry Carter off. Gibson goes after the arm and grinds it down. Carter fights up, rolls, hooks a leg and gets the chinbar, but Gibson drags Carter off. Gibson pulls on fingers, twists the wrist, and tells Carter, “This is what you signed up for!” Carter fights up, Gibson wrenches but Carter rolls, handsprings and flips to arm-drag Gibson away. Gibson rams Carter into the GYV corner and Drake tags in.

GYV mugs Carter, Drake ROCKS Carter with a right, and Drake headlocks to hit a takeover. Drake grinds Carter down, Carter fights up but fans rally. Carter powers out, drops then hurdles and runs around. Carter dodges, to springboard tornillo attack! Carter wrenches Drake and whips him to the MSK corner! Carter runs in to uppercut Drake, tag in Lee, and Lee enziguris Drake down! Lee swings in to boot Drake, then Carter runs in to BRONCO BUSTER! Carter adds some bounces, Lee drags Drake up, but Drake denies the lift! Drake wrenches out, headlocks, but Lee powers out. Gibson tags in, they play leap frog, Lee BOOTS Drake and RANAS Gibson!

Tag to Carter, Lee blows past Gibson and Carter KICKS! Lee KICKS, Carter KICKS, Lee enziguris and Carter DOUBLE STOMPS! GYV regroups on the outside but Lee builds speed to handspring, SASUKE SPECIAL! Direct hit and Lee gets back in, to be Carter’s launch pad! Carter FLIES and takes out Drake! But Gibson CLOBBERS Carter! Gibson drags Carter up, puts him in, and stays in his way to throw forearms and elbows. Gibson turns Carter to the neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Carter barely escapes but Gibson shifts to a modified half nelson. Carter gets the ropebreak with a foot but Gibson smothers him!

Gibson ROCKS Carter to the corner, tags Drake, and Drake rolls to run in for a big back elbow! Gibson adds a clothesline and feeds Carter to Drake’s windmill kick! Cover, TWO! Another cover, TWO! A third cover, ONE!! Drake is growing frustrated with Carter and he digs a knee into Carter’s back. Drake pulls Carter back with a chinlock, Carter fights up, and Carter arm-drags free! Drake CLOBBERS Carter with an elbow, covers, TWO! Fans duel as Drake stays between Carter and Lee. Tag to Gibson, GYV double whip Carter to ropes, and double clothesline Carter down! Cover, TWO! Gibson has the arm, gets another cover, TWO! Gibson shifts around, another cover, ONE!

Lee coaches Carter up but Gibson has a facelock. Carter fights up, throws body shots, but Gibson EuroUppers! Tag to Drake, GYV double whip but Carter holds ropes. Carter BOOTS Drake, goes up and over Gibson but Drake CLOBBERS Carter! Cover, TWO! Carter survives and Drake is losing his cool. Drake drags Carter and puts him in the GYV corner. Carter throws elbows and forearms to fight out but Drake kicks low! Drake reels Carter in but Carter hits the suplex first! Both men are down and fans fire up! Drake and Carter crawl but Gibson goes after Lee! Lee ROCKS Gibson but the ref separates the two.

Gibson gets in, drags Carter up, Drake climbs, GYV hit a missile dropkick complete shot combo! Cover, TWO!! Carter survives but Drake drags Carter around to throw elbows into his shoulder over and over and over! Drake looms over Carter, drags him up, snapmares and KNEES him in the back then wraps on a new chinlock. Carter endures but is starting to fade. Fans rally and duel as Lee coaches Carter up. Carter gets to his feet, throws body shots but Drake knees low! Drake wrenches, whips, and tags Gibson. Gibson runs in to clothesline, then he feeds Carter to- No! Carter slides under Drake’s windmill, hot tag to Lee!

Lee leaps over Gibson to CLOBBER Drake, then he hits Gibson after all! Lee clotheslines Drake out, fires off strikes on Gibson, snapmare to basement dropkick! GYV regroups on the outside, but Lee goes corner to corner to FLY!! Lee goes over the corner to take them both out! Lee puts Gibson in, aims from a corner, springboards and handsprings to PELE Gibson down! Cover, TWO!! That was a Must-See Kick, but it didn’t end things! Lee heads back to the corner, climbs up, but Drake anchors a foot! Lee kicks Drake away but Gibson trips him up! Lee hits the mat, Gibson slaps the stars away, and Gibson drags Lee back up. Gibson brings Lee up but Lee counters the bomb to a FACEBUSTER!

Tag to Carter and MSK coordinates, catapult into a SUPERKICK! Then an assisted shotgun dropkick to Drake! Carter fires up and the fans follow. Carter glares at Gibson and Carter asks if Gibson really wants to see the serious side of MSK! Gibson swings but Carter fires off haymakers! Carter drags Gibson down and rains down fists! Gibson gets away, Carter dodges the chop to springboard and CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!?! Gibson survives and Carter is beside himself! Fans are thunderous as both men are down but rising again. Carter stomps Gibson, tags Lee, and MSK bring Gibson up. Gibson elbows free, elbows Lee then boots Carter! Lee hits back with body shots but Gibson throat chops!

Gibson storms over but Lee moves to ENZIGURI! Lee snapmares Gibson, handsprings but into a KNEE! Tag to Drake, Gibson lifts Lee, HELTER SKELTER to the 450 SPLASH! Cover, TWO!?!? Lee still lives and no one can believe it! “This is Awesome!” and far from over! GYV coordinate as Gibson tags, and Gibson Electric Chair lifts Lee. Lee fights, VICTORY ROLL out of Doomsday! Cover, but Drake breaks it! Gibson rains down furious fists, then gets up to tag Drake back in. GYV coordinate again, feed to the gut wrench, but Carter saves Lee! Lee shoves Drake into Gibson, GYV goes down, and MSK coordinates for the PUSH-SAULT! Lee POISON-RANAS Drake!

Tag to Carter, he goes up top, and Lee tags back in. SWANTON BOMB and TORNILLO SENTON! Cover, TWO?!?! Drake survives and MSK is in shock! Lee tags Carter, Carter brings Drake back up, and Lee runs, only for Gibson to dump him out! Drake clubs Carter, Gibson Electric Chair lifts Lee on the outside, Drake builds speed! TOPE DOOMSDAY SUICIDA!!! The fans are electric for “NXT! NXT!” again! GYV regroup to go after Carter but Carter ROCKS Drake! Carter DECKS Gibson but Drake CLOBBERS Carter! Tag to Gibson, and he drags Carter up. Carter still fires off fists and CHOPS on GYV!

Gibson ROCKS Carter, hoists him up for Drake, POWERBOMB BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO!!?!? How is Carter doing this?! Drake has to exit but he wants to finish this. Gibson sits Carter up and shouts, “You are in over your head!” Gibson SLAPS Carter, tags Drake, and then feeds Carter to the gut wrench. But Lee pushes Gibson away to save Carter! DOUBLE SUPERKICKS! Carter tags Lee in, brings Drake up, slingshot for the BLOCKBUSTER HART ATTACK!! Cover, MSK WINS!?!?

Winners: MSK, by pinfall (2021 Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Winners)

The new kids on the block just shocked the world!! This must be seen to be believed! Regal returns to congratulate the winners, and even more confetti flies! Is this historic 4-0 from round one to the finals just the beginning of big things for Carter & Lee?


WWE and NXT celebrate Black History Month.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.


Cameron Grimes has a Wrestle & Flow song and music video!

Grimes is stackin’ up them dollar bills TOOO~ THEEEE~ MOOOOON~! And if you don’t like it, Grimes has three words for ya: KISS MUH GRITS!


NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat: Io Shirai VS Mercedes Martinez VS Toni Storm!

The Evil Genius has had a golden target on her back, and while she won this belt in a Triple Threat, she might lose it in one! Will the real Mean Mercedes or the new Lightning From Down Under be the one to shoot Shirai out of the sky?

The introductions are made, but Mercedes doesn’t wait for any of that! She DECKS Shirai out of the ring, but Toni is right after Mercedes! The bell rings but the battle’s already begun!

Mercedes brawls with Toni, Toni kicks but Mercedes blocks and spins into a SLAM! Mercedes rains down rights, but Shirai comes in with a METEORA! Cover, ONE! Mercedes hits Shirai back, whips, but Shirai reverses to send Mercedes out hard! Toni kicks and whips but Shirai reverses, only for Toni to run her over. Things speed up, Toni rolls over Shirai’s drop, Shirai runs to handspring and side-step. Shirai goes Matrix to avoid the boot, then rolls Toni. Toni rolls through but runs into a FLAPJACK! Shirai dropkicks Mercedes back out, victory rolls and STOMPS Toni down! Fans are already fired up behind Shirai, and Shirai stomps away on Toni in a corner!

Shirai digs her boots in, then swings, but into Toni’s Alabama lift! Shirai fights off, Toni BOOTS her down! Toni runs and SLIDING LARIATS at the ropes! But Mercedes ROCKS Toni at the apron, drags her out, DRAPING TWISTING NECKBREAKER! Shirai watches from the apron to MOONSAULT, but Mercedes moves! Shirai hits barriers, Mercedes throws her over and out! Mercedes stalks Toni, puts her in the ring and stalks her. Mercedes clubs and covers Toni, TWO! Toni gets up but Mercedes stays on her. Toni throws a forearm, but Mercedes hits a TWO HAND SLAM! Cover, TWO! Mercedes grows annoyed but she stomps Toni down.

Mercedes drags Toni up, brings her around, and snap suplexes! Una amiga, another snap suplex! Dos amigas, but Toni blocks the third! Shirai returns, and missile dropkicks Mercedes down! Shirai runs corner to corner, SHINKANSEN for Mercedes! Shirai runs again but Toni gives her a SCRAPBUSTER! Toni runs in to HIP ATTACK Shirai! Toni runs the other way, but into Mercedes’ SPINEBUSTER! High stack cover, TWO! Mercedes is seething and she stalks Toni. Mercedes gets the legs, ties them up and gets a chicken wing crossface for a Queen Angelito STF! But Shirai dropkicks it apart! Shirai mule kicks Mercedes and drops down to a traditional crossface on Toni!

But Mercedes gets Shirai in a dragon sleeper! It’s a chain of submissions, but who will tap out first?! Toni endures, Shirai endures, Mercedes cranks harder and Shirai lets Toni go. Mercedes hits an INVERTED SUPLEX! Mercedes runs, but Skirai dodges and the boot gets caught up! Shirai runs to 619 Mercedes down! Shirai steps up to springboard missile dropkick! Mercedes flops all the way out but Shirai wants to keep after. Shirai climbs up but Toni stops her! Toni climbs up, but Mercedes trips Toni up! Mercedes shoves Shirai away, climbs up behind Toni and clubs away on the back! Mercedes hauls Toni up, SPIDER GERMAN SUPLEX!

Mercedes sits up to see Shirai and Shirai throws forearms! SHOTEI! Mercedes holds on but Shirai adjusts, WOE STOMPS! All three women are down and the fans are thunderous! Fans rally as the three stir, and Mercedes flops out of the ring to be safe. Shirai goes out after her and clubs away on Mercedes. Mercedes ROCKS Shirai with a haymaker, then fireman’s carries! DEATH VALLEY into the barriers! Toni gets Mercedes now with a SIDE EFFECT! Toni grits her teeth as she gets up and pulls apart the announce desk cover! The desk falls apart, Toni was too rough with it! Toni drags Mercedes up and underhooks her arms, but Mercedes fights out to DDT Toni down!

Mercedes staggers, but Shirai is up on the girders again!! Shirai SUPER CROSSBODIES Toni and Mercedes down! Fans are fired up for “NXT! NXT!” all over again as all three women are down! The ref checks on them all but they’re all somehow okay to continue. Mercedes rises first and she hobbles along the ring apron. Mercedes looms over Shirai, drags her up, and THROWS her into the steel steps! Shirai writhes but Toni grabs Mercedes. Mercedes blocks the apron bump to bump Toni first! Mercedes puts Toni in, runs and KNEES her down! Toni flounders up, Mercedes has the wrists, for KAMIGOYE! And another! And ANOTHER!

But Mercedes isn’t done there, she drags Toni up and into a fisherman BUSTER! Cover, TWO!?! Toni survives all of that and Mercedes can’t believe it! Fans are thunderous again as Mercedes gets up. Mercedes drags Toni into a fireman’s carry, but Toni fights free! Toni rolls Mercedes to HEADBUTT! Toni underhooks, for STORM ZERO!! Cover, TWO?!?! Now Toni is in disbelief! Toni drags Mercedes around, goes to a corner, climbs up top, FLYING HEADBUTT!! Cover, but OVER THE MOONSAULT!! Cover on Mercedes, Shirai wins!!!

Winner: Io Shirai, by pinfall (still NXT Women’s Champion)

The Evil Genius finds a solution to the Triple Threat and retains her title! What will it take to take that title away from her?


William Regal official signs LA Knight to NXT!

We see Regal hand Knight the contract and Knight signs it on the dotted line. Will Knight look to make major moves as soon as this Wednesday?


NXT Championship: Finn Balor VS Pete Dunne!

The Prince knows he is a target, and dared everyone to step up. The Bruiserweight did step up, but he did have some help from Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch. Will the Kings of NXT add another belt to the collection by dethroning Balor? Or will Balor show us what Edge meant when he said Balor’s “operating on an entirely different level?”

The introductions are made, THE belt in NXT is raised, and tensions are high as this battle of UK-Euro wrestling icons begins!

The fans are already fired up for “NXT! NXT!” as the two tie up. Balor puts Dunne on ropes, Dunne turns it around but Balor turns it back. They end up in the corner, the ref counts and Balor lets off. Balor and Dunne circle as fans rally more. They tie up with knuckle locks, Dunne brings Balor in and wants the arm. Balor counters to get Dunne’s arm and grinds Dunne down. Balor shifts to clamp onto the shoulder but Dunne gets a leg. Dunne has a toehold, fights off Balor’s forearms, but Balor avoids fingers being snapped! Balor gets the arm but Dunne gets away before the armbar is on. The two reset and tie up again, and Balor wants Dunne’s arm.

Balor wrenches to a wristlock but Dunne throws Balor down, only for Balor to hold on. Balor has a wristlock, Dunne fights up and grabs at Balor. Dunne hooks a leg, chinbars, but Balor pulls on Dunne’s fingers to bring him down! Balor has the shoulder again, Dunne moves around, and Dunne gets to his feet. Balor wrenches to another wristlock, Dunne powers him back, and then Dunne jumps up to monkey flip! Balor still has the wrist! Fans cheer as Balor stays on Dunne’s shoulder, but Dunne fights up to arm-drag! Balor drags Dunne back and is again on the arm. Dunne endures, fights free, kips up, and wrenches. Balor gets away to avoid the finger snapping!

Dunne and Balor reset again, circle more, and fans fire up as they tie up again. Balor hits a headlock takeover, Dunne grinds forearms in Balor’s face, but Balor cranks on the hold again. Dunne fights his way up, powers out, but Balor powers out! Balor headlocks to hit a takeover and grinds Dunne down again. Balor pushes the shoulders down, ONE as Dunne gets up. Dunne powers out, but Balor runs him over again! Cover, TWO! Balor has the headlock takeover again but Dunne headscissors right away! Dunne holds tight with an almost figure four necklock! Balor endures, fights his way around, but Dunne drags him back down.

Balor tries to pry the legs apart but Dunne pushes up to add leverage! Balor moves again, Dunne tries to keep him down but Balor pops free to get the headlock! Dunne headscissors, Balor kips free but Dunne handsprings up and away! Fans cheer the technical exchange and stare down! Dunne and Balor circle again, tie up, and Dunne pushes Balor to ropes. The ref calls for the reak but Dunen rams into Balor point blank! Balor staggers away, holding his jaw. Balor feels Dunne closing in and puts him in a corner. Dunne is after the fingers, Balor tries to get away but Dunne straddles Balor. Dunne keeps Balor stuck as he tortures the arm and fingers!

Balor endures but back drops, only for Dunne to sunset flip! Balor rolls through but Dunne drags him into a triangle hold! Balor moves around, pops free, hooks Dunne’s arm but Dunne resists being turned over. Balor keeps after the arm, Dunne goes to clasp hands, but Balor sneaks in to cording hold and bring Dunne to a cover! ONE and Dunne has an ARMBAR! Balor clasps hands, Dunne uses his leg against Balor’s jaw to get leverage! Balor fights up, they move around, Dunne has the arm mounted and uses his leg to pry things apart. Dunne hammerlocks an arm, stands on it, and gets the other arm! Balor endures but Dunne YANKS the arm way back!!

Balor’s caught and Dunne bends even the fingers! Balor moves around, rolls away and gets to a corner. Dunne is after him again, drags him up and wrenches to a double wristlock. Dunne drags Balor down, Balor tries to clasp hands from behind, but Dunne mounts Balor’s head. Dunne BENDS those fingers way back! And then the elbow, and Dunne has a double wristlock with headscissors! Balor endures as fans rally, and he moves around. Dunne keeps on the arm, stands on Balor’s head and digs elbows into ribs. The ref reprimands the standing on the head, Dunne stops to dig his elbow into every bit of Balor’s arm!

Dunne uses knuckles then clawing fingers, then he STOMPS the armpit! Balor clutches that side of his body, but Dunne won’t let off! Dunne gets the arm but Balor stomps Dunne’s foot! Dunne hobbles and Balor trips him up! Balor ties up the legs for a figure four stretch! Dunne endures, pushes with his arms but Balor shifts his own position to hold the legs together. Balor rolls for a modified butterfly deathlock! Dunne tries to grab at Balor but Balor adds pressure! Dunne sits up to go after Balor’s hands! Dunne jams the fingers but Balor lets Dunne go to stomp the leg! Balor shakes out his arm while Dunne clutches a leg. Balor trips Dunne and wants the Half Crab!

Dunne resists, Balor drops elbows on the knee! Balor has the toehold, Dunne tries to chinlock back but Balor pulls on the foot. Dunne wants to pull at Balor’s ear but the ref already reprimands, and Balor just adds torque to the toehold! Dunne clubs away on Balor’s back then goes after the face. The ref reprimands, Dunne stops but then sits up to give short headbutts. Balor elbows Dunne down, cranks on the leg, but Dunne sits up again to grind his forearm into Balor’s face. Dunne is free of the toehold and has a facelock! Dunne cranks on Balor in return but Balor fights, only for Dunne to give him a nasty X-PLEX! Cover, TWO! Dunne snarls as he and Balor rise.

Dunne forearms, Balor forearms back, repeat! They brawl, Dunne CHOPS and Balor ends up in a corner. Balor gets the leg to put it on the rope and drops a knee on the knee! Dunne crawls, clutches the leg, and fans fire up again. Balor gets the bad leg, trips Dunne up, but Dunne resists with an armbar. Balor has a cover from this position, ONE, and Dunne drags Balor down! Leg hook cradle, TWO! Balor grabs Dunne’s bad leg but Dunne enziguris hard! Balor comes back to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Balor seethes while Dunne clutches his leg. Balor grits his teeth as he paces. Dunne crawls to ropes but Balor stomps him down!

Balor stomps Dunne again, then moves to springboard stomps over and over! The ref counts and Balor tops it off with a springboard knee drop! Balor has the leg, clubs away on it, then drops down for a deathlcok! Dunne resists so Balor just clubs away on him! Balor reaches through and gets the STF! Dunne is caught, fading, but he pries at the fingers! Balor tells him don’t, but Dunne uses his forehead to get loose, and then Dunne JAMS the fingers into the mat! Dunne is free of the hold while Balor clutches his fingers, but the fans rally up. Balor CHOPS Dunne in a corner, pulls him against ropes, then lets off to CHOP him again!

Dunne hits back but Balor whips him corner to corner and CHOPS again! Balor stomps and chokes Dunne at the ropes but lets off as the ref counts. Balor CHOPS Dunne, Dunne CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS back! Dunne whips, Balor reverses, Dunne goes up but can’t quite go over because of the bad leg! Balor dropkicks the leg out! Balor drags Dunne right up, dragon sleeper, elbow drop- NO! Dunne arm-drags then ROCKS Balor with that forearm! Balor PELES, but Dunne catches it! Dunne throws Balor down and gets the wrist for DANIELSON STOMPS! Dunne drags Balor around, reels him in to HEADBUTT, then brings him back in for a SIT-OUT BOMB! Cover, TWO!

Balor survives but both men are down. Fans fire up as the two stir and Dunne kicks Balor away from his leg. Dunne goes after Balor’s arm but Balor resists. Dunne twists the arm into the hammerlock, and STOMPS IT! Balor clutches his arm but Dunne drags him up. Dunne shoves Balor to ropes, SNAP GERMAN! Dunne DOUBLE STOMPS Balor’s hands! But Balor ducks the buzzsaw to kick out Dunne’s leg! Balor rises, fires off on Dunne, and hits a BACKSTABBER! Then the elbow drop DDT! Balor fires up, aims from a corner, and Dunne stands up to get the SHOTGUN! Balor hurries as Dunne is in the drop zone! COUP DE- NO! Dunne catches Balor to a TRIANGLE!

Dunne throws elbows into Balor’s head and Balor is already turning red! Dunne slaps and hammers Balor’s head but Balor moves around! Balor reaches, but Dunne rolls him from the ropes! Dunne squeezes even tighter, gives more hard shots to Balor’s head, but Balor scoots back! Balor finds the ropes with a foot! The ref counts, Dunne lets go but Balor might already be out! The ref checks on Balor but Dunne shows no mercy! Dunne drags Balor in, but Balor flops and gets to ropes. The ref keeps Dunne back and asks Balor if he wants to continue. Balor does, so Dunne BOOTS him in the jaw! Pump handle, but no Bitter End! Balor reels Dunne in but no 1916 as Dunne has the fingers!

Balor knees low and reels Dunne into the cobra twist! Dunne falls and Balor makes it part crossface! Dunne sees fingers and grabs at them! Dunne SNAPS the fingers!!! Balor clutches his digits but Dunne drags him up. Balor throws forearms with the good arm and he knocks Dunne down! Balor gives those Danielson Stomps back but Dunne won’t let go! Dunne pump handles but Balor elbows Dunne away! Dunne yanks the arm harder for an unofficial low blow! And he hits BITTER END!! Cover, TWO!??! Balor survives Dunne’s best shot?! Fans are thunderous for this match again as Dunne stalks Balor.

Balor sits up, Dunne DOUBLE STOMPS the hands! And then DOUBLE STOMPS again!! BUZZSAW! Powerbomb- DDT COUNTER!! Balor fires up, runs, but into an ENZIGURI! He PELES through! Dunne PENALTY KICKS from behind! Pump handle, BITTER- NO! BLOODY SUNDAY!! Cover, TWO!! Dunne survives, AND has Balor’s fingers! Balor tries to get away but Dunne rises! Balor stomps the bad foot! Dunne still SNAPS the fingers! Balor DOUBLE STOMPS Dunne on the back! Balor sits Dunne up, and takes his mouth guard away! Balor takes aim, to basement dropkick Dunne in the face! Dunne is down, Balor goes up top, COUP DE GRACE!!!! Balor shows no mercy, he gives Dunne the 1916!!!! Cover, Balor wins!!!

Winners: Finn Balor, by pinfall (still NXT Champion)

The Prince continues to endure and overcome immense pain to stay on his throne! Finn keeps the Bruiserweight from taking over NXT, what will it take for anyone to stop him? But wait, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch attack! They aren’t happy that their guy lost! They mug Balor, throw him back into the ring, and Dunne joins in on the mugging! Fans boo and gives thumbs down, but referees can’t stop this! Burch and Lorcan throw the officials out, that’s a fine! Balor sits up just to get punched and stomped more! But here comes the UNDISPUTED ERA!

Adam Cole, Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly run the Kings off! Kyle checks on Balor, which Balor is surprised by. Kyle says he respects Balor and offers to help him up. Balor accepts the help, and Kyle says the UE have Balor’s back when he needs it. Balor appreciates that, and fans cheer as Balor stands with them. Is he going to throw up the UE? Cole SUPERKICKS Balor?!? Kyle and Cole argue, Strong tries to keep the peace, and Cole argues with Strong now. Cole SUPERKICKS Kyle?!?!? But Kyle was Cole’s friend! Cole was supportive of Kyle this whole time and yet he does this!? Cole tells Strong to follow him but Strong is speechless. Strong is frozen in place as Cole goes up the ramp. What does this mean for the Undisputed Era as a whole?!

My Thoughts:

Was this perhaps the best TakeOver ever? This feels way, way up there! Historic nature of everything aside, the matches were all top notch, we even got some bonus Wrestle & Flow for both the intro and that Cameron Grimes recap-meets-vignette, and some shocking story progressions. We even got something in the preshow, Eli Drake is here as “LA Knight,” which is any number of references in one name. He comes in pretty much Heel, so I don’t know what champion he’s facing, because there’s any number of reasons to think Balor’s card is full from here to the Summer. Though, Kross VS Escobar could be used to allow Knight a chance to test things with Balor.

The Dusty Cup finals matches were both great stuff, but I personally am just a touch confused by the decisions, probably because I’m looking at the “big picture.” Opening with the historic Women’s Dusty Cup finals was a great choice, and that match really could’ve gone either way, but here’s the thing. Naomi & Lana VS Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler is coming, and I don’t think the Heels lose. There could be Nia & Shayna VS Sasha & Bianca on SmackDown, but again, the Heels aren’t losing, that will be used just to build Sasha VS Bianca for Mania.

I suppose the beat-for-beat of the match is just standard formula for Dakota & Raquel, but it felt very Face formula. Would Dakota & Raquel end up the Faces- Actually, yes, they would be Faces by comparison to Nia & Shayna, and it’d be great if the inaugural Women’s Dusty Cup winners also became champions to mostly bring those titles to NXT for once. Again, this is still a great moment for Dakota & Raquel, they’ve both put in so much work over the years, they deserve something. Just not sure it lasts long if they’re just going to lose to the Raw superstars on virtue of Raw is “the main show.”

Similarly, I am very surprised that MSK won, but not necessarily in a bad way. The Face VS Heel dynamic makes sense, Oney & Burch are Heels and they still have the belts. But at the same time, GYV going back to back but not winning kinda hurts them. Now, Heel VS Heel doesn’t really fit how WWE does things, or how most promotions do things, really, but I felt like a “Faces by comparison” dynamic could’ve actually worked with GYV against Kings of NXT. Kings of NXT having that arrogance and swagger a la McAfee, Gibson giving them what for on the mic like he does everyone would’ve gotten fans on his side. Despite MSK being Faces, the CWC crowd was really into GYV, so it’s not impossible for Gibson to be a trash talking Face.

I love that, while on the way to the ring, Theory gets abducted by Lumis. This really takes the story to another level. Gargano VS Kushida was perhaps the best match of the night, though that is up for debate with Balor VS Dunne doing what they did. Kushida looked like he could’ve won at any point, but it was the math that doomed him with how he stood tall for the go-home. Gargano retains, and clearly Lumis is next. With how Gargano is going, if Kushida didn’t win tonight, I have no idea who is taking that from Gargano. But at the very least, Gargano and Kushida going this strong, Gargano can definitely give Lumis some in-ring shine.

Kushida himself still seems to be floating in the middle, would he be the one to take the Cruiserweight title from Escobar? The Cruiserweight title has finally gotten out of isolation on 205 Live, and Kushida, an international name perhaps even greater than Escobar, could elevate that entire division. The Women’s Triple Threat was great stuff, though that poor desk couldn’t hold up apparently. But that’s okay, a table spot of say a back drop out of the Strong Zero wasn’t going to be all that incredible. Everything else was, and it made a lot of sense for Shirai to take advantage of Storm taking out Mercedes. After this, we’ve got to get Shirai VS Mercedes 1v1, then maybe Shirai VS Storm 1v1 at another point.

Then, as I just said, Balor VS Dunne was also up there tonight. There was great story because of Balor’s bad jaw, how Dunne went after Balor’s fingers just last Wednesday, and how Balor managed to use technical skill to match Dunne. Balor retains because there are many Heel contenders moving up, but that twist with the Undisputed Era was amazing. Thinking back, maybe Cole being so supportive of Kyle only for Kyle to fail each time is exactly why this has happened. Cole still thinks HE is leader, he doesn’t like Kyle moving up and this is him asserting dominance. But whatever the motivation, Cole VS Kyle for the first time since they were both in ROH and fighting over the ROH World Championship is going to be some amazing stuff. Strong and Fish need to choose sides, and at the very least, I’m hoping reDRagon sticks together.

My Score: 9.7/10

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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/19/23)

The semifinals are here!



New Japan Cup 2023

The New Japan Cup 2023’s Final Four!

Four is bad luck in Japan, but these four are grateful to be in the New Japan Cup semifinals! David Finlay VS Tama Tonga, Sanada VS Mark Davis, who will win to go for it all?


  • Shota Umino & Oskar Leube VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita; Shota & Oskar win.
  • Six Man Tag: Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Ryohei Oiwa VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi & Team Strong Style VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
  • YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Jeff Cobb & Kyle Fletcher; Cobb & Fletcher win.
  • Shingo Takagi & BUSHI VS Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan; Henare & Khan win.
  • YOH & Lio Rush VS Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi; Naito & Hiromu win.
  • New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances to the finals.
  • New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA VS Mark Davis; Sanada wins and advances to the finals.


New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga w/ Jado VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!

The Good Bad Guy settled things with Bullet Club, but fate has intervened to have him face the NEW leader! Will Tama get past Finlay and into the finals? Or will the Rebel take over everything?

The bell rings and the fans rally up. Tama and Finlay circle, Tama claps to get the fans going more, and then he ties up with Finlay. They go around, Tama puts Finlay on ropes, but he lets off slowly as the ref calls break. Fans applaud and the two reset. They circle, fans rally up for Tama, and the two tie up again. Tama powers Finlay back but Finlay turns it around to have Tama on the ropes. The ref calls the ropebreak again, Finlay lets off slowly, but then swings on Tama! Tama dodges, then hits a headlock takeover! Tama grinds Finlay down, but Finlay keeps his shoulders up. Finlay fights to his feet, powers out, then slips around to headlock!

Tama powers out, hurdles, drops, then DROPKICKS Finlay down! Finlay bails out while fans fire up! Tama storms up to the ropes and slingshots but Finlay slides in! Tama lands on the apron, Finlay storms up but Tama ROCKS him with a forearm! Tama hurries in, and he arm-drags Finlay around! Finlay blocks the next, whips, but Tama reverses. Tama hurdles, but gets caught to a fireman’s carry! HOTSHOT, then BIG back suplex! Fans applaud, that was a good sequence, but Tama crawls to a corner. Finlay stalks Tama, drags him up, and UPPERCUTS him! Finlay whips corner to corner hard and Tama bounces off buckles! Finlay covers, TWO!

Fans rally but Finlay stomps Tama’s hand! Tama clutches that hand, but Finlay fishhooks his face! The ref reprimands, Finlay lets off, and Finlay says that was the nose, not the eyes. The ref doesn’t believe him. Finlay throws Tama out! Gedo tells the ref to leave Finlay alone, but the ref reprimands Gedo for getting on the apron. Finlay drags Tama up to RAM him into railing! No Man’s Land disappears as the railing go back! Finlay rains down fists, but fans rally up for Tama. The ref reprimands Finlay but he drags Tama up and puts him in the ring. Finlay covers, ONE!! Tama is hanging tough but Finlay is amused.

Finlay digs his knee into Tama’s face, he wants the ref to Too Sweet but the ref says no thanks. Finlay drags Tama up, whips him hard into the corner, and Tama bounces off buckles again! Fans rally while Finlay taunts them, “You think Tama’s getting to the finals?” Finlay stomps Tama, then springboard stomps! The ref reprimands, but Finlay clamps on with a cobra clutch. Finlay thrashes Tama around but Tama endures. Gedo tells Tama to give up but Jado coaches Tama to hang tough. Fans rally, Tama fights up and throws hands, but Finlay CLUBS him down! Finlay stomps and elbows Tama, but the ref counts.

Finlay lets off, he brings Tama up to whip corner to corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Finlay! Fans fire up but Gedo is mad! Jado coaches Tama, Gedo coaches Finlay, but Tama is the first to stand. Tama roars, CLOBBERS Finlay, and ELBOWS him! Tama whips, Finlay reverses but Tama CLOBBERS Finlay again! OFF COMES THE VEST! Finlay goes to a corner, Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then clinch, for an EXPLODER! Finlay scrambles away and out of the ring, but Tama PLANCHAS! Direct hit this time and the fans fire up! Tama slides into the ring to let the ring count handle Finlay.

Finlay sits up at 5 of 20 so Tama goes out to fetch him. Tama puts Finlay in, stalks him to a corner, and Finlay wants mercy, but gets body shots instead! Tama whips Finlay out and then back into the corner, runs in, but Finlay elbows him away! Finlay storms up, but into a scoop! Finlay slips free to CHOP BLOCK! Tama writhes and clutches his knee but Gedo is loving this! The ref checks on Tama but Tama refuses to let this stop him. Finlay storms up on Tama to sit him up, “Look at this beautiful face!” CROSSFACE FOREARM! Gedo likes those, so Finlay sits Tama up again, to CROSSFACE FOREARM!

Finlay drags Tama up again, and he fires off MORE crossface forearms! Fans rally for Tama but Finlay looms over him. Finlay drags Tama up by his hair, sits him up, and BLINDSIDER LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Tama is still in this and Finlay is annoyed. Finlay paces around while Tama slowly rises. Finlay drags Tama up, gut wrenches and Canadian Racks, but Tama slips free! TONGAN TWIST!! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Fans rally as Tama and Finlay stir. Both men crawl over to each other, and Tama ROCKS Finlay with a forearm! Finlay ROCKS Tama right back! Finlay eggs Tama on and Tama sits up.

Tama ROCKS Finlay with another forearm, but Finlay ROCKS Tama again! Tama growls, he and Finlay sit up again. Tama ROCKS Finlay, Finlay ROCKS Tama, repeat! They throw forearms as they slowly stand, and they speed up as the fans rally! Finlay gets the edge, Tama fires off a strike fest! Finlay rebounds but into SRC!! Tama goes to a corner, fans fire up as he climbs, and Tama aims! SUPREME FLOW!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Jado and Tama rally the fans by pounding the mat. Finlay drags himself up with the ropes, Tama runs in, GUN- NO! Finlay rolls Tama, with tights! TWO!! GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again!

Finlay drags Tama up with a dragon sleeper, inverted suplex, OSAKA STREET CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up while Finlay grows frustrated. Finlay aims as Tama rises, Jado warns Tama of what’s coming, but Finlay runs in, into a KNEE! Tama SUPER- NO, Finlay dodges to DEEP SIX!! Tama staggers up, into a SPEAR!! Cover, TWO!!! Tama survives and Gedo is furious! Finlay argues the count but the ref says that was all fair. Fans rally back up, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. “X marks the spot!” Finlay drags Tama up but Tama is deadweight. Finlay still hauls Tama up, suplexes, but Tama slips free!

Tama rolls Finlay, ties up the legs, and he has a SHARPSHOOTER!! Finlay endures and fans fire up! Tama sits deep on the hold, Finlay flails and fights forward! Finlay claws at the mat, but Tama goes deeper! Finlay fights back up, crawls and reaches out, but Tama drags him away again!! Finlay shouts in pain but he hasn’t given up yet! Another fight forward, and Finlay gets the ROPEBREAK! Tama lets go and Finlay writhes in pain, but the fans rally up again. Tama drags Finlay up, hooks an arm, but Finlay fights and RAMS Tama into a corner! And again and again and again! The ref counts, Finlay lets off and staggers away.

Tama runs in, but Finlay fights off the DDT! IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Finlay gut wrenches to a CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Finlay is beside himself but Tama survives again! Fans are thunderous for Tama but Finlay is right on him. Suplex and- NO, Tama fights, wrenches, but Finlay ROCKS him! But Tama cradles!! TWO!!!! Finlay escapes but the SUPERMAN PUNCH hits! BLOODY SUNDAY!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Finlay barely survives but Tama just pounds the mat. Finlay rises up, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks, spins Tama, suplexes, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again and ROCKS Tama!

Tama roars, but Finlay fires off a flurry of forearms! Finlay spins, into a HEADBUTT! GUN- NO, Backslide! Deadlift TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!

Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)

Even El Phantasmo has to give old rival Finlay credit on that one. Gedo gets the mic to make the announcement official: The Rebel wins, and he just beat the NEVER Openweight Champion! Finlay will take the EFF over everything! Gedo needs the Rebel, Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel! But will the Rebel get what he wants in the tournament finals?


New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA w/ Just5Guys VS Mark Davis w/ The United Empire!

New team, new look! The Cold Skull is looking sharp, but will he still bring about a Skull End? Or can Dunkzilla conquer the Cup on behalf of the United Empire?

The bell rings and the fans rally up as Davis and Sanada circle. Davis eggs Sanada on but Sanada feels things out. They keep circling, tie up, and Sanada headlocks. Davis powers out, Sanada RAMS shoulders, but neither man falls! Sanada ducks Davis’ chop, gets an arm and wrenches, but Davis whips Sanada away! Davis CHOPS this time, and Sanada is stinging. Davis whips, Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Sanada whips, Davis cartwheels, then scoops and SLAMS! And SENTONS! Fans fire up while Sanada bails out, but Davis goes out after Sanada. Davis brings Sanada up to whip him into railing!

Sanada drops to his knees, but Davis drags Sanada up to ROCK with a forearm! Great-O-Khan is on commentary and he waves the glowstick in praise. Davis puts Sanada on the apron to CLUB and KNEE and CLUB again! Davis gets space, fans rally up, and Davis runs in to KNEE LIFT Sanada into the ring! Crowns up and the Empire high-fives. Davis gets in the ring while Sanada sputters. Davis knees for the cover, TWO! Davis clamps onto Sanada’s arm but Sanada endures. Fans rally, Sanada fights up to his feet, and he throws forearms! Sanada wrenches but Davis DECKS him! Davis drags Sanada up but Sanada waistlocks!

Davis fights free of the hold, CHOPS Sanada to the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Davis runs in but Sanada dodges the splash! Sanada reels Davis in to back suplex, but Davis turns it into a CROSSBODY! Davis drags Sanada back up and back suplexes, but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada hits the BIG back suplex! Both men are down but their teams coach them while the fans rally up. Sanada kips up, and then he fires up! Sanada DROPKICKS Davis, Davis stays up, so Sanada DROPKICKS! And dropkicks, but misses this time! Davis runs, but Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Then he DROPKICKS Davis out of the ring!

Sanada takes aim and PLANCHAS! Direct hit and down goes Davis! Sanada stares down the Empire, but then he encourages the fans to get louder. The fans oblige and Sanada likes that. Sanada may have a new haircut but he is still Sanada. Sanada puts Davis in the ring, drags him up to fireman’s carry, but Davis fights it! Davis fireman’s carries now, but Sanada fights it! Only for Davis to rise up again! Sanada fights more, gets to the apron, and he counter punches! Sanada slingshots, but Davis HOTSHOTS him! And then TRIANGLE JUMP FOREARMS! Sanada falls, and Davis DIVES?!? Direct hit into the railing!

Fans fire up as No Man’s Land disappears again! Red Shoes checks both men, they’re both okay to continue, but their teams argue about territory. The ring count starts, Davis drags Sanada up at 7 of 20. Davis puts Sanada in at 10 of 20, aims from the corner and climbs up! Sanada rises, Davis FLYING SHOULDERS him down! Cover, TWO! Sanada is still in this but Davis keeps his cool. Davis drags Sanada up, but Sanada blocks the lift! Sanada throws down elbows, but Davis CHOPS him! Davis whips, Sanada goes up and out and springboards in to MISSILE DRPOKICK! Davis stays up!?

Davis swings, misses, and Sanada CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! But Davis KNEES low! Davis back suplexes but Sanada KNEES free! Sanada runs, into a LARIAT! Davis hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up and rally as Sanada survives. Davis drags Sanada by a leg, says it’s time to end this! But Sanada kicks Davis away, so Sanada JABS him down! Davis gets the legs, YANKS Sanada up, but Sanada rolls through! Sanada fireman’s carries to T K O!! Cover, TWO!! Davis is still in this, but Sanada goes up top! ROUNDING BODY- NO, Sanada has to roll through as Davis moves! Davis scoops to POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO!!

Davis drags Sanada up, wrenches and torture racks, but Sanada slips free! Sanada ELBOWS Davis, QUEBRADAS and has the dragon sleeper! Davis snapmares free to clothesline in the corner! Sanada falls over and fans fire up! Davis climbs the corner, goes to the very top, and DIVING SPLASH, but he FLOPS as Sanada moves! Sanada goes up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto the knees!! Davis cradles Sanada, TWO!!! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Davis rises first, drags Sanada up, and fans rally up. Davis swings, but Sanada blocks the forearm to fire UPPERCUT after UPPERCUT!

Sanada spins, into  JAB! But he still ROLLING ELBOWS! Davis ENZIGURIS!! Sanada is down and Davis fires up! Fans rally, Davis throws off the elbow pad! Davis waits, Sanada rises up, Davis keeps moving, LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!?! Sanada survives and fans fire up again! Davis stalks Sanada to the corner, then runs side to side, SLIDING FOREARM! Davis shouts “DEAD!” and he drags Sanada up into the torture rack! But Sanada slips free again! O’Conner BRIDGE!! TWO!?! Davis escapes by nanoseconds! Sanada storms up, but Davis trips him! Davis has the legs, Close Your Eyes and Count to F@#$!!! Cover, TWO!?!?!? HOW?!?!?

The fans, the Empire and Just5Guys are all going nuts! Davis roars, he wrenches, torture racks, but Sanada slips free again! SIDEWINDER DDT!!! Cover, SANADA WINS!!!!

Winner: Sanada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)

Davis drove the Cold Skull into the ground, but then Sanada did it back to him! Will Davis find his singles success another time?

Wait, David Finlay and Gedo make his way back out to the ring to see the other finalist in person. Gedo gets the mic to say they just want to give Sanada words of support. Gedo tells Sanada to do his best, because in Nagaoka, Finlay’s gonna beat his face in with the shillelagh, and throw him out of the ring like trash! “See You Next Time, Just Five Losers!” Gedo and Finlay leave, having copied and mocked Sanada’s catchphrase and his new team. Sanada gets the mic to say, “Oi, Finlay! And the people of Gunma. I promise I will beat Finlay on Tuesday, and come back here as the New Japan Cup winner.” Fans applaud that! Sanada then tells Gedo and Finlay to get outta here.

Finlay and Goto leave, flipping Sanada off over their shoulders. Sanada says this debut with J5G is a day he’ll never forget. Fans applaud that, and the mic is handed over to Taka Michinoku. Taka says, “Soon enough, it’ll be us who changes the scene here in NJPW! JUST! FIVE! GUYS!!” The Cold Skull is red hot, but will that heat bring him through to win it all?

My Thoughts:

A great semifinals for the New Japan Cup! Both matches were awesome stuff, and though Tama came close, I figured Finlay would win. He has been winning since his Heel turn and joining the Bullet Club, but he hasn’t quite won the Club over, yet they can’t really deny him, either, because he’s now in the finals of the tournament. The big things in Sanada VS Davis were Sanada’s new look, and that he buries that piledriver. But similarly to Finlay, Sanada’s getting a push because of the big change in allegiance, and now they’re both in this great match for the finals that honestly could go either way.

Gedo as booker does love to push the guys he backs as a manager, but Finlay’s story could be more about controlling Bullet Club than getting the title. And Sanada has openly stated he sees Okada as a rival and Okada reciprocated, so revisiting that now, with Sanada and Okada both having changed ever so slightly, we could get an awesome match for the world title.

My Score: 9/10

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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/18/23)

It’s lights out, but for who?



New Japan Cup 2023

Who rounds out the Final Four?

The New Japan Cup is getting closer to the end! Shota VS Finlay, Goto VS Tama, who will join Mark Davis and Sanada in the semifinals?


  • Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita VS Oskar Leube & Ryohei Oiwa; ZSJ & Fujita win.
  • YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Aaron Henare & Kyle Fletcher; Henare & Fletcher win.
  • Six Man Tag: Team Strong Style VS Bullet Club; Team Strong Style wins, by disqualification.
  • Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS The House of Torture; The United Empire wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Chaos wins.
  • New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances.
  • New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto VS Tama Tonga; Tama wins and advances.


New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!

The Roughneck took The Mighty’s Front Man to the limit and then won, but now he funs into Bullet Club’s newest leader. Will #SHOOTER be the one shot down? Or will another one bite the dust as Shota brings about a paradigm shift?

The two get face to face and start shoving. Red Shoes backs them off, the bell rings and the forearms start flying! Fans fire up as they go faster and faster, and Shota gets the edge! Shota fires off in the corner, but Finlay turns things around, only to miss! Shota fires off more, and even shoves his dad aside! Shota fires off knees and he CLUBS Finlay, then ROCKS him with a forearm! Fans fire up with Shota, and he brings Finlay up. Finlay throws forearms in return, whips, but Shota reverses to ELBOW Finlay down! Shota keeps moving to BASEMENT DROPKICK! Fans fire up again while Finlay checks his chin.

Shota kicks at Finlay, stomps him, but Finlay eggs him on. Shota stomps, Finlay throws a body shot, but Shota just BOOTS Finlay into the corner! Finlay kicks back from below, and even SPITS at Shota! Shota doesn’t flinch, so Finlay steps to him. Shota DECKS Finlay, then digs his boots in! Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Shota lets off at 4 and talks trash. Shota stomps Finlay, stands him up and CLUBS him! Finlay goes to ropes, Shota ROCKS him with another forearm. Fans rally, Shota ROCKS Finlay again, and then whips Finlay to ropes. Finlay reverses to TACKLE Shota to the apron! And then all the way into railing!

Gedo likes that as Finlay RAMS Shota in again! Finlay taunts Red Shoes, then throws hands on Shota. Finlay smacks Shota off the apron, follows him around the way, and claws at Shota’s face! Finlay ELBOWS Shota down, Red Shoes reprimands, but Finlay claims it was just the nose. Finlay stomps Shota around on the ramp, going after the limbs. The ring count starts and Finlay drags Shota up at 6 of 20 to put in at 8. Fans applaud and Finlay paces. Finlay stomps Shota down, gives him toying kicks, but Shota sits up with a frown. Finlay UPPERCUTS Shota in the back, but Shota doesn’t budge!

Finlay gets in Shota’s face, then DECKS him! Finlay stands Shota up to UPPERCUT! Shota goes to a corner, Finlay HEADBUTTS then stomps away! Red Shoes reprimands as Finlay digs a knee in. Red Shoes counts, Finlay lets off at 4 and talks more trash. Fans rally up as Finlay brings Shota out. Finlay taunts the fans, “This is your boy?” Shota stands to ROCK Finlay! Shota hits back! Finlay CLUBS Shota down! Shota writhes but Finlay covers, ONE! Finlay clamps onto Shota with a cobra clutch to grind him down. Fans rally and Shota endures. Finlay shakes his head and pulls harder on the hold, but Shota still endures.

Shota fights up, Finlay knees him low and then again, and again. Finlay whips, Shota reverses to scoop, TOSS and UPPERCUT! Fans fire up while Finlay sits up in a daze. Shota storms up on Finlay, whips him to a corner, then runs in to UPPERCUT! Shota FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Not quite perfect so Finlay escapes, but Shota keeps his cool. Shota kicks Finlay but Finlay gives a body shot. Shota kicks and kicks and CLUBS Finlay, then brings him up. Finlay fights the clinch with elbow after elbow after elbow! Finlay runs, into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up and Finlay bails out!

Shota hurries out to the apron, Finlay stands and Shota CANNONBALLS onto him! Fans fire up with Shota again as he shakes the railing! Shota drags Finlay back up, puts him in the ring, and fans rally behind Shota. Shota aims, to slingshot DDT! Finlay writhes but Shota wants him to stand. Fans rally, but Finlay blocks the kick, and he spins Shota around, only to swing into Shota’s clinch. Finlay fights free, then he clinches back, IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans rally but Gedo argues the count. Red Shoes says that was a fair count, so Finlay drags Shota up.

Finlay makes Red Shoes watch as Finlay CROSSFACE FOREARMS Shota! And again! Gedo likes that so Finlay gives more CROSSFACE FOREARMS! Finlay then sits Shota up to BLINDSIDE LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans fire back up! Finlay argues the count but Red Shoes defends it was fair. Finlay kicks Shota around, waits on him to rise, and the fans rally. Shota stands, ducks the lariat, and EXPLODERS! Fans fire up again while both men are down! Red Shoes checks both guys and they slowly stir. They go forehead to forehead, and Shota throws a forearm! Finlay throws it back!

Finlay eggs Shota on, Shota ROCKS Finlay! Shota eggs Finlay on, so Finlay ROCKS Shota! Shota ROCKS Finlay again, so Finlay ROCKS Shota again! They go forearm for forearm, fans rally and the two stand. The forearms keep going, back and forth, faster and faster! Finlay UPPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS again! Shota roars and UPPERCUTS in return! And again! Finlay rebounds into another UPPERCUT! Shota UPPERCUTS, and UPPERCUTS! Fans fire up but Finlay throat chops! And throat chops again! Finlay fires off HEADBUTT after HEADBUTT, then he rains down fists!

Red Shoes reprimands, those are closed fists! Finlay lets off and claims palms but Red Shoes can tell. Fans rally for Red Shoes as he argues with Finlay. Finlay goes back to Shota, but Red Shoes has him stay back to check. Shota is still in this, but Finlay thinks he’s won by knockout. Shota grabs at Finlay’s foot, so Finlay gut wrenches to a Canadian rack! But Shota slips free to CROSS RHODES! Shota holds on, he drags Finlay up, CROSS RHODES! Shota drags Finlay up again, SAVING GRACE! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but fans are thunderous behind Shota! Shota aims from a corner, runs in, but Finlay LARIATS!

Shota stands, but into a SPEAR! Cover, TWO!! Shota survives and Finlay is shocked! Finlay drags Shota up to gut wrench, CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Shota survives again and the fans are thunderous! Finlay scowls at Red Shoes and argues the count, but the count is still fair. Fans rally behind Shota, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. Finlay slashes his throat and he drags Shota back up. Suplex to- NO, Shota cradles! TWO!! Finlay escapes, and ROLLING ELBOWS! Shota staggers to a corner and Finlay hoists him up top. Finlay climbs up after Shota, fires off forearms, then brings Shota up.

Shota throws body shots to stop the superplex! Finlay fires forearms and HEADBUTTS! Finlay brings Shota up again, but Shota SUPER GOURD BUSTERS first! Shota then hurries down and runs in, SWINGING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Shota roars and the fans are thunderous again! Shota picks Finlay up but Finlay fights free. Shota kicks low, underhooks, but Finlay powers him back. Shota sends Finlay into buckles! And then TORNADO DDTS! Roll through to the pick-up, SNAP BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Shota roars! Fans rally behind Shota and he aims from the corner again.

Gedo shouts at Finlay but the fans rally up. Finlay rises, Shota underhooks, but Finlay fights the lift! Finlay stomps the leg! And then HEADBUTTS Shota down! Gedo says Finlay’s got it! Suplex, but Shota fights free! ENZIGURI! Finlay rebounds, but swings into hooks! Finlay fights the backslide to backslide, but Shota rolls through! Finlay suplexes, Shota slips free, backslide and underhooks! Finlay spins Shota around, suplexes, TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!

Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)

Another hard-fought battle, and The Rebel comes out on top! Finlay stands on Shota to add insult to injury, then he throws Shota out to just add more insult! Gedo makes the official announcement that Finlay won, and then he says what Finlay did to Shota will happen to everyone else! “Okada! Okada! Are you listening? The Rebel’s coming for you! The Rebel is taking the eff over everything! I need the Rebel, the Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel!” Will Finlay be unstoppable until he has taken everything?


New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto w/ Yoshi-Hashi VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!

The Fierce Warrior and the Good Bad Guy have both had their run-ins with the United Empire, and they both came out on top to make it this far. But there’s only one spot left in the semifinals, who is the final of the final four?

The bell rings and fans rally up as the two circle. Goto and Tama tie up, Goto powers Tama back, but Tama breaks free. They reset, tie up again, and Tama powers Goto back. Goto turns things around to put Tama on the ropes, and Red Shoes calls the break. Goto lets off with pats on the shoulder and fans applaud. Tama and Goto circle again, tie up, and Tama headlocks. Tama grinds the hold, but Goto powers out. They RAM shoulders, but Tama keeps moving. They RAM shoulders again, both men egg each other on, so Goto runs. Goto dodges the lariat to run Tama over! Fans fire up while Tama staggers up.

Goto whips Tama corner to corner, runs in but into an elbow! Tama runs in but into a hip toss! Tama avoids the elbow drop, headlocks, but Goto powers out, only for Tama to FLYING SHOULDER TACKLE! But now Goto avoids an elbow drop and fans fire up for the standoff! Goto and Tama circle again and fans rally back up. They tie up, Goto headlocks, and Goto grinds the hold. Tama powers up but Goto holds on tighter. Tama fights up, powers up again, but still can’t power out as Goto just holds tighter! Goto grinds the headlock more, but Tama fights up to throw body shots. Tama powers out this time, and things speed up.

Tama hurdles, but Goto counter a hip toss with a hip toss! Tama goes to ropes, Goto runs in, but Tama dumps Goto out to the apron! Tama swings but Goto counter punches! But then Tama GUN STUN STUN GUNS Goto down! Goto falls to the floor and Tama waits on the ring count. Goto stirs at 5 of 20, fans rally and Hashi coaches Goto up. Goto sits up at 12 of 20, but we past 15 before he stands! Goto slides in at 18! Fans applaud, but Tama drags Goto up to COHP! Tama whips, DROPKICKS and covers, TWO! Tama keeps cool as he looms over Goto. Tama brings Goto up, then CLUBS him in the chest again and again!

Fans rally while Tama paces around. Tama drags Goto back up, snap suplexes and covers, TWO! Tama clamps onto Goto with a chinlock and grinds him back down. Fans rally as Goto endures, but Tama brings Goto down to the mat. Goto kicks and flails, fights his way back up, and he throws body shots. Tama CLUBS Goto on the back, then ROCKS him with a forearm! And then another! Goto scowls but Tama eggs him on. Tama ROCKS Goto again, but Goto snarls. Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Tama then runs, but Goto blocks the boot! Goto throws the foot down but Tama ROCKS him with another forearm!

Goto blocks another boot, waistlocks, but Tama elbows free! Tama runs, Goto follows and LARIATS Tama down! Fans fire up while both men are down! Tama crawls to a corner but Goto is right on him. Goto whips corner to corner and runs in to MURAMASA! Then SAIDO! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Tama survives, and Jado coaches him up. Goto brings Tama up but Tama fires body shots and low headbutts! Tama whips, Goto reverses and he runs Tama over! Fans fire up as Tama bails out, and Goto hurries to PLANCHA! Direct hit and both men go down at the railing! Fans fire up as both men stir.

The ring count starts but Goto is already up at 2 of 20. He drags Tama up at 5, but Tama is deadweight so Goto stomps him. The count passes 10, Goto drags Tama back up at 13. Goto puts Tama back in at 15 and fans applaud. Goto fires up and fans rally behind him. Goto climbs up a corner, but Tama ROCKS him first! Tama throws another forearm, but Goto hits back! Goto ELBOWS Tama in the head, but Tama throws body shots. Tama ROCKS Goto, climbs up and CLUBS Goto on the back. But Goto throws body shots and forearms! Tama and Goto fire off back and forth, and Tama gets the edge! Tama stands Goto up for the SUPERPLEX!

Fans fire up while both men are down again! Red Shoes checks, both men stir, and the fans rally up again. Goto crawls to a corner but Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Goto hangs tough and the fans rally up. Tama drags himself up with the ropes, and he storms over to Goto. Tama stands Goto up but Goto throws a forearm! Tama throws a forearm right back! Goto drops to a knee, but he grits his teeth. Goto stands up to ROCK Tama with a forearm! Tama shakes that off to ROCK Goto right back! Goto ROCKS Tama! Tama ROCKS Goto! The forearms go back and forth again!

Fans fire up as Tama fires off a strike fest! Tama whips, Goto reverses, fireman’s carries and USHIGOROSHI! Both men are down and Tama clutches his neck. Goto roars and fans fire up with him! Goto drags Tama up, dragon sleepers, but Tama throws hands from below! Goto blocks that, spins Tama around, but Tama fireman’s carries! SRC! Tama flounders but finds his way over to the corner! Tama goes up, for the SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Goto is still in this, but fans fire up with Tama! OFF COMES THE VEST! Tama watches Goto stir, and Tama pounds the mat. Fans clap along and build back up.

Goto rises, Tama runs in, GUN- NO, Goto blocks! Goto shoves, runs, Tama redirects but Goto follows! Tama dodges and runs, GUN- NO! Goto blocks, then deflects the boot! But Tama jumps, VELENO! Both men are down after the satellite DDT and the fans are thunderous! Tama rises first, the fans rally back up, and Tama takes aim from the corner. Goto flounders, rises, and Tama rushes in, GUN- NO, Goto puts him in the corner! DRAPING SHOUTO!! But Goto’s too tired to make the cover! Fans rally up again and Goto rises. Goto roars and Tama rises, BUZZSAW! Goto then drags Tama back up to fireman’s carry!

USHI- NO, Tama flips through! But Goto still blocks Gun Stun! Goto drags Tama back up, spins him around, but Tama SUPER FOREARMS! BLOODY SUNDAY!! Cover, TWO!?! Goto survives Tama’s shoutout to The Prince, but Tama roars! Tama drags Goto up, underhooks, but Goto fights the lift! Goto wrenches and HEADBUTTS! And then LARIATS!! Fans fire up as Tama goes flipping through the air! Goto roars and gathers all his strength! BUZZSAW!! And then another dragon sleeper! G T- NO!! Tama blocks to a backslide but Goto holds that off! Tama HEADBUTTS, and GUN STUNS!!! Cover, TAMA WINS!!

Winner: Tama Tonga, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)

The NEVER Openweight Champion bests one half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions! The Fierce Warrior misses out on the final four, will he and Hashi simply regroup to focus on the tag titles for the Spring?

As for Tama, he shakes Goto’s hand to show respect, and the two hug it out. Goto raises Tama’s hand in victory, then lets him have the ring. Tama gets the mic to say, “HAMAMATSU~!” Fans cheer and Tama continues in Japanese,
“Really, thank you so much! Goto-san. That was amazing, thank you.” Fans cheer the respect shown, and Tama asks that everyone please keep supporting him! A short and sweet message from the Good Bad Guy, will he go all the way until he has his hands on the Cup?

My Thoughts:

Another really good night for the New Japan Cup, though not as shocking and wild as yesterday’s. Shota VS Finlay went about as expected in that Finlay goes over, but I am still impressed that Finlay is a Heel that doesn’t cheat to win. He didn’t need Gedo to do things for him here, Finlay just outdid Shota. And then we got a great main event where I was rather surprised that Tama won out. I thought Goto was going to go strong to the finals to put over the other side of the bracket. Instead, Tama gets a great win here and he’ll get to face Finlay next week, in a great rework of Tama taking on the Bullet Club.

My Score: 8.7/10

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