NXT is almost ready for TakeOver: Vengeance Day! Are you?
This Sunday will see history! The Men’s and Women’s Dusty Cup Finals happen at TakeOver, but who get their golden tickets to the show?
- Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal: El Legado del Fantasma VS MSK; MSK wins and advances to the finals at TakeOver.
- Xia Li w/ Tian Sha VS Cora Jade; Xia wins.
- Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon VS The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell; Moon & Blackheart win and advance to the finals at TakeOver.
- KUSHIDA VS Austin Theory w/ Johnny Gargano; Kushida wins, by disqualification.
- Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal: Grizzled Young Veterans VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Grizzled Young Veterans win and advance to the finals at TakeOver.
PLAY BY PLAY
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal: El Legado del Fantasma VS MSK!
Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza took down Lucha House Party to establish their claim to the lucha libre throne, but they’re still not at the top yet! Will Nash Carter & Wes Lee stand in their way of taking over at TakeOver?
The teams sort out and Lee starts against Wilde. Wilde talks trash that the cup is theirs, then he dodges Lee’s approach. Wilde and Lee feel out the grapple, tie up with knuckle locks but Wilde spins Lee around to throw him down. Wilde clamps onto the keylock, Lee fights his way up, and he rolls back. Wilde has the double wristlock, wrenches to another and then arm-drags Lee. Fans fire up as Wilde handsprings and taunts Lee. Lee gets up, he circles with Wilde, and Wilde gets around to waistlock and throw Lee down to tie up the legs in a deathlock! Lee endures, pries free and has Wilde’s arm now.
Lee cranks on a cording hold, Wilde moves around and whips but Lee reverses to throw Wilde down again. Wilde rolls back, Lee whips him to the corner and runs in. Wilde puts Lee out but Carter tags in! Lee enziguris, then swings in to dropkick, then he rolls back as Carter runs in to Bronco Buster! Carter adds some extra bounces before he drags Wilde to a corner, ONE! Carter keeps on Wilde with a facelock as fans rally and duel. Wilde fights up, wrenches out and wristlocks, but Carter rolls and handsprings to flip and arm-drag! Wilde goes to the Legado corner and Mendoza tags in. Mendoza and Carter circle as fans rally up.
Carter and Mendoza tie up, Mendoza waistlocks but Carter switches. Mendoza shifts around as he headlocks, Carter pries at the hold but Mendoza wrenches to wristlock. Both men go to arm-drag but those cancel out. Mendoza wrangles Carter, Carter gets around to waistlock but Mendoza switches and spins. Carter stays up, whips but Mendoza goes up and over. Lee tags in, he blasts past Mendoza, MSK unleashes kick combos, enziguri to DOUBLE STOMP! Cover, TWO! Lee keeps his cool as he grabs at Mendoza but Mendoza pushes him away. Lee storms back over but Mendoza throws him into buckles!
Mendoza stomps Wilde, drags him up and whips him into the corner. Tag to Wilde, Legado CHOPS and clotheslines then tags again. Mendoza runs in to clothesline, Wilde tags and runs in to clothesline again! The cycle continues as Mendoza tags back in and hits another clothesline! Wilde tags back in, and hits another clothesline! Tag to Mendoza, he hits another clothesline! Wilde tags in, Legado double suplexes and then combine to handspring hip toss SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Wilde tags Mendoza and Mendoza whips Wilde in but Lee goes up and over and then under to tag Carter! Carter rallies on Mendoza with big clotheslines, knees and a BOOT!
Carter waistlocks, Mendoza switches and shoves Carter to a corner, but Carter dodges to KNEE back! Carter cravat rolls Mendoza to PENALTY KICK! Cover, TWO! Carter whips, Mendoza holds ropes and he boots back! Tag to Wilde, Mendoza dumps Carter out and then gives Wilde a boost to dropkick Carter to barriers! Wilde DECKS Lee for good measure, and Legado has the fans dueling as NXT goes to break!
NXT returns and Mendoza GERMAN SUPLEXES, but Carter lands on his feet! Carter ducks the enziguri, but Mendoza anchors a foot! Mendoza drags Carter, Carter enziguris Mendoza! Hot tag to Lee and Lee rallies on Mendoza! Lee glares at Wilde, throws hands on Mendoza and CALF KICKS hard! Wilde gets in as Mendoza bails out but Lee throws him out, too! Lee and Carter coordinate, APRON SHOVE MOONSAULT!! Legado goes down, but Lee builds speed and FLIES! Lee bowls Legado down all over again and fires up! Fans fire up as Lee puts Mendoza in. Cover, but Wilde drags Mendoza to safety! Carter runs into a BOOT and then Wilde sends him into barriers!
Mendoza KICKS Lee at the ropes, springboards and missile dropkicks Lee into the corner! Tag to Wilde, and Wilde hops on to POISON-RANA! Tag back to Mendoza, he drags Lee up, dead lift ANARCHY SUPLEX! Cover, but Carter breaks it! Mendoza is furious and he mule kicks hard! Fireman’s carry, tag to Wilde, and Wilde climbs up, Wilde uses Carter as a boost for the 450, but onto Lee’s knees! Lee saves himself at the last second, and then he drags Wilde to a cover! But Mendoza SLAMS Carter onto it! Fans are thunderous, Mendoza throws Carter out and helps Wilde up. Legado coordinates, but Wilde has to steady himself. Mendoza runs but Carter trips and drags him out!
Wilde swings on Carter but misses, SUPERKICK from Lee! Tag to Carter, MSK looms over Wilde as they coordinate. Body shot and a toss, BLOCKBUSTER HART ATTACK! Cover, MSK wins!!
Winners: MSK, by pinfall (advance to the Men’s Dusty Cup Finals)
Carter & Lee shock many of the Capitol Wrestling Center fans, but they’ve been shocking us all since coming to NXT! Will they give us the biggest shocker yet when they take the Men’s Dusty Cup as the new kids on the block?
Mercedes Martinez speaks.
“It’s taken 20 years. 20 years to get to this point. This Sunday, it’s everything that I’ve worked for, everything that I’ve done, the trials, the tribulations. This is me! The real me!” Mercedes says the title is her destiny. Her goal. Why she’s still here. Toni Storm is a little girl. She’s not ready for this. Io Shirai has tried to take her out but it’ll take a lot more than that. The Evil Genius’ days as champ have an expiration date and that date is this Sunday. Come TakeOver, Mercedes walks out THE NXT Women’s Champion, “bet on that.”
Xia Li w/ Tian Sha VS Cora Jade!
We were told the legend of Tian Sha last week, and it seems that is who turned the Spicy Xia into a sharpened steel blade. Speaking of, that is what Xia uses to demonstrate her skills this week. Will Xia only sharpen her edge further against her
Wait, Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter appear. They’re not Xia’s opponent, but they are her friends, and are worried about what has happened to her. Boa tells them to leave, the bell rings, and Jade attacks from behind! But that only angers Xia and she DECKS Jade! Xia strikes her fighting pose before she KICKS Jade right in the back! Jade hobbles up but Xia throws her right into ropes! Jade coughs and sputters, Xia aims and SPIN KICKS! Cover, Xia wins!!
Winner: Xia Li, by pinfall
Xia now glares at KC Squared, before she stomps away on Jade! Jade gets out of the ring, Kacy and Kayden try to talk to Xia, but Xia tells them to just leave. Kayden hops down to confront Tian Sha!! Who even is Tian? What has she done to Xia? What is she doing in NXT? But Xia sneaks up on Kayden and throws her off the stage! Xia apologizes to Tian Sha for that disturbance and promises it will not happen again. Tian raises her hand, and Boa tries to reason with her, too. Tian just grabs Boa by the face! Tian tells Xia to attack, so Xia attacks Kacy! HEEL KICK! Xia dispatches of her past, and Tian shows mercy to Boa. Will there be no mercy for the rest of the NXT Women’s Division?
Backstage interview with William Regal!
Does the NXT GM have any thoughts on the Dusty Cups Semifinals? Well a congratulations on MSK for winning, and he looks forward to the other two matches. Regal then opens his door and finds Scarlett Bordeaux waiting. Can he help her? Actually, she’s here to help him. If “he” were to be here in person, it wouldn’t be pretty. Santos Escobar’s time is up. Next week, Kross VS Escobar. Regal agrees and makes it happen. He politely asks her to leave, and she gives him a last warning that the end is near. Will Escobar #FallAndPray as the apocalypse is upon him?
The Way arrives, but Johnny Gargano is in a wheelchair?
Austin Theory wheels Gargano in but his arm is the only thing wrapped up. Is this legitimate? Or just the way Gargano is going to get out of defending his title?
NXT returns and The Way has made it to the ring.
But wait, now Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory have to lift Gargano up and into the ring? This is sad, but perhaps not in the way it should be. Theory sits Gargano on the top rope, then gets the wheelchair into the ring. Candice makes sure Johnny is okay before Theory carries him to the chair again. Theory carefully sets Johnny in his chair and then fetches a mic. Fans taunt him with “Johnny Wheelchair!” Johnny says before The Way’s Candice and Indi punch their tickets to TakeOver, he has some “unfortunate news.” What we are seeing is the result of a “vicious and cowardly attack by Kushida last week.” Johnny was minding his own business, but fans say “You Deserve It!”
Johnny says he does not deserve this! He was minding his own business when Kushida attacked him “for no good reason” and then broke Johnny’s arm! Watch the tape! Turn Johnny so he can see, too. The footage is of the brawl the two men had last week after Johnny threw the first sucker punch! And then in slow motion, we see Kushida Penalty Kick Johnny’s arm! Candice covers Johnny’s eyes so he doesn’t have to see it, and then they turn Johnny away. Johnny claims to have four fractures in his upper arm. Johnny is not only a leftie, he is a well-known power walker, who swings his arms hard when he walks. Now he can’t because it hurts and he’s in a wheelchair and Johnny hates wheels, so it’s all bad.
Fans still chant “Johnny Wheelchair” but Johnny says the worst part of this is that now, he can’t defend his NXT North American Championship against Kushida at TakeOver. That sucks! He really wanted to have that match. But Kushida should be suspended INDEFINITELY for injuring “the most beloved member of the NXT locker room!” Regal speaks up as he enters on stage. Regal says we’re supposed to be moving on to the Women’s Dusty Cup Semifinals, and we all know the NXT medical team cleared Gargano yesterday. So stop with this ridiculous charade. Charade?! Does Johnny look like he’s Dennis Charademan? He’s not!
And Johnny won’t trust the quacks in medical! The Way’s doctors found this! Look at those X-rays! Four fractures, just like he said. And Kushida broke the longest and strongest bone in Gargano’s arm! Regal asks him the name of said bone. Gargano doesn’t know, it starts with a D or something! He’s not Johnny Doctor! Regal says that’s not a real X-Ray. That R is for right arm, and Johnny is talking about his left! Second, that isn’t Gargano’s X-Ray because he’d be in excruciating pain! No, remember? Gargano can kick out of anything because he has a very high pain threshold! Proof is in the pudding and X-Ray. That R is probably for REAL, and it says “John Gargano” so that is totally legit! Yeah sure it is.
But Regal says there are two options here. First: Theory can be a surrogate, and his match with Kushida later tonight will be for the North American Championship. Theory likes that but Gargano says no way! And that’s not a pun! Then option two is Gargano forfeits the title right now. No no no no! Gargano needs a couple weeks, maybe months, and he will rehab his arm. It’ll be turned into a montage and music video, the return will be great. Wait, Kushida has snuck in behind The Way! Regal says whatever the decision, it needs to be conferred with Kushida first. Why? He shouldn’t even be here! He should be arrested!
Regal says Johnny needs to wait a second as he asks Kushida-san what he thinks. Johnny asks who Regal is talking to. And then Theory realizes Kushida’s right beside him! FAST BALL! Kushida grabs at the belt and pulls Gargano out of the chair! Kushida and Gargano tug-o-war over the belt, and Gargano yanks the belt away! He’s holding it up with his “broken” left arm! Therefore, it is NOT broken! FAST BALL! Gargano falls into the wheelchair and then falls over! Indi keeps Candice from going after Kushida, but clearly the charade has been exposed! So then, will the North American title match still be on for TakeOver? But first, the final Women’s Dusty Cup Semifinal begins!
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon VS The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell!
NXT returns and the match is already underway as Ember has Candice down with a headlock. Candice headscissors, Ember kips out and headlocks again. Ember wrenches, tags in Shotzi, then whips Candice. Shotzi slides and trips Candice, Ember basement dropkicks, then Shotzi back sentons! Cover, TWO! Shotzi drags Candice up to cravat, but Candice endures. Shotzi throws knees, and Candice staggers to the corner. Tag to Ember, Ember brings Candice up to ram in shoulders! Candice shoves Ember away but Ember tosses her back in! Tag to Shotzi, but Candice gets away! Tag to Indi but Shotzi is right on her with clubbing forearms! Indi still fireman’s carries and SNAKE EYES!
Indi scoops Shotzi for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi grows annoyed and she drags Shotzi up to bump her off buckles. Indi stomps a mudhole, the ref counts and Indi lets off to drag Shotzi out. Cover, TWO! Indi keeps on Shotzi at the ropes, wrenches an arm and tags in Candice. The Way mugs Shotzi, Candice pulls Shotzi’s hair and uses that to wrench and throw Shotzi down! Cover, TWO! Candice gets the arm and keylocks it but Shotzi endures. Fans rally up, Shotzi fights to her feet, and Shotzi throws forearms. Candice knees low and hard, snapmares Shotzi and then hits a NECK SNAPPER! Jackknife bridge, TWO! Candice keeps on Shotzi’s arm and drags her away to tag in Indi.
Indi stomps Shotzi, drags her up and whips her to ropes to elbow her down! Indi taunts Ember, covers Shotzi, TWO! Ember talks smack back but Indi drags Shotzi up. Candice tags in, Candice wrenches Shotzi’s arm and uses a foot to JAM the shoulder! Cover, TWO! Candice is back on the arm with another keylock and she thrashes Shotzi around. Shotzi fights up, fans rally, and Shotzi throws forearms! Shotzi reaches but Candice keeps her from Ember to then throw her down! Cover, TWO! Candice drags Shotzi up, but Shotzi jawbreakers! Hot tag to Ember! Ember rallies on The Way, mule kicks and kicks and enziguris!
Fans fire up with Ember as she runs, and she shotgun dropkicks Candice down! Tag to Indi, she runs in but Ember spins her around for a ROLLING ELBOW! Tag to Shotzi, they coordinate, neckbreaker to CODE BREAKER, to QUESTION MARK! Cover, TWO! Tag back to Ember, they coordinate again, wrench and whip to a HANGING HEADSCISSOR, and FLYING FOREARM! Cradle cover, TWO!! Candice gets in but Shotzi is there to drag her out! But Candice shoves Shotzi into the table! Indi trips up Ember! Tag to Candice and The Way work together for a tightrope walk and FLYING RANA! Ember is sent into Shotzi and fans are furious as NXT goes picture in picture!
Candice looms over her opponents before putting Ember in and covers, TWO! Tag to Indi, she stomps Ember down, then stomps and stomps. Cover, ONE! Indi is annoyed but she drags Ember up to clamp on a chinlock. Indi thrashes Ember around but she endures. Ember fights up, reaches out but Indi throws her back down! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps on Ember with another chinlock, and she leans on the hold. Ember endures, fights up again, and throws body shots, but Indi throws Ember down by her hair! Tag to Candice, Candice stomps Ember down, then taunts Shotzi. Candice hits the step-up senton! Cover, TWO!
Candice keeps Ember from Shotzi and drags her all the way to The Way’s corner. Tag to Indi, and Indi stomps Ember again. Indi pushes Ember around but Ember CHOPS back! Indi CLOBBERS Ember, covers, TWO! Indi keeps Ember from Shotzi, drags her to the corner, and Candice tags back in. Candice drops a leg, grabs an arm, then brings Ember up to whip her into the corner hard! Candice runs corner to corner to back body block! Indi tags in, she runs in and forearm smashes Ember! Cover, TWO! Indi stays on Ember with a snapmare and chinlock. Ember endures all over again, fights her way back up, but Indi whips her away from Shotzi!
NXT returns to single picture as Ember holds ropes. Indi runs in but her boot gets caught up! Ember throws Indi out and then hurries for her corner! Hot tags to Candice and Shotzi! Shotzi tackles Candice and fires off furious fists! ROLLING ELBOW! Shotzi fireman’s carries, swings and T K O BUSTER! Shotzi runs and hits the BALL PIT! Cover, TWO! Shotzi grows frustrated but she and Ember coordinate. Ember tags in, Shotzi whips Candice into Ember’s gut wrench, AK-47 style Code Breaker! Shotzi SLING-DOGS Candice onto Ember’s knees! Cover, but Indi barrels in to break it! Shotzi whips Indi but Indi throws Shotzi out! Indi turns around into Ember’s BOOT!
Candice CLOBBERS Ember from behind! Candice shouts to Indi and tags her in. Indi hurries after Ember and coordinates with Candice. Ember is stuck in the ropes, Candice DRAPING LIONSAULTS!! Then Candice DIVES onto Shotzi! Indi covers Ember, TWO!! Ember survives and The Way is shocked! Fans are fired up for “NXT! NXT!” as The Way regroups. Indi drags Ember up, puts her in the corner and tags in Candice. Indi whips Candice in but Ember flops out of the way! Candice hits buckles, Ember flounders for her corner but Indi drags her away. Ember kicks Indi into Candice! Hot tag to Shotzi!
Shotzi enziguris Indi out, then fires off on Candice! Shotzi runs, Candice kicks the legs out and mule kicks! Tag back to Indi, The Way coordinates as Candice has Shotzi, WICKED STEP SISTER! SPRINGBOARD MACHO ELBOW!! Cover, but Ember breaks it! Candice is furious as Indi’s #ImpressiveElbow wasn’t the finish! Ember and Candice brawl on the outside, Indi drags Shotzi up. Shotzi trips Indi up to roll her up, ONE! Indi is in the corner, Shotzi runs in to SHINING WIZARD to DRAPING DDT!! Indi flounders, Shotzi is on the apron and Shotzi KICKS Candice into the ECLIPSE!! Indi saves Candice from Shotzi’s SUPER BACK SENTON!! Cover, Shotzi & Ember win!!
Winners: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon, by pinfall (advance to the Women’s Dusty Cup Finals)
The wild child and the Evolved Shenom are fired up! And now they are on their way to history! Will they be howling to the moon and Take Care o’ Business as they take on Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez in the historic finals?
But as they go on stage to look at the Dusty Cup, Shotzi & Ember are confronted by Raquel & Dakota. Regal hurries out to keep the peace and make it official. On Sunday, one team makes history by not only winning the inaugural Women’s Dusty Cup, but they will also receive a future WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match! He wishes both teams best of luck, and now the stakes are raised! Which team takes history along with a golden opportunity all for themselves?
Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa speak.
The Professor of Pain starts by saying, “Last week, we went to war with the Undisputed Era. It was rough, it was brutal, just the way we like it.” Tonight, they battle last year’s finalists. The Psycho Killer says that GYV are former NXT UK Tag Team Champions, and a couple of tough dudes. “But that. The Grizzled Young Veterans. The irony.” Gibson and Drake can say they’re whatever they want, but the fact is “Toothless Timmy and Old Man Ciampa” are gonna whoop their asses. Then on Sunday, Vengeance Day, these two win the tournament and take the Dusty Cup. Class dismissed.
Backstage interview with Santos Escobar.
What are his thoughts on the news that next week, he will face Karrion Kross 1v1? Escobar says Kross gave him “the gift of time.” But the funny thing about time is that it’s all relative. Kross doesn’t get to just make threats. Escobar is now giving Kross the gift of time. Mendoza and Wilde walk in and apologize for losing but Escobar says they don’t need to. Apologizing admits weakness, so Escobar never apologizes. But there’s something they can do to make it up to Escobar. These two should pay a certain someone a visit. Make sure Kross doesn’t make it to next week. And with that, Escobar thanks McKenzie for the interview and heads out. Will El Legado find a way to cancel the apocalypse?
NXT takes a closer look at The Prince VS The Bruiserweight.
Finn Balor has a red X on his back because he knows he is THE target in the NXT. Whoever comes at Finn next, “they stopped manufacturing the cloth that I’m cut from!” But Pete Dunne says that there was a line to face the champion. Dunne doesn’t care about a line. There’s no respect for The Prince here. “Everyone in Europe wanted to follow in Finn Balor’s footsteps. Not me.” Where everyone else sees the “poster boy” for European pro-wrestling, Dunne sees “a geezer with a glass jaw.” Dunne says Balor better hold that belt tight, because the first chance Dunne gets, it’s his.
Balor knows what Dunne has said. Dunne doesn’t respect Balor, but that’s fine. Balor doesn’t respect Dunne. But Balor would be a fool not to acknowledge Dunne’s abilities, achievements, and how he is championship material. Just not against Balor. Edge said it best: Balor is on “an entirely different level.” Dunne says it is inevitable. Vengeance Day, Balor VS Dunne for the NXT Championship, is intriguing even to the Rated R Superstar. “This isn’t a passing of the torch. This is gonna be a burning of the bridges.”
Dunne vows to smash Balor’s jaw and break his fingers. But Balor says Dunne will be in deep water. Dunne is a threat to Balor’s legacy, but Balor will make Dunne learn the hard way that he can’t swim these waters. Will the Bruiserweight be drowning in despair? Or will he dethrone the Prince and take over his kingdom?
KUSHIDA VS Austin Theory w/ Johnny Gargano!
The Time Splitter got the drop on The Way earlier tonight, but he still has to wait until Sunday to face Johnny Wrestling for the title! Will he be more than happy to tune-up #AllDay before getting at the gold?
The bell rings, Kushida and Theory rush each other, and they fire off fast hands! Kushida KICKS away on Theory’s arm, then runs in to go up and rain down fists! Gargano gets on the apron and distracts Kushida, Theory slips away to CLUB Kushida down! Theory brings Kushida around to throw forearms then whip and dropkick Kushida down! Theory seethes as he paces and drags Kushida up. Theory bumps Kushida off buckles, RAMS into him, then rams again! The ref counts, Theory lets off and drags Kushida up for forearms. Theory goes to suplex but Kushida blocks. Theory throws forearms and whips Kushida again, but then Kushida BOOTS back!
Kushida fires off forearms on Theory but Theory knees low. Theory whips, Kushida reverses but Theory blocks the hip toss. Kushida hits a judo throw instead, and then handspring dropkicks! FAST BALL! Kushida waistlocks but Theory switches. Kushida wrenches out, ARMBAR BULLDOG! Gargano feels that pain. Fans fire up for Kushida as he drags Theory around, stands on the arm then gets the other, for INVERTED DANIELSON STOMPS! Kushida lets off to bring Theory up and KICK him down! Theory flounders to a corner, Kushida is after the arm again but Theory pulls hair and knees low! Theory throws hands but Kushida hits the arm!
Theory throws more forearms, whips Kushida but Kushida wrenches and kicks low! Kushida steps through to hammerlock the arm, then he gets the other arm and steps over that! Kushida has Theory trapped for a SNAP LOCK! Theory scrambles to ropes, Kushida storms over and gets the left arm. Kushida YANKS the arm, but Theory fireman’s carries! Kushida fights free, goes after arms but Theory gets around to waistlock. They end up on ropes, the ref calls for a break and Theory knees low! Kushida KICKS away on the arm, then Theory flounders to a corner. Kushida is after the arm, ELBOW BREAKER!
Theory writhes in pain, Gargano is upset, but Kushida wrenches. Theory breaks free, swings, but into a KICK! Kushida has Theory in another corner but Theory put shim on the apron. Kushida counter punches, springboards but Theory trips him up! Theory DECKS Kushida! Fans fire up as NXT goes to break!
NXT returns and Theory grinds Kushida’s arm, Kushida fights up as fans rally, but Theory knees low. Theory scoops to hit a BACKBREAKER! Theory covers, TWO! Gargano is frustrated but Theory drags Kushida up. Kushida throws body shots, Theory CLUBS him, then Theory whips Kushida to ropes. Kushida leaps but into Theory’s arms for a FALL AWAY SLAM! Theory and Gargano high five with the “good” arm before Theory has a cocky cover on Kushida. TWO and Johnny argues with the ref. Theory rains down fists on Kushida as he shouts, “I! AM! THE WAY!” Fans boo as Theory loom over Kushida and drags him up. Theory CHOPS Kushida right to ropes!
Theory talks trash, throws forearms but Kushida just glares at him. Theory throws more forearms over and over, CLUBS Kushida down, then drags him up to snapmare. Theory stomps but Kushida dodges and rolls him up, TWO! Kushida hits an atomic drop and whip, but Theory reverses, only for Kushida to handspring back elbow! Theory staggers to a corner, but he runs at Kushida, only for Kushida to catch him to a BUCKLE SHOT! Theory flounders, Kushida reels him in, GERMAN SUPLEX! Kushida stomps Theory’s hand, BUZZSAW! Cover, TWO!! Kushida throws off the tank top and fires up with the CWC fans!
Kushida stands on Theory, keeps him from Gargano, and drags him away by an arm. Kushida wrenches, elbow breaker after elbow breaker, then a WRINGER! Theory bails out, Gargano is there to help him, but Kushida is on the apron. Kushida leaps but Theory dodges and BODY CHECKS Kushida! Theory drags Kushida up, lifts him up, but Kushida fights back! Kushida is on the apron, he rains down rights, and then hits an ARMBAR! But Gargano SUPERKICKS Kushida!!
Winner: Kushida, by disqualification
Gargano is furious and he shoves Kushida down while shouting, “Who do you think you are?!” The ref reprimands Gargano but he tells Theory to get Kushida up. Theory has Kushida in a camel clutch and only now does Gargano pretend his arm is “miraculously” healed. We all know he could use it this entire time, but now he uses it to throw down furious fists on Kushida’s face! Theory keeps Kushida from falling over as Gargano rubs the title in Kushida’s face. Then The Way stomps away on Kushida! Theory says to mess Kushida’s arm up with a chair! Gargano agrees and he goes to fetch some steel. Theory puts Kushida in the ring, but someone drags Theory under the ring!!
Gargano hurries to drag Theory out from under the ring, but he instead brings out DEXTER LUMIS! Gargano is afraid for his life and he scurries up the ramp! Theory drags himself out and thinks he’s hugging Gargano, but then he freaks out when he realizes it’s Dexter Lumis! Theory scrambles into the ring, into Kushida’s HOVERBOARD KIMURA!! Gargano hurries back in to go after Kushida, but he gets dragged down into the HOVERBOARD! The “broken” arm might break this time, and then Lumis gets Theory for SILENCE!! The Way hold hands as Theory fades out! Is this the way Gargano’s reign will end at TakeOver?
Toni Storm speaks.
“Five months ago, I sat on the beach and I looked out at the ocean, and I told everyone exactly what was gonna happen. I predicted it. And now, here we are.” Finally, Toni has a chance at the NXT Women’s Championship. Mercedes Martinez, it is very rude to involve yourself in other people’s business. Io Shirai, Performer of the Year and NXT Women’s Champion, Mae Young Classic Winn- Oh no, that last one wasn’t Shirai. That was Toni! And she knows that because Toni beat Shirai to win the tournament!
So what is the one thing that Shirai has said so far? She doesn’t like Toni? Well Toni wouldn’t like her either if she was Shirai, because every time they’re in the ring together, Toni beats Shirai. But no one talks about that, do they? This Sunday, everyone will be talking about it because Toni will walk away with the title. Shirai, Martinez, after TakeOver, get back in line because it’ll be #ToniTime.
Marcel Barthel starts by saying, “Imperium is all about unity.” Alexander Wolfe returning to NXT USA was just the next piece in the puzzle. Fabian Aichner says Barthel is Imperium’s “agitator.” Wolfe says Barthel is “efficient, disciplined.” Barthel and Wolfe say Aichner is the “equalizer,” a man who can improvise, adapt and overcome. Barthel and Aichner say Wolfe is Imperium’s “Hatchet Man,” who is cold-blooded and has no remorse. And of course, Walter is the Ring General, “the most dominant United Kingdom Champion in history.” Together, they are Imperium! “To us, the mat is sacred!”
NXT returns to find El Legado has been devastated!
Wilde is under ladders and Mendoza is stuck on a trunk! Scarlett simply walks through the wreckage as Karrion Kross gets the camera’s attention! “Mr. Santos! Have you ever heard the old saying, ‘When you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself?'” Well, he should’ve because Kross just did. Next week, Kross will do to him what he did to Legado. Tick-tock. Is Escobar going to face doomsday in the aftermath of Vengeance Day?
A car pulls up rather noisily.
But it is a very fancy car! A white Lamborghini pulls up, the door flies open, and out walks… CAMERON GRIMES!? Grimes pays security to park his car for him while he goes to the ring. When did Grimes get all that green? He’s just giving it away to the CWC audience! They’re $100 bills?!? Did the Carolina Caveman strike gold or oil or something while he was away?! Grimes gets a mic, checks the time on his Rolex, and says there’s a nice reward for everyone who gets up on their feet! “Cameron Grimes is back, babay~!” Two months ago, Grimes was outside this very ring, because that no-good Timothy Thatcher, “that MCL snatcher,” took Grimes out, left him laying, screamin’ and flailin’.
Grimes went home and did what any man would do: He thought about how he’d make a comeback and Cave-In Thatcher! He won’t claim he trained the whole time. He did have some downtime, and in that downtime, just like any man would, he found out there’s these things called “video games.” Turns out, video games are freakin’ cool! Grimes started playing them, and thought to himself, “Why even wrestle if I can just play video games?”
But then Grimes ran out of games, so he want to this place called GameStop. Grimes walked in, when he opened those doors, the lights just hit a little different. Grimes thought to himself, “If there was anything that Cameron Grimes would put his money in, it would be a fine establishment like GameStop!” Turns out, Grimes is at the right place at the right time, because it went PARABOLIC! In laymen’s terms, “TO~ THE~ MOOOON~!” Now he has SO MUCH MONEY~! So much, he didn’t know what to do with it! But there’s things like, for dogs. It’s Doge Coin or something. And Grimes never did trust cats. Nine lives means they’re up to no good! So Grimes invested in them dog coins and now he’s RICH~! WOO~! So rich, richer than Alibaba!!
Grimes is fired up, throwing off his jacket, and says Elon Musk, “the guy that makes the rocket ships,” well Grimes just pulled up in one! HAHA~! Give it up for Cameron Grimes, the richest man in NXT! And there ain’t nobody that can tell Grimes anything now! Regal can’t tell Grimes something! Grimes tells Regal to kiss his grits! Grimes ain’t gonna wrestle Lumis, #KissMyGrits! Wrestle zombies? #KissMyGrits~! Money is power, and now Grimes has so much of it, it ain’t even funny. It’s HILARIOUS~! Grimes makes it rain then rolls around to make a money angel! But even with all that money, will Grimes’ massive ego still write a check his body can’t cash?
Backstage interview with Johnny Gargano.
A rough night for The Way, given how Kushida- STOP RIGHT THERE, ACTUAL MCKENZIE! She’s gone a week and still says stupid things! Gargano was doing Kushida a favor canceling their match. But this Sunday, Gargano VS Kushida IS happening! That is a dream match for many, but not for Gargano! This is an opportunity for Gargano to remind the world who the hell he is! Gargano isn’t just a North American Champion, he isn’t just Johnny Wrestling, he’s Johnny FREAKIN’ TakeOver! So Kushida better bring his best and be ready to wrestle the match of his FREAKIN’ life! Because when Gargano’s boots are tied, the lights are bright and it’s a TakeOver, no one can hang with Gargano! Sunday, Kushida enters Gargano’s world!
Io Shirai speaks.
“Scared? Scared of a Three Way Match? There’s no way I’m scared of a Three Way Match, I defeated Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley to win this championship.” In fact, Shirai looks forward to this one. Toni Storm is still not suited for this title. And it was three years ago that Toni won the MYC. They’re both different people now. Shirai is a champion, Toni is a challenger. Mercedes Martinez says her 20 year journey has led here. Too bad the journey will never end. It’ll go one forever and ever and ever, because Shirai WILL retain her title. On Sunday, TakeOver: Vengeance Day, Io Shirai remains champion.
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal: Grizzled Young Veterans VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!
Liverpool’s Number One and Mr. Mayhem were the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champions, and have been a tag team for roughly a decade! But this newly formed duo they’re against was forged through respect born from pain and grit! Will the Grizzled Young Veterans SSSSSOON be recognized as back-to-back Dusty Cup Finalists? Or will they fall even shorter when no one will survive?
Gibson has a mic and says, “Look at these two goofs! They really are as dumb as they look. Ciampa, how did things end between you and your last tag team partner, hey? And Tim, same question to you, lad!” Honestly, these two can take their fake friendship and stick it up all the way up their asses! The trophy belongs to the Grizzled Young Veterans, SSSSOON to be recognized as Dusty Classic winners, and SSSSOON– Ciampa doesn’t wait for teams to sort out, he DECKS Drake off the apron and goes after Gibson! Thatcher helps out as he drags Gibson around for EuroUppers! Ciampa hits Drake, CHOPS him, and then CHOPS more!
Thatcher throws Gibson into barriers, and Ciampa does the same to Drake! The makeshift combination maul GYV against Plexiglas! Then they trade targets! Thatcher stomps Drake and Ciampa stomps Gibson! Ciampa drags Drake up, throws him over barriers, and Thatcher drags Gibson up to put in the ring. Thatcher gets in and Gibson backs away to a corner. The bell rings, Gibson hits Thatcher! Gibson facelocks, Thatcher slips out and wrenches to knee away! Thatcher knees Gibson down, gets a leg and drags him over to tag in Ciampa. Ciampa stomps Gibson, YANKS Gibson’s leg, then wrenches an arm to tag Thatcher back in.
Thatcher and Ciampa mug Gibson, Thatcher looms over Gibson and wrenches the arm around. Gibson powers up but Thatcher wants the double wristlock. Gibson ends up in a corner, Thatcher throws EuroUppers and whips him corner to corner. Drake takes the impact in the corner, Gibson clubs Thatcher, then tags Drake in. Drake kicks and punches Thatcher to a corner. Drake stomps away on Thatcher, then reels him in for a short arm clothesline! Drake keeps throwing haymakers but Thatcher throws EuroUppers! Drake kicks Thatcher, tags Gibson, but Thatcher fights GYV off with more uppercuts!
Thatcher has Gibson’s arm but Drake trips Ciampa up! Drake shoves Ciampa into steel steps, Gibson rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Gibson facelocks Thatcher but Thatcher waistlocks. Gibson backs Thatcher down, Drake tags in, and Drake rolls to run in, big back elbow! Gibson adds a clothesline then feeds Thatcher to Drake’s windmill kick! GYV go out and get Ciampa up! Assisted APRON POWERBOMB! Ciampa flails and writhes as NXT goes picture in picture.
The ref tells GYV to back off while he checks on Ciampa. Ciampa clutches his neck, the known weak spot, and GYV go back for Thatcher. Drake drags Thatcher up to cravat, grinds him down, but Thatcher fights up. Drake facelocks, Gibson tags in, and they mug Thatcher! Gibson throws EuroUppers and down goes Thatcher! Gibson drags Thatcher back up, Thatcher grabs at Gibson’s leg so Gibson drops knees! Ciampa is still down on the outside as Gibson wraps Thatcher up in a chinlock. Thatcher endures, Gibson grinds him down, medics check on Ciampa’s neck. Thatcher reaches out with a leg, Gibson keeps him just out of reach of the ropebreak, and shifts around with the hold.
Thatcher fights up, Drake tags in, ripcord FOREARM! Drake covers, TWO! Thatcher kicks from below but Drake stomps away! Drake drops elbows, pushes Thatcher down and digs a knee into his face. Cover, TWO! Thatcher again kicks from below but Drake throws forearms! Drake drags Thatcher up, throws haymakers, and NXT returns to single picture as Thatcher fires EuroUppers in return! Thatcher rocks Drake but Drake hits back! Thatcher clinches to BELLY2BELLY Drake away! Drake crawls, Ciampa is still down, Gibson tags in! Gibson runs in to clotheslines Thatcher in the corner, then SLAMS him down! Cover, TWO! Another try, TWO!
Gibson keeps on Thatcher with a wristlock, some forearms to his face, then a seated chinlock. Gibson leans hard on the hold but Thatcher reaches. Gibson pushes off ropes to keep Thatcher away but the ref reprimands. Thatcher endures, fans rally up, and Thatcher scowls as he fights his way up. Gibson shifts around to ROCK Thatcher with a EuroUpper! And another! Thatcher throws forearms on the GYV, but Gibson ROCKS him again! Gibson hammers away on Thatcher, tags to Drake, and GYV coordinates. Drake climbs, Gibson Electric Chair lifts, but Thatcher fights out! Thatcher shoves Gibson, Drake leaps over, but Thatcher EuroUppers him out of the air!
Drake and Thatcher are down, but Ciampa isn’t on the corner! Gibson gets in and goes after Ciampa, only for Ciampa to DECK him! Ciampa is back and gets the hot tag! Ciampa rallies on Drake with big clotheslines! Gibson gets in to get some clotheslines, too! Ciampa keeps going, clothesline to Drake in a corner, then to Gibson, then BOTH GYV! Ciampa fires up and so does the CWC! Ciampa GERMAN SUPLEXES Drake! And GERMAN SUPLEXES Gibson! And then a fireman’s carry, AIR RAID CRASH onto Gibson! Cover, TWO!! Ciampa snarls, drags Drake back up, and CHOPS him! And CHOPS him! And CHOPS again!
Thatcher likes what he sees as Ciampa underhooks. Drake drops, Ciampa CLUBS him, then brings him back up. Drake powers Ciampa back, Gibson tags in and the GYV mugs Ciampa! Gibson brings Ciampa up to hoist into HELTER- No! Ciampa slips out to CHOP Gibson! Gibson forearms, Ciampa gives them back and it’s a brawl! They go fast and furious then Ciampa SLAPS and KNEE TRIGGERS Gibson! Gibson throat chops! And hoists Ciampa up, for HELTER SKELTER! Both men are down and crawling for their corners, hot tag to Drake, and Ciampa is still down! Drake runs to launch off Ciampa, MAYHEM In Motion to Thatcher!
Drake and Gibson coordinate, they drag Ciampa up to the Electric Chair! GRIZZLED DOOMSDAY!! Cover, but Thatcher breaks it! Fans fire up as Gibson goes after Thatcher and throws him out hard! Gibson throws forearms but Thatcher choke grips to SLAP Gibson down! Drake DIVES and sends Thatcher into barriers! Drake hurries back to the ring, but Ciampa catches him in the ropes! But Gibson anchors Drake’s feet and saves him from the DDT! Tag to Gibson, Drake scoops Ciampa, TICKET TO MAYHEM!! Cover, Drake intercepts Thatcher, GYV WIN!!
Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans, by pinfall (advance to the Men’s Dusty Cup Finals)
The Ticket to Mayhem is their ticket to TakeOver! The team that’s teamed together longer finds a way to win, and now they’re going back to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals! But will just be going back to back? Or will they end MSK’s streak right at the finish line?
Commentary gets on the mics to run down the TakeOver card!
MSK talks trash with GYV as they both prepare for the Men’s Dusty Cup Finals! Gargano and Kushida return for one last stare down before fighting for the North American Championship! The historic Women’s Dusty Cup will have Kai & Gonzalez VS Shotzi & Ember, and those teams return to finish where they left off in the trash talk. And there’s the Triple Threat for the NXT Women’s Championship! Shirai is between both Mercedes and Toni as they all argue with each other.
But of course, last but certainly not least, the main event, THE NXT Championship, Balor VS Dunne for the first time ever anywhere!! And these two stare down in the ring under the spotlight as a dream match a long time coming finally happens! Balor takes aim at Dunne, Dunne puts his dukes up, but who puts the other down on Vengeance Day?
A very strong go-home, but um, that ending segment was random. NXT has never done a last minute rundown of a TakeOver card accompanied by forced continuations of stare downs and trash talk. NXT better not be listening to USA Network or NBC executives on how to do their show because that’s a bunch of bull and makes NXT feel more like Raw or even, dare I say, ROH. But that aside, everything else was as it should’ve been. We got great video packages for the NXT Women’s and top NXT titles, which should’ve been all we got, not those trash talk/stare down moments at the end. That is what makes NXT great, so we don’t need to add on. I’m honestly surprised there wasn’t more of a Prime Target feel to one of them, but maybe that’s being saved for closer to Mania.
Xia Li decimates another opponent, but the real development from her segment was that KC Squared still wants to be her friends. Tian Sha/Mei Lin has a stronger hold over Xia, so I would love to see a tag match where Tian Sha (Karen Q) gets in action. That will be a really fun match because of the combinations of martial arts and acrobatic styles that all four women use, and it could even be a series. The Way had a really good string through the night, from Gargano faking a broken arm and somehow that keeps him from walking, and then him being exposed outright. Kushida VS Theory was very good, even with Gargano getting involved. Lumis showing up was great, too, but I guess we won’t get a tag match of Gargano & Theory VS Lumis & Kushida, as good as that would’ve been.
Candice & Indi VS Shotzi & Ember was a really good match, but naturally with Heels already in the Women’s Dusty Cup Finals through Kai & Gonzalez, the Faces won out. Shotzi & Ember are coming up with some really good combo moves, like the bulldog to knees. The Women’s Dusty Cup finals can go either way with it being the first-ever, so it really comes down to Raquel or Shotzi, who has the bigger push? They’ve both gotten to do a lot this past year or so on NXT, maybe Dakota or Ember takes the fall. And with the prize (logically and rightfully) being for a shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Titles, I think the Dusty Cup determines who wins between Nia & Shayna VS Naomi & Lana. WWE insists on Heels VS Faces so whoever wins the cup, the opposite will have the titles.
Imperium had a really good promo video, too, but I still don’t see Walter showing up. Walter still has the NXT UK Championship, so he has to be on NXT UK and hold down the fort. As for Wolfe, Aichner and Barthel, they can of course go for North American and Tag Team Championships, once Faces have them again. There’s a very good chance Kushida wins the North American Championship, so Kushida VS Wolfe would make for a very good match-up. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch being Heels, would MSK end up winning the Men’s Dusty Cup? MSK VS Legado and GYV VS Thatcher & Ciampa were both great matches, but naturally we get Faces VS Heels there, too.
I am going to be very surprised if GYV doesn’t win at TakeOver, I’m not sure MSK is all the way there just yet. We still don’t even know what the letters mean! As for Thatcher and Ciampa losing, I wouldn’t be surprised if this starts to make them question the tag team. They are of course 1-1 in their series against each other, so maybe the next loss breaks them up and we get the tiebreaker at the next big NXT event. Kross VS Escobar is happening way sooner than I would’ve expected, but whatever. I’m not really feeling either, and I again say the Cruiserweight title should’ve been given to Curt Stallion just to get it out of this story.
Cameron “GameStonks Doge Coin Kiss My Grits” Grimes is already off to a hilarious start. The social commentary is strong, and the fact Grimes kept calling it “dog coin” was perfect for who he is. As was him not knowing about video games until he was home healing. I feel like this is his equivalent of Ric Flair’s “Fire me, you can’t fire me!” and I hope he gets to run with it for a good amount of time. He could be like a Million Dollar Man who pays off people to help him fight someone he doesn’t want to fight, like a Dexter Lumis or Timothy Thatcher. If this is somehow NBC getting involved, I am oddly enough okay with it. NBC having good ideas is rare, might as well embrace the ones they have.
My Score: 9.3/10
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; 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?
Andrew’s New Japan Cup Results & Match Ratings: 3.6.2021
Another day of New Japan Cup, and this time with 3 Cup matches! Less undercard means a bigger focus on the tournament, so I’m always a fan of that.
Another day of New Japan Cup, and this time with 3 Cup matches! Less undercard means a bigger focus on the tournament, so I’m always a fan of that.
Tomoaki Honma is on the way back and it’s great to see. Before quarantine he was very aware that his injury made him slower and he felt like he was dead weight. Between all of his interactions teaming with Golden Ace, facing different Los Ingobernables members, and this current build with Minoru Suzuki; it really feels like Honma is returning to form. Let’s hope it continues!
The main event has most people abuzz because of the quality of both first round competitors. Kazuchika Okada versus Shingo Takagi is a big match, most years it’s a shame to get it over with in the First Round, but very recent news may have explained why. Assuming it’s not slightly kayfabed, Okada has a back injury, so this could be a good way to eliminate him early to allow him time to recuperate while giving a win to someone very much deserving of the push.
Let’s see if the dirt sheet news was true!
- Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori & Jay White) vs David Finlay, Toa Henare & Yuya Uemura: Ishimori wins via Bloody Cross @9:38 – ** ½
- The United Empire (Great O-Khan, Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb) w/Bea Priestley vs LIJ (BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA): Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands @10:55 – ** ¼
- New Japan Cup: Tomoaki Honma vs Minoru Suzuki: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @14:54 – *** ¼
- New Japan Cup: Juice Robinson vs KENTA: KENTA wins via Game Over @17:16 – *** ½
- New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi: Takagi wins via Last of the Dragon @23:58 – **** ½
Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori & Jay White) vs David Finlay, Toa Henare & Yuya Uemura
Nothing inherently wrong with this match, and driven mostly on the Henare versus Jay first round match up, but it didn’t add nearly as much as yesterday’s undercard matches. Jay called Henare out to start, and actually locked up, but he did his best Yano impression by sitting between ropes and calling for breaks, until the referee was out of position and Bullet Club could start some tactics.
One funny part was when Jay tagged out to Ishimori, Henare shrugged off Ishimori and kept going at Jay. So later in the match, Ishimori took cheap shots on the outside and you could hear Jay telling the referee “Hey remember when I wasn’t legal and you didn’t stop that”. Which oddly enough seemed to appeal to the referee and he waited for Ishimori to have his fun and dump Yuya back in.
The Young Lion eats the pin here since he’s one of two no in the tournament, so it was written in the stars. Not a bad match, just a very basic opener with Jay White driving most of the entertainment.
The United Empire (Great O-Khan, Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb) w/Bea Priestley vs LIJ (BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA)
Well this was different since Naito is already eliminated, and the Empire made sure to rub it in during entrances and then attacked Naito as soon as he got into the ring. Naito went back to going after O-Khan’s hair, walked him around like a dog in the ring to get control and then LIJ went into some organized attacks.
Generally speaking, this was more basic than the first match. Bea tried to pull ropes away, Ospreay sideswiped BUSHI with a Pip Pip Cheerio, Cobb then caught BUSHI in midair, flipped him around for a Suplex and then hit the Tour of the Islands. Cobb has done a good job in 2021 so far, but this was a generally uninspiring match.
New Japan Cup: Tomoaki Honma vs Minoru Suzuki
We start off right where these two left off, exchanging chops and strikes, trying to out tough guy the other one. Early on Suzuki seemed to be toying with Honma a bit trying to get something out of him that we haven’t seen in a while. An early GSP attempt resulted in Honma blocking and starting to put together some offense. Short range lariats, Kokeshis from different angles, and we had the lovable underdog that people appreciated from a few years ago.
This match was the best Honma’s looked in a long time, hell he attempted the STF when a middle rope Kokeshi didn’t finish Suzuki and even pulled out the old Turmeric Clutch, which I haven’t seen him do since his All Japan days.
Everyone probably penciled in Suzuki as the winner immediately, but this is the Honma we all remembered and loved from the stacked NEVER years with Makabe and Ishii at the top. Very nice effort, and Suzuki helped to make Honma look good as well.
New Japan Cup: Juice Robinson vs KENTA
We saw a lot of elements of KENTA’s personality in this match. Early on he rolled out, grabbed the ring bell, and hit Juice when Juice grabbed through the ropes to try and retrieve him. However, I’m pretty sure Juice got clipped by a corner there since he was really holding the side of his face and it left a noticeable welt as the match went on.
It took a little time to pick up, but both men had great flurries with signatures. Juice’s Cannonball Spot, Punch Combination, hell he even countered the Kobashi style Spinning Back Chop into the Juice Box. KENTA hit the Green Killer, pulled off the hesitation Dropkick, but every time he went for Go 2 Sleep, Juice had a way around it. So as both were jockeying for position, juice kept going for Pulp Friction, but KENTA spun out, after enough stand up attempts, KENTA spun out, but twisted the arm and drove Juice down. KENTA locks in Game Over in the middle of the ring, and after a little bit of a struggle, Juice finally submits.
New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi
Well it looks like Takagi was paying attention to the preliminary matches and saw the news report that came out a little before the match that Okada had two herniated discs in his back. Everything Shingo did either focused damage on the back, or forced Okada to have to contort in a way to strain the injured area.
Shingo added his arrogant flair to a lot of things in this match, including the Rainmaker pose that Japanese Commentary called the “Pumping Steel Maker”, which also worked well when Shingo countered the Rainmaker with his own Pumping Steel Maker. Even injured this was a great slugfest between the two. Okada still hit a good number of his classics, but he was visibly hampered as the match wore on. Shingo managed to escape the Money Clip twice, which was an important element since Shingo passed out to the Money Clip in the G1.
Superplex, Noshigami, Made in Japan and an Uranage Backbreaker were some of the bigger moves towards the end that swayed the momentum for Shingo. Shingo went for Last of the Dragon a few times, but Okada usually had an answer. At the end, Okada slips behind the Last of the Dragon, winds up the Rainmaker, but Shingo ducks it and continues the momentum to lift Okada to his shoulders and finally hit his finish to win the match!
Overall Score: 8/10
You may be asking yourself; “How did this score higher than yesterday with overall lower match score” – I will explain. This show flowed better, felt like a real tournament show where the undercard didn’t last very long and the main event was the big thing to build towards. Also should be noted, that we didn’t have to sit through a typical Yano tournament match as well.
Honma did a great job proving that he’s at least back to where he was a few years ago when GBH was a solid tag team and he had a few notable matches in the NEVER division. KENTA getting past Juice is good since that sets up a single match nearly 16 years in the making. Last time KENTA fought Suzuki one on one, was 2005 in NOAH. Suzuki was the murderous free agent, KENTA was still young and full of fire, yet to find his stride, so Suzuki took advantage of the young wrestler in a rather lackluster match. I doubt KENTA has forgotten that match, and expect him to try to exact a measure of revenge.
Shingo getting past Okada is beautiful for multiple reasons. Okada can get his injury tended to, it evens up their singles record; so Okada has a tangible thing to fight for in their next meeting and we get a Hirooki Goto vs Shingo Takagi rematch next round! Shingo having to work through another member of CHAOS adds to the weight in that match, but the potential of Shingo vs Suzuki again or Shingo vs KENTA is just one of those magical match ups assuming no shenanigans go on.
The show ended great, the build was fun and everyone in the Cup over performed given the stagnant vibe that New Japan has fallen into lately. Good stuff.
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