NXT pushes off for WrestleMania WEEK!
NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver is just a week away! But before that, there’s a HUGE Battle Royal to see who makes it to night one!
- Roderick Strong VS Cameron Grimes; Grimes wins.
- Santos Escobar w/ Legado del Fantasma VS Tyler Breeze; Escobar wins.
- Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Zayda Ramier; LeRae & Hartwell win.
- Zoey Stark VS Raquel Gonzalez w/ Dakota Kai; Gonzalez wins.
- Tian Sha & Xia Li VS Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter; Tian Sha & Xia Li win.
- NXT North American Championship Gauntlet Eliminator Battle Royal: LA Knight, Bronson Reed, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Leon Ruff, Cameron Grimes & Dexter Lumis move on to TakeOver Night One.
PLAY BY PLAY
Roderick Strong VS Cameron Grimes!
Before these two battle in tonight’s massive battle royal, the Savior of the Backbreaker wants to make The #GameStonks Caveman pay for taking the Undisputed Break-Up so flippantly. But will Strong be going strong into tonight’s golden opportunity? Or is Grimes going #ToTheMoon~?
As Grimes makes his entrance, he has a mic to say, “Roddy, Roddy, Roddy. Listen, last week, I know you were frustrated. And maybe, maybe, I didn’t come at the right time. But you see, there’s a lot of money we’re leaving on that table with that intellectual property with the Undisputed Era.” And without Grimes. the UE might be done for. But Grimes says these two can keep it going! Grimes wasn’t fully prepared last time, but he has something that will change Strong’s mind! #GrimesTheSystem! Strong is not amused. Alright, well, get a load of this one! The entrance has even been changed! Strong goes to the ramp to CLOBBER Grimes!
Strong fires off, Grimes hits back and they brawl around ringside! Strong puts Grimes in, the bell rings, and Strong dumps Grimes down for knees and hammering fists! Grimes scrambles, Strong holds on with a facelock then shifts to go after arms. Grimes resists, Strong hammers away again, then knees Grimes against ropes! The ref counts, Strong lets off and Grimes DECKS him! Grimes CLOBBERS Strong, drops knees, and clamps on with a thrashing facelock! Strong fights up, fans rally, and Strong wrenches an arm to then CHOP Grimes! Grimes turns things around to RAM into Strong, and throws Strong around. Grimes facelocks again but they end up in ropes.
The ref counts, Grimes claws at Strong then lets off at 4. Grimes stomps Strong in a corner, and tells him he should’ve made the deal. Strong kicks Grimes away, then gets up to KNEE Grimes down! Fans fire up as Strong kicks Grimes around, CLUBS him on the back and ROCKS him with a right. Grimes ROCKS Strong back but Strong KNEES low. Strong has Grimes on the ropes and CHOPS him! Grimes sputters but Strong pushes him around. Strong tells Grimes to shut up and then brings him up, but Grimes throws him into buckles! Fans rally as Grimes stomps Strong and has him in the corner. Grimes CHOPS, Strong CHOPS, Grimes claws Strong’s face!
The ref counts, Grimes lets off at 4 to stomp away on Strong. Fans rally, Strong reverses the whip and CLOBBERS Grimes again! Grimes flounders up and stumbles around, into Strong’s clothesline! Grimes is outside, Strong runs to WRECK Grimes with a dropkick! Fans fire up more as Strong drags Grimes up for more CHOPS! Strong rains down rights as the ring count climbs. Strong sees the fans wearing UE merch and hesitates. Grimes RAMS Strong into a girder! Strong slumps down as NXT goes picture in picture.
Grimes and Strong are both down, catching their breath. Grimes drags Strong up, and RAMS him into the Plexiglas! Strong staggers, Grimes puts him in the ring and EuroUppers him on the apron! Grimes gets in, stalks Strong, and digs his knee into Strong at the ropes. The ref counts but Grimes lets off fast. Grimes mocks the UE hands, but Strong kicks Grimes in the legs! Strong gets up in a corner, but Grimes clotheslines him right away! Grimes brings Strong up to whip him corner to corner hard, then digs his knuckles into Strong’s face! The ref counts, Grimes lets off, and Grimes stalks Strong to get him for an armlock. Grimes grinds his knee into Strong but Strong endures.
Strong fights up, powers Grimes to a corner, and hooks Grimes into ropes to CHOP him again! Strong whips, Grimes reverses and Strong hits buckles hard! Grimes clamps onto Strong, goes after the arm but Strong resists. Grimes stomps Strong, goes after the arm with the double wristlock and works to turn the arm. Strong still resists, rolls, fights up as Grimes cranks the arm and Strong throws body shots and CHOPS! Strong whips, Grimes reverses again and spins Strong to a SWINGING SIDE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Grimes can’t believe Strong survives but he clamps on with a chinlock. Grimes wants the arms but Strong resists the chicken wings.
NXT returns to single picture as Strong fights up. Grimes clubs him, almost has a cobra twist but Strong throws more body shots. Grimes CLUBS Strong down, clamps onto an arm and grinds his forearm into Strong’s face, but Strong fights up again. Strong fireman’s carries, Grime flails and gets free, but Strong reverses the whip. Grimes KICKS Strong back, then hurries over, only for Strong to BOOT him! Strong CHOPS, forearms, but Grimes shoves, only for Strong to come back with a lariat! Strong runs, Grimes dodges, Grimes LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Both men are slowly rising as fans rally up again.
Grimes clamps onto a waistlock and squeezes tight for a rear bearhug. Strong pries at the hold, gets a NORTHERN LIGHTS, and the two get up slowly again. Grimes staggers into a low headbutt, then swings into a clinch, URENAGE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Grimes survives but that was just one backbreaker. Strong hauls Grimes up, puts him in a corner and CHOPS him again! And ROCKS him, CHOPS him, then hoists him up top. Strong climbs, hits Grimes more, and reels him in, for a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Grimes survives but Strong is too sore to be frustrated. Fans fire up as Strong grabs at Grimes’ foot. Grimes gets to ropes, Strong goes side to side for endless forearms!
But then Grimes hits a COLLISION COURSE outta nowhere!! Cover, TWO!! Strong survives but Grimes reaches down his trunks for a secret weapon, but he turns around into an OLYMPIC SLAM! Strong grabs the secret weapon, and it turns out to be an Undisputed Era armband!! Fans chant “Undisputed!” and Strong turns around into a CAVE-IN!! Cover, Grimes wins!
Winner: Cameron Grimes, by pinfall
Advantage: Grimes! He used the UE against Strong and gets a big win before tonight’s bigger match! Will Strong look to redeem himself by ruining Grimes’ TakeOver plans?
NXT checks in with Karrion Kross’ TakeOver preparations.
“My greatest strength going into NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver is my conviction. The training prep for this match was very simple: train to create maximum damage.” Kross isn’t wasting time with “conventional” training, he’s going “back to basics.” Catch wrestling, judo, striking, his strengths. He’s been trained to hurt people. Balor will try to run out the clock, tire Kross out. But he can’t run forever. Kross will cut the ring off. Every time he hits Balor, Balor will see a white flash, and Kross will “light his ass up with shots that he is going to carry with him for the rest of his life.” “At TakeOver, the fans can expect to see a Prince dethroned.” Scarlett says Balor only has once choice: Fall & Pray.
NXT hears from Walter.
“Tommaso Ciampa. I’m aware you consider yourself a wrestling veteran, a locker room leader. This great sport was the number one priority above everything else. You were a dominant and ruthless champion. But now you have other priorities in life. It’s not the most important thing in your life anymore. Tommaso, you’re not a leader. You’re just a shell of what you once were. And that’s the difference between you and me. Because my commitment for this sport is unreached. I’m the longest reigning NXT UK Champion in history. I’m the one who respects this sport like nobody else. And come TakeOver, I’m going to prove it. I’m going to prove what it means when I say the mat is sacred.”
NXT is on the move! On April 13th, the first Tuesday after WrestleMania, the black ‘n’ gold will be there! Will you be?
El Legado del Fantasma is in the ring!
Santos Escobar says tonight, he wants to issue an OPEN CHALLENGE! “Why? Because I run the bingo around here. Because I want to show Jordan Devlin what he’s in for. I was born a champion, and that is the difference between me and you, Jordan Devlin. I AM the Emperor of Lucha Libre. That’s not a nickname. That’s not a catchphrase. 100 years of tradition is what I represent. The very Cruiserweight title was born out of what I represent. This Division will forever belong to me, as long as I want to! Because it’s in my blood, and it runs through my veins!” This is blood and tradition, as HE is the greatest Cruiserweight in the history of NXT! But here comes Tyler Breeze!
“Santos, Santos, Santos. You know what the differences is between you and me? You think the Cruiserweight Division is yours because you’re entitled. Me, on the other hand. I have had to work my ass off to be here! So open challenge accepted.” Will Prince Pretty show the Emperor of Lucha that Cruiserweight wrestling belongs to one and all? Or will he be used as an example for the Irish Ace?
Santos Escobar w/ Legado del Fantasma VS Tyler Breeze!
The bell rings, Escobar kicks low and fires off on Breeze! Escobar stomps him to a corner, talks trash, then stomps him more! Escobar stomps but the ref reprimands and counts. Escobar says Breeze is a joke, then runs corner to corner to basement dropkick! Wilde & Mendoza add to the trash talk as Escobar fireman’s carries Breeze. Breeze fights free and shoves Escobar to dropkick him down! Breeze stomps Escobar in return now, but lets off at the ref’s count. Breeze whips corner to corner, Escobar goes up and over and rolls but into another dropkick! Fans fire up as Breeze digs his boots in! Breeze drags Escobar up, throws him out hard, but the ref keeps him in the ring.
Breeze still goes out the side and gets Escobar in, but Escobar dropkicks him down! Escobar stomps Breeze more, drags him up and whips him to ropes. Fans duel as Breeze jumps over but runs into a dropkick! Cover, TWO! Escobar kicks Breeze to a corner, whips him corner to corner, but Breeze goes up and out and GAMANGIRIS! Breeze drags Escobar to the corner and swings the leg into the post! Then he DECKS Wilde and ROCKS Mendoza to POST him! Escobar runs in but gets another GAMANGIRI! The Emperor is being made a fool as NXT goes to break!
NXT returns and Escobar has Breeze in a leg lock but Breeze gets the ropebreak. Escobar holds until the ref counts 4, and he kicks Breeze to then put him in a corner. Escobar digs his palms in then CHOPS Breeze. Escobar fires off knees, throws body shots and then backs off to run back in and DOUBLE KNEE Breeze down! Cover, TWO! Escobar grins, laughing at Breeze as he slaps him around. Escobar stomps Breeze, drags him up, and fireman’s carries to then GUTBUSTER! Legado cheers Escobar on as he turns Breeze over to hook up the legs. Breeze resists but Escobar pulls him back into the ROMERO SPECIAL! Breeze endures the surfboard, but Escobar brings him into a chinlock formation!
Escobar lets Breeze go, covers, TWO! Breeze gasps for air but Escobar clubs him down. Escobar slaps Breeze around, talks more trash, and CHOPS him! “That’s how you run the bingo!” Escobar whips Breeze corner to corner, then runs in, but blocks boots, only for Breeze to still push him away! RANA and a rain of fists! Breeze drags Escobar around to go after the leg with elbow drops, and a KNEE JAMMER! Escobar hobbles, Breeze runs in and forearm smashes! Breeze puts the leg on ropes to drop a knee on the knee! Legado panics as Breeze SPINEBUSTERS Escobar, to then step through and SHARPSHOOTER! Escobar endures as Breeze sits on the hold!
Escobar powers up, crawls over and reaches, and gets the ropebreak! Breeze lets off fast, but he stalks Escobar to get the chicken wings. Escobar powers out of the Unprettier to ENZIGURI! Escobar drags Breeze right up to the PHANTOM DRIVER! Cover, Escobar wins!
Winner: Santos Escobar, by pinfall
That ripcord was a message to Devlin! And though this was fair and square, it was a bit more than a tune-up. Will Escobar have to do much better when he’s in a Ladder match with the Irish Ace?
Legado grabs Breeze, but here comes MSK! Nash Carter & Wes Lee are going after Mendoza & Wilde because of the coming NXT Tag Team Championship match, but Legado slips away. But then on the titantron, it’s the Grizzled Young Veterans! Zack Gibson tells the production crew to turn off the “garbage music” so we can hear him. Gibson tells Legado that they are so distracted trying to earn brownie points with Escobar, and he tells MSK that they are so distracted by the bright lights and funny memes, and pretty much anything.
Meanwhile, he and James Drake are laser focused on one thing only: SOON to be recognized as the next NXT Tag Team Champions! With the titles up in the air, we will have new champions, but will it be with the former NXT UK Tag Team Champions? The Dusty Cup winners? Or will Legado be golden after TakeOver?
Backstage interview with The Way.
Firstly, Johnny Gargano knows there is the Eliminator Gauntlet Battle Royal relating to his NXT North American Championship, and he’s thought about it. It’s still the stupidest idea ever! Don’t you think Johnny TakeOver, the man who put this brand on his back for YEARS, should get the courtesy of knowing who his TakeOver opponent is weeks in advance. NO! Mr. Cuckoo Bananas Regal goes and proves he is not fit to run NXT! But Austin Theory thinks this is a great idea. Wait, why is he even in that match? Is he getting back at Johnny for the therapy sessions? No! But haven’t you ever heard of the Finger Poke of Doom? Of course he had!
But, wait… That killed the business, though. It did? Well we’re still here. True, so screw it! Let’s do it! Theory wins tonight, then again at Night One! Then on Night Two, TakeOver: Stand & Deliver becomes Lay Down & Let Johnny Pin You! Now Gargano is all for this idea! Indi Hartwell still bets on Lumis. What?! Candice tells Indi to shush. But tonight, Shotzi & Ember better watch to see what real tag team champions look like. The Way heads out, but will they soon be the Golden Way?
A Pomeranian trots up to the Performance Center?
Whose pup is this? And what does the pup have planned for NXT?
NXT shares interview footage from after last week’s episode.
Io Shirai was getting ice for her back after Raquel Gonzalez gave her a Desperado Bomb to the announce desk. McKenzie asked if Shirai was concerned about “biting off more than she can chew” with challenging Raquel to a match. “That’s why I picked her.” So then, does the Evil Genius have a plan for Big Mami Cool come Stand & Deliver?
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Zayda Ramier!
The Poison Pixie and Impressive Indi are ready to show the NXT Women’s Tag Division the way to success! But will they overlook the opponents in their way tonight?
The teams sort out, Indi Wrestling and Gigi start. They tie up, go around, and Indi puts Gigi in a corner. The ref counts, Gigi pushes her away but Indi brushes that off. They tie up again, Gigi gets around to full nelson then spin and wrench to a hammerlock. Gigi spins to cravat Indi and crank the neck. Indi pulls at the arms, Gigi snapmares and KICKS Indi in the back! Gigi CLUBS Indi, swaggers and rocks out, but the boot misses! Indi fireman’s carries for a SNAKE EYES to a SIDEWALK SLAM! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Gigi saves herself but Indi is right after her. Gigi shoves Indi away. Candice tags in but Gigi throws her down.
Candice boots Gigi away, runs into the corner but is sent into buckles! Gigi hurries but Indi tags in first to get her. Gigi elbows Indi and tags Zadya! Zayda runs to SUPER PUNCH, and SUPER PUNCH and SLINGBLADE! Fans fire up with Zayda as she runs in to clothesline Indi! And then uppercut! Zayda heel kicks but misses, only to come back with an ENZIGURI! Cover, TWO! Indi grits her teeth but Zayda is on her first. Zayda drags Indi up, Indi shoves and SPINEBUSTERS Zayda down! Fans rally as both women crawl, hot tag to Candice! Candice CLOBBERS Gigi, then looms over Zayda. Zayda gets the inside cradle, TWO! Candice KICKS Zayda down!
Tag to Indi, The Way coordinate, WICKED STEP SISTER to Indi’s SPRINGBOARD MACHO ELBOW! Cover, The Way wins!
Winners: Indi Hartwell & Candice LeRae, by pinfall
Now that was impressive! But Candice gets a music so she can talk to everyone in the back. “There is not a woman in that locker room that deserves to be a champion more than I do! Which means that Indi and I deserve to be NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions!” Fans boo but Candice tells Shotzi & Ember, “I’m coming for what’s mine! And as I said before, it will be on our time and it will be on our stage, and it will be in our way!” And that means it will be at TakeOver!
But speaking of the champs, here they come! Shotzi & Ember ride out Tank Mk II and have mics of their own. “Excuse you, Candice. But did you say you deserve our titles?” And that those titles are theirs? These two have done lost their damn minds! But Shotzi & Ember would be lying if they say they didn’t expect this. What does Shotzi say? Shotzi says at Stand & Deliver, they’ll #TCB with Ember’s Law! Challenge ACCEPTED!! But in the meantime, how about they knock some sense into the Way? NOW! Nerf missile, fire! It hits Indi in the stomach! Will that just be a sample of the gut check Indi & Candice are in for at TakeOver?
Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai head for gorilla position.
But on the way, they encounter Io Shirai. Shirai tells Raquel, “You cannot kill me!” They brawl!! Referees and Dakota hurry in to stop this, but Raquel SLAMS Shirai off road cases! Raquel storms off, will she give even worse to Zoey Stark?
The Pomeranian gets inside the Performance Center!
Seriously, whose pupper is this? He’s going into the CWC!? Is he here to see someone?
NXT Media catches up with Roderick Strong.
Where is he going? He has the Battle Royal tonight. He says he’s done. What? Done how? Just all of it. Is Strong… quitting NXT?!
Zoey Stark VS Raquel Gonzalez w/ Dakota Kai!
We just saw Io Shirai go after Raquel and get thrown around. Stark was Shirai’s tag partner last week, can she avenge the NXT Women’s Championship just days before TakeOver?
The bell rings and Stark circles with Gonzalez. Gonzalez rushes in but Stark rolls to evade. They circle, Gonzalez works to corner Stark, and then puts her in the corner for haymakers and elbows! Stark dodges to kick and kick but Gonzalez gets her with both hands! Stark slips free to RANA and elbow Raquel in a corner! Stark runs, returns but is put on the apron! She counter punches then shoulders into Gonzalez to slingshot up and over and SHOTGUN back! Stark runs in but the monkey flip is blocked to a FLAPJACK! Cover, TWO! Stark survives and Gonzalez seethes. Gonzalez pushes Stark around, drops an elbow then another, and then another! Cover, TWO!
Gonzalez clamps onto Stark with a thrashing chinlock, then shifts to a high wristlock and chinbar! Stark endures, Gonzalez thrashes her around more, but Stark fights up. Stark fires forearms and knees, whips but Gonzalez blocks! Gonzalez whips Stark to a corner, Stark dodges the corner attack and comes back with a SUPERKICK and SHINING WIZARD! Gonzalez shoves Stark away, runs at her but is dumped outside! Gonzalez staggers on her feet, Stark PLANCHAS, but is caught! Gonzalez powers up but Stark slips off to POST Gonzalez! Dakota ROCKS Stark while the ref is distracted, only to get CLOBBERED! Fans fire up as Stark hurries after Gonzalez in the ring, spin for the KNEE!
Stark fires a forearm, more elbows, then a mule kick to legs! Stark runs for a SLIDING KNEE! Cover, TWO!! Gonzalez shocks Stark but fans fire up! Stark hurries to a corner and climbs up top, but Gonzalez CLUBS her first, to then get the choke grip! Stark holds ropes, fights back, and kicks Gonzalez away! FLYING BLOCKBUSTER!! Cover, TWO!! Gonzalez survives again and Stark is losing her mind! Fans are thunderous as Stark drags Gonzalez up and reels her in, but Gonzalez back drops! Stark avoids the elbow drop, goes to heel kick but swings into the DESPERADO BOMB!! Cover, Gonzalez wins!!
Winner: Raquel Gonzalez, by pinfall
Impressive is not the same as victorious, but Gonzalez was both right here! Will Gonzalez do that even more at TakeOver? But here comes Shirai! She’s back for more and they brawl in the ring! Shirai dodges, SHOTGUNS and Gonzalez tumbles out! Shirai is still after her with clubbing forearms! Gonzalez TOSSES Shirai into the boards!! The refs back Gonzalez off but Gonzalez says this is just the beginning! Will the Evil Genius even make it to Stand & Deliver Night One? Is her reign over one way or another?
The Pomeranian is on a mission!
He goes up the stairs, walks along the “WE ARE NXT” slogan, but where is he going?
Backstage interview with Kushida.
The Time Splitter is part of the Eliminator Gauntlet Battle Royal and can win his way to TakeOver. What are his thoughts? “Tonight, nothing will stop me from-” Pete Dunne shows up, and says he finally heard about Kushida calling himself the best technical wrestler in the world. Dunne tells Kushida that DUNNE holds that crown. So in case you misheard the first time, Dunne dares Kushida to prove him wrong! Kushida did hear Dunne. The battle royal comes first. Will the best technical wrestler in the world today be one of the final six tonight?
NXT presents Prime Target: Cole VS O’Reilly.
Cole’s words from last week repeat: Imagine you were born blind, couldn’t see a thing, then one day you wake up and you can see everything. That’s called a revelation, and Cole had one. Cole realized that he didn’t need the UE, the UE was holding him back! And the one who made him realize was KYLE O’REILLY. Cole sits down for a video interview, but says they get no more than 15 minutes.
Kyle says the first time he met Cole was about 11 years ago. They met backstage at a show, hit it off, and little did Kyle know that Cole would become both the biggest blessing, and the biggest curse, to his career. Cole says it was 2009, and from that moment forward, he and Kyle were someway, shape or form were attached. As friends, as rivals, tag partners, all over the world, Cole & Kyle were attached at the hip. Now Kyle’s words repeat. “We’ve known each other for a long time. At least I thought we did.” When the UE first got here, they didn’t care who they stepped on to succeed. They were determined to take the top of the card!
They were shocking the system, making a statement, and didn’t give a damn who was footing the bill! They’ve become better wrestlers, better fighters, champions and stars. But only one became a better man. A better human. “Adam Cole is just the same asshole that walked in this place three and a half years ago!” Kyle forces himself to believe that the last three and a half years meant nothing. That the UE meant nothing. Because if any part of Kyle thinks that for a second, one day these two could be friends again, Kyle can’t put Cole down for good! Cole bought into the UE BS, but it was never about brotherhood.
Cole saw Kyle fail not once but twice, and then wanted Balor to join the team?! Did he lose his mind? But it’s because deep down,. Kyle is nothing more than a lapdog, sidekick, someone comfortable being on the side, and that is NOT Cole! And then things got brutal. Career endangering injuries, legal action and assaults. Regal put it in the only way he could for this boiling point. He won’t let them embarrass the brand SO MANY have worked hard to create. So the solution is Cole VS O’Reilly, Stand & Deliver, UNSANCTIONED!! Cole says Kyle is jealous of him, and is going to remind him who the better man is!
Kyle says Cole is the psycho who tried to end his friend’s career! Kyle sold his soul to the UE and now he wants a refund! “I will not rest until I end you.” No rules, no restraints. Who will win this Undisputed Unsanctioned FIGHT!?
Tian Sha VS Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter!
Speaking of friends turned against friends, Xia Li has become the weapon of the warrior of legend, and has attempted to cut ties with KC Squared to the point of trying to cut them off at the knees, literally! But Kacy’s leg is game ready, and they will be the first team to take on Xia and Tian Sha herself as a team! Will KC Squared be subtracted from the equation as Tian Sha looks to “purge” NXT of weakness?
NXT returns and Tian Sha (the team) makes their entrance. Xia starts, Kacy rushes her but Xia throws her! Kacy comes back to get around and hop on as a backpack, and Tian Sha hasn’t gotten up from her throne. Is Xia supposed to do this as a handicap match? Kacy hammers Xia but Xia throws her down hard! Kayden tags in, and she dropkicks Xia down! Kayden bumps Xia off buckles, stomps away but Xia blocks. Kayden ROCKS Xia with a right, tags Kacy and she fires off! Kacy tags Kayden, KC Squared keep on Xia and tag again. Kacy runs in to A-List Lariat! Kacy dumps Xia down for the FLIPPING AX KICK! Cover, TWO!
Xia bails out, Kacy pursues, but Xia RAMS Kacy into the apron, then throws her into barriers! The ring count climbs, Xia puts Kacy in, and fans rally as Xia pushes Kacy around. Xia drags Kacy up to suplex, but Kacy counters to a cradle, ONE!! Kacy spins to CODE BREAKER!! Both women are down, Kayden reaches out but Tian Sha has started to move! Kacy crawls, but Kayden decides to intercept Tian Sha! She eggs Tian on but gets caught in a choke grip! Tian is choking the life out of Kayden on the stage!! Kayden fades out and Tian Sha blows smoke in her face! Now we’ve gone from an unofficial handicap match to an unofficial singles match!
Kacy kicks Xia, runs but into a JUMPING KNEE! Xia hits the SCREW HIGH KICK! Cover, Tian Sha wins!!
Winners: Tian Sha, by pinfall
Xia DID win this all by herself, as far as who was in the ring goes! Kacy and Kayden are both out cold, is this only the beginning of Tian Sha’s conquest of NXT?
Backstage interview with Raquel Gonzalez.
She seems to have dominated Shirai again tonight, but how will she carry this into TakeOver? “The same way I do every night, McKenzie.” But Shirai attacks again! Shirai is a backpack but Raquel RAMS her into lockers! The brawl is on again, Raquel knees Shirai low, CLUBS her on the back, and then picks her up with body hands to SMASH her through a wall!! Raquel snarls and says Shirai won’t beat her. “STAY! DOWN!!” Raquel has issued an ultimatum, but will she have to put Shirai down again at Stand & Deliver?
The Pomeranian has found his master.
“See you April 13th! <3” – Franky. But who is this? And what does she have in store for the NXT Women’s Division?
Tommaso Ciampa speaks.
“Walter, I know you’re watching. Now I need you to listen. The day I went in for neck surgery, my wife and my baby girl gave me this necklace. Now you didn’t know that. And that’s okay. But you reminded me. You reminded me of my journey, reminded me of my story. Sometimes in life, we need to be reminded of who we are. Now I’ve heard what you have to say. Seems like everybody has a lot to say nowadays. It’s all stuff I’ve heard before. ‘He’s old, he’s broken, he hasn’t been the same since the neck surgery, since becoming a dad. He ain’t the 2018 Ciampa! He’s changed.'” But now Ciampa sits here and asks himself, “Are they right?” Has he changed? Yes, in some ways, he has.
But then Ciampa shifts the mindset, blocks out the hate, and thinks of those who believe in him. Danny, Brodie, Kelvin and Kalen. Ja Ray and Bo. His wife and his little girl, Willow. Ciampa hears those voices, sees them, and feels them. At TakeOver, they will remind the world. Ciampa will chase the dragon, climb that mountain, look him in the eye, and CHOP the dragon’s head off! Walter, understand this! Ciampa’s been on top, held the title close to his chest and knows what it is like to fall to the bottom and pick himself back up! To make the climb again! “It changes a man.”
So yeah, Walter, Ciampa’s changed, But he’ll tell you what he’s learned over these past two years. Ciampa would rather be a man who fights for something, than a man who fights with nothing to lose any day of the week and twice on Wednesdays. Is the Blackheart still beating? Is the Psycho Killer still here? In seven days, Stand & Deliver, Walter gets his answer at the cost of his UK Championship! “It’s a long, long fall from the top of the mountain. Buckle up!” Will THAT Ciampa be what ends Walter’s insanely dominant reign?
Finn Balor speaks.
“I’ve been expecting Kross for a long time. It was never a case of if, it was always a case of when. It’s TakeOver. The ring may look the same, but the energy is different. When the pressure’s on, it becomes hard to breathe. And the nerves make your legs heavy.” But those rules don’t apply to Balor. Balor’s stamina has always been his strength. Balor doesn’t get gassed out. Kross may try to dictate the pace but that’s just fine with Balor. The longer this goes, the deeper you get into the match, that deep water will drown Kross. There won’t be a fairy tale ending. At TakeOver, Kross chokes, and Balor is still NXT Champion.
NXT North American Championship Gauntlet Eliminator Battle Royal!
A long name for a somewhat complex process. It was meant to be a dirty dozen but it might just be down to an excellent 11 with Roderick Strong dropping out. This battle only needs to drop to six to know who is moving on to Stand & Deliver, but that’s only part of it! From the final six to THE last man in the ring, we will learn the entry order for the gauntlet match that sends a man to Night Two! Point is, win it all, and you have the best chance at getting that golden ticket! Will Austin Theory turn out to be Johnny Gargano’s insurance policy in all this?
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott makes his way out first, and Leon Ruff CLOBBERS him! These two have been after each other for a long time, and they’re having it out on the outside first! Ruff rocks Swerve and RAMS him into barriers! Ruff keeps going, Swerve hits back and sends Ruff into barriers now! Swerve puts Ruff in the ring, they keep brawling, the refs warn them to stop because the others have to get in! Ruff clotheslines Swerve out then runs, only for Swerve to scramble to commentary for defense! Ruff is fired up and so is the CWC as NXT goes to break!
NXT returns, Dunne makes his entrance but Tyler Rust, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumis, LA Knight, Austin Theory, Cameron Grimes, Jake Atlas and Kushida have already gotten in the ring. Ruff is in, Swerve is waiting on the outside, and the bell rings. Swerve slides in to blindside Ruff! Kushida hits Theory, and everyone else pairs off with whoever, except for Lumis who stoically watches the chaos. Atlas fights Rust off, Knight and Dunne brawl, Grimes is after Reed. Reed shoves Grimes away, hits him down, Knight tries to get Atlas out while Atlas is after Rust. Dunne and Swerve brawl but Ruff returns to go after Swerve. Greed resists, Theory is after Reed, but Reed CLUBS Theory!
Grimes drops ax handles on Reed, Rust blocks a tornado DDT to put Atlas on the apron! Bivens gets involved, SWERVE dropkicks and ELIMINATES Atlas! Bivens likes that! But Ruff dumps Swerve to the apron! Ruff fires off but Swerve holds on. Rust CLOBBERS Ruff, but Ruff throws Rust at Swerve! Swerve back drops and ELIMINATES Rust! Bivens doesn’t like that. Meanwhile, Kushida is after Knight, Grimes hits Reed, and Lumis still stares at everyone. Theory keeps Dunne down, Swerve and Ruff go to opposite corners, but Knight stomps Ruff. Swerve gets in to drag Knight off Ruff because he wants Ruff for himself. Reed hits Dunne, Theory hits Reed, Lumis still stares.
Theory whips but Reed blocks to whip and CLOBBER Theory! Kushida has Grimes on the apron but can’t scrape him off. Dunne has Ruff’s arm wrapped around rope and PULLS! No disqualifications in a battle royal! Reed has Theory on the apron and uses a HIP ATTACK to knock him off! But wait! Theory’s feet are in the air! He’s not out of this yet! Theory is a little unsure what to do, and he decides to KIP UP! No, Theory, your feet touch the floor that way! Theory ELIMINATES himself! So much for the Finger Poke of Doom 2021. Kushida brawls with Reed, Reed throws Kushida up but Kushida clings to ropes! Knight is after Reed, he and Grimes work together to dump Reed to the apron!
Reed stays on the apron, ROCKS Grimes but Knight hits back! Reed ROCKS Knight, Kushida handspring heel kicks Reed! Knight hits Kushida, whips but Kushida handsprings to elbow Knight and Grimes down! Swerve boots Dunne, somersaults but into the forearm! Dunne DROPKICKS Ruff then throws him, only for Ruff to rebound, into a wrench! Kushida FAST BALLS Grimes, to PENALTY KICK the arm! Dunne STOMPS Ruff’s arm, and the two best technical wrestlers stare down! Oh, and Lumis stills tares in general. Dunne and Kushida fire off forearms in a brawl as the fans are thunderous! Dunne whips, Kushida reverses but Dunne elbows back!
Kushida hip tosses, cartwheels, into a TRIANGLE! Submissions don’t count in this match, and Kushida cartwheels free anyway! Kushida leaps at Dunne to get the HOVERBOARD! Dunne endures, puts Kushida into ropes and dumps him to the apron! Kushida drags Dunne out and holds onto the Hoverboard! Kushida ELIMINATES Dunne AND HIMSELF!! That means we have our final six!!
Qualified for Gauntlet Eliminator: LA Knight, Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Leon Ruff, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott & Dexter Lumis
Kushida shows no mercy to Dunne, though, as he cranks the Hoverboard on the ramp! Referees pry him off, and things go picture in picture as the battle royal continues!
Knight goes after Reed, Swerve stomps Grimes and stalks Ruff, but Lumis just stays put. Ruff and Swerve brawl again, Ruff throws JABS but Grimes CLOBBERS Ruff! Grimes and Swerve work together to mug Ruff while Knight fights off Reed’s power lift. Ruff flounders, Swerve and Grimes drag him back up. Grimes whips but Ruff rebounds to LARIAT! Swerve goes after Ruff now with body shots. Knight nods to Lumis before going back to Reed. Ruff elbows Swerve away, Knight fires off on Reed, but Reed TOSSES Knight into a corner then clotheslines! Ruff puts Swerve up top but Swerve pulls Ruff’s hair! Grimes get in as Swerve lets Ruff go and Grimes keeps on Ruff with uppercuts!
Reed stands on Knight’s chest, lets off, and Grimes CLUBS Reed. Reed glares at Grimes, Grimes forearms but Reed ROCKS him! Reed throws haymakers, Swerve rains down fists on Ruff in the corner, and Reed throws Grimes at a corner! Knight goes after Reed, Swerve talks trash in Ruff’s face, and NXT returns to single picture. Fans are thunderous as Grimes fights Reed off and Swerve stalks Ruff. Knight talks trash all over, and BREAKING NEWS given what we just saw earlier: Kushida and Dunne look to prove who is truly THE best technical wrestler today as they go 1v1 on Night One of Stand & Deliver!
Swerve stand son Ruff, Reed throws Grimes at a corner and has him upside-down. Grimes holds on but Reed throws endless headbutts into Grimes’ back! Knight looks at Lumis, who is still a statue, and goes after Reed again. Swerve goes to throw Ruff but Ruff slips around to be a sleeper hold! Gargano joins commentary to complain about Regal. Swerve puts Ruff on the ropes, Ruff clings to it, Grimes bails out from the bottom rope for a breather. Grimes has that big brain energy while Reed headbutts Knight! Gargano gets upset with Beth Phoenix calling him out so he mockingly says, “You think you know me.”
Swerve kicks at Ruff but Ruff holds on tight! Reed ROCKS Knight, Swerve SLAPS Ruff then fireman’s carries. Ruff fights that, slips around and sleeper holds. Reed gets Swerve and Ruff for a double stacked fireman’s carry! Reed pops and TOSSES Ruff to ELIMINATE him!
Leon Ruff to enter the Gauntlet Eliminator first
Reed still has Swerve and TOSSES him onto Ruff, and ELIMINATES him!
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott to enter the Gauntlet Eliminator second
First and second are tantamount to the same in a gauntlet, but at least it means Ruff and Swerve can try to settle the score at TakeOver! As for Reed, he snarls but Knight CHOP BLOCKS him! Knight fires off then reminds us who he is before he ROCKS Reed again. Knight wants Grimes to help and they mug Reed at the ropes. Reed DECKS Grimes, ROCKS Knight and HEADBUTTS him down! Reed throws Knight to the apron but Knight throat chops back! Knight slingshots, into a fireman’s carry! Reed wants to throw Knight but Grimes helps Knight out! They both lift Reed, Lumis finally moves! He helps ELIMINATE Reed!!
Bronson Reed to enter the Gauntlet Eliminator third
That was a colossal shift in the dynamic of both this match and next week’s! But now Lumis, Knight and Grimes are the final three! Knight laughs at Reed but he turns around into Lumis’ icy stare. Grimes wants Knight to help him out, and will even pay him some fat stacks if he just throws himself out! The same goes for Lumis! Who’s buying? Lumis ROCKS Grimes, the money goes flying and someone’s getting to know Benjamin Franklin up close and personal as Knight and Lumis throw Grimes out and ELIMINATE him!
Cameron Grimes to enter the Gauntlet Eliminator fourth
Knight brags but it’s going to be either him of the Tortured Artist as the last man in the gauntlet! Knight comes to grips with that, stares back at Lumis, and fans are clearly on Lumis’ side. Knight squares up but Lumis ROCKS him with the uppercut, then DECKS him with that right! Lumis whips, and back drops Knight high and hard! Gargano doesn’t care, his pick was out early. Lumis whips, Knight reverses and Lumis is on the apron! Knight runs over but into a shoulder! Lumis wants to suplex Knight out?! Knight fights that off and hotshots Lumis! Lumis flops down, Knight runs back in, but Lumis dumps him out! Wait, that was a second rope! Knight is in, he TRIPS Lumis and gets back in, Knight wins!!
Winner: LA Knight (enters the Gauntlet Eliminator last)
Gargano is fine with that. LA Knight snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, grabs up some of Grimes’ money, and lets Gargano have it because he’s coming for the gold! Knight says there’s eight days left on Johnny’s reign, and then it’ll be LA Knight’s game! Gargano tells Knight he can’t hang with him, “dummy!” But will it even be Gargano VS Knight? Will one of the other five come up with a TakeOver shocker?
Wait, Io Shirai is on her way to the ring! She gets a mic and shouts, “RAQUEL GONZALEZ!” And in Japanese, she essentially tells Gonzalez to get her ass back out to the ring so they can finish this! This will never be over until Shirai says it will be! Gonzalez storms right out, referees trying to keep her back, and the brawl is on again! Gonzalez throws body shots, Shirai kicks back, and now the Women’s Roster rushes out to stop this! That’s not so easy as Gonzalez gets free and puts Shirai in the ring! But then Gonzalez has to push the other superstars away! Shirai breaks free to ROCK Gonzalez, but she just shoves Shirai back down!
Gonzalez storms in, throws superstars aside, only for Shirai to dropkick her down! Shirai SHOTEIS those in her way, to then SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY the entire roster over!! The fans are thunderous and Shirai is fired up more than ever before! Will the NXT Women’s Champion still be the NXT Women’s Champion?! Will NXT still belong to the Evil Genius?!
An awesome go-home to TakeOver! We got a great Prime Target for Cole VS Kyle, and apparently there is a longer version that will play on Peacock TV (or I suppose WWE Network for those outside the US) next week. What we got was still awesome, this is one of the things no one can beat WWE in, and Cole VS Kyle is feeling that much more awesome, and it already felt top tier to begin with. The Pomeranian bit to plug a new recruit to NXT was unique. Is the Pomeranian going to be part of Franky’s (Taya Valkyrie’s?) character. Promos with the pupper, but a pet sitter at ringside? Who knows, but seeing Taya in WWE is going to be great, and maybe one day, she teams up with John Morrison on Raw or SmackDown.
Strong VS Grimes was an oddly placed match to begin with given the battle royal, but I do like that the UE was being used against him. Cole and Kyle are busy, Bobby Fish is still out injured, so an indirect feud with Grimes and basically any person wearing UE merch. Strong “quitting” was interesting. I like that they rolled through the battle royal without him, and I like that Swerve and Ruff brawled beforehand. There was also good promos from Kushida and Dunne before to set their battle in this match up and of course their TakeOver match, that is going to be awesome. I am starting to hope that match determines a challenger for whoever is NXT Champion after TakeOver.
The Way was great all night. Candice & Indi of course won tonight and are getting a title match, but I can’t be sure they dethrone Shotzi & Ember, even at TakeOver. Theory eliminating himself was hilarious. Theory is nailing his role as The Way’s goofball. The final six in the battle royal, aka the Gauntlet Eliminator entries, are quite the surprise. I didn’t think Swerve and Ruff were in, but it’s great that they are, they can just tear it up to start that match. Reed will probably be what eliminates one or both of them, saving a proper blow-off of Ruff VS Swerve for later on. It’s going to be really hard to choose between Reed and Lumis, but I feel Reed and Knight cancel out, and it really should be Lumis that takes on Gargano again.
Kross and Balor had good promos, but I can’t say it really took away or added to their match hype. It was still good that we heard from them, it’s just a logical move, but this match was already at its best possible hype. Escobar had a bit of a rambling promo, but had a really good match with Tyler Breeze. I am thinking Escobar wins the ladder match ONLY because he lives in the States, the majority of the Cruiserweight Division is in the States, and COVID is still getting in everyone’s way. I still defend that Devlin is the better character, Heel or otherwise, but it’s just the circumstances that are ending his reign.
Tian Sha (team and individual) had a really good night against Kacy & Kayden. A little disappointed Tian Sha/Karen Q didn’t get in the ring, but it is good character development to show she isn’t just scary looking, but has scary strength and that scary smoke breath. Xia Li wins it for the team, and I hope she and Tian Sha move up the Women’s Tag Division roster. Shirai going after Raquel again and again was actually awesome stuff, because Raquel got to throw Shirai around to show her strength but Shirai got to show her toughness and aggression. Shirai getting the last laugh was great, but now I can’t be sure what the math says! Raquel might win since Shirai stood tall, but Shirai is proving she is still an awesome champion and asset to NXT, I can’t wait to see what happens.
My Score: 9.6/10
Mitchell’s AEW Dynamite Results & Report! (8/17/22)
American Dragon VS Dragonslayer!
Dynamite becomes the House of the Dragon!
AEW has an epic rematch between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia, in a Best Two Out of Three Falls match! Will Red Death truly slay the American Dragon?
- Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Bryan Danielson VS Daniel Garcia; wins.
- Gunn Club VS The Varsity Blonds; win(s).
- Toni Storm VS KiLynn King; wins.
- AEW World Trios Championship Tournament, Opening Round: La Faccion Ingobernable VS The Young Bucks & ???; win(s) and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
[Due to scheduling conflicts, coverage of AEW Dynamite will begin later tonight]
Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Results & Report! (8/17/22)
And then there were four!
The G1 Climax’s Final Four face off!
A VS B and C VS D, the biggest G1 Climax in NJPW history reaches its semifinals! Will Tetsuya Naito make Will Ospreay trainquilo? Will Kazuchika Okada make it rain on the Good Bad Guy?
- 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Suzuki-Gun; Chaos wins.
- Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor VS Dangerous Tekkers; Dangerous Tekkers win.
- Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe VS Bad Dude Tito & JONAH; Tito & Jonah win.
- Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, David Finlay & KUSHIDA VS Bullet Club; Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida win.
- G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga; Okada wins and advances to the finals.
- G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay; Ospreay wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!
It’s A Block VS B Block, Rainmaker VS Good Bad Guy! And in G1 Climax 31, Okada lost to Tama! Will history repeat itself? Or will Tama have to fall back to the golden ticket he got from beating Jay White?
The bell rings and fans rally up already as the two circle. Tama and Okada shake hands to show there’s respect here and fans cheer more. Okada and Tama tie up, are in a deadlock, but Okada uses his height as leverage. Okada puts Tama on the ropes and the ref calls for the break. Okada lets off, pats Tama on the shoulders, but Tama rushes in. Okada kicks low, headlocks, but Tama powers up and out. Okada runs Tama over and fans fire up. Okada runs, Tama gets up to arm-drag Okada around! Then Tama dropkicks Okada down! Fans fire up more as Tama brings Okada up. Tama CLUBS Okada and follows him to a corner.
Tama throws body shots, but Okada throws forearms! Tama knees low, Okada throws body shots but Tama CLUBS Okada down. Fans rally as Tama whips corner to corner, but Okada reverses. Okada runs in but into a back elbow. Tama runs at Okada but into the FLAPJACK! Fans applaud while Okada catches his breath. Jado coaches Tama while fans rally up. Okada drags Tama up, ROCKS him with a forearm, and Tama goes to ropes. Okada brings Tama around to CLUB him on the neck. Okada puts Tama in a corner and throws a back elbow. And then another! And then another! The ref counts and Okada lets off.
Fans rally, Jado coaches Tama, but Okada brings Tama up. Tama throws body shots but Okada knees low. Okada turns Tama for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Okada sits Tama up for a chinlock. Tama endures while Okada squeezes tight. The fans rally up more as Okada turns and twists Tama. Tama fights up to his feet, throws elbows, but Okada knees low. Okada throws Tama out of the ring then follows after. Tama staggers up into a kick and DDT to the floor! Okada leaves Tama behind while fans rally up. Jado coaches Tama while the ring count climbs. We’re at 5 of 20 but Tama is still down.
Tama pushes up off the floor at 10 of 20 and crawls his way over, and he drags himself up at 16, only to fall! Tama springs up and in at 19! Okada walks over and kicks Tama around while the fans rally up. “O-KA-DA!” eggs Tama on, so Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Okada eggs Tama on, Tama keeps throwing hands, but Okada DECKS Tama with one! Okada whips Tama to a corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Okada! Fans fire up and rally again as Tama drags himself up the ropes. Tama rushes Okada to LARIAT, and ELBOW, and scoop SLAM! OFF COMES THE VEST! Fans fire up with Tama as he claps, “TA-MA! TA-MA!”
Okada is in the corner, Tama runs in to STINGER SPLASH! And then a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans continue to rally as Tama paces around. Tama brings Okada up to CLUB him down, then he throws body shots. Tama dragon sleepers but Okada fights free! Tama throws a body shot, an uppercut, and then whips. Okada ducks ‘n’ dodges to CLOBBER Tama with an elbow! Fans rally and Okada whips Tama into a corner. Okada runs in to back elbow, then kicks and DDTs! Cover, TWO! Fans clap for “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” as Okada watches Tama stand. Tama staggers into the Alabama Lift! But Tama fights it off with body shots!
Okada ROCKS Tama, but Tama ROCKS Okada. Okada EuroUppers but Tama EuroUppers back! Okada swings but into the TONGAN TWIST! Fans rally up again as Okada bails out of the ring. Tama goes out after Okada and brings him up, but Okada throws body shots! Okada whips Tama into railing, and Tama bounces off into a scoop! But Tama fights that to a TONGAN TWIST to the floor! A bit of payback from earlier! Fans rally up while the ref checks both men. Both men are able to continue and Tama stands first. The ring count starts and Tama drags Okada up at 5 of 20 to put him in at 6. Fans cheer as this match continues.
Tama stalks Okada while the fans clap. Okada stands, Tama rushes in, VENENO! Cover, TWO! Tama paces around then brings Okada back up. Tama fireman’s carries, but Okada fights free and spins Tama. ROLLING- NO, Tama ducks the lariat to fireman’s carry! S R C! Tama heads for the corner and fans fire up! SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and Tama grows frustrated, but Jado calls the shot! Tama and Jado pound the mat, and fans clap along. Tama watches Okada rise, then he rushes in, GUN- NO, Okada turns that into the BACK2BACKBREAKER! And then the MONEY CLIP!!
Tama endures and fans rally up! Tama reaches out and gets the ROPEBREAK! Okada lets go in frustration but fans fire up more. The fans continue to rally, “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” Okada drags Tama up, scoops him and SLAMS him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs up and fans rally for the MACHO ELBOW! And of course, the Rainmaker Pose! Okada drags Tama up, wristlocks, but Tama throws back elbows. Okada CLUBS Tama, EuroUppers and runs, but into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up as Tama takes Okada down! Tama drags Okada up, but Okada fights off the suplex to shove and DROPKICK Tama in return!
Okada drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks to slips around, BLOODY SUNDAY!! Shoutout to the Prince! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Tama just reloads and brings him back up! Double underhooks, but Okada fights free to LARIAT! Not quite the Rainmaker but Okada holds onto the wrist! Fans rally as Okada slowly rises back up. Okada drags Tama up, for a short arm LARIAT! Okada fires up and the fans follow suit! He drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks and runs, into a DROPKICK! But he gets back up! Tama is roaring, fans are fire dup, but Okada scoops for the LANDSLIDE!!
Okada then ripcords Tama, GUN STUN!!! But Tama can’t make the cover! Jado shouts to Tama, he crawls over to Okada, pushes Okada over for the cover, TWO!!! Okada survives because of the delay! Fans are thunderous while both men are still down! Tama rises and he drags Okada back up. Tama reels Okada in, underhooks the arms, but Okada fights the lift! Tama CLUBS Okada, CLUBS him again, and fans rally as Tama CLUBS Okada one more time. Tama brings Okada up, reels him in again, but Okada back drops and sits on the cover! TWO!! Tama swings, but into a waistlock! Tama fights the suplex, throws elbows, and then whips.
Okada reverses but Tama dodges the dropkick! And he hurries to underhook, but Okada slips out! GUN- NO, Okada holds it off this time, to then get the wristlock! Ripcord, GUN- NO!! Okada turns it into a MONEY CLIP!!! Fans rally as hard as ever, and Tama turns clip into cradle! TWO!!! Okada escapes, BOOTS, but Tama PELES! Tama reloads fast and waits on Okada to stand! Okada is up, Tama runs in, GUN- NO!!! Okada fights it again, to ENZIGURI! And then pump handle scoop, POWERSLAM!! Ripcord, RAINMAKER!!! Cover, Okada wins!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Tama put up one hell of a fight, truly worthy of the biggest G1 Climax ever, but it just wasn’t enough to stop the Rainmaker! Will Okada not stop until he has that Right to Challenge briefcase once more?
G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay w/ Great-O-Khan!
It’s C Block VS D Block, Uncontrollable Charisma VS Commonwealth Kingpin! We know Okada awaits in the finals, will he be facing one of his great rivals in Naito? Or will it be one of his great enemies in Ospreay?
Naito takes off his elaborate entrance attire while Ospreay takes his time with his coat and two title belts. Fans rally, “NA-I-TO!” “O-SU-PREAY!” and the bell rings. Ospreay encourages the fans to get louder so they do, and Naito says that’s nice. The two then circle, Naito goes back and forth to toy with Ospreay, but then they tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Ospreay finds a point of leverage. He puts Naito on the ropes and Red Shoes counts. Ospreay pats Naito but Naito turns things around. Naito has Ospreay on the ropes, but then pats Ospreay on the shoulders. To then kick low and CLUB him on the neck! And again!
Red Shoes reprimands but Naito whips Ospreay. Ospreay reverses, Naito holds ropes and BOOTS Back, to then RANA! But Ospreay handsprings through! Naito ducks the Penalty Kick, avoids the Standing Moonsault, then arm-drags Ospreay! Naito ducks a roundhouse and tranquilos! Ospreay smirks while Naito bails out. Fans rally up while Naito stares Khan down. Khan keeps his distance and Naito takes a walk around the ring. Khan tells Naito to get back in so Naito does. Naito and Ospreay circle, feel out a knuckle lock, then circle some more. Ospreay blocks Naito’s kick! Naito tries to reach Ospreay but he can’t!
Ospreay ROCKS Naito with a forearm, then another! Ospreay whips, atomic drops and CHOPS Naito down, for the STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up and Khan cheers Ospreay on. Ospreay drags Naito up, ROCKS him again, then bumps him off buckles. Ospreay CHOPS Naito in the corner, then stalks him to another corner. Ospreay CHOPS again and Naito staggers. Ospreay whips him but Naito reverses, only for Ospreay to go up and over. Naito dodges, blocks a kick and puts Ospreay in the ropes for a DRAPING BACKBREAKER! Naito then whips Ospreay to ropes for a hip toss! And basement dropkick! Naito keeps going, NECKBREAKER!
Fans fire up while Ospreay clutches his neck. Fans rally up and Naito brings Ospreay into a chinlock. Naito grinds Ospreay down with an almost bulldog choke but Ospreay endures. Fans rally up more, Ospreay pulls hair but Red Shoes reprimands. Naito lets off to snapmare Ospreay into a headscissor hold! Naito pushes up to put pressure on the neck but Ospreay endures. Ospreay rolls around and gets the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes counts and Khan protests, and Naito lets off. Fans rally up as Naito brings Ospreay around. Naito ROCKS Ospreay but Ospreay ROCKS Naito, repeat! Naito then CLUBS Ospreay on the neck!
Naito CLUBS away on Ospreay in the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Naito runs in to JUMP KICK! Leg sweep, SWINGING DROPKICK! Combinacion Cabron! Fans fire up as Naito poses, then covers, TWO! Fans rally up and Naito stomps Ospreay around. Naito brings Ospreay up to cravat and neck wrench! Ospreay endures, drops to a knee, and fans rally again. Ospreay fights back up, throws body shots, but Naito ROCKS him again. Naito whips, Ospreay reverses but Naito reverses again. Naito swings into a full nelson, but he arm-drags free! Naito dodges and whips but Ospreay handsprings to NEURALIZER!
Fans fire up while both men are down. Ospreay sits up and grits his teeth. Ospreay waits on Naito to get up, but Naito is slow. Ospreay fireman’s carries to then SNAKE EYES and BOOT! Ospreay goes to the apron and fans fire up with him. Ospreay aims at Naito, springboards and PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is annoyed but fans continue to rally. Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in, but Naito resists the lift. Ospreay keeps trying but Naito flails. Ospreay CLUBS Naito, throws a quick Kowada Kick, then CHOPS Naito off his feet! Naito gets up but Ospreay reels him in, only for Naito to fight the bomb!
Naito ducks the lariat to BACKBREAKER into the LEG HOOK NELSON! Naito slaps Ospreay around but Ospreay still endures. Ospreay moves around, but Naito drags him from ropes! Fans rally, Naito puts on more pressure, but Ospreay kicks his way around! ROPEBREAK! Fans fire up as Red Shoes counts, and Naito lets Ospreay go. Fans rally as Naito stands and Ospreay drags himself up the ropes. Naito hammerlocks and half nelsons but Ospreay fights off the lift! Naito ripcords but Ospreay ducks the elbow. Naito CLUBS Ospreay, dodges a haymaker, then ROCKS Ospreay! Naito runs, into the Tiger Wall Kick and ENZIGURI! But Naito rebounds, into a SPANISH FLY!!
Fans are thunderous as both men are down again! Ospreay and Naito sit up, talk some trash, and then get forehead to forehead. Naito throws a forearm but Ospreay gives it back. Naito grins and forearms Ospreay again! Ospreay ROCKS Naito back! Ospreay eggs Naito on so Naito ROCKS Ospreay! Ospreay roars and fans fire up, and Ospreay throws another forearm! Naito gives another, and they go back and forth! Fans rally up as the speed picks up! Ospreay fires off a flurry, then CHOPS!! Naito staggers and Ospreay waits on him. Naito comes back to SLAP Ospreay! Ospreay grins and fans fire up!
Ospreay blocks a kick, ducks the enziguri but Naito dodges Hidden Blade to TORNADO- NO! Ospreay blocks to suplex and BRAINBUSTER! But Ospreay holds on, brings Naito back up, suplexes but Naito RANAS! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay escapes in time but Naito gets him for the TORNADO DDT! Fans are thunderous again while both men are down. Naito and Ospreay stir and Naito sits up first. Naito crawls his way over, drags Ospreay up, and throws heavy back elbows! Ospreay drops to a knee, but Naito brings him up for more heavy elbows! Ospreay drops again but he grabs at Naito. Naito brings Ospreay up for even more heavy elbows!
Ospreay falls over backwards, and the tape on his shoulders is coming off! Naito hammerlocks, half nelsons, and hits GLORIA! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is still in this but Naito is still smiling. Naito brings Ospreay up again, wrenches the arm, but Ospreay RAMS him into the corner! Ospreay runs in but Naito alley-oops him into the corner! Naito then sits Ospreay up on the top rope backwards, and climbs up behind him! Naito goes up to SUPER POISON-RANA!!! Cover, TWO!!! Ospreay survives and fans are thunderous! Naito aims from the corner as Ospreay rises, then he runs in to CORRIENDO SHIKI- NO, Ospreay blocks Destino!
But Ospreay also holds Naito up! Ospreay ties up the legs, MAGIC CROSS DRIVER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous again as Ospreay aims from the corner! Naito sits up, Ospreay rushes in, HIDDEN BLADE!!! But Ospreay isn’t satisfied with that, he drags Naito up! Underhook and lift, STORM- DESTINO!!! Naito turns things around but both men are down! The fans are electric as both men stir on the mat! Naito crawls over to Ospreay, drags him up, but Ospreay BOOTS! Naito ENZIGURIS! Naito scoops but Ospreay slips out to HOOK KICK! Ospreay calls his shot, springboards, but Naito ducks the OsCutter! SPINEBUSTER!!
Naito hauls Ospreay up to wrench and- NO, Ospreay turns it, CHELSEA GRIN!! Fans fire up as Ospreay aims again! Ospreay runs in, but Naito ducks the blade! CORRIENDO SHIKI DESTINO!!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Ospreay survives and no one can believe it!! Naito roars, drags Ospreay up, and tilt-o-whirls, DESTI- NO!! Ospreay slips out to HIDDEN BLADE!!! Cover, TWO?!?!?!? Maybe 2.999!! The fans can’t believe it, Khan can’t believe, commentary can’t believe it! But Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in and underhooks, for STORMBREAKER!!!! Cover, OSPREAY WINS!!!
Winner: Will Ospreay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
After fighting back from an 0-2 start, after fighting his heart out here, Naito falls before the Climax! If this is truly Naito’s last G1 Climax, if this is truly his last year with NJPW, has it all ended here and now? Or can Naito find another path to Wrestle Kingdom?
As for Ospreay, he holds up his IWGP US Heavyweight Championship and Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship high as he stands over Naito, and then again as he stands on the corner. Khan waves the banner of the United Empire, then brings the mic to Ospreay. The fans applaud, but Ospreay says, “Louder, Budokan! Louder!! Motto! Gentlemen, I said MORE! I want more!” Fans applaud louder, and Ospreay is happy. “Naito, good showing. One more, onegaishimasu. This doesn’t get spoken about enough. In May, I nearly died! I had a kidney infection that nearly killed me! And in three months, three months! After saying I could’ve died, I’m in the G1 Final!”
Fans applaud that heart, and Ospreay says his opponent “is a man who seemingly, I can’t beat on my own. In the seven matches Ospreay and Okada have had, Okada has one SIX of them. SIX. Everyone is now doubting me, because they think I can’t beat Okada. I’ve seen it done with my own eyes! I have seen AJ Styles beat Okada. I have seen Tanahashi beat Okada. I’ve seen NAITO beat Okada! Hell, I’ve even see Jay White dethrone Okada. Know what makes me different? I know in my heart, I know I’m better than all those guys! I know I’m the best wrestler in the world today!!” Fans applaud that, he has a case for it.
Ospreay lists off his accomplishments: Best of the Super Juniors; the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship; the New Japan Cup; the British Heavyweight Championship; the NEVER Openweight Championship; the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship; and the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship!! There’s just one more to go! “And believe me. Believe me when I say this. Believe me, I’m not gonna lose. I will beat Okada! I will lead NJPW out of the Dark Ages, and I will bring it back tot he light! Okada, matta ashita <I’ll be waiting tomorrow.> See you at the top!” The Kingpin vows to go from Grand Slam to ULTIMATE Champion in NJPW, will he succeed?
A great event as the penultimate night of the G1 this year. Yes, I skipped a lot of matches, and I wish I had time to see that 8 Man with Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida, because it saw the return of the Good Brothers to Japan. But Tanahashi’s team won thanks to some sneaky moves from Yano. I wonder if anyone from Tanahashi’s team will go after Karl Anderson’s NEVER Openweight Championship. Any one of them would be a great opponent for Anderson, but especially Tanahashi.
But we got awesome G1 matches, as to be expected. Tama has been running strong, but it sure seems like everyone knows how to counter the Gun Stun… It makes sense that Okada wins, he could potentially go back-to-back as the G1 Climax winner. But given that, I don’t think he will. Ospreay VS Naito was a great choice to be the main event between the two semifinal matches, and honestly I didn’t think Naito was going to lose. This is supposed to be his last year, so I thought he’d get to the finals before losing and having to worry about what’s next.
Ospreay has a great promo and he does make a great argument for winning the finals. Ospreay’s checked off almost everything to do in NJPW as a singles wrestler, even more than what Okada has done. Ospreay getting the honor of being the first to check everything off the list would be huge.
My Score: 9/10
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