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Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Results & Report! (9/23/21)

Round two, A Block!

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NJPW G1 Climax 31

NJPW has had to make some adjustments, but the show must go on!

Sadly, the G1 Climax ends early for Tetsuya Naito due to injury. Will this change to A Block make things easier for the rest of NJPW’s top stars?

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.

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Toru Yano VS Great-O-Khan; Khan wins.
  • KENTA VS Yujiro Takahashi; Kenta wins.
  • Kota Ibushi VS Tomohiro Ishii; Ibushi wins.
  • Shingo Takagi VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Here are the current A Block standings!

Shingo Takagi: 1-0, 2 points
Yujiro Takahashi: 1-0, 2 points
Great-O-Khan: 1-0, 2 points
Toru Yano: 1-0, 2 points
Zack Sabre Jr: 1-0, 2 points
Tomohiro Ishii: 0-1, 0 points
Kenta: 0-1, 0 points
Tanga Loa: 0-1, 0 points
Kota Ibushi: 0-1, 0 points
Tetsuya Naito: ELIMINATED due to injury

 

Toru Yano VS Great-O-Khan!

Both men won in the first round, but now someone’s streak ends at one! Will there be another trick up Yano’s proverbial sleeve? Or will the Dominator dominate again and go 2-0 in his G1 debut?

Yano is already afraid of Khan just as he tries to make his entrance and he stays away. Khan only gets angry with Yano and goes after him! Khan clubs Yano down, stomps away on him, and the ref has the bell ring so this is on the record. Khan shoves Yano towards ringside, stomps him at the railing, and digs his boots in. The ref reprimands, Khan lets off and fans rally up for Yano. Khan whips Yano hard into railing! Yano flounders, Khan ignores the ref and whips Yano even harder into more railing! And again into more railing! Khan’s wrath scares commentary a bit but he isn’t done! Khan gets Yano up and whips, but Yano reverses and sends him into railing!

Fans cheer Yano and he hurries to get Khan up. Yano ties Khan’s ponytail to the railing! Khan fights back as the ring count climbs, and he’s free! Khan puts Yano in at 10 of 20, gets in at 14 and then chokes Yano! The ref counts, Khan stops, and holds onto the ponytail that had to be cut the last time he faced Yano. Khan gets Yano up but Yano throws forearms! Khan DECKS Yano, then rains down furious forearms! Khan chokes Yano again! The ref counts, Khan stops and fans rally up. Khan paces, drags Yano back up, waistlocks and RAMS Yano into a corner! Khan CLUBS Yano, sits on him, and fans cheer. Khan uses his new ponytail to taunt Yano, then he pulls Yano’s arms back!

The ref counts, Khan hops off Yano and fans cheer and rally up again. Khan gets in Yano’s face, drags him into the KATAGATAMI! Yano endures the arm ‘n’ head triangle, but Khan sneaks his ponytail in to gag Yano! Fans rally as Yano endures, even as Khan leans all his wait on him! The ref checks but Yano gets a second wind and the ROPEBREAK! Khan lets go but still keeps the gag in Yano’s mouth. The ref counts, Khan lets off and takes his ponytail back. Fans rally up for “Y T R! Y T R!” but Khan drags Yano up. Khan scoops and SLAMS Yano, then covers, TWO! Yano is still in this and Khan is annoyed, but the fans continue to rally.

Khan kicks at Yano and taunts him with the cut ponytail again. Khan sets the ponytail on his boot but Yano fights back as Khan pushes him down! Fans rally as Yano fights back up to his feet and throws body shots! Khan knees low, CLUBS Yano on the back, and has the ref handle the hair. Khan whips, Yano holds ropes and taunts Khan, but then Khan runs in. Yano dodges and SLAPS Khan on the back of his head! Khan is furious and chases after Yano but only gets ropes as Yano bails out! Khan flounders up, chases Yano on the outside, but Yano’s gotten his spray bottle in all the chaos! He sprays Khan in the face! And then a little extra!

Yano gets Khan up, whips him but Khan reverses to send Yano into railing! Fans rally up as Khan wipes his face. Khan reveals he had cuffs under his hat! Khan stalks up to Yano and goes to cuff Yano to the railing! Yano gets away, kicks low, gets back in the ring and wants the ring count to hurry. Khan gets in and Yano begs to be forgiven. But then he throws the handcuffs away! Khan fires off Mongolian Chops, whips Yano but Yano reverses to atomic drop! Yano takes a breath and unties a buckle pad! Fans fire up seeing Yano up to his old tricks, but Khan grabs the pad! They tug-o-war, the ref tells them to stop, but Khan gets the pad from Yano. Yano shoves the ref into the PAD SHOT!

Yano gets the pad to DRAGON SCREW! Wait, does that still count when it’s a buckle pad? Khan is down either way, and Yano brings out some new handcuffs! Yano cuffs them to the railing then fetches Khan. Yano drags Khan by his ponytail, then goes to cuff Khan to the railing! Khan clamps the Iron Claw onto Yano and RAMS him into railing! Yano drops in a heap, but Khan cuffs him to the railing! Khan grins as Yano’s the victim of his own plan! Khan puts the ref in the ring so he can start the count, but Yano of course has the keys to his own cuffs! Khan stomps Yano, grabs the key and says he’s the genius now. Khan takes the key with him into the ring and lets the count begin.

Yano tries to break the cuffs as the count climbs. The count reaches 10 of 20 but Yano is still stuck! Yano says, “Mudi mudi mudi!” It’s impossible! The count is past 15 as Yano panics! Yano undoes the railing itself to get loose! Yano gets in at 19, but Khan clamps on the IRON CLAW! Yano breaks free, dodges and CLAPS in Khan’s face to make him flinch! Takedown to M U! Cover, TWO!! Backslide, TWO!! Khan gets Yano’s arm, reels him in, HITSUJIGOROSHI! Then ELIMINATOR!! Cover, Khan wins!

Winner: Great-O-Khan, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Yano earns 0)

The Dominator avenges his hair and keeps his G1 strong! But he isn’t done with Yano, either. He puts his cut ponytail back on his boot, and he forces Yano down! Yano hits back with a LOW BLOW! Yano gets the last laugh, but can he rebound in the next round? As for Khan, will he take this frustration out on his own third round opponent?

 

KENTA VS Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter!

It’s Bullet Club VS Bullet Club! But will Fang Revived make up for his loss to Toru Yano? Or will the Tokyo Pimp keep momentum going from his round one shocker?

The bell rings and Kenta throws up the Too Sweet. Yujiro considers it, but leaves Kenta hanging? Kenta offers to Pieter but she snubs him even colder than Yujiro did! The divisions in Bullet Club seem to be pretty strong, but fans rally up as the two circle. They tie up, Yujiro powers Kenta back, but Kenta turns things around to put Yujiro on the ropes. Kenta lets off and again offers the Too Sweet. Yujiro kicks low then clubs Kenta down! Yujiro headlocks, Kenta powers out but Yujiro runs him over. Fans cheer as Kenta backs away to a corner. Yujiro drags Kenta up, puts him in the corner and throws knees. Yujiro throws forearms, pulls hair then whips Kenta corner to corner.

Yujiro runs in and BOOTS Kenta in the corner! Yujiro snapmares and runs to basement boot Kenta down! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer but Yujiro grows annoyed. Yujiro stomps Kenta, Kenta wants him to take it easy because they’re Bullet Club teammates. Yujiro still stomps Kenta at the ropes! Yujiro drags Kenta up, whips him to ropes but Kenta holds ropes to bail out. Yujiro stalks Kenta on the outside and throws forearms. Kenta goes around the way, Yujiro still follows and Kenta throws body shots! Yujiro throws body shots back, then he brings Kenta around the way to whip him into railing! Kenta drops in a heap and fans cheer but the ref wants this to return to the ring.

Yujiro stomps Kenta, the count climbs but Yujiro gets space. Yujiro hugs Pieter, she watches him swivel those hips, but the ring count is 13 of 20. Yujiro runs at Kenta but Kenta gets around to waistlock! Kenta shoves Yujiro at Pieter but he stops himself from running into her! Yujiro turns around, Kenta kicks Yujiro low and hits a DDT to the floor! But the ring count is 17! Kenta gets Yujiro up and in at 19! Fans cheer that this returns to the ring as Kenta paces around. Kenta stomps Yujiro in the stomach, then on the back. Yujiro flounders, Kenta gets Yujiro up to snapmare and KICK him in the back! Kenta’s given up on being Bullet Club friends, he drops knees on Yujiro’s face!

Kenta brings the knee pad down, but he jumps and scuffs Yujiro with his heel. Kenta then swivels his hips at Pieter, but she tries to shoo him away with Yujiro’s pimp cane. Kenta drags Yujiro back up, turns him and hits a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Yujiro stays in this and he throws body shots back. Kenta eggs him on, Yujiro throws haymakers but Kenta sobats! Kenta KICKS Yujiro to ropes, then stomps him against the ropes, too. Kenta facelocks, grinds Yujiro down, but Yujiro endures. Fans rally up, Yujiro fights up and throws body shots. Kenta knees low, whips Yujiro to ropes, then elbows him down! Kenta paces before he covers, TWO!

Kenta kicks at Yujiro, taunts him, but Yujiro gets up to egg Kenta on. Kenta KICKS but Yujiro ROCKS him with a forearm! And another! Kenta knees low, whips Yujiro corner to corner, but Yujiro reverses. Yujiro runs in but Kenta boots! Kenta runs but Yujiro blocks the boot to throw Kenta down, and a basement dropkick! Fans fire up as both men are down, but Yujiro slowly stands back up. Yujiro hobbles over to Kenta, brings him up and CHOPS him to the ropes. Then CHOPS him again! And again! Yujiro stands Kenta up and runs in to BOOT him! Yujiro then runs to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Kenta is still in this but Yujiro keeps his cool.

Fans rally up for “YU-JI-RO! YU-JI-RO!” as he brings Kenta up. Yujiro reels Kenta in, fisherman BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Yujiro gets up, stands Kenta up and reels him in, but Kenta blocks the Incolle Slam with elbows to the head! Yujiro swings but into a spin and DDT! Fans fire up as both men are down again. Kenta goes to a corner, climbs up top, and Yujiro stands for the FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Cover, TWO! Kenta keeps cool as he drags Yujiro into an STF! Yujiro endures, drags himself and Kenta over, and gets a ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer, Kenta lets go at the ref’s count, then he stomps Yujiro at the ropes!

Kenta drags Yujiro up from the apron and through the ropes for a DRAPING DDT! Cover, TWO! Yujiro’s still in this and fans fire up. Kenta aims from the corner, runs corner to corner and JUMP KICKS Yujiro down! Then he goes corner to corner again for the HESITATION DROPKICK! Yujiro is in the drop zone and Kenta goes up top! DIVING- NO, Yujiro dodges and fires up, but runs into Kenta’s kitchen sink knee! Cover, TWO! Kenta drags Yujiro back to a drop zone and goes back up top. Fans rally up and Kenta jumps again, DIVING DOUBLE STOMPS!! Cover, TWO!! Yujiro survives the coup de grace but Kenta slashes his throat! Kenta fireman’s carries, Yujiro turns GTS into DDT!!

Fans are fired up as Yujiro slowly rises. Kenta sits up in a daze, gets to ropes, and Yujiro runs in to ram shoulders! Kenta BOOTS back, whips but Yujiro reverses to INCOLLE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives and fans rally up again! Yujiro drags Kenta back up, Kenta ROCKS him with a forearm, then another! Yujiro DECKS Kenta with one! Yujiro drags Kenta up, fireman’s carries, MIAMI SHINE!! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives again and Yujiro can’t believe it! Yujiro fires himself up, vows to end it here, and he sits Kenta up, PIMP- No juice! Kenta jackknifes deep, TWO!! Kenta is in the corner, Yujiro runs in but into a roll up! WITH TIGHTS! TWO, and Yujiro BOOTS Kenta!

Yujiro fires up, but runs into the BUSAIKU KNEE!! Kenta roars, drags Yujiro back up, fireman’s carry for GO- NO! Yujiro shoves Kenta at the ref! LOW- NO! Kenta blocks to a takedown! Omoplata for GAME OVER CROSSFACE!! Yujiro endures, fans rally but Kenta pulls back hard! Yujiro taps, Kenta wins!

Winner: Kenta, by submission (gains 2 points; Yujiro earns 0)

Fang Revived just took a bite out of the House of Torture with that one! Kenta gets on the board, but can he make a comeback towards the finals? As for Tokyo Pimp, he finally shows the Too Sweet. Did he just want Kenta to prove himself first? Kenta and Yujiro Low Sweet, and perhaps Bullet Club is fine after all.

 

Kota Ibushi VS Tomohiro Ishii!

The Golden Star and the Stone Pitbull are both rebounding from defeats in the first round, but losing to Yujiro was perhaps the harder pill to swallow than losing to THE IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Will Ibushi rebound and still have hope of repeating history? Or will his misfortunes continue as Ishii redeems himself?

The bell rings and fans already really for “I-BU-SHI!” “I-SHI-I!” as the two step up. They go forehead to forehead, then Ibushi shoves Ishii. They tie up collar ‘n’ elbow, are in a deadlock at center, then Ibushi powers Ishii to ropes. Ibushi lets off but Ishii SLAPS him! Ibushi is fired up already but the ref keeps them apart so Ishii can step away from the ropes. They tie up, Ishii headlocks, Ibushi powers out but Ishii runs him over! Ibushi kips up, things speed up and Ibushi hurdles. Ishii holds ropes to stop but he still runs into a forearm. Ibushi runs, Ishii dodges but then Ibushi dodges back. Ishii runs Ibushi over again!

Ishii paces, drags Ibushi up and then CHOPS him! Ibushi grits his teeth but Ishii CHOPS him again! Ibushi stays up, Ishii stands him up straight to CHOP again. Ibushi forearms but Ishii shakes his head. Ibushi fires another forearm, but Ishii DECKS him with one! Fans still rally and Ishii gets Ibushi up on the ropes. Ishii CHOPS but Ibushi eggs him on so the CHOPS keep coming! Ibushi sputters and Ishii CHOPS him again! The ref wants Ishii to let off but Ishii tells him to shut it. Ishii CHOPS until Ibushi sits down, so Ishii sits him up to CHOP again! And again! Ibushi’s chest is already red but he’s still egging Ishii on.

Ishii CHOPS again, and again, but Ibushi forearms! Ishii CHOPS and Ibushi falls over! Ishii kicks Ibushi to give back the goading, but Ibushi is still defiant on the mat. Ishii stands on Ibushi, the ref wants him to let off but Ibushi still eggs Ishii on. Ishii steps off, Ibushi gets up to throw forearms but Ishii leans into the shots. Ibushi still tries but Ishii CHOPS him to the corner. Ishii asks Ibushi where that fight is, but Ibushi keeps giving forearms. Ibushi SLAPS and forearms Ishii but Ishii just keeps him cornered. Ishii SLAPS Ibushi and fans fire up! Ibushi fires off more SLAPPING palm strikes. Ishii joins in and it’s a SLAP fight! Ibushi gets in twice as many shots then he KICKS Ishii down!

Fans fire up as both men are down on the mat. Ibushi rises and grits his teeth again. Ibushi drags Ishii up, whips him to a corner but Ishii reverses. Ishii runs in, Ibushi goes up and over and RANAS Ishii out! Fans fire up with Ibushi and he aims from the ropes. Ishii stands, Ibushi PLANCHAS him back down! Ibushi keeps the fans rallying and he puts Ishii back in the ring. Ibushi aims from the apron as Ishii rises, then Ibushi springboards in. Ishii gets under, comes back to ROCK Ibushi, but Ishii runs into a POWERSLAM! Ibushi somersaults to the corner, MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Fans are fired up again as both men are back down on the mat!

Ibushi drags Ishii up, puts on a waistlock, but Ishii fights with elbows. Ibushi ducks, swings but Ishii spins him. Ibushi suplexes, Ishii slips out to wrench, and he ducks a lariat to a BIG back suplex! Both men are down again and fans continue to rally. Ishii rises, brings Ibushi up and whips but Ibushi reverses. Ishii bounces off buckles but runs into Ibushi’s dropkick! But Ishii stays up and moves forward again to POUNCE Ibushi with a shoulder! Fans are thunderous as Ibushi ends up in a corner from the impact! Ishii gets up, hoists Ibushi to the top rope, then climbs up. Ishii stands Ibushi up but Ibushi resists, only for Ishii to still get the STALLING SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!!

Fans rally again as Ishii stands back up. Ishii brings Ibushi around, reels him in, but Ibushi fights the bomb! Ishii blocks the kick but Ibushi avoids the enziguri. Ibushi STANDING MOONSAULT but he FLOPS as Ishii moves! Ishii runs but Ibushi ducks the sliding lariat to ENZIGURI! Both men are down again but fans keep the rally alive. Ibushi and Ishii stir, and Ishii gives Ibushi kicks from the mat. Ibushi sits up as Ishii keeps kicking at him, and Ibushi gives those kicks back sharp and swift. Then he starts slapping Ishii around. Ishii slaps back then CHOPS! Ibushi KICKS, Ishii CHOPS, both men stagger but Ibushi KICKS again! Ishii CHOPS again, so Ibushi KICKS, runs and BOOTS!

Ishii rebounds, Ibushi BOOTS him again, then dodges the lariat to GERMAN SUPLEX! Fans fire up as Ishii is folded up on the mat! Ibushi grits his teeth and fires himself up as fans rally. Ibushi drags Ishii up, reels him in, but Ishii blocks the bomb lift. Ibushi stands Ishii up to KICK, but Ishii fires a forearm! Ibushi PALM STRIKES! Ibushi fires off more slapping palm strikes, Ishii ducks one to COUNTER SLAP! And again! They both SLAP, Ibushi LARIATS!! Fans are thunderous again as both men are down from the strike fest. Ibushi sits up and vows to end this! Ibushi reels Ishii in, lifts, SIT-OUT POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives but Ibushi isn’t done here!

Ibushi has the wrists but Ishii resists. They fight for control so Ibushi BUZZSAWS! Ishii roars and HEADBUTTS! Both men fall and fans fire up again! The ref checks on both men but somehow they’re both okay after that one. Ishii crawls towards a corner, drags himself up, and watches Ibushi rise. Ishii runs into a boot, then a sobat! Ibushi fires up to kick, but Ishii blocks to DECK Ibushi with a haymaker! Ishii fires up, Ibushi sits up but growls, and Ishii runs, but Ibushi ducks. Ishii ducks the roundhouse, GERMAN, but Ibushi just manages to land on his feet! Only to run into a LARIAT! Ibushi’s rage stands him back up, Ishii runs in, LARIAT AGAIN! Cover, TWO!?!

Fans are thunderous that Ibushi survived, and Ishii roars to power back up! Ishii drags Ibushi up to suplex, but Ibushi slips out to ROUNDHOUSE! Both men are down again but Ibushi rises. Ibushi gets the wrists, but Ishii LARIATS! Once again, Ishii and Ibushi are down, but the fans still rally. Ishii stands, he drags Ibushi back up for a suplex, but Ibushi wrenches out. Ishii avoids the V-Trigger! But Ibushi CLUBS the clothesline down! Point-blank V-TRIGGER! Ibushi brings down his kneepad before he gets the wrists, but Ishii HEADBUTTS low! Suplex, but Ibushi fights to STANDING KAMI-GOYE, to TRUE KAMI-GOYE!!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!

Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Ishii earns 0)

Redemption for the Golden Star! Ibushi breaks through the Stone Pitbull and is back on the winning track! But can Ibushi still make a run for the finals? As for Ishii, is starting 0-2 already a sign he won’t reach the Climax?

 

Shingo Takagi VS Zack Sabre Jr!

The Dragon wants to make history in the G1 but he’s still a long way from doing that! Meanwhile, the Submission Master’s win sidelined Tetsuya Naito, and he’s only getting started! Will Takagi slay Sabreism? Or will he #JustTapOut?

The bell rings and fans already rally, “TA-KA-GI!” “Z-S-J!” Takagi and ZSJ circle, approach and feel out the grapple. ZSJ goes for a foot but Takagi keeps his distance. They tie up, Takagi powers ZSJ to ropes but ZSJ tries to get his shots in even then. Takagi goes to chop but ZSJ ducks and rolls away. ZSJ and Takagi reset, tie up with knuckle locks, but ZSJ rolls to wrench then get a single leg takedown. ZSJ has the toehold, Takagi rolls over but ZSJ uses that to tie up the legs. ZSJ floats to a headlock, facelock, but Takagi rolls to turn it around onto ZSJ. ZSJ rolls it back, shifts to the back and waistlocks. ZSJ goes up to get a headlock, then an arm to flip Takagi to a cover, ONE!

Fans cheer the technical exchange as ZSJ backs off. ZSJ and Takagi cool off and reset again as fans rally up. Takagi and ZSJ feel out another knuckle lock, then Takagi drop steps to the waistlock. ZSJ hooks a leg, wrenches his way to a hammerlock, but Takagi reaches back to headlock. ZSJ drop toeholds, anchors the leg and ties it up with the other, Bow ‘n’ Arrow but Takagi pops out to a cover, ONE! The two stare down in the corner and fans cheer again. ZSJ gives Takagi his space and the two go again. They knuckle lock, ZSJ steps over to trap an arm and get the cravat. Takagi endures the neck wrench and powers up to throw body shots.

ZSJ avoids the clubbing arm to his arms and gets the cravat back. Takagi powers up but ZSJ shifts from cravat to headlock. Takagi still powers out of that, then ELBOWS, but ZSJ blocks the lariat to wrench the arm! Takagi avoids the Pele to run, but ZSJ dodges the lariat! Takagi dodges the Penalty Kick to schoolboy, ONE! The go arm-drag for arm-drag, ZSJ has the armlock but Takagi headscissors, only for ZSJ to kip free, into Takagi’s shoulder tackle! Fans fire up again as ZSJ bails out and Takagi builds speed! ZSJ gets away so Takagi can’t dive, but Takagi shouts out LIJ’s leader with Naito’s signature pose! Takagi points a finger at ZSJ, making it clear this is also a revenge match!

ZSJ says Takagi ain’t gonna do anything, but fans are rallying hard for “TA-KA-GI!” “L I J!” ZSJ tells Takagi to give him space so he can get in. Takagi steps back, ZSJ is still not sure so Takagi goes to the opposite side of the ring. ZSJ slides in, he and Takagi rush each other and Takagi hits a BIG hip toss! Takagi clamps onto ZSJ with a chinlock, then spins him to a headlock takeover. ZSJ fights with a palm in Takagi’s face, then tries a headscissor. Takagi shrugs that off, shifts position to have a one arm nelson, but ZSJ keeps trying for headscissors. Takagi shifts position back to a headlock, but ZSJ tries to pry it apart.

Takagi keeps holding on tight, ZSJ keeps trying, but then ZSJ powers out. Takagi blocks the arm-drag to pick up and SLAM ZSJ down! Fans cheer the strength as Takagi drops elbow after elbow, then BACK SENTON onto knees! ZSJ gets the head between his feet for a NECK TWIST! Then ZSJ dropkicks Takagi out of the ring! Fans fire up while ZSJ is down and catching his breath. Takagi stirs as a ring count begins, but ZSJ rolls out to fetch him. ZSJ puts Takagi in the ring and fans cheer his sportsmanship. ZSJ gets Takagi up, throws EuroUppers to put him in a corner, then throws another uppercut! ZSJ BOOTS Takagi then digs his heels in. Red Shoes counts and ZSJ lets off.

Fans rally for Takagi but ZSJ brings up around for a neck wrench then chinlock. ZSJ gets the arms and has a straitjacket stretch but Takagi gets a ropebreak. ZSJ lets off, clamps back on with a cravat and is back on the neck wrench. Takagi fights up to arm-drag but ZSJ holds on! Takagi tires again, scoops but ZSJ snapmares to counter! ZSJ keeps on the neck wrench, but Takagi powers up and powers ZSJ to a corner. Red Shoes calls for the ropebreak but Takagi rams his shoulder in. ZSJ headbutts and headlocks but Takagi powers out. ZSJ turns hip toss into cobra twist! Fans cheer the technical savvy but Takagi powers up to hip toss after all!

ZSJ comes back into the ELBOW! JAB! YUKON feint to the DDT! Fans fire up and Takagi pounds the mat. Takagi watches ZSJ stand, and he runs in to POUNCE him into the corner! Takagi has the fans rally up again and he stands ZSJ up. Takagi CHOPS, stands ZSJ up, CHOPS again, then throws in a headbutt. Takagi whips ZSJ corner to corner, runs in but blocks ZSJ’s boot. Takagi clotheslines ZSJ down, then runs, only for ZSJ to catch him with a GUILLOTINE! But Takagi suplexes out of it! BACK SENTON! Cover, TWO! But Takagi says that’s not all, and fans rally up behind him again! Takagi kicks at ZSJ but ZSJ eggs him on so Takagi JABS him!

Takagi stands ZSJ up to ROCK him with a haymaker, and makes sure Red Shoes sees it wasn’t a closed fist. Takagi slaps ZSJ around but ZSJ EuroUppers! And again! Takagi JABS ZSJ down! Was that a closed fist? Hard to say but Takagi stands ZSJ up to CHOP him again. And again! Takagi eggs ZSJ on, but ZSJ blocks the chop to go after the arm! Takagi rolls, fireman’s carries but ZSJ gets to the apron to have a ROPE OCTOPUS! ZSJ lets go as Red Shoes counts and fans rally up again. Takagi staggers over but ZSJ gets a leg. ZSJ then shifts to the arm to WRING it out! Fans continue to rally as ZSJ goes after an arm with a Disarmer!

Takagi moves around as ZSJ tries for a leg lock half nelson, almost an omoplata. Takagi gets the ropebreak and ZSJ lets go quickly. ZSJ KICKS Takagi as he sits up, then gives him sharp kicks. Takagi blocks the Penalty Kick to DRAGON SCREW! Fans fire up as Takagi gets the leg and steps through, but ZSJ kicks him away. Takagi rebounds, ZSJ catches the sliding lariat to trap the arm, ARM TWIST! Fans cheer the technical savagery while Takagi clutches the arm. Fans rally back up, ZSJ goes after the bad arm again and bends it from wrist to elbow. ZSJ isolates the arm to STOMP it! Takagi writhes and clutches the arm again as ZSJ taunts him.

ZSJ gives toying kicks to the bad arm but Takagi gets up. Takagi throws forearms with the left but ZSJ EuroUppers back. Takagi does what he can with his left elbow but ZSJ throws more EuroUppers! ZSJ swings, into the Gory Especial and NOSHIGAMI! Fans rally up again as both men are down. Takagi drags ZSJ into a wheelbarrow but ZSJ elbows free. Takagi ducks to get the leg, puts it in the ropes, and hits the other leg with a SLIDING D! ZSJ clutches his legs and fans rally up as Takagi runs. ZSJ catches the lariat to a headscissors takedown to an ARMBAR! Takagi clasps hands, moves around but ends up in a TRIANGLE! ZSJ squeezes tight as fans rally again!

Takagi endures, powers up and dead lifts to a POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO, into an STF!! ZSJ endures as Takagi has him twisted up! ZSJ reaches, gets the ROPEBREAK, and Takagi lets off quick. Takagi has the fans rallying behind him as he WHEELBARROW GERMAN SUPLEXES ZSJ away! Takagi fires up with “OI! OI! OI!” and fans clap along. Takagi gets his bad arm moving, stands ZSJ up again, and goes for the pump handle. ZSJ fights the half nelson, Takagi throws some headbutts, but ZSJ switches to HALF ‘N’ HALF! Takagi gets right up to SAIDO! Fans fire up for that quick exchange while both men are down.

Takagi gets himself to a corner, ZSJ is in the opposite. Takagi roars and runs corner to corner but ZSJ meets him in the middle! Takagi blocks the boot, CLUBS the leg, but ZSJ wrenches to PELE the arm! ZSJ kicks Takagi’s clothesline away but Takagi comes back with a YUKON LARIAT! Takagi runs, SLIDING LARIAT! Fans are thunderous for Takagi as he gets ZSJ up. Pump handle, but ZSJ counters with a victory roll! TWO, ZSJ shoots around to trip Takagi up! Body scissors, EURO CLUTCH! TWO!! PENALTY KCIK! Takagi is right up, POINT BLANK PUMPING! Fans are thunderous again as both men are back down!

ZSJ gets to a corner but Takagi is after him. Takagi hoists ZSJ up top, climbs up to join him, ZSJ resists the suplex and has a KIMURA! Takagi endures the hold as ZSJ cranks on the arm, but Red Shoes brings up the ropebreak. Takagi headbutts free but ZSJ boots then TORNADO DDT’S! Takagi staggers up, ZSJ runs in, tilt-o-whirl TAKEDOWN, to CLARKY CAT!! ZSJ tortures both arms in a pretzel knot but Takagi endures! Takagi reaches around, ZSJ puts as much pressure as he can with his own shoulders and legs, but Takagi scrambles around! ROPEBREAK! ZSJ lets go in frustration but fans are fired up again!

ZSJ gets Takagi’s arm, bends the fingers, wrenches to an ELBOW BREAKER, then another! And another- NO! Takagi turns that into a sleeper! ZSJ pries free, Takagi shoves and pops ZSJ up to a fireman’s carry! ZSJ shifts to get another sleeper, but Takagi hits a BACKPACK SENTON! But ZSJ still goes after the arm! Takagi shifts, pops free and runs, SLIDING D!! Both men are down again but fans return to that thunderous level! Takagi runs but ZSJ leaps, but Takagi blocks the takedown! ZSJ shifts to scoop, ZACK DRIVER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Takagi survives and no one can believe it! Fans are thunderous again as the two stir.

ZSJ gets Takagi’s arm, sits him up for a grounded cobra twist and he drives elbows in again and again! Takagi is down, fans still rally, but ZSJ gets Takagi up for more elbows. Takagi just uses them to fire up, “OI! OI! OI!” Takagi fireman’s carries, ZSJ slips off and wrenches to an IRON OCTOPUS, but Takagi makes that a fireman’s carry for a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Another sudden turn around and Takagi’s still in this! The thunderous rally continues and Takagi roars! Takagi stands ZSJ up for boxing elbows, then powers up to LARIAT ZSJ down! Takagi fights through the pain in his right arm to get ZSJ up, but ZSJ SLAPS him!

Takagi fires off MORE boxing elbows, then wraps on a SLEEPER! ZSJ stands up, but Takagi drops back! ZSJ rolls back to get free, but Takagi blocks his Penalty Kick! Takagi stands, ZSJ fires off SLAPS, but Takagi catches him to a modified MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO?!?! ZSJ survives but Takagi’s firing up with the fans! Takagi runs, PUMPING BOMBER!! ZSJ is down but Takagi’s bad arm is hurting him too much, he can’t cover! Takagi headbutts his arm to make it work, then he stands ZSJ up. ZSJ blocks the pump handle to target the arm! Wrench but Takagi JABS! And HEADBUTTS! ZSJ is dazed, Takagi gets him up for pump handle and torture rack!

But ZSJ slips around to a SLEEPER! ZSJ has the body scissors, too, but Takagi fights that to another fireman’s carry. But ZSJ tries to make that a crucifix, into an IRON OCTOPUS!! Takagi fights, ZSJ tries to drag him back down, TRIANGLE! ZSJ squeezes tight, keeping Takagi’s arm caught. Time is running out but Takagi still has fight! Takagi dead lifts as ZSJ bridges to resist, HANGING ARMBAR!! TAKAGI TAPS!!! ZSJ WINS!!!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission (gains 2 points; Takagi earns 0)

The Submission Master scores one on the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion!! Two members of Los Ingobernables de Japon have lost in a row to this Dangerous Tekker, and now ZSJ may have a title match in his back pocket! He already snatches up the world title as if it’s his, too! He does give it back, of course, making sure Takagi knows who’s coming for it. Will Takagi be able to recover and get back to the history he plans to make?

As for ZSJ, he gets a mic to mock those who doubted him. “Ehhh? Zakku? Zack defeated the champion? Ehhh!?” Damn right he did, dickheads! Then he tells “Dragon Bollocks” Takagi, “You really are the toughest bastard. But who won today? But who won today?!” ZACK DID! And guess what? The IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion just pinned the bloody IWGP WORLD Heavyweight Champion! He again mocks fans wondering, “Huh? How’d he do that?” He’ll tell you dickheads how! “Outrageous Tekkers!” Zack is THE best technical wrestler in the world, and this G1 is now his! “Two down, seven dickheads to go! As you were.”

ZSJ tosses the mic rather than drops it before flexing his way out. Who else will he tear down and take out on his way to the top?

 

Here are the NEW A Block standings! (Adjusted for Naito’s absence)

Great-O-Khan: 3-0, 6 points
Zack Sabre Jr: 2-0, 4 points
Shingo Takagi: 2-1, 4 points
Kenta: 2-1, 4 points
Yujiro Takahashi: 2-1, 4 points
Toru Yano: 2-1, 4 points
Kota Ibushi: 2-1, 4 points
Tanga Loa: 1-1, 2 points [defeated Yuji Nagata in special singles bye]
Tomohiro Ishii: 1-2, 2 points


My Thoughts:

Round one was quite the start to this year’s G1 but round two had its own big moves. Firstly, a shame that Naito is legitimately injured and has no real timetable for return. As said in NJPW’s statement, everyone he was meant to face will instead have a special singles match opener, which is what Loa did this time. The official records will show Naito loses by “forfeit” and everyone gets the points, so there won’t be a scoreless person in the block now. As for the rest of the action, Khan getting his revenge on Yano was a good way for him to keep going in the block, and he stands as one of the only two undefeated in the block now.

Kenta and Yujiro had a very good match, especially with the story element of the Bullet Club possibly entering another civil war. Kenta winning but Yujiro showing respect was a bit of surprise, and I would love it if Kenta ended up part of Evil’s House of Torture sub-faction. Kenta has the same purple-silver hair going like Evil, Yujiro and now even Sho have, so they’d be matching. And it’d be quite the twist if Jay White expected Kenta to be on his team, only for Kenta to turn and join Evil’s side.

Ibushi VS Ishii was a great match, but I sure felt like I was saying they were both down on the mat a lot. I suppose Ibushi needed the win more so he still looks like a contender in the block, especially with no Naito now, but I felt like Ibushi’s struggles should continue with round three on Sunday. Takagi VS ZSJ was an awesome match, and it was a HUGE surprise for ZSJ to win here. ZSJ has always been very strong but just outside the top title picture, but now he and Taichi could be poised to become some real top title names. Round three having ZSJ VS Ibushi is going to say a lot towards that, given Ibushi’s own story as of late.

My Score: 9.1/10


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Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021

Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?

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Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?

So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.

There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!

Ratings:

  • Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
  • United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
  • House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
  • KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
  • 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
  • TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
  • G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼

 

Results:

Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.

Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.

United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata

So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.

Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!

This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.

House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii

Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.

Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.

KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi

So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.

Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.

Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but  then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.

Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.

5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr

This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.

Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.

WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!

TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi

Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!

Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.

Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!

G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada

So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.

Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.

Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.

Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.

Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.

Overall Score: 7.25/10

There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.

Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.

Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.


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Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021

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Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!

We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.

Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?

Ratings:

  • Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
  • Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
  • Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
  • Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾

 

Results:

The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.

Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice

Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.

Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.

This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.

There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.

Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:

This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.

The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.

Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James

Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.

Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.

Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.

Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel

The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.

So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.

Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.

Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.

Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.

Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.

Overall Score: 5/10

Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.

I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.

When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.

So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!


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