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Mitchell’s NXT Global Heritage Invitational Results & Report! (9/1/23)

Time to Level Up this tournament!

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Will the Chase U MVP get a huge win in Group B?

The NXT Global Heritage Invitational continues via NXT Level Up, and we see Group B’s Duke Hudson face Akira Tozawa for the first time anywhere!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • NXT Global Heritage Invitational Tournament, Group B: Duke Hudson w/ Andre Chase VS Akira Tozawa; Duke wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Here are the current Group A standings.

Pete Dunne: 1-0, 2 points
Tyler Bate: 0-0, yet to compete
Axiom: 0-0, yet to compete
Charlie Dempsey: 0-1, 0 points

 

Here are the current Group B standings.

Joe Coffey: 1-0, 2 points
Duke Hudson: 0-0, competes tonight
Akira Tozawa: 0-0, competes tonight
Nathan Frazer: 0-1, 0 points

 

NXT Global Heritage Invitational Tournament, Group B: Duke Hudson w/ Andre Chase VS Akira Tozawa!

While Chase U is struggling to get back on track in regards to the teacher-student relationship of Andre Chase and Thea Hail, their hopes are all on the MVP! Will Duke come through for the U? Or will the Stamina Monster feel right at home on a Friday night?

Fans cheer seeing Tozawa back in an NXT ring, and Duke gives him a fist bump out of respect. The bell rings and we have 12 minutes on the clock. They circle as fans rally for “TO-ZA-WA!” The two tie up, Tozawa waistlocks, but Duke TOSSES him away! Tozawa resets, runs in, goes for a leg, but Duke throws him away again. Duke headlocks, fans cheer the “MVP! MVP!” Tozawa fights the hold, but Duke hits a takeover! Tozawa headscissors, Duke fights it off and the two stand. Tozawa manages to power out of the headlock to headlock Duke back! Duke powers out, then he runs Tozawa over! Fans are torn but Duke kneels to pat Tozawa on the head.

Tozawa smirks and resets with Duke. The fans rally, the two tie up, and Tozawa rolls Duke up! TWO, Tozawa cradles! TWO, and now Tozawa sunset- NO, Duke stays up, and he’s got Tozawa stuck to him as he spins around! Tozawa uses that to complete the sunset flip! TWO, but now Tozawa pats Duke on the head! Fans cheer and the two point at each other. Tozawa kicks, Duke blocks and kicks low! Duke whips Tozawa to a corner, runs in, but Tozawa BOOTS him away! Tozawa then goes up to FLYING RANA! And DROPKICKS! Duke tumbles out, Chase worries a bit, and Tozawa builds speed! Tozawa DIVES into a forearm!

Duke has Tozawa stuck in the ropes, climbs up, and he drags Tozawa up to slingshot and GERMAN SUPLEX! Tozawa flops around, Duke covers, TWO!! Tozawa survives and Duke is a bit frustrated. Duke stalks Tozawa to a corner, stomps him, then hauls him up. Scoop and SLAM, then a cover, ONE!! Tozawa is tough but Duke clamps on a chinlock. Duke leans on Tozawa, fans rally up as Tozawa endures, and Tozawa fights up to his feet. Tozawa throws elbows and body shots, then fires off more shots! But Duke knees low and hard! Duke whips Tozawa to ropes, pops him up, but Tozawa RANAS again!

Fans fire up as Tozawa goes to a corner. Tozawa runs in, SHINING WIZARD! Fans fire up even more, Chase coaches Duke up but Tozawa climbs! Tozawa leaps, MISSILE DROPKICK! Cover, TWO! Duke is tough, too, and fans rally up again. Tozawa and Duke stir, slowly rise, and head for each other. Tozawa tries to fireman’s carry? That’s not gonna work, Duke is almost twice Tozawa’s size! Duke CLUBS Tozawa, back suplexes, but Tozawa lands on his feet! Tozawa KICKS a leg out! Fans fire up with Tozawa and he KICKS Duke in the chest! Duke just glares at Tozawa! Tozawa KICKS again, but Duke is Duking up!

Fans fire up as Duke storms around! Chase and the fans fire up for that #BigDukeEnergy! Duke takes another kick, and shouts “U~!” Duke CLUBS, whips, DECKS and ELBOWS Tozawa! SIDEWALK SLAM! Fans fire up and Duke JABS! JABS! JABS! Flip, flop, fly and- Tozawa guards! Duke is thrown off by that, and Tozawa gives him a STRAIGHT RIGHT! Fans fire up and Tozawa runs, but Duke BOOTS him down! Duke hauls Tozawa up, Canadian Racks, but Tozawa makes it a SUNSET BOMB!! Cover, TWO!?!? Duke survives but even Chase is surprised! Tozawa kicks, spins, slides under, and SCREW HIGH KICKS!

Fans fire up as Duke is down after that Tozawa classic combo! Tozawa goes up the corner and Chase panics! Tozawa aims, TOKYO TOWER SENTON onto the knees!! Duke saves himself, he hauls Tozawa up, crucifix lift for THE RIVER!! Cover, Duke wins!

Winner: Duke Hudson, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Tozawa earns 0)

A hardy battle from Tozawa, but he quite literally falls short of defeating Duke! Chase brings Duke his Chase U MVP trophy, will they need to make room in the case for the Heritage Cup?

 

Here are the NEW Group B standings!

Joe Coffey: 1-0, 2 points
Duke Hudson: 1-0, 2 points
Akira Tozawa: 0-1, 0 points
Nathan Frazer: 0-1, 0 points

The Iron King of Gallus and the Chase U MVP are both leading the way, but will clash eventually. Who will come away with crucial points there? And same goes for Tozawa and Frazer eventually meeting. Who comes away from that match with points on the board?


My Thoughts:

Hopefully no one got their hopes up thinking I was going to add all of NXT Level Up to my schedule. Pretty sure NXT is only gonna get a boost in the views for LVL UP during this month and this month only. I do like that a new superstar, Riley Borne, debuted tonight against Big Body Javi, and that Stevie Turner got back into action against Valentina Feroz. But as for Duke VS Tozawa, really good stuff for Tozawa’s return to the Performance Center Arena, but it makes sense that Duke wins out. Chase U is doing great stuff, Duke is gonna be a big part of Group B’s story, probably giving Joe Coffey his first loss but also giving Nathan Frazer a critical win so Frazer can go on to the finals. As I said on Tuesday, this isn’t quite NJPW’s G1 Climax, but I do like that WWE is trying something like this at all.


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Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (6/17/24)

Turn the corner towards Toronto!

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Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind!

WWE made it through Clash at the Castle, and now prepares for Money in the Bank! Who will qualify for the Men’s & Women’s ladder matches tonight?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Chad Gable w/ The Alpha Academy VS ???
  • Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifier Triple Threat: Zelina Vega VS Iyo Sky VS Kiana James; wins and advances to MITB Toronto.
  • Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifier Triple Threat: Jey Uso VS Rey Mysterio VS Finn Balor; wins and advances to MITB Toronto.

PLAY BY PLAY

Seth Rollins is here!

Corpus Christi, Texas fires up as The Architect makes his return! He’s been away since his epic battle against Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 40, and he’s dressed as dapper as ever as he makes his way into the ring. Rollins revels in the fans singing “WHOA~ OH~ OHH~!” for him after two-and-a-half months away, and takes a bow. Then the fans chant “Welcome Back! Welcome Back!” Rollins then tells Corpus Christi, “Let me welcome you back to Monday Night Rollins~!” The fans fire up more and Rollins says that in case you’d forgot, let him introduce your host for this evening. He is a Visionary, he is a Revolutionary, he is… SETH! FREAKIN’! ROLLINS!

The fans cheer more and Rollins soaks it in. The fans sing again, and Rollins says he missed the fans, too. Now, he will cut to the chase, because he figures the fans will sing all night anyway. He is back for one reason. He’s seen ’em all, faced ’em all, beat ’em all, and done it all. He did not get into this business to be one of the best, but to be THE VERY BEST OF ALL TIME! And he cannot do that without getting back the championship that he made! THE WWE World Heavyweight Championship! Then Rollins looks up at the briefcases hanging overhead. MITB is only a few short weeks away… Rollins knows how to climb a ladder pretty well.

And Rollins is quite familiar with the MITB contract. So he figures, that is the fastest way for him to get back in the mix for- Well, speak of the champion, Damian Priest is here! El Campeon walks his way out to the ring, and he gets himself a mic as he stands face to face with Rollins. The fans boo but Priest tells Rollins that he isn’t being sarcastic, he really did want to come out here to be the first to welcome Rollins back. Rollins looks great, looks healthy, it is good to have him back. And real talk, Priest has been wanting some face to face time with Rollins to tell him straight up, that he was hoping to cash-in on Rollins at Mania. Out of respect, of course.

That didn’t happen, but Priest feels he’s doing okay. Hate to tell Rollins, through, this isn’t Monday Night Rollins. It is now where they #AllRise for El Campeon. Rollins laughs and says hey, let’s cut Priest some slack, he had a rough weekend. He almost lost a leg in Scotland! And Rollins likes where Priest is coming from, respects it, and priest may not know this but they’re a lot alike. Think about it: they both made their names in groups, Judgment Day and The Shield; they both won MITB contracts, had to wait a long time to cash in, but when they did, they left a mark on the Grandest Stage of Them All, and that is how they both won their first world titles.

So very similar they are, but there is one thing that separates Rollins from Priest. At some point, Rollins grew a set. Now, Rollins was talking about legacy. He wants to be the greatest of all time, and to have that legacy for himself, he had to stand on his own two feet. So let’s ask Priest a question, the question we’ve all been wondering since Mania: What kind of Champion does Priest want to be? What does he want this legacy to be? One of the greats? Or just a footnote in the history of The Judgment Day? Priest says that’s a fair question. But Priest will remind Rollins of something. When Rollins had the title, Priest was his first challenger.

And back then, Rollins won, because he was better. He was. But times have changed. Saturday, Priest almost lost a leg, so people thought he was gonna have to give up the title. The only thing he’s giving up is the fact Rollins is still better than him. The type of legacy Priest wants to leave? Don’t worry about ladders or briefcases. MITB in Toronto can just be Priest VS Rollins for the World Championship! Really? Is this a trap? Are the boys gonna jump Rollins? No, the boys don’t even know Priest is out here! This is them, man to man! Does Rollins want a shot at Priest’s world title or not!? The fans say “YES! YES! YES!”

Rollins says if it’s that simple, then challenge accepted! The fans fire up and Rollins tells Priest to remember this: As long as Rollins is here, this show will always and forever be Monday Night Rollins! The fans are all fired up, and we already have the headliner to MITB 2024! Will Rollins #BurnItDown in Toronto? Or will he fall as we #AllRise for El Campeon?

 

Adam Pearce is on the phone.

He discusses the qualifiers, but then there’s a knock on his door. In walks The Alpha Academy. Chad Gable says he’d been looking for the Raw GM. As a man like him, an intellectual, someone who understands common sense, surely Pearce understands Chad Gable’s frustrations with his number one disappointment, Lil’ Bo Peep Maxxine Dupri, and “Every Other Day Off” Akira Tozawa missing the trip. Gable would be champion now if not for that. So please, give him what he deserves, and make another rematch with Sami Zayn. Pearce says he understands Gable’s frustrations, and how much that title means to him.

But you know what else he gets? That Gable should win his way to another title match, just like everyone else. Gable gets in Tozawa’s face as he asks if they heard that. Back of the line!? Like everyone else?! Gable isn’t like everyone else, he’s a leader! Gable then says he’ll keep a cool head in this game. Find him someone to face, then. Someone worthy of his skills. After all, he’s an Olympian, he can take it. So anyone at all? Then Pearce has the perfect opponent. Okay, make it official. Official it is! Gable tells The Academy not to screw this one up! The Academy heads out, but just who is Pearce going to give Gable? We find out, after the break.

Chad Gable w/ The Alpha Academy VS ???

 


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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Soul Results & Report! (6/16/24)

Sapporo’s covered in gold!

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Will the Rogue Luchador have his revenge on the Murder Machine?

After winning Best of the Super Juniors, El Desperado got Sho to accept an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship STEEL CAGE MATCH, so will Sho have no choice but to do this without the House of Torture?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Kickoff – Masatora Yasuda VS Daiki Nagai; Time Limit Draw.
  • 10 Man Tag: Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, Satoshi Kojima, Katsuya Murashima & Shoma Kato VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.
  • DOUKI & Taichi VS Ren Narita & Yoshinobu Kanemaru; Douki & Taichi win.
  • Bishamon VS EVIL & Dick Togo; Bishamon wins.
  • Tetsuya Naito & Titan VS Taka Michinoku & Yuya Uemura; Naito & Titan win.
  • NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Boltin Oleg; Tanahashi, Yano & Oleg win and become the new NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Clark Connors & “Drilla” Dan Moloney VS Robbie Eagles & Kosei Fujita; Connors & Drilla win and retain the titles.
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS HENARE; Henare wins and becomes the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
  • IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship: David Finlay VS SANADA; Finlay wins and retains the title.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match: SHO VS El Desperado; Desperado wins and becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.

PLAY BY PLAY

NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Boltin Oleg!

It’s a Dominion rematch as Yota Tsuji, Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi once again face The Ace, The Joker & The Rook! It was already rather incredible that LIJ won in the first place, will they prove it wasn’t just luck at Osaka-Jo Hall? Or will Tanahashi, Yano & Oleg prove you can’t keep bad boys down?

The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and let’s see who really runs the schoolyard!

The teams sort out and while Yota and Oleg stare down, Yano insists he start. Hiromu obliges, and they both squat at the middle of the ring. They talk some smack, then the bell rings. And Hiromu copies Yano by going right to a corner to untie a buckle pad! Yano SMACKS Hiromu on the back of the head, then finishes the job himself! Hiromu SMACKS Yano on the head! Hiromu whips, Yano reveres, but Hiromu holds the ropes and copies Yano’s taunt! Yano runs up but Hiromu drop toeholds him onto ropes! Then he KICKS the rope, runs, but into an atomic drop! Yano tags Oleg and Tanahashi jump in, too.

Oleg & Tanahashi double whip to DOUBLE SHOULDER TACKLE Hiromu! Oleg then scoops Hiromu to SLAM him! Tanahashi drops an elbow, Oleg SPLASHES down! Cover, TWO! The fans rally and Yano tags back in. Yano whips but Hiromu reverses, only for Yano to avoid the bare buckles. Hiromu runs in, but only gets bare buckles! Yano runs, but into a kick! Bushi gets in to dropkick legs out, then Yota runs in to basement dropkick! Bushi & Yota then knock Tanahashi & Oleg off the apron! Bushi & Yota then go out after them, stomp them down, and Hiromu stomps Yano. Hiromu drags Yano up, bumps him off the red corner, and tags Bushi in.

Bushi stomps Yano, digs his knee in, and the ref counts. Bushi lets go of the ropes, but that’s not the problem! The ref reprimands and Bushi steps away. Bushi drags Yano up, wrenches and wristlocks to then YANK the arm and CLUB it. Tag to Yota, he BOOTS the arm! Yano clutches the elbow, but Yota wrenches the arm to YANK it. Tag to Hiromu and he climbs up, and the fans rally for the AX HANDLE! Yota drops to his knees and Hiromu mocks his pain while bringing him back up. Hiromu whips Yano tot he corner, clotheslines, snapmares and runs to basement dropkick! Hiromu calls to Yota, and he has Yota scoop him, for the assisted SPLASH! Cover, TWO!

Hiromu has the ref watch Tanahashi & Oleg, then calls Bushi in! LIJ double whip Yano but Yano holds ropes! Yano sends Hiromu into Bushi, then throws them both down by their heads! The fans fire up, Yano and Hiromu crawl, and hot tag to Tanahashi! Yota tags in but Tanahashi dropkicks the legs out! Tanahashi fires hands, whips, but Yota reverses, only for Tanahashi to FLYING FOREARM! The fans fire up as Tanahashi fires fast hands, then Tanahashi scoops to SLAM Yota into the drop zone! Tanahashi goes up, SUNSET SENTON! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi stays cool and the fans rally up. Yota rises, Tanahashi runs, but Yota TOSSES Tanahashi out!

The fans fire up as Tanahashi skins the cat! But then Yota ROCKS him with a right! Tanahashi falls back into a corner, Yota runs in, and he STINGER SPLASHES! Yota keeps going, he runs Tanahashi over, then SPLASHES down! Cover, TWO! The fans rally up and Yota drags Tanahashi up. Yota reels Tanahashi in, suplexes, but Tanahashi fights it, to TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT The fans rally up while both men are down. Tanahashi and Yota crawl, hot tag to Oleg! Oleg runs Yota over, gets him back up and fires forearms and CHOPS on repeat! Oleg whips, but Yota RAN- NO! Oleg stops the rana to get Yota up, for Shake, Rattle and THROW!

Oleg even kips up! The fans fire up, Oleg BLASTS Bushi & Hiromu off the corner, then he stalks Yota. Oleg waistlocks to deadlift Yota, for a GERMAN- NO, Yota fights free! Yota clinches, BACKBREAKER to FLATLINER to DOUBLE STOMP! Both men are down and the fans rally back up. Yota crawls over, hot tag to Bushi! Bushi goes up the corner, Oleg rises, and Bushi MISSILE DROPKICKS! And Bushirooni! Bushi runs corner to corner to ELBOW Oleg, then he brings Oleg in to FISHERMAN SCREW! Hiromu BLASTS Tanahashi & Yano! LIJ gets Oleg up, whips him to the corner, then Hiromu runs in to clothesline!

Bushi adds a back elbow, feeds to the SUPERKICK, then BACKSTABBERS! Cover, Tanahashi breaks it! Hiromu tosses Tanahashi out, Bushi and Oleg rise. Bushi runs up, CODE- NO, Oleg tosses Bushi away! Yano throws Bushi down! Hiromu SUPERKICKS Yano! Tanahashi blocks a superkick, but Yota gets in! Tanahashi blocks that superkick, too!? Tanahashi DOUBLE DRAGON SCREWS! The fans fire up but Bushi kicks low. Bushi runs, but into a SLINGBLADE! The fans fire up and Tanahashi drags Bushi up. Feed to Oleg for the KAMIKA- NO, Bushi slips free, and ENZIGIRIS! Oleg wobbles, Bushi goes to the corner!

Bushi runs up again, CODE- NO!! Oleg still blocks, and he fireman’s carries! Oleg coordinates with Tanahashi as he climbs, but Yota gets in Tanahashi’s way! Bushi rolls Oleg up! Tanahashi shoves Yota down onto the cover!! Tanahashi then aims to TRIPLE HIGH FLY ATTACK LIJ!! The fans are all fired up and Oleg drags Bushi back up! Fireman’s carry, and KAMIKAZE!! Cover, Oleg and team win!!

Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Boltin Oleg, by pinfall

The Rook comes through for the team, and they get the belts back! Has Oleg proved he’s far from just a Young Lion now? Or will we need quite the tiebreaker between these trios to put this to rest?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Clark Connors & “Drilla” Dan Moloney VS Robbie Eagles & Kosei Fujita w/ Zack Sabre Jr!

The Bullet Club War Dogs claimed their losses to the TMDK Junior Heavyweights were flukes, but they still have to put up the gold. Will 100 Proof & 44 Caliber shoot down the Sniper of the Sky & Ichiban Young Punk? Or will we see that The Mighty Don’t Kneel?

The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and we see who’s really number one with a bullet!

The teams sort out and Fujita starts against Connors. The bell rings, the two stare down and the fans rally up. The two circle, feel things out, then Connors swings on Eagles! Eagles ROCKS Connors first! Fujita ROCKS Connors, then he DECKS Drilla! Eagles jumps in, TMDK double whip to hip toss, then PENALTY KICK! Drilla storms in but into DOUBLE BLOWS! Then TMDK rolls Drilla back to DOUBLE KNEE SMASH! Eagles rallies the fans, Fujita builds speed, but Connors gets in, JEEP FLIPPER! Drilla drags Eagles out, too, and sends him into railing! Connors stomps Fujita while Drilla tosses Eagles over railing!

Drilla steps over and has fans move aside. Connors keeps on Fujita on the other end of the arena while Drilla BOWLS Eagles into chairs! STRIKE! Connors fires hands on Fujita, and he tells a segment of fans to move! Then he BOWLS Fujita into the chairs! Another STRIKE! The fans cheer while Connors throws up the Too Sweet. Drilla drags Eagles around, scoops him, and then SLAMS him onto some seats! The ring count starts, but Connors is bringing Fujita back. Connors POSTS Fujita at 5 of 20, then takes his time to scuff Fujita before he steps in at 12. Connors taunts ZSJ at ringside, but Fujita rolls in at 17! The fans cheer but Connors mockingly applauds.

Connors kneels on Fujita’s neck, the ref reprimands and counts, and Connors steps away. Connors drags Fujita up, Drilla dusts off his boot, and Connors bumps Fujita off the boot! Tag to Drilla, and he CHOPS! And then he digs his boots in! The ref counts, Drilla steps off at 4. Connors CHOKES Fujita against ropes while the ref is busy with Drilla. The fans boo but Connors lets off before the ref catches him. Drilla looms over Fujita as he sputters, and the fans rally up. Fujita rises to throw body shots and forearms! Drilla CHOPS Fujita down! Drilla drags Fujita around, steps through, and ties up the legs into a DEATHLOCK!

Drilla tags Connors in, and Connors stomps away on Fujita! Then he JUMP ELBOW DROPS! Drilla lets Fujita go so Connors can cover, TWO! Connors smirks as he grabs the leg, and he mockingly calls “ROBBIE ROBBIE ROBBIE!” Drilla bark, bark, barks! Connors steps through to steal the RON MILLER SPECIAL! Eagles storms in but Drilla intercepts to TOSS him back out! Connors thrashes Fujita around but Fujita endures! Fujita crawls forward, reaches out, and has the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer and the ref reprimands. Connors lets off with a smug grin, then drags Fujita up. But Fujita fires a forearm, and a CHOP!

Connors eggs Fujita on so Fujita CHOPS! Connors UPPERCUTS! Connors whips, but Fujita GAMANGIRIS! Both men are down and the fans fire up! Connors crawls and tags in Drilla. Drilla grabs Fujita’s leg but Fujita BOOTS him away! Fujita scrambles, hot tag to Eagles! Eagles goes up and over Drilla, BOOTS Connors, then RANAS Drilla! The fans fire up with Eagles and he KICKS Drilla! And KICKS! And KICKS! Eagles runs, Connors sneaks in to CLOBBER him! Connors & Drilla double whip, Eagles reverses to send Connors away! Then he sends Drilla into Connors! Eagles kicks a leg out, then runs to BLINDSIDE LARIAT BASEMENT DROPKICK COMBO!

The fans fire up with Eagles and he goes corner to corner at Drilla! DOUBLE KNEES! Drilla sits down, Eagles runs in to METEORA! Eagles drags Drilla to a cover, TWO! Eagles keeps cool and goes to the apron. Eaglee climbs, the fans rally up, and Eagles 450- NO, Drilla moves! Eagles rolls through, btu Drilla blocks his kick! Drilla pops Eagles up into the Canadian Rack! But Eagles sunset flips through! ONE, but Eagles has the RON MILLER SPECIAL!! Drilla flails, Fujita keeps Connors out! Connors powers out, gets in, and he CLUBS Eagles! Eagles holds on, but Connors stomps away until he lets Drilla go!

The ref reprimands but Connors shoves him away! Connors stomps Eagles, and Drilla hobbles up. Connors stands Eagles up, but Eagles fires CHOPS and ELBOWS! SOBAT for Drilla, then a cravat! Eagles uses Connors to kick off, but Drilla denies him Sliced Bread! Drilla ELBOWS Eagles away, but Fujita tags in! Fujita slingshots but Connors catches him! Connors hands Fujita off to Drilla! But Fujita flails to go to the apron and HOTSHOT! Fujita and Eagles both springboard, DOUBLE MISSILE DROPKICKS! The War Dogs are down and they bail out while the fans fire up! Fujita aims to springboard, DOUBLE CANNONBALL!

Direct hit and the Dogs go down! The fans fire up, Fujita puts Drilla in, and Eagles stands Drilla up. TMDK double wrench the arms, for MAXXY BOMB!! High stack, TWO!! Drilla survives but the fans fire up with TMDK! Fujita hoists Drilla up, Eagles ROUNDHOUSES and Fujita GERMAN SUPLEXES! Then SUPERKICK PENALTY KICK COMBO!! Cover, Connors breaks it! The fans rally, Eagles whips but Connors reverses to TOSS Eagles out! Connors runs at Fujita but Fujita TOSSES him out! Fujita goes after Drilla with a CHOP! But Drilla wrenches to ripcord, but Fujita dodges! Sunset flip, but Drilla DOUBLE STOMPS and SENTONS!

The fans rally up and both men crawl. Drilla reaches out, hot tag to Connors! Connors takes aim, runs in, but Fujtia pops him up! Connors fights the German Suplex but Fujita holds the waistlock! Connors throws elbow after elbow but Fujita’s grip is tight! Connors throws even more elbows, and Fujita finally lets go. Fujita runs up, but into a SNAP POWERSLAM! Drilla roars as he storms in, and the Dogs take aim from the corners! But Eagles anchors Drilla! Fujita O’Conner Rolls Connors, then trips him into the QUEEN ANGELITO STRETCH! Drilla gets loose but Eagles MISSILE DROPKICKS him down! And puts him in the RON MILLER SPECIAL!!

Fujita sees Eagles has Drilla, and Fujita pulls Connors into the NELL VOSS SPECIAL!! Connors endures, flails, and Drilla reaches out, but Eagles drags him away! Connors grabs at the ref, Drilla grabs at Fujita! Drilla CLAWS Fujita’s face, and he lets Connors go! Eagles lets Drilla go, and the four are all down. The fans rally as Eagles regroups with Fujita. The Dogs regroup on the outside, and Eagles DIVES onto them! But is caught! DRILLA KILLA to the floor!! Drilla & Connors are laughing that they just shot down the Sniper! Connors & Drilla then slide into the ring, flanking Fujita. They bring Fujita up, but he still fires forearms and elbows!

The fans rally as Fujita fights and fights, switches with Drilla, but Drilla elbows free! Connors runs in, Drilla hurdles, SPEAR! Fujita staggers back up, into the SPEAR GORE COMBO!! Cover, TWO?!? Fujita survives and shocks The Dogs! The fans fire up as Connors goes up a corner and Drilla drags Fujita up. Drilla suplexes, but Fujita slips free! GERMAN SUPLEX! Connors still leaps but Fujita gets under! Fujita O’Conner Rolls, but Connors fights Chaos Theory! Fujita HEEL KICKS! Fujita whips Connors, pops Connors up, and GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Connors survives, but Fujita still holds on!

Fujita drags Connors up and the fans are thunderous! Fujita suplexes, ABANDON- SUPERKICK from Drilla! Connors suplexes Fujita into the DRILLA KILLA!!! Drilla then feeds Fujita to the NO CHASER!! But they’re still not done!?! Connors climbs, Drilla suplexes, FULL CLIP!!! Cover, War Dogs win!

Winners: Clark Connors & “Drilla” Moloney, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)

The Mighty Don’t Kneel, but they can’t withstand artillery of this magnitude! Bullet Club keeps these titles right where they are, and Connors himself asks, “Who’s next?”

 

NJPW announces the G1 Climax 34 Block line-ups!

In A Block, it will be: Tetsuya Naito; Shota Umino; Shingo Takagi; SANADA; Great-O-Khan; Zack Sabre Jr; Gabe Kidd; EVIL; and Pro-Wrestling Noah’s Jake Lee!
In B Block, it will be: Hirooki Goto; El Phantasmo; Yota Tsuji; Jeff Cobb; HENARE; David Finlay; Ren Narita; Yuya Uemura; and AEW & DDT Pro’s Konosuke Takeshita!

And this year, there will be a special G1 Climax preliminary round! 12 men, six for each block, must battle to earn the coveted tenth seed spots! In A Block’s prelim: Tomohiro Ishii; Yoshi-Hashi; Callum Newman; KENTA; Chase Owens; and Yujiro Takahashi! In B Block’s prelim: Hiroshi Tanahashi; Toru Yano; Boltin Oleg; Satoshi Kojima; Taichi; and TJP! Whoever comes out of those matches will join this already star-studded field! Who will help burn up this already red hot summer?

 

NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS HENARE!

It’s another Dominion rematch, as we ended up with a Double TKO Draw in Osaka-Jo Hall! Will Takagi stay standing this time? Or will the Face of Fury finally slay The Rampaging Dragon?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who pushes past their limits to be victorious!

The two are forehead to forehead, then they go forearm for forearm! The bell rings, and Takagi ROCKS Henare! Henare fires back, but Takagi shoves him. They both run, they RAM shoulders, then Henare kicks to snapmare. Henare KICKS Takagi in the back, but Takagi gets up to DOUBLE CHOP! Takagi eggs Henare on, so Henare HEADBUTTS! Henare eggs Takagi on so Takagi HEADBUTTS! Henare nods, and HEADBUTTS again! Takagi staggers, but he comes back to HEADBUTT! Henare HEADBUTTS, Takagi HEADBUTTS, they HEADBUTT again and again and again! Henare gets the edge, then JUMP HEADBUTTS!

Henare runs, RAMS Takagi but Takagi comes back to RAM Henare! ELBOW! JAB! But Henare KICKS! Takagi runs Henare over! Then Takagi KICKS Henare in the back! Henare goes to a corner, the fans rally for Takagi, and he runs up, and blocks a boot! Takagi clotheslines through, then fires the fans up more. Takagi JABS and CHOPS on repeat! Then he JABS, JABS, JABS, but Henare leans into the punches! Takagi fires more shots, then ROCKS Henare! Takagi whips corner to corner, runs up and clotheslines! Then SAIDOS! Henare flounders and the fans rally up. Takagi stands Henare up to suplex high and hard! Cover, TWO!

Henare bails out but Takagi keeps cool. Takagi goes out after Henare, brings him around, and whips him hard into railing! Henare staggers away, Takagi follows, and he JABS Henare again. Takagi brings Henare up to SMACK him off the apron, but that just angers Henare! Henare SMACKS Takagi off the apron! Takagi RIDGE HAND CHOPS, then fireman’s carries! SNAKE EYES off the apron! Henare falls back and the ref wants this back in the ring. Takagi takes a moment to shake out his hand, then he walks over to Henare. Takagi drops a knee right on Henare’s face! Takagi then puts Henare in the ring, and the fans cheer.

Takagi kicks Henare around, taunts him, scuffs him, and Henare snarls. Henare fires body shots and a forearm! Takagi ELBOWS! And YUKON LARIATS! The fans cheer and Takagi says he’s still gonna be champ. Takagi brings Henare up, puts him on ropes, and then KNEES him low! And KNEES him again! And again! The ref reprimands, Takagi lets off, and he whips Henare to ropes. Takagi KNEES low, runs, but into a POP-UP SAMOAN DROP! Both men are down and the fans fire up! Takagi goes to a corner, Henare runs in to clothesline! Takagi shouts at Henare, so Henare shouts back! Henare fires off fast hands from all sides!

The ref reprimands, Henare HEADBUTTS Takagi before he fireman’s carries. WASTELAND SLAM, then a SENTON! The fans rally up as Takagi sputters and goes back to the corner. Henare storms over, stomps Takagi, then HEADBUTTS him! Henare whips but Takagi blocks by holding ropes! The ref calls the ropebreak as Henare still tries to whip. Takagi still holds on, so Henare ELBOWS him in the head! The ref reprimands, but Henare whips corner to corner. Takagi reverses, runs up, but into an ELBOW! Henare goes up, FLYING CHUCK! But Takagi just runs! Into a BERSERKER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Takagi survives and Henare fires back up!

The fans rally, Henare stands and he aims from a corner. Takagi rises as Henare stomps the mat. Henare runs in, RAMP- NO! Takagi stuffs the spear to fire off knees! Henare shoves back but Takagi ELBOWS! JABS! And YUKON feints to DDT! Both men are down and the fans fire up again! Henare flounders to a corner and the fans rally up. Takagi runs, but into a RAMP- DDT!! Takagi turns things around again and Henare is in a daze! Takagi kicks Henare, drags him up, and puts him on the top rope! The fans rally as Takagi climbs up, and he fires RIDGE HAND CHOPS! Takagi then goes to the very top, brings Henare up with him, SUPER DUPER PLEX!!

The fans are thunderous while Henare writhes from that hard landing! Takagi sits up and shouts, “OI! OI! OI!” The fans join in and Takagi nods. Takagi stands, the fans fire up more, and Takagi says “My time is coming! TOKI GA KITA!” The fans fire up, Takagi runs, PUMPING BOMBER! But Henare withstands the impact and stays standing! Takagi runs again, PUMPING BOMBER! Henare drops to his knees! Takagi gives scuffing kicks, slaps Henare around, then fires a few forearms. Henare growls, headbutts the mat, but Takagi ROCKS him! Takagi fires forearm after forearm, but Henare eggs him on!

Takagi fires more forearms, but Henare leans into those shots! Henare swings, Takagi bobs ‘n’ weaves and UPPERCUTS! Takagi runs, but into a RAMPAGE!! Both men are down again and the fans rally up! Henare slowly rises, sits Takagi up, and PENALTY KICKS! But Takagi’s right up to RUN Henare over! The fans rally while both men are down, and Takagi sits up first. Takagi crawls over to Henare and they give each other junkyard dog headbutts. They start throwing palm strikes, then forearms! Takagi CHOPS and Henare staggers! Henare snarls, comes back, and KICKS! Takagi staggers, Henare eggs him on, and the fans rally up!

Takagi winds up to CHOP! Henare drops to a knee and Takagi shakes out his hand. Henare rises, and Takagi braces for the KICK! Takagi CHOPS! Henare KICKS! CHOP! KICK! Repeat! The fans fire up and so does Henare! Henare KICKS, and KICKS, and ROLLING KICKS! Takagi wobbles, Henare runs, but Takagi blocks the kick! Henare fires off strikes, but Takagi still pump handles! MADE IN JAPAN!! But Takagi can’t make the cover! The ref checks both men, this could end up like Dominion! Takagi slowly rises, the fans rally up again, and Takagi sits Henare up. Takagi clamps on to rain down HAMMER ‘N’ ANVIL ELBOWS!

Takagi runs to SLIDING LARIAT! Henare rolls through to SLIDING KNEE!! Both men are down again and the fans fire up! Henare sits up first, and he snarls as he slashes his throat. Henare vows to end this but he’s a bit wobbly as he walks over. Henare drags Takagi up but Takagi HEADBUTTS! Henare HEADBUTTS! They DOUBLE HEADBUTT! And DOUBLE HEADBUTT! Both men wobble, but Takagi JABS! Henare HEADBUTTS! Takagi PUMPING BOMBERS! Henare JUMP HEADBUTTS! Takagi SLIDING FOREARMS!! Both men are down again and the fans are all fired up!

The ref checks, and both men are somehow still in this, but the standing count is here! Takagi hears it and he stirs. Takagi goes to ropes, and he drags himself up at 5 of 10! Takagi is up but what of Henare? He’s still down at 8, pushes up at 9, and stands at 9.9!! The fans fire up and Takagi runs in! DOUBLE LARIATS collide! Both men lean on the other, and Takagi fires boxing elbows! Takagi throws in about nine, but then Henare bobs ‘n’ weaves the tenth to BODY BLOW! And HEEL KICK! PUMPING BOMBER!! Cover, ONE?!?! The fans are thunderous as Henare snarls, but Takagi gets moving! PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO!!!

The fans are thunderous again as Henare survives being flipped upside-down! Takagi roars, he drags Henare up, and he pump handles to the torture rack! Henare slips out, spins Takagi around, STREETS OF RAGE!! But he has to crawl to the cover! TWO!!! Takagi survives and Henare is stunned! Henare growls, fires himself up, and he drags Takagi back up. But Takagi fights the cross-arm hold! Takagi HEADBUTTS, HEADBUTTS, and HEADBUTTS! Henare HEADBUTTS!! Cover, ONE!?!?! But Henare runs to RUGBY KICK!! Cover, TWO!!!! Takagi still survives but Henare is furious! Henare reels Takagi in for STREETS OF- NO, Takagi fights the lift!

Takagi and Henare fight for suplex control! Takagi throws body shots, avoids the headbutt and UPPERCUTS! Then HEADBUTTS back! Then YUKON- NO, Henare blocks that, then blocks the other lariat! KAMI-HEADBUTT!!! Cover, HENARE WINS!!!

Winner: Henare, by pinfall (NEW NEVER Openweight Champion)

Henare unleashes the headbutt to surpass God, and he slays the Rampaging Dragon! Finally, the Face of Fury wears gold in NJPW! Will this be a sign of even bigger things to come? Or will Takagi have his revenge in the G1 Climax?

 

IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship: David Finlay w/ Gedo VS SANADA w/ Just5Guys!

When The Rebel heard the Cold Skull was back on the mend, he demanded this be the return match. Finlay still owes Sanada payback for the 2023 New Japan Cup finals loss, and that moment has finally come. Will Finlay ruin Sanada’s return right from the start? Or will he regret it when Sanada takes this title from him?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see if the War Dogs stay golden!

The bell rings and the fans rally behind “SA-NA-DA! SA-NA-DA!” Finlay gets on the corner to shout “WAR~ DOGS~!” and some fans do cheer, but the fans are still more on Sanada’s side. The two circle, feel things out, and tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Finlay pulls hair to put Sanada on ropes. Red Shoes calls the break, Finlay pie faces Sanada as he lets off, then SPITS on Sanada! Sanada just brushes that off and the two reset. They tie up, are in another deadlock, but Sanada uses height for leverage. Sanada puts Finlay on the ropes, Red Shoes calls the break, and Sanada lets off with pats on the shoulder.

The fans applaud but Finlay is annoyed. Finlay runs up, Sanada kicks low then headlocks. Finlay powers up and out but Sanada runs him over. Things speed up, Finlay hurdles but then Sanada hurdles, hurdles and DROPKICKS! The fans fire up but Gedo is upset as Finlay bails out. Sanada aims, PLANCHA, but he lands on the apron as Finlay slides in. Finlay DECKS Sanada off the apron, goes out to CLUB Sanada, then SMACKS him off the apron! Finlay rains down fists, soaks up the heat, and says it’s too easy. Finlay fist bumps with Gedo then goes back to stand on Sanada’s face. Red Shoes reprimands but Finlay drags Sanada up and into the ring.

Finlay slides in to cover but Red Shoes says no, because of the shenanigans on the outside. Finlay is upset with Red Shoes, but then he drags Sanada up. Finlay hammerlocks an arm and leans on the hold. Sanada endures, even as Finlay grabs the other arm in a cording hold. Finlay digs knuckles into Sanada’s ribs, then a forearm in Sanada’s face! Red Shoes counts, Finlay lets off and gets mad at Red Shoes, but rules are rules. Finlay drags Sanada up, snap suplexes, then covers, TWO! The fans applaud but Finlay argues with Red Shoes more. Finlay drags Sanada up, but Sanada throws body shots! Finlay sputters, but then Sanada ROCKS him with a forearm!

Finlay knees low, whips, but Sanada reverses to ELBOW Finlay down! STANDING MOONSAULT FLOPS as Finlay moves! Finlay covers, TWO! Finlay keeps cool as he drags Sanada up. Finlay whips corner to corner hard and Sanada falls! Sanada writhes but Finlay barks it up. Finlay aims from a corner, runs in, and UPPERCUTS! Then he suplexes for a TOSS! Cover, TWO! Sanada is still in this and Gedo protests while Finlay argues the count. Sanada goes to the apron, Finlay storms over and drags him up. Finlay brings Sanada through the ropes to UPPERCUT! And UPPERCUT again! And UPPERCUT again!

Finlay UPPERCUTS and UPPERCUTS and UPPERCUTS, then UPPERCUTS some more! Finlay dares the fans to cheer Sanada now. The fans do cheer, and Sanada back drops Finlay outta the ring! Sanada catches his breath while Finlay is on the floor. Finlay drags himself up with the apron skirt, but Sanada PLANCHAS him right back down! The fans cheer and Sanada rises. Sanada stalks Finlay, brings him around, and puts him in the ring. The fans applaud, but then Finlay bails out the side. Sanada just PLANCHAS again! Down goes Finlay and the fans fire up! Sanada then brings Finlay up, ROCKS him, then slides into the ring.

Sanada builds speed and he fakes Finlay out! Sanada flips back in, then PLANCHAS again! A hattrick for Sanada and the fans fire up! Sanada encourages them to get louder, then he goes back for Finlay. Sanada puts Finlay in the ring, stalks him, then brings him up to RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP! Cover, TWO! The fans rally while Sanada brings Finlay back up. Sanada fireman’s carries, Finlay slips free to waistlock, but Sanada switches. Finlay denies the O’Conner to roll Sanada up, TWO! Sanada runs in, but into a SPIN-OUT BOMB! Finlay grins as he leans against ropes, then he watches Sanada rise. Finlay runs in, and he clotheslines Sanada up and out!

Finlay goes out after Sanada, talks some trash, “This your boy?” Finlay flexes, drags Sanada up, and RAMS him into the railing! And RAMS him in again! Finlay’s trying to squish English commentary as he RAMS Sanada in again! Finlay lets Sanada falls over, then asks Gedo, “You wanna see a dead body?” Finlay fireman’s carries Sanada, to run up, but Sanada slips free! Finlay kicks low, reels Sanada in, but Sanada fights the piledriver! Sanada back drops Finlay onto the floor! The fans cheer while Sanada hobbles away. But then Finlay runs up! Sanada moves and Finlay crashes into railing! Sanada then brings Finlay out through the gate!

The Young Lions hurry to brace railing, but Sanada reels Finlay in for a PILEDRIVER on the floor!! And there’s far less padding out by the crowd then by ringside! Red Shoes wants this back in the ring, but Sanada has to catch his breath first. Sanada drags Finlay up, cravats for a neck wrench, and he brings Finlay back to ringside like that. Sanada puts Finlay in the ring and the fans applaud. Sanada then stalks Finlay, stands him up, and CLUBS him on the neck! Finlay staggers up, and he fires a forearm back! Sanada eggs Finlay on, so Finlay fires another forearm! And then SPITS at Sanada! And flips him off!

Sanada fires off furious fists on Finlay! The fans fire up but they’re on the ropes now! Red Shoes reprimands, but Sanada shoves him down! Sanada’s losing his cool, and Finlay YANKS Sanada into ropes! Both men are down and the fans rally up for Sanada. Finlay drags Sanada up, reels him in, Canadian Rack, but Sanada slips free, to get the dragon sleeper! Finlay arm-drags free, runs up, but into a BOOT! Sanada goes up to QUEBRADA, and he has the dragon sleeper! Sanada drops back but Finlay rolls through to inverted suplex! And LAWN DART off the corner! Then a Canadian Rack, DOMINATOR! Cover, TWO!

The fans fire up as Sanada survives! Gedo is upset and we pass 15 minutes. The fans rally for “SA-NA-DA!” as he and Finlay slowly rise. Finlay uses ropes to help stretch out one of his arms, then he goes back for Sanada. Finlay clamps on to sit Sanada up, for a crossface forearm! And then another! And another! Finlay drags Sanada up again, runs, and BLINDSIDE LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Sanada is still in this and Finlay is frustrated. The fans rally up for Sanada again, but Finlay drags Sanada up and reels him in. Sanada is dead weight so Finlay has Red Shoes check. Sanada refuses to give in and the fans rally up more.

Finlay talks more trash on the fans, then drags Sanada back up and in. POWER- RANA! Cover, TWO!! Finlay escapes, runs up, but Sanada spins him around, MAGIC- NO, Finlay slips free to suplex! But Sanada slips free to O’Conner Roll, but Finlay turns that around! O’Conner- NO, Sanada keeps Finlay up, then brings him into SKULL END!! Finlay flails and endures but he’s stuck in the body scissors! Sanada puts on the squeeze and Finlay is starting to fade! Red Shoes checks, Finlay flips everyone off! But he’s fading all the same! Sanada almost loses grip, and Finlay grabs at Red Shoes! Finlay endures as Sanada thrashes him around!

Red Shoes checks again, but Sanada lets Finlay go to go up top! ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto knees! Finlay saves himself at the last moment and both men are down! The fans rally for Sanada as he and Finlay stir. We hit 20 minutes and Sanada grabs at Finlay. They both rise up and Finlay fires a haymaker. Sanada fires it back! Finlay fires another haymaker, so Sanada gives it back! Red Shoes reprimands about closed fists, so Finlay fires a forearm! Sanada fires one right back! Finlay staggers away to ropes, but then Sanada eggs him on. Finlay fires a flurry, but Sanada UPPERCUTS! Finlay wobbles, staggers, but comes back.

Finlay UPPERCUTS, but Sanada shakes his head. The fans rally up as Sanada goes back to UPPERCUT Finlay! Finlay wobbles, Sanada eggs him on, and Finlay UPPERCUTS! Sanada grits his teeth, Finlay eggs him on, and Sanada UPPERCUTS! Finlay leans on Sanada, but he still fires a flurry of forearms, then an UPPERCUT! Finlay runs, but Sanada dodges! Sanada tilt-o-whirls, and has the dragon sleeper! But Finlay slips through to suplex! But Sanada turns that around, MAGIC SCREW! Both men are down and the fans fire up! Sanada hurries up a corner, to ROUNDING BODY PRESS! Direct hit and Sanada covers, TWO!!

The fans fire up more as Sanada drags Finlay back up. Sanada clinches, but Gedo storms up to the apron! Sanada drops Finlay so he can KICK the ropes! The fans cheer as Gedo gets jammed up down low! But then Finlay cradles Sanada! TWO!! Sanada escapes, runs up, BLINDSIDE WIZARD! Both men are down again and the fans fire back up! Sanada kips up and the fans cheer! Sanada shouts at Finlay to get up, then runs in, but Finlay ducks the Shining Wizard! Finlay wrenches, suplexes, INTO OBLIVION!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay almost had this one but he won’t stop there! Finlay suplexes again, OVER- BLOCKED!!

Sanada waistlocks, O’Conner Rolls and BRIDGES! TWO!!! Finlay escapes, but SHINING WIZARD hits!! The fans are thunderous and Sanada drags Finlay back up! Clinch and- NO, Finlay slips out to bring Sanada up! But Sanada slips free to ENZIGIRI! The fans fire up as we hit 25 minutes! Time is running out, but Sanada aims from the corner! SHINING- NO, Finlay smothers the wizard to high stack and deadlift into a POWERBOMB! Then the flip over and suplex! OVERKILL!!! Cover, Finlay wins!

Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (still IWGP Global Heavyweight Champion)

The Cold Skull got hot, but maybe too little too late. Finlay holds onto the belt he created, for now. Will he prove that NJPW and the world needs The Rebel?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match: SHO VS El Desperado!

The Murder Machine missed out on the Best of the Super Juniors finals, and it was the Rogue Luchador who finally added that trophy to his list of accomplishments. And as Sho tried to rain on the parade, Desperado goaded Sho into not just putting up the title, but putting up the steel fence around the ring! Truly a historic first for this title, will Desperado continue to make history by winning again? Or will Sho somehow, someway win without The House of Torture’s help?

But of course, the NJPW ref corps knows Sho has tricks of his own, so they make sure to pat him down before he enters the cage. AHA! Scissors! Sho says those aren’t his! But the check continues, and wait! Evil is storming his way onto commentary! The King of Darkness is going to find a way to be here for Sho one way or another. But wait, the search finds handcuffs, as well as a metal plate in the kick pad! Sho is upset that all his tricks have been found out, but Desperado’s having a great time watching his humiliation. Sho is already trying to find things under the ring but the refs were thorough even before the cage was set up.

Sho, Desperado and Red Shoes are locked inside, and all of Sho’s things have been secured, because a Young Lion is taking them to the back! It’s sinking in for Sho that there’s nothing he can do to cheat this one. Sho finally steps into the ring, the introductions are made and the belt is raised. And now, with the odds finally even, we see who is truly the Best of the Super Juniors!

The bell rings and the fans rally for “DE-SU-PE! DE-SU-PE!” The two feel things out, clinch, go around, and Sho waistlocks. Despe spins through to facelock, but Sho wrenches out. Despe rolls, wrenches back, and wristlocks. Sho pushes Despe to then wrench, wrench and wristlock. Despe drop toeholds, floats to a facelock, then he ties up the legs. Despe pulls Sho with a chinbar, but then shifts to have a cording hold. Sho endures, reaches out to the ropes, and Despe lets go. The fans cheer, and Despe talks some smack as Sho goes to a corner. The two reset, feel things out, knuckle lock, and Despe rolls to top wristlock.

Despe shifts to a cording hold, but Sho rolls back to stand up. Despe wrenches to wristlock, then he arm-drags Sho down into the cording hold. Sho endures, even as Despe adds a chinbar. Sho fights up, Despe hammerlocks the arm and goes for the crossface. Sho fights that, so Despe headlocks. Despe hits the takeover, Sho headscissors and squeezes tight. Despe bridges back, headstands, then pushes down on Sho’s legs. Despe floats onto the headlock but Sho slips out the back. Sho has the arm, and he drags Despe in, SNAKEBITE! Despe fights up to get the KNEEBAR! Sho flails, reaches out, ROPEBREAK! The fans applaud as Despe lets off.

Sho crawls to the corner and Despe waits on him. The fans rally, the two circle, and they feel things out again. Sho bends Despe’s fingers, then hammerlocks. Despe elbows Sho, switches the hammerlock onto him then spins him around to whip. Despe arm-drags Sho then runs him over! The fans fire up but Sho bails out of the ring. But he can’t go far with the cage all around! Despe storms up but Sho kicks him! Sho whips Despe into the cage! Despe staggers, Sho grins and whips the other way, only for Despe to reverse! Sho hits cage, staggers forward, and Despe back drops him on the floor! Sho writhes and the fans cheer!

Despe stalks Sho as he scurries, but then Sho slips around. Sho reaches out and Evil slips him the “Torture Tool” wrench through the bars! But Red Shoes is right on Sho to take that away! Despe whips Sho at the cage! Sho stops himself, then HIP TOSSES Despe into steel! Evil acts like he did nothing wrong but Yano is also on commentary and telling him off. Sho drags Despe up to whip him into the cage! Despe slumps down, but Sho stands him up, to whip him in again! Despe staggers and falls, and part of the cage swings open! Seems there was a second door! Sho keeps Despe from getting out, and sends him back into steel!

Sho grins as he stalks Despe, and he RIPS at Despe’s mask! Red Shoes reprimands, Sho lets off and stalks Despe around the way. Sho drags Despe up to GRIND his face against the cage! Evil applauds as Sho goes along the whole side! Sho throws Despe down, and a good part of Despe’s mask has been ripped away! Sho talks trash on Despe, then brings him up to ROCK him with a right! Sho DIGS Despe’s face into the cage again, then SCRAPES him along! Evil applauds but he’s the only one. Sho makes Despe suffer, then shoves him back down. Sho soaks up the heat before bringing Despe back into the ring.

Sho CHOKES Despe against ropes! Red Shoes reprimands, then counts, but Sho steps away at 4. Sho drags Despe back up, CLAWS at Despe’s exposed face, then lets off as Red Shoes counts. Sho not so subtly unties the blue buckle pad, and uses the strap to CHOKE Despe! Red Shoes counts, Sho lets go, and Evil says that’s genius! The fans rally for “DE-SU-PE!” but Sho talks more trash. Despe sits up, and Sho scuffs him. Sho taunts Despe, scuffs him again, but Despe grabs Sho’s foot. Despe CHOPS, and CHOPS, but Sho DECKS him with a right hand! Sho storms up to digs his boot into Despe’s face! Red Shoes reprimands and Sho steps off.

Sho eggs Despe on, so Despe stands to CHOP and CHOP! Sho fires another haymaker, but Despe HEADBUTTS! Despe runs, but into a kitchen sink knee! Despe falls, but Sho brings him up to whip to ropes, for another kitchen sink knee! Cover, TWO! Despe stays in this, and goes to a corner, but Sho runs in to RAM him! Sho then hoists Despe up to stick him across the top rope. Sho runs in, TOP SHELF KNEE! Cover, TWO! Sho pulls on an arm and a leg! Despe endures, the fans rally, but Sho pulls harder! Despe still reaches out with his free arm, fights over with his free leg, and has the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer but Sho holds until Red Shoes counts 4.

Despe crawls to the apron but Sho grins as he runs up, to LARIAT Despe down! Despe falls on the apron then flops down to the floor. Sho wants a ring count, but this is a cage match, there’s no such thing. Sho says fine, and he goes out to fetch Despe. Sho whips Despe into the cage! Despe leans against the steel, and Sho grins as he brings Despe around to throw into more cage! Sho then SMACKS Despe off the steel, and runs him along the way, only for Despe to turn it around and send Sho into steel! The fans fire up and Despe RAMS Sho into steel! Then Despe throws Sho into the cage wall! Despe goes into the ring, builds speed, and DIVES! Both men hit the steel!!

The fans are thunderous and Despe roars as he rises up! Sho sputters while he’s slumped against the cage, but Despe drags him up. Despe whips Sho into the cage again! Sho falls, clutching an arm, but Despe gets him up and runs him hard into more steel! The fans fire up as Despe snarls and drags Sho up again. Despe still throws Sho into the cage! Despe then puts Sho in the ring, drags him up, and hits a BIG back suplex! Despe drags Sho right back up, for a BIG regular suplex! Despe then climbs up the corner, for a FROG SPLASH! But Despe’s own ribs make it hard to keep the cover. Despe drags Sho up, reels him in, GUITARRA DEL ANGEL! Cover, TWO!

Sho survives but Despe just shakes his head. Despe staggers around, he drags Sho up, and he reels Sho in to tuck the arms. But Sho wrenches out to KNEE low and throw Despe down by his hair! Sho sputters, he goes back to the blue corner, and he finishes untying the pad. The Bullet Club Special is still possible in this cage, and as Despe runs in, TADA! Bare buckles! Sho whips Despe back into those bare buckles! Sho runs to SPEAR!! Cover, TWO!! Despe survives and Sho is stunned! The fans rally for Despe but Sho calls his shot. Sho drags Despe up, but Despe fights the gut wrench! Despe CLUBS Sho’s legs, but Sho still tries to lift!

Sho KNEES Despe low, then whips him back to the bare buckles! Sho grins, but Despe comes back! Despe swings, but Sho gets around to POP UP and ARMBAR! Despe fights around, but ends up in SNAKEBITE!! Despe flails, reaches out, but he’s fading! Sho pulls harder on the hold, and Despe falls over! But then Despe gets a second wind! The fans rally as hard as they can, and Despe drags Sho over, but Sho just pulls harder on the hold! Despe tips over, but into the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes tells Sho to let go but he refuses! So Red Shoes pulls Sho’s hair to make him stop! Respect his authority, Sho!

Sho lets go and Red Shoes checks on Despe. Red Shoes keeps Sho back, and Despe raises a hand. Despe wags a finger, he isn’t done yet. Sho kicks Despe mockingly, toying with him. Sho stands on Despe’s head, then gives him another mocking kick. Despe slowly sits up and the fans rally up again. Despe looks up at Sho defiantly, and Sho gives him a kick. Despe stays up so Sho fires a forearm! Despe snarls as he stands, so Sho fires another forearm! Despe forearms back but Sho LARIATS! Sho is mad now! Sho gets Despe up to gut wrench, Canadian Rack, FACEBUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Despe survives and the fans fire up!

Sho is freaking out, slapping himself around. Sho pulls at his own hair in frustration, but he drags Despe back up. Sho reels Despe in, tucks the arms, but Despe slips out to wrench and OLYMPIC SLAM! The fans fire up while both men are down! Despe and Sho stir, and Sho crawls his way to ropes. Despe snarls as he rises at center, but Sho storms back over. Despe fires body shots, then a forearm! Sho fires off boxing elbows fast and furious! Sho ROCKS Despe, runs, but Despe DECKS him! Despe roars and the fans fire up with him! Despe underhooks, FACEBUSTER! And then the roll through, for PINCHE- NO, Sho fights it!

Sho shoves Despe into Red Shoes! Sho runs up, to SHOTGUN Red Shoes into the bare buckles! Despe slumps out of the ring, Sho storms over and “accidentally” drops an elbow on Red Shoes! Evil claims Sho is innocent, but here comes The House of Torture! The fans boo, so much for Sho doing this on his own! Sho drags Despe up as the fans tell all the others to go home, or at least go away. But Sho puts Despe against the cage, and Narita SMACKS Despe with a chair! But here comes Oleg! But Kanemaru CLOBBERS Oleg! Evil even hits Yano on commentary! Tanahashi and even Satoshi Kojima run out here, but The House goes after them, too!

The fans boo but The House starts throwing chairs into the ring for Sho to use! Evil pretends he sees nothing wrong with this. Sho grins stands Despe back up, talks trash on everyone, then brings Despe into the ring. Sho soaks up the heat, then talks more trash. But Despe has a chair! Despe HEADSHOTS Sho!! Sho flops into the ring and the fans are thunderous! Despe turns things around on The House as he puts Sho’s head on one chair, and grabs another! Evil can only freak out as Despe hits a HOMERUN!! Evil tries to climb into the cage?! Despe CHUCKS a chair at him and he falls right off! The others try, but Despe chucks more chairs!

The fans fire up as now Yano, Oleg and Tanahashi fight back, too! They all stomp the House, Kojima CLUBS Kanemaru, and Despe CHUCKS chairs as Narita tries to climb! Despe goes back to Sho while Tanahashi and team drag The House outta here! The fans cheer as justice is again served! Despe calls to Red Shoes and he slowly returns. Despe gets Sho up but Sho LOW BLOWS! The ref missed that by sheer luck! Sho pretends he got hit, too, and so now everyone’s down again! Sho can’t help but laugh, though, and he tells Red shoes to get up. Sho hobbles over to Despe, drags him up, and reels him in to pump handle!

But Despe Alabama Lifts! And then he tucks Sho in, BASTARD DRIVER!! The fans are thunderous as Despe gets Sho up, underhooks, and JAY DRILLER!! And then the PINCHE LOCO!! Cover, DESPE WINS!!

Winner: El Desperado, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)

The Murder Machine couldn’t win it on his own, and that is why he lost it all tonight! Will it ever sink in that crime doesn’t pay?

As for Desperado, he now has trophy and championship belt to hold! Despe makes sure “the trash” is taken out of the ring first, then he gets the mic. The fans cheer “DESPE! DESPE!” as he gets the spotlight on him. Despe takes a moment, and then says, “Ah… that hurt. Thank you.” The fans cheer, and Despe continues by saying that there are all different types of wrestlers, and that’s what makes pro-wrestling so interesting. But even knowing that, it’s exhausting having to go this far. Why the heck are they opening the cage up? It took a lot to put it together in the first place, not that Despe really knows about that.

Despe won’t say this was fun, it’s not really his style, and his whole body hurts. He probably won’t do this kinda thing ever again. But he does want to get to his next challenger. The fans are shocked he’s doing this so soon! And then Despe calls out DOUKI! Despe tells Douki to come on out here, they don’t need to make a mess with the cage coming down just yet. The fans cheer for “DOUKI! DOUKI!” Despe waits, but he starts to wonder if Douki left already. Despe figured he’d give the guy he fought in the BOSJ semifinals, a guy who’s like a brother to him, a shot. But then, while he was home, he was kind alike, “Nah, maybe I’ll go with another guy.”

But wait! Here comes Douki! The fans cheer as Japones Del Mal heads into the ring. And Despe already knows what Douki must be thinking. Why’s he giving the shot to a guy he already beat? Is it because it’ll be an easy defense? Despe says the BOSJ was the BOSJ, and this cage match was this cage match. Whether the energy is flowing or not, a true IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match is different. Despe is sure Douki has what it takes. Despe knows Douki got cheated by Sho, so this will be different, too. So what does Douki say? Is he up for the challenge? The fans like the sound of that!

Despe keeps explaining that people might be thinking this is because of their past friendship, and maybe it is. After all, even though Despe is older, Douki helped him out a lot while they were in Mexico. This is Despe returning the favor. A chance like this doesn’t come along all the time, but don’t think of this as a handout. Despe just wants Douki to see for himself that he can do this. But if he doesn’t think he can, then Douki can walk away. The fans tell Douki to go for it! Douki steps inside! The fans fire up as Douki is face to face with Despe! Despe says he doesn’t know when or where this’ll happen, but when it does, it’ll be Despe VS Douki.

The fans cheer, Douki nods, and the fans even cheer Douki on. Despe lets Douki have the mic, and he says there was no way he was saying no with Despe asking him like that! Douki then says Despe better do everything he can to keep that belt. Despe tells Douki not to be so cocky. The Rogue Luchador grins as his old amigo heads back out. And then he grumbles that Douki shouldn’t have given him the mic back, now he has to wrap this up! And then he says, “That’s just how it is!” Despe drops the mic and the streamers fly! We have our next title match on the books, when and where will these former Suzuki-Gun soldiers do battle as rivals?


My Thoughts:

A great New Japan Soul, full of so much meaningful stuff for being the start to a short tour. A little surprised Tanahashi, Yano & Oleg won the NEVER titles back already, but I do appreciate NJPW isn’t afraid to hot potato their titles around. And I really do think there should be a tiebreaker coming, maybe with a heightened stipulation like Elimination or Best 2 Outta 3 Falls. Great Junior Heavyweight Tag title match, and TMDK came so close, but I should’ve figured The War Dogs would win out. And very good field for the G1 this year. I’m a little surprised so many people are in the qualifiers, but that should make it really wild stuff. I’d love if TJP got in for B Block.

Takagi VS Henare was an awesome rematch, and Henare winning was quite the surprise. Takagi’s not just in the G1, but he’s gonna be in AEW’s Owen Hart Cup, so I thought he’d bring that along. But maybe since Takagi isn’t likely to win the Owen Hart Cup, NJPW doesn’t want anyone getting a win over one of their midcard champions. Great return match for Sanada, but I suppose Finlay was going to retain either way. Finlay already felt the shame of losing this title once this year, he wasn’t gonna do it again.

And great stuff in the main event. I just knew The House of Torture would show up despite the cage, but then great of Tanahashi and friends to stop them. Desperado winning was the right choice and certainly great for him. Desperado naming Douki as his next challenger is really cool stuff, and Douki is definitely going to have a great showing. I still think Despe retains, but Douki is slowly rising up the ranks. If all things go well, Douki can definitely find himself as champion within the next year.

My Score: 9/10


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