|Posted on March 22, 2016 at 9:45 PM|
Just noticing there’s a shot of Finn Balor throwing up the Too Sweet in the show opening video now. Not sure how long that’s been there, but never noticed it before.
Show opens with William Regal heading to the ring. Talks about what Baron Corbin did to Austin Aries last week, saying he won’t take any disciplinary actions against Corbin, won’t suspend him because Aries doesn’t want him to. Regal announces that at Takeover Dallas, Corbin vs Aries.
Regal also talks about the many inconclusive decisions lately in terms of crowing a #1 contender announcing the 2 out of 3 falls match.
The 2 out 3 falls match is first? That’s kinda odd. I also find it very odd that Graves and Phillips mentioned who is in the house for the show tonight (also mentions American Alpha vs Vaudevillains tag #1 contender match). They don’t usually say “Hey we’ve got Bayley and Asuka here in the house for the show tonight!” Not sure what all this means…
Joe out to the ring first. At ringside, Sasha Banks, Hideo Itami (sans sling) and Michael PS Hayes. Zayn out next. Also Larry Zybysko, Mauro Ranallo and Adam Jones (guitarist of Tool) at ringside.
Joe showing off his stiff kicks early, catching Zayn in the leg then going for the head but just misses. They tie up a few times and Joe has the strength advantage but not stopping Zayn from tying up. Zayn gets an early 2 count with a mahistrol.
Slow goins early as they take their time feeling each other out (even though they’ve had 2, #1 contender matches already so you’d think they wouldn’t need much of a feeling out process. But you know, WWE style, gotta slow it down!)
Joe really working a side headlock, refusing to give it up. He takes Zayn over his hip with it and gets a 2 count. Back on their feet and Joe still holding tight. Zayn eventually reverses out, grabbing and arm and putting torque on it to keep Joe grounded.
Getting the feeling this is gonna go a while. We’re through at least 2 breaks during this match alone and we haven’t even seen a fall yet.
Back in the ring, Joe backs up Sami to the ropes and unleashes a few hard kicks to the chest. Joe drives an elbow into Sami’s chest on the mat, pulls back an arm and locks in a chin lock. Joe really working the neck, setting up for the Muscle Buster. Joe grinds the sole of his shoe into Zayn’s face then a big face wash but only gets a 2 count.
Zayn tries to turn the momentum but gets caught with an overhead belly to belly and Joe backs him into the corner with a series of body blows. Zayn catches a few big clotheslines and looks to be gaining steam, goes up and almost gets stuck in a Muscle Buster but breaks free. Every time Zayn tries to build something, Joe is a step or two ahead and lands big blows and gets a few near falls.
Zayn surprises Joe with a flatliner and a Koji Clutch but doesn’t lock it in before frees himself and Joe lands a big powerslam for 2.
Still tied at 0 and Joe is hammering Zayn with chops. Joe rushes at Zayn and Zayn backs to the ropes and low bridges Joe over the top to the floor. Zayn to the apron and springboard sitout moonsault. Throws Joe back in the ring and Zayn top rope cross body for 2.
Zayn goes for Blue Thunder Bomb but Joe turns it into a cross body for 2. Zayn wrist clutch and goes for the step up tornado DDT but Joe throws him off. As Zayn rushes back in, Joe urinage and Muscle Buster for the first fall! We gotta be over 20 minutes in (32 of 55 min) and only 1 fall so far? This match is definitely going the distance.
Joe sits in the corner and composes himself as Zayn tries to pick himself up off the mat.
Joe rushes Zayn at the bell as the next fall starts, setting him up on top looking to end the match quickly. Joe hammering Sami and looking for another Muscle Buster but Sami keeps fighting and lands a missile dropkick. Joe looks like he has a small cut on his forehead. Sami looks to continue his attack but the ref is backing him off to attend to the cut. Zayn finally has an opening and the ref is holding him back.
But Joe uses the small break to surprise Zayn with a vicious series of strikes and goes back on the offensive. Joe beating up on Sami and then just dumps him outside, trying to get the 2nd fall by count out. Sami rolls back in but Joe quickly throws him back out, follows him, and throws Sami into the stairs. The ref starts the 10 count again and back in the ring at 8. Joe takes him back out and a big running STO on the mat. But somehow Zayn crawls back into the ring just before the 10 count.
Joe picking up Zayn and somehow Zayn unleashes a flurry of strikes. Sami goes for a suplex, Joe blocks but Sami fights for it and takes him over. Joe rolls outside and Zayn tope con hilo over the top takes out Joe. Head back in the ring and Zayn catches Joe in a Koji Clutch and Joe taps! (42 of 55)
The match is tied 1-1. Third fall begins and they’re trading blows. Joe spinning backfist, goes for a line but Zayn ducks and Blue Thunder Bomb (and marks are crying about not selling enough). Commentary talks about how they had more planned for this episode that will have to be rescheduled, and its clear now that the odd announcements early in the show were just all misdirection.
Zayn heads to the top and Joe stuns him. Looks for Muscle Buster but Zayn fights him off and sunset flip bomb from the top and only 2 count. Joe rolls out of the ring and Sami follows, leaps through the turnbuckle and tornado DDT onto the ramp and Joe barely beats the count back into the ring.
Joe still seems groggy in the corner and Sami runs in for the Helluva Kick but Joe catches it, lifts him up for a powerbomb, Sami tries for a rana but Joe holds on into a Boston crab. Joe transitions into a crossface and Sami crawls to the ropes. He reaches out for them and Joe takes his arm and wrenches it back and Zayn finally gets the rope with his foot.
Joe knocks Zayn down with a big kick and Zayn up before the standing 10 count. Joe hammers him back to the mat with another flurry and Sami up to his feet again before the 10 count. Joe just trying to knock out Zayn but on the third knock down, Sami pops up after a few seconds, ducks Joe and locks in his own Kokina Clutch (even though its just a sleeper). Joe eventually turns them over and reaches the rope with his foot.
Zayn exploder into the corner and lines up for the Helluva Kick, but Joe dodges it and locks in the Kokina Clutch. Sami looks to be fighting for the ropes but he can’t reach them. Eventually Sami stops moving and the ref calls for the bell and Samoa Joe is the new #1 contender.
After a recap of the 2 out of 3 falls match, Sami Zayn heads to the ring to open the show. He addresses the war he had with Samoa Joe last week, saying he isn’t embarrassed about losing since they battled for nearly an hour and it just happened to go Joe’s way. But he says whether it’s Joe or whether it’s Finn, his goal is still to become the first 2-time NXT Champion.
But the only thing nagging at him is that NXT Takeover Dallas is coming up and you know it’ll steal the show WM weekend, but before he can finish, William Regal hits the stage. He says he was listening backstage and has to agree, Zayn deserves something special at Takeover Dallas. He says Zayn deserves to face the best in the world and announces that Zayn will face the King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura!
Next the Hype Bros to take on Angelo Dawkins and Kenneth Crawford. Hype Bros easily controlling the match early. And of course, Ryder has to be the one to get beat down a while so Mojo can get the hot tag for a discus punch followed by a Hype Ryder for the win.
After a recap of NXT at the Arnold Classic, Emma and Dana Brooke run into Deonna Purrazzo backstage. Emma trash talks her, saying Deonna should’ve listened to them about what Asuka was going to do to her a few weeks ago and tonight, what Emma does will be a lot worse.
In the ring, Emma pushes around Deonna, not taking her seriously. When Deonna pushes her back, Emma snaps, starts hammering her into the corner and snapmares her over by the hair. Emma puts her in the tree of woe and kicks her back several times and then crushes her with a low corner cross body.
Emma trying to wear down Deonna in the center of the ring, After a Dil-Emma, Emma gets the win with the Emma Lock. Emma seems to be getting some momentum lately. It’d be cool if she finally got a Womens title run but I’m seeing Nia Jax or Eva Marie taking the belt from Bayley.
Tomasso Ciampa makes his way to the ring with a purpose to take on Jesse Sorensen. Ciampa starts fast, backing Jesse into the corner and laying in knees, takes down his knee pad, hits the ropes and crashes into Jesse.
Ciampa with a 2 count after a discus lariat and locks in a chinlock on the mat. Ciampa hits the ropes but Sorense with a big dropkick. But he can’t do much with it as Ciampa is all over him and makes him tap with a bridging arm bar.
Next, Eva Marie and Nia Jax vs Asuka and Bayley. Nia starts, beating down Bayley and then tags in Eva. But Bayley easily reverses Eva and tags in Asuka. Eva tries to make her way back to her corner but Asuka cuts her off, toying with her. Eva forearm to Asuka but it only makes her laugh. Asuka hammers Eva with strikes, knees and kicks then takes Eva to the mat with a flying hip attack.
Asuka tags Bayley back in but Eva gets to Nia before Bayley sees and Nia is all over the champ, planting her with a Samoan Drop. Eva in and antagonizes Asuka with a slap and as the ref holds Asuka back, Bayley backdrop suplex and a pin. Nia in to break it up and drops the leg but Bayley moves and it hits Eva. Bayley sends Nia to the floor with a dropkick, Asuka kicks Eva in the back and Bayley to Belly for the win.
As the ref raises Bayley and Asuka’s hand, William Regal comes to the stage and announces that Asuka will face Bayley for the Women’s title at Takeover Dallas.
Phillips and Graves talk to Austin Aries via satellite about being attacked by Corbin a few weeks ago. He says he was excited to make his debut until Corbin ruined it. He says instead of attacking him, Corbin should’ve come out and asked his advice. Aries has been a champion everywhere. He’s dealt with guys like Corbin his whole life, guys who think he’s big and bad. He wasn’t handed an NXT contract, he earned it. And soon Corbin will find out the only thing handed to you in this business are lessons and he will teach Corbin in Dallas why he’s the greatest man that ever lived.
Main event time - American Alpha taking on The Vaudevillains for the #1 contendership and a shot at The Revival in Dallas. Gable starts off against Gotch first, easily outwrestling the Vaudevillain. Gotch finally tags out and Gable hip tosses English and Jordan comes in and it’s all American Alpha.
Back from a WM32 commercial, the Vaudevillains are somehow in control of Gable. Nothing like continuity. Again, American Alpha are great, I just wish their matches weren’t so predictable. Gable starts strong, Jordan tags in early, and once Gable tags back in, the opposing team takes control until Gable makes the hot tag for the win.
It almost happens again here but English breaks up their finisher and knocks Jordan out of the ring. Gable high angle bridging German on English and Gotch breaks it up. Jordan belly to belly overhead on the floor. English gets a close 2 off a powerbomb in the ring. Jordan sneaky tag and shoulder tackle English in the corner, tags Gable and they hit their finisher for the win and are #1 contenders for Takeover.
Lucha Underground Season 2, Episode 8, 3/9
Episode opens with Sexy Star in the locker room and The Mack comes up to her. He has a match tonight with Marty the Moth and wants her in his corner, but she refuses at first.
The Mack sits down next to her and says this isn’t the Sexy Star he knows. She’s strong and an ass kicker, she doesn’t run and hide. So what do you say, Mack says, you want to help me squash that bug? And puts his fist out and Sexy Star pounds it, agreeing to help him later.
Melissa Santos announces the first match and Marty the Moth is behind her, flapping his Moth wings and Melissa has to try really hard not to corpse. The Mack heads out next with Sexy Star at his side and Mack goes right at Marty.
Marty weathers the initial attacks and sends Mack outside then dives onto him over the ropes. Star encourages Mack but backs off when Marty moves toward them. Marty misses a top rope splash and Mack tosses him with a release German and a tbone suplex. Mack heads up to the top rope and the lights in the Temple go down. Strange music starts to play and Sexy looks frozen when she sees a strange woman heading toward the ring.
Marty uses the distraction to throw Mack from the top rope and plants Mack with a second rope Curb Stomp for the win. Afterward, Marty introduces the crowd to his sister, Mariposa (spanish for butterfly) and tells them to bow down to her. Sexy Star shrinks to the floor, cowering at the sight of Mariposa as she and Marty stand over her. Mariposa yells at Star to get up then kicks her in the face as he starts to stand.
Fenix walks down the side of a road in LA. He talks about growing up in Mexico City very poor, that the real world didn’t want him so he sought his own life, one based in myth and fantasy and became the Fenix. People told him he wouldn’t survive in Lucha Underground, so he proved them wrong. They said he wouldn’t defy death, so he proved them wrong. They said he would never be champion, so he proved them wrong. But they still didn’t believe him. They think he will never be LU Champion, but he will prove that some fantasies are worth believing and some myths become legends.
In the locker room, Jack Evans is taking a piss and then gets attacked by Drago. Drago is pissed that he’s calling himself the Dragon Slayer, leaps up and breaks the light bulb above them with a kick and challenges Jack to slay him now. Jack backs off, playing the chicken shit heel, and from behind them, PJ Black approaches with the nunchucks in hand that Drago left in the ring last week.
Evans and Black work together as Black cracks Drago in the face with the weapon, then Jack attacks but gets swept to the floor by Drago. Black uses the opening to hit Drago again as Jack composes himself and shows that he also has nunchucks. But Drago has a pair as well!
Drago takes them both down with a swift strike and goes after Jack, but Black stuns Drago and they both stomps away on Drago. Black starts to choke Drago with the nunchucks and now Evans gets in his face, yelling that if he doesn’t want to be bludgeoned to death, he won’t show up to Aztec Warfare.
From the darkness, Aerostar appears, twirling TWO neon nunchucks and says “I would give you the same warning” (about not showing up to Aztec Warefare). Black and Evans take off as Aerostar helps Drago to his feet.
Next, a no DQ match between Cage and Johnny Mundo. But instead of Mundo heading to the ring, Taya (Valkyrie) shows up instead. She says since Johnny already kicked Cage’s ass, it’s her turn now. She calls herself the perfect woman and says she knows Cage isn’t a man, but lets see if he has the balls to face her.
Taya mushes Cage then slaps him hard in the face but Cage isn’t amused and hammers her with a lariat. Cage picks her up and starts curling her over and over, puts her on his shoulders, pops up her and hits a front powerslam. Cage picks her up again, torture rack position and neck breaker for 2.
Taya low blow Cage and big dropkick for 2. She comes off the turnbuckle and plants Cage with a DDT then hits a Knees of Meteora in the corner. Taya heads to the floor looking for a weapon and pulls out the lead pipe but Cage is behind her, knocks it out of her hands and then powerbomb position, slams her into the railing then tosses her into the ring post.
Back in the ring, Cage powerbomb on the symbol then bucklebomb. Cage heads outside now and gets 2 tables, setting them up outside. Taya starts to pick herself up and Cage on the apron grabs her and deadlift suplex to the floor through the tables!
Cage picks her up easily, straight from the floor, and rolls her back in looking to end the match, but then Mundo attacks from behind. He cracks Cage with the pipe and pulls Taya on top for the pin but somehow Cage kicks out!
Mundo gets a cinderblock from under the ring and puts it in the ring, along with several beer bottles. Mundo hammers Cage with a few shots and tries pick him up but Cage Alabama Slam on Mundo. Cage sets up to curb stomp Mundo into the cinder block but Taya jumps on his back. Cage easily pulls her off and Mundo smashes a bottle over Cage’s head, but cage isn’t phased. Mundo hits him again, this time in the face, but Cage doesn’t budge. Mundo can’t believe it and shoves Taya into Cage as he hightails it out of the ring. Cage Weapon X on Taya for the pin as he stares down Mundo.
Another Famous B ad, introduces himself as “world famous and recently retired underground fighter.” B has a wizard hat on and says you’re probably wondering why. Then a woman named Brenda is next to him. She says she has no job, no car and wouldn’t have these problems if she was famous.
B says she tore up from the floor up but B can help her with his magic touch, pulls out a wand, taps her and now she’s beautiful thanks to Famous B. Just dial 423-GET-FAME to let Famous B help you get famous!
Ivelisse walks out of Catrina’s office where Son of Havoc and Angelico are waiting. She tells them she got the tag match they wanted for next week, but had to agree to a stipulation - they either win or have to leave. Permanently.
Havoc and Angelico aren’t happy but Ivelisse defends her decision, saying it was them who said to get the match whatever it takes. Ivelisse tells them to shut up and they only have one option, win.
Main event time -Prince Puma vs Pentagon Jr vs Mil Muertes for the LU Championship.
Puma and Pentagon work together to beat down Mil as the match starts. They back him into the corner but the two are uneasy allies, not taking their eyes off the other. But Mil shows off his strength, shoving them both off, planting them with a double lariat, powerbomb Puma and tilt a whirl backbreaker on Pentagon. Mil working over both of them and throws Pentagon out. Mil sends Puma into the ropes and he leaps outside and tornado DDT on Pentagon and it looks like their early truce is off.
Mil knocks Puma to the floor and plancha up over the top onto Puma! Not often you see Mil take to the air. Mil fights with Puma into the crowd but Puma stuns Mil and walks down the railing and rana on Pentagon. Mil is back up and catches Puma with a big shot. They’re all brawling outside the ring now and none can maintain an advantage.
Puma collects himself outside the ring as Mil gets a few near falls on Pentagon, but Pentagon fights back and lands a sling blade on Mil. Mil rolls out and Pentagon tope con hilo onto Mil. Puma tope con hilo on Mil then Pentagon tope con hilo onto them both!
Pentagon and Puma fight into the stands and Pentagon firemans carry Puma and drops him onto the hard floor below. Mil surprises Pentagon as he heads to the ring, slams him into the apron several times then throws him into the chairs. Mil picks him up and Puma shooting star from the railing onto them!
Puma and Pentagon back in the ring as Mil writhes on the floor. Puma catches Pentagon with a big enzi and lands a 630 senton but Mil breaks up the cover at the last moment! Catrina holds that stone high to will on Mil as he pummels Puma, setting up for a flatliner but Pentagon hits Mil with a superkick. Puma and Pentagon hammer Mil with several superkicks each and Pentagon backstabber and crazy bomb for a 2 count.
Pentagon package piledriver in the middle of the ring then sets up to break Puma’s arm, but before he can, Mil spears him in half. Mil spears Puma and only the champ is standing. He picks up both challengers and double flatliner and pins both Puma and Pentagon at the same time.
Catrina lick of death on both Puma and Pentagon but Fenix appears at the top of the steps. He says he’s sorry to say the celebration won’t last long. Because next week he is turning in the Gift of the Gods for a match with Mil!
Lucha Underground Season 2, Episode 9, 3/16/16
In the locker room, Fenix is shining up his newly won Gift of the Gods championship. Catrina is suddenly behind him, saying no matter how many times she’s tried to destroy him, he keeps rising from the ashes. She desires his power and makes no secret about it - they could give her life again, she says.
Fenix puts out his hand and she takes it in what seems to be a strangely touching moment, and she says “sometimes I wonder if I made the wrong choice - if I should have stayed loyal to you and accepted my fate, and we would be ruling this temple together.” And then Catrina and Fenix kiss. Catrina says “our final kiss, because tonight Mil Muertes will destroy the Fenix once and for all and you will bring me back from the dead.”
In the first match, Team Havoc have a Trios Title shot against the Disciples of Death. If Team HAvoc doesn’t win, they will leave the Temple forever.
The DOD attack at the bell but Team HAvoc show they are on the same page, working together to take control. But soon, the Disciples work together to work over Ivelisse in the ring as Havoc and Angelico are outside the ring.
She finally makes the tag for Havoc who takes over and Angelico makes a blind tag, using his unique strikes to take out the Disciples. The Disciples try to make a switch and cradles Angelico but only gets 2. Angelico crucifix bomb into the corner and Havoc shooting star and Team Havoc regain the Trios titles!
Let’s hope they actually get a good run this time, since in season 1, Ivelisse injured her ankle pretty much as soon as they won the titles and really limited what they could do.
In the back, Prince Puma is working out on a heavy bag when Johnny Mundo shows up, sounding friendly, saying he thought Puma would pull it out last week and regain the title. Mundo says he’s training for Aztec Warfare, not looking for a repeat of last year. He says he thought Puma would make it to the end with him but this year Mundo will beat him and win the LU Title. Puma will have to take his giraffe tights and get to the back of the line because Mundo is winning the title.
Rey is sitting in his gym, pouring two shots of tequila. Dragon Jr walks and asks whats the occasion and Rey tells him his training is complete. But before they can drink, there’s something Rey has to give Dragon and slides him an envelope, closed with a wax seal of an Aztec symbol.
It’s an invitation for Dragon to come to the Temple and take part in Aztec Warfare. Dragon asks if Rey is coming with him and he holds up an envelope of his own. Rey says Dragon isn’t the only one with something to prove and they drink.
In the ring next, a bull rope match between Texano and Chavo Guerrero Jr. But being a no DQ match, Chavo is ordering The Crew to get in the ring and beat down Texano, but The Crew backs off and walks out, leaving Chavo on his own. Texano begins to reel in the rope connecting their wrists and now Chavo is worried.
Texano lariat Chavo, backs him into the corner and begins beating him down. They head outside and Chavo is doing what he can to avoid Texano but he can’t run far. Chavo back in the ring and pulls the rope and Texano into the ring post, then heads back out and whips Texano with the rope, strangles him and throws Texano into the chairs.
Chavo is choking Texano on the ropes but Texano powers up and drops him with an electric chair. Texano takes over and looks to go up top for a superplex but Chavo blocks and sets up for a frog splash, but Texano pulls him off with the rope. Texano lifts him high and drops him with a sitout powerbomb for the win. Texano grabs his own bull rope back from Chavo and starts to wail away on him.
In the locker room, Mil Muertes is furious with the Disciples of Death and throws them around into lockers. One punches him in the face but it only makes him madder. Mil lifts him off the ground by his neck but Catrina tells him to spare him and then leads Mil to the ring. Was that Mil killing off the Disciples?
Dario Cueto and Black Lotus are at a fake Temple, listening to Matanza rip people to shreds. Cueto says he’s ready, so how about we take back my Temple.
Cueto opens the door to the cell and for the first time we see a full body shot of Matanza. He’s thickly muscled, wearing a blood-stained jumpsuit and a full, face-concealing mask.
Main event time - Fenix cashing in the Gift of the Gods for a LU Championship match against Mil Muertes. Catrina is with Mil but it seems like the Disciples won’t be back.
Mil tryies to start fast but Fenix is quicker. But Mil shrugs off the attacks and lands powerful blows to Fenix that stun him, but Fenix keeps coming back. However, Mil spears Fenix through the ropes and Fenix isn’t getting up so easily.
Catrina looks conflicted on the outside, watching Fenix get beat down, since she clearly still has some kind of feelings for him. But it’s hard to say if she really has feelings, or if she is just toying with Fenix, looking to play both sides and align herself with whoever is the champion.
Fenix attempts a high risk move but Mil catches him with a cutter and then begins ripping at Fenix’s mask. But despite the insult, Fenix keeps fighting and dropkicks Mil to the floor. Fenix goes to dive on Mil but Mil smashes him in the face with a chair and Fenix is busted open.
Mil begins to drag Fenix around the Temple and they start fighting through the crowd. Fenix hits a few superkicks and stuns Mil. He begins walking the railing toward Mil but Mil shoves him into the seats. Fenix shakes it off, walks the rail again and dives onto Mil on the floor.
Mil begins pounding Fenix’s head on the announce table and rolls him back in the ring. Catrina gives Mil a kiss outside the ring but it may have distracted Mil somewhat, as Fenix catches him with several kicks as Mil steps back in the ring. Fenix top rope double stomp to Mil’s back on the apron and Fenix begins ripping Mil’s mask! Mil has never looked so vulnerable but it’s only enraged Mil, who spears Fenix and begins raining down punches, rather than go for a pin.
Mil brings a chair into the ring and positions Fenix over it. He hammers the back of Fenix, swings wildly and Fenix ducks, picking up the chair and blocking another punch with it. Fenix hits Mil a few times with and throws the chair at his face and both men are on the mat.
Mil rushes into the corner and Fenix catches with a superkick, springboard to the top and 450 but only gets 2. Mil exploder suplex for 2. Fenix ducks a lariat and spinning roundhouse to the face and a bridging German for 2. Fenix heads to the top rope but it’s taking time and Mil back to his feet and stuns Fenix with a right. Fenix is still on the top and Mil drops him to the mat with a DDT or perhaps a brainbuster. But Mil is wobbly and can’t get to the pin.
Mil picks up Fenix by the throat and sets up for a flatliner. But as he sets up for it, Fenix rolls through into a jack knife pin with a bridge for the win! Fans surround Fenix on the floor, chanting for him and patting him on the back as he’s presented with the LU Title.
Catrina gets the mic and tells him to celebrate now while he can because next week is Aztec Warfare - and is for the LU Championship! And to follow tradition, Fenix will go in as #1 and Mil Muertes? #20. “Death is coming for everyone. A thousand of them.”
Ring of Honor
ROH TV, 3/13
I always play devil’s advocate when it comes to ROH’s TV product. I always defend the way they have to put it together, since they don’t have as quick a turnaround time as WWE does. But as I opened the show on their website this week, the ad before the episode started was for Final Battle. Which was in December. And not just “hey buy the show on DVD,” they were advertising the show like it was coming up.
It’s fucking March, ROH. The biggest complaint people have about your TV product is that it’s so far behind what your fans know has already happened, the prevailing sentiment is “Why even bother, since we already know basically what is going to happen.” And when you’re running olds ads for shows that happened months ago, it makes it really hard to take your product seriously.
Anyway, Dalton Castle and The Boys open the episode with a promo. Castle talks about during a recent lavender scented bath, he realized he was hungry - hungry for victories. And he wants a lot of them. He has his eyes set on the moon, and he’s going to take it. And unfortunately for Christopher Daniels, who Castle faces in the main event, he’s going to have to break Daniels’ heart.
The finals of the Top Prospect Tournament opens the show, Brian Fury vs Lio Rush. Fury using his size to get an early advantage but once Rush gets room to build up speed, he sends Fury outside with quick strikes and lands a tope con hilo.
Fury is smothering Rush, using his size and experience edge to maintain control but the crowd is largely behind Rush, who isn’t rolling over. Rush counters a popup powerbomb into a tornado DDT and almost gets a 3 count.
Fury tries to cheat and grabs the ropes for leverage on a pin but the ref sees it and kicks his hand off and Rush gets a 2. Rush kicks out of a pop up powerbomb, hits a solo Spanish Fly and picks up the win and the tournament!
Nigel McGuinness and Carey Silkin are in the ring to congratulate Rush on the win as Fury walks off hanging his head. I gotta imagine Fury will be back but Rush was the right call to win. He’s only a year or two into wrestling but wrestles like he’s been working for years. ROH’s sparse use of ACH and other flippy guys makes me kinda nervous for his future but he’s got a lot of potential so we’ll have to see what happens.
reDRagon talk about the 7 team tag gauntlet next week on ROH TV.
Who’s this giant fat guy? Some white dude who is vaguely Samoan in his attire and face paint yet they say is from South America named Kongo. So a pseudo Samoan with a Kongo Kong rip off name.
But Kongo is there to be squashed by Moose. Moose is without Stokely Hathaway and commentary says that Stokely sent Moose out by himself tonight so they can see how Moose does without him.
Decent match if somewhat slowly paced. Kongo holding his but Moose is outclassing him for the most part. Moose gets the win with a spear.
The Young Bucks talk about why they signed an exclusive ROH contract, because they want competition with the best tag teams in the world. And are inviting the other teams to a superkick party.
In two weeks, ROH TV begins airing footage from recent War of the Worlds shows.
Cedric Alexander out next with Veda Scott. Alexander to take on Adam Page. Page is no longer associated with BJ Whitmer but seems to have the same attitude.
As Page hits the ring and poses in the corner, Whitmer attacks him from behind and hits an exploder into the corner. Whitmer waves over Alexander and they both start to stomp Page until Gresham shows up to even the odds.
Alexander and Whitmer eventually make an exit and PAge calls out Whitmer. He says Whitmer can attack him from behind and run, but he can’t run forever and this is not over.
Main event time - Christopher Daniels vs Dalton Castle.
The Heavy Metal Rebel Frankie Kazarian with Daniels and Silas Young on commentary. Kevin Kelly asks him when he’s going to let his problems with Castle go. Young says he’s not here becuase of Castle. He’s beaten him a few times, beaten and humiliated his Boys so he doesn’t care about Castle anymore. Young says it was actually Daniels who asked him to be out there tonight.
Castle keeps eyeing up Silas at ringside and making sure to keep his eye on him during the match. Castle keeping Daniels off balance and taking control of the mat. Kelly asks if Castle has earned Young’s respect for his efforts and he says not at all.
Castle gets a close 2 count from a German suplex but Kaz looks to mess with the Boys, which distracts Castle. Daniels sets up to hit Castle with a foreign object (not sure what it was) but one of the Boys grabs it. Kaz punches the Boy which gets Castle’s attention but he still manages to catch Daniels as he runs in, picking him up for a Bang a Rang. But Daniels struggles and Kaz trips Castle, and Daniels hits Angels Wings for the win.
Young gets in the face of Castle after the match, berating him that he can’t beat anybody. Young has beaten him and his Boys, Castle can’t beat anyone. But Castle gets the mic, and says usually he thinks everything that comes out of his mouth is trash - but he’s right. Castle lost tonight. Which is confusing, because he’s fantastic. Castle says he wants to win every championship in the world - but he can’t do that when he’s focused so much on Young. Which makes him miserable.
Castle has tried to convince himself the he and Young are done, but he feels on the inside the way Young’s face looks on the outside. So what can we do? Castle wants to close the book, end the story, the only way he sees fit. He wants to fight. Not one with his security guards. Not one with rules. Castle wants a Fight Without Honor!
ROH TV, 3/20
Opens with an ad for the Conquest Tour live show at the 2300 Arena in Philly, which was a couple weeks ago. Still more current than advertising for Final Battle, I guess.
Kevin Kelly says the tag gauntlet takes up the entire hour and it’s for a tag title shot. Heading to the ring first, reDRagon to start the gauntlet with Will Ferrara and Caprice Coleman.
Unsurprisingly, reDRagon easily take control of Ferrara early, keeping him isolated in their corner. O’Reilly and Fish have years of tag experience whereas Coleman and Ferrara are a relatively new team. However once Caprice tags in, he starts to create some opportunities against reDRagon, allowing Ferrara to hit a big tope and his team tries to get something going.
But Fish grabs a knee bar on Ferrara and O’Reilly locks up Coleman in a guillotine and Fish makes Ferrara tap.
Next up, the House of Truth hits the stage. Truth Martini introduces Joey “Who’s Your Daddy” Daddiego and as they head to the ring, Truth introduces Chris LaRusso, replacing Donovan Dijack. Truth says LaRusso is a martial arts expert and also a lawyer and if he does good here, he might find a spot in the House of Truth.
Fish easily working over LaRusso early and locks in a knee bar but LaRusso reaches the ropes. reDRagon works over LaRusso easily enough but Daddiego holding his own once he gets in. Still reDRagon are much more well versed in tag team competition and work together to regain control.
LaRusso gets the tag and accidentally knocks down Daddiego with a kick as he holds Fish. LaRusso goes to tag Daddiego but Truth gives him a thumbs down and Daddiego jumps off the apron and they walk away, leaving him to get beat down by O’Reilly and taps to a guillotine.
The Young Bucks are next up in the gauntlet and superkick LaRusso on their way to the ring. The Bucks are much fresher than reDRagon and take over early but reDRagon doing what they can to stay in the match.
reDRagon do what they can but they’re too worn down to compete with the fresh team of the Young Bucks. After the Bucks hit several superkicks, they pin O’Reilly with More Bang for your Buck.
Team #5 is Brutal Bob Evans and Tim Hughes and I can’t imagine they’ll last long against the Young Bucks.
The Bucks super kick them as they head in the ring and Hughes and Bob gameplan on the outside as the Bucks wait for them. The Bucks head them off with superkicks whenever they try and get in the ring. Bob and Hughes can’t get anything going and the Bucks pin Hughes after a bucklebomb kick and an assisted swanton.
Next out, The Addiction’s music hits and as the Bucks look to the ramp, The Addiction rush the ring from the crowd and attack the Bucks from behind for an early advantage. The Addiction start fast but after a few superkicks, Kaz sent to the floor and a superkick plus a jackknife pin gets the 3 on Daniels. After the fall, The Addiction continues to beat up the Bucks, no doubt hurting their chances of winning.
The Addiction hit Matt with Celebrity Rehab as RPG Vice heads to the ring. But in a strange move, RPG Vice attack The Addiction when they hit the ring, when they should be focusing on the Bucks, who are still in the match. Finally, Vice throws The Addiction out and ref show up to take them to the back.
Nick tries to get a quick roll up on Rocky but Trent is right there to break it up. Nick is on his own as Matt is still recovering from Celebrity Rehab on the outside and RPG Vice take control over Nick.
But once Matt gets back in it, the Bucks start to turn the tide. Rocky goes for a sliced bread but Matt catches him in a tombstone. But Trent catches Nick before the springboard and Rocky breaks out. Nick kicks Trent in the face and they set up for More Bang but Rocky gets out.
Again, the Bucks go for More Bang on Rocky but Trent blind tags himself in. They trip up the Bucks and send Nick outside as Vice hits Strong Zero on Matt for the pin before Nick can break it up.
Next week on ROH TV, clips from War of the Worlds and this episode ends with clips from last year’s tag match between The Briscoes and Okada and Nakamura, to hype the upcoming War of the Worlds shows.
(They keep saying War of the Worlds clips coming up, but I think they mean Honor Rising, because this year’s War of the Worlds isn’t until May. That or they’re just showing stuff from 2015)
New Japan Pro Wrestling
NJ Cup finals, March 12
Jay White def David Finlay
-White wins with a Boston Crab. Finlay had one locked in earlier but White fought out somehow and turned the match around
Liger and Juice def Tiger Mask and Captain New Japan
-Juice smashes CNJ with a high roundhouse kick to the face and makes him tap with a seated choke of some kind. Juice is still sort of a young lion but he’s a little bit more experienced than the others, so he’s allowed to win with a cooler submission and beat an older guy.
-After the match, Tiger Mask grabs his NWA Jr title and gets in Liger’s face. Maybe laying down a challenge. But then Tiger Mask shakes hands with Liger and Juice.
EVIL and BUSHI def Ishii and YOSHI HASHI
-Los Ingobernables attack the CHAOS members as they get in the ring. Los dont give a fuck
- EVIL pins Ishii with a lariat then an STO after BUSHI takes out YOSHI. BUSHI also sprayed Ishii with mist too
-Los continues the attack after the match. EVIL grabs the TV title and taunts Ishii with it, making it pretty clear he’s coming after that title. I’d be very OK with that. EVIL has been great recently and he has a history with ROH
NJ Cup semifinal
Naito def Yano
-Match of who can give less fucks. Or match of who can be the bigger heel
- After Naito takes minutes to get to the ring, he’s still taking his time getting his suit and jacket off as Yano’s music hits. Yano sprints to the ring and surprises Naito with a chair shot to the back. Yano tries to get a quick pin on Naito with a roll up but only gets a 2, then sits in the ropes yelling break as the ref holds back Naito.
-Yano tries every dirty trick he can to pin Naito early - roll ups, cradles, low blow, taking the turnbuckle pad off - but Naito also plays dirty, pulling the ref down hard after getting low blowed so he can’t make the count. With the ref still down, Naito low blow Yano and rolls into a quick pin and defeats Yano.
-Naito didn’t even make it out of his entrance attire. Had a very short match with little damage taken, so he’s got a lot left for the finals.
- As he leaves, Naito throws one of the new young lions into the guard rail and makes a move toward Jay White but then walks away. Los vs Young Lions subtle feud still going strong
NJ Cup semifinal
Goto def Elgin
-These two going at each other hard right from the start, with Elgin winning the power battles easily. But Goto is not going to back down to anyone, especially not a gaijin like Elgin.
-Goto using his agility as a way to counter Elgin and use his own power moves. Elgin hits two Germans and Goto reaches the ropes before a third but Elgin ties up his arms and tiger suplex but only gets 2.
-Goto tries to mount a comeback, weathering a series of lariats and landing a ushigoroshi, but Elgin keeps coming back. Elgin deadlift falcon arrow only gets 2 then lands a bucklebomb but Goto blocks the spinning powerbomb with a few elbows. Elgin lines up Goto for one big lariat but Goto out-maneuvers him and catches him in a rolling cradle for the 3.
TenKoji def Shibata and Taguchi
-What a random tag team that is. I can’t see them coexisting very well
-Shibata and Kojima have problems from the very start. Even once Tenzan tags in, Shibata is still going after Kojima.
-TenKoji spend a lot of time working of Taguchi. I’m sure Shibata is fuming right now.
-Taguchi trying to use the Funky Weapon to get the win but TenKoji overwhelm him and Kojima gets the pin with a lariat.
-After the match, Kojima calls out Shibata but only gets a few words out before Shibata walks in the ring calmly and kicks him in the face. He hits the ropes and Kojima responds with a lariat, leveling Shibata. Kojima picks up the belt and drapes it over Shibata as he cuts a promo. Kojima showing he won’t be bullied by Shibata and he’s meeting him head on if Shibata is gonna try to be a tough guy to a vet like Kojima.
Okada and Sakuraba def Nagata and Nakanishi
-Sakuraba spends a lot of time getting worked over but in the end, it’s Okada getting the win a Rainmaker clothesline
-Skipped over this. Nothing interesting could come of it cause Nagata and Nakanishi won’t be challenging for the belt or anything. Just a filler match.
Bullet Club (Fale, Tonga and Takahashi) def Tanahashi and GBH
-Tonga pins Honma, catching him with a Gun Stun when Honma went up looking for a Kokeshi and then a hanging DDT. Bullet Club put the boots to Makabe and Tana after the match is over.
-Kinda surprised that Tonga’s mystery tag partner didn’t show up here. Remember when he said that?
-Afterward, Tonga grabs both tag belts and puts them over his shoulder, saying that April 10 he’s coming for them. He says that his brother, Tonga Roa (?) is the new member of Bullet Club and his partner. Tonga finishes with “We are Bullet Club and this is the New Era!”
-So it seems we have subgroups in Bullet Club now - the Elite and the New Era. Not a great start with announcing Camacho as your newest member though. Let’s hope he shows the same kind of fire that Tama Tonga has been showing lately, otherwise I hope he disappears like Chase Owens’ short run in BC.
New Japan Cup Finals
Naito def Goto
-Naito heads to the ring without the suit this time, just in Los Ingobernables merch, being ready just in case. Still has BUSHI with him though, watching his back this time.
-Goto starting fast, despite having a hard-hitting match with Elgin earlier. Trying to show up Naito in terms of being a dick, but Bushi makes his presence known, tripping Goto and letting Naito take over, throwing Goto into the guardrails and letting BUSHI stomp him.
-Really back and forth match. Goto seems to have a little bit of an edge, dictating the pace, but he just can’t put Naito away.
-Goto really focusing on the neck of Naito, hitting a few ushigoroshi’s during the match, including one off the top. He finally hits the Shouten Kai on Naito but he kicks out!
-EVIL makes his way to ringside and attacks Goto from behind while BUSHI distracts the ref. Goto ushigoroshi to EVIL and knocks down BUSHI. Goto goes for another Shouten Kai but Naito reverses it into a Destino.
-They get into a slugfest of forearms and Naito paintbrushes Goto, stunning him. Naito winds up for more but Goto headbutts him. Goto goes for a lariat but Naito ducks and plants him with a dragon suplex. Goto with that fighting spirit pops up and rushes at Naito, but it’s a foolhardy attempt to rally as Naito easily evades and plants him with a Destino for the pin! Naito is the NJ Cup champion!
-Naito pulls himself up and is presented with the NJ Cup trophy (which isn’t a cup for some reason) and celebrates. Naito wants the NJPW suit (not sure who it is) to return his Los gesture and he finally does, probably because he doesn’t want to eat a dropkick.
-Naito gets the mic as EVIL and BUSHI stand over Goto on the outside and announces he’s coming after Okada at Invasion Attack. Naito calls for Goto to be rolled back in and all of Los Ingobernables start to stomp on him. And surprisingly, Okada makes the save, running off Los Ingobernables. Okada again extends for a handshake from Goto. Goto pretends to turn his back but then finally shakes Okada’s hand, after turning his back on Okada for weeks. Okada has words for Naito and Naito responds after Okada leaves. (I didn’t realize this at first, but Okada wasn’t just asking Goto to accept a handshake out of respect - he was asking him to join CHAOS, which he finally agreed to on this show)
Invasion Attack is the next big event for New Japan Pro Wrestling now that a New Japan Cup winner has been crowned. NJPW held a press conference on Monday, 3/13, to announce matches for upcoming shows and per Enuhito’s English twitter account, the next tour will feature:
March 19, Aichi:
Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs Satoshi Kojima
NWA Jr Title:
Tiger Mask (c) vs Steve Anthony
March 20, Amagasaki:
ROH TV Title
Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs EVIL
The Elite (Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks) (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin and Juice Robinson
Invasion Attack, April 10:
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Tetsuya Naito
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
KUSHIDA (c) vs Will Ospreay
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
GBH (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) (c) vs Tama Tonga and Tonga Roa (Camacho)
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Matt Sydal and Ricochet (c) vs RPG Vice
Bushi Road Kidani announces most profitable year for NJPW since the 90s
Links to tweets below but pertinent info is:
-Profits of last six months are record high (300 million yen, or $2.65 million US)
-NJPW 2015-2016 profits 3.3 billion yen ($29 million US)
-Record high is 3.9 billion yen ($35 million US) in the 90s
-Kidani wants to reach that high next year
From Enuhito’s website (so you’ll need to read it on Chrome to translate it) but the puro reporter allegedly has the inside scoop on why Ibushi wants to wrestle in Evolve. It’s not because Evolve is connected to WWE and it’s not for the Global Cruiserweight Series - it’s Kaiju Big Battel. Yes, you heard me right, Kaiju Big Battel.
Apparently Ibushi has always wanted to wrestle for the over-the-top, giant monster battle promotion and this is also the reason behind him creating the “Ibushi Wrestling Research Institute.”
I really hope this means he has no desire to be snatched up by WWE and will continue to be a fixture in Japanese wrestling, since the sky's the limit for Ibushi. Because certainly, working for Kaiju Big Battel practically the exact opposite from working for WWE (one is a massive corporation focused on marketing and making money while the other takes the performance art stage show of professional wrestling to the extreme, staging city-leveling confrontations between outlandish Godzilla-esque monsters).