Drake Maverick opens the show by announcing that Hideo Itami gets a title shot against Cedric Alexander next week. Bitchin.
Maverick is also going to pick TJP’s opponent tonight. I’m feeling Akira Tozawa.
TJP VS. NOAM DAR
Believe it or not, Noam Dar was my original thought, but i figured he would be staying in the UK so I guessed Tozawa. Even though my guess was TECHNICALLY not 100% correct, I’m a big fan of this booking. Dar hits a knee to the face and gets the win in a quick squash. I expect this to be the start of a pretty good feud. I won’t rate this as a match because it was about 15 seconds, but I’ll rate the booking because it was great.
Match/Booking Rating: Seven Dustys
AKIRA TOZAWA VS. JASON STRIFE
Likely two squashes in a row as Tozawa takes on another jobber. It may not be as much of a squash as I thought as Lio Rush comes out to ringside. Tozawa is such a great sports entertainer as well as a great wrestler. He has a very fun style in the ring that almost always captivates the audience. Strife gets in some offense but misses a moonsault, then after a few kicks, like a good boy he rolls into position for Tozawa to hit his senton finisher. Isn’t it funny how wrestlers always seem to roll themselves into the perfect spot for the opponent to hit a top rope move? Quick match but entertaining, and we’ll likely see a feud between Tozawa and Rush within the next few weeks.
Match Rating: Five Gold Medals
Rush needs vast improvements in his promo skills, he was pretty brutal.
Rush Promo Rating: Seven Bobby Lashleys
Speaking of shitty promos, I’m a big fan of Mustafa Ali, but his backstage promo sucked. Not as bad as Rush, but it sucked.
Ali Promo Rating: Three Bobby Lashleys
NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH: MUSTAFA ALI VS. BUDDY MURPHY
There’s been a lot of hype for this match this week. I feel like I’m not as excited for it as I should be. As much as I love Ali in the ring and as impressed as I’ve been with Murphy, my expectations aren’t terribly high. Ali gets aggressive and attacks before the bell. The action immediately goes to the outside with Ali getting tossed over the announce table. The match is certainly starting out fast and hard as they’re already fighting in the crowd. I hope it keeps up, but often the match will start like this then get boring in the ring. This one doesn’t have that feel yet, and I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to take full advantage of the no DQ stipulation.
Ali gets slammed on his back twice on the steel ramp, and of course, after I say it doesn’t feel like it will happen, the action moves back into the ring and Murphy puts Ali in a submission hold. I guess it’s logical after injuring Ali’s back, I just hope they go back outside the ring or bring weapons into the mix. Hopefully they’re resting up that. Ali’s back is the storyline and Nigel points out that and injured lower back will take away his high-flying abilities. He takes some HIGH back body drops.
Some really good counters by Ali get him back in the match, and he hits an X-Factor through the ropes that looks really awesome. Finally they move back to the outside like I hoped they would. Murphy goes looking for weapons and chooses the large bottom portion of the steel steps. Ali blocks it for now, but it’s in position in the corner, which makes me think he’ll end up laying Murphy on it and hitting the 054 to end the match. I’ll certainly pop if that happens. Ali eats the steps first as they get dropkicked into his fast, then Murphy uses the steps to help him hit an awesome somersault dive over the ropes to Ali on the outside.
Murphy sets up the steps against the turnbuckle and tosses Ali into them twice, back first. Ali hits a hurricanrana and Murphy hits the steps head first. He recovers and hits a couple of punishing power bombs that seem like they might end the match but Ali stays alive. Ali sets the stairs up on their unsteady pointed and uses them to hit a god damn high-angle superplex that brings the crowd to its feet. Holy shit and this is awesome follow.
Back on the outside, Ali gets face planted onto the announce table, but then with Murphy standing on the barricade, he jumps from the floor, to the table, to the barricade, and hits a Spanish Fly onto the table. They show speechless audience members. I have never seen that before, ever. Ali gets tied up in the ropes and Murphy hits three brutal knees to the face. Ali is defiant so Murphy frees him then hits a fourth WICKED knee, but Ali once again kicks out. Ali then uses the steel steps that were thrown at him to step up and hits a whirlwind tornado DDT that gets him the win. Great match, but I’m disappointed with the ending, especially that we didn’t see an 054. After all the punishment both guys took, a DDT won the match. I didn’t think there was any way the match was over there, but it is what it is. Watching the replay, Murphy did get planted right on his head from a pretty good height, so I guess it’s fine. Nitpicking, but I really would have liked a more exciting finish.
Match Rating: Eight Gold Medals
Overall Show Rating: Seven Gold Medals