AKIRA TOZAWA VS. GENTLEMAN JACK GALLAGHER
This is an interesting clash of styles, and a clear heel vs. face matchup. Tozawa loves to have fun and play to the crowd, and those are the things that Gallagher has come to loathe. I’m not sure who has the advantage here. Both wrestlers have styles and attitudes that can really frustrate and get into the heads of their opponents. However, they also both have great focus and poise in the ring that keeps their opponents from doing the same. So it’ll be Tozawa trying to keep up the pace and stay out of Gallagher’s grasp, and Gallagher trying to ground Tozawa, choose a body part, likely a leg or both legs, and damage it as much as possible until it’s time to go for the kill.
Tozawa had his way early on but Gallagher got him caught up in the ring apron and took control. He’s working over Tozawa’s hand and wrist and it looks horrendously painful. Tozawa recovers and turns himself into a missile on one of the best suicide dives I’ve ever seen. He hit Gallagher like a battering ram there. Tozawa goes for a submission of his own with an octopus stretch but Gallagher counters it into a side slam then hits a power bomb for a two count. After a top rope spot where Gallagher got slammed down on his face, Tozawa hit his Senton for the win. That match was FUN.
Match Rating: Eight Gold Medals
LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (LINCE DORADO & KALISTO) VS. TWO JOBBERS
The first jobber looks like Pete Dunne’s illegitimate child. LHP is having a ton of fun and keeping the crowd fired up as they easily take care of their nameless opponents. A suicide dive by Dorado takes out jobber #2 and Kalisto hits the Salida del Sol on the other for the win. While not competitive, another fun match, and the crowd loved it.
Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals
FATAL FOUR WAY NUMBER ONE CONTENDER MATCH: DREW GULAK VS. HIDEO ITAMI VS. TJP VS. MUSTAFA ALI
I think it’ll be Gulak. He’s been super focused and been booked strongly. He could definitely take the title from Cedric. TJP draws the ire of his opponents for taking a walk instead of joining in the beat down of Ali. Drew Gulak of course rolls to the outside after a pin attempt and walks around the outside of the ring, which I’m actually ok with because he can survey what’s going on in the ring without taking any damage. You all know I hate when guys get out of the ring in these matches unless there’s a good reason for it. With TJP it fits his personality to lay in wait and let the others fight it out. Still, throw out the “smart thing to do” and HAVE SOME FUCKING ACTION FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
The three heels form a makeshift alliance to take out Mustafa Ali, and it’s effective until TJP goes for a pin on Gulak. Ali takes advantage with a top rope cross body on all three guys. It looks like it will be every man for himself going forward. TJP somehow gets Ali and Itami in abdominal stretches at the same time. TJP would be the best submission specialist in the match if not for Drew Gulak, who put on some modified crucifix submission and turns it into a pin attempt.
There’s too much non-action in this match to keep the fans’ attention. There’s hardy any flow to the match and rarely are we getting more than two guys doing anything. We either need flow or chaos and we’re getting neither. Eventually the action does pick up with all four guys going at it in the ring and you can hear the crowd getting back into the match. All four guys end up down, and once they get up, it’s superkicks galore put them all back down again. I love a superkick party.
Both Mustafa Ali and TJP went for a running cross body at the same time and the collision was brutal. Gulak tells Itami “I respect you” then slaps him across the face when he goes to shake his hand. Those two going at it is AWESOME. Unfortunately after their quick flurry it’s back to two men in the ring and little action or calamity. All four men end up outside so hopefully this gets a little crazy or hardcore. More crazy with Ali hitting what looked like a 360 dive from the top rope to the outside on Gulak and Itami. He nails TJP with an 054 but Itami pulls him off then dropkicks his head into the steel steps. Then Itami throws him face first into the ring post. Ali has to be out of the match. As soon as Itami gets Ali back in the ring, Gulak takes him out and puts the Gu-Lock on an unconscious Ali for the win!
Just like I said, it had to be Gulak. This match could have been so much more. There were a couple cool spots but as I said there was no flow, little action, and no utilization of the hardcore/no DQ nature of the match. It’s unfortunate that so many of these matches end up a disappointment.
Match Rating: Three Gold Medals
Overall Show Rating: Six Gold Medals