A video package aired of last week’s matches. Ibushi vs. Alexander was the best match of the tournament so far. I praised it a lot in last week’s review and then watched it again because I loved it so much.
In case you have missed my reviews of the first five episodes, here’s a link to those reviews.
This week more round of 16 matches: Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher, Noam Dar vs. Hoho Lun and Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese. The intro video played.
The great announce team Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan welcomed us to the show. Bryan praised the Ibushi/Alexander match saying he wishes he was in the ring with them.
A video aired about Jack Gallagher, who has the unique look and style that is different from most guys. He talked about using his mind to get victories. Akira Tozawa spoke in Japanese with the subtitles on the screen. He said he was energetic, never gives up and never backs down. He said his German Suplex is the best in the business.
Jack Gallagher (England) vs. Akira Tozawa (Japan)
They did some submission work early on with Bryan getting excited about every little thing they do. A “Jackie Boy” chant for Gallagher. After Tozawa did a headlock, Gallagher did a handstand to get out of it. That was unique. Gallagher tied up Tozawa so that his own hands were on his legs and Gallagher walked away so the idea is Tozawa couldn’t move. Gallagher kicked him in the butt, which led to Tozawa breaking free. That was entertaining and silly at the same time. Tozawa came back with a running knee attack for two. Chinlock by Tozawa, who was working a bit as a heel by yelling at the crowd. Senton splash by Tozawa. Gallagher with a monkey flip like takedown that sent Tozawa across the ring. Gallagher worked over the left leg of Tozawa by doing a bridging submission move, but Tozawa was able to get to the ropes. When Tozawa tried to get going, Gallagher worked on the left leg again to keep him down. Tozawa made a comeback with a running bicycle kick for two. He was too hurt to cover right away, so Gallagher kicked out after the cover. Tozawa with a forearm in the corner, but then Gallagher tripped him up and did a heel hook on the left leg of Tozawa, but Tozawa got to the ropes. Tozawa was selling a lot as the ref checked to see if he’s okay. Gallagher with a headbutt to the chest for two. Tozawa got a rollup, Gallagher kicked out and Tozawa hit a snap German Suplex. Tozawa went for another German Suplex, Gallagher went for the leg, but Tozawa fought through it and hit a bridging German Suplex for the win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Akira Tozawa
After the match, Bryan said Tozawa has the best German Suplex in wrestling.
Analysis: *** Good match with smart in-ring psychology as Gallagher worked on the left leg a lot, Tozawa sold it well and still managed to come back to win. Tozawa really wasn’t on offense that much, but when he was he was impressive with a lot of kicks as well as the two German Suplexes needed to get the win. He was more of a big name coming into the tournament, so it’s no surprise that he got the win. Give Gallagher a lot of credit for being a guy that stood out even in defeat. The crowd loves him because he’s so unique. I hope he ends up with a WWE deal out of this. Tozawa is likely going to get one if he wins the tournament or not.
With the win, Tozawa faces Gran Metalik in the quarterfinals.
Commercial for SummerSlam.
The video aired for Hoho Lun talking about how he represents Hong Kong, China. He said pro wrestling is his life and he knew when he was eight years old that he wanted to be a wrestler. He added that he’ll make his family and friends proud of him one more time. Noam Dar is a Scottish wrestler via Israel and he’s the youngest guy in the tournament at 22 years of age. He said when he’s got them in the leg submission it doesn’t matter who they are because everybody’s leg bends the same. Valid point.
Noam Dar (Scotland) vs. Hoho Lun (Hong Kong, China)
Lun with a kick to the head early on. Dar had an armbar applied, but Lun fought out of it with a dropkick to the back of the head. Dar came back with a dropkick to the knee that sent Lun outside the ring. Back in the ring, back suplex by Dar gets two. Dar worked on the leg, but then Lun came back with a kick to the head for two. Dar with a dropkick in the corner. He kept Lun grounded with elbows and kicks. Lun was selling the left knee a lot. Lun with a right boot to the face knocked down Dar. Lun nailed a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Lun nailed a Michinoku Driver for two. That was pretty sudden, but it didn’t work. Lun with a Fisherman’s Suplex for two. Nice job by Lun selling the leg while he was on offense. Kick to the face by Lun gets two. Dar did a back elbow. Then he applied a knee bar submission and Lun tapped out to give Dar the submission win after about seven minutes.
Winner by submission: Noam Dar
Analysis: ** It was an average match. I’m a little surprised that it only went seven minutes because I was expecting more in the second round. They didn’t seem to get to that next level in terms of building an exciting match. I was really impressed with Lun’s selling, though. Dar’s submission work is very believable and it works, but they didn’t have that many big spots in the match.
Dar will face Gulak or Sabre. Jr. in the quarterfinals next round.
The video package aired with Tony Nese talking about how he’s a great athlete. He said his hybrid style is an advantage because he’s got the power as well as speed. He said the tournament is proving ground for him. Brian Kendrick spoke about how he’s been wrestling since 1999 full time as they showed clips of him earlier in his career in WWE. He said this could be his rebirth and if he falls short of anything other than winning then it’s all been for nothing.
Kendrick entered first to a good ovation. The crowd likes Nese too.
Brian Kendrick (United States) vs. Tony Nese (United States)
Nese with a knee to the head, then an elbow in the corner and a running knee sent Kendrick out of the ring. Nese with a huge chop on the floor. Nese did a cartwheel escape on the apron and then nailed a superkick on the floor leading to the two count. Great start to this match with a fast pace. Kendrick ended up putting Nese’s hand under the turnbuckle pad and got some kicks in while Nese was trapped. Great job by Nese avoided some offense and hit some kicks to knock down Kendrick for two. Nese missed a kick when Kendrick moved, so Kendrick used the ropes to his advantage. Kendrick applied an armbar while sitting on the shoulder of Nese. Nese came back and missed a moonsault off the middle rope, so Kendrick capitalized with a cross armbreaker submission. Kendrick locked in an armbar with Bryan talking on commentary about how he learned all of these things with Kendrick. Nese broke free, tripped up Kendrick on the apron and Nese did a dive over the top high-jump style to take out Kendrick. That was cool.
Back in the ring, they exchanged punches and Nese took him down with a spinning wheel kick. Nese nailed a falcon arrow slam for a two count. Kendrick came back with a boot to the face, but Nese stopped him again with a running clothesline for two. Kendrick tripped up Nese on the ropes to get a two count. Back heel kick by Kendrick gets two. Nese fought out of an armbreaker by slamming Kendrick back first into the turnbuckle. Bryan said that Kendrick kicked out of that because of his heart. Kendrick applied the Bully Choke, Nese rolled over into a two count. Nese nailed a Michinoku Driver like slam for a two count of his own. Back to their feet, they exchanged strikes again. Kendrick with a boot to the face, superkick and another jumping heel kick knocked down Nese. Fans chanted for Kendrick. Nese nailed a couple of kicks while Kendrick was on the top rope. Nese went for a 450 Splash, Kendrick moved and Kendrick quickly slapped on the Bully Choke. Nese tapped out giving Kendrick the submission win after 14 minutes.
Winner by submission: Brian Kendrick
There was a great camera shot of a woman in the crowd that was shocked that Kendrick won.
Analysis: ***1/2 Really good match by two guys with unique styles that were able to make it work. Lots of believable nearfalls for both guys. I liked the mixed of submission moves as well. They did a great job because Nese is the most powerful guy in the tournament, so they established that early on and Kendrick fought from underneath as the underdog for the rest of the match. He was very crafty on offense the whole time by using different parts of the ring to his advantage. Even though Kendrick got the win, Nese was very impressive in the loss. Almost as impressive as Cedric Alexander during his loss last week. We want to see guys doing different things and that’s what Nese did. I enjoyed that match a lot. Well done, boys.
With the win, Kendrick will face Kota Ibushi in the quarterfinals. That should be an outstanding matchup.
Next week we get these matches:
Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Drew Gulak
Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins
I’m looking forward to all of those matches, but Gargano vs. TJP is my favorite in that group. It should be outstanding.
After those matches are done, we move on to the quarterfinals with just eight men left.
It was an enjoyable show this week like usual. I liked last week more just because of the Ibushi/Alexander match, but there were still some fun parts this week.
All the winners were predictable in the three matches. I don’t really have a complaint about any of the results, but it would be nice to see Nese move on. He deserves it.
I thought Nese and Gallagher really had great showings even in defeat, which is something I like a lot about this tournament. The wins are important, but some guys are really impressing the crowd as losers and that is good for their futures in WWE.
Once again it was an entertaining show. Only four episodes left.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org