Hikuleo pinned Andy Brown in 4:34 (**¼)
Josh Alexander pinned Karl Fredericks in 14:14 (***½)
Fred Rosser and Eddie Kingston pinned Fred Yehi and Daniel Garcia in 9:27 (***½)
Jay White pinned Chris Sabin in 18:12 (****)
— If you are on Twitter, follow me on @IanWrestling — and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family.
Ian Riccaboni and Matt Rehwoldt are on the call again, scouring the card before getting in on the action…they described White/Sabin as a “WrestleCon weekend rematch,” even though it was taped about a fortnight before the weekend of ‘Mania.
Andy Brown vs. Hikuleo
Tiger Hattori joined the random comments for this… while Hikuleo had new music.
Opening with a lock-in, Hikuleo brushes Brown aside, then hits him with a forearm before a splash in the corner. Another pitch bounced Brown into the loops, but Brown rolled outside…only to be thrown into the railings.
Chops followed around the ring as the pair finally returned to the ring…where Brown came forward with a few knees in the corner before sweeping Hikuleo for a dropkick. Hikuleo tries to fight back, but ends up with a forearm dive for a single count as the comments almost get wet at the prospect of an upset.
A pop-up punch from Hikuleo lands, then a scoop slams off the ropes, before the chokeslam wins. In numbers, Hikuleo continues to rack up wins. **¼
Josh Alexander vs. Karl Fredericks
It was Alexander’s first outing for New Japan since beating Yuya Uemura in November at Battle in the Valley…
We have an even start as Fredericks was taken into the ropes, before a headlock dismount had things on the mat. Fredericks responds with a leapfrog and a bandolier, before taking Alexander outside for a tope con giro. Quickly returning to the ring, Fredericks gets a count as he begins to take aim at Alexander, throwing chops into the corner before Alexander begins to retaliate with knee strikes.
A hopeful headbutt from his knees just caused more problems for Fredericks, as a bridge front suplex nearly ended things. Alexander works the arm from there, before a half-crab attempt ends in the ropes. Fredericks is caught and cut in the corner, before a gourdbuster snuffs out Fredericks’ attempted riposte.
Alexander’s chops earned him an eventual response, Fredericks firing elbows and uppercuts before kicks and uppercuts left Alexander shaken in the corner. A spinebuster from Fredericks leads to an STF in the middle of the ring, ending with Alexander reaching the ropes. Fredericks’ attempt to bring Alexander back into a suplex led to the Canadian teasing a suplex on the ground, only to run into the loops as Alexander ended up hitting the slam, throwing Fredericks to ringside.
Back inside, Alexander heads up for a swandive headbutt, landing a near drop before an ankle lock. Fredericks arrived at the ropes, then began to fight as the pair traded ever-spicy chops. An aerial kick attempt from Fredericks is caught and turned into an ankle lock, but it is executed as a gamengiri puts Fredericks back in.
A springboard takes Alexander off the ropes for a near fall, while Fredericks continued with flips and roll-ups into the sunset, before Manifest Destiny was blocked. Alexander counters with a German suplex, then the C4 Spike, and just like that, this contest of a fantastic tie ended in victory for the former Impact champion.. Go all out for this one – sure, it might be hidden in the middle of this episode, but hey, it’s well worth your time. ***½
After the match, Karl Fredericks hung out in the ring… which is the signal for something to happen. I don’t know if anyone would have predicted AEW’s Factory would rock, as QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, and Nick Comoroto headed to the ring. QT took out Scott Hall’s “you know who we are, but you don’t know why we’re here” line, before shooting the “overrated Shibata senpai”. Marshall wanted to hire Fredericks for the factory…but of course that never happened, as Fredericks sued all three of them, only to have Comorato dump him with one takedown. Clark Connors and Yuya Uemura make the save, and I guess we have a match for Windy City Riot next week!
Daniel Garcia and Fred Yehi vs. Eddie Kingston and Fred Rosser
Something of a goofy tag match in the NJPW Strong canon, as I guess everyone is looking to set themselves up for a shot at the Strong Openweight title.
This one breaks down before it can start, with Garcia and Kingston going for each other – to keep that AEW cannon going – before we start with Yehi and Rosser. A neck breaker from Rosser took Yehi down early, before Kingston stepped in and helped load Yehi with the ropes.
Kingston quickly walks up to Garcia and gives him a beating, which Yehi breaks up by bringing things inside, only to end up with an STO in the corner. Rosser is back with a slam and a splash sitting on Yehi for a count, before Garcia and Kingston explode again.
Setting up, Garcia tagged in and went to work on Thrash with uppercuts and a dragon screw, stopping each time to glance at Kingston… who walked around trying to trap a lock from leg. It didn’t work, so Garcia dragged Rosser and tagged Yehi. Rosser finally cleared the decks with a double clothesline, before tagging Kingston, who was quickly overrun…
Kingston finds a way back, but Yehi stops him from going for a superplex as Garcia continues to target Kingston with a series of elbows. A Kitchen Sink knee and a butterfly suplex stop Garcia though, before Rosser comes back to clear the decks. A Powerslam has Yehi down, while Garcia is chopped and tied in the corner.
Rosser drops Yehi with another Powerslam for a near fall, before a catching suplex from Kingston bounces Garcia to the outside. Yehi is legal though and surprised Kingston with a German suplex as all four men remained in the ring. A Kingston backfist leads to Rosser’s Gut Check… and it’s enough to put Yehi away. It was a great little tag match, even if things turned into a whirlwind in the end – setting up Garcia and Kingston was absolutely brilliant, and gave them a legit reason to do the “four at the times” trick. ***½
Chris Sabin vs. Jay White
The comments explained how Sabin mentored Jay White when he first wrestled in the United States, while discussing their match that happened on Mania weekend…
We start with White tying down and cutting Sabin in the corner, before throwing another as they went to a different corner. Sabin is already bleeding from those chops, but he’s able to knock White down in an armbar, before White powders himself on the outside.
White tries to bait Sabin on the outside, and does so successfully, Sabin launching into White with a tope. A PK from the apron followed from Sabin, then a cannonball, before he dropped White on the barriers. Sabin continues with a side Russian leg kick into the barriers, then rolls White back inside for a crossbody that causes a near fall.
Sabin continues with a grounded, hammered octopus on white, before a few mounted punches keep the former Grand Slam champion in the corner. Recovering, White grabbed Sabin high, crotch before pushing him to the floor, as White began to get receipts for earlier, chopping Sabin around the ring before throwing him to the side of the ring.
A gourdbuster also drops Sabin to the apron, but back inside, Sabin finds second wind… only to be stopped with a back elbow from the ropes. White continues with a backbreaker for a two count, while a chinlock could have turned into a choke Sabin fought off.
Sabin avoids a follow-up, kicking White in the midsection, before an enziguiri buys him time. Elbows to the side of White’s neck led to a spinning center kick to the Kiwi, before a Shining Wizard nearly won him the game. An instant DDT from Sabin earned him one in kind, before a tornado DDT earned him a near fall.
White resumes with an instant Saito suplex, taking Sabin into the corner past a Blade Buster, before a uranage keeps the falls close. Knees from Sabin took White into the corner as both men looked for their big moves, ending with a Yakuza kick from Sabin into the corner. The pair exchanged elbows and uppercuts from there, but White’s knees brought him back in front, as chops from a Sabin on the ground forced the referee to separate the pair.
Sabin gets up to return those chops, before White comes out of a Cradle Shock and puts Sabin away with a Blade Runner. Great rate for your TV show, with White being pushed the furthest he’s been so far. If that was any indicator of their game for the Impact, I’m going to have to dig that one…****
After the match, White spoke about “who stays, who goes” in relation to the Bullet Club drama, as he draws these lines… he is interrupted by Hikuleo, whose brothers Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa were kicked out of Bullet Club. in Japan recently. White tried to talk nice to Hikuleo saying his Bullet Club card was still active… before White offered him a chance in this US of Jay challenge.
Next week it’s Windy City Riot, live on Fite TV…that’ll be the one I have to catch up with later as I’m traveling for Easter…with Yuya Uemura vs. Buddy Matthews headlining Strong.