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Following an incredibly busy SummerSlam weekend that delivered some fantastic matches, this week provided few and far between in terms of stand out matches.
Roman Reigns vs Chris Jericho
Roman Reigns faced Chris Jericho in the main event to determine who would take the final place in next week’s Fatal Four Way. Early on, the match was underscored by chants of “you can’t wrestle/yes he can”. Presumably, they must have been talking about Jericho.
Jericho gained the early advantage through chicanery before Reigns’ power allowed him to gain some momentum. Kevin Owens arrived in attempt to distract Reigns: Owens’ presence allowed Jericho to lock in the Walls of Jericho. As Reigns reached the ropes, the boos intensified before Jericho delivered a Codebreaker for a near fall. As Reigns regained his senses, he followed a superman punch to Owens before spearing Jericho for the victory to advance to next week’s Fatal Four Way. Really great TV main event. Considering Reigns output of quality matches over the past year, how anyone can still claim he can’t wrestle is beyond me. Reigns’ has been one of the most consistent big match performers in the world for the past year.
Trent Seven vs Tommy End
Fight Club Pro
Although this was recorded a few weeks back, it only made tape this week. Trent Seven is on the precipice of breaking out and, in his home promotion, had a great hard hitting match as Tommy End bid farewell to FightClub Pro. End and Seven beat the crap out of each other before Seven secured the victory by submission.
Dolph Ziggler vs AJ Styles
Our main event was then unfolding as Dolph Ziggler emerged to a solid reaction from the crowd, although he was to be outdone by AJ Styles’ entrance. The Phenomenal One looked visibly disgusted at the sight of Dolph Ziggler, who was being restrained by the referee. Sticks and Stones Ziggler, Sticks and Stones.
As Mauro began his lyrical geek diatribe about both men’s accomplishments, the two competitors unleashed a series of stiff strikes on each other before Styles was outmaneuvered by a very aggressive Dolph Ziggler. This match looked really awkward as the contrast didn’t work well between these two as we approached the ad break.
Ziggler carried on his aggressive move-set before Styles launched Ziggler into the top turnbuckle from close range, prompting gasps from the Connecticut crowd. The strikes continued between the two, Ziggler kept trying to out-freestyle wrestle Styles and Styles would reply with some really solid strikes. After a moment of dominance by The Phenomenal One, Ziggler tried to fight back only for Styles to deliver another barrage of kicks to slow down any fightback from the ShowOff. Ziggler and Styles, despite looking awkward until return from another ad break, were producing a solid main event with a good story being told. The match intensity turned up, aided by 50/50 chanting for both men and a near pinfall following a Fameasser by Ziggler.
After a good sequence of wrestling that produced a ‘this is awesome’ chant, Ziggler delivered a ZigZag after reversing a Styles Clash, only to get the 2 count. After a low blow when the referee was distracted, Styles landed a Styles Clash to Ziggler to pick up a good win over the increasingly frustrated ShowOff.
Johnny Gargano vs TJP
Johnny Wrestling against the former Manik. This is a match that I have been intently waiting for since they were matched up after round one. TJ Perkins is a young veteran of the ring who is one of the best rising talents in the world today. Johnny Gargano is currently one of the best all-around pro wrestlers on the independent scene and one of my personal favorites. Going into this one you know it is going to be a great match without a shred of doubt. There has been a small wrench thrown into this one with Gargano still selling the injuries from his and Tommaso Ciampa’s tag lose at Takeover. Like I said before, this is the first inkling of a storyline in the tournament. Slow paced back and forth mat wrestling start things off with a few near falls. Perkins immediately goes for some submission holds to wear Gargano down. Gargano comes back with a big dropkick and dive to the outside onto Perkins. Back in the ring, Gargano wears on Perkins with some submissions of his own.
They continue a series of back and forth holds and reversals keeping the crowd in the palm of their hands the entire time. Gargano lays in a series of cringe-worthy chops on Perkins, and then they exchange a series of brutal kicks topped off with a sit-down powerbomb by Perkins. The action picks up when they head to the outside with Gargano hitting a somersault dive off the apron with his leg hitting the timekeepers table. Back in the ring, Perkins goes for that leg. Both men wore down break out into a punching fight followed by Perkins hitting a wrecking ball drop kick. To counter, Gargano goes for a lawn dart but hit knee gives out while he is running. A series of reversal submissions ends with both men on the mat. Gargano gets a near fall after hitting the lawn dart, but Perkins kicks out frustrating Gargano. In the end, Perkins locks on a kneebar to submit Gargano and pick up the win. The drama of Gargano trying to get to the ropes was fantastic. With Gargano’s surprising exit from the tournament, it is a good sign they are trying to protect him a little with the injury angle.
What is more remarkable, these episodes of the CWC were recorded before NXT Brooklyn. So when this was taped, Gargano was selling an injury that he hadn’t received yet in story line. Outstanding continuity and story telling.
EC3 vs. Drew Galloway
Aron Rex, the former Damien Sandow, is the special referee. Galloway and EC3 are arguably the two biggest stars in TNA and they worked a very even, back and forth main event. Following a back and forth, they traded chops, but EC3 cut off the charge before going for the one percenter, but Galloway escaped and hit the claymore for a near fall. Galloway countered a one percenter into a great tombstone, but that was not enough to put EC3 away. Galloway lambasted the ref before setting up for another claymore. EC3 countered before rolling Galloway up for the win.