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This week’s matches of the week features matches from NJPW’s Destruction in Hiroshima, CWF Mid Atlantic’s latest episode, RAW, NXT and OTT.
Kenny Omega vs. YOSHI-HASHI
WK 11 Contract Challenge
NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima
Josh Anderson: The Elite were back together again and escorted Kenny Omega to the ring carrying a trash can. Which gave me an idea of which Kenny we were going to get for this show. The fighting went to the floor of the bat; Omega removed the protective padding exposing the floor, then choosing to ram HASHI into the barricade. Omega looked for the powerbomb on the exposed floor, but HASHI reversed it into a back body drop. The Young Bucks quickly interfered using the cold spray and then super kicking HASHI. Omega returned to the floor hitting a moonsault from the barricade to the floor. Back in the ring, Omega began targeting the wrapped back of HASHI. I have to give the New Japan crowd credit they stay engaged throughout he entire show, something you will never see in the WWE. Omega began gyrating like Big E, continued to mount what felt like endless offense without a single pin. Omega started hitting the injured back of HASHI with the trash can. HASHI mounted little to no offense until he reversed out of a one winged angel into a DDT. HASHI went for a Swanton, but got caught by the knees of Omega. The two began trading strikes, Kenny hit HASHI with two hard slaps, but out of nowhere is hit with a hard lariat from HASHI. HASHI hits a powerbomb followed by a Swanton for a near fall. HASHI locked in a headlock; Omega broke free to hit a hard knee to the head followed by a reverse-rana. Omega hits the one winged angel which was enough for the pinfall victory.
Cedric Alexander vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Amanda Why: The main event of the evening. Both men looked to be enjoying themselves as they exchanged holds early on. The crowd were firmly behind Alexander from the start and stayed with him throughout. There was no way for this match to be anything other than great, both are highly talented with very entertaining styles. They went hold for hold for most of the match with neither gaining a clear advantage for long. The match built well with a nice mixture of high flying, hold for hold and blow for blow exchanges and a couple of near pins on each side.
Almas’ frustration became clear towards the end of the match and as he went for the double knees into the corner Cedric Alexander hit a backbreaker and rolled him up for the win.
Lovely show of respect from Almas to Alexander after the match. I was half hoping for a heel turn from Almas, the crowd had been booing him during the match and it seemed like it might be the right time. Arguably, no-one has more reason for a turn than Almas, it doesn’t seem to matter what he does in the ring, the crowd aren’t into him. That said, I can’t think of a better opponent for Cedric Alexander’s debut match. It was an extremely entertaining contest and, I’d go as far as to say, one of the best matches in recent episodes of NXT.
Trevor Lee vs Joshua Custhall
Drew Ortman: It is main event time, and Champion Trevor Lee is in the ring waiting on his opponent. A video of Brad Attitude airs where he states that he is on the road and won’t be here tonight. When the lights come back up, Lee is attacked from behind by “The Ace” Eric Royal. Lee tries for a comeback, but this is overall a beatdown by Royal. Snooty Fox hits the ring pulling Royal off of Lee and getting into an arguing match with him. As you would expect, they start fighting as Lee is being tended to by some other guys. Royal and Fox ending up brawling to the outside and back through the curtain. Suddenly the “holder of the golden ticket” (which I take it is like the money in the bank briefcase), Joshua Cutshall, hits the ring and cash in.
The match is on, and this is now our main event. It is Trevor Lee defending against Joshua Cutshall. It is all Cutshall at first as Lee is still reeling from his beatdown moments ago, but the champion comes back, and we have an even contest on our hands. They say this match can only end by submission or knockout at the request of the now former golden ticket holder Cutshall. The brawl in and out of the ring with the match finally hitting a point where they begin trying for submissions and knockouts. In the end, it looks like it is over for Lee as Cutshell lays in some hard punches, but Lee is able to take control with an armbar switched to an STF to tap out Cutshell and pick up the win. The was a really good match with both men using the stipulation to keep things exciting.
Rich Swann vs Gran Metalik vs Cedric Alexander vs Brian Kendrick
Elliott Troop: Foley stated there would be a fatal four way to determine the number one contender to TJ Perkins’ WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Although the crowd was near silent early on, the frenetic action soon coaxed them into life. The match was everything you would expect it to be from these four men: the pace was fast, the high flying was elegant and the match was well structured. Kendrick was the glue that held this match together: using his veteran nous, Kendrick was evasive until opportunity presented itself to deliver offence. A “this is awesome” chant proceeded dives to the outside before the participants exchanged near falls and reversals at high speed. After using duplicitous tactics, Brian Kendrick submitted Cedric Alexander with the Captain’s hook.
Although the crowd was insipid as the match started, all four men did a great job of engaging a crowd that evidently wasn’t overly familiar with them. Continuing the theme of the CWC, the match created drama and emotion through the sheer desire to win. Sure, this felt incredibly forced a la the Diva’s Revolution but Alexander, Metalik, Swann and Kendrick established their characters well. However, one must ask why TJ Perkins, the winner of the CWC, was absent. The decision to leave him off TV is completely baffling. As the Cruiserweight Champion, he should be the focal point of the division and should have been featured in the introduction of the division.
OTT: Wrestling is Art
Luther Ward (C) vs Pete Dunne
NLW Championship Match
Elliott Troop: The main event was prefaced with a video package that detailed the extensive history between Luther Ward and Pete Dunne. The only person that has defeated Pete Dunne in OTT is Ward, who submitted Dunne last year. Since then, Dunne has jettisoned his former ways and has been on the road to redemption of sorts, defeating the likes of El Ligero, Joe Coffey and Zack Sabre Jr along the way.
Surprisingly, as both men emerged, the crowd was 50/50 with dueling chants of “lets go Pete Dunne/Luther Ward”. Typically, the crowd are universally pro-Ward, who was regularly discussed by commentary as a former WWE superstar despite only appearing on house shows: the statement seems to be embellishing the truth somewhat. This was a back and forth match, with both men being presented on the same level for the majority of the match. Dunne and Ward could not be separated following a series of chain wrestling or strikes: subsequently, Ward resorted to duplicitous tactics to gain the advantage before deliberately slowing the pace down in a calculated manner. Ward, channeling his inner Pete Dunne, bit Dunne to set up a reverse-rana before applying the Black Hole Driver submission. Dunne rolled through, following a tombstone with a DT3 before submitting Ward with the Black Hole Driver, Ward’s patented submission, to become the two time NLW champion. After the match, Ward showed a begrudging sign of respect before heading to the back as Pete Dunne celebrated with the championship. ***3/4