A real “random match” here, which ended up being voted an Italian match of the year in 2018. Let’s take a look…

The addition of Italy’s Rising Sun Wrestling Promotion (RSWP, which is an acronym that messes me up from the old newsgroup days) to wXw NOW has opened up fresh eyeballs to the promotion. I was flicking thru their catalogue on there the other day and stumbled across this match, so let’s take a look. It’s from March 2018, from the Palestra Marconi in Milan, Italy – and this was the main event of their evening show, “The New House of the Rising Sun”. There’s no commentary here, but there is Italian commentary up there on the promotion’s YouTube…

Ashley Dunn vs. Will Ospreay
This was back when Will Ospreay was IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, and when Dunn was HOPE Wrestling’s Young Guns champ.

The set-up in the venue is pretty standard fare – it’s an all-seater venue, but the fans can (and often do) get up off their feet and slam the ring apron when something big happens. Like the mere hint of Will Ospreay’s INTRODUCTION.

We start with Ospreay looking to work over Dunn’s arm, only to get caught on the mat with some headscissors. Except Ospreay easily kips up and leans into the corner a la Shawn Michaels to get into Dunn’s head. A knuckle lock followed, with Dunn forced to bridge down as Ospreay looked to get some near-falls, before Dunn fought back up, but a monkey flip and got some near-falls of his own, only for Ospreay to be a bit more forceful with HIS monkey flip, sending Dunn across the ring.

Ospreay takes Dunn into the ropes for the Okada-like clean break, before his headlock leads to shoulder tackles and a pair of ‘ranas, with both men handwalking free as the kids rushed to bang on the ring apron. They’re easily pleased! Dunn clings onto the rope to avoid an Irish whip, but he just gets smashed in the mouth before hitting back with some nice satellite headscissors and a dropkick as Ospreay found himself in trouble. A snap elbow drop follows for a two-count, before Ospreay’s taken into the corner for some chops, but attempting to whip Ospreay across the ring proved to be a bad idea, as Dunn tries to save things by going up top, only to get dropkicked to the floor.

Ospreay followed him to the outside, where the chops comtinued as the crowd had long since scattered. Just as well really, since Dunn’s chopped into a seat and kicked out of it, as Ospreay then grabs it and prepared for another run-up, placing Dunn into the chair ahead of a fan-assisted dropkick! As the fans retook their seats, Ospreay teased throwing Dunne back into the crowd, instead throwing him into the ring as Dunn scurried into the corner.

There’s a nice big back body drop from Ospreay after he’d whipped Dunn across the ring, eventually getting a near-fall, before he changed the pace again, grounding Dunn with an armbar as Ospreay started to work over said body part. Dunn tries to break it up, going for a crossbody… but Ospreay had the same idea as the pair crash into each other. Once both men were back to their feet, Dunn managed to get the upper hand, landing an overhead kick, a gamengiri on the apron then a springboard forearm a la Ospreay, following up with a back elbow into the corner and a push-down stomp as Dunn was well into his second wind.

Dunn then makes a big deal of something… a discus charge into a front headlock? It then turned into a butterfly of the arms, before Ospreay was sent into the ropes as he lands a handspring overhead kick to end what was a pretty awkward sequence. It’s a distant memory though as he took Dunn into the corner for a Shibata-ish dropkick and a running shooting star press for a near-fall, before Ospreay headed outside for his own springboard forearm.

Ospreay looked to go for a powerbomb, but Dunn fought out… only to get dumped onto the apron… so Ospreay heads up in search of a shooting star press. Dunn saw it coming, and blocks him on the top rope, only for him to get caught as Ospreay slipped free and into a Cheeky Nando’s. A suplex/powerbomb attempt’s quickly caught and turned into a ‘rana by Dunn, who rushed in for an Essex Destroyer DDT, as the latest round of insanity again drew the crowd into banging the ring – and almost won Dunn the match to boot!

Dunn’s back to his feet first as he looked for a discus forearm, but Ospreay ducked before he was eventually caught with a roundhouse kick. That’s shrugged off as we’re back into the too-fast-to-call stuff, with a tornado DDT leaving Ospreay down again… at least until he hits a Spanish Fly to give himself another breather. With both men on their knees, they trade forearms as another “fight forever” chant perked up. Ospreay keeps up the shots as they got to their feet, with Dunn’s forearm sending Will into the ropes. A series of kicks from Ospreay looked to weaken Dunn, including a hook kick and a Robinson special, before Ospreay pulled up Dunn for a Rainmaker… except Dunn slumps to his feet as the crowd reacted in much the same way most of us did when Omega and Okada did it about a year earlier.

Instead of waving off the match, the ref lets Dunn pull himself back up, but Ospreay heads into the corner and stomps wildly on Dunn’s head as he began to get frustrated with his opponent’s durability. Dunn’s pulled up, but he sinks to his knees again to avoid another Rainmaker, before Ospreay spat and told him “you’re not on my level”.

Yup, that’ll wake you up!

Dunn rises to his feet, but gets drilled with some more forearms before he clocked Ospreay with a roundhouse kick. There’s some Kawada-style kicks from Dunn before a big lariat and an ushigoroshi has Ospreay down and out, but only for a two-count as Ospreay too was proving to be annoyingly durable.

Dunn looks for a discus lariat, but Ospreay flips over it and counters with a sit-out powerbomb for another near-fall, before he pulled Dunn into the corner as he went up top… again, Dunn stops him, pushing him into the turnbuckle as someone in the crowd yelled “do something flippy.” Instead, Dunn pulls him up to the top rope, only to get caught again as Ospreay went for an avalanche powerbomb… except Dunn countered it into a ‘rana, properly spiking Ospreay’s head on the mat in the process. I really hope that dull thud wasn’t what I thought it was…

Ospreay’s up first though, and gets sent flipping down again with a discus forearm as Dunn almost got the pin. A Shining Wizard to the back of the head, then a Destroyer adds more neck pain for Will, who then ate a butterfly Destroyer as this is getting quite ridiculous… but Will rolls to the outside to save his neck/stop himself from getting pinned (*delete as you wish!)

Dunn rolls outside to bring Ospreay back in, but another trip up top sees Ospreay counter a dive into a cutter for a near-fall, before Will finally hits his Rainmaker! The Decapitation elbow to the back of the head is next, before an OsCutter finds its mark, ragdolling Dunn into the mat as Will finally gets the win. This was a spectacle and a half, a completely different style to what was on the show previously. It ought to be said, Dunn more than held his own here, but ultimately came up short as both men put their bodies through a lot (most of it hitting, thankfully) to thrill the Italian crowd. ****¼