KENTA. Moxley. IWGP United States Championship. It’s here…
ACH, Brody King, Logan Riegel & Sterling Riegel pinned The DKC, Clark Connors, Kevin Knight & TJP in 8:36 (***)
Ren Narita submitted Chris Dickinson in 7:51 (***¾)
Jon Moxley pinned KENTA in 14:25 to retain the IWGP United States Championship (***½)
As ever, we’re at the non-descript venue with Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov are anticipating a record viewing audience for this week’s show.
Brody King, ACH, Logan Riegal & Sterling Riegel vs. TJP, Clark Connors, The DKC & Kevin Knight
Brody’s team were all decked out in balaclavas as they were up against TJP, Clark Connors and two Young Lions.
ACH starts wrestling in his balaclava and hoodie, with DKC’s side headlock failing to remove either as ACH took him in with chops. DKC’s dropkick gets him a one-count, before another chop from ACH led to Sterling and Logan Riegel tagging in, hitting some double-teams as a neckbreaker from Logan gets a two-count. DKC tags out to TJP, but Logan’s able to outsmart TJP by leaping over him ahead of a low dropkick. TJP uses misdirection to slide Logan into a pin, before a Sharpshooter turned into a Muta Lock… with Riegel slipping out to tag in Brody King. Kevin Knight wants in too, and goes nose-to-nose with King as they trade chops.
A leapfrog and a dropsault from Knight works, but King just chops him and lands on him with a back senton for a two-count, before ACH tagged in to keep Knight in the corner. Sterling Riegel comes in to suplex Knight for a two-count, before Logan returned for a Fisherman suplex that gets a near-fall. King tags back in to lay waste to Knight in the corner, before Sterling clubbed away on Knight some more. Eventually, Knight hits some uppercuts to break free, along with a bodyslam as he tags out to Clark Connors. ACH is in too to trade uppercuts and chops, but Clark pulls ahead with a hiptoss as ACH was still in that hoodie.
A scoop slam gets Connors a two-count, as TJP tags in to hit a pop-up up-kick, while Connors’ spear leads to a Mamba splash from TJP for a near-fall. King breaks it up to start a brief Parade of Moves, with DKC tagging in to put away ACH… countering a brainbuster into a small package. DKC keeps going with chops and forearms, but ACH returns with a superkick and a brainbuster to get the win. An entertaining opening tag, with Brody King’s team dominating throughout as ACH surely popped at least himself by doing the whole match in a hoodie and balaclava. ***
Chris Dickinson vs. Ren Narita
This came out of the aftermath of a tag team match on a road-to show… and could be quite the proving ground for Narita.
We open with a lock-up as the pair go back-and-forth on wristlocks, with Dickinson taking Narita to the mat, only for Ren’s headscissors to neutralise things. Dickinson gets up and works the arm over his shoulder, only for Narita to get free and chop Dickinson in the ropes. Dickinson returns the favour before some kicks stunned Narita… but a half-and-half suplex was blocked, with Dickinson instead opting for a roll-up to get a two-count. A STF quickly followed, but Narita’s diving to the ropes as Dickinson instead comes back with kicks, targeting Narita’s legs ahead of a Trailer Hitch attempt… but Narita rolls through as the pair had duelling leglocks on each other.
Getting back to their feet, the pair trade chops as Narita ends up getting spun down with a Dragon screw… Dickinson holds on, but gets pushed away as Narita comes in with elbows in the corner. Narita shoves away the referee so he can keep stomping away on Dickinson, who eventually replies with a death valley driver for a near-fall. From there, Dickinson looks to put away Narita… but Narita takes him down for some punches from above as the referee again needs to separate them. Narita goes for a Boston crab, but instead spins Dickinson into the middle of the ring for the Narita Special #3 leg lace… and with nowhere to go, Dickinson submits! A heck of an upset to end this sprint, with Narita picking up a big win over one of the biggest names on the indies. ***¾
Add thyme. I like to think Clark Connors’ acting chops here helped him graduate – as well as that Lion’s Break: Crown win.
IWGP United States Championship: KENTA vs. Jon Moxley (c)
After winning last year’s New Japan Cup USA, KENTA’s finally cashing in his title shot – in a match that a lot of people have pegged as a sure-fire title change. Commentary brings up KENTA’s appearance in AEW and his recent tag match with Jon Moxley…
They go head-to-head at the bell and start with an exchange of elbows, before a shoulder tackle from Moxley took KENTA down. Chops come in the corner, before a sliding lariat and a bulldog choke ended in the ropes as Moxley looked to end this early. KENTA bails outside, but Moxley joins him as they fought on the floor, leading to a suplex from KENTA on the floor. KENTA grabs his title shot briefcase, but a shot misses as Moxley teases a piledriver onto it, before a DDT dropped Moxley on the hardware. Rolling Moxley inside barely gets KENTA a two-count, before a kick to the back and a neckbreaker kept KENTA ahead.
A drop toe hold keeps Moxley down as KENTA rains down some knee drops and that mocking backheel. Kicks from KENTA eventually get caught, as Moxley goes back to trading elbows as KENTA just elbowed him into the corner… the hesitation dropkick’s avoided, as was a Go 2 Sleep, with Moxley throwing KENTA outside for a tope. A headbutt on the floor keeps Moxley ahead, as he leaps off the stage into KENTA with a knee strike, before he looked under the ring for some plunder. Out comes a table, continuing to prove that wrestling has the same tidying up methods as teenagers – just shove it all under the bed. Moxley sets it up, but a belt shot from KENTA leads to Moxley getting put on the table ahead of a big elbow drop from the top rope.
KENTA rolls back in, but Moxley narrowly beats the count-out… and eats a diving boot, then a hesitation dropkick in the corner, as KENTA looked to get the win with a double stomp… but Moxley’s up at two! From there, KENTA goes for the Go 2 Sleep again, but Moxley again escapes and retaliated with a German suplex, then a clothesline… before KENTA suckered Moxley into the Game Over. Moxley rolls free and applies the Bulldog choke again, before KENTA escaped and reapplied the Game Over. Eventually Moxley got to the rope, and caught KENTA with another lariat as the challenger looked to push for the win… before a Death Rider’s countered into a Go 2 Sleep… which is escaped as KENTA tries his luck with more strikes.
In the end though, Moxley ducks a lariat and hits a DDT for a two-count. KENTA flips off Moxley… which just proved to be the spark that triggered a Death Rider, and that’s enough for Moxley to get the clean win. This’d have been much better with a crowd (of any size) as they gave us a TV-style brawl – with Moxley eventually shutting up KENTA by the end of it. ***½
Hands up who expected that finish? After weeks of expecting KENTA to leave with the US title, the Moxley win raises fresh questions and speculation about his future involvement with the promotion. While Moxley/KENTA may have drawn the eyeballs, Chris Dickinson and Ren Narita did their damndest to keep new fans around – although it is mighty curious how little buzz this show seemed to have by the time it rolled around…