Monday, January 27, 2020

Match 1 – NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay v Lance Archer

This was always going to be a David v Goliath match with the size difference between these two men. However, Ospreay already got some preparation for it in his first round match against Bad Luck Fale.

Ospreay started off dodging Archer’s strikes and getting in some elbows before dropping Archer on the outside. He went for a dive over the top but was caught by Archer and pinned against the ring post. Ospreay got out and jumped at Archer over the barrier but got caught again, Archer casually threw Ospreay over his head onto the floor. From here, Archer was in control of much of the match, using power moves to keep Ospreay down and hitting big chops and back elbows. Ospreay fought back at points, but his strikes looked weak and didn’t faze Archer. Eventually, Archer made a mistake and Ospreay blocked an attempted back in elbow in the corner, getting his feet up to kcik Archer off. Archer came back with a big chop and picked Ospreay up for Blackout, but Ospreay got out, hit an enziguri and the Pip Pip Cheerio, this only got Archer down for a 1 count. Ospreay then went for a suplex, reversed by Archer but Ospreay managed to reverse again and hit a stunner and a satellite DDT. Ospreay started getting some momentum with strikes and an uppercut, Archer shut him down with a huge black hole slam. Archer then charged at Ospreay but was caught with a Spanish Fly. Once both men struggled to their feet, they began duelling strikes, Archer knocking Ospreay to the ground each time, but Ospreay valiantly getting back up for more. Archer’s chops were so strong they busted Ospreay’s chest open. Ospreay then reversed a big boot into a hard German suplex, climbed o the top and was met on the way down with an attempted chokeslam, he reversed it into an attempt at the Os-cutter but missed. Ospreay made the mistake of trying the Os-cutter again but Archer rammed into him, knocking him out of the ring and following it up with a chokeslam on the apron, and then, back in the ring hitting the highest chokeslam I’ve ever seen, Ospreay somehow kicked out at 2! Ospreay then escaped a blackout attempt and hit Robinson Special, Archer caught the Os-cutter but Ospreay turned it into a cradle pin for the 2 count, Ospreay then finally hi the Os-cutter but Archer kicked out! Ospreay tried for the Stormbreaker but couldn’t lift the bigger man, so he went for Hidden Blade instead which was reversed into the Blackout, Ospreay kicked out again! Archer pulled Ospreay to the top turnbuckle, hitting hard chops and climbing to the top too, Ospreay struggled out with forearms and the Hidden Blade. Archer was trapped on the top, allowing Ospreay to hit a Cheeky Nandos Kick and then pull Archer off the top and hit the Stormbreaker for the win!

This was an awesome match, Archer dominated much of it and is one of the best big men in the business right now, but Ospreay struggled through and gradually wore the big man down. It was a believable contest and Ospreay deserved the win, he’s continuing his transition to heavyweight well and I can see him getting to the Heavyweight Championship picture in the near future.

Winner by pinfall – Will Ospreay

Match 2 – Kazuchika Okada v Mikey Nicholls

This had a slow build to start, with multiple wristlocks, headlocks and takeovers. Eventually, Okada rolled to the outside after taking a backdrop, Nicholls followed him and rammed him into the apron and hit a big chop that busted Okada’s chest open (Okada was still showing bruising on his chest for his first round match with Michael Elgin). Nicholls went back in the ring and yelled for Okada to come at him, when Okada couldn’t respond he threw him back in himself. Nicholls ramped up the aggression here, hitting a stalling vertical suplex for a 2-count and then a knee to the back of Okada’s head, pulling him by the nose and getting in a huge chop. Okada got in some forearm shots and then is rammed by elbows from Nicholls in the corner. Nicholls locked in a single-leg crab but Okada reached the ropes. Nicholls renewed his assault on Okada with stomps to the back but misses an knee drop, allowing Okada to hit a big diving European uppercut. Okada had the upper hand, getting more offence on Nicholls culminating in a splash to him over the top to the outside and, back in the ring, a running back elbow and a DDT for a 2-count. Nicholls got back up and was able to hit a Big Ending and a clothesline but Okada kicked out. Okada was then back on the offensive with a flapjack, shotgun dropkick and a missile dropkick from the top. He called for the Rainmaker, but Nicholls rammed him into the corner, pushing him to the top and hitting a superplex, then a Death Valley Driver and an attempted sliding lariat which Okada reversed into a crucifix pin for 2. Nicholls dodged another attempted Rainmaker and hit a spinebuster and a sliding lariat for another 2-count. After an attempt at the Mikey Bomb, the men went into a series of reversals ending with a spinning clothesline by Okada, he then picked Nicholls up and hit the Rainmaker to put a full stop on the match.

This match took a while to get going but when it did it was brilliant. Nicholls’ aggression was on display for much of the match and it really solidified him as a player in singles competition, I hope he sticks around for a while. Okada, as usual, put on a great performance and will go on to face his stablemate, Will Ospreay in the quarter finals in what should be a barn-burner rematch between the two.

Winner by pinfall – Kazuchika Okada

I've been a wrestling fan for 20 years, mainly watching WWE. I only discovered the wonders of New Japan Pro-Wrestling a few years ago and got hooked after Wrestle Kingdom 11. Check out the rest of my reviews and articles!

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