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Superstar Of The Week
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Since his pro debut at the end of 2015 and initially a lot of time in the CZW Dojo Wars, Wheeler YUTA has already traveled a lot in the course of his career. A short guest performance for Michinoku Pro in Japan in 2017 and a longer stay in Germany for wXw in 2019 are among his longest excursions. In the States he has established himself primarily with Beyond Wrestling, but so far he has lacked the really countable successes. That was about to change last week, when YUTA got his chance for the IWTV Independent Wrestling Title from Lee Moriarty in the Beyond Wrestling Main Event. The two fought each other for over 50 minutes and in the end YUTA managed to end the reign of Moriarty after only 61 days. For YUTA it is the biggest title success of his career so far.
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This week we'd like to honor a wrestler who has been in the East Coast independent scene for over 33 years. Mr. Ooh La La, who has continued to develop his comedy gimmick over the years, has competed for the league since the ECWA was founded in Delaware. In the family-friendly shows, he was always a popular and unusual character, although he was denied major successes. At over 60 years of age, he was supposed to get what was supposed to be his last chance for the highest title of doctorate last Saturday. At the annual Super 8 tournament of the ECWA, the heel champion Joey Ace already disrupted the opening ceremony of the tournament participants and asked Mr. Ooh La La to carry out the title match immediately. Thus, the most important match of the evening for many fans already took place in the opener. And although Killian McMurphy won the Super 8 tournament at the end of the show, it should still be the opening match, which will be remembered by fans of the league for a long time. Because there Mr. Ooh La La actually crowned himself with the ECWA Unified Heavyweight Title for the first time in the late autumn of his career and thus completed his Triple Crown in the ECWA. Better late than never.
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Since the Ted Petty Invitational 2020 had to be postponed until this year due to the corona pandemic, two TPIs are currently planned for this year. The 2020 edition was made up for by the IWA Mid-South last weekend and, as usual, 24 wrestlers competed in the knockout system over two days to determine a tournament winner. In the end, Tyler Matrix, who was most recently successful in the tag team area, triumphed somewhat surprisingly. The young man from Alabama and a graduate of the OVW Wrestling School won one after the other against Blake Steel, Kevin Giza, Logan James and in the final against the last two IWA Champions Jake Crist and John Wayne Murdoch in a TLC match to win the prestigious Award tournament victory. The previously vacant IWA MS Heavyweight Title was also at stake in the final and thus meant a double crown for Tyler Matrix, which is the highlight of his young career so far.
In 2019, Kushida decided to try his luck with the wrestling leader after he was able to achieve everything he wanted in New Japan and reached his zenith there. In the WWE, however, it took a while before he could really gain a foothold there. Although he remained undefeated at NXT for a long time, he was always denied great success. His reunion with partner Alex Shelley for the Dusty Rhodes Classic ended in the first round and his attempts to win the North American or the Cruiserweight title were unsuccessful. When the new Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar called out an Open Challenge last week, Kushida accepted it before the champion could finish his sentence. The Japanese knew how to take advantage of this further opportunity this time, because he managed to pin Escobar up to 3 and thus secure his first title in the WWE.
Most recently she was honored by us with the SOTW for her dominant Rumble victory at the beginning of February. So it speaks for the success of Bianca Belair that she received this award a good two months later, despite some alternatives. Because at this year's WrestleMania, the young lady from Tennessee wrote history together with Sasha Banks. After the first ever women's main event at a WrestleMania two years ago, the presence of African-Americans in the same is a real rarity and so far it has been possible to count on two fingers with the celebrities Mr. T and Lawrence Taylor. But now Belair and Banks are the first Afro-American female wrestlers in a main event of WrestleMania, the second of the women ever, and in the end Bianca Belair triumphed, who was able to secure the first title of her career with the SmackDown Women's Title.
Just over a month ago, New Japan Pro Wrestling combined their legendary IWGP Heavyweight Title with the Intercontinental Title to create the IWGP World Heavyweight Title. A first challenger to the new title of champion Kota Ibushi was determined last month by the New Japan Cup 2021 among 30 participants. In the knockout system, Will Ospreay prevailed with victories over Tenzan, Zack Saber, SANADA, David Finlay and in the final over Shingo Takagi and thus secured his chance for the title. He got this last Sunday at New Japan's Sakura Genesis 2021, where he defeated Kota Ibushi in the main event after a good half an hour and Ibushi won the new title in his first title defense. For Will Ospreay it is the biggest title win in his career and, after many years of dominance in the Junior Heavyweight Division, now his first Heavyweight Title in Japan.
Tracy Williams has been under contract with Ring Of Honor since the beginning of 2019, but he has not yet had a title win. The closest he came to one was in the tournament for the reactivated Pure Title in October 2020, where he was defeated by Jonathan Gresham in the final. Now he got a double chance to win the title at the 19th Anniversary Show of ROH last Friday - and took advantage of both. First, Tracy Williams defeated Kenny King for the ROH World Television Title in the opener, with King replacing injured champion Dragon Lee. But that wasn't enough, later on on the show, along with his Foundation partner Rhett Titus, Williams also defeated ROH World Tag Team Champions Kenny King & La Bestia Del Ring to leave the birthday show as a double title winner.
It could be the breakthrough year for Lee Moriarty. After winning IWTV's "The Masked Wrestler" tournament as a masked Genkai at the end of last year, he used his well-deserved title match a few weeks ago at New South Pro Wrestling in Alabama, where he won the ubiquitous IWTV Independent Wrestling Title after a reign of 532 Days could decrease. With this success in the back, Moriarty went into the Enjoy Cup tournament of the newly founded Promotion Enjoy Wrestling from Pennsylvania, who put their episodes freely online on YouTube. With victories over Solo Darling, Edith Surreal and in the final over MV Young, Moriarty was crowned the first Enjoy Cup champion of the promotion, a trophy that will subsequently also be defended as a title. For Moriarty, after a long wait, it is now the second title win in March and thus underlines his current rise.
Last week, the hardcore promotion Unsanctioned Pro broadcast the 2021 edition of the Hardcore Cup on IWTV. Eight wrestlers met to determine a tournament winner and also a new hardcore champion of the league in knockout mode. In the end Alex Colon was able to secure the tournament victory and the vacant Hardcore title with victories over AKIRA, Lord Crewe and in the final over IWA MS Heavyweight Champion Jake Crist. For Colon, who graduated from the CZW Academy in 2007, it was the second tournament victory in the last year after his victory in Tournament Of Survival 5 by Game Changer Wrestling in August 2020.
Last week the popular Joshi promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom celebrated its 10th anniversary with a big birthday show in the legendary Nippon Budokan. After Tam Nakano was twice defeated in title matches for the Wonder Of Stardom title of the current title holder Giulia, she got another chance at the biggest Stardom show to date in the main event. Hair Vs. Hair stipulation, which is extremely rare for women, made the match even more explosive. In the end, Tam Nakano triumphed in the third attempt and cost Giulia not only her title, but also her hair to put herself at the top of Stardom for the first time. For Tam Nakano it is the first singles title of her career and together with the Artist Of Stardom title for trios, which she successfully defended on the following Sunday, she can currently call herself double champion of what is probably the most popular women's promotion in the world.
"One person's happiness is another's pain" and "Seize the moment", these two proverbs could not describe the situation around the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title better. It was just over a year ago when Hiromu Takahashi returned from his protracted neck injury, but on February 25th. he had to announce that a chest muscle injury will force him to take another long break and that he will have to give up his title one more time. Shortly after the announcement, a title match between the No. 1 Contender El Phantasmo as well as BUSHI, who was supposed to compete with Takahashi against Phantasmo and Ishimori for the Tag Team title that day. But when the champions lost their belts to El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, who got the title match due to Takahashi's injury, Desperado asked to be added to the match between Phantasmo and BUSHI. In the Three Way Match last Sunday, Desperado actually managed to capitalize on Takahashi's time-out again by pinning Phantasmo and winning a singles title for the first time in his 10-year career.
More than ten years ago, in July 2010, The Miz won the Money In The Bank Ladder Match of the RAW brand and redeemed his suitcase four months later against Randy Orton to take the WWE title from him. At the time, that was a huge career leap for The Miz, but his stint in the main event was of limited duration and in the following years he mainly fought for midcard titles and in the tag team division. At Hell In A Cell 2020, the Miz secured the coveted suitcase for the second time, almost a decade after his first major title win, and waited again for the strategically perfect time to redeem it. This should finally come last Sunday at the Elimination Chamber PPV after Drew McIntyre was able to defend his WWE title in around 30 minutes against five opponents and was then brutally attacked by Bobby Lashley. The Miz's plan worked again and with a quick pinfall he won the WWE Championship for the second time in his career.
Last Friday, Pro Wrestling NOAH celebrated their long-awaited comeback in "their" hall, the Nippon Budokan. It's been eight years since NOAH last held there and Kenta Kobashi played the last match of his career there. In the main event at the time, Kobashi met four of his students with legends such as Jun Akiyama, Kensuke Sasaki and Keiji Muto: Go Shiozaki, KENTA, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Shuhei Taniguchi. Ironically, 8 years later, the Main Event consisted of 2 of these 8 men. Go Shiozaki, who for many is an embodiment of what Kobashi and Misawa stood in the ring, defended the GHC Heavyweight title against Keiji Muto, who after the closure of WRESTLE-1 decided to set up his tents at NOAH at the age of 60. Shiozaki cemented his status as ace of the league and MVP of the Japanese wrestling scene with his title reign which lasted over 400 days at the time of the defense and in which he delivered one high-profile title defense after another. Muto, on the other hand, played his first big title match in almost 6 years on Friday and with a win could become one of 3 wrestlers who held the big titles of NJPW, AJPW and NOAH. Accordingly, many eyes watched a hard-fought match which contained some memorable moments and from which the pro wrestling genius actually succeeded in taking the title from Shiozaki after a Frankensteiner. With this in mind, we congratulate Muto with a due Puroresu Love!
Since 2019 AKARI has been active for the Japanese Joshi promotion PURE-J, under whose owner Command Bolshoi she also received her training. Before that, the native Chilean appeared mainly as a valet in her home country, but moving to Japan should mean AKARI's breakthrough as a wrestler. Less than two years after her debut for PURE-J, the league was last looking for a new bearer of the Princess Of Pro Wrestling Title, a former independent women's title that was misappropriated as an MVP trophy from 2017 to 2020. In a four-man tournament, AKARI prevailed against Madeline and in the final against Momo Tani and thus secured the first major singles title of her career last Sunday, the reward for an impressive development of the young Chilean.
In September 2016, Bianca Belair made her debut on the NXT roster after successfully completing the WWE Performance Center. It took a few years, however, until she was able to draw attention to herself with eight eliminations in last year's Rumble. The athletic lady from Tennessee was then allowed to debut on the main roster and competed in both RAW and SmackDown in 2020. For this year's Royal Rumble, the expectations of Belair were a bit higher, but they should clearly surpass them again. With starting number 3, she went into the women's rumble match and lasted almost 57 minutes before she was the last of her four eliminations to take Rhea Ripley out of the match and thus sealed her great triumph. The Rumble win solves Belair's ticket to WrestleMania, where she will have the chance for the first title of her career.
The last two years in Ice Ribbon have largely been shaped by two people. Maya Yukihi, who held the ICExInfinity title almost uninterrupted for a good 18 months, and Suzu Suzuki, who debuted on New Year's Eve 2018 and, thanks to her incredible talent, made a rocket-like rise and is now considered one of the greatest talents in the Joshi scene. Both women fought a rivalry that spanned three title matches between the end of 2019 and August 2020, which ended with Suzuki taking the title and taking the lead at Ice Ribbons. Tsukasa Fujimoto, who was considered the ace of the league before Yukihi and Suzuki, has been more tag team than singles in the last two years, with the exception of one title match against Yukihi. That was about to change earlier this year, however, when the ICExInfinity Titles record holder challenged Suzuki. The match was set for Ice Ribbon's first Korakuen Hall show this year, and Fujimoto promised to win the title again, which she ironically lost on the day Suzuki debuted. In a match of almost 19 minutes, the veteran also succeeded in dethroning the Suzuki champion and was able to win Ice Ribbons highest title for the seventh time. We congratulate you with the Superstar Of The Week Award!
For almost three years, the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Title has served as the "main title" of DDT's Sub Brand Ganbare Pro, but the title actually does not belong to anyone and is actually a cross-league Indy crown of Japanese Junior Heavyweight Wrestling which the champion defends in various promotions should. Although the title was fought out mainly in DDT in recent years, as already mentioned, on January 15, 2021, after a long time, the title was defended in another promotion. Champion and Ganbare Pro wrestler Shota faced the young talent Arata at the JTO's Korakuen Hall Show and in the fourth match of the evening the rookie, who had only been wrestling since 2019, actually managed the upset when he defeated the previous champion in just over 4 minutes. We congratulate Arata on winning the first title of his career and naming him Superstar Of The Week!
After his second Climax win in a row last October, Kota Ibushi is again at the center of the wrestling world just a few months later. Like last year, this year's Wrestle Kingdom Show of New Japan in the Tokyo Dome was spread over two days last week and Ibushi was in the main event on both days. On day 1 he defeated double champion Tetsuya Naito after more than 30 minutes to secure the IWGP Heavyweight Title for the first time in the fourth attempt. In addition, he also won the IWGP Intercontinental Title and Meltzer rated the match with five stars. The following day Ibushi went one better and defended both titles in just under 50 minutes against Jay White, the longest match in Wrestle Kingdom history, which Meltzer also rated ***** 1/4. Almost six years after his first IWGP Heavyweight title match, Kota Ibushi finally made the big leap and with his appearances at Wrestle Kingdom he cemented his current position at the top of the Japanese market leader.
For Norman Harras, the wrestling year 2020 could hardly have ended more successfully. In the Shotgun episode of Westside Xtreme Wrestling broadcast on New Year's Eve, Harras got a title match against wXw Shotgun Champion Metehan after a frustrating year for him and then defeated him in about 10 minutes to crown himself with the title. For Harras, who graduated from the wXw Academy in 2018, it is the first title win in his young career.
The cursed year 2020 will not pass without another terrible news. Last Saturday, Brodie Lee died unexpectedly at the age of only 41 from complications from a lung disease. The man from Rochester, New York established himself in the independent scene for years before WWE signed him in 2012, where he established himself long-term as Luke Harper as part of the Wyatt Family in the shows of the market leader. On his debut for AEW in March 2020, Mr. Brodie Lee under the nickname "The Exalted One" emerged as the leader of the Dark Order and feuded with Cody Rhodes for the AEW TNT title until he passed away much too early. In October, "Big Rig" said goodbye with a bloody dog collar match against Cody and leaves many wonderful memories inside and outside the ring. The CAGEMATCH team expresses its deepest condolences to all relatives.
On the Saturday before Christmas, Maine Limitless Wrestling hosted the 2020 edition of their Vacationland Cup and invited eight wrestlers. In the end, Christian Casanova was able to prevail after a first round win over CJ Cruz and a subsequent final victory in a Four Way Elimination Match against Alec Price, Daniel Garcia and JD Drake and, in addition to winning the tournament, also secured the vacant Limitless World Title, in which he was third Title holder after MJF and Anthony Greene enters the history books. For Christian Casanova, mainly active in the New England Indys, it is the third title, alongside the Chaotic Wrestling Heavyweight Title and the NEW Live Title, which he can currently call his own.
Last week both the 2020 edition of the New Japan World Tag League came to an end, as well as the now 27th annual edition of the Best Of The Super Junior tournament. In the latter, after more than three weeks in a round robin format in just one block with a total of ten participants, the final of the tied El Desperado and Hiromu Takahashi took place. After Desperado was able to win the match between the two in the preliminary round, he was left behind in the final after more than 30 minutes and Hiromu Takahashi secured his second big tournament victory in the Best Of The Super Junior after 2018. The final of the two has so far been ranked 8th among the top-rated matches of the year among Cagematch users.
When All Elite Wrestling started in May 2019, Kenny Omega was one of the top favorites for the highest title in the promotion. His chance to become the first title holder, however, was defeated directly by Chris Jericho in the debut PPV Double Or Nothing. It would take almost a year and a half before Omega was finally able to secure its first AEW World Title Match by triumphing in the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament. He was awarded this at last week's Dynamite and after Omega was still defeated in the brutal Lights Out Match against Jon Moxley at Full Gear 2019, he now took his chance and defeated Champion Moxley after just under 30 minutes, making himself the third AEW World Champion History books.
This week we don't want to focus on an immediate success, but rather give the spotlight to Jimmy Rave, who had to end his career under tragic circumstances last weekend. Because the infection was treated too late, the doctors had no choice but to amputate Rave's left forearm. After 21 years as a professional wrestler, Rave had to hang up his boots, but can look back on an illustrious career with series of matches against AJ Styles, his leading role in the Embassy, participation in the Ted Petty Invitational and other well-known tournaments and of course that of the fans toilet paper streamers specially designed for him. The next bad news followed for Rave while he was in hospital, where he tested positive for COVID-19 this week. In this difficult time we are with him in our minds. Stay strong, Jimmy!
At only 18 years of age, the petite Mei Hoshizuki already has two professional years under her belt. She gained her first experience at the Joshi Promotions Marvelous and SEAdLINNNG, but since this year she has also been appearing more and more for Sendai Girls. In March, the Jaja Uma 2020 Tournament started in Sendai Girls, which, due to the coronavirus, could only be completed in September. Mei Hoshizuki fought his way through to the final and was able to win this too with a victory over Sendai Girls Junior Champion Manami. Mei was assured of a consistent title match for last Sunday and there too she triumphed over Manami and with the Sendai Girls Junior Title she now won the first title of her young career.
In 2019, Shun Skywalker had a stellar year as a rookie in Dragon Gate. Not only did he represent his stable Mochizuki Dojo in the famous Survial Cage Match, with almost 3 years of wrestling experience, the first Dragon Gate title he was allowed to compete for, the highest title of the promotion, the Open The Dream Gate title held by PAC at the time. Even if he failed at the time because of the British, he proved that he can be expected in the future and his doctorate therefore sent him on an excursion to Mexico at the end of the year. On November 3rd, 2020, Skywalker appeared completely surprising after the main event and challenged Open The Dream Gate Champ Eita. A few days later he repeated the challenge and the title match was scheduled for November 15. fixed. Many felt reminded by Skywalker's action of Kazuchika Okada, who challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi immediately after his excursion. And just like the Rainmaker, Skywalker shocked wrestling fans when he defeated Eita in his first match after the excursion and not only won the highest title in his league with his first title, but also became the youngest Open The Dream Gate Champion in history the doctorate.
Darby Allin is one of the young faces who, with All Elite Wrestling, got a unique opportunity to present their talent outside of the WWE but on a big stage. And so far with complete success. This culminated for Darby last Saturday at AEW's Full Gear 2020 PPV, where he was rewarded with his first title win in AEW. In just 17 minutes he defeated the two-time AEW TNT champion Cody Rhodes and dethroned him after only 31 days in his second reign. After the two had met three times before in AEW singles matches, Darby is now celebrating his first victory over Cody in the fourth attempt in what is also the most important match between the two with the title as a trophy.
The ROH Pure Championship was last defended a little over 16 years ago. At ROH Unified in Liverpool, the two rivals Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness faced each other in a unification match in the main event. World Champion Danielson prevailed when he knocked out McGuinness with a series of elbow strikes and the referee broke off the match. At the beginning of 2020, Ring Of Honor announced that it would bring back the title and that a tournament would take place to crown the new champion. Due to COVID-19, however, the tournament had to be postponed and only started in September. In a 16-man tournament, it was Jonathan Gresham who defeated Tracy Williams in the final and was able to secure the reintroduced Pure title.
Almost three years ago, Rich Swann wrestled his last match for WWE on 205 Live. In retrospect, his two-year interlude with the industry leader was not entirely unsuccessful with a reign as WWE Cruiserweight Champion, but due to a lack of prospects, the decision was ultimately made to split up. Since then, Swann has been back on the independent road and established himself last year with a reign as the X-Division Champion at Impact Wrestling. In the meantime he has made it into the main event and there he stood last Saturday at the Bound For Glory PPV against Impact World Champion Eric Young. In the end, Rich Swann triumphed and celebrated the biggest title win of his career to date with the Impact World Title.
The G1 Climax has been held annually in New Japan since 1991 and with "Mr. G1" Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan there have only been two wrestlers who have won the Climax in consecutive years. With this year's edition, a third wrestler joins them, because Kota Ibushi also succeeded in this feat when he won the Climax final against SANADA in 35 minutes after a sovereign group victory last Sunday. After Ibushi narrowly failed in the final in 2018, he won the Climax last year and with his second Climax victory in a row is now the first challenger to the IWGP Heavyweight Title again after winning the title at the Tokyo Dome Show in January was denied.
In his native Ohio PhD Absolute Intense Wrestling, Joshua Bishop has been on the rise since his debut in 2017. For a good year, however, he has been slowed down again and again by Matthew Justice. First he lost his AIW Intense Title to Justice in August of last year and after successfully winning the AIW Absolute Title, the highest title of doctorate, from Tom Lawlor in November, he had to pass it on to Justice in a spontaneous title match that same evening . Last weekend at AIW's Thunder in Indianapolis the two of them had a big showdown in a No Rope Barbed Wire Match, in which both singles promotional titles were at stake and in the end Bishop triumphed, who was crowned double promotional champion and was able to take home the Absolute Title this time.
The Turbo Graps 16 tournament from Indiana-based Black Label Pro entered its second annual edition last weekend. Again 16 participants were gathered to determine a tournament winner in a knockout tournament over two shows on the same day. In the end, veteran Alex Shelley triumphed after taking away her BLP Midwest Title from Kylie Rae in the first round and then successfully defending the title twice. In the semifinals Shelley prevailed in a four way against Effy, Ethan Page and Tom Lawlor and ultimately crowned himself the tournament winner with a final victory over Isaias Velazquez. For Shelley, who currently also holds the Impact World Tag Team Titles together with long-term partner Chris Sabin, the career curve is now clearly up again after an injury-related career end in summer 2018 and a comeback a year later.
Warrior Wrestling from Chicago has quickly established itself as a medium-sized Indy promotion since it was founded in 2018 with irregular, but large-scale shows and a broad roster. Last Saturday the third day of the Stadium Series of Warrior Wrestling took place and Trey Miguel got his chance for the most important title of the promotion after winning the # 1 contender a week earlier with a victory over his two Rascalz colleagues Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz had made. He was able to use this chance directly and defeated in another three way champion Brian Pillman Jr. and the former champion Brian Cage to secure the title. After Trey Miguel didn't quite get the Impact X-Division Title during the week, he is now celebrating his biggest triumph as the new champion of Warrior Wrestling.
After the Super Indy tournament the week before, the next traditional independent tournament took place last weekend. The ECWA from Delaware presented the meanwhile 24th annual Super 8 Tournament, which was able to attract attention especially in the early 2000s with often high-class line-ups. Also this year eight wrestlers were invited and in the end A Very Good Professional Wrestler triumphed as the tournament winner after successfully defeating Eric Martin, Archadia and in the final KTB. Behind the new gimmick is the former Dasher Hatfield, last CHIKARA Grand Champion until the closure of the promotion, who now wants to start a fresh start with a new name and has made a very good start with this tournament victory.
At AEW he has not yet got beyond a jobber role, but Brian Pillman Jr. has already fought for his place in the independent sector in his third year as a professional. The second generation wrestler and son of Brian Pillman, who died far too early, recorded a major tournament victory last weekend when he won this year's Super Indy tournament at the Pennsylvania-based Internation Wrestling Cartels with a final victory over Lee Moriarty. Previously, he defeated Facade in the first round and eliminated Super Indy Champion Sam Adonis in the semifinals, whose title he took over at the same time. It was already the 19th edition of the tournament, which has been held since 2002, and Pillman Jr.'s victory adds to an illustrious series of former tournament winners, including Colt Cabana, Chris Sabin, Jerry Lynn and Adam Cole.
In 2003, Eric Young made his debut for what was then still NWA TNA and found his place in the promotion as a member of Scott D'Amore's Team Canada.He was loyal to the league for 13 years before Young moved to WWE in 2016, where he was used in both the NXT and the main roster, albeit with manageable success. In July of this year he finally celebrated his return to impact wrestling, where he is now trying to get stuck in a heel role in the main event. After he was denied a title win in his comeback match at the Slammiversary PPV, he got his second chance on Tuesday last week and took the Impact World Title from champion Eddie Edwards after only 45 days. For Eric Young it is the second win of the World Title after a brief reign in 2014 and the return to his home doctorate has already paid off for him.
WWE's 2020 PPV Payback ended in a controversial manner. After the main event actually only started between Universal Champion The Fiend and challenger Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns appeared at the ring with his new companion Paul Heyman and an open contract. When the ring ropes collapsed after a superplex, Reigns saw his opportunity, signed the open contract and spontaneously added himself to the title match to finally win back the WWE Universal Title, which he had given up at the end of 2018 due to his leukemia disease. For Reigns it is the first title win in the WWE in almost 2 years and a new attempt to establish himself as a heel with the help of Paul Heyman to counteract the negative opinions of the fans.
On 08/22 one of the most important matches for DDT's sub-brand Ganbare Pro Wrestling took place, because the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Title, Ganbare's most important belt for several years, was at stake in a match between Hagane Shinnou and ASUKA. Shinnou announced already after his title win in July that he would bury the title after his compulsory defense against ASUKA, because in his opinion the title no longer has the value of earlier than Shinnou won the title from Kota Ibushi. Should ASUKA defeat him, however, the title will continue to exist and he will recognize that ASUKA has what it takes to have the same success as Kota Ibushi. The champion repeatedly attacked the challenger's leg in the match, but ASUKA survived these attacks and after a capture buster she was crowned the youngest champion in the long history of the title.
33/2020: Dread King Logan
In the various US states, wrestling promotions deal differently with the corona crisis. While some are still at a standstill, Michigan is one of the more active states where most leagues are trying to get back to some form of everyday life. This was also the case last weekend, when some Michigan promotions were held. The Dread King Logan was twice as successful when he first won the heavyweight title of Pro Wrestling All-Stars Of Detroit from Chuck Stein on Friday and immediately followed on Saturday by winning the Proving Ground Title from XICW. For the Michigan man, this is the most successful weekend of his young career so far.
Suzu Suzuki is just 17 years old and just under a month before her 18th birthday, she gave herself the biggest present. The graduate of the Ice Ribbon Dojo got her third chance at the Ice Ribbon Show in Yokohama last Sunday for the ICExInfinity Title, the highest title of Ice Ribbon, held by Maya Yukihi. After she was inferior to the title holder in November 2019 and June 2020, it should finally work in the third attempt and Suzuki defeated Yukihi in a good 23 minutes to win the title for the first time. This is her greatest success in her still young career and as the future hope of her doctorate, she is now at the top of Ice Ribbon as the title holder.
Dragon Gate fans kept asking themselves when Eita would be able to establish herself as one of the top wrestlers in the promotion. After he failed in the final of Ben-K in the King Of Gate 2019, he succeeded in winning the tournament this year and in the final even against reigning Open The Dream Gate Champion Naruki Doi. Against the same Doi, Eita had the first Open The Dream Gate title match of his career almost 2 months later in Wakyama. And as in the final of the King Of Gate tournament, the leader of R.E.D. take the champion to the task with the Numero Uno. With this triumph, Eita not only sat at the top of Dragon Gate, but also became the league's youngest Grand Slam champion at the age of 28.
The year 2020 has been very successful for Giulia so far. After the student of the Ice Ribbon Dojo left her home league in October 2019, she joined the popular Stardom doctorate. It didn't take long for her to acclimatize there and so she won this year's edition of the Cinderella Tournament in March 2020. In May 2020 Arisa Hoshiki had to give up the Wonder Of Stardom Title due to an injury and so the next big chance for Giulia arose with a 4 women tournament for the vacant title. After defeating Konami in the first round, the tournament final followed last Sunday, where the London-born Japanese was able to prevail against Tam Nakano after just under half an hour and with her second tournament win in four months, her first major singles title in was able to secure her young career.
At the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Deonna Purrazzo was still under WWE contract, where her successes on the NXT roster were rather limited. The wave of layoffs in April then also fell victim to Deonna, which, however, immediately took advantage of Impact Wrestling and signed the lady from the east coast. Two short TV appearances later, Purrazzo got her big chance last Saturday at the Slammiversary XII PPV with a title match against knockouts champion Jordynne Grace and was actually able to dethrone her after six months as the title holder. The CAGEMATCH users rated the match as the best of the show so far and for Deonna it is the first major title win in a mainstream promotion.
Last weekend, New Japan Pro Wrestling celebrated their return to a larger crowd with the final of the New Japan Cup and Dominion, and that with a real bang: EVIL not only won the popular trophy in the final match against the rainmaker Kazuchika Okada and joined in the same breath to the Bullet Club, but one evening later he challenged the reigning double champion and former "Pareja" Tetsuya Naito to the big title match. He threw everything in the balance, presented his new partner with the Japanese wrestling legend Dick Togo and actually won the big gold. "Everything is EVIL", and so now the big titles from New Japan and this week's Superstar Of The Week Award.
In June 2019 the traditional Japanese independent league Kaientai Dojo was renamed Active Advance Pro Wrestling after 17 years of existence and the departure of TAKA Michinoku. In September the league introduced a new highest title with the 2AW Openweight Title. Two people have so far been able to call the title their own and last Sunday a third title holder was allowed to join the ranks. Ayato Yoshida, himself a graduate of the K-Dojo in 2015, defeated champion Yuji Okabayashi in the main event of the one-year birthday show of 2AW and thus secured his second singles title after he was also the last STRONGEST-K champion before the league was renamed to Could enter history books.
In 1995 Onryo made his in-ring debut and was initially active as an independent player in Japan, before he founded one of the most bizarre wrestling promotions in the world under the name 666 together with Crazy SKB in 2003. Last weekend the league had its Vol. 97 event, with which they also celebrated the 25th in-ring anniversary of Onryo. Onryo was in the main event and crowned his anniversary by winning the 666 Chaos Undecided Freedom Title from Yuko Miyamoto after just under 20 minutes. Onryo is only the second holder of the title, which was introduced in December 2018.
Given the occasion, we are not dedicating our award for the past week to a single wrestler, but to the movement that is currently shaking the wrestling world under the hashtag #SpeakingOut on Twitter, but will hopefully make it better in the long term. Various women, starting from the British wrestling scene but now from all over the world, have found the courage in the course of the movement to report from traumatizing experiences to sexual assaults that they had to endure as part of the wrestling business and partly out of fear , Had kept helplessness or shame to themselves for a long time. CAGEMATCH supports this movement with full conviction and hopes that a corresponding effect will not fail to exist.
After Sami Zayn could no longer defend the Intercontinental Title due to the current situation, the WWE declared the title vacant and started a tournament to choose a new champion. Last week's SmackDown edition finally saw the final between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, a matchup from very early Ring Of Honor days. After almost 40 minutes, AJ Styles was able to triumph in the end and thus secured the Intercontinental Title for the first time. It is his sixth title win in the WWE.
In the summer of 2018, Io Shirai made a successful debut at WWE when she reached the final of the Mae Young Classic 2018 with her first appearances. There she was later defeated by Toni Storm, but it already showed that the experienced Japanese would only need a little start-up time. In the following years, Shirai worked her way up in the strong women's division of NXT and can now boast her first title win. After winning a # 1 Contendership Ladder Match on the NXT TV Show, she crowned herself with her first WWE title on Sunday's big NXT TakeOver: In Your House Show when she beat Charlotte in a triple threat match Flair and Rhea Ripley were able to triumph and Charlotte took the NXT Women's Title at the same time.
Apollo Crews has been under a WWE contract for five years now. After the powerhouse, trained by Mr. Hughes, first attracted attention in the southern states at the beginning of his career and took part in regular tours for Dragon Gate in Japan early on, his development at WWE was much less rapid. After a year on the NXT roster, crews switched to the main shows, but were only used there sporadically. There were also hardly any title chances for him, most likely in the tag team area with Titus O'Neil. At last week's RAW, Apollo Crews was finally able to end its dry spell and dethroned Andrade as WWE United States Champion on the second attempt. For Apollo Crews it is the first title win in the WWE and the culmination of its strongest phase so far, which began with the move to RAW in April.
For All Elite Wrestling it was called "Double Or Nothing" for the second time last weekend and for the first time they held a PPV in front of empty spectators. The evening produced a number of winners, including a new AEW Women's World title holder in Hikaru Shida. The Japanese managed to defeat the "Native Beast" Nyla Rose in a No Disqualification Match, which is the best-rated women's match in the league so far by CAGEMATCH users. Shida ended Nyla's reign after 101 days and, as the third title holder, will now try for her part to surpass Riho's previous record reign of 133 days.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lack of noteworthy events in the wrestling world, we will only award the Superstar Of The Week Award again if there is a suitable occasion for it.
Unusual times call for unusual measures: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Money In The Bank Ladder Matches took place at the PPV of the same name last Sunday at the headquarters of World Wrestling Entertainment. In the ladder match for women, Carmella, Lacey Evans, Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Dana Brooke and Asuka fought for the coveted suitcase. Asuka was able to hang the suitcase on the roof of the building and thus apparently secured a title fight, but the next day it turned out that the suitcase already contained the RAW Women's Title, which Becky Lynch had to give up due to pregnancy. By winning the women's title of the red brand, Asuka not only won all available women's titles at WWE, but also won the Money In The Bank Ladder Match and the Royal Rumble Match. No one has ever succeeded in doing this before. We also give Asuka the Superstar Of The Week Award.
Chris Vice has been wrestling since 2004 and, with the exception of a few trips to California, has spent most of his wrestling career in his native Australia. In 2018 Vice moved to Japan and permanently joined Pro Wrestling ZERO1. At the ZERO1 TV show last Sunday without an audience, the Australian achieved his greatest success so far, when he surprisingly relieved ZERO1 World Heavyweight Champion Kohei Sato for the title. For Vice it is already the second title that he can currently call his own in ZERO1, after winning the United National Heavyweight Title of the promotion in January.
Impact Wrestling ventured into their first show without spectators in Corona times last week. On Day 1 of Rebellion 2020, Willie Mack won his first Impact Wrestling title when he dethroned X-Division Champion Ace Austin after 184 days. For the massive man, born in Missouri, it was a long way through the California Indies, missed development contract in 2014 and subsequent breakthrough with Lucha Underground and House Of Hardcore. But now Willie Mack is celebrating the next major title by winning the X-Division Title after his reign as NWA National Champion, which lasted until April 2019.
Some of the major wrestling leagues keep their TV shows going without live viewers. For example Pro Wrestling NOAH, who presented The Spirit 2020 last Sunday. In the main event, Rene Dupree and the son of Dr. Wagner Jr. secure the GHC Tag Team titles, but we would like to leave our spotlight to the winner of the Semi Main Event. Kotaro Suzuki, Misawa trainee at the NOAH Dojo in 2001, defeated old master Yoshinari Ogawa in over 25 minutes and secured the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title for the fourth time. Since returning to NOAH in 2018, Suzuki has now won four titles and is now back at the top of the league's internal junior division.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lack of noteworthy events in the wrestling world, we will only award the Superstar Of The Week Award again if there is a suitable occasion for it.
Since returning to World Wrestling Entertainment, Drew McIntyre has been doing much better than his first run.After winning the NXT title and being promoted to the main roster, WWE RAW Tag Team Gold won alongside Dolph Ziggler. After breaking up with Ziggler, McIntyre's star rose on and on. McIntyre secured his place in the WrestleMania Main Event against Brock Lesnar by winning the men's Royal Rumble Match. Since the win, McIntyre and Lesnar have been hooked until the two finally showdown last Sunday. McIntyre was able to pin The Beast Incarnate 4:35 minutes after the Claymore Kick and thus secure the WWE title for the first time. The victory makes McIntyre not only the 31st WWE Triple Crown Champion but also the first British WWE Champion. We also give the Scotsman the Superstar Of The Week Award.
Not much is happening in the wrestling world right now. However, All Japan hosted their Dream Power Series last Monday and in the main event Suwama was able to secure the Triple Crown of Kento Miyahara in a match rated **** 1/2 by the Observer. Miyahara's reign ended after 519 days, placing him third in the longest Triple Crown reigns behind Misawa (705 days, 1992-1994) and Kawada (529 days, 2003-2005). Suwama, on the other hand, begins his seventh reign as Triple Crown Champion and is the sole record holder of the title with this value.
In a time with only a few wrestling shows in the world, at least death match legend Ryuji Ito was able to expand his trophy cabinet again. With a win over Abdullah Kobayashi, 43-year-old Ito secured the BJW Death Match Heavyweight Title for the seventh time, probably the most prestigious hardcore title of modern times. Should Ito be able to hold the title for at least three weeks, he would break the 2000 day limit with the total duration of his reigns, far behind in second place is Yuko Miyamoto with 825 days.
Kaz Hayashi can look back on an illustrious career with the supposed high points as AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion in 2004-2005 and an almost two-year reign from 2009-2011. WRESTLE-1 has been his home doctorate since 2013 and there the former WCW Cruiserweight achieved the big hit last Sunday when he was able to defeat WRESTLE-1 champion Katsuhiko Nakajima in just under 25 minutes and himself with the most important one at the age of 46 May honor the title of a doctorate.
Cara Noir's wave of success does not want to end. After the Briton won the ATTACK! Title, he went one better with the PROGRESS Unified World Title in January. Last weekend, however, "The Black Swan" reached a new high when it competed in this year's 16 Carat Gold Tournament at wXw. With victories over Marius Al-Ani, Jeff Cobb and Eddie Kingston, he made it into the finals, where he was able to triumph over Mike Bailey after just under half an hour and thus adorn himself with the prestigious tournament win on his wXw debut.
The then Dean Ambrose blamed the creative team and the development of his character for his departure from WWE almost a year ago. Since his debut for All Elite Wrestling, Jon Moxley has shone in the Steve Austin-esquer role, but "Le Champion" Chris Jericho was at the top of the league until the very end. That was to change last Saturday at AEW's PPV Revolution, where Moxley ended Jericho's reign after 182 days and crowned himself the second champion in AEW history. The era of Moxley has now officially begun.
About a month ago, at the end of his tour with Dramatic Dream Team, Chris Brookes announced that he would return in February and then even stay in Japan for a full year. While Brookes was doing a little farewell tour in the UK last month, DDT announced that the DDT Universal Title would be a new title that should serve to become more internationally known. A little later, Brookes and DDT Ace Konosuke Takeshita were announced, the two people who will make the first title holder among themselves. In their previous singles matches, both of them were able to achieve a victory, in their third meeting Brookes was not only able to increase the statistics to 2: 1 with a roll-up, but can now also call himself the first DDT Universal Champion.
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