Finlay, Sabre advance to second round
The NJPW World Television Championship Tournament got underway on October 14 in Korakuen Hall. The Hall saw the first two matches of the 16 man tournament as Zack Sabre Jr. took on Alex Zayne while David Finlay tackled Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
As Finlay tried to set an early pace against Suzuki-gun’s Heel Master, veteran Kanemaru had the early upper hand. Able to slow Finlay dramatically, Kanemaru was expert in his use of a head scissors, even using the hold on the outside to almost force a countout win.
Snug shots from the Rebel would create distance though, and Finlay closed that distance with acceleration and authority. A trademark European uppercut out the corner made its mark, but Kanemaru came back with his own signature offence. A satellite DDT, and a picture perfect Moonsault got two before the SuzukiGun member thought of Deep Impact.
Yet Finlay met the finishing move in mid air with Prima Nocta, and hoisted Kanemaru up over his shoulder to hit the move a second time. Getting an Irish Curse backbreaker on the second time of asking, Finlay soon followed with the Trash Panda, advancing to round two.
There Finlay will face Zack Sabre Jr, who got past a game Alex Zayne with just five seconds left on the clock. Zayne didn’t stand on ceremony as he exploded out the blocks, landing a massive tope con giro as ZSJ made his entrance and the bell sounded.
Taking full early control of the match, Zayne was able to re aggravate nagging rib issues for Sabre, forcing ZSJ to go to the knees of his high flying opposition in response. As Zayne took a brute force approach to the Briton, it was ZSJ that wrestled a more considered and smarter match, taking Zayne’s top rope flipping Frankensteiner, but able to scout and avoid both the Baja Blast and Cinnamon Twist.
As time ran out, Zayne went for his primary Taco Driver finisher, but this too was countered by Sabre. Less aware of the dwindling time limit than of the searing pain in his knees, Zayne eventually decided he could last no longer and submitted. It was only as the time call happened that the Sauce learned he was just five seconds away from a time limit draw and a coin toss decision; instead it was Sabre left to declare his intention to win his first singles championship at Wrestle Kingdom.
Zack Sabre Jr. will now face David Finlay in the tournament’s second round on October 27. First round tournament action continues Saturday October 15, where Aaron Henare faces EVIL and YOSHI-HASHI meets Jeff Cobb.