EVIL, Sabre advance to Osaka semifinal
October 27 saw Battle Autumn continue in Korakuen Hall, and the first quarterfinals in the NJPW World TV Championship tournament.
First to the ring were YOSHI-HASHI and EVIL. CHAOS’ Headhunter started strong against the King of Darkness, but it wasn’t long before Dick Togo scored his first assist of the night to a chorus of boos. Togo and EVIL both poured the pressure onto YOSHI-HASHI, but a series of kickouts saw the CHAOS member gain energy each time, and a flurry of chops preceded a basement dropkick to EVIL’s knee.
YOSHI-HASHI kept momentum going with the Headhunter on his foe, and a dropkick that sent Togo flying off the apron, but the offensive advantage didn’t last long. Blinding YOSHI-HASHI with a rake of the eyes, EVIL saw to it that the referee was struck with a thrust kick, before Togo brought in a pair of steel chairs for the home run swing. Darkness Falls struck for a near two, but YOSHI-HASHI refused to lose, nor to taste a finishing blow, instead sending EVIL crashing into the corner that Togo had exposed.
YOSHI-HASHI landed a series of strikes before sending EVIL into Togo and following up with Kumagoroshi, but the King of Darkness kicked out to his own credit. Unable to keep on track on his own merits though, EVIL tried for a low blow, foiled and turned into a roll-up for a sure fire three had it not been for Togo again. As the Spoiler was sent packing, YOSHI-HASHI landed an innovative Ushigoroshi variant of Karma, but was finally sent into the exposed steel before EVIL connected for three.
The main event of the evening saw David Finlay and Zack Sabre Jr. fighting to join EVIL in Osaka. Finlay perhaps surprised Sabre as he kept pace on the mat with the submission master, and trapping ZSJ with a scarf hold in the early going. Maintaining the upper hand, Finlay rocketed Europen uppercuts to the chest of his foe, but ZSJ would meet Finlay with a shoulder snap before targeting the surgically repaired left arm.
Wincing at the damage done, Finlay was nonetheless able to get a snap suplex, before countering a roll-up into a series of pinfall attempts of his own. Yet a second rope European uppercut attempt proved to be an unforced error, as Sabre was able to get a straight armbar that had his Hontai foe screaming in pain. Now in control, ZSJ baited his opponent into taking another swing only to be felled, but the furious fighting Finlay instead fired up into a Blue Thunder Bomb for two.
As the match entered the final five minutes, Finlay put Sabre up top and scored with a second rope superplex. With damagedone to the arm and shoulder, Trash Panda was denied by the Briton, but the right armed Irish Curse could connect for two. As the match passed 12 minutes, Zack countered an Acid Drop, but the ensuing pin sequence ended up Finlay’s way for 2.9; the match became impossible to read as the crowd got behind both men, but a flying elbow would be countered with a backslide and jackknife that got ZSJ the three.
Zack Sabre Jr. will now face EVIL in Osaka on November 5. The TV tournament continues Sunday October 30 in Makuhari as Ren Narita takes on Toru Yano and SANADA faces KENTA.