WCA AA Evolution Cup: Night 1
All three General Managers are on the opening call for the first day of the Atsushi Aoki Evolution Cup. Kobashi takes the lead on the announcements, reminding the assembled crowd that this is the first of 9 nights as the 10 competitors, carefully selected from the ranks of World Class Alliance’s three promotions, will face off to decide who is the best of the junior division. Pride is on the line for the competitors and the companies they represent.
The GMs, in turn, announce the chosen competitors from their brands, all gathering in the ring behind the flags for their respective promotions. For Full Throttle, competing are MAO, Kushida, Sho and Fuminori Abe. For Anarchy, we have Mike Bailey, Shota and Fenix. For Ground Zero, Daisuke Sasaki, Shuji Kondo and Nobuhiro Shimatani round out the field.
All 10 competitors and the three GMs pose in the ring as the bell is sounded to start the inaugural Atsushi Aoki Evolution Cup!
Ryota Hashimoto vs KENTA
Ryota Hashimoto makes his Ground Zero debut and gets thrown right to the wolves facing a pissed off KENTA. After failing in the Mirrored Dreams Championship match he’s definitely got something to prove here. Ryota wearing purple zebra print tights with colorful tassels hanging off the sides and white boots to stand out. The bell rings and the two lock up, as Ryota takes KENTA’s arm behind his body wrenching on a hammerlock! KENTA goes to throw his free elbow back, but Ryota ducks it and catches his arm rolling him up in a cradle! However, KENTA immediately kicks out caught a little off guard. The two get up and stand off again, as KENTA kicks Ryota in the stomach then follows it up with a kick to the chest.
KENTA raises him up into a seated position running off the ropes and blasting him in the chest with a PK! KENTA would cover Ryota with his foot on his chest, but Ryota powers out! KENTA would drape him over the middle rope looking for the Hangman’s DDT, but Ryota makes it back into the ring and hits a Northern Lights Suplex! Ryota would then hit a series of leg lariats! Going for a roundhouse kick, but KENTA ducks and Ryota catches him with a leg sweep that drops him to a seated position. Running off the ropes and hitting a running Meteora! Ryota is on fire! He goes for a springboard, but he loses his balance obviously not very polished yet! He falls down, and KENTA angrily gets up and starts punting him in the head.
KENTA jerks him up by the hair and hits him with the slap combo, and as he falls he is met with the spinning backfist! Ryota drops to his knees and is met with the knee of KENTA right into the face! KENTA stands over him slapping him senseless, and the referee has to stop the match Ryota is out!
KENTA Def. Ryota Hashimoto(9:34)
KENTA grabs the mic, and shouts into it. “You don’t do that shit! Not to me, not any of your veterans. If you haven’t practiced that to perfection don’t you ever try that on someone again. Or the result will be the same, don’t you want to be stronger and leave an impact here? If you keep that up your time here will be filled with pain.” KENTA drops the mic, and exits as the newest Ground Zero acquisition makes his way out! It’s Hiroshi Tanahashi! He climbs into the ring, and picks up Ryota carrying him out the ring and to the back.
MAO v Sasaki
Both Sasaki and MAO are here with something to prove after their recent losses at Heartbreak Mosh. Can they get their tournament off to the right start? There’s no suggestion of a handshake, both sticking to their respective corners until the bell rings and MAO fires across the ring into a running dropkick. Sasaki neatly sidesteps the move, stomping into the back of the downed MAO for good measure until MAO rolls out of the ring. Not one to shy away from additional violence, Sasaki follows him to make sure MAO gets a taste of the ringpost.
Still dazed, MAO manages to reverse Sasaki’s attempts to throw him into the barrier, Sasaki hitting it instead with a thud to his gut. MAO gets hold of Sasaki for a standing DDT, leaving him struggling to get back to his feet while MAO climbs into the apron. A leap up onto the ropes and a moonsault from MAO to the outside has both collapsed against the barrier, already worn down after a rapid start to the match.
MAO gets to his feet first, dragging Sasaki into the ring for a flurry of kicks but Sasaki grabs at MAO’s leg, knocking him off balance and getting MAO twisted into a leg lock instead. MAO manages to scramble to the ropes but Sasaki is confident in pushing his advantage, targeting MAO’s right leg further with stomps and an elbow drop.
Back on his feet, MAO has lost some of his speed and kicks to Sasaki’s attacks but still manages to knock Sasaki back into the ropes with a dropkick and leave him reeling from a flying forearm. Tossing him down to the mat, MAO climbs the ropes but as he reaches the top, a well timed grab and shake of the rope by a suddenly more alert Sasaki has MAO losing his footing and falling, one leg either side of the top rope. Collapsing to the mat, hands occupied too late with trying to protect himself, he makes as easy target for Sasaki’s kicks and then an elbow drop from the top. MAO just gets a shoulder up at 2 but Sasaki gives him no respite, transitioning immediately into a crossface that has MAO tapping out in moments.
Sasaki Def. MAO (11:07)
Kondo vs Abe
This is a AA Evolution Cup match as FULL THROTTLE’s Fuminori Abe takes on Ground Zero’s Shuji Kondo. Abe comes at Kondo with a series of slaps back him into a corner before hitting him with a spinning back kick while he was trapped! Abe grabs Kondo’s legs and hits him with a Dragon Screw Leg Whip! Kondo gets up hobbling and Abe catches him with a a frankensteiner! Covering him in the middle of the ring, but only manages a 2-count! Abe would reel back and punch Kondo in the face! Before going for his reach around kick, but Kondo lariats his leg out of the air!
Kondo would then grab Abe and toss him in the air catching him with the original! Covering him in the middle of the ring, but only managing a 2-count. As Kondo would then measure Fuminori Abe looking to charge off the ropes, but Abe pulls him back in. Catching him in an Octopus Hold! Wrenching back on the hold looking to make Kondo submit, but Kondo powers over to the ropes to force a break. Abe wasted no time as soon as Kondo got to his feet he rushes over to the ropes, but Kondo charged to the opposite rope and crushed him with a King Kong Lariat! Kondo covers him for the 3-count and the 2 points!
Shuji Kondo Def. Fuminori Abe(11:22)
Kushida vs Nobuhiro Shimatani
Kushida the veteran in this matchup and in tournaments of this nature looks to make an impact and secure a big victory on night 1. Shimatani might not be as experienced as Kushida but he knows how to keep fighting. That will be key not just tonight but throughout the entire tournament. They make it to the ring and the bell rings as they exchange lockups with Kushida coming out on top. Keeping the arm lock, Kushida transitions into a quick pin but Shimatani is able to get home shoulder up but he got a taste of just how quickly Kushida can end things.
Shimatani tries to go into what he knows, and lays in some kicks and uses his speed to try and throw off Kushida. It works long enough for Shimatani to catch Kushida with a big hurricanrana that sends Kushida to the outside. Trying to keep the momentum going, Shimatani rushes the ropes and flies through the middle rope. Crashing with all his body weight on top of Kushida, Shimatani finds an early advantage. Tossing Kushida back in, Shimatani puts the boots to him before heading to the corner and stalking his prey. Kushida finally makes it to his feet and is met with the unpleasant feeling of Shimatani’s boots in his chest as he gets hit with a John Woo dropkick.
Shimatani capitalizes and goes for the pin but Kushida is far from done. Kicking out, Kushida tries to get back on the offensive with some chops. Sending Shimatani towards the ropes before colliding with him and hitting a Handspring Back Elbow. Once Shimatani begins to rise, Kushida sends him back down with a Buzzsaw Kick and goes for the pin. Shimatani kicks out too and Kushida is a bit surprised.
They trade big moves with each other, both giving it their all but not able to put each other away. Kushida looks for the finish, he has Shimatani up for the Back to the Future but Shimatani wiggles himself out. Firing forearms at the jaw of Kushida knocks him loopy and he gets finished off with an Enzuigiri. Shimatani goes for a Springboard but Kushida catches him…or so he thought, Shimatani slides to the back and lands a flush Reverse Striker and just gets Kushida! Shimatani has beaten the veteran in a great first round win.
Shimatani via Reverse Striker (14:22)
Sho v Shota
There’s a hint of nervousness in Sho as he makes his way to the ring, shaking out his wrists and avoiding eye contact with the light on his feet Shota in the opposite corner. Sho is coming off a long losing streak in Full Throttle, though Shota too has something to prove here as a singles competitor.
This looks initially like it will be a grappling match as the two lock up and trade holds. Sho seems to have the better of Shota but can’t seem to make anything of it, Shota consistently escaping his grip. But then Shota makes the mistake of chopping Sho in the chest as they separate and suddenly this is a striking match, one that definitely favours the taller and larger Sho. They trade chops in the centre of the ring, then shoulder blows, Shota getting knocked down repeatedly. A heavy lariat from Sho then keeps him down for the first pin attempt of the match.
Pulling Shota up and then tossing him down to a seated position, Sho lays into Shota with some kicks to his back. Sho seems to be getting increasingly fired up, just as Shota is getting worn down. Sho goes for another pin, wrapping his legs around Shota’s head when it fails.
Shota looks done as Sho clamps his thighs around Shota’s head and applies pressure. Shota’s hand waves vaguely, looking like he might tap, with Sho grinning widely, showing off his mouth guard. But Shota holds on, even as his face gets redder. Sho looks frustrated, releasing Shota and dragging him up by his hair as he goes for another choke. But Shota slips out of his grip, elbowing Sho in the gut once, twice and then a running third to leave Sho heavily winded and ready to stumble into a double-knee backbreaker from Shota.
The score evened, the two circle warily, Sho aiming kicks at Shota’s legs as Shota dances easily out of range. Yet again, Sho seems unable to get a real handle on Shota as he’s able to evade Sho’s grasp. Engrossed in this game of cat and mouse, neither are paying attention to the time call until the two minute mark. Suddenly, Sho’s attacks take on an extra level of urgency. His lunging at Shota gives Shota a chance to trip him into a roll up. Sho kicks out with force but Shota looks confident now. A neckbreaker from Shota has Sho sprawled out on the mat, giving time for Shota to climb the ropes. A quick frogsplash is not fast enough as Sho rolls out of the way and back to his feet. He’s on Shota immediately as Shota tries to stand, wrapping arms around Shota’s waist. They struggle as the countdown starts but Sho is stronger and hoists Shota up and crashing down into a suplex. Shota’s shoulders hit the mat just as time expires though, so neither get to find out if it would have been enough.
Sho v Shota (Draw, 20:00)
Mike Bailey vs Rey Fénix
Two competitors of the Anarchy brand and fellow stablemates face off in tournament action. Bailey comes up as “Brass Monkey” blares through the stadium and he greets all the fans in attendance before standing in the right corner and doing some stretches to warm up. Fénix jumps down the ramp in excitement before hyping the crowd up in the left corner. The bell rings and they meet in the center and shake hands with each other. Bailey lands the first strike as he belts Fénix with a kick and Fénix retaliates with a kick of his own.
Battling each other and not giving up one bit, Bailey lands a head kick but Fenix hits a leg kick. Going for another kick, this time Bailey catches it and drops Fenix to the mat. Locking in an ankle lock, he finds no luck as Fenix quickly scrambled to the ropes and escaped the hold. Bailey grips the waist of Fenix, looking for some type of suplex but Fenix runs him to the ropes and pushes off Bailey. Then coming back with a kick to the gut before rushing to the apron and hitting a Springboard Double Foot Stomp on the back of Bailey. Going for the pin, Bailey kicks out quickly.
They trade advantages both hitting big moves like suplexes and dives. Mike Bailey climbs to the top rope and looks to be going for the Ultima Weapon but Fenix springs to his feet and meets him up there. He tries to go for a Spanish Fly but they both land on their feet. Fenix, quick on his feet, lifts up Bailey before he can recognize what’s going on and drops him with a Brainbuster. Going for the pin, he almost gets Bailey but he gets the shoulder up at 2.9.
Fenix goes to whip Bailey into the corner but Bailey reverses and sends Fenix into the corner. Wasting no time, he lifts Fenix up top and onto his shoulders. FLAMINGO DRIVER! Bailey pins Fenix and gets the 3 count. A hard fought win but Bailey gets his first victory in the tournament.
Bailey via Flamingo Driver (11:09)
Scores Night 1: