Finally, we’ve arrived at the finals of the Saikyō Cup. Yet another chapter in the ongoing, years-long enmity between Godslayer and Kingdom will be written in the finals tonight. Taka Sakaragi is planning something in his own enmity with the Ironhearts. The Friends and Partners championships are on the line. And what the heck is up with Garry “Ray-Ray” Bolamba, and why does he look like he runs Shadaloo now?
All of this and more from Osaka, where it’s always a great place to Bang!
APRIL 11th, 2023: SEKAI SAIKYOU CUP, FINALS, OSAKA, NIGHT 2
- Intelligent Design (“Stunning” Sam Smart & “Thick Walls” Wally Wallace) def. Junpei Tsukioka & Saburou Tanaka @ 9:19 after the Cosmic Debunking (throwing crucifix bomb into a neckbreaker) from Smart & Wallace to Tanaka
- SlapShark(?) (Generalissimo Garry “Ray-Ray” Bolamba & Lord Kurosame-sama) def. The Fabulous Hentai Brothers (Michael & Matthew) @ 4:55 by submission after the Deep Sea Thrombosis (calf killer) from Kurosame to Matthew
- Bang! With Your Friends Championship: The Crownless Kingdom (Powerslam Anubis, Ignacio el Jaguar & “Lunch Lawyer” Lord Gavin Yum, Esq.) def. The Kazuyagumi (“Ace of Hearts” Kazuya Fukumaru, Victor “the Constrictor” Jimenez & “Queen of Maniacs” Fujiko Natori) © @ 12:05 by pinfall after the Scales of Dominion (fireman’s carry powerslam) from Anubis to Jimenez, with Yum covering, to win the titles!
- Bang! With Your Partner Championship: The New World Trash (Bex Savage & Angel Quinley) © def. the Jacks of All Trades (“Jumpin’” Jack Sweetwater & “Picture Perfect” Jack Pizazz) @ 20:33 after a Cement Poisoning (running pump dropkick into half nelson suplex) from Savage/Quinley to Sweetwater to retain the titles!
- “Hawkeye” Taka Sakaragi & “Grim Face” Ichiro Kuwayama def. “The Iron Idol” Riko Tsukino & “Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa @ 18:08 by pinfall after an Iron Sight (Kamigoye) from Sakaragi to Tsukino
- Saikyō Cup, Finals: Claire Merci def. “The Godslayer” Akira Hanazawa @ 35:19 by pinfall after multiple buzzsaw kicks and a knee strike to win the tournament!
The early matches included the newly-named Intelligent Design putting a whooping on Saburou Tanaka… with Junpei Tsukioka outright walking out on his long-time tag team partner! We wouldn’t find out where Tsukioka went off to until later in the night.
Things got a little weird for the next match with the Fabulous Hentai Brothers taking on Lord Kurosame-sama and Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson… or, as we’ve come to know him, Generalissimo Garry “Ray-Ray” Bolamba. He was dressed like M. Bison. From the Street Fighter. With a huge, billowing cape. With a microphone built into his military cap and his arms crossed, Ray-Ray began a speech. He was talking some nonsense about the abomination army he was building, and how he now owned an island somewhere thanks to the good graces of his cool father, Timo Bolamba. Which probably explained why Lord Kurosame-sama was dressed in battle fatigues and wore an admiral’s fancy hat. Or it didn’t explain it, I don’t know.
We have no idea what was going on with this. Lord Kurosame-sama did much of the work in the context, harrying the Hentais with his usual brand of trickery. Also, at one point, he pulled out a gun. Now, before you tell me that this is the most illegal thing you can do in a wrestling match, I feel it important to point out that it was a water pistol. He sprayed Michael in the eyes with it, then the Generalissimo smashed him in the face with one of his trademark slaps. Another spray to the eyes from Lord Kurosame-sama’s gun to Matthew let to him rolling the Hentai into the Deep Sea Thrombosis for the submission victory.
As the unusual pair left the ring, Generalissimo Garry “Ray-Ray” Bolamba ordered the capture and detention of one of the Young Lions, identified as Shinji Komiya. Lord Kurosame-sama hogtied him and dragged him away in a wheelbarrow. Which he conveniently had. I hope we’re not turning the wheelbarrow into a character, too. Please, no. I beg of you.
The festivities truly began with the Bang! With Your Friends Championship! The champions, the Kazuyagumi, defended their belts against the Crownless Kingdom! Given the choice between Coral Avalon and Lord Gavin Yum, Esq., the pair of Ignacio el Jaguar and Powerslam Anubis selected the Lunch Lawyer as their third man!
The match was a completely chaotic brawl, featuring no real tags and a lot of mayhem… which is to be expected when referee “Soft Hands” Tsukuji is on the case! Actually, that’s probably the case for a lot of Bang! Pro Wrestling’s referees, but especially here!
The chaos that ensued was fought all over the building, but rarely did it ever enter the actual ring! Lord Gavin Yum, Esq. took advantage of the chaos by cheating his ass off the entire time, pounding on Fukumaru with low blows, eye rakes, and much more! Chairs were swung, tables were broken! When the match finally, mercifully got back into the ring, it was the two technicians in the ring against one another – Lord Yum and Victor Jimenez!
After a long sequence of holds, cheating, holds with cheating, and cheating holds, Jimenez hooked in the Constrictor Coil on Yum! But a well-timed distraction from Ignacio allowed Yum to land a mule kick below the belt, allowing Powerslam Anubis to land the Scales of Dominion on the Mexican submissionist. Yum then fell on top to pick up the win and the Friends titles!
An auspicious start for the Crownless Kingdom, to be sure. Kazuya Fukumaru was livid after the match, throwing things all the way to the backstage and wreaking general havoc. Meanwhile, the new champions walked to the back with their heads held high… confident that their winning would continue tonight!
The Bang! With Your Partner championships were on the line when the New World Trash team of Bex Savage and Angel Quinley took on what’s left of the Jacks of All Trades after Graves’ injuries from the Saikyou Cup at the hands of Taka Sakaragi.
The veteran Jacks were at a loss on how to deal with the blatant disregard of one’s physical well-being on display by the Trash in the early goings of the match, getting blitzed on all sides by their offense. While the Jacks regained control of the match through their usual shenanigans, the absence of Jack Graves in their corner significantly hindered their usual tactics of distractions and triple-teaming that’s helped the Jacks become three-time Bang! With Your Partners champions in the past.
The Jacks nearly picked up the win when they teamed up to land a spiked Jack Frostdriver on Quinley, but Savage broke things up and fought the two Jacks two-on-one for a while. Eventually, the Jacks took back advantage and attempted the same thing on Savage, only for Quinley to catch the jumping Pizazz off of the top rope with a double knee facebuster!
Savage landed the Bakebrainer on Pizazz, then the pair landed the Cement Poisoning on Sweetwater to put away the Jacks and retain the championships!
After the match, several things happened. The first was that the Trash were jumped by the debuting No Laughing Matter team of Frank Pastore and Domingo Cruz! The representatives of the Gamble Adoration Syndicate made their Bang! Pro Wrestling debuts standing tall over the Bang! With Your Friends champions, even holding up the titles. But they were then distracted by a video package of an oncoming storm, which allowed the Intelligent Design pair of Wally Wallace and Sam Smart to hit the ring and pick a fight with them and the Trash as well!
And then all hell broke loose when 2019 Flynn Cup winners and general ass-kickers No Quarter, the team of Bracken Krueger and Daryn Thompson, entered the fray and started whooping on everything that had two arms and two legs! Referees and officials had a hell of a time separating the four tag teams until Bang! Chairwoman Inoue Doi herself intervened!
One thing’s for certain: there’s a lot of eyes on those Partners titles, now!
“Hawkeye” Taka Sakaragi has become a serious thorn in the sides of his former Ironhearts since leaving the group back in February. While he’s often gone alone in his campaign against his former stablemates, tonight’s different. Tonight, Sakaragi has help, and it comes in the form of a newly returned young lion back from excursion: “Grim Face” Ichiro Kuwayama. The heavyweight stud made his Bang! Pro Wrestling return with his dyed blonde hair and his skull-themed face paint to team with Sakaragi against the championship Ironheart pair of Bang! Openweight Champion “Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa and Bang! Conception Champion Riko Tsukino!
Kuwayama brought devastating wrestling skills into the match, combined with a punishing submission game he learned from his time in England. He dominated for the portions of the match he was in, easily fending off the valiant Openweight champion’s attacks while punishing the Conception champion. When Sakaragi was in the ring, he used his strong martial arts background to continue beating Tsukino senseless like he did when he defeated her in the second round of the Saikyō Cup!
The Ironhearts bounced back, as they always did. Ichikawa ejects Kuwayama and brawled with him on the outside, while Tsukino looked to be able to take this thing by landing the Sunspark on Sakaragi! But after a two count, referee “Weird Elbows” Wakayama was pulled out of the ring by… Junpei Tsukioka!
This allowed a fourth hooded man to enter the ring and smash Tsukino with a steel chair before fleeing the scene, allowing Sakaragi to pick up the pieces, landing the Iron Sight to once again put down Tsukino!
After the match, Ichikawa manages to get Tsukino out of the ring before anything worse happens to her at the hands of what’s apparently a new faction. Sakaragi formally challenged Tsukino for the Conception championship, vowing to tear down the Ironhearts by any means necessary. The fourth man unhooded himself, revealing himself to be another young lion back from excursion by the name of EIJI. Sakaragi declared the name of his new faction: “DESTROY IT ALL”.
In the main event, it’s the finals of the Saikyō Cup!
On one side, there was the self-styled “Queen” of the Crownless Kingdom, Claire Merci, fresh off of her narrow win over fellow Crownless Kingpin, Coral Avalon. Her journey through the Saikyō Cup hasn’t been easy, with victories over Angel Quinley, Kensuke BLACK, Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson, and Coral Avalon. But her toughest test to date lies before her: a date with the Godslayer.
Akira Hanazawa’s trip through the tournament has been at times easy. His utter demolition of “Stuntman” Timmy Lester proved that the 6’7”, 285 pound monster was still fully capable of achieving pure destruction at the drop of a hat. Yet, his path has also been very difficult. Powerslam Anubis got himself disqualified beating Hanazawa with a steel chair. The ever-dangerous Anna Daniels came within moments of upending him. Lord Gavin Yum, Esq. had dismantled him. Then Powerslam Anubis hit him with a steel chair again, because the Judgement King has no chill.
Merci initially came out with the entire Kingdom – Anubis, Yum, Jaguar, and even Avalon. However, referee Ryuunosuke Doi kicked out all of the Kingdom except Avalon, who was generally understood to be an observer and nothing more due to his well-documented disdain for interfering in matches.
Hanazawa spent the opening moments of the match utterly destroying the Merciless Queen in rapid succession, throwing her around the ring like a ragdoll and suplexing her at will. A Ragnarok Driver was attempted, but Merci fought her way out of it and tried chopping the big man down with her long legs and brutal kicks. Yet, the Godslayer continued unabated until around the ten minute mark when the match spilled out to the floor.
Merci baited Hanazawa into running into a ring post, and then used everything on the outside to try and injure the beast. Considering how lax Doi is with the rules, this included steel chairs, the steel ring steps, and even managing to throw Hanazawa into a table. She attempted to take the countout victory, but Hanazawa was back in the ring at the count of nineteen, and Claire was forced to do things the hard way.
Submissions followed. And when those didn’t work, Claire went back to the striking, aiming her best kicks for Hanazawa’s face. She even bloodied him this way. Yet, the Godslayer remained undeniable, and twenty minutes in, he roared back with his array of heavy blows and suplexes. He controlled the pace for a while, throwing Merci around at will and staring daggers at his long-time enemy Coral Avalon the entire time he did it.
This staring eventually led to full-on taunting by the Godslayer, which allowed Merci to mount a comeback. She rocked Hanazawa with a series of flying knees. An attempt at the Royal Butterfly Suplex went nowhere due to the size difference, so Merci instead locked in the Royal Hanging Garden Stretch! Hanazawa had never before tapped out in his entire career, but he was in danger here! This especially held true when Merci relentlessly pressured him to drop to his knees with joint manipulation, and really wrenched in the hold! But Hanazawa is clearly not human, and was constructed from steel and hate, and he manages to get to his feet and counter into a Death Valley Driver for a narrow near fall!
After the thirty minute mark, Hanazawa looked to have things in hand after landing the God’s Shattering Star northern lariat. However, his attempt at the Ragnarok Driver was countered into a DDT, and then the Royal Butterfly Suplex! However, it only got two as Merci was too exhausted to even bridge the suplex and took too long to make a proper cover.
Merci’s attempts to draw Hanazawa up in order to land another one was met with the Ragnarok Driver, which should have spelt the end for the Merciless Queen. However, much like the match with Gorou Ichikawa just three months ago, he landed it too close to the ropes! And when he pulled Merci into the center to cover her again, she still got her shoulder up. Hanazawa could smell blood in the water, though, and he hoisted her up for the Ragnarok Driver for another time… only for her to turn it around back into the Royal Hanging Garden Stretch!
The joint manipulation brought Hanazawa to his knees yet again, but he refused to tap out and even seemed urged on just by the presence of Coral Avalon urging him to do so. But then Claire released the hold and absolutely hammered Hanazawa’s head with a buzzsaw kick. Then a second one. Then a third one. A fourth. A fifth. Then, with one final flourish, she hammered him with a straight knee to the skull and fell on top of him… for the win!
Claire Merci, the Merciless Queen of the Crownless Kingdom, is your 2023 Sekai Saikyō Cup champion!
After the match, the rest of the Crownless Kingdom came out to hoist the exhausted Merci on their shoulders. She held up the Hardweight championship, still in her possession, as she yelled in triumph. Behind them, Avalon waved a battle standard in support of his protégé’s victory. In her victory speech, a hoarse-voiced Merci communicated that she would become Bang! Pro Wrestling’s first-ever female Openweight champion… even if doing so would mean she’d have to conquer the even more unconquerable leader of the Ironhearts, Gorou Ichikawa.
Despite the fact that the entire Kingdom was there, Gorou Ichikawa came to the ring alone to confront the Saikyō Cup winner. After a tense standoff between the record-breaking Openweight champion and the defiant Merciless Queen, the rest of the Kingdom willfully exited the ring to allow Merci and Ichikawa to shake hands ahead of what may be the biggest showdown in Bang! Pro Wrestling to date!
Mark May 11th on your calendars, because Hell’s Blazing Garden is going to heat up!