Starting a few minutes late thanks to some technical difficulties but less than fifteen minutes after bell time we're live with Trevin Adams and Mister Saint Laurent in the ring talking up the show before getting us right into the action.
Anthony Henry vs. Matt Tremont (Style Battle S1E5 Bracket B First Round Match)
Henry of course familiar to Style Battle viewers for his hybrid technical style, and he's up against arguably the best deathmatch wrestler in the world today in Matt Tremont, so that's a hell of a style clash.
Anthony in fast and hard, using his speed advantage to stay a step ahead and probe Tremont with kicks, but he gets his head absolutely taken off with a lariat! Matt takes things outside, pillar to post, back in Henry throws hands three to one and gets fired up every time he gets knocked down.
Dragon screw, targeting the leg, a Penalty Kick sets up a double stomp into a figure four leglock, follows it up with a crossbody off the top but Tremont catches him and drops him with a Samoan drop and then a Death Valley Driver in turn. Big overhand chop, Henry standing defiant but he collapses after hitting it. Tremont gets him up for a powerbomb, last gasp roll-through...
Anthony Henry wins by pinfall with a pinning predicament.
I was really looking forward to this one and it delivered precisely on the promise I felt it had. Kinda wish we could have saved it for a bit deeper in the tournament and gave it more time, but what we got was good and I'd certainly welcome a rematch anywhere one might happen.
Post-match interview with Trevin, Henry says you can see what shape he's in and asks the crowd to give it up for Matt Tremont as one of the toughest SOBs in the tournament. Tonight he's here for one reason, to have his moment, and he's not leaving tonight, no matter how bad he feels, without winning Style Battle Episode 5.
Joey Janela vs. Jimmy Lloyd (Style Battle S1E5 Bracket B First Round Match)
Janela known for his wild high flying and risk-taking, and Lloyd being a product of the CZW dojo under Drew Gulak, game to wrestle both deathmatches and more traditional matches alike.
Feeling out early, bit of striking, Jimmy gets the first major maneuver of the match off with a Tiger Driver and the action spills outside and back in with Janela firmly in control. Lloyd catches him with a Blue Thunder Ganso Bomb and looks to slow the match down but the Bad Boy ain't having it, breaking free and throwing a dive.
Spike Ace Crusher gets a nearfall but Jimmy gets the knees up on a diving double stomp. Capitalizing, DDT on the knee, a Jig & Tonic gets Lloyd a close nearfall but it ain't over. Moonsault comes up empty, trading superkicks and hands, Janela gets in with a pair of rolling elbows... NOPE!
Struggle in the turnbuckles, the Bad Boy gets a sunset flip powerbomb, back up top...
Joey Janela wins by pinfall with a diving double stomp.
A little loose but a good match. No downtime, just bang bang bang cool stuff until it's over.
Joey says he didn't come to Tampa to play, and he wants everyone to know he came here to shatter dreams. He's the thing that hangs above your bed, a dreamcatcher, and he takes your dream and swallows it and you realize you're a loser looking into the eyes of a real superstar.
He has Anthony Henry in the second round, and some say that may be his last chance at success, but he's gonna crush that dream and win Style Battle, and he's gonna beat Fred Yehi at FIP for the title tomorrow night and he's gonna tell everybody he's a bad, bad boy.
Francisco Ciatso vs. Teddy Stigma (Style Battle S1E5 Bracket A First Round Match)
Ciatso, a bruising heavyweight of a man who looks kind of like an Italian Genichiro Tenryu, again a strong contrast against Stigma, a brawler who comes to the ring with a barbed wire wrapped board.
The action quickly spills outside with Teddy in charge, but back in the ring Francisco snaps off a powerslam that evens things out a bit. Inverted stomp facebreaker from Stigma into an exploder suplex for a nearfall, so not THAT much. Slugging it out, Ciatso trying to outlast him but he falters. Teddy cracks off a jackknife powerbomb, only good for a nearfall.
Stigma goes for his barbed wire board, Francisco is ready...
Francisco Ciatso wins by pinfall with a reverse STO.
Solid match. In and out at a good clip but nothing really stood out.
Ciatso is interviewed holding his arm limp at his side. He says this is the place to be, here in Style Battle. He's been around the WWN for many, many years, but tonight he just proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's solidified his spot as a force to be reckoned with in WWN.
Fred Yehi vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman (Style Battle S1E5 Bracket A First Round Match)
Fred Yehi, another man familiar to Style Battle viewers for his unorthodox technical wrestling style, here opposite Friedman, who is a capable technician in his own right with an ego the size of Long Island.
A bit of feeling out early, MJF bails before Yehi can get an advantage. Fred wrestling circles around him, picking holds and moving onto the next thing, snap suplex, Friedman gets a couple sweet dodges off but Yehi stomps his hand in! Maxwell playing nice, putting Fred over and offering a handshake but the former Catch Point man sees the punch coming and is able to block and lay a wicked stomp to the ankle.
Nuke inbound, hard chop, another snap suplex and more stomps to the hand, keeping MJF in the Trouble Zone. Up and over, trying to carve an advantage but Friedman gets nuked and German suplexed square in the middle of the ring. Pasting him with chops, he is in BIG TROUBLE but MJF rakes the eyes and puts Yehi into the post.
Mounted punches to the head, Maxwell's feeling it and he returns the stomps to Fred's arm and leg. Starting to pick the arm apart, a knee and an armbar, springboard divorce court into a pin, only two. A keylock in, Yehi escapes, trading strikes, MJF starts throwing wild and missing and Fred gets pissed.
Matrix evasion, Yehi with a headbutt to the breadbasket, Friedman after the arm and Fred gets another nuke off to leave both men laid out. Overhead exploder suplex from the FIP World Heavyweight Champion, looking for the rolling elbow, blocked, half nelson suplex blocked in return, big elbow gets a nearfall!
Looking for the Fujiwara, Yehi throws him off and he gets the half nelson suplex this time, sliding knee... NO GOOD! Trapped headbutts, Fred kind of walks into a pumphandle half nelson driver... NOT ENOUGH! Trying armbars, Yehi denying him, deadlift powerbomb counter! Reverse STO...
Fred Yehi wins by submission with the Koji Clutch.
That was excellent. MJF is a guy I've been enjoying more every time I see him and here he is hanging with Fred Yehi, going hold-for-hold with one of the best in the world today and looking every bit like he belongs? Awesome stuff.
Fred reiterates that feelings are fickle and how he feels doesn't matter. He's been to the finals and he can almost taste a win. As FIP Champion for over a year he vows to win the Style Battle tonight and become the face of WWN. All competition tonight will be in BIG TROUBLE.
MJF rolls up yelling about how what just happened was illegal. He tells Trevin to shut up and says MJF didn't fly first class all the way to this dump you loons call Ybor City to get screwed out of a W. He had this tournament in the palm of his hands. He tells Adams he looks good and when you look good you make an impact and that's why he came here, to create moments. And, he's better than us and we know it.
Anthony Henry vs. Joey Janela (Style Battle S1E5 Bracket B Semifinal Match)
Grappling to start, the Bad Boy showing that he can hang on the mat as well as anybody, but Henry just a step ahead. Janela offering a test of strength and playing it straight. Trading northern lights and monkey flips, Anthony takes guard but Joey deadlifts him up and forces him in the ropes.
Back to the grappling, bit of a stalemate, handshake fakeout into a wristlock, again the Lethal Lover is just a step faster, firing off a superkick. Going for a dive, Joey cuts him off and DDTs him from the apron to the floor! Slugging it out, Bad Boy gets a neckbreaker over a small standalone section of bar and takes it back in the ring for a nearfall.
Throwing hands, backing Janela into the corner but he fires a kick off and gets a nearfall off a neckbreaker. Back outside, hitting hard but Henry's about had enough, determination playing across his face. Bad Boy staying on his back, hard whips, but throwing forearms Anthony fires up and wants more!
Enzuigiri connects, staggering the Bad Boy, off the ropes with the snap scoop powerslam, charging blows in the corner, hesitation dropkick, only two! Janela looking for solace outside, Anthony Henry with the tope con giro! Missile dropkick, nearfall, Joey ducks a kick, snaps off a Tombstone piledriver... ANTHONY HENRY LIVES!
Janela sets Henry up in the corner, struggle, back on the mat, California Roll, Joey holds on, steps through... APRON DVD! Bad Boy content to take the count-out but Henry makes it in at the last second. Janela with a powerbomb... STILL NOT ENOUGH! Up top, double stomp comes up empty, crescent kick for a superkick, Joey gets a lariat off in punctuation and both men are out on the mat.
Janela up first... MOONSAULT DOUBLE STOMP! IT'S NOT OVER YET! Off the ropes, pop-up folding powerbomb, Henry picks him up one more time...
Anthony Henry wins by pinfall with a piledriver.
Holy hell, great match. Anthony Henry, back worked over by Tremont, comes in at a disadvantage, but he wants it SO bad that he pushes through everything the Bad Boy can give him, fights off the pain, and squeaks out the victory with a plain piledriver.
Henry can barely pull himself up by the ropes to leave for his interview. Tonight, above everything else, is about making this his moment. He may feel like he got hit by a Mack truck, but this is his night, and he wants Fred Yehi in the finals.
Francisco Ciatso vs. Fred Yehi (Style Battle S1E5 Bracket A Semifinal Match)
Fast start, Ciatso caught out by a low dropkick, stomp to the hand, another nuke, only stopping the pain momentarily with a back body drop and a snap powerslam. A stomp to the foot, a pair of German suplexes for a nearfall, headbutts to the shoulder, taking Francisco's back but the veteran deadlifts into a Samoan drop for two.
Slugging it out forearm for forearm, Ciatso wins the exchange and Fred goes right after the reverse STO again, Francisco holding on for dear life but the FIP World Heavyweight Champion maneuvers around him...
Fred Yehi wins by submission with the Koji Clutch.
Fun little match, all about Fred but that's the point, and the fast start made it more than the perfunctory exercise it could have been.
Fred says his frustration of not winning Style Battle ends tonight and he'll see Anthony Henry in the finals. Welcome to the Trouble Zone!
We take our usual brief intermission at this point.
AR Fox introduces his students as the future of professional wrestling, the hardest working, fastest rising, and the number one wrestling school there is, WWA4. Everywhere they go, they kill it, they steal the show, they put their bodies on the line, first ones to show up, last to leave. Right now they're gonna treat us to Six Man Mayhem.
Alan Angels vs. AR Fox vs. David Ali vs. Kavron Kanyon vs. Leon Ruff vs. Tommy Maserati (Six Man Mayhem)
Fox goes to kill his kids with pump kicks right at the jump but they stop him short and things go wild. Ruff with a crazy quadruple jump lucha arm drag to finish clearing things out and it's him and AR going at it. Dives on dives, Fox blocks some Ace Crushers from Ali but takes uppercut on uppercut into a hesitation dropkick and a butterfly suplex!
Maserati in, he and Angels punching the hell out of each other, but Kanyon takes 'em both out! Ripcord headbutt, double Stunner, springboard senton, he's on a roll here. Leon in with a wild dive, Tommy with a senton atomico on the pile, a step-up headscissors using the support beam, and a step-up over the ringpost tope con giro but the teacher has tricks left and lays him out with a boot.
AR going for a dive, Ali catches him short and throws a suicide dive in his stead! Fox back in it with a missile dropkick on David, and a springboard imploding senton atomico on a few of the others! Brawling with Ruff, he and Angels end up on the stage... SPANISH FLY FROM THE STAGE TO THE FLOOR!
Back in the ring, Maserati on Ali, taking him out with kicks. Kavron with a sweet front suplex lift style Go 2 Sleep and a package piledriver on Tommy and David breaks it up. Fireman's carry slam into a diving elbow drop, Kanyon kicks out. He and Ali trading slaps as the others return to the ring... STEREO SPANISH FLIES! ANGELS HAS ANOTHER FOR RUFF! Into a wristlock half crab, Maserati on Fox, AR tries to break the submission up but decides to hit Lo Mein Pain and Alan breaks the pin up!
Angels with a flip inverted DDT, Fox barely breaks it up! Trading strikes, Matrix evasion, AR blocks the DDT and hits a pump kick! Another in the corner, thinking Lo Mein Pain again and Angels blocks with an avalanche spinebuster into the half crab! Fox makes the ropes for the break! Looking to springboard in, Maserati stops him, AR is ready...
AR Fox wins by pinfall with Foxcatcher on Alan Angels.
That was exactly what you imagined when you thought "AR Fox and five of his students in a scramble match." Just balls to the wall crazy. I wouldn't want every match to be this, but as a treat once in a while it hits the spot exactly.
Martin Stone vs. Matt Riddle (c) (WWN Championship)
Intense grappling early, as you expect from two titans of the mat, both men forcing each other to head for the ropes in turn. Stone takes a bit of a walk outside and when he comes back in they shift to striking, probing kicks and slaps, Riddle getting some Muay Thai knee lifts off and German suplexing Martin when he throws a few in return.
Overhead belly to belly suplex from the Guv'nor and a smile cracks across his face because he knows it's on now. Chop for chop, turning their chests a ground meat red. An uppercut begets a Pele kick and Bro puts his usual forearm / exploder suplex / high jump senton chain together.
Kicking down across the back of Stone's neck and laying a knee into his kidneys, Riddle follows with the rolling Karelin lifts, ending with a release and a cover for two. Another senton, another two count, but a third gets scouted and Deep Waters is high and dry. Charging strikes exchanged, Martin with a crotch chop into the Stone KO... NOPE!
Uppercut for chop, the Guv'nor cracks off a snap suplex for a surprisingly deep two count and elects to grind Matt down with a rear chinlock. Bro escapes but is quickly caught, both his arms trapped as Stone rains a elbow right into the back of his neck. Continuing to target the neck, knee drop into a reverse chinlock.
On the escape, Riddle fires up, slap rush, Bro 2 Sleep denied, German suplex, Riddle rises! Again, same result! A third, he lands on his feet, the six second running knee into the fisherman buster... NO GOOD! Charging forearm dodged, Matt escapes an exploder in turn but dives right into it! A straight right crumples our Bro to the mat... NOT ENOUGH!
Off the ropes, pop-up, Riddle counters with a falling punch, Bro 2 Sleep into the bridging German suplex... NOPE! Chest kicks as Stone wobbles, off the ropes but he walks into the pop-up powerbomb! Knee lift, headbutt, Riddle kicks out but he's caught right into the arm-trap crossface! Reversed into a pin, Martin pops off a flip piledriver?!
Bro rises, Penalty Kick, jumping Tombstone piledriver... STONE OUT AT ONE! Elbows to the head, the Bromission is in...
Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission, retaining the WWN Championship.
Great match, Stone emptying every trick in his book and living through the Tombstone, but when those elbows come down in the Bromission, it's over. Kind of wish the neck stuff in the middle mattered more, but that's pure nitpicking.
Riddle offers a handshake after but Stone brushes him off.
Both finalists brush off their pre-match interviews, they're here for one thing and one thing only, and it ain't talking.
Anthony Henry vs. Fred Yehi (Style Battle S1E5 Finals)
This face-off is electric.
Yehi declares Henry in BIG TROUBLE and Anthony catches his wrist, high roundhouse into a nearfall! Henry looking for a cover, eats an elbow, stomp to the hand, nukes incoming! The fight spills outside, Fred pushing the punishment, back in, neckbreaker into a neck crank, targeting the injury.
Cravate knees cracking across the Orpheum, a brainbuster, Yehi on a roll. Stomp to the hand, wrenching back on the mouth, kicks to the back, scraping the boot across his face but Anthony fills with determination even as Fred takes him in the corner for chops. Firing back, Yehi levels him with a forearm, looking for an exploder but Henry fights out with elbows each time.
Trading chops, Fred gets the exploder off, follows it up with a German suplex, and another, and a third, sending the Lethal Lover to the apron, where he nukes him to the floor. Yehi taking the count, but right on Henry with a stomp to the hand the second he's back in range on the mat! Fisherman buster's no good, figure four headscissors applied but abandoned when Anthony pushes him over into a pin.
Gutwrench into the Karelin lift gets Yehi two more and he keeps trying different covers but none of them take. Henry blocking holds, firing elbows right across Fred's cheekbones, but a sunset flip is denied and Yehi stomps the back of his neck in, holding it as a submission! Last gasp, Anthony gets a German suplex off for some separation!
Chest kicks, Fred catches one to a dragon screw but Henry gets a small package out of it in the end. Enzuigiri follows, springboard is caught into a back body drop, Fred charges over and get caught into a German suplex! Headbutt to the breadbasket, double stomp to the back, Anthony back at him with a northern lights suplex to a double stomp!
Yehi charging into boots and then a hip toss, Henry with the southern lights suplex... NO GOOD! Looking for the Kudo Driver but Fred slips out for a German suplex and a stomp to the knee, pop-up fireman's carry, blocked, reverse STO into the Koji Clutch but he doesn't have the leg all the way on!
Anthony crawling, he gets a foot on the ropes and forces the break! Calling for the end, full nelson, Henry flips him out, ripcord crescent kick followed by two straight and both men are out on the mat! On their knees, face to face, getting to their feet for forearms, soon giving way to chops.
Yehi with a rush of Mongolian chops, full nelson denied again, victory roll pin, no good! Off the ropes, pop-up powerbomb into a folding press, short piledriver but Yehi rolls through, Henry holds on, short piledriver connects! ANOTHER! NOT ENOUGH?! Crescent kicks again, hooking the Kudo Driver... HE HITS IT! IT'S OVER!
Anthony Henry wins by pinfall with the Kudo Driver, winning Style Battle Season 1 Episode 5!
Four attempts, all heart, and he finally did it! Anthony Henry makes his way to the Style Battle Season Finale! Awesome match, too. Just about half the length of their 30 minute draw that started this saga off, two dudes coming in with targets painted all over them and trying to find that one desperate handhold that'll win the day.
Henry celebrates with Amber Young in the ring and is interviewed. He's doesn't know how to put how he feels into words. When he first got involved with WWN it was like a dream come true, working his tail off twelve years to get here. At the first Style Battle he didn't get it done. Again and again, and the fourth time he had to fight just to get his way in, and finally if this isn't a moment he doesn't know what is.
This is his moment, and he's not stopping here. Tomorrow he's gonna stomp MJF into oblivion and then from there, July 8 & 9, he makes his long-awaited return to Evolve! MJF comes to the ring, making gestures of peace and taking the mic. He means no disrespect and he'd like to apologize to Trevin and the people for how he conducted himself.
He wants Henry to understand he's not here to steal his spotlight, and he deserved this win tonight. It's come to his attention that they're gonna have a match tomorrow, and he wants to make an impact and show the fans that they're the potential future face of WWN Live. He knows Dontay Brown put a bounty out, but he doesn't care about the money, he wants to put on the show of a lifetime and show everybody what they're about, and he offers a handshake.
Anthony is tentative but he takes the offered hand. MJF doesn't let go and Mila attacks Amber Young from behind! He's holding Henry down and making him watch while Mila chokes Amber out! MJF says he's all about making impacts and creating moments, and Henry knocks him down from behind! He checks on his fellow Lethal Lover as MJF informs him he's stolen his moment.
One of the strongest Style Battle cards yet, if not THE strongest. Henry/Yehi, Henry/Janela, Yehi/MJF and Riddle/Stone were all great-to-excellent, the WWA4 scramble was a perfect bit of variety, and the only real down point was Ciatso/Stigma, and that was merely okay rather than being actually bad.
Storywise, we've wrapped up the big one at the perfect time with Anthony Henry qualifying for the finale. Any longer and you run out of inventive reasons to put Henry back in the mix, any shorter and it would have been less triumphant. But we have a nice hanging thread of Yehi seemingly being equally frustrated now that he's gotten to the finals once, so losing in the finals twice, well, connect the dots.
And, just a feeling, but I don't think we've seen the last of Maxwell Jacob Friedman in Style Battle either.
Check it out when the VOD goes up on FloSlam, folks, it's a good one.