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Impact X-Division champ beats NJPW veteran for momentum toward Super Juniors tournament

The NJPW Best of the Super Juniors tournament is right around the corner for NJPW. One of Impact’s prime players was issued an invitation, and he proved his worth against an NJPW veteran.

After a trash-talk session last week, Ace Austin was booked to defend the X-Division Championship against Rocky Romero on Impact Wrestling. The action was back and forth early. Romero swung his arm in the air as a distraction for a Three Stooges eye poke. Ace shot back with a springboard spinning kick. Rocky found his groove, so Ace retreated to the outside. Rocky kept up the pressure for a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Rocky connected on a springboard tornado DDT then Sliced Bread. Ace kicked out to stay alive.

Ace went on the offensive. When he leaped for the springboard spinning kick again, Rocky caught him to transition to a single-leg Boston crab. Ace was able to reach the ropes for the break.

Ace found his footing to rally for kicks and connect on a standing spin kick. That set up The Fold to finish. Ace retained the X-Division title in a hard-fought affair.

That was a valuable victory for Ace to pick up momentum toward the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors tournament. The competition kicks off on May 15 and concludes on June 3. Participants include:

Block A

  • Hiromu Takahashi
  • Ryusuke Taguchi
  • Taiji Ishimori
  • Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  • Sho
  • Ace Austin (Impact)
  • YOH
  • Clark Connors
  • Francesco Akira
  • Alex Zayne

Block B

  • El Desesperado
  • Master Wato
  • Douki
  • El Lindaman
  • Robbie Eagles
  • Titan (CMLL)
  • Bushi
  • Wheeler Yuta (AEW)
  • TJP
  • El Phantasmo

Ace Austin’s work isn’t done before traveling abroad. After beating Rocky Romero, another challenger emerged in former titleholder Trey Miguel. Ace won the X-Division strap fair and square in a three-way at Rebellion. Apparently, that didn’t sit well with Trey as the babyface enacted a cowardly attack on Ace. Trey rushed the ring to dropkick Ace through the ropes.

Trey challenged Ace using his contractual rematch. The title bout will go down at Under Siege on May 7.

Who has the edge for the X-Division title bout at Under Siege? What’s your prediction for Ace Austin’s success in the NJPW tournament?