Kushida made an impressive debut in an Impact ring on Thursday’s edition of Impact Wrestling. The former champion from NJPW, ROH, and NXT strut his stuff in victory over Rich Swann with an awesome finisher.
Kushida battled Swann in the TV main event with future world title implications at stake. The winner would be positioned to angle for a world title shot after Josh Alexander defends the Impact World Championship against Alex Shelley at Emergence on Friday, August 12.
Kushida entered dressed as an homage to Marty McFly from Back to the Future.
The Time Splitter stifled Swann and taunted on a Hulk Hogan muscle shuffle.
Kushida used submissions to grind Swann and focused on weakening the wing. Swann rallied with kicks to the midsection and spine. Swann got a little payback for the earlier taunt by teasing a chop in the corner. When Kushida tensed up to receive the blow, Swann punched him in the kisser instead.
Kushida stuck with his strategic gameplan for an armbar. Swann stacked up for a pin, but Kushida transitioned back for an armbar. Swann was able to roll toward the ropes for the dramatic break.
The fight raged on with back and forth attacks. Swann got the upper hand with a variety of kicks and a neckbreaker.
Swann aimed to finish with a Phoenix splash, but he missed the mark. Kushida fired up for a hip toss and dropkick. Kushida plotted for a kimura armlock, however, Swann countered for a German suplex.
The opponents dueled in the corner. Swann leaped for a hurricanrana to Kushida off the turnbuckles. Swann was slow to climb for a high-flying attack, so Kushida sprang up for a handspring kick. That blow dazed Swann long enough for Kushida to work for a kimura on the turnbuckles. Kushida then turned it into a flipping slam. Upon impact on the mat, Kushida maintained the kimura submission to earn the win.
Damn! That kimura flipping slam, known as the Hoverboard Lock, was a badass finisher from Kushida. That’s not a new hold in his arsenal, but it was new to me in my first time watching a Kushida match. More important than executing that cool maneuver, Kushida picked up a win over a former Impact world champion. That should put him on the short list for a shot at gold.
Were you impressed by Kushida in his Impact debut match?