NBW Live-WAR Memorial Tournament - Quarterfinals & Finals
No Brand Wrestling Presents: The Annual NBW Live William Arthur Reagan Memorial Tournament
Live from The Epic II Arena - St. Louis, Mo.
Quarterfinal Matches w/15 Minute Time Limits
Quarterfinal Round Match: “Big Talk” Jake Tockwell vs. Al Envy
The opening match of the evening was a good one that featured two men who had made quite the splash in the NBW since joining a few months ago. While the crowd shared no love for either of the two men, they were treated to a excellent matchup that was unique in it’s own right by the fact that throughout most of the match it seemed that both of the men were trying to “out cheat” the other man.
With eye pokes, groin shots, rope burns and sucker punches being utilized just as much as grappling moves, referee Tal Nedrick had his hands full trying to keep things in order in the early stages of the match, before just giving up on trying to keep the two rising stars in line. With the ref taking a step back, the two men went at each other with no abandon, and the fans loved it! While they certainly hadn’t changed their mind about how they felt about each man, they couldn’t deny that the mixture of high impact moves and dirty tactics was a sight to behold.
For twelve minutes, neither man could fully get momentum on his side until Al Envy escaped from a blatant choke hold to nail Tockwell with a low blow/brainbuster combo that rocked the bigger man. Picking the woozy Tockwell up, Envy signaled to the crowd that it was time for The Envious Demise. But, things didn’t turn out according to plan for Al when the man that he may or may not have taken out at Pride, Davey LaRue hobbled down the ramp on crutches to the edge of the ring.
The distraction of LaRue menancingly waving a crutch at him had delayed Envy from hitting his finisher and the lapse in time had caused Jake to regain his wits. Breaking free of Envy’s grasp, the man they call ‘Big Talk’ lashed out with a desperation Gift of Gab that knocked the surprised Al down to the mat, and Jake immediately went for the cover. Al struggled to kick out, and would have if LaRue wouldn’t have grabbed one of Tockwell’s feet and placed it on the second rope to give him the leverage he needed to get the three count.
Post match, Tockwell gave LaRue a curious look and Davey gave him a threatening wave of his crutch in return. Clearly he had just helped Tockwell to get back at Al for what happened at Pride, though Jake didn’t mind the help and decided to give Davey his thanks by leveling him with a Gift of Gab as well!
WINNER and advancing to semifinals: ‘Big Talk’ Jake Tockwell
Quarterfinal Round Match: Freddie Rich vs. Big Rick Strongbern
The second match of the night featured the two leaders of the NBW’s most infamous families, The Riches and The Strongberns, and both men were escorted to the ring by them. It was clear to everyone in the building that the action inside of the ring was just as exciting was heightened by the fact that the two clans standing outside of the ring were like a ticking time bomb that could explode into a brawl at any second.
Though, as the match went on, it seemed as if the two families were content with letting their two leaders go at it in the ring without any funny business. As a result, the fans were treated to a very competitive matchup in which Freddie’s technical savvy was equally matched by Rick’s raw power.
Then, around the ten minute mark, Big Rick avoided the Freddies Nightmare and hit Freddie with a nicely done half nelson suplex that took Rich down hard. Rising up to his feet, the arrogant Rick, couldn’t help himself from gloating as he leaned over the ropes to do some smack talking to the rest of the Rich family. Donnie, full of confidence from his recent string of wins, was having none of it and sent the loudmouthed Strongbern reeling back into the ring by a impressive European uppercut!
Though he had given Big Rick what he deserved, Donnie had also effectively ended the ringside ceasefire, and the two angry giants, Little Ricky and Bonebreaker Rik quickly made their way over to deal some damage to the three Riches. Though they were outnumbered two to three against Todd, Declan and Donnie, the two Strongberns sheer size and power more than evened the odds for them.
Meanwhile in the ring, Donnie’s uppercut had angered Big Rick more than hurt him, and the Biggest Man in Town screamed at his two giants to make Donnie and the rest of the Riches pay, and laughed in glee when Little Ricky and the Bonebreaker began tossing the smaller men around like ragdolls. But, Rick’s enjoyment quickly ended when he turned his attention back to the ring to eat Freddies Nightmare and with a quick hook of the leg Freddie Rich had punched his ticket to the semi finals!
WINNER and advancing to the semifinals: ‘The First’ Freddie Rich
After the match it took the entire NBW security team, including The Law, to separate the two clans and restore order.
Quarterfinal Round Match: Ohiyama vs. Mitchell Quinlan
The third quarterfinal match of the night was a welcome change of pace from the two previous matches as Quinlan and Ohiyama gave the fans fourteen minutes and fifty seconds of professional wrestling at it’s purest form. While Ohiyama had looked absolutely dominant in his first round match against Zed, he faced a much tougher challenge in Quinlan who used his expert striking skills to thwart the explosiveness of Ohiyama.
For every big time slam by Ohiyama there was a knee shaking kick by Quinlan, and for every quick combination by Quinlan there was a suplex by Ohiyama. Throughout the course of the match, the two men had numerous near falls and reversals, which kept the crowd on it’s feet during the whole match. It was clear neither man could expose the other’s weakness long enough to fully take control of the match.
But, things heated up as time began to work against the two men, and strategy fell out the window as each man began taking bigger risks to try and win the match. The conclusion to the excellent match came with less than 30 seconds left on the clock Quinlan attempted a springboarded off the ropes only to be caught by Ohiyama who used Quinlan’s momentum to land a big time Dai Funka Death Drop that scored him the victory with ten seconds left on the clock!
WINNER and advancing to the semifinals: Ohiyama
Post match, the big Hawaiian offered his opponent a hand, and a frustrated Quinlan accepted it, causing the crowd to give both men a standing ovation.
Quarterfinal Round Match: Max Hopper vs. Spike Saunders
The final quarterfinal match was dubbed by some experts beforehand as what was known in the industry as a ‘dream match’. A bonafide hall of famer in Max Hopper versus the man synonymous with NBW ‘The Colossus’ Spike Sanders. There was an undeniable buzz in the air as both men stood in opposite corners and flash bulbs brightened the arena when the bell rang.
Meeting in the middle of the ring, the two men who shared mutual respect for each other shook hands before circling each other for the initial lockup of the big time match.
Then Johannes Antoious De Castonovo came sprinting down the ramp with a chair in hand and ruined the moment for everyone.
JAC slid under the ropes as his rival Saunders had his back turned, and immediately bounced to his feet with the intentions of splitting Spike’s head open like a melon. Fortunately for Spike,, his opponent that was standing across from him was also his friend. Seeing JAC winding up, Max pushed Saunders out of the way at the last second, which caused him to take the full force of the chair!
Seeing JAC lay out Hopper, the ref called for the bell and disqualified Saunders. Being eliminated from the tournament didn’t seem phase the angered Saunders, who after looking down at the hurt Hopper, grabbed JAC by the throat and lifted him up high. Struggling to break free, JAC attempted to give Saunders a chair shot of his own but Spike wasn’t having any of that and let out a huge roar as he took two quick steps towards the ropes before chokeslamming JAC down to the floor!
With his enemy taken care of, Spike hoisted the knocked out Hopper up and threw him over his shoulder before exiting the ring. With the crowd chanting his name and Hopper slung over his shoulder, Spike made his way to the back, making sure to step on JAC’s head on his way out.
WINNER and advancing to the semifinals: Max Hopper
With the quarterfinals done the crowd was given a brief intermission, during which Adria Hoyt was on the Epicenter screen asking random fans who they thought would win the 25 to Life match. One fan who was dressed up in a homemade (but very well done) Richie Keal costume predictably predicted Richie before slamming the cup of coffee his was holding and slamming it to the ground, causing it the crowd to share a laugh.
Then, the lights dimmed and it was time for the two semifinal matches.
Semifinal Matches w/20 Minute Time Limits
Semifinal Round Match: ‘Big Talk’ Jake Tockwell vs. Freddie Rich
The first match to determine who would be headed to the final round featured two men who took part in some very entertaining matches earlier on. The two men looked ready to lock up, until Tockwell glanced over to the three members of the Rich Family that had helped Freddie secure the win against Big Rick and asked for a mic, which he promptly received.
Putting his hand up to stop an annoyed Freddie, Jake used his superior negotiating skills (or he called Freddie a JAG that hides behind his family, among other things) to get The First to send his three family members to the back so they could face each other one on one. Freddie balked at this idea at first, and Jake was unrelenting with his demands, which caused a standoff of sorts.
With the crowd raining down boos from the delay, referee Nedrick, who had to deal with the chaos of both men’s matches earlier snatched the mic from Tockwell’s hand and ordered the Rich Family to exit the ring area, adding that all managers and wrestlers will be banned from being at ringside for the remainder of the tournament, which garnered some cheers. Tossing the mic to Brent Williams, Nedrick then called for the bell.
With the drama over with, the two men locked up and proceeded to have a match that rivaled Ohiyama/Quinlan in terms of competitiveness. Neither man resorted to the dirty tactics that they were slowly being known for, and both seemed intent on beating the other man cleanly. Which upon further examination made sense, considering that both were considered to be rising stars in NBW with equally bright futures predicted for them.
The match itself was interesting and fun to watch in that both men went outside their usual offense to try and gain the upperhand. Tockwell showed flashes of some technical prowess and Freddie utilized various power moves, and for fifteen minutes the two men battled back and forth.
The final moments of the match had Freddie in firm control as he had Tockwell pinned in the corner. Lifting Jake up to the top turnbuckle, Freddie quickly followed and set his opponent up for a superplex. But, things just didn’t go the way Freddie had planned when he tried to get Tockwell airborne as Jake blocked the move and wrestled free to deliver a headbutt that stunned Freddie.
Rich had begun to lean backwards, but before he could fall off the ropes Tockwell grabbed ahold of him and in an impressive showing of strength sent Freddie crashing to the mat with a top rope powerbomb! Lying next Rich, Tockwell threw an arm over his opponent's chest to get the pinfall and a trip to the finals!
Semifinal Round Match: Ohiyama vs. Max Hopper
The crowd was hot for this match which featured two of the most popular stars of the weekend. The same mutual respect that was shown in Hopper/Saunders was on display in the beginning of this one as well, as the two men shook hands before locking up. But, this time around JAC didn’t show up to ruin the match.
Ohiyama kept his explosiveness in check at the onset of the match, knowing that the quick Hopper would be ready for them. Thus, Max took full advantage of his speed advantage and springboarded his way to take control of the match and even nailed a Hopper Can Rana that earned him a very close two count. Max’s hit and run tactics infuriated Ohiyama, and although they were helping Max keep the momentum fully in his grasp, it seemed that the more frustrated Ohiyama got, the more determined he became.
During the final moments of the match and after what must have seemed like an eternity for Ohiyama, Hopper uncharacteristically telegraphed a flying forearm and the man formerly known as Sweet Daddy K pounced on him. Ducking the forearm, Ohiyama immediately spun around and grabbed Hopper by the wrist and turned him inside out with a short arm clothesline!
Not letting go of Hopper’s wrist, Ohiyama yanked Max back to his feet, but Hopper still had his wits about him and cranked around to send Ohiyama down to the mat with a step over enziguiri! Seeing an opportunity for a second Hopper Can Rana, and hopefully one that would put the big man down for good, Max leaped to the top rope and waited for Ohiyama to stagger to his feet.
Which Ohiyama eventually did, and the crowd roared as Max leapt off!
WAVEBREAKER! Ohiyama nailed Hopper in mid air with his deadly knee strike!
In what many will consider an upset, Ohiyama pinned the hall of famer to go to the finals! Ohiyama looked shocked himself as he sat up next to Hopper, and pumped his fist in excitement as the crowd cheered. Rising to his feet, Ohiyama picked Max up and lifted Hopper’s arm up. Even though he had come up short in the match, Max’s display of speed and agility that he had just given the fans reminded everyone why he was a hall of fame caliber wrestler.
Both men high fived the crowd as they walked back up the ramp, and exited to the back. Shortly after, it was announced that there would be a short ten minute intermission before the final match to determine the winner of the WAR Cup.
Finals Match w/20 Minute Time Limit:’Big Talk’ Jake Tockwell vs. Ohiyama
Though the fans were indeed given ten minutes to hit the restroom or concessions, most of them take advantage of it, not wanting to chance missing out on any part of the final match. Then, the countdown clock that was playing on the Epicenter hit 00:00 and it was time to see which man would have enough left in the tank to win his third match of the evening and become the first ever winner of the WAR Cup.
Tockwell made his entrance first and it was apparent that despite having battled through two tough opponents earlier in the night, there was no amount of fatigue that would waver his confidence or stop him from jaw jacking with the fans as he waited for Ohiyama to come down the aisle.
Upon hearing the fan favorites music hit the speakers, the crowd roared in approval as the big Hawaiian strode down the aisle. Slapping hands with fans as he made his way down the ramp, it was clear that Ohiyama didn’t show one ounce of fatigue either, and was ready to fight Tockwell. Stopping at the bottom of the ramp, Ohiyama set his determined gaze on his opponent and the two glared at each other for a long moment before Tockwell broke the stare down with a cocky smirk. Not giving Tockwell the satisfaction of acknowledging the grin, the dtermined Ohiyama slid underneath the ropes…
And Tockwell pounced immediately by laying into Ohiyama with sharp kicks that kept the returning star down on the mat! Referee Jerry Peterson acted fast and called for the bell, officially starting the match. Tockwell continued with the vicious kicks, but in a sudden surge of energy Ohiyama was able to grab ahold of one of Jake’s attacking feet and in one smooth motion rose up and planted Tockwell down to the mat hard with a capture suplex!
Now on opposite ends of the ring, both men shook the cobwebs from their head as they came to a standing position before charging into each other and locking up.
From there, the beginning stages of the match featured each man matching the other move for move, and not giving an inch. One highlight early on was some rough brawling on the outside that started when Tockwell back body dropped Ohiyama to the floor. Both men luckily made it back in the ring before the ten count to continue the match. Once back in the ring, Tockwell scored with a gutwrench powerbomb that nearly sealed the deal, but Ohiyama kicked out at two and a half.
As the match went on, signs of exhaustion started to appear in both men, and the pace of the match slowed down. But, that’s not to say that the drama lessened one bit, in fact it became a desperate race to see who could hit the biggest move to put the other man down. When Tockwell nailed a perfect picture pump handle shoulder breaker for another close two count, he immediately yanked Ohiyama up off the ground, only to find himself being lifted high up in the air to be smashed into the mat by a military press powerslam! The ensuing cover by Ohiyama only yielded a two count, and the two men went back to pulling out everything they had in their arsenal to put the other away.
The crowd watched anxiously as the two men gave it their all to try and put each other away, and things were tense as the clock showed that there was only two minutes left.
The ending of the championship match saw the exhausted Tockwell score with a ferocious Gift of Gab lariat that crumpled Ohiyama to the mat. But the weakness that was taking over Jake’s legs was too much and after finishing the move, Tockwell stumbled and fell through the ropes to spill to the outside!
The clock read thirty seconds remaining, and both men were down, causing Jerry to start the standing ten count. Though Jake had to rise to his feet and get back into the ring within ten seconds, Ohiyama had been clobbered by the lariat and showed no signs of getting up.
When Jerry screamed out “Five!”, both men had begun to struggle to their feet, and Tockwell was the quicker of the two. Pulling himself up to the ring apron, Jake was well on his way to getting back inside as Jerry counted eight. Then as Jake stuck his head between the ropes to get back inside, the crowd exploded in cheers as Ohiyama staggered to his feet and lashed out with a desperation Wavebreaker that sent Tockwell flying back to the outside, just as Jerry yelled out ten!
Ohiyama did it! Ohiyama won the WAR Cup!
WINNER and 2017 WAR Cup Recipient: Ohiyama
While Ohiyama celebrated in the ring, Tockwell laid motionless on the outside. Though he was bested on this night by Ohiyama, the man known as ‘Big Talk’ put all doubts to rest to whether or not he could back up his bravado, and put on a great performance during the whole tournament.
Post match, Jack Harmen came down to present the trophy to a barely standing Ohiyama, though he didn’t have it with him. Grabbing a microphone, the GM then informed the audience that there would be a very special guest to give Ohiyama the cup and all eyes turned to the entrance ramp.
The roar of the crowd was deafening as the Son of Malta walked through the double doors with the WAR Cup in his hands!
Entering the ring, the NBW legend gave a short speech about the significance of this tournament and what it means to him. Upon congratulating Ohiyama, Son of Malta handed him the large trophy and the night ended with a standing ovation for the winner.