By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Women’s Championship Eliminator tournament
Streamed February 22, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur opened the show on commentary and spoke about Madi Wrenkowski replacing Anna Jay in the tournament due to Jay’s injury. He ran through the lineup of matches…
1. Nyla Rose vs. Tay Conti in a first-round match in the U.S. bracket. Taz joined Excalibur on commentary. The match was held at Daily’s Place. Rose overpowered Conti to start. Conti came back with a huracanrana and covered Rose, who kicked out.
Rose came right back with a clothesline. Conti threw a nice knee in the corner and then did a few takedowns before throwing a kick to the head of Rose. Conti performed a hammerlock DDT and covered Rose for a two count. Conti made two more covers, but Rose kicked out both times.
The wrestlers traded strikes on their knees, then stood up and exchanged chops. Rose slapped Conti, who fired back with a slap of her own. Conti caught Rose in a sleeper, but Rose went to the corner. Rose ended up pulling off a turnbuckle pad and rolled onto Conti.
Conti rolled up Rose and had her pinned, but the referee was clearing the turnbuckle pad from the ring (sigh). Rose sent Conti over the top rope and followed her to the stage where she gave her a Death Valley Driver. Rose took Conti back to the ring and covered her for a near fall. Rose followed up with the Beast Bomb and scored the pin…
Nyla Rose defeated Tay Conti in 8:45 to advance in the tournament.
Powell’s POV: A solid match that didn’t really need the turnbuckle clearing spot, but I guess they wanted to use it to make Conti look good in defeat. Rose will face the winner of the Britt Baker vs. Madi Wrenkowski match in the second round.
2. Yuka Sakazaki vs. Emi Sakura in a second-round Japan bracket match. The match was held in the Japanese studio that hosted last week’s Japan bracket matches. Sakura was accompanied to ringside by a pair of her students, who took part in her royalty gimmick entrance.
Sakazaki and Sakura shook hands prior to the match, and the students remained at ringside.
Sakazaki had her upper back taped. Sakura targeted Sakazaki’s back with an early backbreaker, kicks, and a surfboard hold. Sakazaki came back and applied a leg lock. Sakazaki performed a missile dropkick for a near fall. Sakura came back with a dragon sleeper, which she turned into a CrossRhodes type move. Sakura performed a Vader Bomb for a near fall.
Sakura placed Sakazaki on the ropes and then clawed her back. Sakazaki punched Sakura from the ropes, then leapt onto her. Sakazaki performed a huracanrana for a two count, then followed up with a Flatliner. Sakura went to the middle of the ropes for her finisher, but Sakura cut her off and performed a backbreaker. Sakura performed another Vader Bomb for a two count.
Sakazaki performed an airplane spin into a facebuster. Sakazaki ran the ropes and ended up taking another backbreaker. Sakazaki threw elbow strikes. Sakura fired back, but Sakazaki knocked her down with a strike. Sakura laughed, then stood up and threw chops.
A short time later, Sakura picked up a near fall and then applied another dragon sleeper. Sakazaki grabbed the ropes to break the hold. Sakazaki avoided a move and connected with a sliding clothesline, then rolled Sakura into a crucifix pin and got the three count…
Yuka Sakazaki defeated Emi Sakura in 13:45 to advance to the Japan bracket finals.
After the match, Sakura and her students attacked Sakazaki, but AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida came out dressed in regular clothing and ran them off. Shida left the ring while the referee raised Sakazaki’s hand…
Powell’s POV: A good match with Sakazaki going over and a surprise appearance by the AEW Women’s Champion. Sakura will face the winner of the next match in the Japan bracket finals.
3. Aja Kong vs. Ryo Mizunami in a Japan bracket second-round match. Excalibur and Taz put over Kong as a legend and a hall of famer. The wrestlers declined to shake hands prior to the match. Mizunami gloated after getting in some early offense. Kong knocked her down and was posing when Mizunami hit her from behind. Kong slapped Mizunami, who then avoided her elbow drop.
Mizunami delivered a pair of leg drops and went for the cover, but Kong kicked out at one. A short time later, Kong knocked Mizunami with a headbutt. Mizunami came right back by chop blocking Kong’s knee. Kong ended up with a trash can, but the referee talked her out of using it. Kong performed a pair of suplexes instead and covered Mizunami for a two count.
Kong threw a spinning back fist, but Mizunami blocked it. Kong knocked her down with a kick, then hit her with a knee. Kong went for another kick, but Mizunami caught her leg and performed a dragon screw leg whip. Mizunami clotheslined Kong and then performed a leg drop to the back of her head and covered her for a two count.
Mizunami applied a triangle hold. The referee checked Kong’s arm, which dropped twice, but she held it up the third time and then reached the ropes with her foot to break the hold. Mizunami threw lariat clotheslines, but Kong returned the favor. Mizunami ran the ropes and threw another lariat, but Kong knocked her down with a simultaneous lariat and covered her for a two count.
Kong went to the ropes, but Mizunami cut her off and threw her back into the ring. Mizunami speared Kong. Mizunami went up top and performed a leg drop and covered Kong for a two count. Kong came back with her spinning back fist.
Kong and Mizunami went to ringside. Kong continued to sell a knee injury. Kong grabbed a trash can and tossed it to Hikaru Shida, who appeared to be sitting in on Japanese commentary. Shida caught the can, and then Kong slammed Mizunami’s head into it. They returned to ringside where Mizunami took out Kong’s leg and then returned to the ring while Kong was counted out…
Ryo Mizunami defeated Aja Kong by count-out in 14:40 to advance to the Japan bracket finals.
The brackets showed Yuka Sakazaki vs. Ryo Mizunami in the finals of the Japan bracket…
Powell’s POV: I was surprised to see Mizunami go over, but obviously the count-out protects Kong. I was hoping that this show would end within the hour, but it’s not looking good at this point. I will do my best to stick with it, but if it runs over by more than a couple of minutes then I’ll cover the remainder of the fourth match during Raw commercial breaks.
4. Britt Baker (w/Reba) vs. Madi Wrenkowski in a U.S. bracket first-round match. Justin Roberts was introducing Wrenkowski when Baker attacked her from behind. Baker performed a swinging neckbreaker on the stage. Excalibur noted that Baker has a rivalry with Thunder Rosa, who is one of Wrenkowski’s trainers. Baker eventually brought Wrenkowski to the ring and the referee started the match.
Wrenkowski blocked a suplex attempt, but Baker hit her with an elbow. Wrenkowski came back with a facebuster. Wrenkowski performed a cross body block in the corner and followed up with a move that drove Baker’s face into the mat. Wrenkowski went for the cover, but Baker reached the ropes to break the pin.
Baker came back with a leg sweep that sent Wrenkowski into the middle turnbuckle. Baker ran into a big boot, then Wrenkowski went for a top rope cross body block that Baker avoided. Baker performed an Air Raid Crash for a near fall. Baker got her glove from Reba. Baker superkicked Reba, then applied the Lockjaw for the win…
Britt Baker defeated Madi Wrenkowski in 5:15 to advance to in the tournament.
Afterward, Baker stomped Wrenkowski, then Baker and Reba drew on her face… Excalibur hyped Baker vs. Rose in a semifinal match for AEW Dynamite, and Thunder Rose vs. Riho, six-woman tag match, and the Japanese finals for Sunday on Bleacher Report..
Powell’s POV: No surprise with the outcome of this match. Baker will face Rose in the next round. I’m off to cover Raw.