By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Women’s Championship Eliminator tournament
Streamed February 28, 2021 on the BleacherReport.com
Excalibur checked in on commentary and hyped the three matches. He said he would be joined by Taz on commentary for the matches…
1. Hikaru Shida, Mei Suruga, and Rin Kadokura vs. Emi Sakura, Veny, and Maki Itoh. Prior to the match, Itoh sang and danced in the ring. Shida’s team offered handshakes, but their opponents declined and ended up attacking them to start the match.
Sakura performed a pair of nice backbreakers on Kadokura. Veny tagged in. She ran the ropes and was tripped by Suruga. Kadokura took advantage of it and performed a missile dropkick. Veny fought back briefly, but Kadokura executed a Northern Lights Suplex for a near fall.
Kadokura put Veny down with a DDT and then tagged in Shida, who performed a springboard double stomp. Shida applied a cattle mutilation hold until Veny put her foot on the ropes. Veny came back with a facebuster and a springboard moonsault on Shida.
Later, Shida stacked up Veny and Itoh in the corner, then Shida suplexed Sakura into them. Shida followed up with a running knee lift from the floor. Back inside the ring, Shida performed a meteora move for a two count. After a series of backbreakers, Shida and Sakura traded chops while Excalibur said that Shida has never beaten Sakura in a singles match.
Shida and Suruga performed double team moves on Sakura, who eventually pulled them together in a collision spot. Sakura them up breifly, then hit them with a flying body press. Veny tagged in and performed a top rope moonsault onto Shida at ringside.
Sakura and Veny hit back to back top rope moves on Shida. Veny went for the cover, but it was broken up. Veny went for a suplex, but Shida avoided it and then blasted her with an elbow. Veny performed a German suplex on Shida, and then Itoh gave her a headbutt. Veny put Shida down with a sit-out powerbomb for a two count.
Veny went up top, but Kadokura cut her off. Shida superplexed Veny, the followed up with another suplex for a two count. Shida ran the ropes and threw a knee to Veny’s head and had the pin, but it was broken up. Shida’s partners cleared Veny’s partners from the ring. Shida performed a falcon arrow on Veny and got a two count. Shida followed up with her running knee strike finisher and pinned Veny.
Hikaru Shida, Mei Suruga, and Rin Kadokura beat Emi Sakura, Veny, and Maki Itoh in roughly 13:30.
Afterward, Sakura attacked Shida from behind and was quickly cleared to ringside. Shida tossed Itoh to the floor and then Sakura put the boots to Itoh…
Powell’s POV: A mix of good wrestling and comedic moments with the AEW Women’s Champion winning for her team.
2. Yuka Sakazaki vs. Ryo Mizunami in the Japan bracket finals. Excalibur said the U.S. finals would be held on a YouTube show on Monday night, and the tournament finals would take place on Wednesday’s Dynamite. He also pointed out the tape on Sakazaki’s neck, shoulders, and back.
Mizunami was dominated the bulk of the early action. Sakazaki came back with a step-up kick and then dropped Mizunami with an elbow. Mizunami stuffed a suplex attempt, but Sakazaki rolled her into a leg lock submission hold. Mizunami came back with a clothesline and a leg drop for a two count and then applied the same submission hold that she won her opening round match with.
Sakazaki escped the submission hold and applied a triangle. The referee stepped in because it looked like Mizunami was fading, but she powered up Sakazaki and powerbombed her to break the hold. The wrestlers exchanged strikes and then Mizunami dropped Sakazaki with a big clothesline. Mizunami threw some forearms and went for a lariat, but Sakazaki dazed her with a punch.
Sakazaki hit a Magical Girl splash for a near fall. She followed up with a 450 splash attempted, but Mizunami avoided it. Mizunami executed a uranage slam. Both wrestlers got to their feet and Mizunami threw a headbutt. Sakazaki rolled Mizunami into a pin for a two count. Sakazaki performed a huracanrana for another two count.
A short time later, Mizunami speared Sakazaki and then performed a short-arm clothesline for a good near fall. Mizunami followed up with an inside hook into a slam that led to the three count…
Ryo Mizunami defeated Yuka Sakazaki in 14:20 to win the Japan bracket to advance to the finals of the tournament.
Powell’s POV: A good match. I’m legitimately surprised to see Mizunami advance to the finals, but I’m also not complaining.
3. Riho vs. Thunder Rosa in a U.S. bracket semifinal match. The winner will face Nyla Rose in U.S. final. Riho and Rosa shook hands before the match. The other matches were filmed in Japan, while this match was taped at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville.
Rosa had the first prolonged stretch of offense and got multiple two counts. Riho came back with a Northern Lights Suplex and got a two count. Rosa charged her in the corner, but Riho kicked her. Riho ended up performing a double stomp onto Rosa’s abdomen. Riho performed a cross body block for a near fall.
Rosa stuffed a suplex attempt and then drove her shoulder into Riho in the corner. Rosa performed a running clothesline on Riho in the corner and followed up with double knees. Rosa delivered a running dropkick in the corner and then covered Riho for a two count.
Later, Riho caught Rosa in the ropes and drilled her with a double stomp that led to another two count. Rosa came back with a clothesline for a two count of her own. Riho rolled Rosa into a pin for a two count. Rosa rolled Riho into a pin and scored the pin…
Thunder Rosa defeated Riho to advance to the finals of the U.S. bracket.
Rosa will face Nyla Rose in the U.S. bracket finals on Monday’s YouTube special, and the winner will face Ryo Mizunami in the tournament finals of Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite.
Powell’s POV: A good back and forth match with plenty of near falls. Riho is great, but it’s nice to see Rosa advance to the finals for a fresh matchup with Rose. Join me for my live review of their match as it streams on YouTube.