By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Warrior Wrestling 22 on FITE TV
May 28, 2022 in Collinsville, Illinois at Gateway Convention Center
Report by Dot Net contributor Chris Vetter
Unfortunately, the big news of the show is that they lost their main event when Will Ospreay went down with a kidney infection. However, AEW’s Lance Archer and Brian Cage were brought in as last-minute replacements. (Obviously, AEW didn’t have a show on Saturday, but neither were booked for the PPV on Sunday, either.)
Joe Dombrowski provided commentary. This appears to be a large convention hall with perhaps 400-500 in attendance. Sound is good, and lighting is adequate.
1. Warhorse defeated Adam Brooks at 16:18. They avoided each other’s big moves early and had a standoff. Warhorse hit a dropkick and a butterfly suplex at 3:00. Warhorse applied a Sharpshooter, but Brooks scrambled and reached the ropes. Brooks hit a dropkick to Warhorse’ butt as Warhorse was tied in the corner, then he hit a top-rope flying knee for a nearfall. Brooks hit a gutbuster over his knee for a nearfall at 6:30.
Brooks put Warhorse across his shoulders, dropped him forward for another gutbuster over his knee, and he grounded Warhorse with a bearhug. Brooks gave him a Russian Leg Sweep into a turnbuckle at 9:00, but this just fired up Warhorse. Warhorse hit a headbutt and a flying forearm. The crowd was fired up. Warhorse hit a shotgun dropkick and a running knee in the corner, then a top-rope double stomp to the back for a believable nearfall at 10:30. Brooks got a rollup for a nearfall. Warhorse hit a double stomp to the chest. Warhorse missed a top-rope elbow drop. Brooks applied a crossface, then he hit an enzuigiri. Warhorse hit a hard clothesline, and they were both down at 13:00.
Brooks dove through the ropes and hit a tornado DDT. Back in the ring, he hit another tornado DDT for a believable nearfall. Warhorse hit a top-rope superplex. Brooks hit a cross-legged suplex. He went for a Swanton Bomb but Warhorse got his knees up to block it. Warhorse locked in a Sharpshooter again, and this time Brooks tapped out. Really good opening match.
2. Camaro Jackson defeated Mike Outlaw at 9:50. These are two St. Louis-area standouts I have seen a few times in recent months. These Black men are fairly identical in size and strength. They traded chops early, and Camaro hit a powerslam for a nearfall. Dombrowski compared him to Steiner-type strength. Outlaw hit a dragon screw leg whip at 3:30, and he began working over the left knee. Outlaw applied a sleeper hold on the mat, and the crowd rallied for Camaro.
Camaro nailed a running shoulder tackle at 6:30, then a clothesline in the corner. Camaro nailed a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. They traded punches on the ring apron, and Outlaw hit a slingblade move to drop him on the apron. Back in the ring, Camaro hit a hard clothesline for the pin. Good match.
3. Alex Coughlin defeated Yuya Uemera at 13:36. This is a matchup of New Japan dojo graduates. They open with intense lockups. Uemera grounded him with a head-scissors lock. Coughlin hit a butterfly suplex at 5:00 for a nearfall. Coughlin leaned Uemera against the ropes and hit some hard chops. Uemera began working over the left leg, and he applied a half-crab. Coughlin hit a nice belly-to-belly overhead suplex, and they were both down at 8:30.
Coughlin hit a belly-to-back suplex, then a gut-wrench suplex for a nearfall. Uemera applied a Muta Lock, but Coughlin reached the ropes at 11:30. This has been intense, believable action. Uemera hit a deep armdrag. Coughlin applied a front guillotine choke. In an insane show of power, Coughlin was seated on the mat and picked up Uemera for a vertical suplex. Coughlin got to his feet before dropping Uemera to the mat and scoring the pin. Just an impressive finish, as Uemera is no small man. They shook hands afterward.
4. Dragon Bane defeated Alpha Wolf at 18:34. I don’t know either of these masked luchadors. Alpha Wolf wore a green mask and he came to the ring to “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Bane wore a silver dragon-themed gear with shiny gold pants. Dombrowski said they are brothers, and Bane is younger. They opened with mat reversals and a slower-than-expected pace. Not bad action at all, just not the 100-miles-an-hour I anticipated. At 3:30 they began trading hard slaps to each other’s face. Wolf tied him in a surfboard. Bane tied him up, but Wolf hit a headbutt to escape.
They now sped it up with quicker reversals. They fought to the floor at 7:30 and traded chops;; Wolf is much bigger than his younger brother. In the ring, Alpha Wolf hit a top-rope moonsault for a nearfall. They traded more chops. Dragon Bane hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly, then a tornado DDT, then a flip dive to the floor at 11:00. Dragon Bane hit a summersault senton on his brother as they fought on chairs in the crowd, and the crowd chanted “holy shit!”
Back in the ring, they traded more chops and forearms. Alpha Wolf hit a dropkick. They hit simultaneous Mafia Kicks. They traded clotheslines. Wolf hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly and they were both down at 15:30. Bane hit a crucifix rollup. He went for a top-rope Shooting Star Press, but Alpha Wolf caught him with a stunner. Wolf hit a standing powerbomb. Bane hit a V-Trigger to the chest and a shoulderbreaker over his knee. Dragon Bane hit a top-rope shooting star press for a nearfall, then he hit a Poison Rana to score the pin. A breathtaking final five minutes.
5. KC Navarro defeated Mike Bennett at 15:34. Navarro has a “number one contender’s medallion” around his neck that he won a few months ago. I have said this before, but heelish Navarro is identical to heelish Ace Austin. Standing reversals to start, and Bennett is much bigger and thicker. They traded open-hand slaps at 3:00. They fought to the floor, where KC nailed a superkick, then a moonsault to the floor. Back in the ring, Bennett hit a pair of suplexes for a nearfall. Bennett applied a Key Lock at 6:30.
They fought back to the floor and into the crowd. Navarro dove off the top rope, over the guardrail, and hit a splash on Bennett. Nice spot. Back in the ring, they traded chops from their knees, then their feet, at 10:00. Navarro hit a tornado DDT for a nearfall. This has been really good. Navarro missed a top-rope move, and Bennett hit a spear, then a piledriver for a nearfall at 13:00. In another good spot, Bennett put Navarro on his shoulders in the ropes, but Navarro turned it into a huracanarana.
Bennett hit a roaring elbow for a nearfall, and he went back to a keylock. Navarro hit a pair of superkicks, then a mid-ring Sliced Bread for the pin. This match topped all expectations, and these two had fantastic chemistry. Navarro sold a shoulder or upper arm injury after the win, collapsing at ringside.
* Frank the Clown joined on commentary and he is just annoying, and he takes away from my enjoyment of the next match…
6. Lance Archer defeated Myron Reed and Dante Leon in a three-way at 9:53. Archer was added to the show a few days ago, Reed dove through the ropes onto Archer on the floor to start the match, then Reed and Leon traded offense in the ring. Leon tried to dive on Archer, but Archer caught him and gave him a chokeslam onto the ring apron. Archer entered the ring for the first time at 2:00. Archer hit hard open-hand chops on both men, and he’s enjoying beating on the smaller opponents. Reed hit a dropkick that didn’t drop Archer. Archer hit a double clothesline. In an impressive spot, Archer caught both men in his arms and hit a Samoan Drop at 4:30.
Archer gave each man a short-arm clothesline. “The problem is, Lance is having fun,” Dombrowski said. The opponents hit simultaneous dropkicks. Archer hit a Black Hole Slam on Reed. Reed hit a stunner on Archer! Reed and Leon traded blows after Archer bailed to the floor. Reed hit a swinging faceplant for a nearfall.
Leon hit a top-rope corkscrew press on Reed for a nearfall, but Archer broke it up at 9:00. Archer hit a chokeslam on Reed onto Leon; he stacked them up and got a nearfall on both men. Leon escaped the Blackout and got a rollup for a nearfall. However, Archer hit the Blackout slam on Leon for the pin. I can’t put into words how annoying Frank the Clown was throughout that match and took away from a fun bout.
7. Deonna Purrazzo defeated Tootie Lynn at 8:23. Tootie has appeared on several NWA shows in recent months. Dombrowski said she was trained by Davey Richards and this is a big match in her hometown. Standing reversals to open, and they traded armbars. Purrazzo kept going to a Fujiwara Armbar, while Tootie applied a Key Lock. Purrazzo rolled out of an armbar, got a rollup, and the pin. There wasn’t much to describe about this match, but it was solid and competitive. Tootie’s face conveyed her disappointment in losing here.
8. Jeff Cobb defeated Jonah at 17:44. An intense lockup, a test of strength, and shoulder tackles with neither man going down. After one shoulder tackle, they both fell backward and rolled to the floor at 3:00. They fought on the floor, with Jonah charging and accidentally striking the ring post. In the ring, Cobb was in charge, and he stood on Jonah’s back and made the “surfing” hand motions. They brawled back to the floor at 6:00 for some more loud chops.
In the ring, Cobb picked up Jonah but fell backward to the mat and Jonah got a nearfall at 8:00. Jonah now walked on Cobb’s back! Jonah hit a Mafia Kick to the jaw, then a roaring elbow. They hit simultaneous clotheslines, and both men were down at 10:30. They got to their feet and traded punches and forearm shots. Cobb finally hit the bodyslam and the crowd popped, and he got a nearfall. Jonah caught him with a superkick and a big senton splash for a nearfall at 13:00.
Jonah hit a DDT for another nearfall. They traded running body blocks. Jonah hit a spear for a nearfall. Cobb fired back with a hard clothesline and an impressive pump-handle overhead suplex, and the crowd changed “holy shit!” Jonah nailed a Stinger Splash. Jonah hit a second-rope superplex, and both men were down at 17:00. Jonah went for a pin when Cobb reversed it, got a jackknife rollup, and scored the pin. Very satisfying big-man matchup. Cobb gets the win but it could have gone either way. Jonah refused a handshake and left the ring.
* A memorial service for Frank the Clown’s broken arm was held. He said he signed Janai Kai to a one-day contract to take out Athena.
9. Athena defeated Janai Kai (w/Frank the Clown) to retain the Warrior Women’s title at 15:28. I love Kai’s look, with the sides of her head shaved, but a long ponytail on top. She also uses a mouthguard, and just has a legit fighter look to her. Athena got a great pop, and she worked over the left arm. They traded armdrags and picked up the pace with quicker reversals. Athena hit a springboard splash for a nearfall at 3:00. Athena went to the top rope, but Frank distracted her, allowing Janai to pull her down and stay in charge with some kicks and basic stomps.
Athena finally nailed a roaring elbow for a nearfall at 6:30. Frank tripped Athena. Kai applied a rear-naked choke on the mat, but Athena powered out, faked a crane kick, and hit a head butt. Kai locked in a Dragon Sleeper at 10:00. However, Athena escaped and hit a Bulldog Powerslam. Athena hit two dropkicks, a running elbow, and a second-rope lung blower, and she was fired up. She hit her top-rope diving finisher where she catches the head and hits a stunner for a nearfall, but Frank pulled the ref to the floor. She rolled to the floor and chased Frank to the back.
Athena got back in the ring, where Janai caught her with a spin kick and a bodyslam for a nearfall. Kai applied a finisher on the mat, cranking on the left arm, and she turned it into a Divorce Court armbreaker at 14:00. Athena was able to stand up and hit a powerbomb. Kai went for a move, but Athena applied a submission hold on the mat, tying up the arms, and Kai immediately tapped out. That finish came out of nowhere. Satisfying match and Kai held her own.
* The main event was supposed to be Will Ospreay vs. Davey Richards. Richards’ mystery opponent is Brian Cage. KC Navarro, who has been feuding with his long-time partner Cage, joined Dombrowski on commentary. That is a bad sign he is about to interfere…
10. Davey Richards defeated Brian Cage at 16:58. They had a test of strength early. They fought on the floor, and Cage slammed him onto the ring apron. In the ring, Cage was in charge, whipping Richards across the ring and getting a nearfall at 5:00. Richards tied up the legs and kept Cage grounded. He applied a half-crab, then an STF-type hold. Cage fired back with a pump-handle facebuster slam, and they were both down at 8:30. Cage nailed a spinebuster and he was fired up. Cage hit a German Suplex for a nearfall.
Richards hit a dragon screw leg whip in the ropes, but he missed a top-rope double stomp. He applied the Trailer Hitch leg lock on the mat, but Cage reached the ropes at 11:00. They got to their feet and traded stiff forearms. Richards nailed a Saito Suplex. Cage hit a decapitating clothesline and a Death Valley Driver for a believable nearfall. Cage stood on the second rope and hit a suplex into the ring for a nearfall at 14:00. He nailed a buckle bomb into the corner. Richards fired back with an ankle lock, then a punt kick to the chest. He unloaded several kicks but Cage was fired up.
Richards nailed the top-rope double stomp to the chest for a nearfall, and the crowd popped for the kickout. Richards hit a brainbuster for another nearfall at 15:30. Cage hit an F5 faceplant for a nearfall. Navarro suddenly left the commentary booth and slid a chair into the ring. He hit Cage with his “number one contender’s medallion;” Richards didn’t see the interference. Richards nailed the Gotch-style piledriver to score the pin.
Richards got on the mic and put over how tough Cage is, and how long they’ve known each other. He then vowed he would still get that promised match against Will Ospreay, and he concluded by thanking the fans.
Final Thoughts: While losing Ospreay from this lineup was huge, they found two satisfying replacements. I don’t know if they needed Tony Khan’s permission to appear here the day before the AEW PPV, but the fact that Cage wasn’t previously booked, despite him being in the angle with KC Navarro, made me believe he wasn’t initially free to appear on this event.
I loved the big-man matchup between Cobb and Jonah and that’s my favorite. I’ll give main event second-best, and the luchador battle third place. This was a really strong show top to bottom, with Navarro and Bennett really clicking in the ring, too, and Coughlin-Uemera having a great mat battle. Give the promoters credit: if I was booking this show, I would have put Purrazzo against Athena, but the decision was made here to give two up-and-comers big singles matches against the top stars instead. The show lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours.
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