EBWF went live all over the world as pyro shot off from the stage and the crowd inside the arena moved to their feet.
Mauro Ranallo: Get ready folks… it’s time for Warfare! Tonight we are live from Birmingham, Alabama and we’re kicking off the King of the Ring tournament!
Nigel McGuinness: Up first, we’ve got Jack Evans from The Hybrid Two in action as he goes one on one with Samoa Joe!
Samoa Joe came out first to a mixed reaction from the crowd. When Joe was in the ring, “Hybrid Flow” hit and the crowd booed as Jack Evans made his way to the ring, accompanied by Angelico. After Evans had entered the ring, the referee called for the bell. Evans locked up with Joe, but Joe shoved him backwards into the corner, then hit him with a series of chops to the chest. Joe pulled Evans out of the corner and hit him with a series of punches, before whipping him against the ropes. As Evans ran back towards him, Joe lifted him over his shoulders, hitting a Samoan drop. He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Evans kicked out! Joe pulled Evans to his feet and tried to set him up for the Muscle Buster, but Evans blocked it, countering with a jawbreaker. As Joe staggered backwards, Evans hit a dropkick, knocking him back into the corner, then followed up with a series of punches. Evans then whipped Joe across the ring into the opposite corner, before running across the ring and hitting a handspring back elbow smash! Samoa Joe stumbled out of the corner and Evans took him down with the Tornado Kick, then followed up with a standing corkscrew moonsault! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Joe kicked out just before the 3!
Nigel McGuinness: Incredible athletic ability there by Jack Evans… and it was almost enough to get the three count!
As Evans got to his feet, he stomped on Joe several times, then climbed to the top rope. Evans went for the 630 Senton… but Joe rolled out of the way! Both men got to their feet and Joe hit Evans with a powerbomb, then put him in a single leg Boston crab. Evans was able to get to the ropes, and the referee ordered Joe to break the hold. After Samoa Joe had released him, Jack Evans used the ropes to pull himself up. When Evans was on his feet, Joe ran at him, going for a clothesline… but Evans pulled down on the ropes, sending Joe to the outside. As Joe got to his feet, Evans ran against the ropes, then hit a diving corkscrew plancha! Evans slid back into the ring, and yelled at the referee to begin counting Joe out. The referee began counting - 1… 2… 3… 4… at the count of 5, Joe got to his feet and rolled back into the ring. Evans went to hit Joe with a superkick, but Joe ducked out of the way, then grabbed Evans from behind and hit a German suplex! As Evans got to his feet, Joe threw him into the corner, then set him up for the Island Driver… but Evans blocked it, before countering with a frankensteiner!
Mauro Ranallo: Mamma Mia! What a counter!
As both men got to their feet, Evans hit a somersault kick, then climbed to the top rope. He went for the 630 Senton… and this time, he hit it! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3! The referee called for the bell and Evans celebrated with Angelico, then they made their way to the back as Warfare went to a commercial break.
When Warfare returned from the commercial break, Austin Gunn was on his way to the ring for the next match.
Mauro Ranallo: Welcome back! Up next, we’ve got the winner of the 2022 men’s Last Survivor match, Austin Gunn, making his return from injury as he takes on Dynasty’s Ace Austin.
Nigel McGuinness: It’s Austin versus Austin, Mauro!
When Gunn was in the ring, Ace Austin came out, accompanied by KC Navarro. As soon as Ace entered the ring, Gunn ran at him, going for a clothesline, but Ace ducked out of the way and hit Gunn with a series of punches, then whipped him into the corner. Ace hit Gunn with a series of shoulder thrusts, then followed up with a series of backhand chops. Ace whipped Gunn across the ring to the opposite corner, then ran at him and hit a corner clothesline. As Gunn staggered out of the corner, Ace hit him with a spinning heel kick, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… Gunn kicked out! Both men got to their feet and Ace set Gunn up for a suplex, but Gunn blocked it, countering with a suplex of his own. As both men got to their feet once more, Gunn hit Ace with a series of punches, then whipped him against the ropes. As Ace ran back towards him, Gunn went for a hip toss, but Ace blocked it, countering with an inverted DDT. Ace then applied an armbar, and while the armbar was locked in he pulled a card out of hit trunks. Keeping the hold locked in, Ace spread Austin Gunn’s fingers, before slicing the card between his fingers!
Mauro Ranallo: What a nasty move! That’s gotta sting!
Gunn cried out in pain, which seemed to amuse Ace Austin. He was less amused when the referee took the card off him, confiscating it. Gunn managed to get his foot on the ropes and Ace broke the hold, then pulled him away from the ropes. Ace then climbed to the top rope and went for an inverted frog splash… but Gunn got his knees up and blocked it! As both men got to their feet, Gunn hit the Fame Asser! He hooked both legs and the referee counted - 1… 2… Ace kicked out! Gunn looked frustrated at only getting a 2 count, and he began arguing with the referee, accusing him of counting too slowly. While Gunn was arguing with the referee, KC Navarro climbed onto the ring apron and began taunting him. Gunn ran towards Navarro, but Navarro quickly jumped down from the apron. While Gunn was distracted, Ace rolled him up with a schoolboy, grabbing the tights as he did so! The referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Nigel McGuinness: What a victory by Ace Austin! He just proved he’s the better Austin!
Mauro Ranallo: Are you kidding, Nigel? He cheated!
As the referee called for the bell, Ace Austin rolled out of the ring and retreated up the ramp with KC Navarro while Austin Gunn argued with the referee. A video hyping the upcoming Total Supremacy pay-per-view began to play.
When EBWF returned the crowd gave a mixed reaction for Tama Tonga as he came to the ring.
Christy Hemme: This is a first round qualifying match for the King of the Ring tournament! Introducing first, representing the Bullet Club.... Tama Tonga.
With Tama Tonga in the ring, Christian's theme hit and he came out onto the stage shielding his eyes with an open palm as he gazed out into the audience.
Christy Hemme: And his opponent, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada... representing The Coalition...Christian Cage!
The crowd cheered loudly for Christian as he got into the ring and stared down Tama Tonga.
Mauro Ranallo: Christian Cage looks like he's ready to make it to the second round of this tournament tonight, Nigel!
Nigel McGuinness: Tama Tonga practices a style of wrestling that Christian just isn't used to. It'll be interesting to see if these two veterans can figure each other out tonight.
The bell rang and Tonga started fast but Cage with a diving European uppercut from the second rope and Tonga rounded to the apron. Tonga got the upper hand and he dumped Christian to the outside.
Mauro Ranallo: Where's he going?
Christian crawled under the ring to the other side. Tonga was hanging over the top rope and looking down, only to be rolled up from behind!
Nigel McGuinness: That's the way Christian Cage can get into Tonga's head!
Tonga kicked out at two and started putting the boots to Cage in the corner. Cage looked for a tornado DDT but Tonga caught him with an iconoclasm, and then a wrist lock! Tonga picked up Cage in a one armed suplex, and took him down. Tonga put on a body lock as Christian was down. Both men rolled to the outside and Cage landed a tornado DDT off the steps to the floor!
Mauro Ranallo: Tama Tonga will be feeling that tomorrow!
Cage rolled Tonga in and delivered some punches in the corner followed by a twisting sunset flip for a two count. Cage countered with a falling reverse DDT, but it was still only good for two. Cage went up top but Tonga rolled outside.
Nigel McGuinness: Good strategy from the Bullet Club member here.
Cage followed but Tonga hit a bottom rope assisted cutter for a quick two count! Cage grabbed Tonga from behind however and dropped him back first over the top turnbuckle. Cage hit a falling headbutt from the top for another two. Cage set up for a spear but Tonga was able to execute the shoulder block. Tonga looking for DDT but Cage countered into the Killswitch!
Mauro Ranallo: Could it be...
Mauro Ranallo: A rough start for Bullet Club in the King of the Ring tournament! Christian advances here tonight!
Nigel McGuinness: We'll have to see if Adam Cole has better luck against the debuting Max Caster coming up next in our main event!
Christian celebrated in the ring as EBWF went to commercial.
EBWF returned with a cold open and the blaring theme of Adam Cole.
"You Know It's All about the Boom!"
Mauro Ranallo: Just moments ago Adam Cole's compatriot in Bullet Club, Tama Tonga fell to Christian Cage and now Adam has the opportunity to take on the newcome, Max Caster.
Christy Hemme announced Adam Cole and then his music faded. The crowd popped when they heard the already familiar voice of Max Caster.
Max Caster: Yo... listen.... listen.
Caster and Bowens came out onto the stage and Caster raised the mic to his lips.
Anthony Bowens: Birmingham, Alabama....
They each put the a-symbol down with their fingers.
Anthony Bowens: ...the Acclaimed have arrived!
Mauro Ranallo: I think the earlier rap about Adam Cole spoke for itself, and Max Caster is ready for a fight!
The bell rang as Caster slid in under the bottom rope. Cole worked over Caster’s arm early slamming his knee into Caster’s arm repeatedly before going for an arm lock. Caster quickly sprawled to the ropes to get away from Cole. Cole went for a cross body but Caster caught him and hit a backbreaker.
Nigel McGuinness: That could be a defining moment here in this match!
Caster went to work on Cole’s back and threw him hard into the turnbuckles. He tried to throw him into the turnbuckles again but Cole leapt over the top and hit a flying axe handle off the top followed by an atomic drop and a snap suplex. Cole went for a flying knee but Caster moved and went for a fisherman’s buster. Cole escaped and went for the Last Shot only for Caster to escape and hit a series of chops and the fisherman buster for two.
Mauro Ranallo: I don't think Adam Cole was expecting this to go the way it's going.
Bowen's was hyped at ringside. Caster went up top but Cole crotched him and hit a Frankensteiner off the top rope! Cole hit the flying knee followed by the running bulldog for two. Cole went for the flying forearm but Caster distracted the referee allowing Bowens to hang up in the ropes. Caster then hit a springboard guillotine leg drop to Cole hanging upside down for two. Caster went to the top rope and hit the Mic Drop.
Mauro Ranallo: This could be it!
Nigel McGuinness: What an upset!
Mauro Ranallo: There's a new kid in town and his name is Max Caster!
Bowens jumped up and down in the ring as the crowd cheered. The referee raised Caster's hand.
Nigel McGuinness: That's four in the books. Jack Evans, Ace Austin, Christian Cage and Max Caster advance to round two.
Mauro Ranallo: What a roster for the second round! And no one is more excited than that man right there.
Caster was still celebrating in the ring as Warfare went off the air.