The crowd inside the Spectrum Center in Charlotte was red hot as Warfare went live all over the world.
Mauro Ranallo: Get ready folks… it’s time for Warfare.
Nigel McGuinness: Tonight we…
Nigel was cut off as “Immortal” by Adema played to the surprise of the people in the audience, and the announcers, as Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring.
Nigel McGuinness: She can’t be serious!
Mauro Ranallo: After what happened last week I'm surprised that Alexa Bliss is here tonight.
Nigel McGuinness: Well we heard that Alexa suffered a concussion as a result of the attack so in all honesty she shouldn't be here.
Alexa grabbed a microphone and entered the ring as a bandage on her forehead was seen.
Alexa Bliss: Surprised you didn't I?
The crowd cheered which brought a small smile to Alexa’s face.
Alexa Bliss: I’m gonna be honest with youI am in so much pain right now it could be considered unbearable. I’ve spent most of the last week sitting at home in the dark with my ears ringing and feeling extremely nauseous, and to be honest I probably should have listened to the doctors and stayed at home.
Alexa paused for a moment to seemingly gather her thoughts.
Alexa Bliss: But I just can’t, because the one thing I hate most is not being able to do what I love alongside the people I love. The other reason I'm here is because I refuse to let that bitch who has done everything to try to make my life hell and her master to get..away with trying to end my career so Utami..Sakisama get..out..here.
Nigel McGuinness: Oh no this is not a good idea on Alexa’s part! She’s already concussed and a fight with Neo Bishiki-Gun will do more harm than good.
Mauro Ranallo: You’re right Nigel! Alexa has heart but it might be more harmful to her this time.
Alexa waited for her adversaries to show up, pacing back and forth, but after several seconds the crowd booed realizing that the two wouldn’t show up. Alexa chuckled.
Alexa Bliss: So, you wanna avoid me? It seems fine but I promise that sooner or later, even if it’s the last thing I do, I will find you two and make you wish you never met me.
Alexa threw the mic down as “Immortal” played again.
Mauro Ranallo: Concussion or not it seems like Alexa Bliss won’t stop until she gets revenge.
Nigel McGuinness: I admire her bravery Mauro, but she is putting her career and her health in jeopardy by doing this.
Alexa walked to the back as the crowd continued to cheer and an EBWF Shop promo package played.
Mauro Ranallo: Well, that certainly wasn’t the start to Warfare we were expecting tonight, Nigel.
Nigel McGuinness: Not it was not, but it’s clear that Alexa won’t be ignored.
Mauro Ranallo: And now we jump right into the action with our first match of the evening.
Christy Hemme did the announcements for Jamie Hayter as she came to the ring, and stepped between the ropes to wait for Liv Morgan who came down the ramp to cheers from the audience. The bell rang.
Nigel McGuinness: Here we go!
Liv and Hayter started quickly but Hayter rolled to the outside.
Mauro Ranallo: I don’t think Jamie was expecting Liv to bring the fury there.
Liv beckoned her back into the ring, and Hayter followed up with a whip into the rail and tried for a powerslam. Liv countered and sent her into the post. They stared each other down, and both quickly rolled back into the ring to break up the referee's count. Liv got an arm drag and a big knee strike! Hayter followed up with a kick and a T-bone suplex.
Mauro Ranallo: Jamie Hayter trying to make an example of Liv here.
Liv fired off some forearm strikes and followed up with a front dropkick. Liv hit a crossbody on Hayter! Morgan with the pin.
Mauro Ranallo: 1…2…NO!
Hayter fought back with a boot and countered a full nelson attempt. Liv got the enziguiri and hit ObLIVion!
Liv was fired up as Hayter rolled her up for a two count and was immediately rocked with a thrust kick! Hayter hit an elbow shot as Liv came back with a thrust kick of her own! Jamie sent Liv into the corner and hit a series of chops. Liv got up on Jamie’s shoulders, but Hayter knocked her off and hit a sick lariat.
Mauro Ranallo: Jamie Hayter with the pin!
Nigel McGuinness: What a victory for Jamie Hayter!
Mauro Ranallo: A wonderful performance from these women tonight. Our sport only needs to look to EBWF to know that women’s wrestling is alive and well.
The crowd cheered as Hayter celebrated in the ring.
The tron lit up and at first there was only darkness. Then a single spotlight lit the figure of Trish Stratus. She was straddling a backwards chair and her long blonde hair fell over bare shoulders. Her black tank top accentuated her curves, and her made up face was serious. She looked down the lens, her eyes intense.
Trish Stratus: Nearly two months ago I was beaten by Arisa Hoshiki in the Queen of the Ring tournament, and while I accept that that was my fault. I accept that this year, I have let some things get in my head, and go to my head. I accept that I haven’t been at my best.
She took a deep breath, and the left side of her mouth raised in just a hint of a smirk.
Trish Stratus: But when your legacy is as long and as storied as mine, when you’ve held open the doors I have, when you’ve crushed the class ceilings I’ve crushed… you can’t be expected to carry an entire division, an entire company, at all times. And so I’ve given you all an opportunity, Liv n Bliss… Neo Biishiki-Gun, Oedo Tai… which might also include Liv n Bliss… I mean, who can keep up? And as Arisa gears up to take on her old frenemy Tam Nakano for the EBWF Women’s Championship, I have to wonder what that might look like.
Trish cocked her head.
Trish Stratus: See there’s been rumblings around here that a match like Arisa and Tam can’t go on at Gateway to Glory. There’s been Reddit and social media posts that Arisa and Tam isn’t the kind of match you have at a…
Trish did air quotes.
Trish Stratus: …”throw away” pay per view like Gateway to Glory. Oh no, an international match of that caliber has to go on at the grandest stage EBWF has to offer. Tam Nakano versus Arisa Hashiki can only happen at Fanniversary.
Trish Stratus: …if it happens at all. You see, I did decide earlier this year that I am not required to carry this division on my back. I am not required to be the face of Women’s Wrestling. Trish Stratus walked so you all could run. Trish Stratus barked like a dog so you could have your god damn cage matches and be taken seriously in this world. Trish Stratus of 2003 put up with a lot of bullshit so she could stand here in 2023 and tell you that the only thing she’s got left to do is protect her legacy.
Trish leaned forward, her gaze intently on the camera.
Trish Stratus: Three hundred and nine. That’s how many days I was the women's champion. And I will not see that record broken as long as I can still lace up a pair of boots. I’ve earned my legacy. While you ladies were flipping around Asia, I was being written into disgusting storylines having to play my bosses love interest while half dressed. What did you do bitches do? Get a plane ticket? You’ll never have to go through what I did, and you know what? You’re welcome.
Trish flipped her hair.
Trish Stratus: So let me be the one to rain on your parade. I’ve told each and every single one of you, over and over and over again, that when my legacy, my place in the history books is at stake - there is no line for the EBWF Women’s Championship. I am always at the front of the line. The internet trolls… EBWF… they don’t have to worry about when to book Arisa and Tam. Because it isn’t happening.
Trish paused as the crowd reacted with boos.
Trish Stratus: I’m coming for my title, Tam. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I’m coming for it. And I’m coming for it before these 309 days are up. And when I rewrite history, cementing my legacy, then Arisa - only then can you take your shot.
The crowd was booing.
Trish Stratus: And I know the whole world thinks that it would be such a pity not to see Dream Shine go toe to toe, but that just means that the whole world has forgotten that there is only one main event female megastar in EBWF. Trust me, you won’t even miss that match. In fact, you’ll thank me later.
Trish winked, and the crowd was dumbfounded. The scene faded to black and EBWF went to commercial.
When EBWF returned from commercial, Rey Mysterio was already in the ring and “Bow” by Zeal and Ardor hit the PA and the crowd gave a mixed reaction to Damian Priest.
Mauro Ranallo: Our King of the Ring has certainly made his presence felt in the last few weeks, and tonight he takes on the King of Lucha Libre, the incomparable Rey Mysterio.
Nigel McGuinness: I can’t help but notice that Priest is out here without his counsel and advocate, Paul Heyman.
Mauro Ranallo: The nature of their relationship is still very confusing.
In a show of respect, Priest entered the ring and extended his hand to Mysterio, who was skeptical about the big man for only a moment before he returned his hand for a hand shake.
Mauro Ranallo: Priest, of course, of Puerto Rican descent and showing respect to Mysterio. .
The bell rang. Rey landed kicks and right hands but Damian returned a right hand and kicked Rey. Damian followed up with a right hand as he threw Rey to the ropes but Rey countered with an elbow to the face. Rey jumped off the second rope but Damian caught him and slammed him onto his knee.
Nigel McGuinness: Rey is no match for the strength of Damian Priest.
Damian got on the second rope and had Rey on his shoulders but Rey pummeled him with right hands. Rey executed a perfect hurricanrana off the second rope. He went for the cover.
Mauro Ranallo: What a big kickout from Damian Priest!
Rey ran to the ropes but Priest stopped him dead with a thunderous right hand. Rey was leaned up against the ringpost, and Damian went for a spear in the corner but Rey moved out of the way. Priest slammed into the ringpost and fell to the outside. Rey hit a moonsault off the second rope onto Priest. He threw Priest back into the ring and Rey climbed the top rope. He hit Priest with a senton followed by a cross body off the second rope.
Mauro Ranallo: Rey with another cover!
Nigel McGuinness: Rey is getting frustrated here!
Rey threw Priest onto the second rope. He went for the 619 but Priest hit him with a kick to the face. Priest hooked the leg!
Mauro Ranallo: It’s no good!
Damian lifted Rey up but Rey landed on his feet and went for a cross body off the second rope, but Damian caught him for the South of Heaven!
Nigel McGuinness: Rey doesn’t know where he is!
Mauro Ranallo: Priest with the cover!
Mauro Ranallo: Unbelievable! Another convincing win for the King of the Ring.
Damian helped Rey to his feet, and once Rey was no longer staggered Damian raised Rey’s arm in victory.
Nigel McGuinness: A sign of sportsmanship from Priest. What a great match!
Rey and Damian each stood on a turnbuckle and played to the crowd as a Gateway to Glory promo video began to play.
Moments after the finish of Damian Priest vs Rey Mysterio Jr, "Twilight Dream" hit to a huge pop. The tron came to life, purple cosmic designs swirling behind the alternating text 'TWILIGHT DREAM', 'TAM NAKANO' and 'EBWF WOMEN'S CHAMPION'.
Mauro Ranallo: Trish Stratus certainly had a lot to say about the women’s champion earlier tonight.
Nigel McGuinness: Trish was talking nonsense, Mauro! Tam should just ignore everything Trish said and run her own agenda here tonight.
Christy Hemme: At this time please welcome the EBWF Women's Champion, 'Twilight Dream', Tam Nakano!
The fans roared louder as the champion emerged onto the stage. Though in street clothes with her Believe in Tam jacket, Tam looked ready to throw down. Bandaging was just visible from under her neckline. Another ovation rose from the Spectrum Center crowd as Arisa Hoshiki followed a couple steps behind. Like Tam she looked a bit worse for wear but spoiling for a fight.
Mauro Ranallo: Mamma mia, what an ovation for the EBWF Women's Champion and the Queen of the Ring! They look like they've got a lot to get off their chests tonight.
Nigel McGuinness: Who can blame them after that shameful ambush by Oedo Tai last week? Both of them are proud competitors who've electrified the women's division since debuting. Oedo Tai might not understand the Pandora's Box they opened with that assault.
Each woman circled the ring, playing to the crowd. Arisa was first to enter the ring, climbing up one of the corners to pose for her fans. Tam followed suit, tracing out magic star with her finger. Both then hopped down into the ring, where Tam asked for a mic. Loud chants of "TAM NA-KA-NO" and "A-RI-SA!" echoed through the building as the two gathered their thoughts.
Tam Nakano: Charlotte, good evening! How's it going?
The fans roared in approval as Arisa smiled and Tam's expression went serious. It was clear she had an axe to grind.
Tam Nakano: I wish I could say I felt the same, but that's a little hard after what happened last week. Everyone saw it. Everyone saw that the mighty Lord and Savior of EBWF was about to fall to the power of my Twilight Dream! For all her talk it just wasn't enough when the bell rang. She knew it. Her faction mate knew it. So they decided to just hit me with the symbol of what they stand for.
The fans booed as Tam recounted the attack. She shook her head as she continued.
Tam Nakano: And that's how Oedo Tai has always been. Always using their numbers to push people around. Always raising hell whenever they get the itch. Jamie might think she's grown more powerful by bringing Oedo Tai here, but she's forgetting one thing.
Tam grinned as she pointed to herself.
Tam Nakano: No matter who she has under that mask, no matter what they do, Tam is stronger. Tam is stronger because of that sparkling twilight dream. Tam's stronger because of the support of people like all of you. And Tam is stronger because friends like Arisa stand by her side. Oedo Tai, remember all of that the next time you think about sneak attacking someone!
The fans cheered loudly as Tam got worked up, seemingly focused on deterring further Oedo Tai attacks.
Tam Nakano: You did some damage last week, but it's not going to stop me from living my Twilight Dream and defending my beautiful championship!
At this point Arisa had gotten a mic of her own. She stepped up next to the champion and glared down the camera.
Arisa Hoshiki: And it's not even going to slow me down. That was a cheap trick you guys used to ambush both of us, and I'm not proud to admit I used to be part of a group like that. But I've survived too many things, I've come back stronger too many times and climbed too many mountains to let some ghost from my past stop me now. I beat Oedo Tai back home and I'll do it again here! Just try me, Jamie. I'm here every week, and I've already beaten you twice here. You don't scare me, and neither does your friend.
Arisa put her hand on Tam's shoulder and leaned towards her.
Arisa Hoshiki: Because I've got my best friend, and she doesn't need to hide behind a mask. And together we're stronger than any combination Oedo Tai could ever put together! Tam's gone undefeated and became champion in October. I've won both the Last Survivor match and Queen of the Ring. You try that again and we'll show you what we're all about.
The fans cheered Arisa's fire as Tam smiled. A beat later Tam turned to Arisa.
Tam Nakano: Oh, that reminds me! Congratulations, Queen Arisa!
Arisa flashed a big goofy grin as she was showered with cheers.
Arisa Hoshiki: Thanks, Tam. That means a lot.
Tam Nakano: It's been a great year, and I'm so glad to have my best friend back. You've worked so hard to get where you are, and I'm proud of you! I know it's been 3 years since you held gold, and you deserve a shot at some.
Arisa beamed as Tam spoke. The champion took a couple steps away from her friend, then spun around dramatically.
Tam Nakano: So - if you want - I can probably convince the Ikedas to bring back the women's tag team championships. Just think about it, Dream Shine reunited and reigning as tag team champions like we were always meant to!
Arisa was confused by this and held her hand up in objection.
Arisa Hoshiki: Hold on, Tam. As fun as that sounds, I don't think you can do that. And besides, friend or not, I'm coming to take the top prize in wrestling at Gateway to Glory.
She pointed at the belt around Tam's waist to cheers. Tam's expression and tone grew concerned.
Tam Nakano: Arisa, it's been three years since we've been together. Since you came back last fall I've spent every single day wanting nothing else but to get my friend back. You've accomplished so much, and you should be proud! But every time you come chasing Tam and this beautiful championship, you break a little more. Last time we fought you were away for two months! If you do this, if you chase me again, I'm afraid I'll lose you for good. And I don't want Dream Shine to end that way.
Arisa raised a dubious eyebrow.
Arisa Hoshiki: Hold on, Tam. This again? I keep telling you, I'm the ultimate survivor. I can get back up no matter what you do to me. I'm not going anywhere.
Tam reached out to Arisa, who stepped out of the way. Arisa instead flashed a fiery look at her friend.
Tam Nakano: Arisa you don't -
Arisa Hoshiki: I do get it Tam. I know you wear your heart on your sleeve and you're worried about me. But I've worked too hard for too long to let this chance get away. I earned this opportunity, and I'm going to take it. Please give me your best, because I'm giving you mine.
Tam sighed and put a protective hand on her title.
Tam Nakano: This beautiful belt I've got shines really brightly, and it makes me shine brighter than a star in the sky. I know how tempting it is to chase that light. But your wings won't hold up if you fly too close to me.
Arisa shook her head in disbelief and jabbed a finger at the prize she sought.
Arisa Hoshiki: We'll see who burns up at Gateway to Glory, Tam. Maybe it's going to be the Cosmic Angel falling back to earth.
She dropped the mic and glared at Tam, daring her to say more. Tam dropped hers as well and simply held up the title to remind her friend who was on top. As the fans cheered in anticipation of the rematch to come we went to a commercial break.
As Warfare returned from the final commercial break of the evening, “My Last Breath” by Evanescence hit and the crowd booed as Christian Cage made his way to the ring.
Mauro Ranallo: Welcome back! Up next, it’s time for our main event… Christian Cage takes on Trent and Brock Anderson in a triple threat match for the vacant Gateway Championship!
When Christian was in the ring, RPG Vice theme hit and the crowd cheered as Trent headed to the ring. Finally, the Four Horsemen theme hit, and the cheers continued as Brock Anderson stepped out onto the stage.
Nigel McGuinness: What a huge opportunity this is for Brock Anderson, Mauro. He has the chance to become a double champion… and in his hometown too!
Upon entering the ring, Anderson held up his Breakout Championship, reminding his opponents that he was already a champion. The referee then tried to take the title from Anderson; Anderson seemed reluctant to hand it over, but eventually did so. After passing the title to one of the officials at ringside, the referee called for the bell. Anderson looked at Christian, then both Anderson and Christian looked at Trent. Anderson and Christian then charged towards Trent, and began beating him down! Christian whipped Trent against the ropes and hit him with a dropkick, then as Trent got back to his feet, Anderson hit Trent with a clothesline. Trent got to his feet once more, and Anderson and Christian hit a double suplex. Christian then grabbed Anderson, throwing him shoulder first into the ring post, before covering Trent! The referee counted - 1… 2… Trent kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: Quick thinking there by Christian! I guess the temporary alliance between him and Brock Anderson is now dissolved…
Sure enough, as Christian got to his feet, Anderson moved out of the corner and hit Christian with a series of punches. Christian fought back with some right hands of his own, then went to whip Anderson against the ropes… but Anderson reversed the Irish whip, sending Christian against the ropes before taking him down with a hip toss. Anderson then stomped on Christian’s arms and legs one by one, before putting Christian in a figure four leglock!
Nigel McGuinness: Anderson with the figure four locked in, and don’t forget there are no rope breaks in a triple threat match… so if Christian can’t escape the hold, he’ll have to submit or risk a serious injury!
Christian tried to break the hold, but Anderson had it locked in tightly. Christian then changed tactic, rolling over and putting the pressure on Anderson! As Anderson cried out in pain, Trent got to his feet and stomped on Christian several times, forcing him to break the hold. Trent then pulled Christian to his feet and whipped him into the corner, before grabbing Brock Anderson and whipping him into the opposite corner. Trent ran at Christian, hitting him with a flying back elbow smash, then ran across the ring and did the same to Brock Anderson. As both men stumbled out of the corner, Trent ran at Christian and took him down with a knee strike, then grabbed Anderson and took him back towards the corner, hitting a Tornado DDT! Trent hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: So close to a three! Brock Anderson got his shoulder up just in time!
As Trent held his head in disbelief, Christian rolled out of the ring and grabbed a steel chair. Trent didn’t notice, and signaled for the Crunchy! But before Trent could hit it, Christian re-entered the ring with the steel chair and hit Trent over the back with it! As Trent fell to the mat, Brock Anderson got to his feet and Christian drilled the chair into Anderson’s ribs, then hit a DDT onto the chair! Christian hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out! Christian shook his head in frustration, threw Brock Anderson out of the ring, then turned his attention to Trent. Christian signaled for the Unprettier, but then “The Chairmen’s Intent” by Action Bronson began to play.
Nigel McGuinness: Uh oh, Mauro… I think Hook is here!
Christian looked concerned, and he picked up the steel chair and stared towards the stage, ready to defend himself against the Cold Hearted Handsome Devil. But Hook made his way through the crowd instead, jumped over the ringside barrier, and came up behind Christian, grabbing the chair off him and throwing it down on the mat! Christian went for a clothesline, but Hook ducked underneath it, then grabbed Christian from behind and hit a release German suplex! As both men got to their feet, Hook hit Christian with a clothesline, sending him over the top rope. Hook then followed Christian to the outside, and began clearing the announce table. As Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness stepped away from the table, Hook grabbed Christian and lifted him up, powerbombing him through the table!
Mauro Ranallo: Mamma Mia! Our table is broken, and so might Christian be too!
The crowd cheered, and began chanting for Hook. Hook smiled, then jumped back over the barrier and exited through the crowd. Back in the ring, Trent and Brock Anderson were back on their feet, and Trent set Anderson up for the Crunchy… but Anderson countered it and rolled Trent up! The referee counted - 1… 2… Trent kicked out! As both men got to their feet, Trent went for a big boot, but Anderson ducked underneath it, before hitting Trent with a neckbreaker! As both men got to their feet, Anderson whipped Trent against the ropes, then hit a Spinebuster onto the steel chair! Anderson hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Nigel McGuinness: It’s over! Brock Anderson wins!
The referee called for the bell, then went to raise Anderson’s arm in victory, but Anderson shoved him away. Anderson grabbed both the Breakout and Gateway Championships and held them up, celebrating as Warfare went off the air.