After a video package promoting the card and an opening pyro display, the camera cut to Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness at ringside.
Mauro Ranallo: Get ready folks… it’s time for Gateway to Glory! We are live from the sold out KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, and what a show we have in store for you!
Nigel McGuinness: That’s right, Mauro! We’ll see the 2023 King of the Ring, Damian Priest, challenge The Miz for the EBWF World Championship! We’ll also see Tam Nakano defend her Women’s Championship against Trish Stratus… and if Tam wins, she will beat Trish’s record for the longest Women’s Championship reign in EBWF history!
Mauro Ranallo: We will also see Brock Anderson defend both the Gateway and Breakout Championships against Adam Cole in a two out of three falls match, and Alexa Bliss will go one on one with Sakisama. Up first, though… we’ve got Hook versus Christian Cage in the first ever EBWF fight pit match!
Nigel McGuinness: That’s right, Mauro! Christian and Hook will be trapped inside a steel cage, and the only way to win is by knockout or submission!
“My Last Breath” by Evanescence hit and the crowd booed as Christian Cage made his way to the ring. Christian was dressed all in black. When Christian had entered the cage, “The Chairman’s Intent” by Action Bronson hit and out walked Hook, who was wearing white shorts with 730 emblazoned on the back.
Mauro Ranallo: I believe the 730 on Hook’s shorts means he’s feeling crazy… and that could be a warning to Christian Cage about what he can expect from the cold hearted handsome devil!
Nigel McGuinness: I didn’t know you were down with the kids, Mauro.
Mauro Ranallo: I’m not… but I know how to use Urban Dictionary.
Nigel McGuinness: Be careful what you search on there, Mauro…
Once Hook was inside the cage, the referee called for the bell. Christian tried to grab Hook, but Hook hit Christian with a series of kicks, then took Christian down to the mat and began pummeling him with a series of punches. Hook pulled Christian to his feet and set him up for a gut wrench suplex, but Christian blocked it, charging Hook into the steel cage! Hook fell to the mat, and Christian stomped on him several times before placing his knee on Hook’s throat, trying to choke him. Hook fought back, shoving Christian away, then got to his feet. Hook and Christian exchanged right hands, and after gaining the upper hand, Hook went for Redrum, but before he could lock it in Christian caught Hook with a back elbow smash. Christian then grabbed Hook and slammed his head off the steel cage! Christian then began grinding Hook’s head against the cage, busting him open.
Mauro Ranallo: Hook is bleeding from the forehead, and you have to wonder if he’s starting to regret choosing this match…
Christian pulled Hook away from the cage and hit a neckbreaker, then got to his feet and stood over Hook as the referee began the 10 count. As the referee reached the count of 6, Hook got to his feet. Christian grabbed Hook, this time hitting a suplex, then began climbing the cage!
Nigel McGuinness: I think Christian is trying to get to that platform at the top of the cage, Mauro… you have to wonder what he’s planning…
Christian reached the platform, then leapt from it, hitting Hook with a frog splash! The crowd began chanting “Holy shit!” and as Christian got to his feet, he was clutching his ribs. Hook was laid out on the mat, and the referee began the 10 count once again. At the count of 8, Hook began to stir and he got to his feet as the referee counted 9. Christian grabbed Hook, this time setting him up for a piledriver… but Hook countered with a back body drop, then as Christian got to his feet, Hook hit an exploder suplex! Both men were down, and the referee began counting - 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… Hook got to his feet… 8… Christian got back up too. Hook and Christian then began exchanging punches, and after gaining the upper hand, Hook hit Christian with a series of chops to the chest. Hook then lifted Christian up onto his shoulders, setting him up for an electric chair drop… but Christian grabbed the cage and began climbing! Hook followed Christian up to the platform at the top of the cage, and once both men were on the platform, they began exchanging punches once more.
Mauro Ranallo: Hook and Christian need to be careful here… a fall from this height could do serious damage!
Just when it looked like Hook was gaining the upper hand, Christian caught him off guard with a knee to the groin, then began slamming Hook’s face against the steel cage. Christian then set Hook up for an Unprettier on the platform… but Hook broke free and hit Christian with a German suplex! Christian fell from the platform, landing in the ring! Hook stood on the platform, looking down at Christian as the referee began counting. At the count of 7, Christian got to his feet… but Hook leapt from the platform, catching Christian with a diving crossbody! Both men were down, and the referee began counting once again - 1... 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… Hook got to his feet… 7… 8… Christian got up as the referee reached the count of 9. Christian ran at Hook, going for a clothesline, but Hook blocked it and grabbed Christian, suplexing him into the cage! As Christian got to his feet, Hook grabbed him from behind, locking in Redrum! Christian tried to fight out of it, but couldn’t, and he tapped out!
Nigel McGuinness: It’s over! Hook gets the victory!
The referee called for the bell and raised Hook’s arm in victory. Hook celebrated, then made his way to the back as a video package began to play promoting EBWF’s next PPV, Fanniversary.
Mauro Ranallo: Up next, we’ve got Alexa Bliss challenging Neo Biishiki Gun’s Sakisama!
Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring first, followed by Sakisama. When both women were in the ring, the referee called for the bell. As soon as the bell rang, Alexa and Sakisama charged towards one another, exchanging punches back and forth. Sakisama was able to overpower Alexa, and she charged her into the corner then hit Alexa with a series of shoulder thrusts. Sakisama then pulled Alexa out of the corner and whipped her against the ropes, before taking her down with a big boot. As Alexa got to her feet, Sakisama went to whip her back into the corner, but Alexa reversed the Irish whip, sending Sakisama into the corner before hitting her with a corner dropkick. As Sakisama stumbled out of the corner, Alexa hit a reverse STO before stomping on Sakisama several times.
Nigel McGuinness: An aggressive start here by Alexa Bliss… you can tell there’s no love lost between these two women, Mauro!
Alexa pulled Sakisama to her feet and hit her with a snapmare, followed by a kick to the back. Alexa then grabbed Sakisama’s arm and leg, putting her in the bow and arrow stretch! Sakisama cried out in pain, but she refused to submit, and Alexa broke the hold, then pulled Sakisama to her feet and whipped her into the corner. Alexa kicked Sakisama in the corner several times, then dragged her back towards the center of the ring and hit a suplex. She hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Sakisama kicked out! As Sakisama sat up, Alexa put her in a sleeper hold, but Sakisama was able to fight out of it and as both women got to their feet, Sakisama lifted Alexa up, hitting her with a body slam. Sakisama followed up with a leg drop, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… Alexa kicked out! As Alexa got to her feet, Sakisama hit her with a series of punches, then whipped her against the ropes before hitting a dropkick. As both women got to their feet, Sakisama whipped Alexa into the corner, where she hit her with several more right hands.
Mauro Ranallo: This feels like more of a brawl than a wrestling match, Nigel!
As Alexa tried to fight her way out of the corner, Sakisama climbed onto the turnbuckle and grabbed Alexa from behind, choking her. The referee threatened to disqualify Sakisama and began counting - 1… 2… 3… 4… Sakisama broke the hold just before the 5 count. Sakisama followed up with a leg lariat, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… Alexa kicked out! Sakisama got to her feet and stomped on Alexa several times, then went for a jumping knee drop… but Alexa rolled out of the way! Both women then got to their feet and Alexa hit Sakisama with a dropkick to the knee, followed by a snap DDT! She hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Sakisama kicked out just before the 3!
Nigel McGuinness: Oh my goodness, Mauro… I thought for sure that was going to be a 3 count!
As Alexa got to her feet, she hit Sakisama with a series of stomps and kicks, then pulled Sakisama to her feet and hit a swinging neckbreaker. Alexa followed up with Insult to Injury, then hooked the leg once more. The referee counted - 1… 2… Sakisama kicked out! Alexa pulled Sakisama to her feet and set her up for a DDT… but Sakisama blocked it, took Alexa down with a roundhouse kick, then put her in the Versailles Choke!
Mauro Ranallo: Versailles Choke locked in! Alexa is in all kinds of trouble now!
Alexa was unable to fight out of the hold… but she was able to get her foot on the ropes! As the referee ordered Sakisama to break the hold, she let out a cry of frustration, then pulled Alexa to her feet. After punching Alexa against the ropes several times, Sakisama whipped her against the ropes, then went for the Academy Award Kick… but Alexa ducked underneath it, then grabbed Sakisama from behind, hitting a backstabber! As both women got to their feet, Alexa hit Sakisama with a DDT, then climbed to the top rope and hit Twisted Bliss! She hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Nigel McGuinness: It’s over! Alexa Bliss gets the victory!
The referee called for the bell and raised Alexa’s arm in victory. As Alexa celebrated, she was attacked from behind!
Mauro Ranallo: What is this, now?
Nigel McGuinness: Alexa’s night isn’t over yet.
The camera zoomed out to reveal that it was none other than Jamie Hayter that attacked Alexa. Alexa slowly got up to her feet. Jamie placed Alexa into a front facelock and dropped Alexa neck-first onto her knee.
Mauro Ranallo: Ushigoroshi!
Nigel McGuinness: I wouldn’t be surprised if Alexa will have suffered some neck damage after this if over.
Jamie left the ring for a few moments before she came back with a chair. While Jamie lay in wait, Alexa slowly got to her feet. When Alexa turned around, Jamie hit Alexa in the face with the chair with such force that the seat of the chair wrapped around Alexa’s face. The camera zoomed in on Alexa to show that her forehead was bleeding.
Mauro Ranallo: A vile chairshot from Jamie to Alexa.
Nigel McGuinness: That’s not all. Alexa’s forehead has been cut.
Miraculously, Alexa managed to get back up to her feet. Jamie ran toward Alexa. Right when Alexa turned to face Jamie, she was taken down by the HAYTERADE!
Mauro Ranallo: A devastating HAYTERADE!
Nigel McGuinness: Alexa’s gotta be out now.
Jamie left the ring and returned a few moments later with a microphone in hand.
Jamie Hayter: Alexa! The search for the person who attacked you? It’s over. It’s all over! Now, you know who, you dumb bitch!
Jamie dropped the microphone, then made her way to the back as a video package began to play recapping the feud between Adam Cole and Brock Anderson.
Mauro Ranallo: Up next, we’ve got a two out of three falls match with not one but two titles on the line as Adam Cole challenges Brock Anderson for both the Breakout and Gateway Championships!
“All About Tha (Boom!)” hit and the crowd cheered as Adam Cole made his way to the ring. Once Cole was in the ring, the Four Horsemen theme hit and the crowd booed as Brock Anderson stepped out onto the stage, the Breakout and Gateway Championships resting over his shoulders. As Anderson entered the ring, he held up both championships, then passed them to the referee who held them up before calling for the bell. As soon as the bell rang, Anderson charged towards Cole, taking him down with a clothesline before stomping on him several times. As Cole got back to his feet, Anderson put him in a headlock, but Cole fought out of it and whipped Anderson against the ropes before taking him down with a hip toss. When Anderson got back up, Cole went for a superkick, but Anderson blocked it, then caught Cole with a thumb to the eye! The crowd booed, which seemed to amuse Anderson as he hit Cole with a series of punches. Cole fought back with a series of punches, followed by a clothesline, then as Anderson got to his feet Cole whipped him against the ropes once more, this time hitting a bicycle kick. Anderson looked dazed as he got back to his feet, and Cole took full advantage, lifting Anderson onto his shoulders then hitting the Ushigoroshi! Cole hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out!
Nigel McGuinness: An impressive start here by Adam Cole… he has dominated the start of this match, Mauro!
Cole pulled Anderson to his feet and whipped him into the corner, then hit a running knee strike, causing Anderson to fall into a sitting position. Cole stomped on Anderson in the corner several times, then pulled him to his feet and hit a superkick! He hooked the leg once more and the referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out! Cole dragged Anderson to his feet and hit him with a series of punches, but Anderson fought back with some right hands of his own, then lifted Cole up and hit a body slam. As Cole got back to his feet, Anderson dragged him towards the corner, slamming his head off the turnbuckle several times. After trapping Cole in the corner, Anderson then climbed to the second rope, hitting Cole with ten mounted punches! Cole fell to the mat, and Anderson pulled him away from the ropes, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… Cole kicked out! As Anderson got to his feet, he stomped on Cole’s arms and legs one by one, then went for a figure four leglock… but before he could lock it in, Cole kicked him away and got back to his feet. Anderson grabbed Cole and went to whip him against the ropes, but Cole reversed the Irish whip, sending Anderson into the ropes before hitting him with a superkick! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: Another superkick by Adam Cole… and once again, Brock Anderson kicks out!
As Cole got to his feet, Brock Anderson rolled out of the ring, giving himself a moment to recover. Cole followed Anderson to the outside and grabbed him, throwing Anderson into the steel steps! Anderson stumbled to his feet, and Cole grabbed him, this time suplexing him onto the ramp. Cole then rolled back into the ring, and the referee began counting Anderson out.
Nigel McGuinness: Interesting strategy here by Adam Cole… normally, titles here in EBWF can’t change hands as the result of a count out, but with this being two out of three falls, that rule doesn’t apply.
As the referee reached the count of 8, Anderson got back to his feet, and he slid back into the ring as the referee counted 9. Cole immediately grabbed Anderson and set him up for a brainbuster… but Anderson rolled Cole up into a small package! The referee counted - 1… 2… Cole kicked out! As both men got to their feet, Anderson hit Cole with a low blow… but the referee didn’t see it! Anderson followed up with a DDT, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Mauro Ranallo: Come on, that’s not right! Brock Anderson cheated!
Nigel McGuinness: The referee’s decision is final, Mauro… and he just awarded the first fall to Brock Anderson!
The referee called for the bell, and as Christy Hemme announced that Brock Anderson had won the first fall, Anderson grabbed Cole by the legs, putting him in a figure four leglock! Cole was able to get to the ropes… but Anderson refused to break the hold! The referee threatened to disqualify Anderson and began counting, but Anderson released Cole just before the count of 5. Cole used the ropes to pull himself up, and when he was back on his feet, Anderson hit him with a stiff right hand. Cole retaliated with a right hand of his own, and the two men began exchanging punches back and forth. The crowd cheered every time Cole hit Anderson, but booed whenever Anderson returned fire. With the crowd behind him, Cole was able to gain the upper hand, and after hitting Anderson with several punches in quick succession, Cole hit a sunset flip powerbomb! He hooked both legs and the referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out! As Cole got to his feet, he sat Anderson up and pulled down his kneepad, signaling for The Boom. Cole ran against the ropes, and went to hit The Boom… but Anderson moved out of the way at the last second, then rolled Cole up into a schoolboy pin! The referee counted - 1… 2… Cole kicked out! As both men got to their feet, Anderson caught Cole with a kick to the midsection, then followed up with a piledriver! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Cole kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: Brock Anderson is in control now, but Adam Cole is showing resilience!
Nigel McGuinness: He has to, Mauro! Another fall for Brock Anderson, and it’s game over for Adam Cole!
Anderson pulled Cole to his feet and whipped him against the ropes, then went for the Spinebuster… but as he lifted Cole up, Cole countered with a DDT! Cole then climbed to the top rope, and waited for Anderson to get back up… then when Anderson was on his feet, Cole hit the Panama Sunrise! He hooked both legs and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Mauro Ranallo: Adam Cole gets the second fall! It’s all tied up now!
As Cole got to his feet, Anderson rolled out of the ring. Cole followed Anderson to the outside, and went to throw Anderson back into the ring, but instead, Anderson threw Cole into the ringside barrier! Anderson stomped on Cole several times, then dragged him towards the steel steps… and hit a DDT onto the steel steps!
Mauro Ranallo: Mamma Mia! Did you hear that thud, Nigel? Brock Anderson might have just seriously injured Adam Cole!
Nigel McGuinness: Brock Anderson has a choice to make now, Mauro… does he go for the count out victory, or try to get Adam Cole back into the ring and pin him?
The referee tried to check on Cole, who was laid motionless on the floor. Anderson began yelling at the referee, telling him to count Cole out. As the referee tried to signal for a medic, Anderson grabbed Cole, throwing him back into the ring. Anderson then told the referee to “make the count” and hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… Cole kicked out just before the 3! The fans inside the arena erupted, and an “Adam Cole” chant broke out as Anderson argued with the referee about the count. The referee held up two fingers, making it clear that Anderson had only gotten a two count. Anderson shook his head in frustration, then exited the ring and grabbed the Gateway Championship. He re-entered the ring with the title, ready to hit Cole with it… but the referee stopped him, reminding Anderson that if he got DQed, Cole would become the new Breakout and Gateway Champions. Anderson looked even more frustrated now as he threw the title down. At this point, Cole was getting to his feet, and Anderson went for another DDT… but Cole countered with a northern lights suplex! Both of Anderson’s shoulders were down, and the referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out! As both men got to their feet, Anderson went for a clothesline… but Cole ducked underneath it, then grabbed Anderson from behind, hitting a bridging German suplex! The referee counted once more - 1… 2… again Anderson kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: How is Adam Cole doing this? He must be running on empty right now!
Nigel McGuinness: I think both of these men are, Mauro… what a match we’re witnessing!
Cole went to the corner, going for another Panama Sunrise… but before he could hit it, Anderson ran into the ropes, causing Cole to lose his balance. As Cole fell from the turnbuckle, Anderson went for the figure four leglock… but as he grabbed Cole’s legs, Cole pulled him into a small package! The referee counted - 1… 2… Anderson kicked out! As both men got to their feet, Cole hit Anderson with a superkick to the knee, knocking Anderson down to his knees. Cole then ran against the ropes, before hitting The Boom! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Mauro Ranallo: It’s over! We have a new champion!
Christy Hemme: The winner of this match… and NEWWWW Breakout and Gateway Champion… Adam Cole!
The crowd shouted “Bay Bay!” as the referee handed the two championships to Adam Cole. Cole was visibly emotional as he held up both titles. Cole continued to celebrate as a video package began to play for the next match.
Before the match, a video package played detailing the history between Trish Stratus and Tam Nakano. First, the two clashing at Royal Rumble 2021 - Trish walking out with commentary pointing out her historic to that point 309 day reign, Tam still bearing some marks from her win over Alexa Bliss at Christmas Eve of Destruction. Clips of Trish dominating parts of the match, followed by Tam getting some hits in and rolling her up for the pin came next.
Nigel McGuinness: Tam Nakano just became the first Japanese Women’s Champion in EBWF History!
Mauro Ranallo: Trish can’t believe she’s lost.
Following this the hype video showed Tam returning in July 2022, then beating Britt Baker with the Twilight Dream to win the title for the second time. The clips then jumped ahead to the current year, with Trish shocking the EBWF universe by coming out to announce her intention to challenge Tam for the title.
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’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.
Finally there were clips of the August 21 Warfare with the pair slugging it out before everyone in the match took each other out. Then a few highlights of the Oedo Tai assault, including Jamie booting Trish in the ribs and AZM pinning her to the mat with a chair. Finally Tam stepped out of her boiler suit to reveal her Oedo Tai allegiance.
Nigel McGuinness: Oh my god, what the hell is this?!
Mauro Ranallo: I can't believe this, the EBWF Women's Champion has aligned herself with Oedo Tai?! Tam Nakano is the Third Woman?!
Tam Nakano: Surprise! A year ago I came back on my own to see if I could be better than I was before. And a year later, I've proven I'm better than all of you. As for Gateway, I'm feeling playful. So maybe I'll grant Trish her wish and humiliate her again.
She flashed her cute smile before driving home the point.
Tam Nakano: If you hate me, get BETTER than me.
The image of Tam standing alongside AZM and Jamie Hayter faded out into a graphic for the title match to come. We then returned to a live feed of the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville as the wait was over. Christy Hemme stood in the center of the ring holding her mic as the crowd buzzed with excitement and anticipation.
Christy Hemme: The following contest is scheduled for one fall -
The crowd roared in response, shouting out ‘ONE FALL!’
Christy Hemme: And it is for the EBWF Women’s Championship!
“Time To Rock and Roll” hit to a big ovation and Trish’s entrance video played on the entrance tron. A moment later Trish Stratus stepped out onto the stage and smiled out at the cheering crowd. Notably she wore the same gear as her last encounter with Tam, though with a brand new cowboy hat with a golden hat band. As she confidently made her way to the ring, we saw signs in the crowd ranging from “KICK HER ASS TRISH” to “WE NEED STRATUSFACTION!”.
Christy Hemme: Introducing first, the challenger. From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she is an eight-time EBWF Women’s Champion, Triiiiish Straaatuuuus!
Mauro Ranallo: A huge ovation for the challenger tonight as she tries to solidify her place in EBWF history!
Nigel McGuinness: There’s no denying Trish Stratus is a living legend of professional wrestling. Her accomplishments in EBWF speak for themselves: over two decades, she’s been a two time Royal Rumble winner, Queen of the Ring, three time Women’s Tag Team Champion and Eight Time Women’s Champion. It was her most recent reign from 2020-2021 that set the record for longest Women’s Championship reign of all time. And it’s that legacy which is at stake here tonight.
Mauro Ranallo: She’s seen as the standard bearer for EBWF’s women’s division and has been here since the very beginning. The question now is whether she can reach the top one more time against one of the most dangerous opponents she’s ever faced.
Trish entered the ring and played to the crowd as her music died down. Chants of “LET’S GO TRISH!” rang out for a few moments before the arena grew quiet as a new theme echoed through the building. After the opening strings of “Senbonzakrua” hit, the tron showed the words “FINAL BOSS”, then “TAM NAKANO” with the logo of Oedo Tai on either side. Tam emerged in her new ring gear, wearing a black happi and black mask with a purple demon’s maw on it.l. The EBWF Women’s Championship around her waist glinted in the light. Boos rang out as she strolled down to the ring, eyes full of playful malice.
Christy Hemme: And her opponent: from Aichi, Japan, she is the leader of Oedo Tai and reigning EBWF Women’s Champion, Taaaaam Nakaaaanoooo!
More boos rang out as Tam spun around, revealing lavender colored kanji for “Darkest in the Cosmos”.
Mauro Ranallo: What a difference a year makes. One year ago Tam Nakano had just returned to EBWF and was being cheered in her first pay per view appearance in two years. Tonight she walks out to a wall of boos after the heinous actions of her new on Warfare.
Nigel McGuinness: Tam is a completely different woman than a year ago, let alone the last time these two faced off. Gone is the woman who shocked everyone with that upset win in 2021. Now she’s a focused, dangerous competitor with a devastating arsenal and finisher. You can’t question the fact that since returning Tam’s been one of the most dominant forces EBWF has ever seen. She’s gone undefeated for the past 13 months, and tonight marks 301 days since she reclaimed the EBWF Women’s Championship from Dr. Britt Baker, DMD. Tonight’s the last chance Trish Stratus has to stop Tam Nakano from breaking her historic 309 days as champion.
Mauro Ranallo: After revealing herself as the rumored Third Woman of Oedo Tai last week, Tam looks to be more vicious than ever. She’s told the rest of the locker room that they’re not good enough, and that if they want to stop her they have to get better. Will this return to her roots in one of professional wrestling’s most notorious factions lead to history tonight? Or is Trish Stratus going to solidify her place in history by slaying the monster Tam’s become?
As both women limbered up for the war to come, the tension in the arena reached a fever pitch. Tam removed the championship, giving it a loving pat before handing it to the ref with a glare that said their life was forfeit if anything happened to the belt. The ref backed away and showed the belt to Trish. The challenger gazed intensely at the belt she'd held so many times before, clearly determined to start her ninth reign tonight. Finally she nodded and the ref held the title aloft to remind the world what was at stake. After the ref handed the belt to the time keeper, the bell rang and the match was on!
Both women glared icily across the ring at each other, neither making a move at first. Finally Trish walked out to the center of the ring, Tam following suit a moment later. They stopped just inches from each other, faces almost touching. Each gave their best death glare, perhaps trying to get into her opponent's head. Finally Tam slowly raised her left hand, flipping Trish off right in her face. Trish smirked and responded with a slap across the face so loud you could hear it in the rafters! The fans reacted with a loud OOOOOOOOOOOH! on the impact.
Tam stumbled back a couple steps, holding her cheek in disbelief. Trish threw her arms out to either side, asking the champion if that was all she had. A moment later Tam stepped up and landed her own slap of equal intensity! She followed up with a series of kicks to Trish's ribs and right leg that staggered the challenger back to the ropes. There she peppered Trish with strikes and looked to have the upper hand before Trish countered, stepping behind Tam and forcing her against the ropes. Now Trish unloaded blow after blow, powered by all the pent up anger she'd been harboring since the ambush on warfare. The fans roared as Trish whipped Tam to the opposite ropes and took her down with a dropkick. She followed up with a knee drop right on Tam's throat and went for the cover.
2.. Tam kicked out emphatically!
Mauro Ranallo: The disrespect is flying early and often between these two world class competitors!
Nigel McGuinness: You can tell both women have an axe to grind with each other. This championship match is getting heated and extremely personal very quickly.
Tam sat up and ate a nasty kick to the face from Trish. The challenger followed up with stomps and kicks to Tam's side and arm, all while "LET'S GO TRISH" chants rang out. Trish picked Tam up and whipped her hard to the corner, then rushed in and hit her with a clothesline. Tam didn't even have time to slump against the turnbuckles as Trish cinched in a headlock and went for a running bulldog! As she bolted out of the corner, Trish screamed as suddenly Tam lifted her off the mat by the waist, twisting around to hit a back suplex!
Nigel McGuinness: What a counter by the champion! Trish Stratus is bringing all her experience and fire to bear and Tam Nakano still finds a way to break her momentum.
Mauro Ranallo: The history of Tam Nakano in EBWF is intertwined with Trish Stratus. These two women know each other well. Both of them know they can't hesitate a single moment or leave anything on the table if they want to walk out with the top prize in women's wrestling!
Both women hit the mat hard and Tam was first to get to a seated position. She snarled as Trish sat up and quickly hit a kick to the chest. The impact whipped Trish back to the mat as Tam reached her feet; she glared down at the challenger, then reached down to bury her hands in Trish’s hair.
She pulled the challenger up viciously, taunting her in Japanese before throwing her into the middle of the ring by her hair. When Trish struggled to a seated position Tam charged in and hit a stiff kick to her back that echoed loudly through the building. Trish screamed in pain and Tam laughed in amusement before circling around to hit a buzzsaw kick right to the face. She casually lay on top of Trish for the cover.
Trish kicked out!
Tam rolled her eyes in annoyance and rolled back to her feet, where she picked Trish up and snapmared her back to a sitting position. There she kicked Trish hard again and again and again, each kick hitting harder and seemingly more malice. She then bent over to pick Trish up again, but Trish grabbed her and pulled the champion into a small package!
Mauro Ranallo: Small package! Is this a new champion?
Tam reversed the pin!
Trish kicked out!
Both women got up with gazes that could sear a hole through steel. They circled each other, wary of the danger their opponent presented.
Mauro Ranallo: Every time one of them gets an advantage, the other finds a way to counter. These two women are so evenly matched, it's impossible to predict what's going to happen next.
Nigel McGuinness: The championship may well come down to one big move. One Chick Kick, Violet Screwdriver, Stratusfaction or Twilight Dream could easily decide who walks out with the gold.
Finally Trish closed the distance to hammer Tam with a punch right to the face. Tam let out a fierce shout as she fired back with a forearm to the chest. Trish responded with a forearm, Tam answered with her own, and soon they were exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. The fans got more pumped up with each strike, and eventually Trish began to get the upper hand. She landed a loud chop that staggered Tam back towards the ropes, then whipped her to the opposite side of the ring - no! Tam countered and sent Trish running instead. On the rebound Tam went for a roundhouse kick but Trish Matrix evaded under it, hit the opposite ropes and then took Tam down with a Thesz Press. With the fans roaring she hammered away at the champion with a series of mounted punches.
She shot to her feet with an emphatic shout of her own and ran for the nearest corner. No! Tam grabbed her foot and tripped the challenger. Trish hit the mat face first as the champion held on to her foot with an iron grip. While Trish clawed into the mat to try and crawl towards the ropes, Tam got to her feet and slammed Trish’s knee right into the mat! As Trish screamed in pain Tam stomped the knee joint repeatedly, her expression savagely satisfied at the damage she was causing. Trish then hit a mule kick right to Tam’s gut that forced the champion to let go of her foot.
Trish fought back up to her feet, though she was favoring her right leg. She glared at Tam and motioned for her to bring it, which Tam did in the form of a superkick! Trish staggered back a couple steps, then rushed forward and staggered Tam back with a bicycle kick! Tam rushed forward herself looking for a clothesline, but Trish countered into a one-arm neckbreaker! Trish nodded emphatically as she claimed the momentum and stalked the champion. Tam shook the cobwebs out and reached her feet just in time for Trish to hit a swinging neckbreaker and go for the pin!
Tam got her shoulder up!
Trish slapped the mat emphatically, realizing she’d need to do more to put away the champion. She pulled Tam up by the hair, then locked in headlock as she started to move towards the ropes. Tam began to slug away at her side, but Trish managed to start ascending the ropes for a springboard hurricanrana; at the top rope, Tam pulled Trish down on the top rope, right leg first! Trish crashed to the ring apron, clutching her knee as Tam stepped through the ropes out onto the apron, clubbing Trish’s back with forearm blows. Once on the apron Tam backed up and then hit a running knee to the face that flattened Trish. Suddenly a savage grin played across Tam’s face as she wrapped her arms around Trish’s waist and let out another scream of exertion. To a collective gasp from the crowd Tam dead lifted Trish and hit a German suplex onto the hardest part of the ring!
Mauro Ranallo: Good lord what a sickening impact! This is a much more vicious Tam Nakano than we've ever seen!
Nigel McGuinness: She's clearly determined not only to break Trish's record title reign but also Trish herself! The EBWF Women's Champion is focused on weakening that right leg to neutralize the Chick Kick as well.
Trish accordioned on impact and rolled off the apron to the floor clutching her back. Tam stood on the apron, glaring down at Trish and mockingly asking her ‘Isn’t this what you wanted, Trish?’. While the challenger struggled to regain some of her wits, Tam climbed up to the top rope and taunted the crowd. Once Trish was on her feet Tam flew through the air, hitting a crossbody that flattened Trish and took the wind out of her too. “LET’S GO TRISH” chants rang out as both competitors grabbed onto the ringside barrier to pull themselves up. Tam was first to her feet and immediately began to lay into Trish with a series of stiff kicks followed by a spinning backhand that whipped Trish’s head back. Tam followed it up by slamming Trish face first into the ring steps. As Trish crumpled to the floor Tam placed her right leg on the steps, then climbed to the top step - she smirked before leaping up to hit a double stomp right onto Trish’s knee!
Trish screamed again, rolling away from the steps and clutching her knee as Tam stalked her. The champion grabbed her wrist, pulling it up to expose her torso to a series of stiff kicks and stomps. After this she pulled Trish up and hit a stiff bodyslam to the arena floor. After shaking her head, Tam rolled into the ring as the ref’s count hit 6. It continued to 8 before Trish got to her feet, and got to 9 before Trish hurriedly rolled into the ring under the bottom rope to cheers from the crowd. As soon as she struggled to her feet, Trish was met with a roundhouse from Tam, followed by a cutter! Tam went for the pin.
Thr-no! Trish got her shoulder up!
Tam slapped the mat in frustration, then slammed the back of Trish’s head into the mat. With a shout she pulled Trish off the mat and then ate a backhanded slap from Trish! Incensed, Tam kneed her in the gut and then hit a Tenku Otoshi, rolled through and hit another! Furious fire burning in Tam’s eyes, she pulled Trish up to a seated position and hit a Violet Shoot! She hooked the leg for another pin.
Thr-Trish kicked out!
Tam glared at the ref, then made her way over to the turnbuckles. The champion climbed up slowly, savoring the position she’d placed the challenger into. Once she reached the top rope, the mic picked up Tam shouting “Goodbye, Trish!”. Just as she made this proclamation, Trish kipped up and rushed the corner. She nailed Tam with an uppercut and then with a scream of fury climbed to the top rope herself. To a huge pop from the crowd she suddenly hit a super Frankensteiner, laying out Tam in the center of the ring! Chants of “HOLY SHIT!” rang out as Trish lay there clutching her knee and Tam looked completely out of it. The challenger gritted her teeth and rolled over onto her stomach, crawling over to cover Tam for the pin.
Thr-Tam kicked out!
Trish shook her head, then struggled to her feet as Tam rolled to the ropes herself. When both women had recovered, Tam resumed the attack with an attempted bicycle knee - Trish matrix evaded, then grabbed Tam around the waist, spun around and hit a spinebuster! Seeing her moment might’ve arrived, Trish grabbed Tam’s legs and stepped through - the sharpshooter! Despite her knee wavering and resistance from Tam, Trish turned the champion over to lock in the hold. Tam screamed in pain as the ref checked on her, but she refused to quit.
Trish wrenched in the hold, her face full of pain as she struggled to maintain the hold with her weakened knee. Tam clawed her finley manicured fingers into the mat from the agony of the hold, trying to crawl to the ropes. She got a little bit of the way before Trish wrenched the hold again, drawing a pained scream out of Tam. Then Tam reached back in desperation, clawing at Trish’s right knee, then hit it with several flailing punches. Trish’s leg buckled and she released the hold, allowing Tam to escape. Tam quickly grabbed onto Trish’s right leg and locked in a leg lock, using her whole body to put Trish in as much pain as possible!
Now it’s Trish who screamed in pain, digging her fingers into the mat and refusing to tap. Tam wrenched in the hold as much as she could, but Trish continued to shake her head when the ref checked on her. Slowly she pushed herself toward the ropes, each centimeter agonizing, each one looking like it’d be her last. Yet she managed to get close enough to clutch the bottom rope and force the ref to break the hold!
As the fans cheered, the ref counted to 4 before Tam finally released the hold. Tam rolled back to the center of the ring, watching Trish intently as the challenger painfully pulled herself back to her feet. The champion stalked Trish like a starved predator, ready to strike her weakened prey. Then she ran the ropes, looking again for that bicycle knee. Trish tried to counter with a Chick Kick out of nowhere, but Tam managed to turn her attack into a matrix evasion and then rolled out of the ring. She looked up at the ring, taunting the challenger after so cunningly avoiding Trish’s deadly kick. Trish glared down at Tam, then backed away to the center of the ring. As Tam continued to taunt her, Trish suddenly sprinted forward and flew threw the ropes to take Tam out with a suicide dive!
Mauro Ranallo: Mamma mia! Trish Stratus is putting it all on the line to secure her legacy!
Nigel McGuinness: We haven't seen this kind of offense from her in years! That's how badly she wants this win and how much those 309 mean to her.
“HOLY SHIT!” chants rose again as Trish held her knee again, clearly in a lot of pain from the desperate maneuver. Tam meanwhile rolled away to the ring steps where she slowly recovered from the impact. Both women struggled to get to their feet, though neither took her eye off her opponent. Tam rolled into the ring as the ref’s count reached 8, Trish at 9. Trish staggered towards Tam, who responded by unloading a pair of kicks to Trish’s weakened leg. Taking the momentum back in hand, Tam forearmed Trish stiffly, then hit a Fisherman’s suplex and cinched her hands for a pin.
Th- Trish kicked out to a big pop.
Nigel McGuinness: How one earth did she kick out after all of that?
Mauro Ranallo: That fire inside Trish is still burning white hot as she keeps finding ways to stay in this fight. Tam must be looking to finish this fight soon, but what does she have to do to put Trish away?
Tam shook her head again, wondering what the hell it would take to keep Trish down. She got up, savagely kicked Trish in the side, and then taunted her, demanding she get up. Trish fought through clear pain and anguish to stand again, only for Tam to hit a reverse roundhouse! Trish spun around, her legs rubbery as Tam came up behind her and set up for the Twilight Dream. Tam shouted “Just DIE!” as she lifted Trish up for her finisher only for Trish to counter into a sunset flip pin!
Thr-NO! Tam kicked out!
Nigel McGuinness: A beautiful counter by Trish Stratus late in this contest! She seems to have Tam well scouted, but can she capitalize?
Trish shot up to her feet, determined to use this window of opportunity to her advantage as the flustered champion rose to her feet as well. With a shout of “Go to hell!” she unleashed a devastating Chick Kick that caught all of Tam - no! Tam ducked and Trish hit the ref instead! As the ref crashed to the mat, Tam immediately moved in for another Twilight Dream, getting Trish up for the move only for Trish to land behind her. To a roar from the crowd Trish grabbed Tam by the head, charged the ropes and nailed the Stratusfaction! Tam wasn’t moving as Trish desperately hooked the leg.
Nigel McGuinness: The eight time EBWF women's champion has this match won, but there's no one to count the fall!
Mauro Ranallo: Come on, ref, wake up! Tam Nakano's out, we could have a new champion!
Unaware that the ref was out, Trish continued to hold the pin as the crowd counted “ONE! TWO! THREE!”. Yet without a ref, the pin didn’t count. Trish then realized that there was no ref and rolled off of Tam to try and awaken him. She shook the ref, calling to him as Tam continued to lay motionless on the mat. Before the ref showed any signs of life, the crowd suddenly started frantically booing. Suddenly a third woman was in the ring - the diminutive form of AZM, holding a black metal sign with the kanji for “OEDO TAI”written on it. She raised it up and hit Trish across the back with it! THWACK! Trish fell to the mat, only to be picked up off of it by Jamie Hayter.
Mauro Ranallo: Mamma Mia! Oedo Tai have arrived on the scene, and they're ruining Trish Stratus' historic moment! Where the hell did they come from?
Nigel McGuinness: You had to assume the numbers game would come into play, and Trish is getting robbed! The ref's out, and no one's here to save her from this heinous assault!
Jamie cradled Trish, then looked into the camera and nodded before hitting Sister Abigail. AZM and Jamie then went to Tam’s side to try and rouse the leader of Oedo Tai so she could finish the job. Just as Tam began to shake the cobwebs, the crowd popped as Natalya and Britt Baker rushed the ring!
Mauro Ranallo: The cavalry has arrived!
They immediately started wailing away at AZM and Jamie to ‘YES!’ chants and forced the members of Oedo Tai out of the ring. The scene was total chaos as Jamie hit back at Britt, only for Natalya to join in and for them all to spill out into the crowd as they brawled.
“STRA-TUS-FAC-TION!” chants rang out as champion, challenger and ref all slowly began to regain their bearings. Trish tried to get to her feet but fell to the mat as her knee gave out. Tam crawled to the corner and propped herself up in a seated position, breathing heavily from the exertion of the match. The ref was shaking his head but still laying on the mat.
A few moments later, Trish was able to get to her knees and then her feet. Tam had gotten up to her feet and glared at the challenger. They stood there, glaring at each other in what might almost have been mutual respect. Then Tam ruined the moment by flipping off Trish, demanding she come bring it again. Trish closed in and went for the Chick Kick, but Tam countered by spitting blue mist into Trish’s face! A loud shocked reaction rose from the crowd at this as Trish staggered away, desperately trying to clear the substance from her face. Tam screamed “OWARI!” and kicked Trish in the gut, then picked her up in the suplex position - Violet Screwdriver right onto the Oedo Tai sign! The fans booed loudly as AZM rolled out from under the ring to pull the sign out of the ring as Tam hooked Trish’s leg.
The ref rolled over onto his belly, saw the pin and slowly counted.
The shocked buzz turned to silence.
The silence was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
Mauro Ranallo: Not this way! NOT THIS WAY!
Immediately the crowd rained down boos as Tam released the pin and rolled to the center of the ring, holding up three fingers. AZM rushed into the ring to congratulate Tam as “Senbonzakura” played.
Christy Hemme: Here is your winner, and still EBWF Women’s Champion: Tam Nakano!
More boos erupted as Tam rose to her feet and ripped the title out of the ref’s hands. She then glared down at Trish and shook her head. Tam then held the belt aloft as AZM held up the Oedo Tai sign and the boos became deafening. Natalya and Britt returned to ringside and pulled Trish out of the ring to get her out of harm’s way. With each offering a shoulder they helped Trish to the back, all looking furious at the outcome. Tam meanwhile climbed onto the turnbuckles to pose with her title as Jamie hopped the barrier and entered the ring to join her teammates. As Tam smiled proudly at her devious accomplishment, the shot turned to the ramp. There Natalya, Tirsh and Britt stopped for a moment as Arisa Hoshiki emerged from the back. Rather than confront Tam, she was more concerned with Trish’s well being. She spoke with the trio for a moment before all four looked to the ring defiantly.
The last image was that of Tam Nakano, the newly revealed leader of Oedo Tai, standing shoulder to shoulder with AZM and Jamie Hayter. The EBWF championship sat around her waist as the boos nearly drowned out the music.
The arena was buzzing with anticipation as the crowd eagerly awaited the main event match between Damian Priest and The Miz. The ring was illuminated with bright spotlights, and the referee stood ready in the center.
The steady beat of "Bow" by Zeal & Ardor heralded the entrance of the challenger, Damian Priest. Flanked by Paul Heyman, he largely ignored the mixed reaction of the EBWF crowd.
Christy Hemme: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one-fall, and is for the EBWF World Championship! Introducing the challenger, from New York City, weighing in at 249 pounds, he is the 2023 EBWF King of the Ring, DAMIAN PRIEST!
The crowd erupted with mostly cheers as Priest made his way down the ramp with his signature taunt that pays homage to the late Razor Ramon. He entered the ring and immediately went to his corner, loosening up.
"I CAME TO PLAY!"
The crowd cheered as The Miz came out from behind the curtain and played up the crowd, the EBWF World Championship clasped around his waist.
Christy Hemme: And his opponent, from Cleveland Ohio, weighing in at 221 pounds, THE MIZ!
The cheers were deafening as The Miz made his way to the ring. He exuded confidence and focus, ready for this intense battle. The referee checked both competitors, raised the title in the air, and called for the bell.
Mauro Ranallo: And here we go! Big fight feel here at Gateway to Glory!
The Miz started with some trash talk, trying to get into Damian Priest's head, but Priest remained composed. They circled each other in the ring.
Nigel McGuiness: Tonight is a huge night for our EBWF World Champion! Successfully defend the championship, and the Miz will set the record for the longest EBWF World Championship reign in EBWF history.
Priest gained the upper hand with a series of powerful kicks and strikes, targeting The Miz's legs and midsection. The Miz managed to counter with a well-executed dropkick, sending Priest sprawling to the mat. Miz taunted the crowd and attempted to apply the Figure-Four Leg Lock, but Priest kicked him away.
Nigel McGuiness: Miz trying to end it early, here! Chopping down the bigger man is a smart strategy!
Priest climbed to the top rope, leapt off with a missile dropkick, and connected square with Miz's chest, knocking him down.
Mauro Ranallo: That's what is so dangerous about Damian Priest. A guy that big and powerful shouldn't be able to be that quick on his feet and so comfortable with aerial offense.
Damian Priest started to dominate the match, delivering impactful punches and kicks, showcasing his power and savagery.
Nigel McGuiness: The Miz is on his heels here, trying to survive this onslaught by the challenger!
Priest set up Miz for the Razor's Edge, but Miz countered with an inverted neck breaker. The Miz seized the opportunity and delivered a Skull-Crushing Finale! He went for the pin. The referee counted to two, but Damian Priest kicked out, displaying his resilience. The crowd gasped and The Miz looked absolutely gobsmacked as he checked with the ref.
Mauro Ranallo: The Miz has put so many opponents away with that move!
Miz dragged Priest back to his feet and delivered a devastating clothesline, sending Priest over the top rope and crashing to the floor.
The Miz ran forward and connected with a baseball slide, sending Damian crashing into the barricade. Priest shook the cobwebs off as Paul Heyman whispered some advice into his ear.
Miz chased Priest outside, trying to grab Priest's head. Priest reversed the offense, grabbing the Miz's head and slamming it into the stairs. He then quickly rolled Miz into the ring. Priest bent over to step through the second rope and Miz caught him with a pendulum DDT, Priest's head smashing into the mat.
Nigel McGuiness: That DDT was sublime! Miz may have a chance to end this here!
Miz hooked the leg on Priest, and got one, two, and a late kickout by Priest! It looked like the Miz was ready to end the match, as he began taunting the crowd, measuring up Priest for the Skull-Crushing Finale a second time. Priest shoved Miz forward, hanging him up in the ropes. While the referee was looking at Priest, Heyman quickly grabbed the EBWF World Championship and clocked The Miz in the skull with it! The crowd booed vociferously as The Miz collapsed onto the ring in a heap.
Mauro Ranallo: No! Paul Heyman just cheated, and I don't think Priest noticed!
Priest looked at the Miz, confused. Ultimately, he shrugged and hoisted the Miz up, stuffing him between his legs. The crowd booed as Priest lifted him up onto his shoulders in a crucifix position.
Mauro Ranallo: Not like this!
Priest launched Miz onto the mat, back first. The Miz bounced off the mat, motionless.
Nigel McGuiness: No!
Priest hooked both legs. One...two...three!
The bell rang, and the crowd fell silent as Damian Priest was declared the winner. The referee handed Priest the EBWF World Championship
Christy Hemme: And the winner of this match, AAAAANNNND NEEWWWW.. EBWF World Champion, Damian Priest!
Damian Priest raised his arms in victory as the crowd showered boos on the ring. The Miz was motionless on the mat as Priest raised the EBWF World Championship in the air.
Mauro Ranallo: The Miz's nearly record breaking title reign has come to an end, give the assist to Paul Heyman!
The camera faded out as Damian Priest celebrated in the ring, "Bow" by Zeal & Ardor playing throughout the arena.