Match #1Kenta Sawada beat The Bob 2 falls to 1:
x The Bob beat K. Sawada via the The Horse Stomp in 0:25:56
x K. Sawada beat The Bob via the Uranage in 0:33:36
x K. Sawada beat The Bob via the Uranage in 0:37:57
The Bob had ended Kenta Sawada's unbeaten streak in their fourth-round match and in fairly dominant fashion to boot. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that the man from Saitama, Japan had something to prove. It turned out to be a back-and-forth war in which the first fall alone lasted twice as long as their last match.
The Bob looked fantastic for most of the first fall, scoring near-finishes with an F-5 after ten minutes, a cradle piledriver around the 17-minute mark and a flying elbowdrop shortly thereafter.
Sawada stayed competitive the entire time and even scored a flying elbowdrop of his own - who knows if The Bob could have kicked out but he was close to the ropes and was able to use his ring smarts to grab the ropes and get the referee to halt the pin.
By this time, 20 highly competitive minutes had passed and both wrestlers were looking worse for wear. Sawada was able to block a Horse Stomp but missed a flying clothesline shortly thereafter. The Bob sought to capitalize but his own flying shoulderblock also only hit air.
This was when Kenta Sawada made perhaps his biggest mistake yet: he played to the crowd, giving the sign for his patented moonsault. These extra few seconds may have cost him dearly, as The Bob managed to roll out of the way. Sawada crashed and burned, and The Bob quickly capitalized on it by giving Sawada a brutal brain buster onto Bob's knee. Without missing a beat, The Bob ran into the ropes, picked up some momentum and came down hard on Kenta Sawada's face with a Horse Stomp for the pin.
Kenta Sawada stood with his back against the wall, and like all great wrestlers before him, he dug deep. The Bob tried to keep his momentum going but it was obvious he had used a lot of energy in the final burst that gave him the win in the first fall.
Kenta Sawada took over with a devastating Fujiwara armbar which must have done major damage to The Bob's arm. Just as it seemed like the referee was going to stop the fall, The Bob fought his way out of the armbar. But when he threw a punch right afterwards, it was obvious his arm was no longer functional. Kenta Sawada took over and began to dominate, getting a 2.9 count with a flying clothesline at the 32-minute mark. Sawada continued to chip away at The Bob with a snap suplex, an Exploder and a standing superplex off the top rope and used his Uranage finisher to win the second fall.
The Bob had now been pinned for the first time in this tournament, the match stood tied at one fall each - and both competitors were absolutely exhausted.
The first two minutes of the third and deciding fall were characterized by both competitors trying various moves but not having enough gas left in the tank and getting blocked or countered. Even when they managed to land a move successfully, they were too exhausted to even go for the pin.
The Bob managed to get Sawada up for the move that had spelled the beginning of the end for the man from Japan in the first fall, the brain buster. But at the highest point, Sawada started wiggling his legs, causing The Bob to lose his balance and Sawada was able to roll him up with a small package.
Sawada simply didn't have the power left to hold on to the pin - but The Bob was worse for wear. If you had looked him in the eyes, the word ''TILT'' would have stared back at you.
Sawada was slow to get up but used a chop, a flying axhandle, an armbar takedown and a flying clothesline which hit The Bob while he was on one knee, unable to even stand up at this point. With his final bit of energy, Sawada pulled The Bob to his feet, stepped to his side, wrapped him arms around The Bob and gave him one more Uranage for the 1... 2... 3.
Kenta Sawada was a 3-1 underdog going into the match based on their initial encounter. He was a 76-1 underdog after the first fall had gone against him. But tonight, the quiet man from the Land of the Rising Sun wouldn't be denied. Tonight he showed the fighting spirit his country is known for.
And it catapulted Kenta Sawada right into the TNM Christmas Brawl final!
Match #2Our colleague Michael Dropps is standing by backstage with the unbeaten Luna Rose.
Dan Mastriani, I have observed your run throughout this tournament and have been impressed. However, sorry to disappoint you but I am no audio technician thus will not be an easy target, probably much to your dismay! You see, while you are the so-called ''Master of the Shining Wizard'', I am the Queen of Lunacore -- which isn't just a style of wrestling but a way of life, and it has guided me to this point in the Christmas Brawl. I may have unfinished business with the Russian, but my focus is entirely on winning this tournament, and I have come too far to get complacent in my spot now.We understand Rose's opponent, ''Gaijin'' Dan Mastriani, has put together a video of his own which will be showing you now.
We're going to go out there, and I am going to take all the shine from you as I advance to the final. And hey, whether it's The Bob or Kenta Sawada that I face in the final, I'm sure both of them know that I'm not going to lie down for them like their other opponents have done. I can, and I will, win this Christmas Brawl.
Dan Mastriani beat Luna Rose 2 falls to 0:
x Gaijin D beat Lunarosa via the Shining Wizard in 0:05:22
x Gaijin D beat Lunarosa via the Shining Wizard in 0:11:07
Rating: *** 1/2
Knowing how dangerous Luna Rose is, Dan Mastriani tried to get the jump on her early, attacking her knee right away. Rose quickly tried to show him who is boss by going for her Famous Last Aphorism finisher but ended up having more damage done to her knee through a dragon screw counter.
Realizing what was happening, Rose kicked it up a notch, sent Mastriani flying out of the ring with a backdrop, jumped straight onto him with a flying axhandle and brutalized him further outside the ring, including a running knee that would have made Hikaru Shida go ''damn, girl!''.
Luna kept fending off Mastriani's offense, managing to turn the tables with a low blow when Mastriani attempted a thrust kick to the head. She grabbed an achilles tendon hold to ruin Mastriani's mobility and methodically followed it up with a facebuster onto her knee and her feared Famous Last Aphorism finisher.
Luna Rose seemed destined to blitz her opponent in this first fall but Mastriani kicked out of her finisher at the very last possible moment. It had appeared to ringside observers that Mike Chioda's hand had hit the mat for a third time but the official denied having done so.
In frustration, Luna threw Mastriani out of the ring and turned her attention back onto the referee. What she had missed, however, was Mastriani having held onto the ropes and having pulled himself back in. As Rose was arguing with Mike Chioda, the ''Gaijin'' nailed her with an enzuigiri, followed it up with a dropkick to his dazed opponent's weakened knee and ending the first fall in shocking fashion with his Shining Wizard. It only took him 5 minutes and 22 seconds.
Luna Rose's undefeated streak was no more.
Rose wanted to keep going right away but she didn't have her feet back under her yet, giving Mastriani a chance to keep countering her. Mastriani for his part kept working over Rose's knee which he had been targeting since the first minute of the match.
When he landed another dropkick to her knee, Rose knew what was coming, though, and was prepared for it. She ducked out of the way of the Shining Wizard and managed to get the upper hand, even dropping Mastriani right on his face with a rope-hung cutter.
The ''Gaijin'' clearly didn't like what he was seeing as he came back with a thrust kick to the head which caused Luna's head to snap back in sickening fashion. Mastriani followed it up with a kneebar to her bad knee, causing Rose to go for a rope break.
Mastriani clearly had plans to go for the kill at this point. He stepped back, leaned against the ropes, waiting for the perfect moment to land the Shining Wizard. Rose stayed down, however, so he switched gears and kicked her in the face with a running soccer kick. Sensing he had Luna Rose on the brink of defeat, he quickly put on an armbar which caused Luna to go to the ropes once again.
As she was pulling herself up, Mastriani charged at her with a dropkick to the knee, jumped back up, backed into the ropes and waited for Luna to stagger back to one knee before building up a head of steam and nailing her with the Shining Wizard for the 1... 2... and as Mike Chioda's hand was coming down on the mat, Luna rolled to her side, lifting a shoulder off the mat and breaking the pinfall.
Mastriani went back to working over her knee with a spinning toe-hold but Rose mustered all the energy she had left and kicked him into the turnbuckle. Luna hit a backbreaker and put her opponent in a leg scissors cross kneelock.
She didn't get it on right, probably due to having had her bell rung earlier, and Mastriani broke the hold. Sensing victory, he whipped Luna Rose into the turnbuckle, hit a final dropkick to her injured knee, and when as she crumbled, his right knee hit her square in the face... and this time, there would be no kicking out.
Referee Mike Chioda's hand hit the mat three times and Dan Mastriani had his hand raised for the second time in only eleven minutes.
As devastatingly one-sided as this match was, Luna Rose - who had never been in a tournament before - will learn from this experience and only come back stronger. She was punching well above her weight and not only kept coming but kept overachieving. Every fairytale comes to end eventually, and this - unfortunately was the end of the road for hers.
Meanwhile, Dan Mastriani made quite the comeback after having been squashed by fellow semi-finalist The Bob in the opening match of the TNM Christmas Brawl tournament. Hardly anybody at that point would have expected him to make the Final Four. And no sane sports gambler would have bet on him to make it to the tournament finals.
Yet here we are.
Kenta Sawada will be facing ''Gaijin'' Dan Mastriani in a 60-minute Iron Man Match on December 22.
Sawada is going into the final after having wrestled for 38 grueling minutes and having had the shit kicked out of him for 26 of those.
Mastriani went through Luna Rose like a hot knife goes through butter, picking up two back-to-back falls in only 11 minutes. He hasn't had a single match in this tournament go past the 12-minute mark. And he is expected to enter the grueling 60-minute finale as the fresher man.
Will Sawada's proven experience in long matches be enough to overcome the edge Mastriani will have being the much fresher competitor? Check back on at noon Eastern on Tuesday to see the conclusion of the inaugural TNM Christmas Brawl tournament.