So, the big question this week: Is a friendship strong enough to stand on one leg if one friend takes the other’s knee out?
Sabre initially targeted Dar’s arm, but he ended up on defense for most of this match after Dar dropkicks Sabre’s knee. Dar targeted and worked on Sabre’s knee relentlessly, and was able to withstand Sabre's unique reversals and counters. Sabre’s comebacks become increasingly more ineffective due to the weakened knee. Sabre does himself no favors by trying for and missing a double knee drop from the top rope, which is followed by Dar hitting a nasty double stomp from the top to Sabre’s knee. Sabre is able to escape the kneebar twice. Then when Dar applies another leg lock, Sabre rolls both of them out of the ring and they both crash to the floor. And now Sabre’s elbow is injured. Man, the guy is a mess tonight. After Sabre *barely* beats the ten count back into the ring, Dar ignores the knee and starts working on the arm. Sabre finds an opening and catches Dar in the Rings of Saturn, but is unable to lock it in with his now bad arm. So, he uses his *legs* to force Dar’s arms into a totally unnatural and painful position, and that’s it for Dar.
Rich Swann dancing to his music while the ref checks him for weapons and ring announcer Mike Rome is bobbing his head is gif-worthy. Swann and TJP start off friendly but then get serious and less friendly after they dab at each other. But of course. After Swann tweaks his knee on a missed apron-to-floor moonsault, the story of the match becomes the same as the previous match: TJP starts relentlessly working on Swann’s knee. The difference here though is Swann’s absolutely magnificent selling. TJP just totally grounds Swann, preventing Swann from hitting any of his aerial offense. Swann tries to mount a comeback a few times, but can’t hit or follow through on any big moves. It eventually gets to the point that Swann can’t even run the ropes, and he finally succumbs to TJP’s version of the kneebar. And the crowd is pissed. I think once the initial shock of huge crowd favorite Rich Swann losing wore off, the crowd came around to appreciate what a hell of a wrestling match this was.
Next week is the live two-hour finale, where the finals will be determined from these semi-final matches:
Zack Sabre Jr vs. Gran Metalik
Kota Ibushi vs. TJ Perkins
Are you kidding me? 2016, what a year for wrestling, huh?