Toni Storm defeated Meiko Satomura to advance to the finals
In case you need help understanding the age and experience difference between these two, Toni Storm was 13 months old when Satomura wrestled on WCW Monday Nitro in 1996. Satomura was already a 14-year veteran when Storm debuted in 2009.
The match began with some great mat wrestling as neither wrestler wanted to possibly make an early mistake that could cost them big. Storm took a kick to the chest, but she came back with her own running kick to take over. Satomura didn’t let it last long, using a series of leg kicks to chop down her taller opponent.
The bruises began to form on Storm’s legs, but she slapped on an STF. Michael Cole, who has called about 500 John Cena matches, called it “unique offense.” To be fair, he hasn’t seen too many good STFs.
No one believed it was the finish, even though Satomura sold it like death, but she was able to drag herself to the ropes. Storm hit a suicide dive and began grabbing her elbow. The suicide dive, the same move that injured Tegan Nox and always looks like Io Shirai is going to land on her head, is still being used here in the semifinals.
Back in the ring, Storm began kicking Satomura, but Satomura fired up and used her own kicks. Satomura hit a Death Valley Driver for the sure victory — but Storm kicked out. Storm blocked a running knee and hit Storm Zero — but Satomura kicked out! The crowd exploded at this.
Satomura blocked a second Storm Zero and hit a Pele Kick and a Scorpion Kick, but again Storm kicked out. Fans were literally jumping up and down at this point.
Finally, Storm blocked another Death Valley Driver and hit her second Storm Zero for the pin! Storm is going to Evolution. Both wrestlers kneeled and bowed to one another before hugging. Kairi Sane appeared to present roses to Storm, who could not stop crying. Triple H came out to raise Satomura’s hand on the ramp, which led to more applause and more tears.
Storm cut a promo after the match, thanking the crowd and everyone in the back for letting her dreams come true.
Storm has downed Jinny, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Mia Yim, and now Satomura. She has one more test on Sunday.
Io Shirai defeated Rhea Ripley to advance to the finals
This match was different from the beginning as Ripley showed very little respect to her foe and was making subtle gestures to injuring Tegan Nox. Ripley used her size and power advantage early. She yanked Shirai back in an abdominal stretch. When Shirai tried to kick her way out of it, Ripley punched her right in the ribs. In an ensuing stretch, Ripley was digging her nails into the abdominal region of Shirai.
Ripley’s frustration began as Shirai wouldn’t stay down, but she cooled down and locked on a body scissors. Shirai went crazy and got out of it with a series of punches and forearms, which stunned Ripley. The advantage didn’t last long as Ripley rolled over and kicked Shirai right in the ribs. Seconds later, it was like that never happened as Shirai started to build momentum.
Shirai hit the suicide dive and, for once, didn’t have me worried that she was going to land on her head. Shirai kept the momentum going, hitting a 619 and a missile dropkick for a near fall. However, Ripley tripped her up on an attempted moonsault. Ripley hit a superplex that hurt her own back, but Shirai got out of a pumphandle move and shoved Ripley shoulder-first into the ring post. Shirai hit the double knees and a moonsault for the win!
Not as good as the opener, but still a very good match, especially when you consider this wasn’t even scheduled to be the match since Nox was supposed to beat Ripley before her injury.
Shirai and Sane embraced like long lost friends
Shirai blitzed Xia Brookside and then defeated Zeuxis, Deonna Purrazzo, and Ripley and will now be throwing down on Sunday. 32 began, 30 went to the wayside. At Evolution, only one will be left standing as Io Shirai will face Toni Storm. Who follows in the footsteps of Kairi Sane? Only one way to find out.
The show finished up with both Shirai and Storm coming out on stage and posing with Triple H, Sara Amato, and Sane as Cole closed up the show.
Results by: Arya Witner, f4wonline.com