On Thursday’s episode of Impact Wrestling, Kushida made a spectacular debut in an Impact ring. Ex-NJPW, ROH, and NXT Champion flexed his muscles in the victory over Rich Swann. When Kushida and Swann squared up in the main event of the TV show, it was clear that the future of the world title was on the line. On Friday, August 12, Josh Alexander will defend his Impact World Championship against Alex Shelley at Emergence, and the winner will get the opportunity to challenge for the crown.
To pay respect to Marty McFly from the film Back to the Future, Kushida came to the party in costume. In a Hulk Hogan muscle shuffle, Swann was hampered and tormented by the Time Splitter. Swann was ground to a pulp by Kushida, who relied on submissions and worked to weaken the wing. Swann fought back with a series of kicks to the midriff and back. When Swann was taunted earlier, he teased a chop in the corner as retaliation.
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Swann struck Kushida in the kisser instead of striking him when he tensed up to take the blow. It was Kushida’s strategy for an armbar that he stuck to. However, Kushida reverted back to an armbar when Swann built up for a pinfall. Swann was able to make a spectacular break by rolling into the ropes. The battle raged on with a series of counterattacks from both sides. Swann used a combination of kicks and a neck breaker to take the lead.
He attempted a Phoenix splash finish but missed. His muscles were ready for an uppercut and lower cut. However, Swann countered with a German suplex to Kushida’s kimura armlock plan. In the corner, the two teams squared off. Kushida was hurricanranaed by Swann off the turnbuckles as he leaped for it. Kushida sprung to a handspring kick because Swann was taking his time to climb for a high-flying strike.
Kushida was able to work for a kimura on the turnbuckles after Swann was disoriented by the hit. After that, Kushida flipped the slam. Kushida held on to the kimura submission to win the fight on the mat. Damn! If you’ve ever seen Kushida’s “Hoverboard Lock,” you’ll know what I’m referring to. Even though it wasn’t a new hold for him, I had never seen it before when watching a Kushida match for the first time.
Kushida’s victory over a previous world champion was more crucial than the cool move he performed. That should put him in the running for a gold medal. Was Kushida’s debut at the Impact Wrestling promotion a success?