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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (12/11/17)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Bayley & Mickie James w/ Sasha Banks VS Absolution w/ Sonya Deville; Absolution wins.
  • Finn Balor VS Curt Axel w/ Bo Dallas; Balor wins.
  • Seth Rollins VS Sheamus; Rollins wins.
  • “Second Chance” Fatal 4 Way: Ariya Daivari VS Tony Nese VS Cedric Alexander VS Mustafa Ali; Alexander wins and faces Drew Gulak in a WWE Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s match.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns VS Cesaro; Reigns wins and retains the IC Championship.
  • Asuka VS Alicia Fox; no contest.
  • Dean Ambrose VS Samoa Joe; Joe wins.
  • WWE Universal Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Kane VS Braun Strowman; double count-out.

PLAY BY PLAY

Roman Reigns is the WWE Intercontinental Champion, but Samoa Joe has staked a claim.

The Destroyer wasn’t done with going after Roman, for last week, he made sure the other members of The Shield did not reclaim the Raw Tag Team Championships to end last week’s episode. Lines have been drawn, tonight is all about settling scores!

 

Samoa Joe is already in the ring!

He knows the fans know of The Shield, “one of the most dominant forces in the history of the WWE.” It didn’t matter who you were, the Hounds of Justice would pounce. Joe has seen the Shield up close, but he is not impressed. He is not impressed by Seth Rollins, a man whose leg snapped on Joe’s first day on Raw. He is not impressed by Dean Ambrose, a man who does everything he can to avoid Joe. And he is “damn sure” not impressed by Roman Reigns, who he has put to sleep again and again. Joe knows he has Ambrose tonight, but here’s out here now to finish business with Reigns! Not the Big Dog and the “Lap Dogs”, just Reigns. We see The Shield watching this from backstage. Rollins tells Ambrose to tell Reigns. Joe grows impatient, he knows he’s dominant and intimidating. Roman remembers, right? Joe does. If it wasn’t for Jason Jordan, Joe would’ve ended Reigns right there. Joe takes credit for keeping The Shield from being “a grand stable of imperial champions”, and there’s nothing Roman can do about that! Samoa Joe doesn’t need The Bar, doesn’t care about Rollins or Ambrose, Samoa Joe stands on his own two feet! If it wasn’t for The Shield, Roman would be NOTHING. If Roman doesn’t agree, then come out and prove Joe wrong. Roman tells The Shield that he’s “got this.” And out comes Roman to the ring!

They brawl the moment Roman hits the ring! Roman backs Joe down, stomping a mudhole into him. Joe slips away, here comes The Bar! Roman knocks them each away and Joe fights back, it is now 3v1! The Shield reinforces Roman and goes after The Bar. Joe has Roman in the Coquina Clutch! Ambrose spills the others over and goes after Joe himself. Sheamus bails Joe out, Rollins returns and goes after both of them, but now Rollins is stuck 3v1! A-Swiss-ted White Noise takes out The Architect! Ambrose crawls back in, but now he is victim of 3v1. The Bar hold Ambrose up and feed him to Joe’s yurinagi slam. The Shield is down, do they have a chance of standing up against Joe and The Bar?

 

Bayley & Mickie James w/ Sasha Banks VS Absolution w/ Sonya Deville!

Raw’s Women’s Division is helping the Women’s Revolution grow stronger, but strongest of all is Absolution. The Glampire rubs in how she defeated the Legit Boss, but now she and Mandy Rose vow to “purge the division of the feeble and the unworthy.” Or in other words, the Huggable One and the returning veteran. Absolution is a symphony of carnage, and the music is about to start.

Mandy and Bayley start, Bayley tackles Mandy but Paige tags in. Bayley backs off, Paige gets the edge but then gets put into the corner, tag to Mickie for a double suplex, that Mandy saves Paige from. The Absolution women are both sent out of the ring, Paige is furious already. Bayley flies onto Mandy, then Mickie flies onto Paige! Absolution in trouble as we go to break.

We return to Bayley fighting out of Mandy’s headlock. Bayley snapmares and gives an elbow to the back, a sliding lariat and then one more elbow drop, cover, TWO! Mandy retaliates with a running knee, TWO! She puts Bayley in Absolution’s corner, tag to Paige, and Paige gives Bayley knee after knee within the ropes. Paige roars before giving Bayley another knee, TWO, so she grabs Bayley’s arm and mocks her. Bayley fights back, Paige stomps her out and even gives her a headbutt. Paige gives Mickie a cheap shot, Absolution then mugs Bayley in the distraction. Paige gives Bayley a Shining Wizard, cover, TWO. The fans rally, Paige sets Bayley up for more knees in the ropes, but Bayley counters to trip Paige up! Bayley crawls, Paige stops her, Bayley shoves her away, hot tags to Mandy and Mickie! Mickie rallies, kicks away on Mandy, and hits a jumping clothesline. She goes to put Mandy in a corner, Mandy gives a back elbow, but then she runs into Mickie’s flapjack!

Sonya gets on the apron but takes a shot for it, Mickie climbs up and flies for the seated senton! Paige breaks it up, Bayley tackles her and unleashes stomps. Mickie goes after Mandy, Paige blasts Mickie with a kick! Absolution wins! With this victory, is Raw going to be Absolution’s to rule?

 

Bray Wyatt is here. But so is WOKEN Hardy!

“This is nothing new. It has always been darkness versus light.” Morning and night, good and evil, it is Bray’s favorite game. WOKEN Hardy says “The Great War has perpetuated for eons!” Now, it continues on WWE’s Raw! Hardy is yin to Wyatt’s yang, and he has been waiting. The darkness shall be illuminated by the WOKEN WISDOM and BROKEN BRILLIANCE. Hardy is a liar! Hardy is a modern-day golden calf. Moo. Hardy’s words mean nothing, but Hardy is familiar with Sister Abigail. Abigail contracted an addiction to darkness, and was consumed by evil. Her horrendous soul habitats Bray Wyatt. Why follow a jester when you can walk behind a king? Choose your side wisely, for only one can survive. WOKEN WARRIORS prepare for battle against the Wyatt Swarm, and they shall… DELETE! Both men laugh like madmen, who will prove themselves the madder?

 

Raw is curious about Nia Jax’s interest in the Certified G.

Nia asked those infamous three words, “How You Doin’?” However, Enzo’s more in love with the Cruiserweight Championship. He asks what “Gabba Gulak” can do for Enzo. There was a major announcement. There is a Second Chance Fatal 4 Way to find a man worthy of fighting Drew Gulak for the right to be #1 contender to the Cruiserweight Championship. Gulak feels he will be that contender to face Enzo for the title, but Enzo tells him to be worried more about Mustafa Ali, Ariya Daivari, Cedric Alexander, Nia Jax- Nia Jax? Did Enzo mention Nia Jax? No… Why? She’s not on the 205 Live roster. Oh, Gulak sees what this is! It is a lesson, that Gulak needs to be prepared for anyone, even Nia Jax. Yeah… Enzo got away with that one, but when will Nia Jax next pop up?

 

Finn Balor VS Curt Axel w/ Bo Dallas!

The Miztourage is still going strong, as Curt Axel no longer needs that neck brace. The Miztourage also mocks Finn’s entrance, will they regret it very quickly? Axel might regret throwing his neck brace at Finn! However, Axel and Bo jump Finn right away, getting a 2v1 advantage! The match has not started but Axel unloads forearm hammers on Finn. The referee keeps Axel back and checks on Finn, Finn wants to go, so the bell rings and Axel is right on him again. Axel snapmares and neck-snaps Balor, TWO. Axel doesn’t slow down, he keeps Finn grounded with an armlock and chinbar. Finn gets up but is brought back down, knee to the spine before another chinlock. Fans rally for Finn, jawbreaker gets separation. Finn dodges Axel in a corner, then again to give chops. Axel swinsg and misses, gets a slingblade! Finn then blasts Axel with a dropkick, that bad neck keeps Axel down, COUP DE GRACE! Finn wins and sweeps the Miztourage! Can the Extraordinary Man keep this up all the way towards a title match?

 

Kane speaks to Braun Strowman.

“Tonight, you and I step into The Abyss.” They both know what it’s like to squeeze a man into surrender. Kane will delight to enter with a fellow monster, but he will climb out alone and smiling. Kane will crush more than Strowman’s throat, and that he will compete against The Beast, Brock Lesnar. At the Royal Rumble, the Big Red Machine vows to become Universal Champion. Can Kane make good on the first step tonight?

 

Seth Rollins VS Sheamus!

The Architect may not be one-half of the Raw Tag Team Champions, but he will relish this chance for 1v1 revenge against the Celtic Gladiator! The order came down that this match will ban all allies from ringside, both men will have to do it alone. The referee has to keep the piece as Sheamus puts his gear to the side, but when the bell rings, Rollins goes right for him! Sheamus shoves Rollins away, Rollins comes right back and gives chop after chop. Rollins’ whip is reversed, but he slips out of the tilt-o-whirl to then dump Sheamus out. He keeps going, and DIVES to knock Sheamus down! Rollins puts Sheamus into barriers, then pursues around the side to bump him off the apron. They go back around and then into the ring, Sheamus clobbers Rollins. Sheamus takes time to catch his breath as Rollins slowly stirs, then reels Rollins in for a lariat. Rollins gets to a corner, Sheamus comes over to give heavy right hands.

Sheamus embraces the heat fans are slinging at him, he stomps and stands on Rollins’ head. Sheamus brings Rollins up and hits a delayed backbreaker, TWO. Rollins is bumped off buckles now, Sheamus gives him forearms in the back. Sheamus stomps an Irish Mudhole into Rollins, then embraces even more heat as he goes Super Saiyan for the kick. Rollins dodges and kicks back with an enziguri! Sheamus is dazed, Rollins up and throws right hands and chops. Another whip reversed, ROllins dodges for the Slingblade! Rollins boots Sheamus away, flying blockbuster! He clotheslines Sheamus out of the ring, The Architect fires up and slingshots over. Rollins lands on his feet, Sheamus gets him with knees on reentry to send him flying back out.

The Celtic Gladiator is in control as we go to break.

We’re back and Sheamus grinds Rollins with a chinlock. Sheamus taunts Rollins as Rollins works to stand up. Rollins gives Sheamus a jawbreaker, then puts out a foot as Sheamus comes in. Sheamus blocks the kick and uses that leg to fling Rollins into the mat!

Rollins clutches that leg, Sheamus goes right after it with stomps and knee drops. Sheamus puts Rollins in a stretch muffler, hanging Rollins upside-down by his bad leg. Rollins endures, sits up, and throws hands, then huricanrana into a pin! Sheamus rolls through to the Cloverleaf! Rollins endures again, reaches for ropes, and pushes himself up but Sheamus drags him away! Rollins with the small-package counter, TWO, Irish Curse Backbreaker slipped through for a DDT! TWO! Sheamus’ toughness keeps him in this match, Rollins drags himself to a corner to recover. Both men stand up, Rollins dodges and then rolls Sheamus, TWO, MULE KICK! TWO again, Rollins’ leg hurts too much for him to be frustrated. Sheamus and Rollins stand up, Rollins grabs Sheamus but gets a back elbow, Sheamus gives Rollins a shinbreaker against a buckle! Rollins is down, Sheamus climbs up, Rollins gets up to stop him. Sheamus fights Rollins off on the top rope, Rollins topples down again, but then springs right up for the SUPERPLEX roll-through to Falcon Arrow!

The leg slows Rollins down on that cover, TWO! Both men are down, fans are rallying, Rollins is first to stand up. he brings Sheamus up, swings him out, but fireman’s carry! Rollins fights out but Sheamus trophy lifts him into the rolling senton! Sheamus fires up now, fans boo and jeer as he calls for the finish. Rollins is up, he ducks the Brogue to SUPERKICK Sheamus and give the Kingslayer Knee! Rollins wins! Will Rollins’ knee be okay so that he and Ambrose can challenge for the Raw Tag Team Championships once again?

 

Backstage interview with Dean Ambrose.

The Shield is up 1-0 against their opponents tonight, and with The Big Dog defending his Intercontinental Championship, what is The Lunatic’s strategy for going against Samoa Joe given the opening brawl? Strategy? Ambrose just wants to win. Ambrose will avoid getting kicked in the face, being put in the Coquina Clutch, and giving away his strategy out in the open. Joe cost them the titles, and now wants after Roman? Ambrose is overheated, thanks for the pep talk. Can Ambrose survive Samoa Joe in their first-ever match-up?

 

“Second Chance” Fatal 4 Way: Ariya Daivari VS Tony Nese VS Cedric Alexander VS Mustafa Ali!

The Outlandish Rich Swann lost his opportunity do to circumstances in his personal life, but that just gives four Cruiserweights who lost a chance to rise again. Drew Gulak joins commentary to watch this match-up personally.

Will it all be ‘Zo Train for the Cruiserweight Championship after the night is through?

The bell rings, all four men stare down, but it is the Carolina Kid that sparks the action as he goes after The Premier Athlete. The Pakistani Prince brawls with the Privileged Persian, the two brawls end up in opposite corners. Daivari keeps on Ali, whip but Ail flapjack dropkicks. Alexander shoves Nese, ducks, handspring headscissors and dropkick! Alexander and Ali are alone again, deja vu. They move fast with takedowns and covers, Ali rolls but Alexander kicks out, back slide cover, TWO, Ali headlocks but Alexander powers out and we have a stand-off. Ali gives elbows and chops, then a whip but Alexander gives a European Uppercut. Alexander runs, NEse dumps him out, but Ali goes up top to FLY on them both! Ali is fired up, he puts Alexander in the ring, Daivari pounces with a lariat! Daivari goes to Alexander now, TWO, which upsets Daivari. He hammers away on Alexander, then gets upset with the ref for reprimanding him. Daivari puts Alexander in a chinlock, trash talks in Farsi, fans rally and Alexander gets up. Alexander fights back but is clubbed down, Daivari puts him on the apron only for Alexander to come back in with a springboard complete shot!

Cover, Nese breaks it. Nese throws Alexander right into buckles, Ali ducks under Nese for a stiff set of chops. Ali whips, Nese reverses and gives a pumphandle lift, Ali slips out but gets run over. Nese gives Alexander a back kick, whips but is reversed, Nese eats Daivari’s discus elbow! Daivari hesitates, takes Alexander’s back elbow, Ali come sin for a tilt-o-whirl DDT! All four men are down, fans are loving it as we go to break.

We return to see Ali down in Daivari’s chinlock. Ali endures the wrench, fights out and whips but Daivari reverses for a big spinebuster and high cover, TWO. Daivari is frustrated as he puts Ali back into the chinlock. He trash talks in Farsi again, Ali gets up and fights out again. Daivari clubs him down and throws him at the buckles but Ali slips out and kicks Daivari away. Fans slowly fire up, Ali hits the rolling facebuster! TWO, Nese is back to give Ali a knee and a deadlift, but Ali fights back. Ali is put in the corner but elbows out, hops up and boots Daivari away, Nese springs up with an uppercut! Nese puts Ali back up on the top rope, climbs up but Ali elbows him away. Nese is in the drop zone, Ali takes aim, 0-5-4! Alexander breaks the pin! He and Ali have unfinished business, they throw fast and furious hands on each other. Stiff back elbow from Ali, then a slap, Ali runs but into the Spanish Fly! Lumbar Check!!

Daivari throws Alexander out, covers, but Alexander drags Daviari out. They brawl, Nese FLIES outta nowhere! Nese puts Alexander in the ring, brings down a knee pad, Premier Kneese! Ali breaks the pin! Everyone is sore and frustrated, but that’s the nature of a fatal 4 way. The ‘Zo Train regroups and targets Ali, who valiantly fights against them both. It doesn’t work, double whip but Ali kicks Daivari away. Nese is thrown out, Alexander flies in! Roll-up from Daivari, TWO, handspring Neuralizer! Alexander kicks Nese away, then hits Daivari with a Lumbar Check! Alexander wins and will face Gulak next week!

In-ring interview with Cedric Alexander.

“This was my second chance! And I plan on taking full advantage of it.” Alexander calls out Gulak, saying he will move on to face Enzo and become the NEW Cruiserweight Champion! Will Gulak be able to keep his promise to the Certified G and keep challengers away?

 

Drew Gulak reports to Enzo Amore.

The other challenger is Cedric Alexander, so when “Gabba Gulak” deals with him, it’ll finally come down to Gulak VS Amore and Gulak will become champion! What was that? Nothing, just “friendly” trash talk. Who said they were friends? Gulak works for Enzo on the ‘Zo Train. Gulak wins one match and he’s suddenly thinking they’re equals? Enzo will keep it real, by first saying the PowerPoint Presentations are only one word! And that word is- informative? Get out of here… And how you doin’, Nia? Just fine. Nice to see you, Enzo. And you, too, Drew. Nia likes his powerpoints. Enzo was gonna say the same thing! yes, informative, that’s what they are. Nia would like to talk with Enzo, but when Enzo’s not busy. What is the Certified G to make of this situation?

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns VS Cesaro!

The Big Dog promised to be a fighting champion, so another Raw means another Intercontinental title defense! Can Roman keep the title in his Yard when faced with the Swiss Cyborg?

The bell rings, and the fight is on as Cesaro goes right at Roman, only to be knocked back and stomped in a corner. Cesaro gets out of the ring, Roman pursues, they go back in the ring and Cesaro stomps Roman upon reentry. Roman takes European Uppercut after EuroUpper, but then he runs and runs Cesaro over. He starts rallying, jumping clothesline floors Cesaro. Roman gives Cesaro close-range clotheslines, Cesaro slips out to hotshot that arm. Cesaro then boots Roman, Roman boots back! Roman clotheslines Cesaro out of the ring, and catches his breath as we go to break.

Back again, and Cesaro wrenches Roman’s arm in a high keylock. Fans rally, Roman gets to his feet but Cesaro reels him in for a lariat, TWO. Cesaro keeps on the bad arm with a wristlock. Fans keep rallying, Cesaro keeps the torture up, Roman endures the twists and bends. Cesaro says no one likes Roman, so Roman should just give up. Roman still endures, slowly turning and standing up. Cesaro tries to keep Roman down but Roman headbutts and kicks back, Mahistrol cradle! TWO, EuroUpper countered, they both use power and the backslide goes, TWO. Roman dodges Cesaro then rolls him up, TWO, into an armbar and Cesaro hammers away on the shoulder before putting on the Fujiwara!

Roman endures again, Cesaro brings him to the cneter of the ring. Cesaro keeps up the torque, Roman wills his way to his feet, and then throws Cesaro to a corner. Roman keeps Cesaro in the corner, then back suplex slams him to the mat! Both men down from exhaustion, Roman blocks punches to give headbutts. Cesaro down on the ropes, Roman goes to the outside for the Drive-By dropkick! Cover, TWO! Roman and Cesaro are slow to stand up, but Roman is up nonetheless. He takes aim, locks and loads, Cesaro swats the bad arm away! Cesaro traps the good arm in a Fujiwara armbar, then shift over to a crossface on the bad arm!

Roman endures the submission, works to stand up and powers Cesaro up for a Samoan Drop! TWO, Roman is running out of ideas. Both men are slowly stirring again, Roman crawling back to the corner. Cesaro blasts Roman with a EuroUpper, then rams him into the post shoulder-first! Roman tumbles to the floor, Cesaro pursues. Cesaro runs in, Roman boots Cesaro away, flying punch! Back into the ring, cover, TWO! They are both further exhausted, yet they are still able to stand. Roman lets the battle cry out, but Cesaro kicks the Spear away, flapjack EuroUpper!

TWO, but into the Crossface hold! Cesaro pulls Roman back, Roman endures and shifts, then powers Cesaro up again. Cesaro slips down, sunset flip to the Swiss Swing! Roman powers his way up to roll over Cesaro, deadlift powerbomb! TWO!! Neither man has given up, and the fans in Cleveland are loving it. Both men stir once more, and brawl on their knees. The brawl moves onto their feet, the referee reacts to Cesaro’s mouth guard falling out, so Cesaro takes advantage with a small package! TWO, Cesaro is shocked! He argues with the referee, but just turns his frustrations on Roman. Roman in a corner, takes more EuroUppers! The referee tries to cool him off, Cesaro brings Roman out for the Neutralizer, only for Roman to power out, and SPEAR!! Roman retains! It took so much out of both men, can Roman stay champion at this rate?

 

Braun Strowman responds to Kane.

“You tried to crush my throat and end my career. But a couple weeks ago, I sent you crawling out of the arena, gasping for air with a taste of your own medicine.” Tonight, Strowman will give Kane another dose, because he wants another shot at The Beast. Kane stands in his way, but not for long! The collision is coming, who will survive?!

 

Asuka VS Alicia Fox!

Alicia is the only woman crazy enough to want another go at the undefeated Empress of Tomorrow after already having lost to her once. But when the music hits, there is no Alicia to be found. Because Absolution returns!

What happened? Backstage with a bad elbow. In that case, this gives us time to talk. The Absolution has let Asuka walk away cleanly, but not even she can stop them. That leaves us in a pickle: move aside, or they’ll make you. Asuka doesn’t move.

The fans cheer her bravery, but Paige gives one last chance. Asuka still stands in their way. Well “No One is Ready for Asuka”, but she hasn’t faced Absolution. Asuka immediately takes out Mandy and fights off Sonya, Paige pounces. Paige hammers away but gets caught in an armlock! Mandy and Sonya save her, it is 2v1 and then three with Paige’s stiff knee. Absolution feeds Asuka to Paige, but here coems Sasha Banks and the rest of the Raw Women’s Divison! They run into the ring and outnubmer Absolution now! Nia Jax has Paige but Paige slips out, Sasha stuns Paige with a knee. Mandy is left alone against all the women, Asuka gets her with the spnining back hand. Nia runs Mandy over! Absolution retreats, the rest of Raw is united! Has Absolution’s plans absolutely backfired?

 

Raw GM Kurt Angle wants to make sure things are ready for the main event.

The last time Kane and Braun Strowman had a match, they literally went through the ring. The ring needs to be reinforced. Understood. But in comes Jason Jordan. He apologizes for how he acted last week. JJ let his “intensity” get the best of him. But, what happened to his match with Samoa Joe? After disrespecting Angle and then ruining the Raw Tag Team Championship match, no wonder Stephanie McMahon has been on Angle’s case. Just put JJ in a match! Calm down! It isn’t a good situation, or an easy one, but Angle is JJ’s dad. Angle wanted to get at Joe personally, but he’s not just a dad but a GM. But JJ can beat Joe! JJ survived so many other legends, he can hold his own. As a GM, Angle reminds JJ didn’t win any of those matches. JJ will have his match when Angle says, not when JJ wants it. “Okay, dad.” Or is it, “Okay, Kurt”? JJ storms out, what can the Olympic Gold Medalist father do about his Gold-Blooded Son’s temper?

 

Dean Ambrose VS Samoa Joe!

Ohio’s favorite Lunatic goes up against the Samoan Destroyer for the first time anywhere, who will survive the violence and madness? The bell rings, Joe spots Jason Jordan with a chair? JJ is just going to watch, the same way Joe did last week.

Ambrose goes after Joe in that opening, speeding up but bouncing off Joe! Joe stomps Ambrose down, then drags him up to give him knee strikes and jabs. Joe runs, Ambrose dropkicks out a leg, Ambrose puts Joe in a corner to trap a leg and throw down hands. Ambrose runs to dropkick that leg, then gives it a dragon screw. Joe slides out of the ring, Ambrose slips out to pursue. Ambrose runs in and clubs Joe on the back, then bumps Joe off barriers. Ambrose refreshes the count before giving JOe a leg sweep against the barriers. He keeps on Joe’s leg with kicks and even a chop block before putting him in the ring. Ambrose climbs up, JJ watches as he jumps over Joe, Joe dodges and back elbow to Pele! Joe lets Ambrose tumble out as we go to break.

We return to see Joe holding Ambrose down in a half straitjacket. Ambrose gets up as fans rally, and fights out of the hold. Ambrose chops and runs but Joe runs him over, topping it off with a back senton, only to miss! Joe and Ambrose are both slow to get up as fans rally again, and they brawl. Ambrose gives jabs and chops, jabs and chops, Joe just gives jab after jab. Joe watches Ambrose stagger then gives him more jabs. Ambrose slaps Joe, Joe gives him an elbow, Lunatic Lariat into the yurinagi but Ambrose slips out. Ambrose boots Joe, Joe runs in but takes an elbow, Ambrose runs and knocks Joe down. He rallies now, runs corner to corner to forearm smash Joe, Joe powers out of the bulldog and gives another elbow, Lunatic Lariat hits! Both men down again, JJ is watching eagerly. Joe grabs Ambrose, Ambrose suddenly goes for Dirty Deeds but Joe counters with an Exploder!

Joe mocks JJ, JJ approaches the ring, Ambrose takes advantage again with a knee and roll-up, TWO! Joe kicks Ambrose, powerbomb lift but Ambrose fights out to headscissor Joe over and out with him! JJ sees them crash down but assures he’ll leave Joe alone, to instead help Ambrose into the ring. Joe gets JJ with a Coquina, Ambrose DIVES onto them both! Back into the ring now, Ambrose climbs up, JJ on the apron, flying elbow! The distraction lasts too long, the cover is counted late, TWO! Ambrose realizes that and glares at JJ.

The Lunatic slips out and goes up to JJ to get in his face. JJ grabs Ambrose, JOE DIVES! He puts Ambrose in the ring, gives JJ a back senton, then puts Ambrose in the Coquina! Ambrose flails, fades, Joe wins! Did Joe only win because of Jason Jordan? Joe doesn’t care, because he won.

 

Dana Brooke is backstage with Titus Worldwide.

She is so grateful to be accepted into the group! They’re excited to have her, as the official Titus Worldwide Statistician/ Head of Research & Development! Statistics? Research and development? No, no, The Club thinks that’s for… NERDS!

But here comes BRAUN!

No more talk, time for war!

 

WWE Universal Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Kane VS Braun Strowman!

Raw’s resident monsters have collided time and again ever since The Big Red Machine returned, but now it all comes to an end one way or another. Will it be the Devil’s Favorite Demon or the Monster Among Men that challenges The Beast at the Royal Rumble?

The bell rings, Strowman powers Kane to a corner and drives in shoulder after shoulder and even a headbutt. He doesn’t let Kane slip away, either, rocking Kane with right hands. Strowman goes corner to corner for a big clothesline in the corner, then a running dropkick! Cover, TWO, and Kane escapes to the outside. Strowman pursues, Kane gets the upper-hand now but is soon reversed and thrown into steel steps. The ref counts, they return inside the ring, Kane kicks Strowman on reentry. Strowman doesn’t slow down at all, Kane backs down but is backed down by force. Strowman goes corner to corner again but Kane dodges. Kane grabs Strowman, CHOKE SLAM!

TWO! Kane is furious, so he hammers Strowman’s head with elbows. The Big Red Machine backs off to let Strowman get up, another choke slam! TWO! Kane is further frustrated, he doesn’t understand how Strowman is enduring these attacks. He looms over Strowman, dragging him up by his throat. Strowman gives the choke back, Strowman choke slams Kane!

TWO, and Kane rolls out of the ring. He rests against barriers while Strowman recovers in the ring. Strowman comes out to pursue Kane, Kane gives that signature uppercut and now things move to the crowd! They brawl, big right hands back and forth, Strowman then tackles Kane through a barrier! The ring count climbs up and hits ten, it’s a double count-out?! The fans boo, this isn’t how they wanted the match to end. The same goes for Strowman, as he stalks a fleeing Kane. Kane kicks Strowman away, and keeps crawling away, but Strowman pursues. Strowman dumps Kane over the steel steps, then takes aim with those steel steps! Kane has the same idea, and now they go jousting with steel! Both monsters drop the steps, but Strowman fetches a cart. Kane won’t let his throat be crushed again, but Strowman wallops Kane with another right hand! They return inside the ring, fans want tables, so Strowman obliges! He puts the table in the ring, Kane gets out of the ring. Kane fetches a chair, and SMACKS Strowman’s knee with it.

Fans watch as Kane swings again, Strowman rocks Kane with one more right. Kane retaliates with more chair shots that SMACK against Strowman’s body! Kane jabs the chair edge at Strowman, but staggers from exhaustion. The table comes back into play as Kane stands it up. Fans are cheering as Kane returns to Strowman, but a double clothesline floors them both. Neither behemoth gets up, but Kane sits up. His eyes lock onto Strowman, Strowman sits up!

Kane is shocked by that! Strowman is up, and runs at Kane, but into a choke grip. Strowman uses his strength to counter, scoop Kane, and put him through the table!!

The Monster Among Men didn’t win the match, but he won the war! But the question remains: Who will face The Beast at the Royal Rumble!?

 

My Thoughts:

This was an interesting Raw. I’d think some of the haphazard feel comes from adjusting for certain extenuating circumstances. Even so, most of tonight was still fun, no major lull anywhere in the night. The opening segment was fine, though Joe could’ve paced his promo better, and it was a bit redundant to have a brawl when we knew about all the matches set up for tonight before tonight. Those matches themselves were great, though, as Rollins-Sheamus was solid as always, Roman-Cesaro was match of the night whether anti-Roman fans will admit it, and Ambrose-Joe was another solid match that also advanced the Jason Jordan Heel turn. Jordan’s turn is also going great, really, and he’s currently in the Tweener territory as he is making enemies with a lot of people. His playing on Angle’s paternal instincts is also key to his turn, this could go places to make a legit star out of JJ.

The Cruiserweights also have another great match, mixing the highlights from both previous fatal 4 ways into this “second chance” edition, like the standing Spanish fly counter Alexander hits Ali with. It made sense that if Swann was no longer eligible to be the chosen Face to face the top Heels, it’d fall to the other top Face to do it. Alexander has the ring talent and momentum to take down Gulak and then Enzo, but there is still an underlying bit of Face momentum that Gulak could easily tap into after that tense moment with Enzo backstage. I’m still hoping Nia just wants a manager, but it’d be hilarious if Enzo assumed she wanted something more and was rejected. On top of that, Nia and the rest of the Women’s Division is making things interesting by taking a united stand against Absolution. This better lead to the Women’s Rumble, because a single Six Woman Tag won’t be enough at this rate. The Universal Championship is the one curious piece for Raw right now. Balor wins a filler match, but he’s nowhere near facing Lesnar given how Vince is feeling. Kane and Strowman are suddenly given a #1 contender’s match but it all ends in a draw. Lesnar will show up next week, and Heyman will surely address this, but I think we all know the bottom line is that someone is only going to be fed to The Beast to hold him over until Wrestlemania.

 

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)

And you thought last week was big!

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Coverage 205 2021

205 Live doubles down on historic matches!

Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
  • Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.

PLAY BY PLAY

205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.

It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.

The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?

 

Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!

How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?

The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!

Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!

Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!

Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!

Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?

 

Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!

The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?

The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!

Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.

Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.

Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!

Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!

Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!

Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?


My Thoughts:

A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.

Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)

Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?

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Coverage SmackDown 2021

Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!

SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
  • Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
  • Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
  • Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
  • Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
  • Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.

PLAY BY PLAY

Roman Reigns heads to the ring!

The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.

But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!

But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.

But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.

Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?

Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.

 

Sami Zayn heads to the ring!

He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?

SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!

Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!

The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?

As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.

Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!

SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.

Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!

Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!

Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall

Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?

 

Billie finds the Squad backstage.

She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?

 

Daniel Bryan is here!

And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!

“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!

Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!

The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?

Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!

SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!

Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”

Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!

Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall

Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?

 

Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!

It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?

SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!

Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!

Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!

Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission

Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?

 

Roman Reigns sits in his private room.

Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!

Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!

Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.

Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!

Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!

Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)

And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?

 

Kevin Owens speaks.

“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.

And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.

But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.

 

The Street Profits have a basket.

Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!

Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?

 

Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!

The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?

SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!

But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?

Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!

Winner: Bianca Belair

Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.

 

Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.

Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?

 

Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!

SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.

Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!

Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall

The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?

 

Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!

Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?

Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?

Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!

Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!

Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!

Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?


My Thoughts:

A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.

But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.

The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.

Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.

And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.

My Score: 8.5/10


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