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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (12/25/17)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • John Cena VS Elias; Cena wins.
  • THE Brian Kendrick w/ Jack Gallagher VS Hideo Itami; Itami wins.
  • Six Woman Tag: Absolution VS Bayley, Sasha Banks & Mickie James; Absolution wins.
  • Kane VS Heath Slater w/ Rhyno; Kane wins.
  • Curt Hawkins VS Finn Balor; Finn wins.
  • Six Man Tag Miracle on 34th Street Fight: The ‘Zo Train VS Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali & Akira Tozawa; Alexander, Ali & Tozawa win.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns VS Samoa Joe; Joe wins by disqualification, Reigns retains.
  • 2v1 Handicap Match: The Miztourage VS Braun Strowman; Strowman wins.
  • WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: The Bar VS Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan; Rollins & Jordan win and become the new Raw Tag Team Champions.

PLAY BY PLAY

JOHN CENA is in Chicago!

He enjoys the “Christmas carol” only the WWE Universe can give him as he heads to the ring. And he realizes something is wrong with this picture, so he heads back out of the ring. A fan is wearing the wrong shirt and hat, so Cena gives them his as a present.

“And on that note, Merry Christmas, Chicago!” The fans echo that sentiment by chanting “Merry Christmas!” The first broadcast on Christmas, the first time that chant has been said. Cena loves the holidays because they’re about togetherness. He always lets everyone know the WWE is his home, and the fans are his family. They’ve had ups and downs, but he still gives a cheer to everyone being together. Cena wanted to be right here, right now to- Wait, The Drifter interrupts.

“Hello, I am Elias.” He plays his guitar all the way down to the ring, then asks John Cena if he even knows what “WWE” stands for. It’s “Walk With Elias.” Elias therefore asks Chicago, “Who wants to walk with Elias?!” Some fans do, actually. Cena figures he might as well. That’s a smart decision, because for months, Elias has been interrupted and has had enough. Elias decided to interrupt someone else for once–pausing for the Chicago fans chanting “CM Punk!” and then saying that’s one man who definitely isn’t interrupting him–but Cena says it’s all good. Have some fun over the holidays. The fans continue their chant. Elias doesn’t care how much they chant, he’ll still perform. Cena asks that if Elias is performing- No, Elias doesn’t want to hear him out. He even puts a finger on Cena’s lips to shush him. Cena fetches Elias his stool, and lets him begin, spotlight and all. “Right now I need everyone to silence their cellphones, hold their applause and shut their mouths”, for Elias’ Christmas song. Fans still chant “CM Punk!” Elias blames Cena. “Well it’s Christmas time, Chicago. This is Christmas, today. I couldn’t imagine a worse place to spend my holiday~.” No, no! Cena stops Elias and this concert. Cena was giving Elias a chance, but Elias went and insulted Chicago. This isn’t a bad place, just look at all the people! Look at how excited they all are! Elias plays okay, but he always insults the audience! Elias speaks the truth. No you don’t. The fans aren’t jerks, Elias is the jerk.

The Drifter never saw it that way. And, it is Christmas. Maybe Cena’s right, maybe Elias is a jerk. Elias would like a second chance from Chicago. Chicago doesn’t seem willing to give that second chance. But, it is Christmas, so Cena is willing to. Elias starts again, “Well it’s Christmas time, Chicago. This is Christmas day. I can’t imagine a better place to spend my holiday~!” Cena, join in. “Have yourself, a merry little–” Sucker punch from Elias! “I don’t play for you, I don’t play for you, Christmas is overrated and so is Chicago.” Elias takes his mic out, but then gets an idea. He goes after Cena again! Elias stomps Cena out, then takes Cena’s mic and says he’s giving himself a gift: challenging Cena to a match to start off Raw!

John Cena VS Elias!

Christmas Raw is already off to a raucous start, the match is made official, Elias goes at Cena at the bell. He rains down rights and then stomps away, big elbow drop as well. Elias puts Cena in a corner for body shots and trash talk, then a right hand decks the 16 time world champion again. Fans duel with chants while Cena fights back. He whips Elias, hip toss and takeover, Cena gains control. Elias gets up, stomps on Cena’s foot before knocking him down with a right forearm. Cena gets to the apron, Elias goes out to drag him out and ram him against the apron edge. Elias then backs up, takes aim, and rams a knee right into Cena’s head. Cena tumbles down to the floor, Elias stalks him then brings him up by his jaw. Elias chops Cena against the barrier then puts him in the ring, cover, TWO. Elias keeps focus, he scoops and slams Cena at the ropes. Another cover, TWO. The fans are still rowdy, but some get on Elias’ side as he throws Cena again. Cover, TWO, Elias keeps his cool. Fans want “One more time!” so Elias rocks Cena with a forearm before placing Cena in the Tree of Woe. Elias stomps Cena in the ribs, fans duel with “Let’s go Cena!” “CM Punk!” while Elias climbs up and drags Cena up, draping double stomps!

TWO, and now Elias is getting frustrated. He puts Cena in an armlock, fans rally and Cena gets up. Cena fights back, whips Elias corner to corner, but Elias boots him down. Elias scoops Cena and puts him back in the Tree of Woe, for more shots to the ribs. Elias climbs up again, Cena resists, Cena dodges the stomps. Cena clotheslines Elias down, but falls down himself. The two recover as the fans rally, they get to their feet and brawl. Back and forth between Cena and Elias, Elias ducks to give a spin-out backbreaker to Cena, cover, TWO! Cena and Elias stir, but Elias is first to stand up. Elias decks Cena with another right, then trash talks as Cena climbs back up. Cena falls to another right hand, but he keeps moving. Elias gives Cena more strikes in a corner, stomping a mudhole into Cena. Elias climbs up top again, and brings Cena up with him. Cena resists Elias’ plan to then get the fireman’s carry. Elias gets the electric chair position, spin around for the sit-out powerbomb! TWO! Cena rolls out of the ring while Elias is frustrated in the center of the ring. The referee counts and Elias is willing to wait. The count reaches 8 when Cena gets in, Elias covers, TWO. Elias puts Cena in a chinlock to grind Cena down, even rolling Cena to add weight and pressure on him. Cena endures and wills himself to his feet. He powers his way out of Elias’ grip, Elias kicks low but Cena gets moving. Cena rallies with his signature shoulder tackles. Elias bails out, knowing what comes next, so Cena fetches him back into the ring, only for Elias to run him over with a lariat! Cover, TWO! Elias grabs Cena, backbreaker, TWO. Frustration grows as Elias looms over Cena. Cena stands up, Elias gives him another backbreaker, TWO. Elias toys with Cena now, then lifts him for another backbreaker, but Cena reverses into the STF! He reaches, endures, so Cena drags him away from ropes! Elias shoves Cena away, then strikes with a knee, knocking Cena down. Cena rolls out before Elias can cover, then climbs back up. Elias goes after Cena while the fans duel again, throwing right hand after right hand. Cena shoulders in, slingshots over, and rolls Elias into the STF! Elias endures, reaches for ropes, drags himself over, and gets the ropebreak. Cena lets go, brings Elias up for a whip, Elias reverses, and hits Cross Rhodes! TWO! Elias reaches a boiling point, as he is running out of ideas. He drops a big elbow on Cena just because, then searches for another idea. He gives another elbow, then stands over Cena to boast already. Cena gets him in a sunset flip, TWO, they get moving, Cena gets rallying. Spin-out bomb, and we know what that means: “You can’t see me!”

Five-Knuckle Shuffle! Then the fireman’s carry, the Attitude Adjustment! Cena wins on Christmas!

 

Raw takes a look at Samoa Joe’s path of destruction.

Since showing up on the main roster, he has been unimpressed by those he has targeted. From “that silly bastard, Jason Jordan”, to the “your so-called Architect, Seth Rollins”, to the “human cockroack, Dean Ambrose”, Samoa Joe shows no mercy and no respect. He kept The Shield from regaining the Raw Tag Team Championships, and even injured The Lunatic Fringe’s elbow. Most of all, Joe is not impressed with “a man who I have put to sleep time after time”, The Big Dog, Roman Reigns. Joe has put them out, and “there is nothing you can do about it.” Will The Destroyer’s worlds hold true in 2018?

 

Kurt Angle puts the finishing touches on his Christmas tree.

His Gold-Blooded Son visits him, as does Seth Rollins. Rollins cuts to the chase, he wants after Samoa Joe tonight, after what happened to Dean Ambrose. Jason Jordan feels bad for Ambrose, but he’s been patiently waiting for his shot at Joe. Patiently? Jordan has been anything but patient. Angle reminds them it is Christmas. They both want Joe, but The Bar interferes. To get at Joe, take care of Sheamus & Cesaro first. Is Angle really suggesting Rollins & Jordan team up? No, not after last week. Jordan wasn’t the one who got his head kicked in and pinned in that match. Besides, Jordan already did tag teams, he was hoping to focus on his singles career. He doesn’t want to be going backwards. How is teaming with Seth Rollins going backwards? Angle loves the intensity, and knows that when they find a way to work together, they’ll be unstoppable. And figure it out soon, because that match is happening, tonight on Christmas, for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Jordan and Rollins accept this Christmas present, can they pull it together to get revenge and gold? Oh, and look who has returned: Roman Reigns! Samoa Joe is all yours, Big Dog. And by the way, it is for the championship. Roman wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

THE Brian Kendrick w/ Jack Gallagher VS Hideo Itami!

The Man with a Plan and his Ungentlemanly Ally wish to “welcome” the newest member to the Cruiserweight Division, but all this “excitement” surrounding the man “who strikes his opponent so hard, they feel it for weeks” sounds too good to be true. Can the former Cruiserweight Champion show Itami is “just a passing fad”?

The bell rings, Itami and Kendrick circle and tie up. Kendrick clubs away on Itami but Itami merely fires up from those strikes. Itami fires forearms of his own, then a European Uppercut, Itami whips and runs Kendrick down with a kitchen sink knee. He keeps up the attack by kicking Kendrick in the back over and over, then drags him up for a scoop slam and another kick. “Respect me!” Itami shouts. Gallagher distracts him on the apron, Kendrick attacks with a calf kick! Cover, TWO, Kendrick clubs away on Itami with crossface punches. Kendrick lets up to bring Itami up for chops, then a corner to corner whip. Itami hits buckles, Kendrick grinds his shoe into Itami’s face. Kendrick brings Itami up, butterfly suplex, cover, TWO. Kendrick keeps Itami grounded with a headlock that he shifts into a straitjacket stretch. Itami endures, fights his way out, but Kendrick uses a cravat to drive Itami’s face into a buckle. Kendrick runs at Itami, Itami boots him away, then again. Itami hops up, tornado hotshot! Then, Itami climbs up for the flying clothesline! Fans like that, and Itami rallies on Kendrick with clotheslines and kicks. Fisherman Suplex throws Kendrick, fans fire up with Itami as he brings Kendrick up again, Itami gives strike after strike, then corner to corner for a skateboard dropkick!

The knee pad comes down, Itami calls for the finish. He brings Kendrick up into the fireman’s carry, Go To Sleep! Itami wins on Christmas! Itami wants respect, will he beat it out of the other Cruiserweights?

 

Raw looks back on Stephanie McMahon’s historic announcement.

The Raw Commissioner is proud of the Women’s Revolution in the WWE and how it has grown over the last three years. From changing Divas back into Women Wrestlers and Superstasr, to the first Women’s Hell in a Cell, first Miss Money in the Bank Ladder Match and even the first women’s wrestling match ever in Abu Dhabi, the women of the WWE put the “evolution” in revolution. “But that’s not enough!” January 28th, the Road to Wrestlemania starts with not just the Royal Rumble, but a Women’s Royal Rumble! No one can believe it, but everyone is excited for it. Who will be the winner of the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble and stamp their name on the Wrestlemania match card?

 

Bayley, Sasha Banks & Mickie James encounter The Miztourage backstage.

“Merry Mizmas, ladies.” Everyone is sad that Miz is gone, making a movie, so Bo Dallas & Curt Axel took it upon themselves to spread some “Mizmas Cheer”! With caroling! “Joy~ to the world~, Miz is Awesome! Let Miz step in his ring! We miss the Miz a lot~, we hope he returns soon~! Bo Dallas & Axel sing~, Bo Dallas & Axel sing~, Bo DALLAS, Bo Dallas~ & Curt Axel sing~…!” Speechless. The ladies leave to prepare for their match, will this be a truly Merry Mizmas?

 

Six Woman Tag: Absolution VS Bayley, Sasha Banks & Mickie James!

Christmas, Mizmas or whatever, the women of Raw still want to establish strength and momentum within the Division as well as on the road to the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match.

The bell rings, and it is The Boss and The Glampire starting for their teams. Paige plays with Sasha as she dodges her and mocks her team. Paige tries again, but Sasha catches her by her hair, Paige forearms Sasha in the jaw then tags out to the Golden Mandy Rose. Mandy swings, Sasha gets a waistlock, roll up, TWO. Sasha keeps moving, speeds things up, but Mandy poses too much so Sasha dropkicks her down. Sasha mocks the posing, then knocks Mandy down again. She brings Mandy up for an arm wrench, then tags in the veteran, Mickie James. Mickie goes up, ax handle onto Mandy’s arm. Mickie rams shoulders into Mandy, brings her down, leg drop on the arm and a cover, TWO. Fans sing to Bayley while Mickie wrenches Mandy’s arm again, Mandy drives in a knee. Mandy runs, misses Mickie, Mickie gets her with kicks and a running forearm. Cover, TWO, so Mickie tags Bayley. The Huggable One follows Mickie’s lead, running low boot to sliding lariat, cover, TWO. Bayley keeps on Mandy but Mandy rocks her with a right. Mandy tags in Sonya Deville, who puts Bayley in a waistlock, then throws Bayley to the mat. Sonya throws Bayley some more, then kicks her around toyingly. Bayley catches one of those kicks and powers Sonya to her corner, tag to Sasha. The best friends double suplex Sonya over, ONE, Sasha runs for a double knee drop. ONE again, Sasha grabs Sonya’s foot just as Sonya gets the ropebreak. The referee backs Sasha down, Mandy tries a sneak attack while Sasha is distracted but fails. Sasha goes out to pursue Sonya, Sonya decks her with a clobbering right clothesline!

Sonya enjoys her handiwork from within the ring, Bayley and Mickie try to coach Sasha into the match while the ref counts. Sasha beats the count but Sonya is right on her again. Tag to Paige, Sonya holds Sasha in place for Paige’s corner Shining Wizard. Paige adds a mudhole stomp onto Sasha, then she roars at Bayley and Mickie. Tag to Mandy, she lifts Sasha up for forearms. Mandy embraces the heat before choking Sasha on the ropes. She wrings Sasha’s arm then puts Sasha in a modified stretch, fans and teammates rally for The Boss. Sasha rolls it to a pin, TWO, Mandy keeps Sasha back by mere inches. Mandy drags Sasha back towards Absolution territory then drops an elbow, cover, TWO! Tag to Sonya, she and Mandy mug Sasha. Fans cheer Sasha on even as she takes a sliding knee, cover, TWO. Sonya puts Sasha in a bodyscissors. Sasha endures the squeeze and the occasional chinlock, fans and teammates rally for her. She gets up with Sonya on her back and powers her to a neutral corner, only for Sonya to yank her down by her hair. Tag to Paige, Absolution has Sasha isolated as Paige stands on Sasha’s hair and pulls on her arms. Paige pretends she didn’t see the hair, then shifts to a chinlock. Fans rally again, Paige mocks it as she thrashes Sasha around. Even so, Sasha stands up and fights back, but Paige runs her over with a lariat. Cover, TWO, Paige drags Sasha over to tag Mandy. Mandy takes the hand-off, she whips Sasha and hits a big knee strike! Cover, TWO, Mandy is frustrated. She keeps on Sasha, returning to that modified stretch. Fans keep up the rallying, Sasha pries her way out, and arm-drags Mandy away. Sasha runs for her corner but Mandy intercepts to then throw Sasha away. Mandy knocks Mickie down with a cheap shot, and while the referee keeps Bayley and Mickie back, Mandy goes back to Sasha. Mandy goes to throw Sasha into Absolution’s corner, but Sasha reverses to throw Mandy into Paige! They tumble down, Sonya checks on them, Sasha crawls her way over to tag in Bayley! Bayley rallies on Paige, jumping takedown to hammering fists. Saido suplex then shoulders in a corner, Bayley is fired up. Wacky waving elbow misses, but Bayley knocks Sonya off the apron. Paige scurries to her corner and bumps Bayley off buckles, but runs into the Bayley2Belly! Cover, but Absolution saves its leader by dragging her out of the ring. Bayley pursues, her team comes over, it is a chaotic brawl!

Mandy and Sonya go into the barrier, Bayley gives Paige a hotshot. Bayley climbs up top, fans fire up, but Paige kicks out her legs. Paige drags Bayley over, RamPaige! Absolution wins on Christmas! If they continue to use numbers so perfectly, can Absolution ensure one of their members is the first Women’s Rumble winner?

 

Backstage interview with Samoa Joe.

The Destroyer showed no remorse when he damaged Dean Ambrose’s arm, an injury which sidelines Ambrose for roughly nine months. And he admits to it here tonight. Ambrose can now be home with those he loves enjoying the holidays. And now, Joe gets his Intercontinental Championship opportunity, which he will take full advantage of. Joe has “systematically” going after the Shield. Ambrose is on the shelf, Roman wants vengeance, but he won’t get it. Joe will “own” Roman and put him to sleep so that he will wake up to a nightmare reality where Joe will be the new Intercontinental Champion.

 

Kane VS Heath Slater w/ Rhyno!

The Big Red Machine is one third of a truly monstrous Universal Championship Triple Threat match at the Royal Rumble, as there was no clear choice between him and the Monster Among Men. As for Christmas night, he looks to bring hellfire and brimstone to the One Man Band who right now, is just hoping to make it home to see his kids. In order to keep Slater on Raw, Rhyno plans to toughen him up, but isn’t this a little too much for step one?

The bell rings, Slater and Kane tie up. Kane shoves Slater to a corner but Slater elbows out and slips away. Rhyno wants Slater to bring the fight to Kane, but that’s easier said than done. Kane brings the fight to Slater instead with heavy shots in another corner. Fans chant to remind Kane, “Heath’s got kids!” Kane doesn’t care, he squashes Slater in a corner with a big clothesline. Then he flattens Slater with a sidewalk slam.

Kane kicks Slater out of the ring, literally, but Rhyno has faith in Slater. Slater doesn’t really have the same level of confidence, but he tries again. He gets in the ring, Slater shoves him right back out! Rhyno coaches Slater back up and in, Slater still doubts himself. The fans cheer for Slater and his kids, Rhyno fires Slater up, Kane drags Slater up but Slater hotshots him away! Slater throws wild hands, Kane shoves him, Slater hits a big knee. Kane stays up, and uppercuts Slater down. Then he finishes it, with a Choke Slam! Kane wins, and Rhyno may have to rethink his toughening-up strategy. However, Rhyno forgets about his own safety, Kane returns to grab him around the throat! Rhyno fights back with haymakers and a whip for a big shoulder into a corner. Fans chant “E C Dub!” for the Manbeast, Rhyno takes aim and… No Gore, just another CHOKE SLAM!

Kane ruined Christmas for the Slater family, but can he make his own New Year’s bright with a win over both Beast and Braun?

 

Curt Hawkins is on Raw!

Normally, Hawkins would be telling the WWE Universe to #FacttheFacts, but considering his 146 loss streak, he needs to face facts. He’ll be the first to admit that 2017 has been rather unkind to him, “but~” 2017 isn’t over yet! Hawkins feels a Christmas Miracle in Chicago, and grants an open challenge! Come down the chimney, step into the room, and take the two lumps of coal Hawkins has waiting for you, to finally break Hawkins’ losing streak. And who answers the challenge? Why, it’s the Extraordinary Man!

Curt Hawkins VS Finn Balor!

The inaugural Universal Champion probably wasn’t on Hawkins’ wishlist but he’s here to get himself some Christmas cheer in Chicago.

The bell rings, Hawkins takes the fight to Finn! Hawkins is determined to end his streak as he whips Finn corner to corner, but Finn boots back and rallies on Hawkins, “Too Sweet” running chop in the corner. Finn whips Hawkins corner to corner but Hawkins rolls Finn, TWO! Hawkins keeps moving, tries another roll up, TWO. Hawkins kicks out Finn’s leg, then Mahistrol, TWO. He is frustrated, Finn trips him and stomps on him! The fans fire up for Finn as he hits a Slingblade, then blasts Hawkins with a dropkick. Hawkins is down in position, Finn climbs up top, Coup de Grace! Finn wins, Hawkins now stands at 147 losses in a row. Can Finn find his way back to gold? Will Hawkins ever win again?

 

The Miztourage finds Goldust backstage.

Looks like someone needs some #MizmasCheer! They can guess what he wants: a carol! “You’re~ career has lost some speed~, falalala la, lala la la. But~ we know just what you need~, falalala la, lala la la. This will help improve your luster, falala, lalala, la la la. Here’s a Miz Christmas heart-buster, falalala la, lala la la! Fala lala la~, lala, la~, LAAA~!” Again, speechless. Santa’s Little Helper, starring The Miz (and Paige). Merry Mizmas! Titus Worldwide walks through, Goldust passes the DVD off on them.

 

Bray Wyatt speaks on Christmas.

“She always hated this time of year.” Sister Abigail hated the idea of superficial presents and pagan rituals could bring joy and happiness. Abigail loathed it because it reminded her of someone like Matt Hardy. “Your words only perpetuate this sickness.” He gives the people something to believe in, and they think they’re fighting side by side with him. In reality, Hardy is only using them for his own personal gain. Look around you, “Woken Warriors”. What do you see? The darkness! Bray’s Fireflies! And her. “Chicago, I’m here.”

Bray Wyatt heads to the ring.

And is attacked by WOKEN Matt Hardy! Hardy throws hands and elbows at Bray as the fans go wild with “DELETE!” chants. Bray shoves Hardy away, Hardy dodges the punch, but Bray narrowly escapes the Twist of Fate. Bray is furious but Hardy is delighted. Hardy points to Bray, and with the fans echoing him, declares to “DELETE!”

“Yeeee-e-e-s~!” Hardy laughs at Bray as the Eater of Worlds paces on the stage, when will he finally DELETE him?!

 

The Bar complains about defending their Raw Tag Team Championships.

For starters, they’re having to do it on Christmas! Cesaro thought Angle might be more reasonable and appreciative of them. Sheamus assures Cesaro he does appreciate the Swiss Cyborg. Which is why he got Cesaro a present! Open the card first. “May we always raise a glass to Christmas and to our Friendship. We don’t just set the bar, we ARE The Bar!” Now open the gift itself. Cesaro does, and inside… is a Dean Ambrose action figure, with a missing arm! A super-rare and brand new release. Cesaro has something for Sheamus, too! Sheamus opens the box, and inside… A Seth Rollins! Sheamus can’t wait to break this one and the real Rollins tonight. But there’s more. There is? It’s… a Jason Jordan? Sheamus doesn’t want a Jason Jordan. Well neither does Rollins, but he’s his tag team partner. And Angle doesn’t want him as his son, either! The Bar shares a laugh and a hug, will they still be sharing those tag team championships by the end of the night?

 

Six Man Tag Miracle on 34th Street Fight: The ‘Zo Train VS Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali & Akira Tozawa!

The Certified G is now a Bonafide Santa Claus, and he has his elves, Drew “Sugarplum” Gulak and “Feliz NaviDaivari”, in tow as he spreads Christmas joy to their opponents. The Carolina Kid has nothing but coal, not to be confused with Michael Cole. Alexander wished for but didn’t get the Cruiserweight Championship, but in the Christmas spirit, it is time for a Very Merry beatdown!

Ariya Daivari starts against Cedric Alexander, and as they circle, Enzo distracts Alexander with trash talk. Daivari pounces, throwing his jingle-bell elf hat at Alexander before punching away in a corner. Daivari whips ALexander corner to corner but Alexander goes up and over to handspring headscissor Daivari out. Gulak rushes in but gets a dropkick that sends him out, then Enzo is scared away. The Stamina Monster Tozawa comes in and starts up the “AH! AH!” chants, before building speed to launch the Tozawa Torpedo at Daivari while Pakistani Prince Ali jumps on Gulak from the top rope! The synchronized attacks take out The ‘Zo Train and we go to break.

Raw returns, The ‘Zo Train has since taken control, Gulak throwing presents into the ring while Daivari keeps Tozawa on the defensive. Daivari scoop slams Tozawa right onto a gift box, covers, TWO. Daivari tags Enzo, Enzo sets up a tree in a corner to whip Tozawa right into it, ornaments and all. Cover, TWO, Enzo keeps on Tozawa with a chinlock. Alexander and Ali get the fans rallying with “AH! AH!” but Enzo yanks Tozawa back to the mat. Enzo prepares the pitch, and gives the fastball to Alexander!

But that allows Tozawa to get up and hit Enzo with a spinning roundhouse! Enzo and Tozawa crawl for their corners, hot tags to Ali and Daivari! Hometown boy Ali rallies on The ‘Zo Train, whip reversed but Ali flapjack dropkicks Daivari down. He whips Daivari again but is reversed, Ali slips out to the apron to roundhouse Daivari down. Ali takes aim, rolls, facebuster! He puts Daivari in position, climbs up top, 0-5-4!! Gulak breaks the pin with the cookie sheet, Tozawa comes in to SMACK Gulak with the other cookie sheet! Gulak goes out, Enzo returns, but so does Alexander. Ali and Daivari crawl, hot tag to Alexander while Enzo fetches a candy kendo stick! Enzo hesitates, Alexander blocks and takes the stick for his own. Enzo begs for mercy, but Alexander sees Gulak coming! Alexander dodges and sends the elf into Santa Amore! Then SMACK with the kendo stick! Another SMACK sends Gulak out, but Daivari returns for the roll-up, TWO! Lumbar Check! Alexander and team win on Christmas! Can the #1 Contender carry this momentum into the New Year when he faces Enzo Amore for the Cruiserweight Championship?

 

Enzo Amore encounters Nia Jax backstage.

“How you doin’?” Nia’s good, but probably better than Enzo. Merry Christmas. Yes, but a rather rough one. Oh, is that mistletoe overhead?

Everyone knows what that means. The fans anticipate it, but as Enzo comes in, Alexa Bliss interrupts. The Goddess needs to talk to her BFF and the first ever Women’s Rumble! The moment has passed, Nia has to go. Will the Certified G ever catch a break?

 

Backstage interview with Roman Reigns.

The Big Dog heard Joe’s words earlier, and “couldn’t care less.” Roman is the champion, and won’t leave Chicago without the title. This isn’t just for him, this is for Ambrose. Roman is going to send a message: You hurt one of his brothers, he will hurt you.

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns VS Samoa Joe!

The Big Dog seeks revenge but the Destroyer promises only pain for this match, who will be the one going home with a golden gift for Christmas?

The bell rings and the two go right at each other! Roman runs Joe over with a clothesline then throws hands to back him down into a corner. Roman keeps up the attack, Joe endures then fires back with his sharp jabs. Joe has Roman in a corner now and gives him a sharp elbow, Roman staggers out to respond with an uppercut.

Roman brings Joe up, Joe jabs again. Roman pushes Joe into ropes, catching him in the throat. Joe lingers on the apron, Roman goes outside to hit the Drive-By Dropkick! Roman gets back inside, the referee checks on Joe, Joe fires back with jabs and chops. Joe staggers while fans duel, “Let’s go, Roman!” “Roman sucks!” Joe bumps Roman off a buckle, then brings him in for a back suplex. Cover, TWO, Joe keeps his cool. Roman climbs to his feet, Joe puts him back in a corner. Joe jabs away again, the referee backs him off a moment, Joe comes back with a headbutt and haymakers. He doesn’t let up, he whips Roman to ropes but Roman ducks. Roman clotheslines Joe down, then gives Joe close-range clotheslines in a corner. The Big Dog hits all ten, then runs to boot Joe down. Fans are thunderous on both sides as Roman goes to a corner. He locks and loads, takes aim, but Joe gets to ropes for safety. Roman storms over, Joe hits back with jabs. Joe jabs away again, the referee backs him off. Joe runs in for the back elbow and Pele! Cover, TWO, Joe starts showing frustration while we go to break.

Raw returns, Joe keeps Roman down. Joe slaps Roman, then slaps again, and then gives a headbutt. Joe runs, into a Samoan Drop! TWO, Roman is shocked. Roman refocuses and stands up before bringing Joe into powerbomb position. Joe is too big and strong, he back drops Roman up and over, but then Roman sunset flip counters, TWO! Joe gives Roman a forearm, Roman responds with an uppercut, Joe gives knee strikes and a snap suplex. Back senton misses! Reload, SUPERMAN PUNCH! TWO! Roman is shocked again, fans are thunderous as both men get to their feet. Roman lets out the battle cry, runs in to Joe’s foot, yurinagi slam! TWO, now Joe is shocked. Joe also grows furious as he stalks Roman to the apron. He brings Roman up while fans duel again, Roman gives Joe a hotshot. Roman gets in while Joe staggers, Joe surprises Roman with a Coquina Clutch! Joe only has the sleeper hold, Roman reaches for ropes, Joe brings Roman down for the full clutch! Roman endures, reaches, fades, Jo goes for a higher bodyscissors to block the reaching arm! Roman pries his arm free, and gets the ropebreak.

Joe has to let go, but he is right on Roman as he shove shim out to DIVE! Roman collides with barriers and clutches his arm. Joe drags Roman up by that bad arm, and swings him into a post. Things return inside the ring, Joe stalks Roman and puts on an armlock to the bad arm. Fans are thunderous again as Roman endures the torture. Roman gets up and headbutts Joe then gives big elbows. Roman backs Joe down, the referee backs Roman down, Roman won’t stop. The referee disqualifies Roman! Joe wins, but Roman retains. Fans dislike the ending, but Roman gives Joe a SUPERMAN PUNCH. The Big Dog won’t leave Joe alone just yet, he goes outside to pursue Joe, FLYING punch off the steel steps. Roman then throws Joe into the post, banging up Joe’s right arm, the same as Joe did to Ambrose. Roman shows no mercy, he throws Joe into another post to further damage that arm. He then takes the steel steps, fans like where this is going. Roman uses the steel steps as a battering ram into Joe’s bad arm!

The referee tries to protect Joe, but the fans chant “One more time!” Roman obliges, and hits Joe with the steps again! This isn’t over yet, Roman grabs a chair! He stalks Joe, and swings, but narrowly misses. The referees stop Roman at this, Joe gets away. Is this war between Big Dog and Destroyer far from over?

 

Seth Rollins likes what he sees from Roman.

That’s when Jason Jordan walks in. Rollins tells JJ if this is some kind of strategy meeting or pep talk, save it. Rollins is only doing this because he’s returning the favor to Angle for TLC, and for getting back at The Bar. They have differences, sure, but Rollins doesn’t care about that. Rollins cares about beating The Bar to become tag team champion, again. Jordan can’t go out there, lose, then brag about how he “hung with the top competition in WWE.” News flash, Jordan: everyone in the WWE is top competition. Follow Rollins– Jordan speaks up, saying that he is genuinely excited to have this match. Jordan doesn’t want anyone to get injured, but Jordan is a pretty good replacement for Ambrose. Rollins makes one thing clear for Jordan: as good as he thinks he is, he will never be Dean Ambrose. Right, he’ll be better. Tensions are still high, can Jordan and Rollins survive Cesaro & Sheamus?

 

The Miztourage is in the ring.

Bo Dallas & Curt Axel thank Chicago for having them, and are “super excited” that they’re getting a “Secret Santa” match! In other words, a mystery opponent. Chicago, join in on a special song! “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way~! Oh what fun it is to ride in a one–” BRAUN!!

2v1 Handicap Match: The Miztourage VS Braun Strowman!

Bo & Axel are probably wishing they could return this Secret Santa gift Angle just gave them.
The bell rings, Bo goes at the Monster Among men, and barely escapes the scoop slam before being clobbered by a clothesline. Axel wants no part of Strowman, Strowman throws Bo across the ring. Then Strowman makes Axel join the match, and throws him into Bo! Strowman powers Axel to one corner, goes corner to corner to crush Bo, and then give Bo the spiraling powerslam. Strowman wins on Christmas! Oh, and he’s not done, either. Strowman targets Axel, Chicago encourages him, so he gives Axel a powerslam! Chicago wants one more, Bo gets himself a second powerslam, and then Axel gets one, too!

Can the Monster keep up momentum going into a match against Beast and Big Red Machine?

 

Alexa Bliss comes to the ring.

The Goddess and Raw Women’s Champion wishes the WWE Universe a “Merry Blissmas”. She melted the coal from our stockings to instead give us a very special gift: herself. She knows the WWE Universe spends the holiday season “scarfing down cookies” and “listening to boring stories your families tell”. Alexa instead takes this time to reflect: 2017 is the Year of Bliss. She started the year as SmackDown Women’s Champion and will end the year as Raw Women’s Champion, having overcome every obstacle like a Jedi! Side note: she did it without the fans and she’ll still do it without the fans. Alexa shattered the glass ceiling, but the moment of the year was still the Women’s Rumble announcement. Alexa watched it over and over and still gets chills. To all the women in the WWE locker room and all the fans watching around the world, “You’re welcome.”

Every cheer, tear and moment is because of Alexa! “The gift that keeps on giving” vows she’ll watch closely to see who her opponent for Wrestlemania is. But wait, ASUKA appears!

The Empress of Tomorrow, who is still undefeated, walks right into the ring and grabs herself a mic. “I’m entering the Women’s Royal Rumble match. And I will win. Because, nobody is ready for Asuka!” Asuka then stares Alexa down with that sinister grin, fans know “Asuka’s gonna kill~ you!” And she hits Alexa with a lightning fast roundhouse! The Empress has called her shot, who will stop her from making history?

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: The Bar VS Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan!

The Architect and the Gold-Blooded Son aren’t seeing eye to eye, do they stand a chance against the cohesive unit of Swiss Cyborg and Celtic Gladiator?

Sheamus and Jordan start with the bell, circle and tie up, matching in power. Jordan gets around for a waistlock and slam on Sheamus, rolling him to a pin, ONE. Sheamus powers his way to ropes, and gives a dirty break as he elbows Jordan. The ref backs Sheamus down, Cesaro gets the cheap shot. Sheamus keeps on Jordan, then tags Cesaro, double whip to Bar lariat but Jordan ducks and Rollins tags in. Jordan takes a double hip-toss, but Rollins hits a double crossbody!

Rollins clotheslines Sheamus out then Slingblades Cesaro down. He builds speed and DIVES on both members of The Bar! Rollins helps Jordan to his feet and gives him a pat on the shoulder as we go to break.

Raw returns once more, to find The Bar has regained control. Sheamus has Rollins in a keylock, but fans rally for The Architect. Rollins stands up, Sheamus keeps him back, Sheamus tags Cesaro and they whip Rollins to their corner. Super Saiyan kicks! Cover, TWO, Cesaro keeps Rollins grounded with a float-over into a chinlock. Rollins gets to his feet, Cesaro does his best to keep him back, sleeperhold backpack into a motorcycle stretch. Cesaro whips Rollins to The Bar’s corner, tag to Sheamus and Rollins is isolated again.

Sheamus puts Rollins into the Bodhrain and drums a few times, but stops to troll the fans. Rollins elbows and punches back, bringing Sheamus to his knees. Rollins hurries for his corner but Sheamus anchors a foot, so Rollins uses his free foot to kick at Sheamus. Sheamus still drags Rollins back and tags Cesaro, Cesaro gives a flying leg drop. TWO, but right back to the chinlock. Rollins feeds off the fans’ energy, he and Cesaro reach for tags but Cesaro is the one to get one. Sheamus comes in, double whip and Bar Lariat hits, cover, TWO. Sheamus keeps his cool as he drags Rollins up by his hair. He throws Rollins out of the ring, the referee keeps him from pursuing, so Cesaro gets a cheap shot. Jordan runs in and runs Cesaro over, Sheamus bails Cesaro out, and The Bar throws Jordan into barriers together! Rollins stirs but has no partner to tag, Sheamus grabs him by his nose. He whips Rollins at his corner, Rollins knocks Cesaro down, then spins out of the Irish Curse to hit a DDT! Both men down, no one to tag!

Cesaro returns, Jordan doesn’t. Tag made, corner European Uppercut feed into the Irish Curse, cover, TWO! Cesaro brings Rollins up onto ropes, the referee backs him off, allowing Sheamus to hit the cheap shot knee right to Rollins’ face. Cover, TWO! The Bar is frustrated, but they decide to go up. Tag to Sheamus, double whip and flapjack into EuroUpper! TWO! The Bar tags again, Cesaro runs but Rollins boots out, he fights against them both and then Jordan returns to run Sheamus over! Jordan gets himself to his corner, Cesaro returns while Rollins crawls. The fans rally, Cesaro grabs Rollins’ leg but gets shoved away, hot tags to Jordan and Sheamus! The Gold-Blooded Son rallies on The Bar, and then begins corner-to-corner carries on Sheamus back and forth! Jordan fires up, goes corner to corner for the shoulder tackle, then the overhead suplex!

Cover, TWO, but Jordan keeps focus. He grabs Sheamus again, Cesaro holds onto Sheamus to save him from a suplex, Jordan knocks him down. Sheamus rolls Jordan, TWO, big lariat runs Jordan over. Tag to Cesaro, Cesaro climbs up while Sheamus gives Jordan a backbreaker, Cesaro gives Jordan an elbow drop! TWO, but into the Sharpshooter! Jordan endures the legendary hold, Rollins returns and trips up Sheamus on the apron. Cesaro goes after Rollins and throws him out, small package from Jordan, TWO! Cesaro tackles Jordan and rains rights. Sheamus returns, tags in, then climbs up. Cesaro lifts Jordan, Doomsday Device! Springboard from Rollins, but Cesaro catches him! The referee stops counting while he takes notice of Rollins overwhelming Cesaro with hammer punches. Sheamus helps Cesaro out but Rollins fights The Bar alone. SUPERKICK for Cesaro, BROGUE for Rollins! Back to Jordan, Sheamus puts on the Cloverleaf! Jordan endures this submission now, drags himself to ropes, ropebreak! Sheamus lets go, but he coordinates with Cesaro. Tag, then they bring Jordan up, Rollins anchors Cesaro so only Sheamus gives Jordan the White Noise. Rollins leads Sheamus on a cat ‘n’ mouse game while Cesaro climbs down, Sheamus goes into the steel steps! Cesaro EuroUppers Rollins into the barriers! Cesaro hurries back itno the ring, Jordan hits the back suplex neckbreaker! Jordan & Rollins win! They are the NEW Raw Tag Team Champions!! The Gold-Blooded Son overcame doubters, he and The Architect are champions once more! Can winning truly heal all things?

 

My Thoughts:

The very first ever Christmas Raw was not as good as it could’ve been. It was still good, that’s for sure, but there was still something lacking given the occasion. John Cena returning for the holiday was nice, but his match with Elias left a bit to be desired for a commercial-free first hour in such a demanding city as Chicago. Cena wins because he’s Cena, and Elias did manage to look strong during the match, but they could’ve easily turned up the quality a bit for the sake of Christmas. Then most of what cam next felt like filler. The Six Woman Tag was the third time around for Absolution VS BayleySashaMickie, and once again Absolution comes out on top. Itami dispatches Kendrick in a squash, Kane decimates Slater as a moderate tie-in of Slater’s “toughen up” story, and Finn gets another win that doesn’t really mean anything. Though, I do suddenly want Hawkins to join The Great War as WOKEN Hawkins. If Hardy’s losing streak unlocked his WOKEN side, why can’t Hawkins approaching 150 losses in a row do the same?

Why did they make a No DQ match like a Street Fight into a Six Man Tag? At least, why was it a traditional tag? I would’ve preferred a Tornado Six Man No DQ match because it’s just more logical. The Cruiserweights are still doing well on Raw and next week’s New Year’s Raw will have the title match, but it still puts a lot of pressure on Tuesday’s 205 Live to propel things towards a Gulak-based finish that then leads to Gulak turning. The two championship matches were great, though. Roman retains to up the ante in aggression, which is always welcomed, and BIG surprise in Jordan and Rollins becoming tag champions together. This development might be good for Jordan and The Shield in the long run, as it can give rise to Ambrose turning on Rollins for being “replaced”, and then we get the Ambrose-Rollins match we thought we were getting before they reunited.

My Score: 8/10


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NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.119 ~ 24TH JANUARY 2021

A former King of Pancrase and Triple Crown champion steps up to challenge for the GHC National title at Budokan! NOAH shaping up for their biggest event in a decade! 

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A former King of Pancrase and Triple Crown champion steps up to challenge for the GHC National title at Budokan! NOAH shaping up for their biggest event in a decade!

NEWS

Hajime Ohara tests positive for COVID-19

It was announced on the 22nd January that Hajime Ohara had tested positive for Covid after a routine PCR test. The Osaka card was changed with YO-HEY filling in for him. Ohara has not shown any symptoms of fever, cough or loss of taste so far, and temperature taken on the morning of the 24th January was normal. Ohara is isolating at home, and true to form is studying (he was taking an online English class), and and eating nutritiously. He is determined to be back to NOAH for The Budokan.

In Osaka, the roster paid tribute to him, with YO-HEY making the Muy Bien sign, and Naomichi Marufuji finishing his promo (tantrum) with “Muy Bien”.

Kenoh from Murakami to Masakatsu

In a match that lasted only nine minutes and forty seconds, which was really for how long it needed to last, Kenoh defeated Kazunari Masakatsu for the GHC National title in Osaka on the 23rd January 2021. The match started off somewhat MMA style, and went to mat wrestling. Kenoh got his own back on Murakami for felling him with a closed fist, by doing the same, but this seemed to only make Murakami mad and he unleashed a volley of kicks and punches on Kenoh. After a brief loss of temper, Kenoh came to his senses and realized that he was going to have to take Murakami down, and he did it by using the sleeper hold, which caused the referee to stop the match.

Almost immediately after the match had finished, Masakatsu Funaki made his challenge. He simply pointed at the belt and asked Kenoh to be his next challenger. Kenoh accepted the challenge, and set it for the Nippon Budokan (12th February 2021), but backstage rather than scream abuse about his opponent, he actually said that he was it was exciting and he was looking forward to it. Murakami he said he had also enjoyed the match with, although he admitted to being scared by him.

Masakatsu Funaki seemed to have a few different reasons for challenging; he had the image of being a champion alongside Mutoh, Kenoh was not something he had experienced before, and he felt that the time was now to do it. He was also complimentary about Kenoh, saying that he was “in his thirties and riding high”. Funaki makes the third MMA fighter to have challenged Kenoh.

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

Event recap: HIGHER GROUND 2021 (January 23rd, Edion Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium)

Post match interviews: HIGHER GROUND 2021 (January 23rd, Edion Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium)

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

~ Atsushi Kotoge admitted some jealousy of Daisuke Harada.

~ Mohammed Yone did some catering for the roster on the way home from Osaka.

~ Naomichi Marufuji won the chop challenge against Go Shiozaki, then got annoyed at it being pointed out that he beat Shiozaki in the challenge, but wasn’t the one to make the pin and win the match. Pointed out that HE was the senior to them, and would take both their belts, “so I can enter last and show them off”. And then walked off.

~ Takashi Sugiura says he aims to create a new record, and become the GHC Heavyweight Champion at the age of 50, however if Keiji Mutoh defeats Go Shiozaki for it, he will do it when he is 60.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

ALL the titles, except the GHC Heavyweight Tag, have been challenged for and the matches will take place at The Budokan. Fans are hoping that Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya will challenge, especially as they are teaming together against Takashi Sugiura (Kazushi Sakuraba is absent) on NOAH’s last show before The Budokan, on the 31st January.

 

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

Sunday 31st January: “HIGHER GROUND 2021” (11.30am JST, Korakuen Hall.)

BROADCASTS

NOAH’s 23rd January show from Osaka will be available to view on WRESTLEUNIVERSE on Tuesday 26th January. The GHC National title match, and the main event were streamed live through Periscope.

The 31st January event at Korakuen Hall has not had broadcast details announced yet.

LINKS

“Parasyte” Kazunari Murakami’s plan to take over the REIWA Ark

“For us, The Budokan is the beginning rather than the “Return” ~ Interview with Yoshiki Inamura

Kazushi Sakuraba has an astonishing determination to “become the Takako Tokiwa” of the Pro Wrestling World

Pro Wrestling Casebook ~ a shock ran through Michinoku, when Kenoh announced he was joining Noah (2013)

“Aiming to become the GHC Champion, in the year of my 60th birthday” ~ Takashi Sugiura

GIF taken from Noah’s Periscope

Match graphic taken from the Official NOAH Twitter

 


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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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