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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (12/26/17)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat #1 Contender’s Match: The New Day VS Rusev Day VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable; wins and will face The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
  • Breezango VS The Bludgeon Brothers; The Bludgeon Brothers win, by disqualification.
  • Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad VS Naomi; Ruby wins.
  • WWE United States Championship Tournament: Baron Corbin VS Bobby Roode; Roode wins and moves on to the next round.
  • WWE United States Championship Tournament: Tye Dillinger VS Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers; Mahal wins and moves on to the next round.
  • AJ Styles VS Kevin Owens w/ Sami Zayn; Owens wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan, comes to the ring.

Chicago greets him with a standing “YES! YES!” ovation, and then a chant of his name. Bryan feels great being back in Chicago, and reviews last week’s “roller coaster” SmackDown. The most unexpected happened, i.e. the newly minted United States Champion, Dolph Ziggler, venting his frustrations before seemingly quitting! Bryan has tried to make contact with Ziggler but there has been no response. Therefore, we can only assume Ziggler vacated the United States Championship. If Ziggler is watching, the WWE Universe wishes him the best, and Bryan personally considers Ziggler an all-time great. But, the show must go on, so the WWE United States Championship shall have a tournament to determine yet another new United States Champion! And that tournament starts tonight! Baron Corbin shall battle Bobby Roode, and- Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin appear.

They are so happy to hear about the US Championship, but what about the SmackDown Tag Team Championship? Chicago thinks “Rusev Day!” deserves a chance. Gable & Benjamin just had their chance at Clash of Champions. But it wasn’t a fair one. They are owed a 1v1 match-up, yet Clash had a Fatal 4 Way. Why!? Gable & Benjamin beat the Usos 2v2 fair and square, which means they would have been the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions. They’ve earned this opportunity and– Aiden English & Rusev appear!

Why does Team Rusev Day deserve a shot? English shall sing it for you. “One, we beat the champs two weeks ago~! Two, at Clash, did we lose? No~! Three, listen cuz you don’t want to miss this~. You know what day comes right after Christmas~!” Boxing Day? No, fool! It’s RUSEV DAY!

Aww Chi-Town!” The New Day is here!

All these other teams are wasting time. If you want to find out who–who? who who?–the real #1 contenders are, take the Kofi Kingston True/False challenge. Did the team of Chad Gable & Jason J– er, Shelton Benjamin… get pinned? True! Did the “oddly charismatic team” of Rusev Day get pinned by The New Day? True! And who–who who?–else but “yo boiz” deserve a title shot? True! Logic therefore states that it’s The New Day~ who are the “rightful” #1 contenders to the… Bryan, please join the New Day for this… W! W! E! World, T– Shut up! Rusev says no one wants to see those swiveling hips. Chicago seems to agree, they want “Rusev Day!” So can Bryan please make up his mind? Or does he have to ask his “mommy”, Shane McMahon? Bryan can make thsi decision himself. They’re all right that they’re all talented. Therefore, it will be a Tag Team Triple Threat #1 Contender to the SmackDown Tag Team Championships! Right now!

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat #1 Contender’s Match: The New Day VS Rusev Day VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable!

It’s a lot to say but it all boils down to “win and you face the champs”! Speaking of, The Usos appear!

The SmackDown Tag Team Champions have the Division on lock down, so they want to keep a close eye on who they’ll face in the coming weeks. Xavier Woods, Aiden English and Chad Gable start for their respective teams, and they circle at the ring of the bell. Gable kicks Woods but English puts Gable in a headlock, Gable powers out while The Usos join commentary. Woods rolls English, ONE, Gable shoves Woods. Woods shoves back, Gable shoves again, Gable bounces off of Rusev. Rusev and Gable argue, English points a finger, Big E and Rusev start arguing on the outside. Chicago wants Rusev to tag in but he is busy jawing with Big E and Benjamin. English throws Gable out for Rusev to hit, Benjamin runs Rusev over, Big E runs Benjamin over! English kicks Big E, Woods clotheslines English out. With everyone else gathered in the same area, Woods builds speed and FLIES!

Woods bowls everyone over, then puts English in the ring. He keeps on English with stiff strikes, cover, TWO. Tag to Big E, Woods runs and becomes human weapon, powerbomb style! Big E covers, TWO. Woods climbs up, Big E scoops English, English sips out and while Rusev shoves Woods down, Gable returns. Gable grabs Big E, who still has hold of English, double German Suplex! Gable covers Big E, TWO, he goes to English, TWO. He goes back to Big E, tags Benjamin, double mudhole stomps on Big E. Benjamin keeps stomping, then drags Big E out before booting English down. Benjamin suplexes Big E up and over, but English breaks the cover. English keeps on Big E, tags Rusev, and Chicago goes wild as Rusev stomps a mudhole of his own. Benjamin and Gable drag English off to then stomp him out before throwing him out. English checks on Rusev while Gable tags Benjamin. They whip, knee and knee strike Big E down, cover, TWO. Rusev tags English, Gable tags Benjamin, they go after Big E together. There is a truce–some fans chant “CM Punk!” but perhaps other fans are booing them down?–English and Gable work together to whip Big E to the one open corner. Big E fires out with double lariats! Everyone is down, fans rally with “New! Day Rocks!” Big E tags Woods, Woods rallies on both opponents. Mule kick and a shove to ropes, dropkick to English’s back. Woods then whips Gable but is reversed, he boots Gable away then hits the Honor Roll! Woods keeps moving, roaring elbow to English, Gable breaks it just in time. Gable brings Woods over, tags Benjamin, Benjamin stomps and punches Woods again. Benjamin goes after English before throwing him into Rusev, then gives him a BIG Spinebuster!

Woods hits Benjamin with an enziguri! Everyone is down again, Gable tags in and knocks Big E down. Gable hits Woods with an Exploder, English hits Gable with a shotgun boot! The Usos like what they’re seeing, and know how it feels. Rusev fires up, English crawls over, hot tag to the Bulgarian Brute! Rusev rallies on WOods and Gable, kick after kick, then barreling shoulders into each man corner to corner. Big E returns, Rusev gets running, running windmill kick knocks Big E over! Benjamin returns, MACHKA KICK! The Bulgarian Brute is fired up!

The fans cheer for “Rusev Day!” as he paces the ring. He takes aim at the crowd outside, runs, but runs into Gable’s elbow. Gable gets around but Rusev tags English, Rusev takes the rolling German Suplex! English hits Gable with a lariat. Woods hits a missile dropkick on English, covers, TWO! Woods goes over to Gable and gives him a couple chops. He then whips but is reversed, Big E tags while Woods kicks Gable. Woods whips Gable into Big E, backstabber yurinagi combo! Cover, TWO! Big E can’t believe it, but the Usos are loving it. Big E tags Woods back in and the prepare the finish, but Gable slips out. Gable shoves Big E at the corner, Woods jumps over but falls into Benjamin’s running knee strike! Then Gable hits his moonsault! TWO! The Usos are again loving this.

Benjamin and Gable drag Woods up, the fans declare “This is awesome!” English clobbers Benjamin, then goes after Gable to be caught into the rolling German Suplex, but English grabs Woods by the hair! The three back up together, English fights out and knocks Woods down, Gable tries another German but Gable swing-kicks him off! Step-in Tornado DDT on Gable, but then Widowmaker slam from English! Cover, but Benjamin breaks it up! Benjamin keeps on English, hoisting him up to the top rope. Fans still want “Rusev Day!” so English resists. Gable comes over to help but Rusev gives them DOUBLE POWERBOMBS! English takes aim, FLYING SPLASH!

TWO!? The Usos recognize that move. Rusev Day regroups, and the fans fire up again. English asks what day it is, Rusev says “RUSEV DAY!” He tags in, Woods rolls him up, TWO, MACHKA KICK! Woods and Gable are side by side, Rusev gets an idea. SUPER ACCOLADE!

Gable and Woods endure this special edition of the signature stretch, Benjamin comes in and breaks it up with a knee strike. He drags Gable over, tags himself in and fights English off. Benjamin sees Big E coming in, stops him but then Big E puts him on the apron to SUICIDE SPEAR him off! Big E is fired up, he gets Benjamin in and brings down the straps. “New! Day Rocks!” Big E scoops Benjamin, Benjamin fights out. Benjamin takes a back elbow, Big E hops up, but a high knee strike stuns him! Gable tags in while Benjamin carries Big E out in a powerbomb position, DOOMSDAY! Gable & Benjamin win! Now that it is official, can “American Alpha 2” follow in the footsteps of the original?

 

SmackDown General Manager and Commissioner meet.

How was Shane’s Christmas? Great. How is Bryan? Good. Shane was thinking it over, though, and he was actually upset by something Bryan said: that Shane is becoming Vince McMahon. True, Vince isn’t the easiest to get along with, and Shane realizes he needs to stay focused on “certain things.” Vince can be a “ruthless, cold, calculating and mean S.O.B” but give him his due. Vince built the WWE empire by himself and has made sports entertainment what it is today. And at the end of the day, Vince is Shane’s father. Bryan understands. He’s not undermining anything, but he just wants Shane to realize the more negative aspects of Vince’s personality. Shane brings up this US Championship tournament. Braon Corbin was owed a title rematch, why not just give him that? Same for Bobby Roode. Well, SmackDown is the Land of Opportunity, so Bryan felt it was best that they give several superstars an equal chance. Alright, Shane understands that. But tonight’s main event of Kevin Owens VS AJ Styles? Shane questions this even more. It is non-title but why isn’t Sami banned from ringside? We know how that’ll turn out. Do those two deserve such an opportunity? Perception is reality, Shane is hoping Bryan’s not favoring those two. Shane would hope his GM is “beyond reproach.” Bryan’s reasoning is that Styles VS Owens was one of 2017’s best rivalries, so why not end the year with one more match? Okay then. The tension is still palpable, will SmackDown management make it through the end of 2017?

 

Breezango VS The Bludgeon Brothers!

The Fashion Police received this “rematch for redemption” as a Christmas gift from their “best friends”, The Ascension. The Case of 2B is not yet closed, can the Fashion Files close the season with a win?

Fandango and Harper start, but then Harper tags in Rowan so Fandango tags in Breeze. The four men go at each other in a brawl, Rowan throws Breeze out while Harper whips Fandango to a corner. Fandango boots back and hops up, but his tornado DDT is countered with pure power. Harper catches Fandango in a scrapbuster slam! He throws Fandango out while Rowan gives Breeze an apron facebuster. Rowan hauls Breeze into the ring, then tags in Harper. Harper slaps Rowan and whips him into Breeze for a big corner splash that feeds Breeze to a boot! Tag back to Rowan, The Bludgeon Brothers drag Breeze up for the assisted powerbomb! Cover, but Rowan breaks it on his own!?

They sadistically continue this match, tag to Harper to keep Fandango out. Rowan fetches Fandango to throw him into steel steps and then barriers. The Ascension come to the rescue! They go after the Bludgeon Brothers and then retreat with the Fashion Police in tow. Did Konnor & Viktor realize their gift backfired?

Backstage interview with the Fashion Files friends.

Clearly, Breezango is not in the right frame of mind to speak. On behalf of their friends, The Ascension feel Harper & Rowan crossed the lines. That’s why their friends are challenging Harper & Rowan to another rematch. Get ready for the wasteland! Wait, how is this being good friends?!

 

SmackDown takes a look at Stephanie McMahon’s major announcement.

Everyone woman in the WWE has contributed to the Women’s (R)Evolution, and history will be made with the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble! Who will come out as a Wrestlemania headliner?

 

Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad VS Naomi!

The wild woman of The Squad have looked to dominate SmackDown and now look to make history. Ruby knows a Rumble is really just a Royal Riot, and that’s her expertise. “That glow has got to go”, will Ruby do that here tonight?

The bell rings, teh two swing wild rights but then Ruby knees low and throws Naomi down by her hair. Ruby keeps hammering on Naomi, then drags her back up for a scoop. Naomi slips out, then ducks, springboard roundhouse! Cover, TWO, Liv distracts Naomi right away. Naomi rocks Liv down with a right, Sarah tries but gets a shoulder. Ruby gets up, kicks Naomi in the knee then hits her with the falling Pele, aka the Riott Kick! Ruby wins mean and fast, can she and her Squad do much of the same in the Women’s Royal Rumble?

The Riott Squad isn’t satisfied with just a win, they stomp away on Naomi together! Liv and Sarah drag Naomi up, Charlotte comes out to make the save!

She runs Sarah over, then SPEARS Ruby! Liv goes after her but gets a tackle of her own, then forearms. The Queen turns around, Sarah boots her down, Riott Kick for the SmackDown Women’s Champion. They throw Charlotte out now, but then the Welcoming Committee comes out!

They outnumber The Squad as they enter the ring, so The Squad backs down. But the Welcoming Committee won’t let them, they go right after Ruby, Liv & Sarah on the outside and run them out of the arena. Numbers worked tonight, but a Rumble is every woman for themselves, who will come out THE woman to win?

 

Backstage interview with AJ Styles.

The Phenomenal One made 2017 his year on SmackDown and has one more rematch with Kevin Owens. This time, Kevin will have his “Guardian Angel” Sami Zayn ringside, how does Styles feel? Styles has the same plan for Sami as he did the Singh Brothers, so no problem there. Styles has however heard Shane is accusing Bryan of favoritism. Whenever Styles steps into the ring, he is the favorite and his opponents are underdogs. Styles pushed himself in 2017, he started the year as champion and will end the year as champion. SmackDown is the Land of Opportunity, so he dares Sami & Kevin to earn them. You do not get opportunities handed to you, not with Styles around. If Kevin wants to win, he’ll have to outwork Styles, outsmart Styles and out-hustle Styles, which hasn’t happened yet in 2017 and still won’t. SmackDown will still be The House that AJ Styles Built!

 

WWE United States Championship Tournament: Baron Corbin VS Bobby Roode!

Dolph Ziggler may have left SmackDown and the WWE, but the US Championship didn’t. Will the GLORIOUS One or the Lone Wolf find their way back to the prestigious title?

The bell rings, they tie up, Roode gets headlock control. Corbin tries to power out but Roode holds on so Corbin puts him in a corner. The referee calls for a break, Corbin swings but Roode blocks and retaliates. Roode stomps Corbin, Corbin gets out of the ring. Corbin returns but runs into Roode’s right hands, then a corner clothesline to swinging neckbreaker. Cover, ONE, Corbin slips out of the ring again. Roode doesn’t give him time to rest, so Corbin drags him out of the ring and shoves him into the apron. Then he throws Roode into barriers. “How do you feel now, huh!?” Chicago boos and jeers Corbin while he refreshes the count. Corbin fetches Roode, to suplex him up onto the ropes for a modified Tree of Woe, then punches Roode in the ribs to send him tumbling down. The referee counts, Corbin gets Roode in the ring. Roode gets to a corner but Corbin brings him up for body shots. Corbin backs up to run a shoulder into Roode, then shoves him down with a reverse STO to a running right hand. Fans boo, Corbin says “I can’t hear you!” He brushes off their disdain as he stalks Roode again. Roode fights back with body shots and chops, then runs but into the sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO, Corbin keeps focus as he stomps on Roode’s ribs. Corbin puts Roode in a bearhug to squeeze his ribs. Fans rally for Roode, Roode gets up and elbows his way out, but then Corbin throws him out. Corbin catches his breath as Roode climbs up. Corbin stalks over, Roode shoulders him back but then Corbin rocks Roode down with a right hand. Roode hits the floor, Corbin slides out to then run Roode over!

The Lone Wolf calls the fans and Roode “nobodies” before putting Roode back in the ring. Fans boo and jeer more but Corbin just shrugs it off again. He returns into the ring and runs at Roode, but Roode gets a knee up to knock him away. Corbin tries again, Roode dumps him out. Roode sees Corbin coming, ducks the right hand then forearms him against the ropes. Roode runs again and clotheslines Corbin all the way out. Chicago fires up for Roode while he gets to the apron, for a flying clothesline! A new count begins, Roode gets Corbin up and in, Corbin gets to a corner. Roode runs in, clothesline but the bulldog denied. Corbin runs in but gets boots. Roode hops up, Blockbuster!

TWO! Roode keeps his cool as he brings Corbin up. Corbin fights back and throws him into a post. Corbin drags Roode back out, End of Days escaped, then Roode side-steps the charging Lone Wolf. The former champion slides out then back in, Roode sees him coming, SPINEBUSTER! The fans fire up while Roode winds it up, it’s… GLORIOUS! He brings Corbin up, countered into Deep Six! TWO! Corbin can’t believe Roode survived, he’s getting frustrated now. He stands up while fans cheer for Roode. He brings Roode up and powers him to a corner before hoisting him up top. Corbin climbs up but Roode fights back. Roode knocks Corbin down but Corbin fires back with rights before climbing up again. Corbin prepares but Roode resists, Roode knocks Corbin down again. Roode adjusts and takes aim, but Corbin catches him mid-air. Choke- Sunset flip! Roode wins! A GLORIOUS victory in the first round, can Roode make it all the way to the end?

WWE United States Championship Tournament: Tye Dillinger VS Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers!

Sunil & Samir introduce us to “the next United States Champion”, the Modern Day Maharaja, but can Mahal best the Perfect Ten to join Bobby Roode in the next round?

The bell rings, Mahal and Dillinger tie up. Mahal gets a quick takedown to facelock, Tye gets the standing switch but Mahal elbows out. Mahal runs, Dillinger knocks him down with a back elbow, quick cover, ONE. Dillinger tries a backslide, TWO, Mahal bails out to regroup with his henchmen while we go picture in picture.

The Singh Brothers coach Mahal back into this but Dillinger comes over to grab at Mahal’s hair. Mahal drags Dillinger out to join him, but Dillinger bounces Mahal off the apron. They return in ring, Dillinger slingshots up and over but Mahal stomps the sunset flip out. Mahal continues to stomp Dillinger, then give him strong body shots and kicks. Mahal gives Dillinger a neckbreaker, then embraces the heat before driving a knee into Dillinger’s spine and putting on a keylock chinbar. Dillinger endures, fans rally, but Mahal keeps wrenching and thrashing the Perfect Ten. Dillinger gets to his feet, fights back with body shots, but Mahal throws him down by his hair. Mahal stomps Dillinger again, then clubs him with a crossface punch before dropping springboard knee after springboard knee. The referee backs Mahal off as we go back to single picture.

Mahal puts Dillinger back in the keylock and chinbar. Dillinger endures again but wills himself back to his feet. Dillinger throws more body shots and forearms, then some chops before a whip. Mahal blocks, throat chops, then shoves Dillinger to a corner. Dillinger boots back, then chops some more. He whips Mahal, but is reversed, so he hits a running forearm. Dillinger rallies, knee strike to lariat to stomp. The fans fire up for the Perfect Ten as he stomps a Perfect Ten Mudhole. Dillinger backs off, pulls down the knee pad and brings Mahal up, but Mahal slips out. Mahal shoves Dillinger to the apron, Dillinger rocks him right with a right hand before climbing up top. Dillinger aims, flying crossbody rolled through, TWO! Fireman’s carry and gutbuster drop! Mahal covers, TWO! The Singh Brothers are just as frustrated as Mahal, they argue with the referee. Mahal grits his teeth and drags Dillinger to his feet, but Dillinger revives for a DDT! Cover, TWO! The Singh Brothers are relieved but Dillinger keeps focus. He climbs up and gives Perfect Ten punches, Mahal trips him up and drags him into the KHALAS! Mahal wins and moves on to the second round!

 

Backstage interview with Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn.

The #YEPMovement will be part of the SmackDown main event, and already have a bottle of champagne. It’ll be for after Kevin defeats AJ Styles tonight.

This is a special bottle, the bottle Bryan wouldn’t take from them. Sami & Kevin aren’t upset, they know the “real reason” he wouldn’t accept it. The last time Kevin faced Styles, there was a “certain special guest referee”, the one who shuffles his feet and flaunts his money. That man had a vendetta against Kevin and made sure Kevin lost that match. That was then, this is now, and now Kevin has his Guardian Angel! Yep. That’s why Bryan didn’t take the champagne, it’s because Bryan believes in them and wants them to have it to celebrate! Kevin is better than Phenomenal because he is Kevin Owens! And Dasha is not invited, and neither is anyone in Chicago. The only guests are Sami & Kevin, because they don’t want to seem like they’re gloating or anything. Yep.

 

Backstage interview with Randy Orton.

The Viper had an up-and-down week, such as the Clash of Champions loss followed by a SmackDown Six Man victory. Orton stops Renee right there. There’s not much to say other than Orton has been dealing with everyone’s issues but his own. Orton wants to focus on himself, and the future. The only thing Orton cares about right now is how to throw 29 other superstars over the top rope. The Viper is entering the Royal Rumble, and… Shinsuke Nakamura appears, to also declare for the Rumble! Will the Viper or the King of Strong Style make it to the end to earn a shot at a world championship?

 

AJ Styles VS Kevin Owens w/ Sami Zayn!

SmackDown ends the year with a rivalry renewed! Can The Prizefighter get a win over the Phenomenal One to earn a shortcut back to the WWE Championship?

The bell rings and Kevin runs right into Styles’ dropkick! Styles brings Kevin up and brings him into a corner for a buckle bump, then another corner for another buckle bump. He keeps on Kevin with haymakers but the referee reprimands him. The fans are thunderous as Styles snapmares Kevin, running knee drop! The fans duel, Styles throws up Too Sweets. Chicago responds with “Too Sweet! Woop woop!” while Kevin gets to ropes. Kevin throws a back elbow then gets a waistlock, Styles pries his way out to a standing switch but Kevin elbows him down again. Styles springs up for a headscissors to throw Kevin to a corner. Styles stomps and punches Kevin, Sami protests, Kevin yanks Styles into buckles. Kevin runs back in, but into a roll for the Calf Crusher! Kevin gets a quick ropebreak, Styles lets go. Sami and Kevin regroup on the outside but Styles comes out to sweep the leg!

Sami backs of but protests, fans are thunderous again while Styles puts Kevin in the ring. Kevin hobbles around, Styles goes after that leg again, yanking Kevin down. Kevin shoves Styles away, Styles goes all the way out and hits the floor. Sami mocks Styles’ pain while the referee counts. Sami advises Kevin come out, Kevin does and runs Styles over. Kevin and Sami are fired up as Kevin puts Styles back in the ring, back senton added on, TWO! Kevin puts Styles into a chinlock to slow things down and grind Styles on the mat. He even drives knees into Styles’ spine. Fans rally for Styles, Styles gets up and fights back. Phenomenal Blitz blocked, elbow drop DDT! Kevin covers, TWO, and both Kevin and Sami are frustrated. Kevin kicks Styles while he’s down, we go to break.

SmackDown returns, fans sing “Ole~ ole ole ole~” for Sami while Kevin grinds Styles with another chinlock. Styles fights his way back up while Sami argues with some fans. Styles throws body shots but Kevin drives in an elbow. Kevin keeps going, another elbow and a boot, then a cover, TWO. Kevin drives in another knee then goes back to the chinlock while fans duel. Styles endures the squeeze again, Sami mocks his efforts. Styles gets up again, fights out again, then hits the wheelbarrow facebuster! Kevin and Styles are both down, Sami coaches his best friend back into this. Fans rally while Kevin and Styles get to opposite corners. Styles runs in but misses, Kevin runs in but gets a boot. Kevin runs into an elbow now, but ducks the moonsault to clobber him with a clothesline, TWO! Sami and Kevin are both frustrated, but Kevin keeps going, neckbreaker to his knee for Styles! Cover, TWO, more frustration. Styles gets to a corner, Kevin backs up to take aim. Kevin runs in, but Styles gets him into the fireman’s carry, Ushigoroshi! Sami panics for his best friend while both men are down and the ref starts a ten count. Styles and Kevin stir, Sami rallies Kevin to his feet. Styles stands up, too, staggers over, and now they brawl with forearms. Back and forth, haymakers now, they throw wild hands! Kevin swings, Styles ducks, Phenomenal Blitz!

Sliding forearm! Kevin rolls to deny the cover, and gets himself to a corner. Styles fires up, runs in, big clothesline. Clash position set but Kevin lifts Styles. Styles fights out, ducks, PELE! Both men are down again, Sami is the most concerned for Kevin. Styles stands up first, runs in at Kevin in a corner but is put on the apron. Styles forearms Kevin back, springboard but caught into the fireman’s, gutbuster! Kevin hops up, Vader Bomb elbow!

TWO! Kevin and Sami are shocked. Styles gets to a corner, Kevin stalks over and hoists him up top. Kevin rocks Styles with a right, then climbs up to join him. Styles slips under, trips Kevin up, and then lifts in a torture rack for the towerhacker bomb! TWO! Sami is relieved, Kevin rolls to the apron. Sami checks on his best friend while fans declare “This is awesome!” Styles stirs while the ref counts, slingshot splash onto Sami! The Guardian Angel is down, Kevin goes to throw Styles at a post but is reversed, Kevin goes into the post. Styles gets Kevin back in the ring, then takes aim from the apron. Sami returns, Styles swings at him, SUPERKICK from Kevin! TWO! Kevin and Sami are irate, but here comes Shane! Shane orders Sami be ejected, and the referee agrees! No more Sami at ringside!

Fans have a mixed reaction, but Kevin & Sami are even more furious about this. Styles surprises Kevin with a small package roll-up! But the referee is too distracted to count! Kevin rolls Styles, Kevin wins!! Kevin pinned the WWE Champion!

Shane just caused the exact opposite of what he wanted. Sami & Kevin get to open that champagne, Styles stares at his SmackDown Commissioner.

Prizefighter and Guardian Angel celebrate the New Year early, will they find themselves fighting for the title in 2018?

 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown did a much better job with their holiday episode and commercial free first hour than Raw. They put on an amazing opening tag team match to help determine contenders to the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Chicago wanted Rusev Day, but per the story from before Clash of Champions, Gable & Benjamin win to keep things between them and The Usos alone. Rusev Day will have their day someday, as they’re already strongly over with fans, but for now, they and others must wait. SmackDown also keeps with its unique US Championship story, not waiting to get confirmation from Ziggler on his status and throwing opportunities to the many great talents in their midcard. They also do well to tie in the growing story of tension between SmackDown Commissioner and General Manager here, and both Shane and Bryan make valid points. However, I think we fans all prefer Bryan’s way of doing this, as we get great matches out of it. Roode-Corbin and Dillinger-Mahal were both good matches, with the first being better than the second. Dillinger himself confirmed that this is an eight man tournament, so we will be getting two more great matches on the first SmackDown of 2018.

The Women’s Division and the Fashion Police matches helped propel those stories forward, if only slightly. Ruby wins with help from her team, which doesn’t really hurt or help The Riott Squad in parallel to Absolution from Raw. The Welcoming Committee coming out as Tweeners was an interesting move, and looks to frame the Women’s Rumble as faction warfare before it breaks down into every woman for herself. The Ascension might be pulling a passive-aggressive move on their “friends” Breezango for all the mistreatment during the Fashion Files saga. However, I don’t see how that’s supposed to pay-off other than Bludgeon Brothers just demolishing Konnor & Viktor along with Breezango. Then, a great main event that again ties back to the Shane-Bryan story, and Kevin getting a win over Styles gives SmackDown a rather logical choice for a Royal Rumble WWE Championship match of Styles VS Owens. There can be “Shane-nanigans” in that match, too, to keep the story going, but it would just make sense that the next phase is Kevin challenging for the title.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, First Round Marathon!

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Before the Network specials June 25th and 26th, the WWE brings us the ENTIRE first round in one single stream! Sixteen great talents from both the United Kingdom and around the world compete to move on in just the second ever UK Championship Tournament! Will your bracket be busted right out of the starting gate?

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official social media sources

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Drew Gulak VS Jack Gallagher; Gallagher wins and advances to the second round.
  • Ligero VS Travis Banks; Banks wins and advances to the second round.
  • Dave Mastiff VS Kenny Williams; Mastiff wins and advances to the second round.
  • Flash Morgan Webster VS James Drake; Webster wins and advances to the second round.
  • Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan; Gibson wins and advances to the second round.
  • Ashton Smith VS Joseph Conners; Ashton wins and advances to the second round.
  • Tyson T-Bone VS Jordan Devlin; Devlin wins and advances to the second round.
  • Tucker VS Joe Coffey; Coffey wins and advances to the second round.

PLAY BY PLAY

The second WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament begins!

Who do you have winning your WWE UKCT 2018 Bracket?

Many faces return from the inaugural tournament, while many others are participating for the first time. The winner of this tournament will be awarded a championship match against Pete Dunne, who is only the second-ever yet longest reigning champion in the title’s short history. Will a returning star or a new one be the next to challenge The British Bruiserweight?

 

Drew Gulak VS Jack Gallagher!

This second edition of the WWE UKCT starts with two great grappling gentlemen from both sides of the pond. The Philly Stretcher and The Extraordinary Gentleman have become friends via WWE’s 205 Live, but they will put friendship aside if it means a chance at Pete Dunne’s title.

The bell rings and the two gentlemen shake hands. Fans applaud for that as the two circle and tie up. Gulak gets a facelock and puts Gallagher against ropes, but honors the break. They tie up again, and Gulak gets another facelock, but it’s Gallagher who puts Gulak against ropes. Gallagher honors the break, and then they circle. They tie up again, and go around the ring. Gulak gets the headlock, and he grinds Gallagher down to a knee. He brings Gallagher around and around to cover, ONE and Gallagher gets a headscissor counter. Gallagher wrenches but Gulak works his way up. Gulak doesn’t pop out, he rolls Gallagher over and bridges. Fans applaud Gulak’s technical prowess as he gets the leg knot and tries for the full Queen Angelito stretch.

Gulak twists Gallagher, but Gallagher slips out to trip Gulak. Gallagher goes after the legs now, and twists with a toehold. Gulak spins to ease the pressure but Gallagher holds on. Gallagher wrenches more, and makes it a heel hook. Gulak endures, spins, and gets Gallagher’s leg. Gulak now has a standing leg lock, but his own foot pains him too much. He lets Gallagher go, but gets to a corner for safety. Gallagher respects Gulak and waits for him to come out. The two tie up again and Gallagher gets that leg. Gulak counters with a facelock and the two hop around. Gallagher trips Gulak again, but both men get a leg lock on the other. Fans love this technical showdown as the two fight for control.

Gallagher shoves Gulak back and heel hooks, but Gulak goes after one of his own. Gallagher wrenches, so Gulak stands and grabs Gallagher. Gulak drags Gallagher into an attempted triangle but Gallagher stands up to keep the leg lock. Gallagher brings Gulak around for a spinning toehold, then makes it a standing deathlock. Gulak endures the wrenching, but Gallagher shifts and gets the knot! Gulak knows what that means, and Gallagher puts in a bridging Indian Deathlock! But Gulak reaches over, and grabs Gallagher in a sleeper! Gulak gets free, and wants his GuLOCK! Gallagher scrambles and gets a ropebreak. Gulak lets go and Gallagher backs off.

The two circle again, then tie up. Gulak spins gets the wristlock takedown. He steps through for a hammerlock, then grabs Gallagher’s legs for the cloverleaf! Gulak bends Gallagher back, but Gallagher refuses to quit. Gallagher gets out and brings Gulak in. Gulak turns but Gallagher uses the momentum to keep going, and they end up in a corner. The ref counts the ropebreak but Gallagher grinds his forehead into Gulak’s. Gallagher backs off at 4, but then kicks the bad leg. Gulak forearms back, so Gallagher does, too. Gallagher adds a stiff European Uppercut, and it seems the friendship really is out of the window now.

Gallagher kicks that bad leg, but Gulak chops back stiff. Gulak headbutts Gallagher’s stomach, then chops again. Gallagher kicks the leg again, then forearms away. Gallagher returns the chops, as well, then whips Gulak. Gulak reverses but things speed up. Gulak rolls, grabs a leg, victory roll, TWO! They both stand, Gallagher EuroUppers but Gulak chops and chops. Gulak also uses palm strikes, but he spins around into the Extraorindary Headbutt!

Cover, Gallagher wins!

Winner: Jack Gallagher, by pinfall; advances to the second round

The Extraordinary Gentleman takes out the Yankee! Now he awaits the winner of Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan in the quarterfinals.

 

Ligero VS Travis Banks!

The Prestigious Mexican Sensation and the Kiwi Buzzsaw collide in an international crossover. Will this United Kingdom Division Tournament be taken over by a foreign entity?

The bell rings, and the two men circle. They tie up, Travis gets the headlock. Travis shifts to a wristlock, but Ligero reverses to his own, and a headlock. Travis tries but can’t power out. He suplexes but Ligero lands on his feet. Things speed up, and Travis cartwheels over Ligero. They keep going, and Travis throws Ligero to a corner. Ligero runs back out, but Travis sweeps the legs! Travis adds a stiff mule kick! Cover, TWO! Travis keeps his cool, and brings Ligero up for chops. Fans duel, Ligero shoves and waistlocks but then runs to headscissor Travis down. Travis gets to a corner and Ligero whips but Travis reverses. Ligero goes up and under, then goes around and over, then back under, to roll Travis for a mule kick of his own. Ligero brings Travis up for a big suplex, then covers, TWO.

Travis sits up while fans rally. Ligero gives Travis a forearm, but Travis kicks away. Ligero catches a kick, sweeps the leg, and standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Fans rally again as Ligero brings Travis up. Ligero runs, but his springboard almost fails with the slippery ropes. He does jump, but Travis easily deflects him. Travis hits the shotgun knee! Ligero gets to ropes while fans duel. Travis runs in for the back elbow, then another, then runs corner to corner, but Ligero follows. Travis sweeps the leg again and Ligero hits buckles. Ligero sits down, Travis goes corner to corner, cannonball! Travis drags Ligero out, cover, TWO!

Fans build to a rally as Travis brings Ligero up and around. Travis suplexes, but Ligero slips out. Ligero waistlocks, Travis standing switches, but Ligero throws him out. Ligero runs and FLIES! He takes Travis out with the tope conjilo, then brings him back in. Ligero runs and springboards, but Travis back drops. Ligero sunset flips through but Travis sits on the cover! TWO and Ligero covers, TWO. Travis covers again, ONE and back to Ligero! ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE, etc! It keeps going, but Ligero gets it to stop, TWO! Fans applaud as both men stand. Ligero uppercuts, then runs, but into a big lariat! Travis runs, goes to a corner to springboard, Slice of Heaven enziguri! Cover, TWO! Travis gets mad, and suplexes, Kiwi Crusher!

Cover, Travis wins!

Winner: Travis Banks, by pinfall; advances to the second round

The New Zealand Terminator and current Progress World Champion takes care of a former Progress World Champion. Can Travis make it all the way to the end to challenge the WWE United Kingdom Champion?

 

Dave Mastiff VS Kenny Williams!

Big Bad Dave and The Bollocks make for the first pure match-up of the marathon. Both men have held championships in the UK before, but will either man make it to challenge THE UK Champion?

The bell rings, and Mastiff watches Williams as he goes around the ring. They tie up, and Mastiff just tosses Williams backwards! Williams gets to a corner, but comes back to tie up again. Mastiff powers Williams to a corner, and Williams goes up the ropes to keep from getting squashed. Mastiff backs off, but pats Williams on the head. Williams dares him to come back, and then boots Mastiff. Williams leaps over, then rolls under, to leap up again! He tries to sunset but Mastiff is too massive. Mastiff sits down, but misses! Williams runs and shining wizard! Cover, ONE and with authority.

Williams keeps going with forearms on Mastiff. Mastiff throws Williams again, but misses in the corner. Williams keeps moving, but that crossbody does nothing! Mastiff’s back senton squashes Williams! Cover, TWO! Williams gasps for air, but Mastiff is on him with elbows to the jaw and shoulder. Cover, TWO, and Mastiff grows frustrated. Mastiff stalks Williams to a corner, then brings him out to snapmare into a seated abdominal stretch. Mastiff grinds his forearm in, but fans are dueling. More heavy elbows, cover, TWO.

Mastiff grabs Williams but Williams hits back. Mastiff’s knee knocks Williams down, then he whips Williams to dropkick him! Yes, Big Bad Dave did a dropkick. Williams gets to a corner, and fans rally, but Mastiff is on him. Mastiff whips Williams back into the corner hard, but Williams stands up. Mastiff whips but Williams reverses with a jawbreaker! Williams grabs Mastiff but Mastiff shoves him away. Williams hurdles Mastiff on the rebound, then springboards, but is taken out of the sky by Mastiff’s powerful right hand! Mastiff fires up, as do the fans, and he deadlifts Williams. Williams elbows out, then dropkicks the legs out.

Fans rally again, and Williams dumps Mastiff out. Willams sees Mastiff climbing back up, so he springboards for a back elbow! It was just enough to send Mastiff back down. Williams fires up, runs, and hits the wrecking ball dropkick. Mastiff staggers so Williams runs again to DIVE! Williams only staggers Mastiff, but Williams puts Mastiff in the ring. Fans rally up while Williams climbs up. Williams aims, leaps, and hits the Marty McFlying Elbow! Cover, TWO, and with such force! Williams is running out of ideas, but he still has something left. He clubs away on Mastiff, but Mastiff grabs his waist. Williams elbows away, then runs into a tilt-o-whirl, but Mastiff tosses him off! Williams flounders to a corner, and Mastiff comes running in, for another dropkick! Mastiff keeps going, cannonball!!

Cover, Mastiff wins!

Winner: Dave Mastiff, by pinfall; advances to the second round

The British Bull Mastiff downs Williams and moves on. Will he be met by Joe Coffee or Tucker in the quarter finals?

 

Flash Morgan Webster VS James Drake!

The Modfather and Mr. Mayhem have met in the past, but now they meet again for a chance at WWE championship gold. Will Flash (Ah~) Morgan take flight? Or will Drake drag him down to the ground and leave him in the dust?

The bell rings and the two circle fast. They tie up, and Drake powers Flash back. Flash turns it around as they go into a corner, but then Drake comes out with the wristlock. Drake brings Flash to the mat, but Flash gets up. Drake grinds his forearm then wrenches the arm. Flash spins, flips and reverses while fans chant for him. Drake rolls and flips back, to then forearm Flash in the face. Drake whips Flash, but Flash goes up and over. Flash side steps Drake, then speeds things up for a spinning Japanese arm-drag. He baits Drake to a corner and sticks out his boots, but Drake blocks and tosses him over. Flash comes back with another arm-drag! Drake gets up and Flash dances as he eggs Drake on. Flash blocks the kick and gets a takedown, then flips for an imploding senton. Cover, TWO!

Flip keeps on Drake, runs, and jumps for a guillotine hold! Drake gets the ropebreak, then sucker punches with an elbow! Flash drops down to the mat, but Drake grins as he brings Flash up for another shot. Drake drags Flash into a chinlock, but fans rally for Flash. Flash feeds off the energy but gets another forearm from Drake. Drake goes after Flash but Flash kicks him back. Flash kicks and throws hands, then forearms. Drake grabs Flash’s ear! Then smacks him with that #GritYourTeeth forearm! Cover, TWO!

Drake grimaces at Flash and wraps him back in the chinlock. Fans duel while Flash endures. Drake brings him down to the mat, and even gives a Dry Willie. Fans rally up and Flash gets up, but gets another forearm. Drake suplexes but Flash lands out of it, rolls Drake up, TWO! Flash gets to a corner and boots Drake away. They both go to corners, but Drake runs in. Flash goes up and over again, then around, to springboard, corkscrew senton! Fans fire up again and Flash gets up. Drake gets to a corner, Flash runs in, big forearm smash, then another. Flash keeps going, and dodges Drake’s counter attack to hit a knee strike! Drake rolls out of the ring, and Flash builds speed again. Flash FLIES with the senton!

Flash puts Drake back in, then climbs up, big crossbody! Roll through from Drake, TWO! Flash whips Drake but Drake go to the apron. Drake shoulders and forearms Flash down. Drake climbs up but Flash stops him with a swing kick. Flash climbs up to join Drake, SUPER Steiner! Cover, TWO! Drake survives the crash landing, but Flash won’t give up, either. Flash waits for Drake, runs in, but Drake blocks into Tombstone position, and turns it into a sit-out facebuster, aka the Downswing! Cover, TWO!? Drake is furious that Flash survived.

Drake stands up while fans chant for Flash. He brings Flash up, Flash rolls down for a cover but Drake sits on it, only for Flash to roll it back over, TWO! Drake grabs Flash’s wrist but Flash reverses to an uppercut! Flash fires up and runs, but Drake follows with a dropkick! Drake fires up now, then gets up top. Drake flips but has to bail out as Flash evades. His legs buckle, and Flash pounces with the tilt-o-whirl inverted DDT!

Cover, Flash wins!

Winner: Flash Morgan Webster, by pinfall; advances to the second round.

The Modfather flies high and takes the victory! Will he meet Tyson T-Bone or Jordan Devlin in the quarterfinals?

 

Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan!

The King of Scouse Style and The Bhangra Badboy know their opponent in the next round, but must deal with each other first. Who will win and be ready for Jack Gallagher in the quarterfinals?

The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Gibson powers Jordan to a corner. He backs off at the count, but dares Jordan to come at him. Jordan circles with Gibson again, but Gibson powers him to the mat. Gibson goes after the wrist, but Jordan rolls and gets up, only for Gibson to wrangle him down again. Gibson brings Jordan up for a keylock, but Jordan gets to ropes. The referee backs Gibson off, but he gives Jordan a taunting kick. Jordan springs up to his feet in a huff, and Gibson tells Jordan to ignore the fans, only focus on him. They tie up, Jordan gets a hammerlock but Gibson elbows him away. Gibson then forearms and uppercuts Jordan, then whips him corner to corner.

Jordan goes up and over, but the arm-drag is blocked into a backslide. ONE, and Gibson grabs the legs to catapult Jordan. Jordan uses that to hop up onto the second rope, then jump out. Gibson gets under, but Jordan rolls back to headscissors Gibson down. Jordan dares Gibson to bring it now, and things speed up. Jordan clears Gibson then dodges him to run him over with a crossbody! Fans fire up as Jordan handsprings up. Gibson glares as Jordan dares him to bring the fight. Gibson lunges but Jordan gets around and hip tosses him down. Cover, ONE, but Jordan stays on Gibson with forearms. Jordan whips but Gibson reverses into a keylock driver! Gibson adds a dropkick and Jordan rolls to a corner.

Gibson drags Jordan up to club his shoulders, then rock him with a haymakers. He reels Jordan into a lariat, then stomps away. Jordan hits back, but Gibson forearms him to a corner. Gibson goes after the arm again, but Jordan snapmares counters. Gibson keeps hold of the wristlock for a takedown, then a hammerlock stomp! Jordan clutches his arm in pain while Gibson talks trash. Gibson brings Jordan up for a EuroUpper, then hooks Jordan’s face for the cover. TWO, but Gibson just looms over Jordan. He toys with Jordan so Jordan kicks back. Gibson shotgun kicks Jordan down, then drags him up in a corner. Gibson goes after that arm again but Jordan hits back. Jordan can’t break free, and Gibson elbows him for a straight-arm suplex!

Gibson keeps on Jordan with forearms, then brings him up again. Snap suplex, then cover, TWO! Gibson clamps onto Jordan again with the half-nelson chinbar. Fans build to a rally, and Jordan endures as Gibson thrashes around. Jordan stands, hits back with body shots, then a jawbreaker. Jordan runs, dodges, and crossbodies again! He keeps on Gibson with forearms, but Gibson covers up in a corner. The referee backs Jordan off but Jordan dropkicks Gibson out of the ring. Jordan kips up, builds speed, and DIVES! They both hit railing but Jordan puts Gibson in the ring. Jordan climbs up, takes aim, and fans rally. He leaps, crossbody! Cover, TWO! So close and yet so far. But Jordan doesn’t give up hope, he has fans on his side.

Jordan runs at Gibson, but is put on the apron. Gibson hobbles away, but Jordan slingshots in for the complete shot! Cover, TWO! That was even closer than earlier! Jordan gets up, as does Gibson. Jordan clubs then brings Gibson up but Gibson arm wringers Jordan down! Gibson stalks Jordan, brings him up, and scoops for the Tombstone, into the swing-out gutbuster! Cover, TWO!! Gibson grimaces and glares at Jordan. “You do not belong here!” Gibson grabs the arm but Jordan grabs the ropes.

The referee backs Gibson off, but Gibson gives Jordan another forearm. Jordan forearms back, so Gibson hits him again. Jordan puts his all into another forearm, but Gibson throat chops. Gibson prepares but misses, Jordan enziguris! Gibson kneels, dazed, and fans rally for Jordan. Jordan boots Gibson, then hops up, tornado, but Gibson blocks with power. Jordan tries to make it a guillotine but Gibson powers through to a suplex, Helter Skelter brainbuster! That’s not all, Gibson brings Jordan around and slaps the back of his head again and again, before locking in a keylock clutch, aka the Shankly Gates!

Jordan taps right away, Gibson wins!

Winner: Zack Gibson, by submission; advances to the second round

Liverpool’s Number One is now through to the quarter finals, and will face Jack Gallagher. The Extraordinary Gentleman already defeated a great grappler in Drew Gulak, but will this grappler prove to be an even tougher challenge?

 

Ashton Smith VS Joseph Conners!

The Righteous Killer Conners takes on the Jamaican Prestige, and the winner moves on to face Travis Banks in the next round. Will Conners’ second time in this tournament be a complete success? Or will Ashton D-Rock him out of the tournament?

The bell rings and they tie up. Ashton puts Conners on the ropes but they break quickly. They tie up again, Conners gets the waistlock but Ashton standing switches. Conners switches, grabs a leg, but Ashton gets to ropes. Conners backs off, and they circle again. They tie up and go around as fans rally. Conners puts on a headlock, but Ashton works against the hold. Ashton hits back then powers out, but Conners runs him over. Conners speeds things up, Ashton dropkicks him down! Cover, ONE, but Ashton keeps on Conners. Conners shoves him back, but runs into Ashton’s calf kick! Ashton whips Conners corner to corner but Conners reverses. Ashton goes up and over, then back drops Conners way up!

Conners runs back at Ashton but Ashton throws him out. Ashton builds speed and slides, but Conners traps him in the apron skirt! Conners then clobbers away on Ashton! The referee counts and Conners lets up for just a moment before he gives stiff clubbing forearms. Conners also elbows Ashton, then drags him out of the skirt. He drags Ashton up and into the ring, but places him on the apron for more vicious clubbing arms. Conners enters the ring, then gives springboard stomps. He drags Ashton up and bumps him off a buckle. Ashton flounders, but Conners is on him with another stomp. Cover, ONE, but Conners grabs Ashton by the ear. Conners has a thing about ears given how one of his is half gone. He reels Ashton into a big lariat! Cover, TWO!

Conners keeps on Ashton with a chinbar, but fans rally up for Ashton. Ashton stands, and pries his way out to run and sunset flip! TWO, and Conners gives Ashton a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Conners toys with Ashton now as he bumps him off buckles. He clobbers Ashton with clotheslines and elbows, then brings Ashton out. Conners suplexes, float over, TWO. Ashton starts to frustrate Conners but fans are on Ashton’s side. Conners puts on a chinlock and keeps Ashton grounded. Conners shouts that he won’t let Ashton take his spot. Fans rally again, and Ashton gets up. Ashton fights back with elbows, then runs, but Conners trips him! Conners drops elbows, then covers, TWO.

Conners brings Ashton up for another buckle bump, then brings him back to the apron. He bends Ashton against the post! The referee counts and Conners lets go at 4, just to do it again. Conners returns in the ring, and baseball slides Ashton into the post ribs first! The referee reprimands Conners but Conners argues back. Ashton slumps to the floor while fans boo Conners. Conners waits for Ashton to return, to baseball slide him again! He shouts that Ashton is NOT taking this tournament from him. Conners puts Ashton back in and covers, TWO. Conners stomps those damaged ribs, and uses it as a cover, TWO. He won’t let up on Ashton, and he grabs that ear again.

Conners stands Ashton up, but Ashton fights back with body shots. Ashton fireman carry but Conners slips out. Conners waistlocks, but Ashton swings a back elbow. Conners ducks under to turn it into a bearhug! He powers Ashton into buckles, then backs off. Ashton elbows Conners away, but runs into an abdominal stretch! Ashton endures, but Conners slaps and clubs him. Fans rally again, and Ashton pries his way out. Ashton forearms Conners but Conners throws body shots. Conners and Ashton both grit their teeth, but it’s Ashton with haymaker after haymaker! He whips, Conners reverses, but Ashton leaps for a lariat! Ashton rallies, half-nelson backbreaker!

Fans are fired up for Ashton, and he runs in for a big knee in the corner. Ashton rolls Conners, hops up, leg lariat! Cover, TWO! Ashton tries again, but Conners slips out to the apron and Ashton hits buckles. Conners slingshots for a complete shot! Cover, TWO!! Fans cheer for the tough as nails Ashton. Conners stalks Ashton, drags him up, and prepares the Razor’s Edge, but Ashton slips out and gets the takedown. Conners shoves Ashton away, and catches him in an inside cradle, TWO! Ashton runs, tilt-o-whirl into dragon sleeper, and grabs Conners arm, for a ripcord DDT! AKA, the Ash Cloud!

Cover, Ashton wins!!

Winner: Ashton Smith, by pinfall; advances to the second round

History repeats itself as Conners is eliminated early again. Ashton shows respect to Conners by offering a handshake. Conners thinks about it, but just leaves the ring. Ashton may not have won his opponent’s respect but he did win the match. Can Ashton keep winning when he faces Travis Banks in the quarter finals?

 

Tyson T-Bone VS Jordan Devlin!

Two more returns from the original tournament, The King of the Gypsies would lose in the first round to the Last King of Scotland, Wolfgang, while Finn Balor’s former protege would lose in the second round to eventual inaugural WWE UK Champion, Tyler Bate. Who will move on to face Flash (Ah~!) Morgan in the second round?

The bell rings and Devlin dances around the bigger man. They tie up, and T-Bone powers Devlin into a corner. T-Bone backs up, but swings, only for Devlin to duck and chop. That chop didn’t do much, so Devlin backs off. They tie up again and T-Bone puts Devlin back in the corner. Devlin ducks and chops again, with more sting this time. Devlin dares T-Bone to come out. T-Bone does but Devlin kicks low. Devlin tries to whip but T-Bone blocks and reverses. Devlin goes up and over, then dodges to enziguri! T-Bone is only dazed, but Devlin blocks his kick to give a back elbow. Devlin snapmares T-Bone to kick him in the back, then double knees from the front. Cover, ONE and T-Bone gets out of the ring.

T-Bone catches his breath, but Devlin builds speed, only to run into a clubbing clothesline! T-Bone puts Devlin into a corner and fires off body shots. That bare knuckle brawling history comes in handy, but T-Bone also grinds in a boot. He backs off at 4, but drags Devlin up to whip him corner to corner. T-Bone lifts Devlin for a backbreaker, covers, ONE. Devlin sits up but T-Bone drives in a knee. Fans rally, but T-Bone drops a knee. Devlin gets up but gets a right hand. He goes to ropes, but T-Bone bumps him off buckles. T-Bone chops Devlin while fans duel. Devlin kicks back but T-Bone sweeps his legs. T-Bone drives in a stiff knee, and Devlin is dazed. T-Bone drags Devlin to a cover, TWO.

Devlin tries to catch his breath but T-Bone is on him with a neck wrench. Devlin stands up while fans rally, and pries his way out of T-Bone’s grip. T-Bone knees low, but Devlin dodges again to throw hands. T-Bone shoves then blocks Devlin’s kick, to boot Devlin down. He adds an elbow drop, covers, TWO. T-Bone keeps his cool and drags Devlin back up. He rocks Devlin with a powerful right, but he doesn’t let up. He throws a forearm into the kidneys, then kicks him in the ribs. Devlin gets to a corner, but T-Bone keeps going as he grinds a thumb into the throat. The referee backs T-Bone off, and Devlin boots him back. Devlin does another boot, then dropkicks the legs out.

Devlin runs in but T-Bone puts him on the apron. He still swing kicks T-Bone away, then slingshots in for a cutter! Cover, TWO! Devlin grows frustrated, but fans are rallying. Devlin and T-Bone stand, but T-Bone throws Devlin with an overhead belly2belly! Cover, ONE, but T-Bone is right on Devlin with a Jackhammer! Cover, TWO, and T-Bone can’t believe it. T-Bone glares down at Devlin, then brings him back up. He brings Devlin in but Devlin slips out, and both men hit the other with haymakers. Devlin staggers back while T-Bone simply shakes it off. T-Bone runs but into the post! Devlin hits the spinning roundhouse!

High stack cover, Devlin wins!

Winner: Jordan Devlin, by pinfall; advances to the second round

History repeats for both men as T-Bone goes out early while Devlin makes it to the quarterfinals. Will history continue to repeat for Devlin against the Modfather? Or can he break the trend before it begins and make it all the way to the end?

 

Tucker VS Joe Coffee!

#JustTucker was the first man to fall to Tyler Bate in the inaugural tournament, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Meanwhile, The Iron King is the current Scottish Wrestling Alliance’s Scottish Heavyweight Champion looking to be champion of the entire UK! Only one man will advance and meet Dave Mastiff in the next round!

The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Coffey powers Tucker to a corner. The two scrap but Coffey backs off and they circle again. They tie up again, and Coffey again powers Tucker back. But Tucker turns it around and puts Coffey in the corner. Tucker backs up and the two circle again. They tie up, Coffey gets the arm, and wrenches the wrist. Tucker flips and reverses the wristlock onto Coffey. Coffey rolls and reverses and drives Tucker to the mat. Tucker rolls up and gets a headlock. Coffey powers out, they collide shoulders but no one falls. They both run, but Coffey goes perpendicular to Pounce!

Tucker gets to a corner, but Coffey throws body shots. Coffey rolls Tucker with authority, then chops him in the other corner. He whips Tucker corner to corner but Tucker goes up and over. Tucker handsprings, ducks under, then hops up for a springboard back elbow! He handsprings again to show off, covers, ONE. Tucker takes aim, but Coffey sees the kick coming and gets to ropes for safety. Tucker runs in, but into Coffey’s boot! Coffey double underhooks and swings Tucker around! He goes around and around and around, then throws Tucker overhead with the butterfly suplex. Cover, TWO! Coffey keeps his cool while Tucker flounders.

Coffey brings Tucker up for body shots, then a clubbing forearm. He keeps going but Tucker dodges to chop and throw his own hands. Coffey turns it around and throws more hands. He gives a stiff EuroUpper, then powers him all the way to the other corner. Fans rally for Coffey, and he soaks it in. Coffey brings Tucker up, wrenches the arm and brings Tucker to the mat. He puts on pressure, then wraps it around for a cobra clutch. Tucker endures, but it becomes a straitjacket now. Coffey bends Tucker back but fans rally and Tucker pries his way out. Tucker tries to put the straitjacket on Coffey, but Coffey spins through to put it back on Tucker. Coffey rams his knee in and Tucker sits down. Coffey adds pressure but Tucker is up again, only for Coffey to shoulder him down, and even stomp him.

Tucker springs up to mule kick, front kick and chop. Tucker runs, but into a bearhug. Coffey powers Tucker to ropes and then tees off with body shots. Coffey snapmares and drops a knee on the back. Cover, ONE! And Coffey is rather amused. Fans rally and Coffey brings Tucker up in a chinlock. Tucker pries his way out, then snapmares Coffey. Things speed up, and Tucker throws Coffey with a headscissors! Tucker runs in but is put on the apron. He forearms Coffey back, then steps in for the complete shot! Cover, but they’re too close to the ropes. Tucker adjusts and covers, TWO.

Fans rally up for both men, and Tucker climbs up high. Tucker swantons, but onto knees! Coffey runs in, and a big dropkick sends Tucker into the corner. Coffey runs again, but Tucker gets up and follows. Tucker dodges Coffey, Coffey blocks the kick and flips Tucker. Tucker lands on his feet, only to get the Black Coffey discus lariat!

Cover, Coffey wins!

Winner: Joe Coffey, by pinfall; advances to the second round

History repeats for Tucker, but again, he lost to the eventual champion. Does that mean the same will happen for The Iron King? Or will Big Bad Dave Mastiff have something to say about that in the quarterfinals?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A pretty solid opening round for the tournament, with all the matches being pretty good at roughly 10 minutes each. The best overall story probably comes from Gulak VS Gallagher, given their interactions on 205 Live. Once Gallagher returns to 205 Live this Tuesday, I doubt they’ll give much more acknowledgement to what happened between him and Gulak than a few words. Then their story with THE Brian Kendrick against Lucha House Party will resume as planned.

At this point in time, the front-runners for tournament winner would have to be Coffey, Banks and perhaps Devlin. Coffey has been pretty big in the UK scene, with not just the Scottish Heavyweight Championship but two reigns with the ICW WHC. Banks is the current Progress World Champion, and his style is stiff but swift like Dunne’s. Devlin works because of the chip on his shoulder with being Balor’s trainee and it’d be a strange obnoxious underdog story where he validates his ego with all these wins. Now whether even those three could defeat Dunne, that is still up in the air.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: Best of the Super Juniors 25, Final Round!

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The best of the Junior Heavyweight Division battled it out, and now the best two stand tall to face each other! Taiji Ishimori came to NJPW to prove he is THE best Junior Heavyweight in the world today, but he’ll have to go through Hiromu Takahashi to do it! Who will win and earn a shot at Will Ospreay’s title?

 

This review of Best of the Super Juniors 25 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

Gifs courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Best of the Super Juniors Finals: Taiji Ishimori VS Hiromu Takahashi; Hiromu Takahashi wins and will challenge Will Ospreay for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at Dominion.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS review what led to this final round.

“Bone Soldier” returned to Bullet Club, but it was revealed to be Pro-Wrestling NOAH’s Taiji Ishimori! Wrestling Dontaku would be where and when Ishimori attacked Will Ospreay, and making his claim to the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Both Ishimori and Ospreay participated in the premier Jr. Heavyweight round-robin tournament, and ended up tied 5-2, but one of Ospreay’s two losses was a loss to Ishimori! Not only would that help Ishimori advance, that proved he could defeat Ospreay clean.

But on the other side of things, Hiromu Takahashi, another of Ospreay’s rivals, also went 5-2 and advanced with his win over yet another of Ospreay’s rivals in Kushida! Now they meet, both determined to get one more match with the Aerial Assassin! Will the Ticking Time Bomb blow up the Bone Soldier? Or will Ishimori drive-by Takahashi on his way to the top?

 

Best of the Super Juniors Finals: Taiji Ishimori VS Hiromu Takahashi!

It’s a first-time-ever match-up of two of the best. Ishimori did everything there is to do as a Junior Heavyweight in Pro-Wrestling NOAH, from being a Three-Time GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion to being a Six-Time GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. Meanwhile, Hiromu has only just begun his legacy. Whose legacy will grow with adding the Best of the Super Juniors trophy?

By the way, that sketch pad Hiromu has is given to commentary, and Jushin Thunder Liger takes a look inside. It seems Hiromu has written notes on his opinion of the other Super Jr. competitors. Clearly he prefers ACH more than he does Ishimori, going by that smiley face.

Hiromu’s opinions aside, Red Shoes does his check of both men and see they’re clear of anything prohibited. The bell rings, and the match begins, after the break.

NJPW on AXS returns and the fans are strongly behind Hiromu. Hiromu and Ishimori stare down, then slowly start to circle. They tie up but then back off. They approach again, but go back to circling. Finally they tie up, and are evenly matched in strength. Hiromu manages to back Ishimori up, but Ishimori turns it around to put Hiromu against the ropes. Red Shoes calls for the break, and Ishimori backs off, only to swing! Hiromu dodges and whips but Ishimori reverses. Hiromu stops himself to whip again, and reel Ishimori in for a forearm. He puts Ishimori on the second rope to then kick the rope, jacking Ishimori’s jaw. Hiromu runs and blasts Ishimori with a dropkick!

Ishimori ends up outside the ring, and Hiromu builds speed, but Ishimori comes back to headscissor Hiromu down! Ishimori goes after Hiromu in the corner for a whip, but Hiromu slides out. The chase is on as Ishimori pursues, but Hiromu leaps over! Ishimori holds ropes to prevent the sunset flip bomb. He backflips and now they start brawling with forearms! The brawl ends up going through the crowd! Hiromu knocks Ishimori down at the entrance, then drags him back up. Hiromu tosses Ishimiro over the railings, and now they go up the stairs! Ishimori breaks free of the headlock and they brawl again! Hiromu rakes the eyes, then stomps Ishimori down. Hiromu gets plenty of distance, and then runs back in for that John Woo Dropkick!

Ishimori gets blasted, and fans fire up for Hiromu. Hiromu wants everyone to clear the steps, and he brings Ishimori up by his hair. Hiromu brings Ishimori into bomb position, but Ishimori huricanranas Hiromu down those stairs!

Both men are down, but Ishimori is up first while Red Shoes checks on Hiromu. Ishimori walks down and fetches Hiromu, and the 20 count finally begins. It reaches 6 as Ishimori stomps on Hiromu. Ishimori leaves Hiromu at the mercy of the count, and he returns to the ring at 14. Hiromu scrambles to beat the count by 19! But Ishimori is upon him again, putting on a cravat hold to focus on that neck. Ishimori cranks on it, but Hiromu fights out. Ishimori snapmares, and grips Hiromu’s head with his feet. He spins around, and tweaks Hiromu’s neck! Hiromu rolls away but fans rally up for him. Ishimori just tunes it out while Hiromu gets away. Ishimori pursues and throws Hiromu into a post. Fans and Young Lions have to be careful as Ishimori bowls Hiromu into chairs!

Ishimori uses one chair to grind Hiromu into the ground, a wicked grin on his face. Ishimori backs off and returns to the ring, but Hiromu stands. Hiromu returns at the count of 9, but Ishimori is on him again. Ishimori chops Hiromu in a corner, then whips him corner to corner. Hiromu boots but is turned sideways for the swing kick! Ishimori runs, and hits Hiromu with a sliding German Suplex! Fans do applaud, giving credit where credit is due. Cover, TWO, and fans rally again for Hiromu. Ishimori drags Hiromu up, snapmare into chinlock. Hiromu endures while fans rally more. He stands up and fights out of the hold. Hiromu runs, but into the sleeper!

Ishimori gets a takedown, and turns his sleeper into a bully choke. Hiromu endures the wrenching and stretching, while also reaching and crawling for ropes. Hiromu uses his legs for the ropebreak. Ishimori lets go, but keeps his cool. He stalks Hiromu to a corner, and chops him again. He whips Hiromu corner to corner but Hiromu reverses with speed. Hiromu runs in but Ishimori slips out then back in, and then out again to shoulder Hiromu back. Ishimori springboards, but Hiromu trips him up. Hiromu runs, and gets the sunset flip powerbomb this time! The Bone Soldier just got blown up, and we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and the 20 count begins again. Hiromu is up at 6, and in the ring at 10. Ishimori stirs at 13, and manages to beat the count at 19, though gingerly. Ishimori stands in a corner, but Hiromu runs in for a big clothesline. Hiromu rolls Ishimori out to then run and basement dropkick him. Cover, TWO. Hiromu keeps his cool while fans cheer for him. He stands, and toys with Ishimori. He brings Ishimori up to chop him into the corner. Then he whips Ishimori, but Ishimori reverses. Ishimori runs in, but into a boot! Hiromu grabs Ishimori for a hanging triangle headscissors! Red Shoes counts, and Hiromu lets go at 4. Then Hiromu drags Ishimori out, wheelbarrow facebuster on the floor!

But Hiromu has more in store as he gets on the apron. Ishimori stands up, and Hiromu blasts him with another John Woo Dropkick! Ishimori ends up bowling into chairs! Hiromu catches his breath before firing up. He fetches Ishimori from the front row and brings him into the ring. Hiromu climbs up, Ishimori stands, and Hiromu hits a flying cannonball! Cover, TWO, but very close. Hiromu stands while Ishimori stirs. He drags Ishimori up, fireman’s carry, but Ishimori slips out. Hiromu elbows Ishimori off the waistlock, then runs, but Ishimori follows. Ishimori handsprings, but Hiromu clobbers him out of the air! Hiromu’s seen Ospreay do that enough times to know how to counter.

Hiromu and fans fire up again, and he brings Ishimori up again. He brings Ishimori up in the fireman’s carry again, but Ishimori pops out to victory roll! TWO, into a crossface! Hiromu endures, but then Ishimori turns it into the Lebell Lock! Ishimori has that arm threaded, but Hiromu won’t quit. Hiromu drags himself with one arm and both legs, even as Ishimori wrenches back. Hiromu keeps going, and uses those legs to get the ropebreak again! Ishimori lets go, but he stomps Hiromu before bringing him up. Hiromu hits Ishimori, but Ishimori hits back. Ishimori dares Hiromu to hit him again, so Hiromu does. They brawl with forearms again, going back and forth. Hiromu hits, Ishimori hits harder, but Hiromu comes back to hit again and again and again. Hiromu runs, misses, Ishimori runs and tilt-o-whirls Hiromu into the Lebell!

Ishimori wrenches back but Hiromu drags himself around again. Hiromu inches closer and closer, but Ishimori rolls him away from the ropes! Ishimori keeps that Lebell on, but Hiromu refuses to quit! Fans are thunderous for Hiromu, and he claws at the grip. Hiromu drags himself around again, and grabs onto Red Shoes to keep himself from tapping. He then scrambles, only for Ishimori to make it Rings of Saturn! Ishimori even grabs at the legs, but somehow, Hiromu still gets the ropebreak! Ishimori lets him go, but both men are down from exhaustion. They catch their breath while rolling away from each other. Fans rally as both men drag themselves up to their feet.

Ishimori takes aim, runs in, but misses! Hiromu runs in but misses, but then he ducks Ishimori! Hiromu goes after Ishimori on the second rope, German Suplex! But Ishimori lands on his feet! He gets running, but runs into Hiromu’s overhead throw! Hiromu catches his breath while Ishimori is down in the corner. Ishimori slowly stands as Hiromu runs, and Hiromu runs Ishimori over with a powerful lariat! Hiromu drags Ishimori up, fireman’s carry, Time Bomb! Cover, TWO!? Ishimori survives?! Fans are thunderous while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and both men slowly stir. Hiromu sits up first, but Ishimori gets himself to a corner. Hiromu runs in, hits the clothesline, then hoists Ishimori up. He climbs up to join Ishimori, and hits a super wheelbarrow! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu grits his teeth as he stands up again. He brings Ishimoriu up, fireman’s carry, and then he Death Valley Drivers Ishimori right into buckles! Hiromu drags Ishimori up again, another fireman’s carry, and spins, but Ishimori slips off! Ishimori deflects the superkick but Hiromu deflects the knee strike. Hiromu SUPERKICKS this time, but then runs into a boot. Ishimori Poison-Steiners Hiromu! But Hiromu springs right up to do it back to Ishimori!

Both men are down from such damage to their heads. Fans are at a fever pitch, and still cheering Hiromu on. Both men stir and Red Shoes checks on them. They’re okay to continue, so a count begins. Hiromu and Ishimori stir, they’re up at 7. They crawl towards each other, and brawl with forearms from the mat. Hiromu hits, Ishimori hits, then back again. Hiromu grins with wild eyes as he hits Ishimori again, but Ishimori shakes his head and hits back. They brawl while standing up, and now it speeds up. Hiromu runs out of gas, and Ishimori brings him up for another shot.

Hiromu manages to stand and gets his second wind as he hits back with forearms from both sides. He spins around, but into Ishimori’s jumping knee! Hiromu staggers back, fires up, but runs into a clobbering clothesline! Cover, ONE?! Hiromu shocks Ishimori, but he’s still pretty tired. He slowly stands, but Ishimori is ready. Ishimori runs and blasts Hiromu with a dropkick, then runs corner to corner for double knees! Ishimori drags Hiromu up and into Tombstone position, but turns it into a modified code breaker! Hiromu is dazed, Ishimori covers, TWO!! The superhuman effort is keeping the fans at that fever pitch.

Ishimori gets up, and says BANG as he staggers over. He drags Hiromu up, and lifts Hiromu for a brainbuster, but Hiromu arm-drags out of it! Hiromu goes to headscissor but Ishimori counters with a powerbomb! High stack cover, TWO, and Hiromu gets Ishimori with a triangle hold! Ishimori cartwheels but Hiromu holds on. Ishimori endures, deadlifts, but is brought down again! Hiromu squeezes as tight as he can, but Ishimori tries for a cover. It doesn’t stay, so he deadlifts again, buckle bomb! Ishimori is free, but both men are out of breath. Ishimori rolls away, then runs back in, for a big clothesline. He yurinagi slams Hiromu, then fires himself up. Ishimori climbs up, takes aim, but his 450 hits knees!

Ishimori writhes in pain, but Hiromu’s legs took some damage, too. Both men slowly get up, run in, Hiromu gets around to headscissor Ishimori into the triangle hold! Ishimori deadlifts again, but Hiromu lets go to double underhook! D DRIVER!!

Hiromu can’t make the cover, he’s just too tired. So he goes for the triangle again! Ishimori fades, already dazed from that driver. Ishimori tries a second effort as he grabs at Red Shoes. He keeps moving, reaching, and gets a ropebreak! Hiromu lets him go, but he’s still focused. He brings Ishimori up, fireman’s carry, but Ishimori slips out. Ishimori wants his brainbuster but Hiromu resists. Hiromu lifts again, for another Death Valley into buckles! Hiromu drags Ishimoro up one more time, and swings him for THE Ticking Time Bomb! Cover, Hiromu wins!!

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall; wins the Best of the Super Juniors 25, and will challenge Will Ospreay for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

For the first time in his career, Hiromu Takahashi is THE Best of the Super Juniors! The award ceremony will begin after the break.

NJPW on AXS TV returns…

Ishimori is helped out of the ring and to the back. Fans applaud, showing respect to him for his valiant effort. Meanwhile, Hiromu is presented with the Best of the Super Juniors trophy, poses for pictures, and sits down before taking the mic.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like it much at all.” That is to say, he doesn’t like saying this after the tournament. So he must apologize first. But Ospreay! Accept his challenge for that IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship! Will Ospreay comes out! He joins Hiromu in the ring, his title in hand. Aerial Assassin and Ticking Time Bomb stand, and Ospreay congratulates his rival. Everyone is so proud, even Ospreay. Hiromu won Best of the Super Juniors, well done. But that doesn’t mean a thing compared to the belt, because that means Ospreay is the real best Jr. Heavyweight.

Ospreay reminds everyone that he is already up two wins on Hiromu in the past, so Ospreay knows that Dominion will be easy. Ospreay vows to leave with his title, and proves he really is the best in the world. Champion raises his belt, challenger raises his trophy, who will be raising their hands after Osaka?

Ospreay takes his leave, and Hiromu says, “Ospreay. Thank you meow.” The Ticking Time Bomb is not intimidated, and continues to say “Did you all just see that?” Even those watching at home on TV, did they see it? For that matter, did all the Heavyweights see that? Even Liger saw that, right? This is how SUPER JUNIORS do it! Liger has to applaud for that one. “Five years ago today, in this same spot, I still remember what I said.” Hiromu still feels that way. His dream is to hold that IWGP J. Heavyweight belt, and to be a Jr. Heavyweight main event, prime timer!! “Nothing has changed! I’m exactly the same as I was then.” But even more, more, more, more, more, “Let’s have fun!” With everything he has to say already said, Hiromu finally celebrates.

But not just him, the rest of LIJ joins him! Naito, Bushi, EVIL and Sanada appear, and Hiromu shows off his trophy to them. And together, LIJ celebrate.

Hiromu kneels while Naito, Bushi, EVIL and Sanada move aside. Oops, the wing…

Well, that tarnishes the win a little bit. Hiromu kneels in apology to the hurt trophy. Is this a bad omen of things to come?

 

Backstage interviews.

Taiji Ishimori admits defeat. Today, Hiromu was the better man. But, Ishimori knows there’s more for him to show. There’s unfinished business. Ishimori agrees, though, it’s tough, but fun. Ishimori wants more, more, more! “New battles, exceeding our limits.” He wants to have more fun with Hiromu. “It’s reborn!”

Hiromu said this in the ring, but this tournament is more than just to name a #1 contender. He’s said it all along. Hiromu does apologize, he’s already challenged and lost to Ospreay many times this year. But just one more chance, that all he needs. Ospreay is the best, but so is Hiromu. They’ll settle this once and for all! Dominion is coming, who will truly be THE Best of the Super Juniors?

 


 

My Thoughts:

I was surprised to see AXS TV bring up the finals of the Super Juniors, but I suppose it really is the most important part of the tournament. At the same time, this does help AXS speed up their coverage of NJPW so that they can get to Dominion sooner. This is also the match that THE Dave Meltzer award 5.5 stars, thereby breaking his 5 star system, again. While Meltzer is right in giving this the best rating out of all the BOSJ matches, going over 5 stars seems a bit much. Just reaching 5 stars is more realistic, because it really did have great action and even great character and story work. They went all around the arena, and Ishimori was dead set on a submission victory, but Hiromu showed two can play that game.

It’s really great for Hiromu to go over here because his rivalry with Ospreay has been longer standing, Ishimori only just got to NJPW, and Hiromu is vastly more popular, as the fans showed tonight as they did not sway in their support of him. Hiromu’s interaction with Ospreay was great, but I’m a little sad AXS cut out the interactions with the rest of LIJ. There’s a great little bit where Naito and Hiromu were childishly fighting over the trophy until Naito hands the trophy back with a bow. It means a lot in story for Naito to give that sign of respect to his protege.

My Score: 9/10


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Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (6/16/18)

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ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 352

Best in the World is approaching, but ROH first brings us an amazing 10 Man Tag! It will be The Bullet Club, represented by Cody, Marty Scurll, Adam Page & The Young Bucks VS ALL of Los Ingobernables de Japon! Can the American Nightmare and his team overcome the most Tranquilo stable of NJPW?

 

All images courtesy of the Fite.TV app and streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Chuck Taylor VS Kenny King; Kenny King wins.
  • Shane Taylor VS Josh Woods; Shane Taylor wins.
  • 10 Man Tag: The Bullet Club VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Bullet Club wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Bullet Club speaks.

“LIJ, tonight, you have no excuses!” Does anyone know what the J in LIJ really stands for? Cody thinks it’s “jokes”, but that’s not it. Jobbers? No, they’re not jobbers. Juniors? No, that’s not it, either. Jerks? No no no. It stands for JABRONIES! Does anyone think LIJ could sell out 10 thousand seats on their own? No, and certainly not in “30 EFFING MINUTES!” LIJ, Bullet Club is coming for you!

 

Chuck Taylor VS

The K I N G tried to help Austin Aries, only for it to backfire, and then Aries stopped being his friend with an uncalled for attack! Can he snap back with a win over the returning Kentucky Gentleman?

Fans chant for “Chuckie T!” as the match begins. Chuckie offers a hand to uphold the Code of Honor, but Kenny wants a hug. Chuckie declines, hugs are for his Best Friend, Trent. Fans chant “Hug! Hug!” but Chuckie insists on the handshake. Kenny accepts the handshake, then gives long-distance hugs to the fans. Kenny and Chuckie circle and tie up, and Kenny puts Chuckie into a corner. He backs off at the ropebreak, and they circle again. They tie up as fans rally. Chuckie hammerlocks, but Kenny reverses and gets a headlock. Chuckie slips out to a facelock, but Kenny reverses back to a hammerlock. Kenny shifts back to a headlock but Chuckie powers out, only for Kenny to run him over.

Kenny fires up and dances, then runs, but things speed up. Chuckie leaps over but Kenny headlocks. Chuckie reverses to his headlock, but Kenny powers out now, only for Chuckie to run him over. Now Chuckie does a dance, then runs. Things speed up again, and Kenny arm-drags Chuckie. Chuckie gives an arm-drag, and the two stand off. The fans applaud, and now Chuckie gives Kenny a hug. Fans cheer for that! Kenny gives the hug, but then Chuckie fakes a move. The two stay good sports, and tie up again. Kenny gets a wristlock, but Chuckie rolls to reverse into a hammerlock. Kenny spins and whips but Chuckie holds ropes. They break but then hug again. Belly2belly from Chuckie! Chuckie grins as he dances. Kenny hits Chuckie back but Chuckie forearms Kenny down, and we go to break.

ROH returns, and Chuckie has Kenny in a corner. Chuckie scoop slams him, then shouts that he’s never missed a moonsault ever! He climbs up, then leaps, but he belly flops on the mat! And he slaps the mat in frustration over his first miss. Kenny gets up while Chuckie crawls away. Kenny runs in and jabs away, then bobs and weaves. He whips Chuckie and hits him with the heel kick! Kenny brings Chuckie up but Chuckie kicks low. Chuckie runs but is put on the apron. Kenny hits Chuckie with the Eddie Gordo Kick, then slingshots out to knock Chuckie down! Fans fire up, and a fan gets a selfie with Kenny! But the phone messes it up, so no actual selfie was taken. Kenny returns to the ring, climbs up top, and Chuckie stands. Kenny leaps, crossbody! Cover, TWO!

Kenny keeps his cool, and reminds the fans to have their cameras ready. He hauls Chuckie up, but Chuckie slips off to hotshot Kenny down. Chuckie high fives the fan, then gets everyone fired up. It’s One Dog Night, the most dangerous slingshot stop! But Kenny dodges, so Chuckie slingshots back out to knock Kenny down! Chuckie’s stuck but he gives a thumbs up. Chuckie gets up, and finally that fan gets a selfie. Kenny gets back in the ring, but Chuckie follows. Chuckie shoulders in, then slingshots over, and counters the headscissors with a sit-out bomb! Cover, TWO, but fans rally up for Chuckie.

Chuckie brings Kenny up, but Kenny blocks the suplex. Chuckie clubs Kenny, then suplexes, but Kenny slips out. Kenny waistlocks, but Chuckie standing switches. Chuckie swings Kenny out, Sole Food! Chuckie runs, but into a glancing uppercut! He gets to a corner, and Kenny runs in, but into a knee! Chuckie suplex, Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up again, and Chuckie brings Kenny up. Kenny resists Chuckie’s move but Chuckie kicks low. Chuckie runs, but into a spinebuster! Cover, TWO, but Kenny calls for his finish.

Kenny drags Chuckie up, fireman’s carry, but Chuckie small pakcage, TWO. Chuckie with the snap piledriver! Cover, TWO! And Chuckie grows frustrated. But then he fires back up and calls for his own finish. He lifts but Kenny slips out. Chuckie swings but Kenny gets behind, atomic drop to spinning roundhouse! Then, fireman’s carry and swing out, Royal Flush!

Cover, Kenny wins!

Winner: Kenny King, by pinfall

The K I N G feels a lot better after this victory, but he’s still got the Greatest Man That Ever Lived on his mind. Will Kenny get his hands on Austin Aries in the future to exact his revenge?

 

The Briscoes speak.

“People been asking a lotta damn questions.” Briscoes, what’s wrong with all? Why’ve you been going down this dark path? Why, Briscoes, Why? “First of all, who is y’all to be asking us these questions?!” Do you know they are? They’re the champs! So mind your business.

As for the Young Bucks, listen up and listen good. Mark gives them credit for being best in the world, at selling T-shirts and making YouTube videos and a bunch of other stuff! The Bucks can do so much! But #DemBoyz know there’s something the Bucks can’t do, and that’s take the titles from the Briscoes. Best in the World will bring an ROH World Tag Team Championship rematch between two of the best teams today. Who will prove themselves THE best in the world?

 

Shane Taylor is in the ring.

The Notorious Hitman tells Josh “The Goods” Woods that Woods was “dead to rights” in West Palm Beach, Florida! At least, until King Mo stuck his nose in their business. Not surprising that fans are booing, they’re all just like Woods and King Mo! They’re “used to disappointment.” But don’t worry, Shane Taylor will give Chicago something to cheer for when he pops his opponent faster than Derrick Rose did his ACL. Harsh words, but who is Taylor’s opponent? It’s The Goods himself!

Shane Taylor VS Josh Woods!

The tension is high even before the bell. No Code of Honor, and the two men circle, ready to strike. Woods kicks quick, then again, but Taylor gets back. Taylor rushes in, but Woods gets a waistlock. Woods tries to lift but Taylor is too big and strong. Taylor throws back elbows, but then Woods ducks the back hand to try a belly2belly! Taylor ear claps Woods, but then Woods runs. Woods springboards, but Taylor knocks him down with double ax handles! Taylor brags but fans boo and jeer while Woods rolls out of the ring. Taylor pursues, but Woods hits back. Woods throws hands but Taylor headbutts. Woods falls against the barriers, Taylor cannonballs!

Taylor trash talks Chicago while the 10 count begins. Taylor drags Woods up and then puts him on the apron. He climbs up, takes aim, and drops the guillotine leg! Taylor trash talks fans more while we go to break.

ROH returns, and Woods dodges Taylor in a corner. Woods runs in, but Taylor picks him up onto his shoulder. Taylor brings Woods around, but Woods slips into the sleeper and body scissors! Taylor gets a second wind, but Woods shifts down to a German Suplex! Woods holds on, and brings Taylor up again, for another German! He lets go but fires up, as does Chicago. Woods runs in the corner, flying wizard! Woods throws furious forearms, and the referee backs him down, but only for a moment as Woods comes back to ram in knees. The referee backs Woods down again, but Woods slips past, only to run into the One Hitter Quitter! Cover, Taylor wins!

Winner: Shane Taylor, by pinfall

The series between these heavy-handed brawlers is now tied, 1-1! There was no King Mo this time, but Taylor did get a bit lucky. What will happen when these two tie up again for the tiebreaker?

 

Dalton Castle is here!

The Peacock and ROH World Champion, along with his Boys, are here for a close-up look at the main event. Why? Because two of the ten men involved are his contenders at Best in the World for their Triple Threat title match! Though, he does love “Los Incorrigibles”, they’re a great team.

 

10 Man Tag: The Bullet Club VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!

The partnership between ROH and NJPW is on display as Testuya Naito leads Bushi, EVIL, Sanada & Hiromu Takahashi against the American Nightmare, the Villain, the Hangman and the Young Bucks! Will the winners be Tranquilo? Or just, too, sweet?

ROH returns and the teams sort themsevles out. Naito starts against Hangman Page, but Cody says he wants in. Fans want him to tag in, too, so Page obliges. Cody and Naito, the Bullet Club’s supposed leader and LIJ’s actual leader, get the fans fired up. They circle, but Cody flexes. Naito inspects Cody’s muscles, and is impressed. They’re good enough to spit on! Cody takes offense, and kicks Naito to drop and uppercut him. Cody runs, but Naito sends him out! Naito runs, builds speed, and Tranquilo! Cody is furious, throwing around chairs. He slips into the ring, ready to fight, but Naito tags out to Bushi while Scurll tags himself in. Scurll means no harm, but he just wants his turn. Fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” for their favorite villain.

Castle on commentary notes that while Scurll is super popular, popularity doesn’t equal ability. Castle is popular and also skilled, and he’ll prove that to everyone at BitW. That aside, The Villain circles with the Jet Black Death Mask, then tie up. Bushi wristlocks but Scurll gets to ropes to flip through. Scurll rolls and spins, then reverses into a headlock takeover. Bushi headscissors but Scurll pops out, then flaps his wings. Fans like that, and “Woop Woop!” for him more. Bushi kicks low, then pulls on the beard! Scurll grabs the fingers, but EVIL saves Bushi! Sanada tags in, but Scurll doesn’t want anything to do with this heavyweight championship tag team. Scurll turns around, so he double tags (if that’s allowed) to the Young Bucks!

Matt & Nick Jackson stare down with EVIL & Sanada, both teams being top tier teams around the world. The fans duel while the Bucks bring up Osaka. EVIL & Sanada shove the Bucks, so the Bucks shove back. Sanada & EVIL kick low, then whip the Bucks. The Bucks slip under the boots, then the clotheslines to- Nope, those kicks are blocked. The Bucks want EVIL & Sanada to “relax”, and that gets through to them. Sanada & EVIL let them go, but then all four put up their dukes. Fans applaud this sportsmanship, but the referee reminds them this is meant to be 1v1 match-ups at a time. That’s when Hiromu tags in! Fans go wild for the Ticking Time Bomb, so Scurll gets in to jaw with his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship rival. Bushi slithers in, but so does Hangman Page. Naito and Cody join in, and it’s a 5v5 stand-off!

The referee tries to defuse the situation, but it doesn’t work! It’s a 10 man brawl! They all pair off, Hangman tosses Bushi out while Naito and Hiromu do the same with Cody and Scurll. The two tag teams are still in the ring, and the Bucks get the edge. Nick runs and Matt alley-oops for the double dropkick! Bushi returns, but he gets the “You’re dead!” headscissors dropkick! The Bucks aim at Bushi and Naito, and hit double slingshots crossbodies! Sanada returns into the ring, and kicks Cody low. Sanada runs, but into Cody’s drop toehold, and Scurll adds the basement dropkick. Page adds the running shooting star!

Fans fire up while Scurll and Hangman help The Bucks hold Bushi and Naito in place. Cody does the Terminator kneel! Whether he’s the leader or not, that’s not his move, and fans boo him for it. Cody rises, runs, but Hiromu and Daryl Jr. intercept!

Fans are thunderuos as Daryl Jr. runs wild! Daryl Jr. hits down Scurll, but misses the Bucks, and they give double SUPERKICKS to Hiromu! Hiromu goes down, as does Daryl Jr, but Nick runs and FLIES onto Naito & Bushi! Fans are so fired up right now as Matt drags Hiromu up. Matt scoops Hiromu into Tombstone position, but Sanada stops Nick’s slingshot! Nick hits apron, so Matt dumps Hiromu down. Hiromu distracts the referee while EVIL brings a chair in. EVIL tries to pull a Latino Heat as he tosses the chair to Matt, but Matt tosses the chair back. They hot potato the chair, and EVIL just smashes through to knock the chair into Matt! Hiromu and Sanada take care of Cody and Scurll for good measure, but we go to break.

ROH returns and Sanada tags back in. Sanada rakes Matt Jackson’s back. Matt hits back with big haymakers, then whips, but Sanada reverses. Things speed up as Sanada jumps over, then again, but Matt stops to SUPERKICK Sanada down! But both men are down, so their teams rally up for them. Matt crawls, hot tag to Scurll! Sanada hot tags Hiromu, and they brawl with forearms, fast and furious! Fans love this endless stream of strikes, and it’s Scurll who gets the edge. Scurll runs, but Hiromu boots him! Hiromu runs, but into a mule kick, a stomp on the foot, and a shotgun knee! Scurll fires up again, as do the fans.

Scurll hits Naito and Bushi just because, then goes to the apron to SUPERKICK Bushi. He goes in then back out to the other apron, to SUPERKICK Naito! Both fans and Bullet Club rally, and even Castle likes what he sees from Scurll. Scurll returns to Hiromu, but Hiromu kicks. Hiromu runs, but falls for the 52 Fake Out. Not! But Scurll ducks the clothesline but so does Hiromu. Scurll ducks again, and goes for chicken wing! Hiromu breaks free, but ends up in a pumphandle, for Ghostbuster!

Cover, TWO!! Somehow Hiromu survives, and the rallying begins again. Scurll calls for the chicken wing again, does his spin, but Hiromu drops down to roll up! TWO, Scurll hits Hiromu with a European Uppercut. Scurll whips but Hiromu reverses, only for Hiromu to miss. Scurll runs, but is thrown overhead into buckles! Fans love it, even though both men are down. Scurll and Hiromu crawl, hot tags to Nick and EVIL! Sanada enters, too, and LIJ get Nick. They double whip him corner to corner, but Nick comes back to rally with strikes! Nick shining wizards then bulldog clotheslines them both! Nick hits Naito and Bushi just because, and he’s all fired up.

EVIL puts him on the apron, but Nick comes back with a slingshot “Suck It!” facebuster! Cover, Sanada breaks it. LIJ double whip but Matt saves his brother while tagging in. The Bucks knock LIJ back, then double slingshot sunset flips, into double sharpshooters! That’s Cease in stereo! “The! Elite! The the Elite!” echoes out, but Naito and Hiromu save EVIL and Sanada. LIJ whips Matt, but Matt ducks, Hangman double buckshots! But wait, Punishment Martinez is storming down the ramp! Hangman goes out to intercept and they start brawling!

These two won’t wait for Best in the World to settle their grudge! They fight all the way up to the stage, and to the backstage area, but we go to one last break.

ROH returns once more, and Bushi climbs up. Bushi missile dropkicks Matt down then Bushi-roonies up while Hiromu and Naito intercept Scurll and Cody. EVIL hobbles over to Matt and with Bushi’s help, whips Matt corner to corner. EVIL charges in for a big corner clothesline, then rolls Matt out for the others to QUADRUPLE dropkick Matt! Cover, but Cody and Nick break it. Another brawl begins, and Bushi is left alone with Matt in the ring. Bushi climbs up again, but Scurll returns. Scurll saves Matt, then hits a roaring elbow. Hiromu lariats Scurll, then sees Cody coming, yet still gets the Beautiful Disaster kick! Naito throws Cody with a headscissors, but Matt SUPERKICKS Naito! EVIL mule kicks Matt, then Bushi with the Destroyer!

Sanada returns, and LIJ groups up to lift Matt, Magic Killer! Bushi covers, but Nick drags the referee out! Cody attacks Sanada, then EVIL. Cody sends them out, tot hen run and FLY! He takes out EVIL, but Hiromu runs at Nick! Hiromu leaps over for the bomb, but Nick holds the ropes! Bernard the Business Bear attacks Hiromu! Then Nick asai moonsaults! Nick and Bernard high five, but then Bushi spits the green mist into Bernard’s eyes! Wait, that shouldn’t actually… But Bushi goes after Cody, but Cody standing switches. Scurll has his umbrella and swings, but Bushi gets out of the way, and Cody takes the hit! Naito hits Scurll with Destino!

But the Bucks SUPERKICK Naito together! Then SUPERKICKS for Bushi! The Bucks duck EVIL & Sanada, then SUPERKICKS! Fans fire up all over again, and The Bucks target Bushi. Bushi’s counter is countered, springboard for the FIVE STAR MELTZER DRIVER!!

Cover, The Bullet Club wins!!

Winners: The Bullet Club, Matt Jackson pinning

Bullet Club IS fine, but maybe not Bernard. Cody washes Bernard’s eyes out, though again, it shouldn’t matter. The fans chant for “All In!” but Cody and Scurll must first worry about Best in the World and their Triple Threat with Dalton Castle. If Bullet Club truly is fine, can the Allied Powers stay civil in their fight with The Peacock? Or will they implode and allow Castle to retain with ease?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A great night from ROH, as far as action goes. Chuckie and Kenny have a great match that is respectful and clean, as both men are Faces. Kenny wins to keep pace after what Austin Aries did to him, and I really hope that match comes sooner rather than later. Shane Taylor VS Josh Woods was good, but it keeps both guys strong because while Taylor wins, it was thanks to Woods being distracted that gave Taylor the win. The Briscoes give a really good, and even scary promo in regards to their attitude and their coming title match. The ROH tag champion Briscoes VS IWGP tag champion Young Bucks is going to be great. It’s just too bad it isn’t going to be winners take all since it’s an ROH event.

And that’s the one downside of tonight: the continuity error. This episode was obviously recorded in the set before even last week, which is very important. NJPW Dominion was on 6/9/18, and the Young Bucks would defeat EVIL & Sanada for their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. Yet, this episode has EVIL & Sanada still holding those belts. However, there is a logical reason for this continuity error: spoilers. Fans in attendance would not have kept the secret if the Bucks came out with the titles before Dominion even happened. Perhaps the main event of 351, Briscoes VS Roppongi 3K, should’ve been swapped with this one so that continuity still works in some way. Though, that might have made everyone think the Bucks had a match against EVIL & Sanada just hours before their Dominion match…

My Score: 8.5/10


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