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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

Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021

Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?

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Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?

So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.

There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!

Ratings:

  • Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
  • United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
  • House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
  • KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
  • 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
  • TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
  • G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼

 

Results:

Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.

Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.

United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata

So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.

Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!

This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.

House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii

Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.

Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.

KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi

So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.

Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.

Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but  then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.

Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.

5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr

This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.

Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.

WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!

TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi

Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!

Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.

Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!

G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada

So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.

Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.

Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.

Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.

Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.

Overall Score: 7.25/10

There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.

Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.

Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.


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Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021

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Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!

We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.

Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?

Ratings:

  • Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
  • Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
  • Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
  • Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾

 

Results:

The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.

Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice

Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.

Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.

This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.

There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.

Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:

This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.

The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.

Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James

Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.

Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.

Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.

Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel

The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.

So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.

Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.

Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.

Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.

Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.

Overall Score: 5/10

Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.

I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.

When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.

So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!


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