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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (1/1/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Jason Jordan w/ Seth Rollins VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus; Jordan wins.
  • Bray Wyatt VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide; Wyatt wins.
  • Alexa Bliss VS Asuka; Asuka wins.
  • Braun Strowman VS Rhyno VS Heath Slater; Strowman wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship, No Champion’s Advantage: Roman Reigns VS Samoa Joe; Reigns wins and retains the IC Championship.
  • Cedric Alexander & Goldust VS The ‘Zo Train; Alexander & Goldust.
  • Finn Balor & The Club VS Elias & The Miztourage; Finn & The Club win.

PLAY BY PLAY

Raw Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, finds Raw GM, Kurt Angle.

A match with Asuka? Seriously? Well, Angle wanted to start 2018 with a Wrestlemania worthy match. But that’s not fair! He’s rewarding Asuka for her bad behavior. Asuka is already in the Royal Rumble, she doesn’t need to beat Alexa tonight. Alexa isn’t going to change Angle’s mind. If she has a problem, settle it in the ring. And be grateful this isn’t a title match, yet.

Kurt Angle heads to the ring!

The Olympic Gold Medalist greets the WWE Universe with “Happy New Year!” Angle looks back on 2017 as one of his greatest years, and promises to make 2018 even better! Three weeks, Raw has its 25th Anniversary which will lead into the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View. John Cena has declared his entry into the Men’s Royal Rumble, because yes, there’s a Women’s Royal Rumble. Angle guarantees what the Women’s Rumble rules are, the management decided that what’s good for the men is good for the women! Thirty superstars, over-the-top-rope eliminations, and the winner challenges a Women’s Champion at Wrestlemania. Angle hopes Raw wins both Rumbles, but as far as tonight’s Raw– The Bar comes out!

Forget the Rumble and talk about “The travesty” that occurred on Raw last week! The Bar put up their tag team championships against a new team! What kind of crap is that? The Bar hates favoritism, because Angle gave his son a tag team championship match with Seth Rollins as his partner. Then, what came after was too much. For those who missed it, Kurt Angle came out to celebrate with his son and Seth Rollins. Sheamus is sick to his stomach watching such “favoritism”! Jason Jordan doesn’t deserve to be tag team champion, The Bar wants a rematch. ANgle will give them a rematch when Angle says they get it. How convenient! Jason Jordan comes out in person to respond.

If Jordan doesn’t deserve to be champion, then how come he is champion? Miami chants “Whose your daddy? You still suck!” but Jordan ignores it. Angle doesn’t understand favoritism. Jordan’s title shot was based off his track record. Says the daddy’s boy. Jordan and Rollins still earned the titles. And if Cesaro keeps running his “refurbished mouth”, Jordan will give him a new reason to go to the dentist. Angle keeps the peace, because it’s time to settle things in the ring, right now! And to support his tag team championship partner, Seth Rollins appears!

Or rather, he comes out to scold him. See that “pale Irish idiot” with “the stupid looking mohawk”? Jordan, you’re outnumbered, what good would that do their team? They don’t have to get along, but they are going to worry about each other. Rollins tells Jordan not to be self-absorbed. Jordan bragged in front of his dad, so now Rollins has to come out to be in his corner. But Rollins feels he’s only here to watch Jordan lose. At that, Cesaro blindsides Jordan from behind, and Rollins says “see what I mean?” Can the Gold-Blooded Son turn things around once the match actually starts?

 

Jason Jordan w/ Seth Rollins VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus!

Raw returns with this match in action, Cesaro clobbers Jordan with European Uppercuts in a corner. Cesar whips Jordan corner to corner but JJ goes up and over then slips out of a body drop to dropkick the Swiss Cyborg. TWO, JJ keeps on Cesaro with shoulders in a corner. The referee counts, so Jordan moves Cesaro to an adjacent corner. Cesaro blocks the bump and hits back with more EuroUppers. He then gives JJ a snapmare and chinlock to grind him down. Rollins tries to coach JJ back into things. JJ gets up, fans rally while he fights out. Cesaro whips but is reversed, he ducks to springboard, JJ catches him! Jordan rams Cesaro into a corner, then carries him corner to corner for another. He goes corner to corner again, then a fourth time! Jordan fires up but Sheamus distracts him, Cesaro dodges to send Jordan into buckles and chop blocks the bad leg out!

Rollins chases Sheamus off, but the damage is done. Cesaro brings Jordan up for more EuroUppers, body shots, and then a wrench to the bad leg. He even dropkicks that knee against the ropes! Cesaro smacks the leg against the apron edge before giving Sheamus a high-five. He wrenches JJ’s bad leg at the knee, JJ endures the deep hold. Rollins tries to rally for Jordan, Jordan fights his way out and shoves Cesaro away. Cesaro is back on him, EuroUpper to the leg. Jordan crawls to a corner, Cesaro drags him out for an elbow drop and wrench tot he knee. Cesaro digs in an elbow, Jordan endures as he gives Cesaro crossface punches. Cesaro lets go, then brawls with Jordan. Jordan clobbers Cesaro with a lariat, then hobbles to ropes. He dumps Cesaro to the apron then knocks him down, but Cesaro sweeps the leg! Jordan goes down, Cesaro picks him up for a shinbreaker to the apron!

The Bar celebrates while we go to break.

Raw returns, and now Cesaro baseball dropkicks Jordan out of the ring. Rollins can only watch as Jordan writhes. The Architect tries to coach him back, but Cesaro gets Jordan back in the ring. Cesaro gives Jordan another big EuroUpper, then drags him out for a half-crab to the bad leg.

Jordan endures again, Rollins tries to rally the fans. Jordan rolls over and fights back, but Cesaro keeps him down with forearms. Even so, Jordan kicks with his good leg and gets Cesaro away. Rollins likes what he sees, but another EuroUpper rocks Jordan. Cesaro scoops but Jordan slips out then boots Cesaro down. Sheamus choaches Cesaro while Jordan tries a suplex. The leg won’t allow it, but Jordan still has his arms to knocks Cesaro down. Overhead suplex! And another! Jordan covers, TWO! Rollins likes the heart from Jordan as he runs back into Cesaro. Cesaro fights off the back suplex, but ends up in a Northern Lights!

Roll through, a second Northern Lights! TWO! Rollins rallies for Jordan as he limps over to Cesaro, but Cesaro grabs ropes to deny the suplex. He mule-kicks the bad leg, then Sheamus gets a cheap shot, roll-up, TWO! But into the Half-Crab again! Jordan endures, but it becomes a Full Crab to keep Jordan down. Jordan gets the ropebreak nonetheless! Cesaro tries to give Sheamus another opening, but Rollins intercepts and stomps him out! Back-suplex neckbreaker outta nowhere! Jordan wins! The Gold-Blooded Son celebrates because he earned this one. Even Rollins applauds. Can this makeshift team really last as Raw Tag Team Champions?

 

Backstage interview with Roman Reigns.

The Big Dog and Intercontinental Championship has no Champion’s Advantage in his match against Samoa Joe tonight. As far as Roman’s concerned, Samoa Joe got what he deserved last week for injuring Dean Ambrose. In Roman’s eyes, Joe walks and talks like a punk, which is why Roman “punked him out.” This week will get ugly and intense, but all within the rules. “I hope.” Can Roman rein in his temper and continue to reign as champion?

 

Bray Wyatt VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide!

The Eater of Worlds has had problems with the WOKEN Wisdom of Matt Hardy, will he use Titus’ #1 client to take out his frustrations?

The bell rings, the two circle while fans chant “DELETE!” They tie up, Bray puts Crews in a corner. He backs off for a clean break but then runs in to swing. Crews dodges, Bray gives his spider-lean! Crews is startled, but Bray comes out to circle with him. Bray swings, Crews dodges to put on a headlock. Bray stomps on a foot then gives Crews an uppercut before stalking him around the ring. Crews is thrown to the apron but kicks Bray down, slingshot senton and elbow drop, TWO! Crews puts on another headlock to keep the Face of Fear down. Bray powers out, swings but misses, so he uses a running headbutt to knock Crews down. Bray keeps on Crews at ropes, choking him on the middle one. The referee backs Bray off, but Bray returns to keep on Crews and mock Titus’ concern. Bray whips Crews corner to corner, Crews goes up and over. Things speed up as Crews shows off more agility, then he drops Bray with a dropkick. Cover, TWO, Crews keeps on Bray with an arm-wrench. He puts Bray in a corner, Bray puts him on the apron. Crews hits back, climbs up, but Bray rocks him with an uppercut. Bray is mad now, he drags Crews out for a draping jawbreaker! Crews gasps for air while Bray smiles and stalks him. Titus Worldwide cheers Crews on, but Bray torments Crews while grinning at Dana Brooke. We go to break.

Raw returns, Bray still controls the match as he grinds Crews with a chinlock. Titus Worldwide gets the fans rallying, Crews stands up but Bray throws him to ropes. Crews dodges, only to run into Bray’s body check! Cover, TWO, but Bray is not bothered. He kicks Crews while he’s down, stalking him to a corner. Bray grinds Crews’ face against the top rope, then whips him to other ropes. Crews catches him with a shotgun dropkick! Both men are down, Titus Worldwide and the fans rally again. Bray and Crews stand up, Crews gets a mule kick and boot, then hits a jumping lariat to Bray on the run. He kip-ups and hits a standing moonsault, TWO! Bray slips out of the ring, Crews fakes him with a slingshot to then mule kick and ASAI Moonsault!

Bray goes down, Titus fires up and coaches Crews. Crews gets Bray in the ring, stalks him but gets that turn-around lariat! Fans fire up as Bray spider-walks, but Dana gets on the apron. Bray locks his eyes on her, Titus says she needs to hop down. Bray scares her off and she falls on Titus!

But Crews hits Bray with an enziguri! Waistlock, but the SISTER ABIGAIL! Bray wins! But WOKEN Hardy speaks to him from the titantron!

“Ye-e-e-e-es~!” Bray, last week saw Hardy turn the Fireflies into WOKEN WARRIORS. He vows to devour Bray’s darkness within the WWE, to make it into light. Bray is a Consumer of Terrestrial Entities, but he won’t escape the WOKEN WISDOM. Matt is all around Bray, he haunts Bray’s dreams. Once Abigail’s powers are no more, Hardy will DELETE Bray! Many Matts appear on screen to laugh at Bray. Will WOKEN Hardy truly have the last laugh on Bray Wyatt?

 

Alexa Bliss finds Nia Jax.

Can Nia be her corner woman? She’s really worried about facing Asuka tonight. Sorry, but Nia has to take care of Enzo Amore, he’s sick with the flu and is “upset” about not being able to defend his title tonight. Seriously? Alexa needs Nia. But- Alexa can’t believe Nia is being like this. It’s either him or her. Nia apologizes, she needs to get Enzo her soup. Alexa can’t believe this insanity! What will happen to The Goddess when she faces the Empress?

 

Alexa Bliss VS Asuka!

One woman made history by being SmackDown and Raw Women’s Champions in the same year, the other by being the Undefeated NXT Women’s Champion for 523 days. Which woman will start 2018 with a win as the Women’s Division looks to make history at the Royal Rumble?

The bell rings, and Alexa is naturally wary of the still undefeated and still dangerous Asuka. They circle, Alexa dodges the grapple and runs to ropes for safety. Asuka lets her come back out and they circle again. Alexa keeps her distance, but Asuka still grabs an arm. Alexa shoves her away, Asuka spins and Alexa narrowly avoids the back hand. She runs to ropes for safety again before circling with Asuka again.

Alexa gets a waistlock but Asuka turns that around to a wristlock. Alexa reverses that to a hammerlock but theN Asuka reverses it back again. They go back and forth, Asuka gets a waistlock takedown to facelock. Fans are on Asuka’s side as she rolls Alexa to a kneebar! The champion scrambles out and the two return to their feet. Alexa tries a takedown but Asuka counters with a chinlock that shifts to a headlock. Alexa throws Asuka off but asuka stands back up and that scares Alexa back to ropes. Asuka grabs a leg, whips but is reversed, Asuka runs Alexa over. Asuka speeds things up then toys with Alexa as she does a little dance. Things speed up again, hip attack knocks Alexa down! Asuka is confident as ever while Alexa gets out of the ring. The Goddess looks afraid and unsure as she meekly returns to ringside. She wants Asuka to stay back as she enters, the referee obliges, but Alexa still scurries out of the ring again. Fans boo the cowardly Goddess, but Alexa wants nothing to do with the Empress at this point. The referee counts while Alexa sheepishly reenters. Asuka is already upon her, snapmare and a kick to the back. Asuka keeps Alexa grounded, Alexa gets back to ropes. The ref backs Asuka off so Alexa can come back, she just kicks and runs away. The fans boo again while we go to break.

Raw returns, Alexa has Asuka in a bodyscissors. Fans rally for Asuka while she endures the squeeze. Asuka pries her way out and goes for an ankle lock! Alexa screams and crawls but Asuka has it on. She crawls and gets the ropebreak, then yanks Asuka into those ropes. Alexa drags Asuka to the post and bends her back.

The ref counts, Alexa lets go at 4. She returns inside the ring, then stalks Asuka before hammering away. Cover, TWO, Alexa’s frustration is boiling over. She drags Asuka up but Asuka fights back with body shots. Roll-up, TWO, Alexa ducks teh buzzsaw to roll Asuka, TWO! Alexa yanks Asuka into a backbreaker! She clobbers Asuka with more hammer fists and even forearm shots. Another cover, TWO, so Alexa brings it back to a bodyscissors. Asuka endures the squeeze again, fans rally for her again. Alexa pulls on Asuka’s hair but Asuka doesn’t give in. Asuka gets moving again, turns around but Alexa turns things into a guillotine hold. Asuka pries her way out of that into the Kimura Lock! Alexa stands up, ropebreak! Alexa kicks at Asuka’s ribs, then puts her in a corner to stomp a mudhole into her. The ref backs Alexa down, Alexa takes aim and runs in for a screaming slap.

Asuka gets mad and slaps back! Alexa shoves Asuka, Asuka fires up, runs and dropkicks Alexa down. Asuka rallies now, whipping Alexa but reversed, Asuka hops up to hit a missile dropkick! Corner to corner hip attack leads to a snapmare and a running low hip attack! Asuka stalks Alexa, grabs her from behind, but Alexa resists and elbows out. Alexa kicks but Asuka deflects for the pop-up knee to the head! Asuka runs in on Alexa, Alexa trise the sunset flip but Asuka sits, TWO! Alexa dropkicks Asuka out of the ring, then stays in to recover. Asuka climbs back up, Alexa grabs her hair, Asuka roundhouses Alexa back. Alexa staggers, Asuka returns and hits the back heel kick. Armbar takedown!

Alexa taps, Asuka wins! The Empress has defeated the Goddess, will she still have a title shot waiting even if she doesn’t win the Rumble?

 

Backstage interview with Samoa Joe.

Now that there is no Champion’s Advantage, the Destroyer doesn’t even have to defeat Roman Reigns in their Intercontinental Championship match. But don’t worry, JOe will still defeat Roman, just like he has every time he’s faced Roman. The world needs to realize Joe owns Roman Reigns, he has “mentally broken” and exposed Roman Reigns. Roman was once a fighting champion, he and The Shield were going to be champions together again. Joe made damn sure The Shield members are never champions together again. Now Ambrose can be a Stay-at-home Husband living off his wife’s paycheck. Renee Young, being Ambrose’s wife, does her best to laugh that one off. Joe continues, saying that because of Joe, Roman is now the kind of man who uses Champion’s Advantage to his advantage. But now, Roman can’t use that, he has run out of options, friends and time. Joe will put Roman to sleep and become the new IC Champion. It may be Roman’s Yard, but it’s Joe’s World. Will he see his words become reality tonight?

 

Braun Strowman VS Heath Slater w/ Rhyno!

The ManBeast wants to show Slater how it’s done, can he survive the Monster Among Men?

The bell rings, the two tie up, Strowman shoves Rhyno to a corner. Fans still chant “E C Dub!” for Rhyno as he comes back out and ties up again. Strowman still shoves Rhyno off and then roars at him. Slater coaches Rhyno, fans cheer Rhyno on. The two tie up, Rhyno gets a headlock but Strowman powers out and knocks him over with one shoulder. Then Strowman boots Rhyno down! Slater gets on the apron, Strowman scares him back but only for a moment. Strowman goes out and grabs a mic. “Look, you’ve got two options, you cheerleader. Either stay on the floor and shut your mouth, or get in the ring and get these hands like your partner!” The fans chant “YES! YES!” for Slater, so Slater gets up on the apron. He stays back, Rhyno attacks, but it does no damage. So Slater joins in and this suddenly becomes a 2v1 Handicap! The Monster Among Men throws Slater off, then powers Rhyno to a corner. Strowman goes corner to corner to squash each man, then easily gives Rhyno the powerslam! Strowman wins!

But he’s not done. Miami wants another, but Slater runs in to save Rhyno. Slater’s heel kick is swatted away, Slater takes the powerslam! Fans are thunderous, they still want more! Rhyno stands up, and takes a second powerslam for himself! The referee begs Strowman stop here, but he won’t, Slater takes a second powerslam! Now Strowman is done. Has Strowman sent a message to The Beast and the Big Red Machine this close to the Royal Rumble’s Universal Championship Triple Threat? Oh wait, ANOTHER POWERSLAM for Slater & Rhyno each!

 

Seth Rollins talks with Roman Reigns backstage.

The Architect hopes The Big Dog is keeping his cool. Roman is, but Joe is proving himself to be a joke with how he runs his mouth. Hopefully Ambrose is watching, because Roman is going to send a message. Both men are champions, let’s keep it that way. Jordan comes in and says on behalf of Rollins, if The Bar appears, they’ll take them out. “Believe that.” Awkward. But, at least they’re all on the same page. Will The Shield still have the Intercontinental Championship when tonight is through?

 

Braun Strowman walks the halls, when he finds Kane.

The Big Red Machine simply wants to talk. He wants to talk about Brock Lesnar. Kane hasn’t faced Lesnar yet, but Strowman has. These two are the “alpha monsters” of the WWE and they can tame the Beast. Kane has a plan, will Strowman hear him out? Strowman doesn’t care about plans, he is THE Alpha Monster. And when Strowman takes out Lesnar, he’ll do it his way. In that case, Kane leaves Strowman be. Will this rejection come back to haunt the Monster Among Men?

 

Kurt Angle is visited by Finn Balor.

The Extraordinary Man wants to personally tell Angle that, as the inaugural Universal Champion, he will go through the Royal Rumble in order to get a shot at that title. Angle is glad to hear it, but he was thinking this was about something else. Oh, tonight’s Six Man Tag. He has partners, in the Good Brothers!

Because otherwise, it’d just be a couple of “NERDS”. The Club is back together to face The Drifter and the Miztourage, can it be just like old times?

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship, No Champion’s Advantage: Roman Reigns VS Samoa Joe!

This rivalry is increasingly personal after what The Destroyer did to the Lunatic Fringe, will this championship match settle things once and for all?

The two men are ready to fight even before the bell, but formal introductions must be made first. Another thing of note is that the referee is the same one from last week’s disqualified match, so he’ll be ready for anything Roman might do. The bell rings and the two rush each other. Joe jabs away on Roman, backing him against the ropes. The ref backs Joe down, Joe comes back to keep on Roman in a corner. Joe brings Roman out, Roman rocks him back with right hands of his own. Roman stomps away, the ref counts and Roman backs off. Fans duel, “Let’s go, Roman!” “Roman sucks!” Roman keeps on Joe as the arena gets loud, but the referee backs him down again. Joe gets Roman with a back suplex in the distraction! Cover, TWO, but Joe keeps his cool. Joe stalks Roman then gives him forearms and a snap suplex.

Roman slips out of the ring for a breather, Joe lets him while we go to break.

Raw returns, Joe has Roman in a cobra clutch. Roman fights his way out, then runs only for Joe to run him over. Cover, TWO, now Joe is frustrated. He stalks the champion, giving him more jabs and even chops. Joe stands Roman up and prepares a suplex but Roman resists, Roman suplexes Joe over! Roman runs at Joe in a corner but Joe dodges and Roman hits buckles. Joe covers, TWO, but Joe keeps his focus. He stomps Roman while he’s down, as well as overhand chops. Joe wrenches Roman’s arm back in a high keylock, Roman endures while fans continue to duel. Roman feeds off a fan rally, getting to his feet and fighting out with big right hands. An uppercut rocks Joe, Roman rallies with clotheslines. Roman whips but Joe wrenches then rocks him with a forearm. Back elbow and Pele! TWO, and Joe is slowly growing frustrated. He looms over Roman at the ropes while fans continue to duel. Joe chokes Roman on the ropes, the referee counts and Joe lets off at 4. Joe brings Roman into a corner and gives him more sharp strikes from those elbows. The referee reprimands Joe, so Joe whips Roman corner to corner hard. Joe grins as he trash talks Roman on the mat.

Joe brings Roman up as fans cheer him on. He whips Roman corner to corner again, just as hard into those buckles. “All day long!” Joe tells Roman. “Remember what I did to Dean?” Joe brings Roman up again and puts him in a seated abdominal stretch. Fans continue to duel, “Let’s go Roman!” “Let’s go Joe!” Joe makes the stretch a half-straitjacket, and Roman fades. Fans rally, Roman revives and fights out with body shots. Joe gives a knee to Roman’s ribs, whips him to the corners again, Roman bounces off to clothesline Joe down! Both men are down, fans rally for them both. Roman crawls over and follows Joe up in a corner. Roman gives Joe those close-range clotheslines, and hits all ten. He runs and boots Joe down, Joe ends up outside the ring.

Roman sees where Joe is, so he slips out and comes around the corner, Drive-By Dropkick! They return into the ring, cover, TWO. Roman and Joe get to their feet, Joe ends up in a corner. Roman throws hands, the referee backs him off, and reminds him there’s no Champion’s Advantage. Joe puts Roman on the apron, forearm, then big body check sends Roman off. Joe runs again, to DIVE! Both men crash down on the outside, the referee starts a ring count. Both men just barely break the count at 9, the match continues but we go to break.

Raw returns again, Joe slaps and headbutts Roman to the mat. Joe circles Roman as he trash talks, then brings Roman up just to knock him down again. Joe toys with Roman, Roman dares Joe to hit him! Roman fires up with every hit, then stands up to hit him back! They brawl, Joe backs Roman down then runs, into a Samoan Drop!

TWO, and Joe gets to ropes. Roman stands up now, glares at Joe from across the ring, then locks and loads. Joe rolls out, knowing what’s coming. The referee keeps Roman in the ring, but Roman still slips out the side, for a jumping- forearm smash from Joe! Joe bounces Roman off the steel steps time and time again, dedicating each hit to The Shield, to Ambrose, and for what Roman did to Joe last week. Joe refreshes the count, then whips Roman but Roman reverses to send Joe into the steps! Roman goes to the steel steps, pulling the top half off, but the referee reminds him of the No Champion’s Advantage.

Joe dares Roman to do it, the referee tries to keep both men from doing any such thing, so Joe sucker punches Roman. Roman uses the steps to springboard for a SUPERMAN PUNCH! They return into the ring, SUPERMAN PUNCH again! TWO! Roman is shocked, fans are raucous and declare “This is Awesome!” The champ gets up, fans fire up, battle cry echoes out but Joe kicks Roman. Roman blocks the yurinagi, Joe throws Roman aside and into the referee! The referee takes offense, but that was a mistake! Roman tries to reason with him, but then Joe runs in, so Roman saves the referee by getting both of them clear. Joe hits buckles, Roman goes for a spear, Joe hits the yurinagi! Cover, TWO! Joe argues with the referee, that had to have been three. Fans are thunderous, Roman gets to a corner, and rocks Joe with an uppercut. Joe ducks on, Coquina Clutch! Roman throws him off, SPEAR outta nowhere! Roman wins and is STILL Intercontinental Champion! Will 2018 be the Year of the Big Dog?

 

Kurt Angle is visited by Paul Heyman.

The Advocate wishes to help the General Manager. There is a conspiracy afoot, in case Angle didn’t know. If Kane and Strowman gang up on Brock Lesnar, Lesnar will be “proactive” as opposed to “reactive”. Heyman vows 2018 is the Year of the Beast.

 

The ‘Zo Train’s Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari are in the ring.

They are here on behalf of Enzo Amore with a message. “My name is Enzo Amore, and I am a Certified G and a Bonafide Stud, and you can’t teach that.” How are you doing? Not so great, because Enzo has the flu. Therefore, he cannot defend his Cruiserweight Championship. Fans don’t like that. “What do we have over here? A couple of haters!” Had Enzo been healthy, he would’ve wiped the floor with Cedric Alexander. In fact, Enzo wishes he was healthy just so he could tell Alexander off. Wait, Alexander is here to hear this in person. The Carolina Kid was expecting a championship match and competition. But if Enzo is “sick”, who will step up in his place? The ‘Zo Train talks it out, and Gulak tells Alexander that his competition will be in a tag team match. The ‘Zo Train VS Alexander & “anyone who walks down that ramp”. Alexander doesn’t have many friends, so good luck finding someone to team with you. Oh is that so? Goldust is here!

The Bizarre One may not be a Cruiserweight, but they did say “anyone.”

Cedric Alexander & Goldust VS The ‘Zo Train!

Alexander starts against Daivari at the bell. They tie up, Daivari gets a wristlock but Alexander slips and spins out to throw Daivari. Alexander gives Daivari European Uppercuts then whips, but ducks to handspring headscissors and dropkick Daivari down. Gulak is scared off, Daivari pounces in the distraction and throws Alexander into buckles. Daivari drags Alexander up, snapmare to chinlock. Goldust rallies the fans, Alexander feeds off the energy and fights back against Daivari. He powers Daivari back a bit at a time, but Daivari knocks him down. Daivari trash talks Guldust but gets Alexander’s back elbow! Fans rally again, Goldust fires up, and both men crawl. Hot tags to Gulak and Goldie! Goldust rallies on the Philly Fury, bulldog turns into headlock and punches, then the bulldog. Goldust knocks Daivari down, then rocks Gulak with uppercuts. Fans know “You still got it!” even as Gulak reverses the whip, powerslam! Daivari comes in, takes the atomic drop, then Goldust climbs up for a top rope CROSSBODY onto the ‘Zo Train!

Tag to Alexander, springboard clotheslines! Daivari is thrown out, Goldust gives Gulak an uppercut, Lumbar Check! Alexander & Goldust win! Enzo may be out sick, but he’ll have to defend that title sometime. Will 2018 bring us a new Cruiserweight Champion?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter is in Miami, and reminds everyone that WWE means “Walk With Elias.” That means everything in the WWE is his, and he wants all of us to Walk With Elias! Elias vows to win the Royal Rumble, main event Wrestlemania, and give the performance of a lifetime. His first performance of the New Year is with the talented artists, Bo Dallas and Curt Axel. Bo brings the cowbell, Axel brings the jingle bells.

They dedicate this song to their hero, who returns next week, The Miz! “Should old acquaintance be forgot,” fans boo Axel’s lack of rhythm and Bo’s horrible whistling. Elias takes it from here… “Well I came to Miami, to see, who wanted to walk~. But no one, who is from here, is not worthy, not even The Rock! This city is filled–”

Finn Balor & The Club VS Elias & The Miztourage!

The Extraordinary Man reunites with old friends to ruin the New Year for a trio of NERDS! Will this New Year be Too Sweet?

Raw returns with the match already in  action. Axel backs Finn into a corner and rams in his shoulders before snapmare and neck snap. Cover, TWO, tag to Elias. The Drifter goes after Finn with a kick to the ribs and a haymaker. Elias whips Finn, Finn kicks back but Elias yanks on that bad arm. Elias gives furious body shots and stomps, the ref backs him down but he doesn’t let up. He drags Finn up, Finn blocks the punch and punches back. Finn reaches for his corner but Elias boots him down, cover, TWO. Elias wrenches Finn’s arm on the mat, The Club rallies for their former leader. The fans rally with them, Finn gets up and reaches but Elias brings him down. The fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop woop!” Finn gets up again, trips up Elias and gives him a double stomp to the chest. Both men crawl for their corners, hot tags to Gallows and Dallas! Gallows rallies on Bo, smacks Axel one, YAKUZA Kick for Bo. Gallows keeps teh rally going, another boot to Bo before a big splash! Elias drags him off the cover, but Anderson throws him out. Bo runs, into another YAKUZA Kick, then Axel runs into an uppercut. Tag to Anderson, tag to Finn, MAGIC KILLER!

Then Anderson DIVES onto Axel! Finn climbs up for COUP DE GRACE! Finn & The Club win! Now that’s too sweet.

 

Miami is now Suplex City!

The Big Red Machine wants to “tame the Beast” with the help of the Monster Among Men, but Strowman turned him down. As such, the Advocate must point out yet another stacked deck against his client, the “reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, BROCK! LESNAR!” Like, seriously? Why else would Lesnar have to defend his championship against challengers, plural. Remember how it used to be? “In this corner, the challenger, singular.” But at the Royal Rumble, it’s Beast VS Monster VS Machine. Lesnar must defend against both Strowman and Kane. Everyone knows this trick, don’t they? Strowman simply has to beat Kane so that Lesnar loses the title. Or, Kane simply has to beat Strowman so that Lesnar loses the title. No one has to beat Lesnar so that Lesnar loses the title, because “that just ain’t gonna happen.” Spoiler: Lesnar will still win at the Royal Rumble. It doesn’t matter how you stack the deck against Lesnar. You could line up Strowman, you could line up Kane, you could line up all 30 men in the Royal Rumble! Lesnar will still win. He is the most dominant champion in professional wrestling. Lesnar fears no challenge, challenger, challengers, nor does he fear Monsters and a “Devil’s Favorite Demon”. Mic drop from Heyman, but an appearance by said Devil’s Favorite Demon!

Kane walks down to the ring and stares Lesnar down. Fans chant “Suplex City!” but we get a CHOKE SLAM instead! Kane wants Lesnar to consider what just happened to him, Lesnar sits up and LAUGHS.

Lesnar then clobbers Kane out of the ring, the Raw roster floods the ringside area to keep them apart. Kane and Lesnar keep trying, but they’re kept apart thanks to referees and security. Fans want to “Let them fight!” but the Big Red Machine has already been ushered to the back. Lesnar holds up his championship belt, how much longer will it be his?

 

My Thoughts:

The first Raw of 2018 was a solid episode, but could’ve been a little better. Alexa Bliss’ recurring story of the night being that she was legitimately afraid of Asuka was perfect for both of them. Alexa has been a somewhat cowardly Heel and Asuka should’ve been feared by all on the main roster, so things finally feel right for The Empress. Their match was also solid quality, though it had a slow start. With Asuka getting the win over the Raw Women’s Champion already, perhaps WWE will have this in their back pocket should they decide someone from SmackDown is to win the inaugural Women’s Rumble. Jason Jordan has a great performance both as a character and a wrestler. His arrogance is growing, and it was smart to have Rollins point that out, but then it was also great for Jordan to actually come through and win. His dynamic with The Shield’s Roman and Rollins has a lot of possibilities while Ambrose is out recovering, as does the interactions of Renee Young and Samoa Joe. I’m kinda hoping Renee’s temper gets the better of her the way it did with The Miz when they were all on SmackDown. And Roman VS Joe was also great, as Roman might finally be coming into his own as far as in-ring performance.

I was a little disappointed WOKEN Hardy didn’t just sneak attack Bray again, or that roles weren’t reversed this time. However, kudos to Bray for at least making Apollo Crews look strong even though Bray still won. With the way things are going, chances are the Great War pre-filmed match between Bray and Hardy won’t happen until ‘Mania, but I’m sure they’ll milk their live in-ring encounter during the Rumble for all they can. I was also a little disappointed Enzo Amore was “sick”, but it was still fun to see Goldust have some action on-screen as a Face. Cross-divisional interaction like this is what the Cruiserweights should’ve been doing all of 2017 but maybe now WWE is seeing the error in their ways. But I really enjoyed Strowman essentially winning a handicap match and giving Miami fans what they wanted, as well as everyone getting what they wanted in Balor Club actually becoming a thing. There wasn’t a lot of pomp and circumstance, but hopefully WWE lets The Club gain some momentum while The Shield is a man down. Lastly, while Heyman gives another great promo, the ending with Lesnar & Kane left much to be desired. Lesnar no-selling the Choke Slam is whatever, but not letting things get out of control and go into overtime was a disappointing and anti-climactic ending for what was supposed to be a hyped up segment.

My Score: 7.9/10

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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report & Results! (12/17/18)

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It’s the Raw after TLC, and The Chairman makes a return! What will Vince Kennedy McMahon have in store to “shake things up again?”

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle; changed to…
  • 4v1 Handicap Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable; changed to…
  • 4v1 Handicap No Disqualifications Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable; Angle, Crews, Roode & Gable win, and Baron Corbin is NOT Raw GM.
  • Finn Balor VS Dolph Ziggler; Finn wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge: Dean Ambrose VS Tyler Breeze; Ambrose wins and retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Fatal 4 Way: The Authors of Pain VS The Revival VS The B-Team VS Lucha House Party; The Revival wins and will face Roode & Gable for the Raw Tag Team Championships.
  • Raw Women’s Championship Open Challenge: Ronda Rousey VS ???; changed to…
  • 8 Woman Gauntlet Match: Natalya wins and is the #1 contender to Ronda Rousey’s Raw Women’s Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

Mr. McMahon is here!

The Chairman, Vincent Kenny McMahon, is on the Raw after TLC! And he knows we want to know what’s going on with Raw. Tonight, we find out. Raw has been on the air for over 25 years, an extraordinary feat. And that’s because the show changes with the time. “Despite one man’s brilliance, despite one man’s creativity, despite one man’s vision,” Vince can’t do this alone. Vince can do it without the fans, though. Fans boo, but then Stephanie McMahon appears! The Commissioner, and daughter of Vince, heads to the ring and gives her father a big hug. Fans boo but Vince asks they be nice. And then, Triple H appears! The Game, the COO, joins wife and father-in-law in the ring, and even gives Vince a hug.

Fans are excited to see these three in the ring, but there’s more! Shane McMahon is here! The SmackDown Commissioner joins father, sister and brother-in-law in the ring, and now we have all the power players of WWE at the same time! Stephanie says they’re all out here because they’ve all realized, “we haven’t been doing a good job lately.” They’ve all realized that there’s need for a change, and this will be a fresh start. These four will be “taking back Monday Night Raw”, and even SmackDown. These four know they are the ones ensuring the best possible experience for their fans and empowering their superstars. They will finally give fans what they want. “Something new, something fresh.” There will be new faces, new matches, and now the fans are the Authority! WWE will always be #ThenNowandForever.

But wait, here comes Baron Corbin! The Constable lost his job at TLC when he lost his TLC Match to Braun Strowman, but he seems to think he has another chance. “No one is more excited for a fresh start than me.” Fans rain down the boos and jeers, to which Stephanie makes sure Corbin understands. Corbin knows they’re all upset, but he’s so very excited to have the entire McMahon family in charge of Raw. However, those promises were amazing, but there’s something they didn’t mention. “Fair”. Last night’s TLC Match was not fair, so let’s talk this out. What will Corbin have to say? Find out after the break!

Raw returns and Corbin joins the McMahons and HHH. Fans still boo as he defends the Sacramento crowd does not reflect the WWE Universe as a whole. HHH tells the fans if they keep booing, Corbin can’t finish speaking. Corbin needs to explain himself. HHH asks the fans please stop for a moment. Stephanie wants fans to speak up, Vince is harder of hearing. But the fans eventually calm down, but Corbin riles them up again. Shane actually encourages the booing. Corbin ties to defend that he does his best. Vince tells Corbin he can be louder with his microphone. Fans chant “You Suck!” but Corbin does not take the blame. He says superstars aren’t living up to the challenge. Strowman was not supposed to be at TLC, Corbin was not prepared, and Corbin was not prepared for being outnumbered. If fans think that is fair– They do!

HHH tells Corbin that “as predictable as you are”, Corbin is here to say it’s a “travesty of justice” and hopes they all reconsider Corbin as GM. Is that it? Yes! And Corbin is thankful they’re all here to sort this out. Corbin would’ve won if not for Finn Balor, Kurt Angle and the rest. Are they letting that travesty stand? Or will they overturn the decision? Fans boo but Corbin says “Think of what we can accomplish with you guys backing me.” The McMahon Family huddles up, and then it comes down to a vote. Shane and HHH go with “No”, Stephanie says “No Chance in Hell.” Vince thinks of a way. They huddle up again and perhaps Corbin does deserve a chance. Fans don’t agree, but Corbin is willing to take that chance. Then Corbin will get that chance.

If Corbin wins a match tonight, right now, he’ll be permanent Raw GM! Just beat this man. KURT ANGLE! The previous Raw GM and Olympic Gold Medalist returns to action himself, and gets a chance to shut Corbin up once and for all! Will Corbin fail to make good on this second chance? Or will he find a way to revive his tyranny?

Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle!

Stephanie “remembers” the special guest referee for this match. It’s Heath Slater! The One Ref Band gets to be part of this payback! Slater rings the bell and we begin!

Corbin swings but Angle counter punches! Angle bumps Corbin off buckles to then stomp and punch away! Slater lets Angle continue and whip Corbin corner to corner. Corbin reverses but misses, Angle throws him with a German Suplex! Corbin bails out of the ring while we go to break.

Raw returns and Corbin has Angle down. Corbin eggs Angle on while fans rally up. But then HHH returns to say he “forgot” something else. This is a Handicap Match.

4v1 Handicap Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable!

The rising star AND the Raw Tag Team Champions appear to reinforce Angle! Corbin finds himself flanked by the people he wronged, and now they’re getting further payback! Roode, Gable & Apollo rain down hands and stomps, then feed Corbin to Angle. Angle drags Corbin up for another German Suplex! And another! And the hat trick! Angle tags in Gable, and Gable drags Corbin up for his own German Suplex! Gable tags Roode, and the tag champs coordinate to double whip. Roode whips Gable to whip Roode in for a clothesline! Tag to Apollo for a big enziguri! Corbin bails out again but he can’t get away from Apollo and the champs! They drag him back to ringside, tossing him over barriers!

Gable puts Corbin in and Angle returns. The four of them surround Corbin, but look to Slater. Slater literally looks the other way as they stomp Corbin out! But now Shane O’Mac appears, and says he was so pumped to be in Sacramento, he “forgot” this is No Disqualifications!

4v1 Handicap No Disqualifications Match: Baron Corbin VS Kurt Angle, Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable!

Now the foursome don’t have to worry about Slater’s disapproval. In fact, Slater gets in on the action! Slater stomps Corbin while the others get chairs! Angle, Gable, Roode & Apollo repeat last night’s humiliation with new chair shots! They jab, they SMACK, repeat! Fans love seeing Corbin getting what he deserves! But “We Want Tables!” Gable climbs while Roode brings Corbin up, GLORIOUS Combination! Apollo climbs for the frog splash! They bring Corbin up and feed him to Angle’s Olympic Slam! Cover, Angle’s team wins!

Winner: Team Angle, Kurt Angle pinning; Corbin is NOT Raw GM

Finally, the dictatorship of Constable Corbin ends! The Lone Wolf really was all alone against his “disgruntled employees”, and now he is out of power! Who will take his place in this new Raw?

But the punishment isn’t over! Apollo, Gable & Roode set a table up in the ring, and everyone but Corbin is grinning. They haul Corbin up again, for an Olympic Slam through the table!! Now the celebration begins!

 

John Cena wins the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.

The Face that Runs the Place is honored to receive this award, but he wouldn’t win this award without being a friend and philanthropist to so many.

 

Finn Balor VS Dolph Ziggler!

The Extraordinary Man helped The Show-Off to stick it to the Scottish Psychopath. And Ziggler would return the favor, mostly to stick it to Drew McIntyre. However, neither man is thankful for the other’s help, and look to show what they can do on their own. Who will gain some major momentum as we approach the New Year?

The bell rings and the two circle. Fans are already fired up as they tie up. Finn and Ziggler go around and Ziggler puts Finn on the ropes. Ziggler backs off but gives a shove. They tie up again and Ziggler gets a headlock. Finn goes to power out but Ziggler holds on. Ziggler grinds and gets the takedown. Finn moves around to make it a cover, TWO! Ziggler keeps on Finn with the headlock, but fans rally. Finn gets up and powers out now, then things speed up. Finn arm-drags Ziggler around and into an armlock. Ziggler quickly headscissors but Finn quickly pops out, and fans cheer this close match-up. Finn kicks low, snapmares and kicks Ziggler, then brings him up again. Finn whips and dropkicks Ziggler down! Ziggler bails out while fans cheer Finn. Finn soaks it in as we go to break.

Raw returns and Ziggler whips Finn. Finn reverses but Ziggler sunset flips. Finn rolls through to dropkick! Both men are down as Finn clutches his leg. Finn gets up and to a corner, and boots Ziggler on the way in. Ziggler keeps after Finn but Finn counter punches and chops him! Finn whips but Ziggler reverses, only for Finn to run him over with forearms! Finn fires up and gets a takedown to a double stomp! Fans fire up as Finn aims at Ziggler. Finn runs out but the Slingblade is rolled up! TWO, and Ziggler uppercuts Finn. Ziggler taunts Finn, but misses the Famouser, to get the elbow drop DDT! Cover, TWO! Finn keeps moving as he aims at Ziggler again. Finn runs at Ziggler, and hits the Slingblade! He takes aim again, but the shotgun dropkick goes into the Satellite DDT! Cover, TWO!

Both men are down but fans rally up. Ziggler sits up but Finn gets to a corner. Ziggler runs but the ZigZag is denied. Finn goes to the apron and swing kicks Ziggler down! Finn climbs but Ziggler trips him up! Ziggler throws Finn into the post! ZIGZAG!! Cover, TWO!! Ziggler is shocked and sore, but he gets up in a corner. He takes aim, but here comes McIntyre! Ziggler kicks McIntyre, then leaps out! McIntyre catches Ziggler but they still brawl it out! McIntyre shoves Ziggler but Finn FLIES! Ziggler clobbers Finn! Ziggler puts Finn in, FAMOUSER! Cover, TWO!! Finn lives and the match continues! Fans rally for Finn while he and Ziggler stir. Ziggler stands first, tunes it up, but gets another Slingblade! Finn aims again, but McIntyre attacks!

Winner: Finn Balor, by disqualification

The Scottish Terminator targets both thorns in his side as he throws Finn out and gives Ziggler the Glasgow Kiss headbutt! McIntyre rains rights down on Ziggler, then yanks him right up for a Claymore! McIntyre aims at Finn, Claymore! Fans boo and jeer McIntyre as he seethes all the way to the stage. Will McIntyre eliminate Ziggler and Finn on the road to the Royal Rumble?

 

Dean Ambrose heads to the ring!

The Lunatic has his siren and his gas-mask wearing henchmen accompany him and his newly won WWE Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose picks up a mic while fans boo and jeer. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Fans should show more respect! But they boo. “You disgusting little people” should be bowing to Ambrose, because he made his prediction come true. Rollins spun out of control, dropped the ball in the fourth quarter and choked. Rollins failed himself and failed the fans. Ambrose doesn’t need respect, because he has the belt. And it wasn’t too long ago that Rollins had two belts, now he has none. But Ambrose is just getting started. When Ambrose is done, Rollins will truly have nothing!

Ambrose promises to take Rollins’ career, take Rollins reputation and drag it through the mud! But there’s another option. “The Moral Compass” has an obligation. Rollins can come out here and be a man of character and integrity to admit Ambrose was right! Rollins, tell everyone that Ambrose was right! Fans boo while Ambrose waits. They chant “Burn It Down!” but Rollins doesn’t appear. Ambrose waits but has a new idea. “How about an open challenge?” But not for the title, Rollins doesn’t deserve it. But maybe Rollins wants to take out his anger. Ambrose dares Rollins to appear, but he doesn’t. This proves Rollins is no hero, he’s “a selfish little whiner who always has to get his way.” Rollins lost and is too ashamed to show his face.

So Ambrose moves on to a third idea: Ambrose will stay a page from the playbook and actually give an Open Challenge for the title, to anyone not named Seth Rollins. And out comes… Tyler Breeze!

WWE Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge: Dean Ambrose VS Tyler Breeze!

Prince Pretty wants his shot and this is his chance! Can Breeze make that Intercontinental Championship gorgeous? Or will Ambrose make an example out of him?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin! Ambrose goes after Breeze but Breeze is ready! Breeze throws hands, whips but Ambrose reverses. Breeze hits big forearms then stomps away in a corner! He backs off at 4 and dropkicks Ambrose! Breeze clotheslines Ambrose out! Prince Pretty is fired up while we go to break!

Raw returns and Ambrose stomps Breeze out. Ambrose laces up the legs and puts Breeze in a modified Queen Angelito stretch. Breeze endures and crawls for ropes. Ambrose grabs that arm to stomp it! Breeze crawls but Ambrose is on him with a whip. Ambrose elbows Breeze down, covers, TWO! Ambrose keeps on Breeze with a chinlock. Fans rally up as Breeze endures. Breeze fights his way up but Ambrose wrangles him down hard! Ambrose keeps Breeze grounded, but fans rally for Breeze. Breeze gets up but Ambrose knees low. Ambrose clubs and scoops Breeze, but Breeze slips out to enziguri! Ambrose is dazed, and Breeze gets up to huricanrana! To a cover, TWO! Breeze enziguris from a corner, then sends Ambrose into post! Cover, TWO!

Breeze hits the Beauty Shot heel kick! But Ambrose gets up again so Breeze climbs up. Breeze leaps, big crossbody! Cover, TWO! SUPER MODEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Ambrose survives Breeze’s best, but he is dazed. Breeze gets up and stalks Ambrose. Breeze brings him around but the Unprettier is denied. Dirty Deeds! Cover, Ambrose wins!

Winner: Dean Ambrose, by pinfall; still WWE Intercontinental Champion

The Lunatic says that is the performance of a champion with character! Rollins didn’t show because Rollins– “BURN IT DOWN!” But where is Rollins?! He’s one of the gas-mask men!! Rollins SUPERKICKS Ambrose down! And then throws fast hands from all sides! The other henchmen hurry in but Rollins fights them off. Ambrose runs away with the belt while Rollins tosses the henchmen away, and SUPERKICKS another! Rollins tells Ambrose to bring the fight, but Ambrose continues his retreat. Will Ambrose back up his words and be brave enough to face The Kingslayer?

 

Backstage interview with Shane McMahon.

The McMahons promise a fresh start, but what does that mean? Fresh faces and new opportunities! There will be tough decisions to make, but here comes Drake Maverick. These two finally meet, and Maverick introduces the “rightful” Raw Tag Team Champions, Akam & Rezar. Maverick says those titles were stolen from them. But now that the McMahon Family is here, they’ll make this right. Authors of Pain get their title rematches tonight. Now, now, hold on. The mandatory rematch clause Maverick is citing is “antiquated”, Corbin handed AoP those titles in the first place. Let’s create an opportunity. But they’re the former champions! Shane suggests AoP take on The B-Team, The Revival and… Lucha House Party! Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender’s match! Shane wishes them luck, but the AoP are just upset. Will they make the best of this huge opportunity?

 

WWE takes a look at the new faces coming to the main roster!

Monsters, Beasts, Vipers, Giants. None of them compare to the Leviathan! Lars Sullivan is a dominate Freak and promises to destroy the roster.

The Lady of NXT, the Model Soldier, Lacey Evans is armed with a Woman’s Right to hit hard and class it up.

#SteaksAndWeights fuel Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic in tag team wrestling! They have a “damn good time” in the ring, and they’re COMIIIIN’!

The Loony Lass loves to play! SAnitY’s Twisted Sister finally joins her chaotic crew, who wants to play?

The Top One Percent prepares for #VictoryAfterVictory on the main roster! Will he find brand new success as he jumps from #NX3 to TV?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: The Almighty Bobby Lashley.”

Lashley and Lio Rush are in the ring, parodying Elias’ usual greeting and performance. These two will give the fans something they’ve never seen before. It turns out Elias isn’t the only gifted guitarist. The greatest music Elias ever heard was a guitar smashing into his back at the hands of Bobby Lashley! And be honest, no one here wants to hear another of Elias’ boring songs. They’re all here to witness a “true work of art.” And that is exactly what Lashley will give you. But before that, please silence phones, hold applause, and shut your mouths!

Lashley gets up with the mangled guitar, and starts posing. The double biceps, the side chest. Comparing Lashley to Elias is like comparing the Golden State Warriors to the Sacramento Kings. But of course, there’s always the “favorite pose”, the double glutes! Lio and Lashley laugh it up, but “Ladies and gentlemen, Elias.” The Drifter SMACKS Lashley with a guitar! Lashley gets back up but Elias gets away. There won’t be an encore tonight, but when will these two create another smash hit together?

 

Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Fatal 4 Way: The Authors of Pain VS The Revival VS The B-Team VS Lucha House Party!

Drake Maverick knows Akam & Rezar feel robbed over the feud they had with Roode & Gable, but considering they got those titles through unfair means to begin with, they have no automatic right to a rematch. Can they rip their way through Dash & Dawson, Axel & Dallas, and the luchadores of 205 Live? Or will one of those other teams step up to the GLORIOUS challenge instead?

The teams sort out and we start with Curt Axel and Lince Dorado. They circle but Axel stays back when Lince handsprings. “Lucha! Lucha!” starts, as do the matracas. But “B-Team! B-Team! GO GO GO!” counters. The chants duel but Axel swings into a dropkick! Lince tags Kalisto and they combine for an alley-oop dropkick! Scott Dawson tags in and now The Revival revive their feud with LHP. Dawson slaps Kalisto, Kalisto fires off forearms! They brawl, and Dawson rocks Kalisto with a right. Dawson wrenches the arm and kicks Kalisto to the ropes. Dawson chops Kalisto on the ropes, but keeps his distance from AoP. He bumps Kalisto off buckles and gives European Uppercuts. Dawson mocks the lucha chant, then suplexes Kalisto. He drops an elbow, then tags Dash Wilder.

The Revival go after Kalisto together but they get a double DDT! Kalisto tags Lince, and hist the elevated splash! Lince hits the planking splash, covers, TWO! Dash scrambles and Akam tags in. Lince goes after Akam but Akam shoves him away. Lince dropkicks but Akam tags Rezar, for a pop-up and tackle into a corner! AoP mug Lince while we go to break.

Raw returns as Dash has Lince in a Gory Special! Lince endures as fans chant, but Dash reaches back to go after the mask. Dash mocks the lucha chant, but Lince pops out to arm-drag Dash! Axel tags in, Dash gets an enziguri! Axel goes after Lince but Lince handsprings to the Golden Rewind! Both Lince and Axel are down and fans rally up. Chants duel while Axel crawls. Hot tags to Bo Dallas and Kalisto! Kalisto springboards and crossbodies! Kalisto kicks and whips, Bo reverses but Kalisto springboards for a corkscrew crossbody! Fans fire up with the Lucha Dragon as he tackles Bo in a corner. Axel returns but gets the tornado DDT! Kalisto kicks Bo then whips, but Bo reverses. Dawson tags in and goes after Kalisto to throw him out. Dawson slaps Bo but Bo fires off hands!

Bo boots and clotheslines Dawson, then brings him up for the draping neckbreaker! Cover, but Dash breaks it up! Dash takes his time leaving, but Kalisto comes in to tilt-o-whirl DDT Dash down! Axel swings but gets a kick! Kalisto dodges Rezar, Bo and Dawson clothesline him out! But then Akam grabs them both, only to get haymakers. Akam shoves them back but is sent out. Lucha House Party are LAUNCHED onto both AoP! Bo and Dawson are alone, Dawson rolls Bo up but Bo rolls him back! Cover, TWO! Small package, TWO! Dawson scoops but gets another cradle, TWO! Bo shoves Dawson but Dash tags in. SHATTER MACHINE! Cover, The Revival win!!

Winners: The Revival, Dash Wilder pinning; new Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders

#SayYeah! Now that Dash & Dawson got a fair shake, they can get another shot at those tag titles! Will they be #ReadyWillingAndGLORIOUS against Roode & Gable?

 

Backstage interview with Seth Rollins!

The Architect got back at Ambrose just a bit earlier, but he still feels rough from last night’s “disaster.” Personally, professionally, it was all wrong. He let Ambrose get in his head and take that title, and Rollins heard the crowd. Rollins takes the blame for all of that, and vows to move forward. This isn’t about his in-ring performance or titles, this is his life! “This is everything that I’ve dedicated everything to!” It’s going off the rails, but Rollins will right the ship by ending Ambrose.

But Baron Corbin comes over, and tells Rollins that everyone thought he was doing great until Rollins had to speak up. Rollins goaded Corbin into a match, Rollins is why Strowman won, and Rollins is why the McMahons are back in charge. Ambrose was right. And Corbin would take Rollins title, if Ambrose hadn’t already done that. Rollins hits Corbin! The Lone Wolf gets further comeuppance, but when will the Lunatic get his?

 

Ronda Rousey is here!

And the Baddest Woman on the Planet is still Raw Women’s Champion after a physical match with Nia Jax! Ronda denied the #FaceBreaker her victory, but she didn’t stop there. She got her payback on The Queen, Charlotte Flair, and The Man, Becky Lynch, by throwing them off their ladder in the SmackDown Women’s Championship TLC Match! The Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka, has the throne now, but what does that mean for both shows now?

Ronda smiles as fans duel. She says “I told Nia Jax she could kiss that right hand she’s so proud of good-bye. I told Charlotte Flair I was going to write the next chapter of our story. And I told Becky Lynch I am the last woman on Earth she should provoke.” Ronda didn’t come out here to justify her actions, but to define what a real champion is. “A real champion is so much more than just a title someone puts in front of your name or an object you can hold”. It’s so much more than the winner of a match. A real champion represents the limit of human potential, physically, mentally and morally. A real champion is the best the human race has to offer, and steps up to the challenge. That is why Ronda is here tonight!

Fans still duel as Ronda suggests a new tradition. Every Raw after a PPV, the champion shows up no matter what to defend their title! Ronda wants a fight, this is her open challenge, so who wants a shot!?

Raw Women’s Championship Open Challenge: Ronda Rousey VS ???

There’s a traffic jam at gorilla position! So many women want their shot at Ronda, the production team can’t figure out what song to play! Stephanie McMahon leads them out in front of the fans, microphone in hand. Stephanie lets Ronda know that everyone wants their shot. And they’re deserving, but there won’t be any favorites anymore. These women will all earn their shot, in a Gauntlet Match! And that’s right now! And we start with Alicia Fox, against Bayley!

8 Woman Gauntlet Match!

Who will be the last woman left to challenge Ronda for her title?!

Bayley circles with Alicia and tie up. Bayley rolls Alicia, ONE. Alicia backs off to circle with Bayley again. They tie up and Bayley gets an arm wrench. She brings Alicia down and then Mahistrols, TWO! Alicia scrambles to ropes for safety, and fans boo as she takes her time getting up. Alicia kicks low, still holding the ropes, then throws forearms. She throws Bayley down by her hair, covers, ONE. Alicia keeps on Bayley in a corner for buckle bumps, then stomps her in another corner. She backs off to snapmare Bayley to a cover. ONE, but Alicia wraps on a chinlock. Fans rally up and Bayley feeds off the energy. Alicia clubs Bayley but misses the scissor kick to get a saido suplex! Cover, TWO! Alicia runs away again and we go to break.

Raw returns as Alicia stomps Bayley. Alicia kicks Bayley down and around at the ropes. Bayley gets to a corner, Alicia throws forearms. Alicia taunts Bayley to whip her corner to corner. Bayley slips to the apron and shoulders in. She slides under to sunset flip, TWO! Alicia clobbers Bayley quick! Alicia chokes Bayley on the ropes but backs off at 4. She pulls on Bayley’s ponytail, then throws more forearms. Bayley kicks and kicks, then throws forearms. Alicia kicks low but fans rally for Bayley. Alicia whips Bayley hard into buckles! Cover, TWO! Alicia keeps her cool, but then she starts slapping Bayley around in the corner. Bayley pushes Alicia away then flapjacks her on the buckles! Bayley whips but Alicia reverses, but Bayley goes up and over. But Bayley’s ankle gives out, and Alicia boots her down! Cover, but Bayley reverses it, Bayley ELIMINATES Alicia!!

Dana Brooke comes out now, and hurries to capitalize. She goes after Bayley with an enziguri! Dana handsprings corner to corner for the elbow! Cover, TWO! Dana tries again, TWO! Dana rains rights down because she wants this chance. She puts Bayley in a body scissor squeeze and trash talks, but Bayley fights out. Bayley makes it a cover, TWO! Dana chop blocks the bad leg! The ref checks on Bayley, but she won’t quit. Dana bumps Bayley off buckles and stomps a mudhole. Dana whips but Bayley can’t even run on the leg. Cover, TWO! Dana keeps on Bayley with a chinlock but fans rally. Bayley endures the thrashing, and fights her way up. Dana throws her back down by her hair, then covers. TWO, Dana tries again, TWO!

Dana grows frustrated but she keeps on Bayley in a corner. She stomps in another mudhole, then backs off at 4. Dana taunts Bayley, but gets a Bayley2Belly! Cover, Bayley ELIMINATES Dana! The Huggable One continues in this Gauntlet while we go to break!

Raw returns and Bayley’s third opponent is Mickie James. Mickie has Bayley in a chinlock but Bayley fights her way up. Bayley fights back but Mickie knees low. Mickie whips Bayley to a corner, but runs into a boot! Bayley runs out but into a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Mickie is frustrated that a beat up Bayley is still going. Ronda watches backstage as Mickie toys with Bayley. Mickie drags Bayley up to choke her on the ropes. She stops at 4, but runs, only to miss and get ropes! Bayley covers, TWO! Mickie brings Bayley up and kicks, but then runs and misses, Bayley rolls her up! TWO, and Mickie flapjacks Bayley! Mickie kips up and heads up top. Bayley stands, Mickie hits the flying seated senton! Cover, TWO and Bayley sunset flips, TWO! Mickie high stacks, TWO, roundhouse! Cover, TWO! Bayley still lives!

Mickie grows frustrated, but aim to finish this. Bayley slowly stands, but denies the Mick-DDT to a saido suplex! Fans fire up with Bayley, but Mickie kicks her out of the ring. Mickie builds speed, to slide, but Bayley spins her around for a big knee! Bayley grits her teeth as she heads back up. Bayley has a bad footing on the ropes but she still elbows Mickie. She leaps for a crossbody, but can’t keep the cover! Mickie gets to a corner, Bayley runs in for a big knee! Bayley tosses Mickie out to climb back up. Bayley leaps, Macho Elbow! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Mickie survives and Bayley grows frustrated. Bayley gets up and goes after Mickie but gets body shots. Mickie steps in for a hotshot! Bayley fires herself up, but Mickie grabs hair! Bayley powers Mickie back, but Mickie elbows Bayley.

Mickie goes for the Mickanrana but is put on the apron. Mickie hits back and bumps Bayley off buckles! The Mick-DDT hits! Cover, Mickie ELIMINATES Bayley! But there’s no rest for the wicked, Ember Moon heads in! Mickie dropkicks Ember right as she slides into the ring! Mickie stomps away but backs off at 4. Ember gets up but Mickie kicks her to a corner. Mickie grinds her boot in but stops at 4. Ember gasps for air but Mickie is on her with a slap. Ember and Mickie kick each other, Mickie whips but Ember flips through the hip toss to arm-drag! Mickie runs into a leg sweep, Ember misses the dropkick! Mickie covers, TWO! Ember blocks a kick but gets a kick. Mickie runs, but she misses. Ember runs, springboard crossbody! Cover, TWO!

Mickie slides out, because she wants a time-out. But Ember doesn’t give her one. ember runs and slides out, but Mickie kicks her on the return. Mickie wants a draping DDT but Ember fights her off. Mickie slides out and wants a bomb! Ember holds on for dear life and fights Mickie off, but Mickie trips her up! Ember hits apron while we go to break.

Raw returns and Ember slams Mickie! Both women are down but stirring. Mickie throws a forearm but Ember throws one back. Ember throws more forearms, then ducks to swing. Mickie dodges but Ember dodges and mule kicks, Ember enziguris! High stack cover, TWO! Ronda still watches backstage as Mickie gets to a corner. Ember runs in but misses, and Mickie rolls her up. She uses ropes but gets caught! The referee reprimands Mickie, but Mickie still flapjacks Ember! Mickie kips up again, then heads up top. Mickie leaps, but into a code breaker!! Ember hurries up top now, for the ECLIPSE! Cover, Ember ELIMINATES Mickie! But here comes The Queen of Harts! Natalya hits the ring but Ember rolls her up, TWO!

Natty gets Ember down, but the Sharpshooter is denied. Ember ducks the discus to SUPERKICK Natty! Cover, TWO! Ember drags Natty up into a chinlock but Natty endures. Natty works her way up and fights out, but Ember kicks her back. Ember brings Natty up to trap an arm in the standing chinlock. Natty endures the modified stretch, even as Ember clubs her on the back. Natty fights out and fireman’s carry, but Ember fights out. Ember throws forearms, then whips, but Natty reverses. Natty runs into a boot, and Ember hops up. Ember brings Natty over, tornado snap suplex! Cover, TWO! Ember clubs Natty again, then heads up top. Natty stands and gets clear of the Eclipse, to discus clothesline Ember! Cover, TWO!! The War Goddess survives and the Queen of Harts is frustrated.

Natty goes for legs but Ember fights her off. Cradle, TWO! Natty rolls Ember up, Natty ELIMINATES Ember!! Natty shocks Sacramento, but The Riott Squad heads out together. Will it be a rematch of TLC to determine a #1 Contender? We’ll find out after the break.

Raw returns and Ruby has Natty in a chinlock. Natty endures and pries her way out of the chinlock, but Ruby puts on body scissors. Liv and Sarah smirk as Ruby squeezes Natty. Natty turns around to club Ruby, so Ruby slaps Natty! Ruby wraps Natty in a guillotine now, but Natty still endures. Natty powers up and powers Ruby off with a scoop slam! Fans fire up as Natty and Ruby double clothesline! Both Ruby and Natty are down but the Squad coach Ruby up. Ruby gets up first and kicks Natty in the ribs! Ruby drags Natty up to throw her down, then brings Natty up to bump her off buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Natty but stops at 3. Natty rolls her up! TWO, and Ruby clobbers Natty again. Cover, TWO!

Ruby grows frustrated, but puts Natty in a cravat. Natty endures and fights her way back up. Natty arm-drags Ruby off, but gets a knee to the chin! Ruby throws Natty down, covers, TWO! Ruby keeps her cool, and toys with Natty, but Natty slaps her! Natty gets up but Ruby rolls her, TWO! Natty boots Ruby down, then catches her breath. She scoops Ruby but Ruby sunset flips, TWO! Natty dropkicks Ruby down! Ruby and Natty are slow to get up but Natty rallies with ax handles and lariats. Natty kicks low, then fires the fans up with a snap suplex! And another! Natty slaps Ruby then whips her to a corner. Discus meets STO! Ruby positions Natty in the drop zone then climbs up. The Squad cheer on the back senton, but it misses! Roll up, Natty ELIMINATES Ruby!

But it’s Boss Time! Sasha Banks goes at Natty, and rallies the moment she hits the ring! She blocks a kick to give a knee, then turns Natty sideways in the corner. Stock Drop knees! Cover, TWO! Natty survives but The Boss keeps her focus. Sasha puts up the four and says she wants that belt, but Natty powers her to a corner! Natty rams her shoulder in but then misses. Sasha goes up, but Natty gets under to roll her up! TWO! Sasha runs, sunset flip DDT! Cover, TWO!! Natty still lives and this match continues, after one more break!

Raw returns and both women are down. A 10 count begins, and Sasha sits up at 6. She stands at 7 and Natty follows. Natty blocks the kick to trip Sasha up, then she walks all over her to dropkick! Cover, TWO! Natty fires up the fans as she brings Sasha around. She wants the Sharpshooter but is denied with a roll up, TWO! Sasha backslides, TWO! Sasha knees Natty but Natty discus clotheslines! Cover, TWO!! Natty grows frustrated, but she wants that Sharpshooter. And she gets it! Sasha endures as Natty drags her from ropes! Fans fire up and duel as Sasha crawls. Sasha reaches but Natty drags her away again! Natty sits down deep but Sasha gets a second gas, to roll Natty into buckles! Both women are down and the ref checks on them.

Fans rally up as both women are okay to continue. Natty goes for the legs but Sasha rolls through to a Half Crab! Natty endures, crawls and reaches! Sasha shifts to the Rings of Saturn, to a cover, TWO! Bank Statement crossface!! Natty endures as Sasha pulls back hard! Natty powers Sasha around, but Sasha holds on. Fireman’s carry, but Sasha slips off. Natty throws Sasha with a German Suplex! Fans rally and duel while both women stir. Sasha gets to a corner, but Natty stands up. Natty runs in, but into a boot! Sasha elbows Natty away, then hops up. She leaps, Meteora! Cover, TWO!! Natty lives and Sasha can’t believe it! Sasha and Natty slowly stand, and Sasha wants the backstabber. Natty bucks her off, but walks into a takedown!

Sasha wants the crossface but Natty arm-drags her off. Sasha runs and rolls again, but into an inverted bomb! Natty gets the legs, Sharpshooter is on! Sasha endures as she’s far away, and TAPS! Natty wins the Gauntlet!!

Winner: Natalya, by submission; will face Ronda Rousey for the title next week

The Queen of Harts just won herself the best Christmas present ever! Natty shows Sasha respect, but here comes Ronda to congratulate her friend. Natty and Ronda celebrate this accomplishment together, but now friends must become opponents. Ronda offers a handshake, and Natty accepts it. Will friends stay friends after their title match?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Well this wasn’t what I expected from a post-PPV Raw. And sadly it wasn’t worth the hype. Vince and the McMahon family promised change and finally giving fans what we want, but this first night doesn’t quite give that impression. The only change might’ve been that there were way more commercials than I can remember being on a Raw. Did WWE need to pay some bills or something? This would’ve been a better Raw just on the virtue of keeping the flow going with less ads and more action. It’s not like having more of those commercials changed how Raw actually ran, either. The opening was a talk segment to give us this supposed “change”, and Vince’s time on his own show to shine. The only reason it wasn’t a consecutive 20 minutes is because a commercial happened 5 minutes in.

Now, I did appreciate that the McMahons were the Faces in this scenario, and gave Corbin further comeuppance. It was proper karma with the running gag of “remembering” things. However, another “change” seems to be we won’t get Angle back as GM or even someone new, like a rumored WOKEN Hardy. But perhaps if that means HHH is technically in charge, there’s a sliver of hope he’ll get this thing running as it should. In fact, Finn VS Ziggler was a really great match, but I am a bit disappointed McIntyre interfered. We’ve already been told there will be a Triple Threat for this story on the Christmas Eve edition, so that sounds like a good time. And for those who don’t already know, the Christmas Eve Raw will be recorded TONIGHT and put on tape delay. I don’t know if the live audience is lucky or being tortured…

There are also these “new faces” to address. The NXT Call-Ups have been announced in advance, but honestly I hope most of them go to SmackDown. We’ll have to wait and see how the “fresh start” affects SmackDown, but I’d imagine SmackDown will still be just as good as it was before. Therefore, they’d be able to use Lacey Evans, Heavy Machinery and EC3 much better than Raw. In fact, we were all worried about what Faces could face the Heel Daniel Bryan, maybe The Top One Percent can be that Face.

It seems Tyler Breeze is Mr. Open Challenge, with having gone back to NXT long enough to challenge Ricochet then returning to Raw to answer Ambrose’s Open Challenge. Rollins being in disguise as a gas-mask man was a standard twist, but still fitting of the story. If only Rollins interfered during the match to cost Ambrose the title. But perhaps that in itself proves Ambrose right: Rollins won’t go after Ambrose unless he can get the title back. Rollins VS Corbin will be the Christmas Eve match, and perhaps Ambrose attacks him back to keep pace. I wonder if their title rematch would be at Royal Rumble to keep them out of the Royal Rumble match… Perhaps that’s for the best if Rollins isn’t going to win to then challenge for the Universal Championship.

A Fatal 4 Way tag to determine contenders was good, and the match itself was alright. I’m sure many fans are happy that The Revival are finally back in the title scene, and I for one am glad the Raw Tag Division didn’t have to worry about pee jokes and lucha rule inaccuracies. Revival VS Gable & Roode should be a good one, if they’re allowed to go NXT level with HHH behind the wheel. Fans would be even more amazed if The Revival finally won. At the same time, we’re getting some Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn “returning soon” hype, I wonder if they finally aim for tag titles on top of singles. It’d make a lot of sense to me, at least, as Kevin would get his Grand Slam with the help of his best friend.

It seems the Raw Women’s Division has finally turned the corner to match up to SmackDown’s. Ronda wanted a match already, and the Gauntlet was a great surprise. I am genuinely surprised but pleased that Natalya is facing Ronda “next week” rather than Sasha Banks. There is story to be had with Ronda VS Raw’s NXT Horsewomen, but everyone was expecting Ronda VS Natty to have happened at some point, so this seems like a good a time as any. Ronda VS Natty, tired as they both might be, will still be a solid match, and I just hope that there’s no interference. At least not until the title match gets to a really hot point. The Riott Squad or the Samoan Dynasty might be expected given Raw stories, but I’m thinking it should be Charlotte and Becky for payback from TLC to move that story forward.

My Score: 7.7/10

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The Chairshot Match Of The Year Final Match Pool

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How did the last week of voting pan out for Second Chance and November? Only one way to find out. Take a look at our 12 MOTY matches and let’s see where Andrew’s 5 votes are going.






Last week was our final vote to round out the 12 matches in the Match of the Year pool.  Since we love Top 5s here, the idea will be for everyone to whittle the 12, down to their 5 favorite, and then we get our final 5 to vote on.

Let’s see what matches we have in our MOTY Pool:

  • January – NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas(c)
  • February – New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs SANADA
  • March – NJPW Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
  • April – NXT Takeover NOLA NXT Championship: Andrade Almas(c) vs Aleister Black
  • May – WWE Backlash Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins(c) vs The Miz
  • June – NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs Kenny Omega
  • July – G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
  • August – G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
  • September – All In NWA Championship Match: Cody vs Nick Aldis(c)
  • October – Evolution SmackDown Women’s Title Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch(c) vs Charlotte
  • November – NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship Match: Velveteen Dream vs Tommaso Ciampa (c)
  • December/Second Chance – Impact Wrestling Redemption World Championship Triple Threat: Fenix vs Austin Aries (c) vs Pentagon Jr

Now as you can see, the overall list has some decent balance. Five from New Japan and WWE, along with 2 outlier matches. So it’s not heavily tipped one way or the other.

For the rest of this article I’ll just list out my 5 picks from this list, and then we can get to everyone’s votes.

 

5. NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Velveteen Dream

This makes my Top 5 from our MOTY pool because this was just a good combination of all things wrestling. Solid wrestling, homages, callbacks, high suspense moments, big crowd reactions…just everything. Sure it might not have been a work rate master piece, but there’s more to wrestling than work rate.

 

4. NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kenny Omega

This was almost a given since it already won Tokyo Sports Best Bout, which marks the fifth year in a row Okada was involved in the Best Bout, and the first time since Kenta Kobashi and Mitsuharu Misawa that the same pairing won back to back. Though it wasn’t the best of their four matches in my opinion, you can’t overlook the storyline ramifications.

We saw this match finish off the ascent of Kenny Omega, as well as, send Kazuchika Okada into some goofy balloon loving spiral. Love or hate the Elite, this story had a lot of attention and was told pretty damn well.

 

3. All In NWA Championship: Cody vs Nick Aldis (c)

In a similar vein to the Okada/Omega match, this had a lot of story significance. Cody challenging for all of the World Championships he could was one, him trying to be the first second generation wrestler to capture the NWA Championship was another and of course, the emotions tied with Dusty was the one most of us cared about.

As I said when I reviewed All In, this match was a love letter to his father. Yes it was a very old school southern style match. Obvious blade jobs, a goofy possible knock out for the DDP pop, Brandi putting herself in the way of a move to protect her husband, this was all love. It was a match I think most old school fans would enjoy, and unless you really need flips or work rate, this match evoked some emotion out of most watchers.

This is wrestling.

 

2. NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas (c)

An early contender that still holds up nicely. This was the first match since Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura to really just blow me away. They both turned it up, the double knees into the post looked brutal and the whole thing was a great culmination of Andrade’s character.

It was after this match, most of us were sold that he figured it out and would be huge. Now we just have to hope Vince sees it too.

 

1. G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

It’s not often we get a match where one of the competitors considers the other one God. Ibushi and Tanahashi have immense respect for each other, and they also have an undeniable chemistry. Ibushi gets a lot labels as a “flippy shit” wrestler, but he sells wonderfully and knows how to tell a story in the ring.

On top of Ibushi’s athletic prowess and overall wrestling ability, we couple that with Tanahashi’s masterful pacing and his own artistic way of building a match…this was just poetry in motion. It definitely helps this is my personal number 1 match all year, so of course I was ecstatic that it made The Chairshot MOTY pool. Beautiful match.

 

Thoughts:

If you didn’t partake much in the match votes leading up to this pool, now’s you’re chance to make your voice heard. Vote for your Top 5, and then we can have the final vote starting next week, for our second Chairshot MOTY. Our first ever vote went to, NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada (c).

Will New Japan end up winning this year also?






What are your Top 5 out of these 12? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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