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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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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (3/5/21)

Will the new wave get payback on the OG?

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Coverage 205 2021

Will Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari put their money where their mouths are?

After the back and forth, ambushes and cheating, the 205 Live OG will have to face Jake Atlas & August Grey head-on, 2v2! Will the new wave wash #PremierDinero away and finally take over the Cruiserweight Division?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Jake Atlas & August Grey; Atlas & Grey win.
  • Mansoor VS Curt Stallion; Mansoor wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Jake Atlas & August Grey!

To think, all of this started because the Premier Athlete made sure the Persian Lion didn’t lose any money in his own “Daivari Dinero Division” challenge series. Things escalated from there, and now we have another showdown of 205 Live OG and Cruiserweight new wave! But will Nese & Daivari wish they’d just footed the bill back when they had the chance?

The teams sort out and #RetroAG starts with Daivari. They tie up, Daivari waistlocks and trips Grey to then step all over him. Daivari laughs but runs away to the corner before Grey rushes him. Grey waits, Daivari comes back but then tags Nese. Nese and Grey circle, Daivari swipes at Grey but Nese rolls Grey up! ONE, Grey wrenches and has a hammerlock. Nese fights up, gets a leg, gets a cover, ONE! Grey has the arm again and is back on the hammerlock! Fans cheer, Grey shifts to a grounded cording hold then facelock. Grey brings Nese up to wrench, but Daivari talks trash and distracts Grey. Nese ROCKS Grey, tags Daivari, and the OG mug AG!

Daivari stomps Grey, talks trash to the fans, then tags Nese back in. The OG double suplex but AG slips out! Hot tag to Atlas! Atlas rallies with double clotheslines, big elbows, then a wrench and neckbreaker for Daivari! Atlas runs at Nese but is put on the apron. Atlas shoulders into Nese, dumps Daivari out and enziguris Nese away! Atlas climbs up, but Daivari hurries over! Atlas mule kicks Daivari away but Nese goes up to grab at him! Atlas shoves Nese away, Nese says he jammed his leg! The ref checks, and in that distraction, Daivari SHOVES Atlas down! Nese’s leg is just fine and he does jumping jacks before he stomps Atlas down.

Nese drags Atlas up to stomp him at ropes, then bumps him off buckles. Tag to Daivari, Nese RAMS into Atlas and Daivari fires off haymakers! The ref counts, Daivari lets off but clubs Atlas down. Daivari throws hands, whips Atlas back to the corner, and then runs in, into Atlas’ boots! Atlas elbows Nese, ROCKS Daivari, but Daivari mule kicks! Daivari runs to dropkick Atlas down! Daivari talks more trash to Grey, but he turns around to block Atlas’ boot! Daivari spins Atlas but Atlas spins Daivari for a DISCUS LARIAT! Both men crawl, hot tag to Nese and Nese DECKS Grey! Nese stomps Atlas, drags him up and whips him to ropes to CLOBBER him with an elbow! Cover, TWO!

Nese clamps onto Atlas with a rear bearhug! Fans rally up, Atlas endures and fights his way up. Atlas elbows Nese and breaks free! Atlas ROCKS Nese with forearms, but Nese keeps him from Grey! Atlas and Grey reach, but Atlas sunset flips! Nese rolls through but Atlas avoids the mule kick to boot Nese down! Nese tries to stay in the way but Atlas kangaroo kicks from below! Hot tag to Grey! Grey runs and RANAS Nese! And rallies with elbows! BIG Manhattan Drop! Grey runs, hurdles Nese then CLOBBERS him! Daivari mouths off so Grey DECKS him! Grey hoists Nese up, back suplex with a little extra! Cover, TWO! Grey keeps cool as he looms over Nese.

Daivari gets in, Grey spins him and turns him, for the SO MUCH- No! Daivari feeds Grey to Nese’s PREMIER DRIVER! Cover, but Atlas BOOTS it apart! All four men are down after Atlas puts his all into that kick, but the fans rally up! Daivari gets up, whips Atlas but Atlas reverses to send Daivari out! Atlas builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit and down goes Daivari! Nese has Grey, runs to ropes, for a BULLDOG HOTSHOT PLANCHA COMBO! Nese then goes back to the ring for a PREMIER TRIANGLE, but Grey dodges! SUPERKICK! Grey goes up top but Nese SHORYUKENS! Nese brings Grey down but Grey gets the chicken wings! SO MUCH PRETTIER!! Cover, Grey & Atlas win!!

Winners: August Grey & Jake Atlas, by pinfall

The OG get outmaneuvered, and the new wave rises! Will Atlas and Grey soon be the ones running the purple ‘n’ orange?

 

Backstage interview with Mansoor and Curt Stallion.

Josiah Williams asks these two how they’re feeling after that tag team victory together last week. Stallion can’t complain, and Mansoor thought that was great. Maybe they’ll team again and have a team name! Funny Mansoor should say that, because the Lonestar was thinking #CurtSoor. Well, that’s not bad, but the Star of Saudi Arabia was thinking more #ManStallion. What does Josiah think? He goes with CurtSoor on this one. Well Mansoor doesn’t mind. He does thank Stallion for helping him build his overall record to 40-0. Stallion says that is quite the accomplishment. But none against Stallion.

Josiah moves aside as the tension starts to rise. Is Stallion issuing a challenge? Funny he should ask. How about tonight, they go 40-1. More like 41. But these two shake on it and we have our main event! Will Curt be sore? Or will we be saying, “Man, Stallion is good!”

 

The Bollywood Boyz speak.

It’s ya bois from BOLLY BOLLY BOLLY, Bollywood, and one half of the supergroup known as #BollyRise, Samir & Sunil Singh! And they’re here to remind Chase Parker & Matt Marthel are part of their team. They called a truce, they are all working together, and yet Ever-Rise has the nerve to leave the Singhs out of going to NXT? And then they get jumped by El Legado! But that’s what the deserved! They’re not Bollywood award winners! The key in any relationship is communication. Next time, call them. But will Samir & Sunil be left hanging the next time Ever-Rise rolls into the Capitol Wrestling Center?

 

Mansoor VS Curt Stallion!

Quietly, in the background of the Cruiserweight Division, the Star of Saudi Arabia has remained undefeated. His biggest accomplishment was winning the Greatest Battle Royal in his home country, but will he finally be heading for the Cruiserweight Championship? Or will the Lonestar be the lone loss on Mansoor’s record?

The bell rings, the two circle and fans rally up already. Stallion and Mansoor shake hands to show there is still respect, and then they tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Mansoor manages to get leverage and push Stallion to ropes. Mansoor gives a shove as he lets off, but Stallion keeps his cool. They tie up, Stallion headlocks and hits a takeover. Mansoor pushes with forearms, Stallion pushes to a cover, ONE! Mansoor headscissors but Stallion kips out to again get a headlock takeover. Mansoor pushes his forearm into Stallion, makes it a cover, TWO! Stallion has the headlock again, but Mansoor slips out to a facelock and drags Stallion down to another cover, TWO!

Mansoor facelocks again but Stallion reverses to his own facelock. Mansoor drops to slip around to a hammerlock. Stallion moves around but Mansoor holds on. Mansoor puts more pressure on the hold but Stallion moves around again. Stallion stands, drop toeholds and gets the headlock. Mansoor fights up, powers out but things speed up. Mansoor hurdles, drops and hurdles again to trip Stallion up! Oklahoma Roll, TWO!! Stallion gets up but Mansoor hits a headlock takeover! Mansoor makes it a cover, TWO! Fans rally and duel, Stallion fights up and powers his way to his own headlock.

Mansoor powers out, hurdles gain but Stallion is ready for the trip! Stallion waistlocks, rolls and DEAD LIFT GERMAN SUPLEXES! Bridging cover, TWO!! Stallion knows he was close and he gets Mansoor up again. Stallion facelocks, snap suplexes then drops a knee! Cover, TWO! Mansoor checks his jaw as he sits up but Stallion facelocks again. Stallion drags Mansoor up, Mansoor throws body shots, then Mansoor powers out. Stallion dodges, Mansoor follows, Stallion stops and Mansoor LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Mansoor tries again, TWO! Stallion gets to a corner, Mansoor drags him up and CLUBS him, then CHOPS him! Stallion CHOPS back!

Mansoor forearms, whips Stallion corner to corner, then runs in to clothesline! Facelock and roll, TWO! Mansoor keeps on Stallion with an armlock and chinbar. Fans rally and duel as Stallion endures, and Stallion fights up to arm-drag free, only for Mansoor to drag him back down! Mansoor goes back to the chinbar and cording hold but Stallion fights the grip. Stallion fights up, fireman’s carries, but Mansoor sunset flips! Stallion rolls through to DOUBLE STOMP! Both men are down, fans fire up and Stallion glares as Mansoor gets to ropes. Mansoor drags himself up, swings but Stallion counter punches! And again! Then a ROLLING ELBOW!

Mansoor reverses the whip, Stallions tops and Alabama lifts to the REVERSE NECKBREAKER! Mansoor flounders, Stallion aims from a corner, and Stallion runs corner to corner to forearm smash! Stallion sweeps the legs, KNEES Mansoor, then storms around to run back in! BASEMENT DROPKICK! Stallion fires up and stomps the feet! Stallion yanks Mansoor up, turns him around, and DDT’s to the buckles! Cover, TWO!! Stallion seethes as he covers again, TWO!! Mansoor flounders, Stallion gets the legs and brings him around to a jackknife roll, Alabama lift, but Mansoor fights it!

Stallion resists the piledriver, Mansoor tries a backslide but Stallion flips over, only for Mansoor to underhook him! BUTTERFLY FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!! Mansoor is shocked but the CWC is thunderous! Mansoor drags Stallion up as fans rally and duel hard as ever. Stallion is dead weight, but Mansoor still tries to get him up! Stallion revives to HEADBUTT! Mansoor flops out of the ring! Stallion sees that, takes aim and PLANCHAS! Direct hit and Stallion fires up! Stallion puts Mansoor in, climbs up top, and FROG SPLASHES onto knees!! Mansoor saves himself and Stallion is writhing!

Mansoor hurries to the corner and to the top rope! But Stallion anchors a foot! Mansoor fights but Stallion tucks him in, CHEEKY NANDOS HEADBUTT! Stallion climbs up behind Mansoor for the INVERTED SPANISH FLY!! Cover, ROPEBREAK!?! Mansoor’s toe saves his streak! Stallion is seething but fans are fired up! Stallion takes off the elbow pads as Mansoor flounders up. Stallion runs in, Mansoor moves, the flying headbutt gets buckles! Stallion flounders into Mansoor’s SLINGSHOT NECKBREAKER! High stack cover, Mansoor wins!!

Winner: Mansoor, by pinfall

The Saudi Arabia Star’s streak is now 41-0! Stallion manages to stand, and Mansoor shouts to him! Stallion glares at Mansoor as he offers the handshake, but Stallion still takes it! Stallion shows his respect to Mansoor, but when will Stallion ride off into the sunset again? As for Mansoor, between quality and quantity, will his spotless 41 win-loss record be enough to get him a Cruiserweight Championship opportunity?


My Thoughts:

A great episode, and though only 32 minutes or so, the main event started to feel more like the days when 205 Live was strongest. Now, I’m a bit surprised the main event wasn’t the tag match, given the long running story. But there’s a chance the story isn’t over, even though Atlas and Grey won with a finisher. At this point, I wanna see another No Disqualification Tag Match, also like in 205 Live’s stronger days. Atlas was starting to get an edge in his story with Tommaso Ciampa, Nese and Daivari have proven they have an edge, and seeing Grey tap into that would be pretty cool, too, given how he had story with Thatcher.

Mansoor VS Stallion coming by way of an interview promo was pretty good, as was the promo. I personally think ManStallion is the better name, by the way. But as I said, their match was reminiscent of when 205 Live had Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, Buddy Murphy and a few others. Fans can say whatever they want about the Mansoor streak and the deal with Saudi Arabia (Crown Jewel, Super Showdown, etc.) but Mansoor still puts the work in, is confident in his character, and is not sloppy in the ring by any stretch of the imagination. Now, we still need more Cruiserweights doing things on NXT, not just El Legado brutalizing Breezango and Ever-Rise, but if Mansoor is one of the ones being built up on NXT, I could see it being title VS streak, Escobar VS Mansoor for a TakeOver.

My Score: 8.1/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (3/5/21)

Will Bryan get back in the Fastlane?

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Coverage SmackDown 2021

SmackDown grants a rematch but ups the ante!

Daniel Bryan either wins in a rematch with Jey Uso IN A STEEL CAGE and goes to Fastlane, or he will ACKNOWLEDGE the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • The Street Profits VS Sami Zayn & King Corbin; changed to…
  • Montez Ford w/ Angelo Dawkins VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
  • Angelo Dawkins w/ Montez Ford VS Sami Zayn; Dawkins wins.
  • Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio VS Chad Gable w/ Otis; Dominik wins.
  • Bianca Belair w/ Sasha Banks VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax; Belair wins.
  • Buddy Murphy VS Cesaro; Cesaro wins.
  • Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan VS Jey Uso; Bryan wins and will challenge Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship at Fastlane.

PLAY BY PLAY

Michael Cole opens SmackDown in the ring!

As it stands, the WrestleMania main event for the Universal Championship will be Roman Reigns VS Edge. But that could change if the man who started the Yes Movement gets his way! Daniel Bryan heads to the ring! Fans cheer with the Yes Fingers on their ThunderDome screens as Bryan gets a mic and Cole reminds us Bryan will face Roman’s “unhinged cousin” inside the Steel Cage. And if Bryan wins, he gets another chance at the Universal Championship at Fastlane! That would throw a wrench in the plans WWE had in the works of a tag team match, Bryan & Edge VS Roman & Jey. So then why is Bryan forgoing that tag match? Why has he turned his focus on Roman and the title?

Bryan says Cole is making a lot of assumptions, the biggest being that Bryan was even asked to be in a tag match. Not a single person told Bryan about this “great” idea to fight Roman & Jey at Fastlane. No one ran anything by him because they know Bryan “rolls with the punches,” does whatever is asked of him, shows up and works his ass off. So Bryan understands why no one asked him. Edge is the ultimate opportunist, and Roman doesn’t want to defend his title at Fastlane. But the thing is, Bryan is making a change to not be the old Bryan. Bryan sees there’s the dream match, Roman VS Edge. And Bryan gets it, Attitude Era VS The ThunderDome, everyone wants to see that, except for Bryan. And Bryan will do his damnedest to stop it from happening!

So Bryan takes this from here, and throws a video package for himself. It was the SmackDown Elimination Chamber, where Daniel Bryan ran the marathon and made it from start to finish to earn his opportunity at Roman’s title, only for Roman to pounce right then and there. Bryan came close but couldn’t defeat a fresh Roman, and then Edge pounced on Roman. In the present, Bryan says he has lost a lot in his career, and has gotten beaten up a lot in his career. So you think after winning his third Elimination Chamber match, and fighting valiantly against Roman, that loss wouldn’t be a big deal.

But rolling out of the ring, and Edge rolling in to Spear Roman and point at the WrestleMania sign, “never in my life have I ever felt like such a failure.” Bryan knows not everyone knows this, but he doesn’t have a lot of ambition. WWE did personality tests and they found that Bryan had the lowest ambition score they’d ever seen. How is it possible that Bryan is still successful? He isn’t sure, other than that he LOVES pro-wrestling. And if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, and he’s never had to “work” a day for the last 21 years!

But for the last year, Bryan’s had in the back of his head that he’ll go from wrestler to dad, and put others ahead of him. He let those he saw as the future get opportunities and not him. But Edge hitting Roman and Bryan feeling like an absolute failure is because Bryan failed himself. In that moment, Bryan had a lot more ambition in him than any test could ever show! He looked at the WrestleMania sign and decided HE should be there! Not Roman, not Edge, but BRYAN! Roman and Edge are in the main event because BRYAN loves this! In the last three WEEKS, he’s wrestled more than Edge and Roman in the last three MONTHS!

Bryan wrestles every chance he can because he loves this! And so putting himself on the back burner was a disservice to himself! Bryan knows he can be the absolute BEST! Bryan steps into a steel cage with Jey Uso, and if he wins, eh goes on to Fastlane to face Roman for the Universal Championship! And beating Roman is the only way to main event WrestleMania, and this could be his last chance! But before Bryan can continue his passionate speech, Roman interrupts! Jey and Paul Heyman follow Roman, of course, but the confrontation will be face to face after the break.

 

SmackDown returns and Roman is now in the ring.

Roman has a mic to say, “I’m looking at the same guy. But you don’t sound like the same guy.” The way Bryan is talking is confusing. And if it’s confusing Roman, than it’s confusing the fans. Bryan is ambitious now? Driven now? No. Bryan is the underdog, the “little guy,” the lottery winner. The one who waits on the opportunity and sometimes it works out. Bryan isn’t ambitious. Men like Roman, and they’re rare, they’re ambitious. Roman has been driven since he was a child. If he wanted it, he takes it. Roman loves the business, too. Bryan doesn’t love this, he NEEDS this. Bryan has nothing else, and that’s not love. Love isn’t based off need but off service and what you’ll do for others.

Roman, for example, loves the WWE. Roman doesn’t need it, it’s everyone who needs him! SmackDown needs Roman! The crew and the cameramen need Roman! Heyman needs Roman, Jey needs Roman, Bryan needs Roman. And after Jey whoops Bryan, Bryan will understand that and know it in his heart. And then, Bryan will acknowledge Roman. If Bryan- Jey snatches Bryan’s mic to tell him not to worry about the title. This is as close as Bryan gets to it! Bryan has to get through Jey and that won’t happen! Bryan wanted the cage, but it isn’t locking Roman out, it’s locking Jey in! And tonight, Jey’s gonna get you! Jey tries to sucker punch Bryan but Bryan throws him out!

Bryan stares Roman down, and Roman sighs. Will Bryan be unstoppable as he goes back down the road to WrestleMania?

 

The Street Profits VS Sami Zayn & King Corbin!

Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins are up and they want the smoke! But will this rematch with the Great Liberator and Wolf King be a speedbump on the road to WrestleMania and the SmackDown Tag Team Championships?

SmackDown returns and the Profits have mics as Sami makes his entrance. Sami admits, the Profits pulled off a “fluke” over him and Corbin. But tonight, Sami and Corbin will prove it was just luck. Corbin tells Sami that it’s enough. They’re not tag team partners! They’re not friends! Corbin doesn’t even like Sami! Corbin is a SINGLES competitor, so he’ll take on just one of the Profits. Oh, well, their schedules are free. Roode & Ziggler are dodging them so there is a lot of time. So if that’s what Corbin wants, how about he get in the ring to do that thing? Ford wants Corbin, so Dawkins gets Sami? Yep! Sweet, Dawkins gets to be in Sami’s movie!

Dawkins gives a quick shout-out to his boy, JZH, but Sami tries to sort things out. Is this a set up? Is Corbin in on this or something? Sami agreed to a TAG match, you can’t do this to him at the last second! So then it’s one? Tell ’em, fam! The Profits are up, and they want the smoke! Sami is upset, but the first of the now two singles matches begins!

Montez Ford w/ Angelo Dawkins VS King Corbin!

Ford and Corbin circle, tie up, and Corbin knees low! Corbin whips Ford to a corner, Ford goes up and over and handsprings to then dropkick Corbin! And dropkick again! Corbin staggers to ropes., Ford runs in but Corbin gets a SPINEBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Corbin is upset with the ref but the count is the count. Corbin wants Sami to watch this as he drags Ford up. Corbin puts Ford in the corner, traps his arms and fires off body shots! The ref backs Corbin off, he drags Ford back up to whip corner to corner hard! Ford bounces off buckles, Corbin drags him back up and taunts Dawkins as he ripcord back suplexes for a yoyo SLAM!

Corbin taunts Ford, drags him up, but Ford gets around to hop on and be a sleeper hold backpack! Corbin RAMS Ford into buckles, but Ford holds on tight! Corbin pries free, snapmares but Ford handsprings through to mule kick, front kick and dropkick! Ford has Corbin in a corner, hits a splash, then runs, into a pop-up! But Ford turns that into a DDT! Ford kips up to STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Ford keeps his cool as he heads for a corner. Ford hops up, Sami shouts at Dawkins but Ford shouts at Sami. Corbin rolls Ford, Ford rolls through to ENZIGURI! But Corbin still gets Ford for the END OF DAYS!! Cover, Corbin wins!!

Winner: King Corbin, by pinfall

Sami tells Corbin he just helped him so now Corbin has to help Sami! Dawkins wants after Sami, Sami gets on the apron, Dawkins BLASTS Sami off and Sami hits Corbin! Corbin gets mad at Sami but Sami explains that was because of Dawkins! Corbin doesn’t care, he’s leaving Sami behind! Will the Champion of the People be able to do this by himself? We’ll find out, after the break!

 

Angelo Dawkins w/ Montez Ford VS Sami Zayn!

SmackDown returns and the match is underway as Dawkins clubs and bumps Sami off buckles and in corners. Sami grabs ropes, Dawkins has a leg but the ref calls for the break. Sami clubs Dawkins, headlocks, but Dawkins powers out to run him over! Dawkins keeps moving, Sami hurdles but Dawkins hurdles back. Dawkins ducks to dropkick Sami down! Cover, TWO! Dawkins grabs a leg but Sami still holds ropes. The ref counts, Dawkins lets go and Sami goes out. Dawkins pursues, Sami kicks and elbows Dawkins then bumps him off barriers, then bumps him off the apron. Sami puts Dawkins in, gets in and CLOBBERS Dawkins from behind! Cover, TWO!

Sami keeps his cool as he looms over Dawkins. Sami stomps Dawkins, drags him up and throws haymakers. Sami puts Dawkins on the ropes and chokes him! The ref counts, Sami taunts Ford, but Sami lets off at 4. “This is what you get!” Sami drags Dawkins up, whips him and CLOBBERS him again! Cover, TWO! Another cover, TWO! Another, TWO! Sami argues the count but the ref says it was the same as the other times. Sami drags Dawkins up, throws more haymakers, then whips Dawkins to ropes again. Dawkins CLOBBERS Sami this time! Ford fires up as Dawkins rallies and hits the LEAPING ELBOW!

Sami ends up in a corner, Dawkins hits the CYCLONE SPLASH! BIG BULLDOG! Cover, TWO! Ford coaches Dawkins and he drags Sami up. Dawkins has the hooks but Sami fights the exploder off. Sami swings but into Dawkins’ SILENCER! Cover, TWO! The butterfly corkscrew suplex didn’t work, and Sami gets to the apron. Dawkins pursues but Sami hotshots him! Sami reels Dawkins in, but he can’t get Dawkins up. Dawkins throws elbows, runs in but the cyclone gest buckles! Sami reels Dawkins in for a CORNER EXPLODER!

Dawkins staggers as Sami goes corner to corner, but Ford gets up close on Sami’s camera crew! Sami shouts at Ford to stop that, but Dawkins rolls him up! Dawkins wins!!

Winner: Angelo Dawkins, by pinfall

Did the cameras get that? Sami still cries conspiracy and shouts, “Who’s behind this?!” Sami doesn’t recognize the second guy and asks if he’s a WWE spy! The guy doesn’t know how to answer and Sami throws knees into him! Is the documentary going to start being about Sami’s spiral into madness?

 

Reginald Thompson, the Fabulous sommelier, finds Carmella backstage.

She says he likes playing games, right? Of course he does. This new game is called, “Who’s the Snake?” What? Mella says one of them took a chance on a lowly sommelier and made him a star, while the other betrayed that someone and is siding with Sasha Banks. Reggie says all of that has been for Mella! Well it’s game over. Reggie’s the snake! She slaps the tray out of his hand and FIRES him! What is Reggie going to do now that he’s without a boss?

 

Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio VS Chad Gable w/ Otis!

To get payback on behalf of his father, Dominik is going to take on the Alpha Academy headmaster! But with the Dozer ringside, will Dom have to worry more about Rey than Gable?

SmackDown returns and the Alpha Academy make their entrance. The bell rings and Dom ties up with Gable. They go around, Gable waistlocks and throws Dom down. Dom gets up but Gable throws him back down, then floats to a facelock. Otis says Dom is alone and that’s why he’ll lose. But Dom runs around to throw Gable out! Gable gets back in but Dom arm-drags him! Dom cranks the arm, Gable gets up but Dom wrenches to a wristlock. Gable rolls, bridges, handsprings and spins to break free and headlock to then spin and spin and drop toehold! Gable has the leg, and SMASHES it into the mat! Dom gets up, Gable gets the leg again and hits a DRAGON SCREW!

Gable jams the knee, does it again, then covers, TWO! Gable keeps on Dom with a standing toehold and he pushes down hard on the leg. Dom endures, Rey coaches him through it and Dom kicks at Gable with the free leg. Fans rally, Gable gets the foot and Dom enziguris! Gable staggers to a corner,. Dom runs in but the monkey flip is turned around. Dom boots from up top, then leaps to huricanrana! Gable is in the other corner, Dom runs in to wheelbarrow throw him into buckles! Dom goes back up, leaps, but no tornado DDT! Gable gets Dom’s arms, TIGER SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Dom escapes and Gable can’t believe it!

Gable gets the legs, drags Dom to a drop zone and goes up top. Gable talks trash to Rey, and MOONSAULTS, but has to land on his feet as Dom moves! Gable waistlocks, Dom wheelbarrows to a victory roll but Gable sit son the cover, TWO! Dom reels Gable into a La Magistrol, DOM WINS!

Winner: Dominik Mysterio, by pinfall

Otis storms onto the apron but Rey WRECKS him with a dropkick! Otis hits announce desk, Rey LEAPS and SEATED SENTONS him onto the desk! The Mysterios regroup and retreat! The Alpha Academy is raging, but are they going to learn a lesson from the King and Prince of Lucha?

 

Backstage interview with Seth Rollins!

Kayla Braxton brings up Cesaro’s swing that seemed to last forever, and Rollins says it sure felt that way. And do you want to know why? Because it was forever! But the question is, why? Has Cesaro done that much to anyone else? No, that was rhetorical. But then why did he do it? Because he is afraid of “us.” Cesaro doesn’t want to #EmbraceTheVision because he knows “we” are strong! Cesaro wanted to embarrass Rollins and humiliate him! Rollins promises us that he won’t forget that. And Buddy Murphy is BACK?!

Murphy says he could help Rollins with this problem. Rollins doesn’t want to see Murphy. Murphy needs to leave, now. Is Murphy really trying to be Rollins’ disciple again? Will Rollins do just fine against Cesaro without him?

 

Bianca Belair w/ Sasha Banks VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax!

A partial rematch from the impromptu Elimination Chamber WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match, the EST and the Queen of Spades match up again 1v1! But will Bianca earn herself and The Boss momentum towards those titles? Or will Shayna do damage to the Women’s Rumble winner before she reaches WrESTleMania?

SmackDown returns as Bianca makes her entrance, followed by Sasha’s. That seems like a surprise to Bianca’s, despite the coming Fastlane match. But another surprise, or perhaps not, is that Reggie follows Sasha out like a stray puppy. The bell rings, Bianca and Shayna tie up, and Shayna gets an arm to wrench it. Bianca scoops Shayna, Shayna slips off and headlocks. Bianca slips through to headlock back, but Shayna powers out. Bianca goes up and over in the corner, handsprings and eggs Shayna on to then run her over! Bianca is fired up and she claps at Shayna to then say kiss this. Things speed up,. Bianca handsprings but Shayna blocks the dropkick to get he foot!

Bianca boots her away, dodges the knee, rolls Shayna up, ONE! Bianca yanks Shayna’s arm, steps over and hooks it to La Magistrol, ONE! Shayna has an arm, wrenches, twists the wrist, but Bianca endures. Bianca powers through to fireman’s carry, but Shayna slips out again to whip. Bianca goes up again but gets caught for a KICK to the arm! Nia cheers Shayna on while Bianca writhes. Sasha checks on her partner and coaches her up, and Bianca gets up in a corner. Shayna runs in to KNEE Bianca down! Shayna drags Bianca to a cover, ONE!! Shayna grows annoyed, she drags Bianca and wrenches the arm to a grounded wristlock. Bianca resists but Shayna twists it all the same.

Shayna stands on Bianca’s head, pulls the arm around, and TWEAKS it! Sasha grows worried but she coaches Bianca up. Shayna runs back in. Bianca dodges! Shayna knees buckles. but hurries after Bianca! Shayna gets the arm, Bianca scoops with the good one to SLAM her down! Shayna gets up but Bianca ROCKS her! Bianca runs in to RAM Shayna into the corner! Bianca rams and rams and fires off with the good arm and even some stomps! Bianca drags Shayna up to a suplex! And a kip up! Bianca shakes out the bad arm, claps at Shayna, then whips her to back drop her! Nia is the one getting upset now as Bianca chicken wings for the Glam-

NO! Shayna victory rolls Bianca out of the ring! Reggie is there and he says no hard feelings, but Bianca shoves him down! Bianca gets in, Shayna KNEES her down! Both women are down and Reggie flounders up near Nia. Nia shoves Reggie at Sasha, and runs over! Reggie moves ,Sasha gets bulldozed! Bianca is distracted, Shayna gets the KIRAFUDA! But Bianca powers to the Torture Rack, KISS OF DEATH!! Cover, Bianca wins!!

Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall

The EST pulled it off and KOD sealed the deal! But Bianca tells Sasha to handle things with Reggie. Tag titles or not, Bianca and Sasha need to have a fair match at Mania. Reggie helps Sasha up, and she smiles, but then SLAPS Reggie! Sasha told Reggie to stay out of her business! When it rains, it pours. Will Reggie be pouring himself a drink to drown his sorrows?

 

Roman talks with Jey in their suite.

Roman wants Jey to understand that if Jey wins, the Universal Championship is safe until Mania. But if Jey loses, Roman will have to defend it at Fastlane. That part is fine, but Jey losing is an embarrassment to him and the family. Jey cannot embarrass the family. Jey says he’s got this, but will he prove that when caged up with a determined Daniel Bryan?

 

Buddy Murphy VS Cesaro!

The former disciple might be trying to show Rollins what he can do by taking the Swiss Cyborg head-on! Will Cesaro prove that if he can defeat Rollins’ former protégé, he really doesn’t need Rollins’ vision?

But of course Rollins makes his presence known! Rollins goes ringside to watch Cesaro in person, and the bell rings. Cesaro runs at Murphy, waistlocks and SLAMS him, then dead lift gut wrenches Murphy for a suplex! Rollins joins commentary, Cesaro covers Murphy, ONE! Murphy elbows Cesaro away, runs but Cesaro follows. Murphy leaps but into a tilt-o-whirl BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Cesaro is after Murphy’s legs but he gets to the apron. Murphy then yanks Cesaro out and stomps Cesaro’s hand away! Murphy WRECKS Cesaro with a dropkick, then builds speed to FLY! Direct hit and Murphy tumbles to the ramp. Murphy puts Cesaro in, climbs up top, and leaps for a METEORA! Cover, TWO!

Murphy grits his teeth and he digs his knee into Cesaro then KICKS him in the back! Cesaro shoves Murphy away but runs into a boot! Murphy hops up again, leaps, but into a EuroUpper! Murphy staggers back, Cesaro catches his breath, and Cesaro grits his teeth. Cesaro runs in to EuroUpper again! Cesaro whips, EuroUppers, and repeat! And repeat! Cesaro runs to BOOT Murphy down! Cesaro drags Murphy back up as Rollins vents about the swing, and Cesaro puts Murphy IN THE SWING! Cesaro swings Murphy around and around and around and around and Rollins complains and Cesaro keeps going! Cesaro stops after 20, and puts on the SHARPSHOOTER! Murphy taps, Cesaro wins!

Winner: Cesaro, by submission

Rollins applauds Cesaro despite all he was just saying. But Cesaro smiles back just as mockingly. Will Cesaro do more than just embarrass and humiliate Rollins when they get in the ring together?

 

Reggie sulks as he packs up his things and heads out.

But he spots Sasha’s private room and decides to knock on the door. Sasha answers, and Reggie tries to apologize, but she says NO! Well, guess that’s that. But then Reggie sees the tag champions and Shayna says, “Smell that?” Reggie reeks of failure! But where’s wine boy going? Thirsty for a fight? Nia says Shayna should chill. Doesn’t she see what Nia sees? Reggie’s kinda cute. Huh? Is the sommelier about to go from bully bosses to boss bullies?

 

Apollo Crews is here!

And he is further representing his Nigerian royal heritage by having bodyguards by his side, and a spear in his hand! Apollo has his guards lead the way into the ring first, then he follows. Apollo fetches a mic and he says everyone is telling him how they don’t like the new Apollo. But the good news is, this isn’t the “new” Apollo, this is the REAL Apollo! This is who he is, how he talks, and he is a descendant of Nigerian royalty! He is a REAL African American! This is his Nigerian Elite Guard, the protector of his family for many generations. Apollo remembers being a young boy hearing stories about these men, about his heritage.

At the time, he was too ashamed to accept his heritage because he would be made fun of. He wanted to fit in, and be just like “you.” But “you” never accepted him! Even his own “friends” just wanted to mock him. “Did you live in a jungle? Did you ride lions to school?” Apollo was ashamed, but the truth is, these stories about his ancestors, some of the most feared and respected men in all of Nigeria, who would dominate and conquer anyone. The more Apollo went into his roots, the more he realized things were repeating themselves. Big E was disrespecting him, and Apollo would hear his ancestors telling him to stand up and claim his birthright. So Apollo did what he had to do.

“Big E, I know you’re at home, nursing your injury. And I know you fear walking in the sight of me.” But Big E is coming back next week, and that makes Apollo happy! Apollo is no longer the man Big E once knew and dismissed. Apollo won’t fit in, he’ll proudly stand out! He will DEMAND a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship!! Big E will fall before Apollo’s feet, and Apollo will leave Big E a broken man for life! And Big E will be hunted for Apollo’s complete and total victory! The Nigerian Prince has issued his ultimatum, but will Big E be coming back only bigger and stronger?

 

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville try to reason with Natalya and Tamina.

They’re clearly upset that Sasha & Bianca are getting a title match over them! Have Pearce & Sonya not seen how dominant Natty & Tamina have been? Of course they have! But that’s not the match that was made. Pearce apologizes and dismisses himself. Sonya says Pearce simply made a different decision. Will the Queen of Harts and the Daughter of Superfly force Pearce to reconsider?

 

Backstage interview with Jey Uso.

Does he perhaps feel any extra pressure- There’s no pressure! Jey thrives off of this! “DB shouldn’t have popped off on Big Uce!” Now they’re in the Uso Penitentiary! But then Bryan CLOBBERS Jey from behind! Bryan doesn’t say anything, but that was clearly a taste of Jey’s own medicine. Will Jey start to crack under the pressure of defending the family? Will Bryan force Roman to defend his title?

 

SmackDown has a special bonus DING DONG, HELLO~!

Bayley walks in through the door to say that tonight is a special rehearsal for a new segment. Other shows do “Mean Tweets,” but Bayley is loved by everyone so she has something she’s calling Sweet Tweets! RoleModel1452 says “Bayley can truly do it all! They’d never give a talk show to someone like Sasha banks!” Then EllenDegeneres1 says “Forget about Edge and Roman Reigns, the Ding Dong Hello Show should be the main event of WrestleMania!” And lastly, WWESuperfan says “Ding Dong Hello is…” Wait, wait, wait. How did this one get in here? Bayley doesn’t even finish it and throws the card away. She SLAMS the door, but will she have something to say to that supposed superfan?

 

Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan VS Jey Uso!

Last week’s count-out was neither win or loss, so a deal was struck on Talking Smack: Bryan and Jey have a rematch, and if Bryan wins, he gets his Fastlane title match; if Bryan loses, he must ACKNOWLEDGE Roman! But it was Bryan who raised the stakes even higher by wanting the steel cage to be the stipulation! Will the Goat’s gamble pay off and get him his golden ticket? Or will Jey leave Bryan in WrestleMania lockdown?

Jey steps inside the cage, but Roman and Heyman make their entrance! The Tribal Chief already put pressure on Jey, but he’s really digging in the screws now. Heyman makes sure to get Roman a chair so that he can have a seat at the ramp. Will Roman be here to personally congratulate his cousin? Or personally accept Bryan’s challenge? We’ll find that out, after the break!

SmackDown returns, the bell rings and Bryan rushes Jey with forearms! Jey hits back and it is a brawl! Bryan ROCKS Jey with a EuroUpper, then KICKS a leg to whip. Jey reverses and RAMS Bryan into the steel! Jey drags Bryan up, clubs him and RAMS Him into the steel again! And again! Jey tells Bryan to acknowledge Roman! He digs Bryan’s face into the steel and Roman is there to stare at Bryan. Bryan refuses to say anything so Jey clubs him down. Roman tells Jey to do more and Jey hauls Roman up to fireman’s carry and LAWN DART Bryan into steel! Jey calls for the door and walks over but Bryan catches him in the ropes!

Jey fires off on Bryan but he goes back in to ROCK Bryan with an uppercut! Jey climbs the side but Bryan pursues! Bryan gets a foot, drags Jey back down and then smashes him off the steel! Jey smashes Bryan again, then hops down to trip Bryan! Bryan is stuck on the top, Jey DECKS him off it! Jey drags Bryan up, RAMS him into the corner, then tells Roman he’s got this as he goes side to side. Bryan blocks to SMASH Jey off the steel, off the buckles, then YANKS him into the wall! Heyman watches Roman closely as Bryan climbs up. Bryan leaps to missile dropkick Jey down! Jey writhes and crawls, he sees the door! Jey heads that way but Bryan PENALTY KICKS an arm!

Bryan wrenches Jey to elbow breakers! And then RAMS Jey into more steel! And then brings Jey around for another elbow breaker, and another RAM into steel! Jey flops down but Bryan drags him up to wrench and whip,. Jey reverses, Bryan goes up and over and dodges to go up again! Bryan heads for the top but Jey hurries to bring him down! Bryan lands on his billy goat again, and Jey stomps away on the knees! Jey winces for a moment before he stomps more. Jey climbs, but Bryan sits up! Bryan anchors Jey, climbs up to join him, and then headbutts him! Bryan headbutts Jey to send him back to the top rope, but Jey fireman’s carries Bryan for a SUPER SAMOAN DROP!! Both men are down as SmackDown goes to another break!

SmackDown returns one more time, and both men are up on top of the cage! They’re brawling with haymakers and headbutts! Bryan rocks Jey, tries to slip to the outside, but Jey holds on with a facelock! Jey drags Bryan back inside and they’re on the top rope. Bryan smashes Jey off steel, and gives him YES KICKS up there! Jey wobbles but he manages to SUPERKICK Bryan down! Jey adjusts to USO SPLASH!! Cover, TWO!! Bryan survives and Jey is too sore to be frustrated! Jey crawls to the door and it opens for him. Bryan crawls after Jey and anchors a foot. Jey grabs at the frame, gets up, but Bryan spins him around, only to get the DRAGON WHIP KICK!

But Bryan ROUNDHOUSES Jey! Jey SUPERKICKS again! Cover, TWO!! Jey is beside himself, but Roman is like stone as usual. Jey sits up and wants the door to open again, but Bryan GHOST PINS! TWO, and he has Jey caught for endless elbows! And then, a turn to the omoplata, but Jey moves around to ground ‘n’ pound wildly! Jey wants to hurt Bryan more than anything! Jey lets off to catch his breath, and he looks to Roman. Jey grabs Bryan’s legs, and catapults him into steel! Bryan flops down, but Jey again looks to Roman. Jey says he’ll end this, and he goes up the side of the steel. But Bryan pursues again! Bryan catches up to Jey and anchors him as he climbs up again!

Bryan throws headbutts, Jey goes back to the ropes, and Bryan adjusts on top. Bryan is going to the outside, but Jey grabs his head with a cravat! Jey drags Bryan back in but Bryan headbutts Jey again! Bryan has Jey and RAMS him into the steel again and again! Bryan underhooks for a SUPER BUTTERFLY SUPLEX!! Roll through, to the YES LOCK!! Jey endures, flails, crawls, and gets the ropebreak, BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER! No ropebreaks or disqualifications in a cage match! Bryan pulls back even harder!! Jey taps, BRYAN WINS!!

Winner: Daniel Bryan, by submission (faces Roman Reigns for the title at Fastlane)

The Universal Championship is taking a detour! Bryan is taking a stand against the establishment again, can he repeat what he did for WrestleMania 30 and make it into YEStleMania?


My Thoughts:

A pretty great episode for SmackDown, but there is a lot I do not like for the build to Fastlane and other stories from this. Firstly, Buddy Murphy trying to reconnect with Rollins. Obviously, the stuff with Aaliyah Mysterio wasn’t working, wasn’t going to work, and was a bit dumb to do in the first place. But you can’t just reset Murphy to before all of that. Don’t have Murphy reach out to Rollins at all, just have him return by surprise here against Cesaro. That match was still okay, because Rollins was on commentary and Cesaro did the swing to get at Rollins and all of that. But I am annoyed that WWE (Vince) is throwing Murphy back in just because they don’t know what else to do with Murphy. Rollins VS Cesaro is just fine on its own, have someone else #EmbraceTheVision instead of Murphy relapsing back to being the disciple.

Then the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship developments are very odd. It’s fine that the champions are defending the belts at all, but announcing that it’s just going to be the Elimination Chamber match-up again is odd. I did appreciate that another team was upset by this, so there might be more story to it than what we got. Pearce sure seems really close to these titles given what we saw on NXT. If this all turns out to be a huge story between all three brands, then I’ll be all for it, but it is hard to see that from where we are. And while Reggie being fired by Mella and rejected by Sasha is following what I expected, I’m not sure how I feel about Nia suddenly taking interest in him. Whenever it is that Shayna and Nia split, I don’t think Nia needs a sidekick, so it’s just odd she’d care about Reggie at all.

The Profits having singles matches was a good way to both fill time but also have more story with Corbin and Sami. Corbin puts a stop to the tag team with Sami, the Profits get to go 1-1 on the night, keeping things a bit even for them as we head for Mania. The SmackDown Tag Team Championships story will certainly have something for Mania, so the slow burn isn’t so bad. Gable VS Dom was good, and it works that Dom gets a quick victory. Another tag match is coming, and though the Profits will protest, I bet Sonya sets up the winner of that against the Dirty Dawgs. That can be for Fastlane, then Profits getting their rematch can be for Mania to make it even bigger.

Apollo’s promo was very good, though I’m surprised he’s got bodyguards now. The spear is cool, though. Big E’s return is in time for Fastlane, so that could be the match for the Intercontinental Championship. And with how this Apollo is, it could go either way. Then the main story, once again the Universal Championship with Roman, is going great. Bryan’s promo to start the night is a bit recycled from Talking Smack but still just as strong and passionate, and then his thwarting Jey’s sneak attack to then come back with one of his own is great stuff. Bryan is taking the fight to the establishment again, and Fastlane is going to be great with Roman VS Bryan fair and square, both guys at 100%. I still feel like Roman wins in the end, because WWE can’t resist Spear VS Spear, but Bryan’s going to make it one hell of a match.

My Score: 8.3/10


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